Poland: no friend of the Eurosceptics

Poland’s is committed to the European Union, despite what David Cameron may like to think, writes Matt Broomfield

Polish PM ncjDavid Cameron will have been relieved to hear Polish minister for foreign affairs Radek Sikorski offering his support over the hot topic of EU reform last week.

“We are perfectly willing to help [Britain] fix some of the problems of the EU…”, he said in an interview in Warsaw. “You have a problem with the Working Time Directive – I have to tell you it applies to all countries just as much as it applies to you…We should be able to fix it, perhaps with a treaty change, perhaps without.” Read More »

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Labour should argue for an ISA cap

The ISA is a tax break for the prosperous/rich right now, but with the loss to a future chancellor in 20 or 30 years time, argues Dan McCurry

Ed Balls ncjThe investment community were expecting an ISA cap as the main feature of George Osborne’s budget, so they were as surprised as everyone else by the annuity policy.

The budget was greeted with good cheer. Not only did the cap not happen, but the annual investment limit had been raised to a whopping £15k, without the Labour party seeming to notice. What a coup!

So let’s just see how the ISA breaks down. Let’s imagine a baby called Gideon junior comes into this world to a wealthy family, who immediately open a junior ISA, and deposit the maximum £4k per year until he is 16. He then gets an inheritance and he deposits the maximum £15k per year until he reaches the retirement age of 68. How much tax free wealth will he have by that time? Read More »

Posted in Sustainable Economy | Tagged , , , , | 24 Responses

It’s not enough to talk only about banking. We need to talk about the entire economy

It is no longer sufficient to have a public discussion about the banking system that neglects the economy as a whole, writes Jack Copley

Bankingj2014 has seen a range of commentators proclaim that Britain’s economy is on the path to healthy growth. The OECD estimated that this year we will outpace our European neighbours Germany, France and Italy. The IMF has made similarly positive predictions.

With business investment and consequent growth taking place at the most sustained pace since 2007, we may finally be making our way back to pre-crisis levels of dynamism. Read More »

Posted in Sustainable Economy | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Responses

Coalition Britain: a third of families living on the cusp of homelessness

New figures from Shelter demonstrate just how precarious the economic recovery still is for many people, with 3.8 million families ‘one paycheque away from losing their home’, according to the homelessness charity’s new report.

Homelessness ncjA massive third of families now say they would be unable to make their next rent or mortgage payment if they were to lose their job this month. Read More »

Posted in Sustainable Economy | Tagged , , , , | 5 Responses

Why conservatives can’t be trusted on Russia

Conservatives of all stripes increasingly can’t be trusted on what is potentially the biggest geo-political issue of our time, writes James Bloodworth

Cameron PutinjAnyone on the left will have been accused at some point not only of being insufficiently patriotic but very probably of loathing their country.

We saw it last year when Ed Miliband’s late father, Ralph, was slandered as a man who “hated Britain”. It also rears its head any time Britain goes to war – those who fail to obediently line up behind ‘our boys’ are automatically portrayed by the right-wing press as subversive fifth columnists. Read More »

Posted in Multilateral Foreign Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 30 Responses

Young greens: why the Green Party is increasingly popular with students

Bradley Allsop looks at why the Green Party is increasingly popular among young people

Green Party ncjSupport amongst students for the Greens is on the rise. According to a recent poll carried out by YouthSight, Greens have overtaken the Lib Dems (and, mercifully, UKIP as well), with 14 per cent now saying they’d vote Green – more than UKIP and the Lib Dems put together.

This means the Greens are now more popular than ever as the third party amongst those in education. Why? Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , | 7 Responses

Osborne’s record on tax avoidance: spin over substance

The chancellor’s record on tax avoidance suggests this is yet another PR exercise, writes James Bloodworth

George Osborne 10jThe chancellor George Osborne is making the headlines today on the back of an announcement that he wants to make it easier to impose fines and jail terms on tax avoiders exploiting offshore havens.

Around £5bn a year is lost to tax evasion, according to HMRC, and Osborne plans to make it a criminal offence for firms to fail to declare offshore income. Read More »

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If Miliband wants a radical offer on HE, he should start with vice-chancellor’s pay

Inequality in higher education goes far beyond how much students pay, writes Alex White.

University ukjGiven that many in the Labour Party are still uncomfortable that it was a Labour government which introduced tuition fees, I am wary of starting with a quote from Tony Blair. But when he was piecing together his own One Nation Labour, at conference in 1994, he said the following:

“While students scrimp to get through college, a university vice-chancellor gets a 98 per cent vote of no confidence from the staff and is rewarded with £500,000 pay-off. We could have bought half a million exercise books with that. It’s their [The Tories’] system, their dogma, their shambles. But it’s our children.” Read More »

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How the far right is uniting across Europe

The European far-right is more united than it has been for over half a century. Nationalist, anti-EU and anti-immigration parties are coming together in increasingly cohesive pan-European movements.

Geert Wilders ncjEU elections, with their low turnout and use of a proportional representation voting system, favour minor, radical and single-issue parties. Main parties are more concerned with national elections, and thus it is in the EU that the far right gets its toe in the door. Some projections suggest that eurosceptics may make up 30 per cent of the European Parliament following this year’s elections. Read More »

Posted in Left Foot Forward | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Responses

This week’s most read: Gove’s anti-science, militant secularism and tax cuts

The most read stories this week:

Gove no copyrightj1. Michael Gove is concerned about teachers promoting science in schools. Yes, reallyJames Bloodworth

2. Eric Pickles needs a lesson in what secularism is (and isn’t)Matt Broomfield

3. Labour is not losing support because left-wing policies are unpopular: it’s losing support because they areSalman Shaheen

4. Cutting the top rate of tax won’t help Britain win ‘the global race’Tony Dolphin

5. ‘When someone is raised in North Korea…their mind is paralysed’Rob Edwards

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