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  Press Cycle 13 - Labour Deputy Leadership Election
Posted by: Mac - Yesterday, 01:47 PM - Forum: Press Office - No Replies


This thread is for the Labour Deputy Leadership Campaign. Campaign events, materials, and endorsements should go in this thread.

The deadline for this cycle is the end of the campaign meaning it closes at midday GMT on the 22nd of January.

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  The Times
Posted by: Mac - Yesterday, 01:30 PM - Forum: Fleet Street - No Replies

Interest Groups React to Budget

Reaction from interest groups has been coming in all day, here at the Times we have collected some of the best and worst from across the country:

  • The Alliance of British Drivers condemned the double increase in Road Taxes in line with inflation saying that as inflation begins to outstrip earnings this risks forcing people out of using cars and risks making people unable to get to work
  • The CBI and FSB both welcomed cuts to National Insurance contributions for businesses but lamented the lack of VAT and Corporation Tax cuts saying that this prevented them from passing much larger savings onto customers
  • The Taxpayers' Alliance welcomed the "modest" cut to Income Tax but condemned the stealth tax on earners who receive the higher threshold of National Insurance saying Labour was playing politics with job creators
  • The British Beer and Pub Association condemned above-earnings increases in alcohol duties warning that the British Pub as an institution is under threat and the Government should do more to help it rather than hinder
  • The National Association of Local Councils welcomed budgetary measures to increase funding in Regional Development Agencies as well as infrastructure investments in areas outside of London
  • The CBI welcomed the increase in apprenticeship provision and funding but said more could be done to ensure that people aren't railroaded into educational provision that suited the Government rather than the individual in reference to the Government's new policy on school leavers
  • Various Justice Pressure Groups reacted well to the Government's plans for additional police and more prison space
  • Lawyers' groups welcomed the increase in Legal Aid but said more needed to be done to ensure that everyone had access to justice
  • The Government moved one step closer to fulfilling their waiting list commitments with the BMA welcoming moves to hire more doctors, build more hospitals, and invest more in public health and Commissioning Grants
  • The NUT welcomed more funding per student but raised concerns that similar funding increases had not been given to further education in light of the Government's law change on the topic of post-16 education
  • The increase in free childcare to 3hrs a day was welcomed my mothers' groups and by pre-schools
  • The Daily Express expressed outrage that at a time of heavy borrowing international aid had increased by more than inflation. IN a strongly worded editorial the paper called for the Government to stop borrowing money to give away and re-allocate that funding for the homeless in this country
  • The Green Party signed an open letter, with many other green groups, expressing disappointment at the Government's "lack of ambition on green subjects" pointing to a "paltry" increase in renewable funding, minimal investment in environmental protection, and next to no investment in decommissioning old nuclear plants in favour of green alternatives
  • The Taxpayers' Alliance and National Association of Local Councils both condemned the Government's policy on local government. That taxpayers' alliance were furious at the 5.2% increase average increase in Council Tax this year mandated by the Government if councils wanted to retain funding saying it "undid almost every national tax cut for individuals replacing it with this stealth tax" whilst the NALC urged caution on the issue of social homes arguing that local government must take the lead to prevent the destruction of local communities
  • The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, said it was unacceptable that public spending on Scotland should increase by less than the UK's national average accusing the Government of failing to take the legitimate concerns of Scotland seriously. UK average spending increased by 4.92% in this Budget whereas Scotland's increased by just under 4.25%, approximately 0.7% less than the average
  • The First Minister for Wales welcomed news that Wales would receive a higher percentage increase in funding than the national average saying that it was "welcome that a Government is committed to the people of Wales and to their finances". Wales received a 5.06% increase in funding this year, over 0.1% higher than the national average.
  • The First Minister of Northern Ireland made similar comments although noted that Wales got more and expressed his hope that that wasn't just because Wales has a Labour Government whilst Northern Ireland did not. Northern Ireland received a 5% increase in funding, 0.08% higher than the national average but 0.06% less than Wales received.

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  Financial Times
Posted by: Mac - Yesterday, 10:42 AM - Forum: Fleet Street - No Replies

Government Budget Outlines Serious Investment

Today the Government unveiled a recession budget, there are no two ways about it. This Budget is aimed squarely at the next 12 months and trying to make the recession as shallow and as short as possible so they can get the economy moving again before 2010. Interest rates are falling, growth is falling, and unemployment is rising meaning the Chancellor did the only sensible thing he could do, he went out and borrowed the money for some serious investments. How serious? The Department for Transport will be receiving a 20% boon this year and the projects earmarked have already been approved, work could start tomorrow for all we know here at the Financial Times. Look, this budget is not perfect, far from it. Taxes are still rising, borrowing for day to day spending is still going up (just look at welfare in this budget), and some aspects of the government's fiscal powers are being criminally underused including regional development and R&D but this is generally a positive budget that will invest in infrastructure outside of London (but still dictated by London) and generally get the economy moving again, a move we at the FT endorse. Will it be better than the Tory alternative? We don't know, but the least we can say is that this budget is probably a net benefit for Britain, and almost certainly not a repeat of the 1981 disaster Budget that nearly toppled Thatcher.

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  Press Cycle 12 - The Budget
Posted by: Mac - Yesterday, 09:39 AM - Forum: Press Office - No Replies

What do you make of this budget?

Deadline is 23:59 on the 24th of January

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  The Finance Act 2008
Posted by: Henry Lockhart - 01-19-2020, 11:31 PM - Forum: Second Reading - Replies (2)

Mr Deputy Speaker,

This Budget comes at a time of significant global economic uncertainty and challenge. The red lights are flashing on the global economic dashboard. The problems in the United States financial sector are making themselves felt everywhere. It is weighing down businesses, investors, and workers. We can see that in Britain with the disappointing statistics on growth and unemployment. While the economy did grow in the final quarter of last year, it was not fast enough and unemployment has risen. Britain has not avoided the challenge, but we are prepared to overcome it, stimulate the economy, get Britain building again, and get people back into work. That is the first aim of the Budget today.

But, Mr Deputy Speaker, tackling the short term challenges caused by the global economic slowdown does not prevent us from taking a longer term view on the economy. As we move closer to the second decade of the 21st Century, the Government is starting further work on building the foundations of future prosperity. Prosperity broadly generated and prosperity broadly shared; an economy where all places thrive, and where all people can succeed. But this can only be done through an economic policy that invests to save and invests to grow in the long run. And it can only be done with a government prepared to put the national interest first, not outdated economic ideology that places private interests from the few over the public interests of the many. That is the second aim of the Budget today.

We cannot escape the fact that there are immediate economic challenges that need facing. I have previously said that the Government will do everything it can do to promote economic growth and protect workers incomes in the midst of significant uncertainty. To help businesses, especially small and medium sized ones, we are reducing the National Insurance contribution rate by 1p in the pound. This £7 billion tax cut will put it back in the hands of employers, reducing the cost of employment and encourage hiring. We are giving certainty to employers who want to hire that the Government is on your side, and backs you to do the right thing all the way. We have also provided an additional £200 million to Regional Development Agencies to expand their vital work in supporting local businesses and grow local economies.

As we tackle uncertainty, I can give this House absolutely certainty on this: no matter what happens, poverty and inequality reduction remain a central focus of ours. That is why we have increased the minimum wage, announced policy on improving enforcement which we will place before the House shortly, and put in place legislation to assist with entitlements for social security. This Budget will increase both the Working Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit by £260 a year giving the poorest families a bigger hand-up to help them prosper in the future. We are also increasing Carers Allowance by over £350 a year and Guardians Allowance by £520 a year because we are committed to supporting those with caring responsibilities; no individual should be worse off as a result of taking on these responsibilities. They are an unsung army of heroes and we will back them all the way.

We are also making sure that every individual can access the skills and training they need to survive in the economy of the future. Under Labour, Britain is competing in a race to the top where only the best skills, the best support, and the best standards will win. That is the change we’ve delivered since 1997, and it’s the change we’ll continue to deliver. We are creating another 100,000 apprenticeships, including increasing them for over 25s by 50%, and increasing the funding for each apprenticeship. We are also putting another £100 million  into adult skills, which will give more people than ever before the second chance they need to prosper in today’s skilled economy. We will give people the foundations they need to support their prosperity in the future.

At the time of slowing economic growth, the Government is committing to getting Britain building again. In response to a crisis made by reckless housing finance in the US and Britain with Northern Rock, we have decided to invest in social housing. Not only will this support the construction sector but will also give thousands of people safe, affordable and secure places to live. The Government will invest £10 billion by the end of 2010 to build 150,000 new social homes right across this country. By placing social housing back on the agenda, making it part of the solution to housing challenges and to how we support the economy in these difficult times, we are making the prudent choice for the national interest - and thousand will benefit. As part of our strategy to get Britain building again, we are continuing on with the Building Schools for the Future programme by providing £3 billion in additional grants to both primary and secondary schools. When Labour entered office, too many school children were taught in substandard classrooms. Thanks to Labour, every child and every student will be taught in a classroom fit for learning. And it will be British businesses leading the way in rebuilding and renewing the fabric of our education system.

This Government is also committed to investing in transport infrastructure and the connections Britain needs to grow sustainably. For too long, the North has been left with substandard trains, while key routes remain unelectrified. That must change if we are to prosper in the next decade. Therefore, this Government is committed to starting a significant  transport infrastructure upgrade over the next five years. Over £10 billion will be invested to get Britain connected and moving, spreading opportunity and wealth and prosperity. Nearly £9 billion will be spent on improving our train lines and building a new tram in Leeds, while £1.5 billion will be expanding the A1 between Durham and Edinburgh. Greater capacity, faster trains, and a more reliable service will deliver real benefits for passengers, commuters, and businesses. Getting Britain moving is the foundation of future prosperity.

Building a strong foundation for future prosperity needs more than good infrastructure, it requires a state that tackles problems quickly and early. It requires a state that knows a pound spent early is worth ten pounds spent late. Prudence with a purpose is about investing wisely in ways that save taxpayers money later on. That is why one of my first acts as Chancellor was to announce an early intervention audit of government spending ably led by my Right Honourable Friend, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. The result of the audit was that while there is a lot the public sector does right, there is a lot more that it can do. I announced before this House, a billion pounds would be made available to strengthen early intervention. I am delighted that my ministerial colleagues got behind this; together, this Government has made a series of commitments right across departments on early intervention investment. It amounts to one of the largest investments in early intervention ever made by a government.

These investments are split between strengthening what the Government already does, with new investments and new policies. So where we have increased maternity pay by £20 a week to ensure every new mother can be better supported when they are on maternity leave, we have also introduced a new benefit to deal with the specific costs of staying healthy during late pregnancy: the Health in Pregnancy Grant. This grant, worth £260, paid just before or just after a child is born, is universal but will bring huge benefits to those worried about the immediate costs. By reducing stress and anxiety and supporting healthy living, this grant will contribute to reducing child mortality rates and lifting up child development. We have also committed to an additional £200 million for Sure Start, in part to lay for the re-location of birth registration services there. This will allow for better connections between different services, and allow new parents to access them more easily, right from the start. But we have also committed to trialing 100 mental health counsellors in 100 schools, 50 primary and 50 secondary schools. They will help children and teenagers deal with many of the mental health challenges they face, ensuring that they can be identified and supported before it reaches crisis point. If this trial is successful, we are committed to rolling it out across every single school in England and Wales. That is prudence with a purpose: helping out parents and kids to cope with the challenges they face early. 

But our early intervention agenda isn’t just about those first few years, important though it is. It is also about being ready to provide early help every year of an individual’s life. And nowhere is that more important than in keeping our communities say and keeping justice accessible. I am delighted my Right Honourable Friend, the Home Secretary, has embedded early intervention principles into her work. As a result of her fantastic work and commitment to innovation, the Government will be funding 5 new Community Justice Centres to further expand the trial. We will also be funding 5 new drug courts and creating a £50 million Youth Intervention Fund to tackle crime early and before it spirals out of control. We can keep communities safe and secure by tackling the causes of crime, as well as being tough on crime itself. That is the guiding mantra of this Labour Government from 1997.

And in health, where prevention is often better than the cure, we are investing £300 million extra in public health. This investment will ensure everyone has more years with good health and tackle some of the most serious chronic conditions like diabetes and obesity. It will reduce demand on the health service, and reduce the most complex cases where numerous chronic conditions coexist. As the population ages, this becomes every more important. In the long run, like all our investment in this budget, it will pay off in the long run.  Invest now, save later: prudence with a purpose. And it goes alongside new investment in our hospitals, our opticians and our dentistry. This is especially important since good eye and dental health

Mr Deputy Speaker, I know the Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Chancellor are keen to scrutinise this budget and start the debate. They have talked about how in the past  this Government has supposedly hid from or attempted to avoid scrutiny. To save both the Right Honourable Lady and the Right Honourable Gentleman from having to make this claim, I’m going keep the rest of my remarks brief. This is a Budget that address the immediate economic slowdown, and lays the foundations for future economic prosperity. It builds the connections we need, the homes we need, and renews the fabric of our education system. It takes the long term perspective, investing now to save money and improve lives in the long term. Thanks to the choices we are making now, Britain is ready to push through the immediate economic uncertainty and succeed in the next decade.

The budget: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1...sp=sharing

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  Harry Pearce
Posted by: Harry Pearce - 01-19-2020, 02:55 PM - Forum: New Players - Replies (2)

Henry James “Harry” Pearce is a Welsh Labour Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Cardiff West.

Born on 8th January 1951 in the Rhondda Valley, Harry was the fourth son of Alwyn Roy Pearce and Elizabeth Alice Pearce (née Holt.) Alwyn Pearce was a miner by trade, and Elizabeth a nurse.

Harry often truanted from school, but despite this was successful in securing a mediocre set of O-Levels. The family assumption had long been that Harry would follow his father into the mining industry, but his grandfather, who had been a sailor, was keen for him to enter the armed forces. Harry did so at the age of 16, and went on to enlist in the Parachute Regiment of the British Army.

In 1980, Harry joined the 22nd Regiment Special Air Service at the rank of Sergeant, and was involved in the assault on the Iranian Embassy in London during the siege of April-May of that year. Harry served with the SAS for seven years, before being seconded to work for the Secret Intelligence Service in 1987.

Stationed in Berlin during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the cold war, Harry saw first-hand the demise of socialism in the eastern bloc. A Labour Party voter almost by default given his family background, Harry left MI6 in 1990 and began to work for the Berliner Zeitung newspaper. In 1992, he met and married Anna Weber, an East Berliner who had worked for the Neues Deutschland newspaper before moving to the Berliner Zeitung, and the couple bore three children - born in 1992, 1994 and 1995.

In 1997, the family moved to the United Kingdom where Harry established a private security firm, Displace Security Ltd. Mainly providing door staff for nightclubs and bars in the Cardiff area, the firm was a successful business and became notorious for its owner’s “no-nonsense” approach to the local media. Harry donated substantial sums to the Labour Party, and after initially contesting the nomination for a seat in the Welsh Assembly, he was selected to replace Rhodri Morgan as the Labour candidate for the UK Parliament constituency of Cardiff West in 2001.

Winning the seat, Harry was almost immediately appointed to the Defence Select Committee. He remained on the Committee until 2007.

Harry is well-known for his particular brand of “Blue Labour” politics, espousing a patriotic or even nationalist vision of democratic socialism. Initially seen as a lukewarm Blairite, Harry was a supporter of Gordon Brown and later Arthur Sweeney in the 2007 party leadership election. He has openly spoken of his scepticism of the European Union, and was a supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Harry is an atheist. He speaks fluent German and is a competent Russian speaker.’

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  Press Cycle 11 - Bank Holiday Bill
Posted by: Mac - 01-18-2020, 10:32 PM - Forum: Press Office - Replies (9)

What do you make of the Bank Holiday Bill? Why did you vote for it the way you did?

Deadline is 23:59 on the 22nd of January.

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  Press Cycle 10 - Education Act
Posted by: Mac - 01-17-2020, 11:10 AM - Forum: Press Office - Replies (4)

How do you feel about the Education Act currently before the House? Have the parties covered themselves in glory?

Deadline for this cycle is a 23:59 on the 22 of January.

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  Grant Kingston
Posted by: Grant Kingston - 01-14-2020, 11:51 PM - Forum: New Players - No Replies

[Image: JP.jpg]
Name: Grant Kingston
Age: 10/9/1966 (41)
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: White British
Sexuality: Straight
Avatar: John Penrose
Education: Degree in Philosophy, Politics, & Economics from Oxford
Career: Conservative Research Department (1988-1993)
Parliamentary Career: Special Adviser at Home Office (1993-1997)
Special Adviser at Shadow Northern Ireland Office (1997-2001)
Special Adviser at Shadow Foreign Office (2001-2005)
Member of Parliament for Weston-Super-Mare (2005-Present)
Traits: Media Darling, Backbench Favourite, Uninspiring

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  Social Security (Entitlement Notification) Act 2008
Posted by: Henry Lockhart - 01-14-2020, 09:05 PM - Forum: Second Reading - Replies (5)

Legislation: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ulue...zV5gKbs-fU

Mr Speaker,

For everyone, there are times of great change which touch every part of our lives. These times are often of great happiness or be times of great sorrow. They are often worsened by acute financial anxiety and distraction. They include the birth of a baby, but also sadly a diagnosis of terminal illness or a recent bereavement.
In these times, the state often steps in to provide additional financial support through the welfare state. Indeed, it is the duty of the state to help these individuals where required. That is why  this support is available for many, if not all. But currently accessing this support are dependent on individuals or families applying for it. The welfare state can, at times, forget how difficult life-changing events can be for individuals, and how difficult it is to remember or work out your entitlements. At times of acute anxiety and distress, when the help of the welfare state will often be most welcome, it is available but not present in people’s lives. Thousands of individuals miss out on crucial financial support at the time they need it most. 
This legislation seeks to change that. It identifies three groups of people - those with diagnoses of a terminal illness, those with a recent bereavement, and new parents - and sets out requirements for the public services they interact with to make it known to the department. It also places a requirement on the department to notify the individuals of their potential entitlement to new social security benefits, and provides them with any necessary forms to submit a claim. It does not require them to make a claim; individuals may not see social security as a priority. But it is right for the Government to provide them with the information they need to make a claim, including the fact of their potential entitlement. 
Mr Speaker,
This Government is dedicated to giving every individual a helping hand. Never is this more important than at times of financial stress and emotional turmoil and great personal change. This legislation will ensure that this help is more easily accessible.

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