19th March 2008
Gurkhas Hand Back Military Medals in Protest Against Residency Rules
Protesting for a change to rules that provide no automatic right for Nepalese Gurkhas to remain in Britain if they retired from serving in the Armed Forces before 1997, over 50 retired servicemen handed back their British military medals. LibDem Leader Nick Clegg raised the issue on the floor of the Commons during Question Time, with Prime Minister Brown ruling out any change for the veterans.
19th March 2008
Latest PASC Lobbying Inquiry Transcript
Read the uncorrected transcript of oral evidence from the 6 March PASC Lobbying Inquiry witnesses: Peter Bingle (Bell Pottinger Public Affairs), Mike Granatt (Luther Pendragon), Richard Schofield (Law Society) and Eben Black (DLA Piper Global Government Relations). Note: neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings.
18th March 2008
Livingstone Launches Third Term Bid
Ken Livingstone has formally launched his campaign for a third term as Mayor of London. In a speech at the Royal Festival Hall, he said "We can continue with the forward-looking policies that the majority of Londoners want to see or turn the clock back". The 2008 Greater London Authority Elections, including elections for Mayor of London and London Assembly, will be held on 1st May 2008.
18th March 2008
Improving Local Council Efficiency
John Healey, the Local Government Minister, confirmed the first step in improving support for councils, intended to assist in increasing efficiency and improving services that could release £5 billion. Money that could better be used to reduce pressure on council tax bills or alternatively increase investment in local services.
17th March 2008
Boris Shows Clear Lead in London Mayoral Poll
A YouGov poll for the Evening Standard places Conservative London Mayoral hopeful, Boris Johnson, 12 points ahead of Ken Livingstone. With Boris on 49% per cent, the current Mayor lags behind with 37%, with Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat candidate, on 12%.
16th March 2008
Labour's Poorest Poll Rating since 1983
According to the Sunday Times and YouGov poll, support for the Labour party has fallen to the lowest levels since 1983. With a showing of 16 points below the Tories, the Labour figure of 27% is dwarfed by the Conservative's 43%. The LibDems have 16%.
13th March 2008
Reactions to Darling's Budget
12th March 2008
Darling Delivers First Budget
The Chancellor Alistair Darling delivered his first Budget as a "responsible Budget that will secure stability in these times of global economic uncertainty". He estimated that this year's growth in the British economy would be between 1.75% and 2.25%, down from the forecast of between 2% and 2.5%, whilst inflation will exceed this year's targets. The Government has set "an ambitious target of eradicating child poverty by 2020 and to halve it by 2010". From midnight on Sunday, alcohol duty will rise 6% above the rate of inflation: 4p on pint of beer, 14p on a bottle of wine and 55p on a bottle of spirits. A pack of cigarettes goes up by 11p. Also included is an increase in revenue on plane duty and higher first year rate of road tax for the most polluting cars. A 2p rise in fuel duty is postponed until October. Read the full Budget Speech
11th March 2008
Progress Essays: How do we make the case for taxation?
To coincide with the budget, Progress has published a special e-pamphlet on the politics of taxation. With changes to areas such as environmental taxes expected, the pamphlet takes in recent ideas on three much-debated areas of tax and asks - how can Labour make the progressive, pragmatic case for taxation? 'Simply put, the golden thread running through all these contributions is that ministers must escape the ideological cul-de-sac of 'taxes: bad; tax cuts: good'. Failure to do so represents an unnecessary surrender to a bad case.' - From David Coats's introduction. The pamphlet contains the following essays: Sonia Sodha and Howard Reed on inheritance tax Stephen Hale on green taxes Chris Leslie on local taxation. With an introduction by David Coats. This is available to download here
10th March 2008
PASC Lobbying Enquiry Evidence
Watch the latest PASC Lobbying Enquiry session which heard oral evidence from Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, Luther Pendragon, The Law Society and DLA Piper Global Government Communications.
Read the uncorrected transcript of oral evidence of the 21 February Lobbying Enquiry session from Rt Hon Lord Mayhew of Twysden QC DL, Rt Hon Lord Maclennan of Rogart and Mr Tony Nichols, Secretary, Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.