28th April 2009
Vodafone UK appoints Campbell as new Legal and Government Affairs Director
Vodafone UK has announced the appointment of Justine Campbell as Legal and Government Affairs Director, she will join the company on 1st July, replacing Jonathan McCoy who becomes Vodafone Group Deputy General Counsel. Campbell has over 10 years experience in the telecommunications industry, most recently as General Counsel and a Director on the Telefonica Europe Board.
27th April 2009
Cameron's Campaign for Brown U-turn on EU Treaty Referendum
Conservative Leader, David Cameron, has launched a campaign criticising Gordon's Brown's manifesto commitment to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution, and calling for the nation to be given the right to decide. Cameron said “First he was against the Constitution, then he was for it; one day he promised a referendum, the next he backtracked. While he has chopped and changed, our position has remained exactly the same. We are the only major party to have consistently said that it is up to the British people to decide on our future in Europe".
23rd April 2009
Representative Bodies and Think Tanks React to Budget '09
Read the views about Budget '09 from: CBI, FSB, IOD 'Government blind to reality, say Business Leaders', ABI 'a mixed bag for insurers' and 'Pensions tax relief move 'disappointing day for pension saving', BSA, NFU, CML, TUC, GMB 'UK Citizens Are Paying The Price For An Unregulated Market Which Has Given Us This ‘Banksters Recession’, FDF 'UK'S first carbon budget: government needs to work with industry', FLA 'Incentives for investment must be backed by support for business and consumer lenders'. Demos 'Budget Battle Lines', Institute for Fiscal Studies, Centre for Policy Studies, Social Market Foundation 'Flexible New Deal can tackle long-term unemployment - council-run job creation schemes won't work.'.
22nd April 2009
Budget 2009 Confirms Massive Borrowing and 50% Top Tier Tax
The Chancellor has given the latest Budget, estimating that the UK economy will shrink by 3.5% in 2009, expecting the economy to start to grow from the end of the year, forecasting a 1.25% growth rate in 2010. Whilst public borrowing will be £175 billion in 2009/10, debt will be 59% of GDP this year, rising to a huge 79% in 2013/14, Alistair Darling believes that government action has already saved some 500,000 jobs and that the "budget defecit will be halved in the the next four years". Highlights include: the continuation of the stamp duty payment holiday on properties under £175k and the VAT cut until December; a £2,000 new car purchase scheme when trading in a vehicle over ten years of age; an increase in the planned top rate of tax to 50p in the pound for those earning over £150,000 from next April, with those earning over £100,000 pre-warned of income tax increases next year; and extending help to loss-making businesses to reclaim tax. The Government has committed to cutting carbon emissions by 34% by 2010 and spoken again of new regulations to tighten up the banking sector. For savers, the good news is the increase in ISA allowances to £10,200, though this will only be immediately introduced for those over 50. Statutory redundency payments rise from £350 to £380 per week, alcohol and tobacco duties will also rise by 2%, and petrol duty does up in September. Responding to the Chancellor, Leader of the Opposition David Cameron said "As of today, any claim they have ever made to economic incompetence is dead, over, finished". Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said "This is the worst boom and bust ever". Read the full Budget speech, and the complete Budget Report.
21st April 2009
Brown Announces Immediate MP Expenses Overhaul
Gordon Brown has announced urgent proposals to overhaul the current system of MPs’ allowances and expenses. The move by the Prime Minister appears to directly cut across the independent review being carried out by Sir Christopher Kelly and the Committee on Standards in Public Life, of which recommendations are expected towards the end of 2009. Brown said “the issue of expenses is casting a cloud over the whole of Parliament. So MPs need to have the humility to recognise that the country has lost confidence in the current system. To restore our faith in Parliament, and the good that it can do on the public’s behalf, we must commit to tightening up the system of allowances urgently". Brown's proposals put forward that: the second homes allowance should be abolished, to be replaced by a flat rate daily allowance; Ministers with grace-and-favour residences would not be entitled to the allowance; staff appointed by MPs should become direct employees of the House of Commons; and every payment from second jobs should be declared with full disclosure. Read Brown's full transcript as well as the written Ministerial statement from House of Commons Leader, Harriet Harman.
16th April 2009
Brown says Sorry over McBride e-mails
As the Prime Minister held the first ever UK Cabinet meeting in Glasgow, Gordon Brown has apologised over the Damian McBride e-mailgate smears against senior Conservatices saying he was "sorry about what happened" and that he takes "full responsibility".
16th April 2009
CPS advises 'insufficient evidence' against Damian Green MP
The Crown Presecution Service's Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, QC, has said that there is "insufficient evidence" to bring forward a case against Damian Green MP or Home Office civil servant Christopher Galley over leaks of information from the Home Office. Mr Starmer said "I considered an alleged offence of misconduct in public office against Mr Galley and an alleged offence against Mr Green of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the alleged offence against Mr Galley, and of conspiring with Mr Galley for him to commit misconduct in public office" deciding that "there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction against Mr Galley or Mr Green". Starmer also said "There is a high threshold before criminal proceedings can properly be brought for misconduct in public office. In considering whether the conduct of Mr Galley and Mr Green reached that threshold and in particular whether it represented such a serious departure from acceptable standards, and abuse of trust as to constitute a criminal offence, I have considered the extent to which there has been any actual damage arising, or the extent of any potential damage that could have arisen, as a result of their conduct" and "I have concluded that there is evidence upon which a jury might find that there was damage to the proper functioning of the Home Office. Such damage should not be underestimated. However, it has to be recognised that some damage to the proper functioning of public institutions is almost inevitable in every case where restricted and/or confidential information is leaked". Read the full Decision here
14th April 2009
BERR consultation on European Consumer Credit Directive
BERR has launched a consultation on the European Consumer Credit Directive, which aims to harmonise EU rules to protect consumers, offer them new rights and set out common standards in relation to a range of unsecured credit products. The consultation will close on 10th June and covers: 14-day right for consumers to cancel any credit agreement without penalty; and lenders having to explain products to help consumers make the right choices, together with having responsibility for checking creditworthiness.
3rd April 2009
G20 agrees 'historic' 'global plan for recovery and reform'
G20 leaders meeting in London have agreed a 'global plan for recovery and reform' that will "bring the world economy out of recession and prevent a crisis like this from recurring in the future" through $1.1 trillion worth of additional measures. Gordon Brown said "This is the day that the world came together, to fight back against the global recession. Not with words but a plan for global recovery and for reform and with a clear timetable". President Obama said "This will be a turning point in our pursuit of global economic recovery. By any measure the London Summit is historic. It is historic because of the size and scope of the challenge that we face and because of the timeliness of our response. We owe it to our citizens to act now. Today the world leaders have responded with unprecedented effort". The G20 is made up of the following: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, the US and the EU. Read the official Communique issued at the close of the G20 London Summit.
31st March 2009
MPs' pay and allowances review to start 'as soon as possible'
The review of MPs' pay and allowances by the Committee on Standards in Public Life is to be brought forward, Chairman Sir Christopher Kelly has announced. Kelly said “It is now obvious that this piece of work needs to start as soon as possible. We will defer work on our current inquiry into local and London government to begin work immediately on an independent, wide-ranging review of MPs’ allowances. The situation has changed quite dramatically over the last few months and I am pleased that there is now such widespread political consensus on the need for reform. I hope that this will translate into full acceptance of our recommendations by all the main political parties – challenging though they are likely to be". The Committee intends to publish an Issues and Questions Paper within the next few weeks, with the "firm intention" that the final report will be published towards the end of 2009.