Thursday, 21 August 2014
"We've got a situation where many British companies and many individuals are paying their fair share of tax and they look in horror at a system where multinational companies, some multinational companies from other countries, can make huge profits in Britain and not pay taxes in Britain. This is scandalous, it's got to change. The next Labour government will change it." Those we Ed's words on the Andrew Marr show just 18 months ago.With the General Election now 9 months away and Ed hoping to be able to put his words into action, you might expect Labour to be acting as they preach.
So why then have Labour actively choosing US based Amazon to host their fundraising website?
Accompanying a bizarrely airbrushed photo of Ed, the Labour party's website carries a helpful message reminding donors that cash donations are "NOT tax exempt" (unlike those in shares), but that is presumably not a subtle message to the website hosts, which the site also helpful inform us is "Amazon Web Services, P.O. Box 81226, Seattle, Washington 98108, USA"
Monday, 18 August 2014
Our findingsAs stated in our previous response, the May edition of Lambeth Talk was in fact cleared by the Council’s lawyers who were satisfied that the May edition complied with the pre-election restrictions on Publicity (PERP). The Council took care in this edition not to publish any items which related to any candidates standing for election nor did it refer to the Labour Group being the majority group in the administration. The fact that the Council describes itself as a Co-operative Council is embedded in its Constitution, and refers to the Council as a whole. We have discussed and voted on this matter at Council meetings and are fully satisfied that by talking about the Council in this way is not a political statement but simply describes the manner in which the Council is structured and operates, something that was voted on before the election and confirmed by councillors from 3 different political groups.The objective of this issue of Lambeth Talk was not to encourage people to vote in any particular way. Of course we want people to vote, and we want them to be aware of what the council does, and we hope this publication helped with that.Therefore we do not agree that it implied people should vote any particular way and have found no evidence to date to suggest that anyone was influenced in that way. Some candidates may have identified themselves with the co-operative party but this did not appear on the ballot papers nor on any official election documentation.
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Monday, 30 June 2014
Friday was a bad day for Europe.
I made no secret of my opposition to the election of Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the EU Commission - and I stood firm in my opposition, because an important principle is at stake here.
His election hands power to the European Parliament and risks undermining the position of national governments.
This whole process has reinforced my conviction that Europe needs to change.
Securing reform is going to be a long, tough fight and sometimes you have to be ready to lose a battle to win a war.
But we have showed that we won't be put off from our task - we won't be cowed, we won't be silenced.
Because the status quo is not right for the EU. And it is certainly not right for Britain. It has got to change.
And at the end of 2017, it will not be me, it will not be the House of Commons, it will not be Brussels who decides Britain's future in the EU. It will be the British people with an in-out referendum on our membership of the EU - delivered by the Conservatives.
Tuesday, 24 June 2014
Saturday, 29 March 2014
Budget giveaways and the young
SIR – Last week’s Budget laid bare the failure of young people to engage with Westminster politics.
While the Government is doing a great deal for young people with the youth contract, boom in apprenticeships, help to buy, work programme, and more, there is plenty more that could be done.
But with a disengaged electoral constituency (less than 44% of under-35s voted in 2010, compared to 75% of over-55s) why would our political masters expend their political capital?
The whole Budget debate showed how failure of young people to engage can shift political priorities. Take just one example, the lively pre-budget debate about tax rates and 40p failed to even mention the marginal tax rate of 51p for young graduates (40% Inc tax; 2% NI; plus 9% student loan) or the criminal rates of 72p over £100k (accounting for allowance withdrawal).
All this means that while older people have done better in recent years than their younger relatives with the IFS last year concluding that incomes of those in their 60s and 70s rose after the recession, while the median income among people in their 20s has dropped 11%, it is the taxes of the young that will pay for budget giveaways to pensioners.
The granny-giveaway Budget was right for the time, but is a damning reflection on the failures of young people to engage with British politics and shape the political landscape.
The saying may be “youth is wasted on the young” but if my generation fail to make a stand we can be sure that “budget giveaways are wasted on the young” will be just as true.
Tuesday, 21 January 2014
If you're interested in applying please visit the Starbucks Youth Action website for further guidance.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
With the rate now at 7.4% minds will be turning to the words of Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, in his Forward Guidance issued earlier in August - 'the MPC will not consider raising interest rates until the unemployment rate falls below 7%'.
At the time, the Governor predicted it would take about three years and the creation of 750,000 jobs to hit that target. I argued on this blog that 3 years was far too long and that history taught us it was possible - with a growing economy - to achieve 7% in just 9 months.
Today, just 3 months after Carney gave his Forward Guidance, the employment rate has risen by 0.5% (250,000 more people in work) and unemployment rate is already down from 7.8% to 7.4% (today's employment data is up to October).
But hidden in some experimental statistics from the ONS there is a sign that even that 9 month estimate could be too cautious. According to seasonally adjusted Single Month Labour Force Survey Estimates for October 2013 unemployment has already hit that low of 7%.