Daily Archives: October 27, 2015

How austerity killed growth | alittleecon

The OBR published a short note last week showing the impact on growth from the fiscal decisions taken by the Coalition Government. This is not a revelation. The OBR has said before that austerity would have and has had a negative impact on growth, but the chart it produced with this note is quite striking.

It shows that following the crash, Labour’s discretionary fiscal policy (that’s active changes to government spending and taxation) had a positive impact on growth of around 0.3% in 2008/9 and 2009/10. Labour enacted a fiscal stimulus, but not a very big one.

It’s what this chart shows about the period after the 2010 election though that’s most interesting. After assuming power in 2010, the Coalition embarked on it’s policy of austerity. When it was formed, the OBR actually thought austerity in the first year would have a bigger negative impact than it in fact did, but it still provided a drag on growth of about 1% in 2010/11. 2011/12 was actually the year when austerity really started to kick in. When the OBR made it’s first forecasts though, it thought austerity would have a negative impact on growth of around 0.6%. In actual fact though, it was more like 1%.

Source: OBR shows how austerity killed growth | alittleecon

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Lords steer clear of inflicting second defeat on government in two days

You snooze, you lose: The Lords have missed an opportunity to inflict another defeat on the Conservative Government.

You snooze, you lose: The Lords have missed an opportunity to inflict another defeat on the Conservative Government.

The government has narrowly avoided a damaging second defeat in the House of Lords in 24 hours as peers voted against a new ‘fatal’ motion that would have blocked a ‘rushed’ plan to change the way people register to take part in elections – by just 12 votes.

The motion, proposed by the Liberal Democrats, was lost by 246 votes to 257.

Perhaps they were averse to inflicting another defeat on the Tories so soon after yesterday’s tax credits vote caused such a stir.

Perhaps they wanted to hammer another nail into the coffin of Liberal Democrat credibility – the Lib Dem ‘fatal motion’ yesterday also failed at the vote.

Perhaps they couldn’t see the point, as the plan was to accelerate changes that are going to happen in any case.

That’s a shame because – as Lord Tyler made clear when he opened the debate – “Ministers should be ashamed of this unilateral attempt to undermine the IER process, to skew the boundary review and in so doing to challenge the authority and integrity of the statutory independent commission set up precisely to advise us all on these issues.”

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Electoral system shake-up could be second government scheme scuppered by Lords in as many days

NoVoteNoVoice

A ‘rushed’ plan to change the way people register to vote in UK elections could be halted today, as the Lords consider blocking a second piece of Conservative Government legislation within two days.

Conservatives say the plan for ‘Individual Electoral Registration’, in which people register to vote individually, rather than having it done by the ‘head of the household’, is necessary to remove names from the electoral register where a person has moved, is dead or does not exist – as a way of tackling fraud.

But Labour and Liberal Democrat peers are backing the “fatal” motion blocking the government’s attempt to conclude the transition to individual electoral registration one year earlier than planned.

Opening the debate, Lib Dem peer Paul Tyler said the Electoral Commission (which had originally pushed for IER) was opposed to what the government was trying to do.

He said: “Parliament has a special responsibility to listen to the Electoral Commission by law. They remind us that we have not just the right but we have a duty to oppose this order.

“Ministers should be ashamed of this unilateral attempt to undermine the IER process, to skew the boundary review and in so doing to challenge the authority and integrity of the statutory independent commission set up precisely to advise us all on these issues.”

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Trial date for Cameron aide who allegedly made indecent images of children

Yes, this is the only photograph This Blog has of Patrick Rock.

Yes, this is the only photograph This Blog has of Patrick Rock.

Thanks to knowledgeable Vox Political readers, it is now possible to state that the trial of Patrick Rock will begin on May 31, 2016, following a pre-trial hearing on February 27.

Here are the details:

Judge Alistair McCreath, sitting at Southwark crown court, granted Patrick Rock bail until trial date in May.

Rock was originally charged back in June 2014 with three counts of making an indecent photograph of a child in August 2013. He was also charged with possession of 59 indecent images of children.

Mr Rock was one of David Camerons closest aids and was one of the government’s advisers on policy for online pornography filters.

Mr Rock resigned as a policy adviser to Mr Cameron after he was arrested.

The former deputy head of the No 10 Policy Unit has been close to Mr Cameron for two decades. The two men worked for Michael Howard when he was Home Secretary in the 1990s.

In Downing Street, he had the title of deputy director of policy and worked across a wide range of topics, including the government’s policy on child pornography. His seniority was demonstrated by the fact that he was one of only three advisers given his own private office in No 10.

Mr Rock is denying the claims.

Source: Lou Collins » Patrick Rock

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Does anybody know the result of the Cameron aide child abuse court appearance?

140304rock

Sometimes things get lost in the rush – especially if they’re hushed up.

So Patrick Rock, the former aide of David Cameron who had to resign after being arrested and charged with possessing imagery of children being abused, appeared before a judge at Southwark Crown Court on October 16.

This Blog warned last month that the case would fade into obscurity again unless somebody attended that court on the day and was able to publicise the date to which it was adjourned.

Obviously This Writer could not attend as Southwark is a very long way from Mid Wales.

Does anybody know what happened?

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Tories reject appeal to exempt NHS from controversial EU-US trade deal

Protest against TTIP outside EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium - 04 Feb 2015 [Image: ZUMA/REX Shutterstock].

Protest against TTIP outside EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium – 04 Feb 2015 [Image: ZUMA/REX Shutterstock].

Leaders of almost every major political party in the United Kingdom have signed an appeal not to allow a transatlantic trade deal known as TTIP become the Trojan horse that allows American business interests to take over the NHS.

The appeal, organised by the trade union Unite, has achieved the rare feat of bringing together all of Northern Ireland’s main political parties. TTIP, or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, would free up trade between the US and the EU, by allowing companies from either side of the Atlantic to operate under the same rules.

One of its most controversial elements would be the creation of a new supranational court, the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) through which foreign investors could sue governments, or the EU, over any action or legislation that hurt their businesses. It is feared that an American private healthcare firm which was prevented from buying up part of the NHS would be able to go to the ISDS and claim millions of pounds in compensation from the British government for lost business.

The appeal drafted by Unite says: “TTIP must not restrict the scope for decisions by any level of government, public authority or NHS organisation relating to public healthcare [and] must not give US investors new rights that they could use to sue any level of government, public authority or NHS organisation because of policies relating to healthcare.”

The appeal has also been signed by the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, the Ukip leader Nigel Farage, the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, and Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, and by Peter Robinson of the Democratic Unionist Party, and Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness.

The organisers, from Unite, say they are awaiting a reply from the Liberal Democrats, and that they approached the Conservatives asking for support but were refused.

Source: TTIP: Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage, Nicola Sturgeon and Natalie Bennett sign appeal to exempt NHS from trade deal | UK Politics | News | The Independent

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Devastating new report finds majority of Brits surveyed now borrowing just to eat | The Canary

The Debt Advisory Centre has published the results of a new Financial Well-being Survey which reveals an alarmingly high proportion of people who are having to borrow money just to be able to eat, or to pay their regular bills.

Not only does the cruelty of this have ethical implications, it is also extremely dangerous economically.

The survey questioned 2,000 people and found that 57% of them are forced to rely on credit in one form or another just to cover the costs of food, rent/mortgage, or utilities.

Over 20% of consumers questioned admitted borrowing to buy food between April and September this year, approximately double the proportion during the previous six months.

Perhaps most noticeable is an upward trend in people going into arrears, be it inability to repay borrowed money, or repay regular bills.

Quite simply, incomes are not rising quickly enough to keep pace with inflation, especially utilities prices.

Source: Devastating new report finds majority of Brits surveyed now borrowing just to eat | The Canary

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What recovery? Parts of the UK economy are in recession again


Manufacturing in the UK has slid into recession, with output falling for the consecutive quarters.

The third-quarter fall was 0.3 per cent, making a cumulative fall of 0.9 per cent this year.

Construction output, while not said to be in recession, fell by 2.2 per cent – more in a single quarter than in-recession manufacturing.

As for the economy as a whole:

The UK economy grew by 0.5% between July and September, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says, a slower pace than the previous quarter.

The rate was also lower than the 0.6% growth predicted by many analysts. The economy had grown by 0.7% in the second quarter of the year.

Part of the slowdown was due to the biggest fall in construction output in three years, a drop of 2.2%.

The service sector, the biggest part of the economy, grew by 0.7%.

However, output in the manufacturing sector declined by 0.3%.

“The slowdown is being led by the manufacturing sector, which is seeing a renewed recession as output has now fallen for three consecutive quarters, suffering a 0.3% decline in the three months to September,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at research firm Markit.

“Manufacturing output has so far fallen 0.9% this year. Producers are struggling as weak demand in many overseas markets, notably China and other emerging nations, is being exacerbated by the appreciation of sterling.”

Source: UK economic growth slows to 0.5% in third quarter – BBC News

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10 million could be denied the vote under “scandalous” Tory plans

Almost 10 million Britons will be denied a vote from December 1 because of a rushed Tory overhaul of the electoral system, campaigners warn.

A huge shake-up will see one in five people left off official records – and stopped from deciding who runs their town hall and country, Hope Not Hate said.

The organisation said the reform, which the Conservatives have brought forward by a year, is “a national scandal”.

It has launched a drive to raise awareness of the new individual electoral registration system, which comes into force in just five weeks and will see millions lose their say.

The Electoral Commission is recommending peers vote against the timetable change when it is debated in the Lords tomorrow because it fears people will be disenfranchised.

Source: 10 million could be denied the vote under “scandalous” Tory plans – Mirror Online

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Food banks braced for surging demand as children go hungry during half-term without school meal – Mirror Online

Hundreds of children face going hungry this week as half term means they miss out on free school meals.

Food banks are braced for a huge surge in demand as families queue for handouts to feed their kids.

And the looming Tory tax credits bombshell could trigger a new wave of hungry households begging for help, campaigners warned.

Figures from Britain’s biggest food bank operator, the Trussell Trust, show volunteers fed nearly 5,000 extra youngsters over the summer holidays.

Experts warn hard-up parents struggle to afford an extra meal for their kids when they are off school.

Source: Food banks braced for surging demand as children go hungry during half-term without school meal – Mirror Online

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