15th September 2008
LibDems Support Ambitious Vision & Values Paper
Liberal Democrat Conference delegates have backed the party’s ambitious vision and values document 'Make it Happen', which acts as the basis for developing the next general election manifesto and includes "big tax cuts for people on low and average incomes". The plans also include more education investment, the protection of civil liberties, and an ambitious green agenda. The latterDelegates rejected an amendment that "any reduction in overall levels of public expenditure should be a lower priority than measures to reduce inequality in British society, improving public services, including in particular health, education, child care and public transport, and making the urgent investments needed to tackle accelerating climate change".
12th September 2008
UK Broadband Internet Review Published
An independent review, jointly commissioned in February this year by the Department for Business and HM Treasury, has reported that Britain's competitive telecoms market can maintain the country's position as a leading online economy by delivering the next generation access in broadband - with leadership, support and vigilance from both the Government and Ofcom. The 'Review of Barriers to investment in Next Generation Broadband' was produced by Francesco Caio, a vice chairman of Lehman Brothers Europe and former CEO of Cable & Wireless.
12th September 2008
Energy Package Launched by Government
Gordon Brown has announced the £1 billion energy package which includes financially assisted energy-saving initiatives such as loft and cavity wall insulation, cold weather payments in severe conditions and cash on top of Winter Fuel payments. Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn said “The Government has a longstanding commitment to help those living in fuel poverty, but recent price rises mean we are committed to do even more to assist people in reducing their bills where possible. And energy companies must do their bit too...This plan is about giving help, not only over weeks and months, but over the coming the years by enabling householders to make their homes more energy efficient”. Shadow Business Secretary Alan Duncan said "It's not clear how this announcement will help the millions of people who will struggle to heat their homes this winter." Download the Home Energy Saving Programme
10th September 2008
Darling on Defence at TUC as Tories Woo Trade Unions
The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, defended policies on public sector pay increases at the TUC conference and noted that times are tough as he told delegates 'I am determined that we should not put those achievements [of the past 11 years] at risk by taking unnecessary risks with economic stability'. The Conservative Shadow George Osborne has written an open letter to trade union members stressing that modern Conservatives champion the same values as trade union members and that they would find a "welcome home" in the Tory Party.
9th September 2008
Brown's Policy Foreward for Conference
The Prime Minister has set out the Labour's plans across a range of policy areas in a foreword to the Party's conference document that will be issued to delegates in Manchester. Gordon Brown speaks of great change and transformation of the "economy, technology, our population, society, and politics, at home and abroad" and that "the new times and new challenges have to summon forth new answers". Brown continues that "Meeting this challenge will not be easy and it will not happen overnight. There are no easy or quick answers. It requires leadership, squaring up to hard truths, being open with the British people about the choices we face, and making tough decisions on priorities for public spending". Read the full Conference foreward here
8th September 2008
UK Unveils Ambitious Manufacturing Strategy
The Government has unveiled a new ambitious strategy for the manufacturing sector in the UK to enable it to play "a key part of a mixed and balanced UK economy in the future". The plan aims to enable companies to take advantage of changing global trends. The Department for Business and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills believe that to secure a long term future, firms must seize the opportunities of the low carbon economy, and be provided with improved skills in order to realise overseas opportunities, whilst improving the perceptions and understanding of manufacturing. Business Secretary John Hutton said "We are the world's sixth largest manufacturer - the industry accounts for over half our exports, contributes £150 billion to the economy and around three million jobs. But we need to recognise that the global landscape is changing so we can help UK manufacturers stay ahead of the game. I want the UK to be at the forefront of opportunities opened up by the move towards a low carbon economy. With the right support in place, we can grow our nuclear and renewables industries to become world-leaders in green technologies, supporting hundreds of thousands of green collar jobs". Download the strategy review 'Manufacturing: New Challenges, New Opportunities'
8th September 2008
TUC Votes For Major National Action Against Pay Package
The 140th Trades Union Congress has voted in favour of major protest against public sector pay policy rejecting the Treasury's 2% increase package. Delegates approved the motion for "days of action including a major national demonstration against the government's pay policy" though fell short of supporting a national strike. Read the main speech by TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber.
5th September 2008
Johnson Raises London Travel Costs Tackling "unfunded legacy of Livingstone?s largesse"
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced above-inflation rises for London public transport costs in 2009. Formally introduced as being to "help sustain the massive investment necessary to increase capacity and reliability across London’s transport network", Johnson said “I have been left to tackle the unfunded legacy of [Ken] Livingstone’s largesse. Put simply, the previous Mayor’s cynical and irresponsible pre-election fares freeze and support for unfunded transport schemes is unsustainable, and has produced a gap that has to be plugged. I’m determined to deliver value for money for London’s farepayers and taxpayers and that will mean some tough choices". Read all about it
4th September 2008
Scottish Parliament Votes Not to Ban Former Labour Leader over Donations
The Scottish Parliament has voted not to ratify the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee recommendation that Wendy Alexander MSP should be "excluded from all proceedings of the Parliament" for one day. The Committee found in June that Alexander had breached Parliamentary rules over donations. The full Parliament voted, after a heated debate, by 70 to 49 against the recommendation.
4th September 2008
'Hockey Mom' Republican Vice-President Hopeful Palin Addresses Convention
Sarah Palin has given her first major speech at the Republican National Convention since becoming the Vice-Presidential running-mate to Presidential hopeful John McCain. The Alaska Governer used the platform to launch an attack on both the media and Democratic Presidential rival Barack Obama "What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet?". The mother of five took time spelling out that she is "not a member of the permanent political establishment" and focussed on her hometown credentials as "just your average hockey mom". Read the full speech