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%.