Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Reeves’

Umunna, Reeves et al are wrong on free movement. Its bad politics and worse economics

22/09/2016, 10:18:57 PM

by Sam Fowles

For Rachel Reeves, immigration from the EU has caused a “slight drag” on wages. So Labour best represents the working poor by calling for an end to free movement. This is both simplistic and wrong. It represents only the loosest grasp of political strategy and no grasp of economics at all.

Labour will never win the fight to be “tough on immigration”. If voters want to kick out immigrants, they’ll vote for the parties that have been dog whistling about immigration for years. No one buys the cheap knock off when they can get the real thing for the same price.  Labour must address the real causes of the low wage crisis. This strategy has two advantages: It targets voters that might actually vote Labour, and it’s not economically illiterate.

The overall impact of immigration on wages is generally positive. By contributing more in taxes than they take out, EU immigrants ease financial pressures in the public sector. Immigration can create downward pressure on the wages of low-skilled workers. But this is negligible. Reeves relies on a study that found a 10% increase in immigration creates a 1.8% drag on low-skilled wages. To put that in perspective: the largest increase in immigration since 2006 has been around 7%. This works out as costing low skilled workers 1p per hour.

But immigration is equally likely to have a positive effect on low-skilled wages. Migration increases demand: The more people in an economy, the more goods and services they need: The more goods and services required, the greater the demand for labour to provide them: The greater the demand for labour, the more employers are prepared to pay for it.

But this hasn’t happened in the UK: Why?

Because successive governments have chosen policies that drive down wages.

Austerity (more…)

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If Labour MPs want to make ending free movement a Brexit red line, they’d better be ready to leave the single market

20/09/2016, 10:35:24 PM

by Atul Hatwal

One of the reasons the Labour party is in such a terrible state is that the many of moderate mainstream, those meant to offer an alternative to Corbyn, are so bad at the basics in politics.

Yesterday’s foray into the debate on freedom of movement by Rachel Reeves, Emma Reynolds and Stephen Kinnock, was a case study in ineptitude.

By arguing that ending free movement to reduce migration should be a red line in Brexit negotiations, they have constructed an argument that will not survive first contact with a journalist and set a broader public expectation which can never be met.

The obvious immediate question which journalists will ask these MPs is whether they are prepared to leave the single market?

If the central European states such Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, western European states such as France and EU President Juncker stick to their public position of vetoing any reform, are these MPs prepared for hard Brexit?

Will they back a version of leaving the EU that would see the flight of financial services from the City of London, the movement of major manufacturers like the Japanese car makers to the continent, the imposition of a hard border between northern and southern in Ireland and condemn tens of thousands of their constituents to the dole?

Seriously?

(more…)

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The three choices facing moderate Labour MPs at tomorrow’s Budget

15/03/2016, 09:55:09 PM

by Greig Baker

Some people accuse Conservatives of wanting power at any cost. Having worked for the party during some of its darker days in Opposition, I can assure you that is not the case. However, most Tory MPs do understand you have to be in power to wield it.

When the Chancellor sits down after delivering tomorrow’s Budget, ambitious Labour MPs will have three choices if they want to wrestle the keys to Number 10 away from Cameron’s successor. First, they could drink the kool aid and hope against hope that Jeremy Corbyn has stumbled upon a new way of winning elections. More realistically, they will have to choose between options two and three – quietly rebelling or carefully splitting.

The rebellion option will be embodied by Rachel Reeves, Dan Jarvis, et al, who will set out their own response to the Budget, coming from a dramatically different position to Labour’s frontbench. In contrast, the splitting option has already been demonstrated by David Lammy and Andrew Adonis, who have been willing to give Corbyn a few more days’ bad headlines in return for the promise of actually getting stuff done.

Given that Andrew Adonis’s recommendations from National Infrastructure Commission will get great big lumps of real hard cash thrown behind them tomorrow, the understated rebels are going to have to do something special to persuade colleagues that they can offer a viable alternative.

Either way, the reaction to tomorrow’s statement will give us a clear sense of which Labour MPs know that you don’t have to be a Tory to want to be in Government.

Greig Baker is Chief Executive of The GUIDE Consultancy

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If Yvette wants to be leader she needs to tell us what she stands for

12/08/2014, 08:10:46 AM

by David Talbot

What else is there to do in the long summer months than speculate on the next leader of the Labour party? Last summer, of course, events in Falkirk consumed the body politic. This year, with nowhere near as much excitement to hold the nerve during the month of news-austerity that is August, commentators have turned their eye to much more familiar ground; leadership speculation. As Boris Johnson confirms that he had been fibbing all this time and is positively squeaking with ambition to become the next Conservative leader, so too the next roll-call of Labour leadership hopefuls is being sized up. This is predicated, of course, on a Labour loss next year. But that argument is for another day.

Step forward one D Hodges, formerly of the Uncut parish, and now musing from his perch at the Telegraph. Hodges has written a blog suggesting that Rachel Reeves has utilised her ‘boring snoring’ credentials to propel herself into the position of a credible contender for future leadership of the Labour party. Reeves , we are told, for no one actually noticed at the time, launched the latest salvo in Labour’s “the choice” summer campaign last week. Reeves no doubt has a serious and illustrious career ahead of her in the Labour party and, when she genuinely is not being quite so boring, could one day make leader. But the secondary, and all the more intriguing, observation was the slow demise of Yvette Cooper.

Cooper has long been seen as the one serious contender to take on the might of the Umunna machine. Her abstention during the last Labour leadership contest, with the announcement that it wasn’t “the right time”, was rightly seen as the barely-disguised motions of someone who given the chance would run for leader. The reasons for her prominence are well known, and her CV reads like so many of her current Labour contemporaries; First Class degree in PPE at Oxford, Harvard, Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, Harriet Harman’s office via the Independent and emerging as Labour’s Member of Parliament for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford.

Her rise through the ministerial ranks was systematic and impressive; from underling at the Department of Health to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Given New Labour’s obsession with reshuffles, Cooper was a member of the government in no less than 6 departments holding 8 positions. The depth and breadth of her experience is enviable. As shadow Home Secretary she has at times forensically dissected the arguments and machinations of her government counterpart, Theresa May, who is widely regarded as one of the Conservative’s best performers and strongly tipped for their throne.

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We’ve been here before on welfare reform. Now the backlash is coming, will Labour hold the line?

19/06/2014, 01:07:25 PM

by Atul Hatwal

The much quoted definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Today, the Labour party is testing this proposition.

For the third time in seven months, Labour is attempting to re-position itself on welfare. For the third time in seven months the pre-briefing before a welfare reform speech has been about “toughness,” how Labour will cut benefits for young people and respond to public concerns on welfare spending.

We’ve been here before.

As a taster for what’s likely to come, this is what happened the first time Labour went down this road, back in November last year. James Kirkup at the Telegraph wrote a story on potential Labour cuts to benefits for under 25s if they were not in training or ‘intensively’ looking for work, based on an IPPR report and a briefing from the party. 

The backlash from the party forced an immediate denial, with Rachel Reeves tweeting “This is not and will not be our policy” “it’s not our plan” and “it is totally not my position!” Cue much relief,

These weren’t the reactions of random activists, Matthew Pennycook is the PPC in Nick Raynsford’s seat and will be an MP in 2015, Gemma Tummelty works for Ed Miliband and Mark Ferguson edits Labour List.

Take two. In January this year, Tom Newton Dunn at the Sun wrote a similar story about removing benefits for the young unemployed, which was, once again, based on another IPPR report and a briefing from the party. Cue a repeated denial from Rachel Reeves and more relief,      (more…)

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The week Uncut

31/07/2011, 10:00:07 AM

In case you missed them, these were the best read pieces on Uncut in the last seven days:

Rachel Reeves on Osborne, bad excuses and growth (or lack of)

Patt McFadden on Norway, and what it means to be Labour

Atul Hatwal’s end of season review of the shadow cabinet championship

Peter Watt’s take on refounding Labour

Matt Cavanagh reports on the latest Tory attack on troop numbers

Tom Harris on the far right, the far left and jihadism

Kevin Meagher says Gideon is letting the side down

… and Dan Hodges abandons his post and goes to Lord’s

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Snail-pace growth? They have snow in Europe too. What they don’t have is Osborne.

26/07/2011, 03:00:34 PM

by Rachel Reeves

Throughout the phone hacking scandal, the chancellor has tried to keep his role in the “regrettable” appointment of Andy Coulson as the PM’s director of communications out of the spotlight. Despite being the one who allegedly recommended Coulson’s appointment, Osborne has done his best to bat away any responsibility for his role in that crisis.

Today, as the latest data show that GDP grew by just 0.2% in the second quarter of 2011, the chancellor is no doubt wishing he could be as slippery in evading responsibility for the staggeringly anaemic “recovery” that is now entrenched in the UK.

Growth of 0.2% in the second quarter of this year is a slow-down from growth of 0.5% in the first quarter, which in itself was only just enough to counter the contraction in the economy of 0.5% in the last quarter of 2010. Compare this to Q2 for last year, when the economy, in its third quarter of economic recovery, was growing at 1.1%, thanks to the decisive action from a Labour government that knew a strong recovery was critical to getting the country back on its feet and the deficit down.

Now, as a result of the too far, too fast approach of the government since May 2010, growth has continued to falter, a year and a half after the economy moved into recovery, and the economy is flat-lining. Three years after the peak of GDP before the recession started, output has not managed to recover by even half of the 6.4% that it fell since the first quarter of 2008. This recovery is turning out to be anaemic, as well as historically and internationally weak.

Today’s GDP figure of 0.2% is far below what the treasury needs if the economy is to meet its forecast for growth of 1.7% for this year. And let’s remember, that forecast has already been downgraded three times – the independent office of budget responsibility was forecasting growth of 2.3% for 2011 just a year ago.

(more…)

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The week Uncut

12/09/2010, 03:37:45 PM

The PLP have spoken. The entire shadow cabinet will remain elected. Whoever is celebrating in Manchester on the 25 September will wake up to the reality of leadership and little control over who makes their front bench team.

Talk of who’ll get what job has begun. Senior MPs are canvassing support to make sure they get in to the shoot out for the top roles. With some of the big beasts ruling themselves out it’s all to play for. The big winners this week were the Whip’s office. If their hype is to be believed, there will still be a Mr Brown at the very heart of the party.

It was the week that Ed B played the drums, Ed M led by a nose, Andy sent out a mail shot, David won the support of an east ender and a deep spacer, and Diane, well, has anyone seen Diane?

In case you missed them, here are Uncut’s best read pieces of the last seven days:

The hacking-gate heroes: four men in search of a scandal

Ed Balls may be winning the economic argument – but he could still be wrong, argues Anthony Painter

Lets not get carried away with the Coulson affair says Dan Hodges

We lost the 2010 election during Blair’s watch, as well as Brown’s, says Michael Dugher

Rachel Reeves on the government’s chaotic and contradictory economic policy

Big business, bad bankers and hard times for Northern Ireland, by Peter Johnson

Jonathan Todd on the challenge for the new shadow chancellor

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Rachel Reeves on the government’s chaotic and contradictory economic policy

08/09/2010, 10:27:18 AM

The chaotic and schizophrenic temperament of the government’s economic policy was further in evidence yesterday when the select committee for business, innovation and skills (of which I am a member) took evidence on the abolition of the regional development agencies (RDAs).  We’ve known for months now that the RDAs are going, but we still don’t know what will be formed in their place or the transition plans to get there.  Anyone would think the government doesn’t really care…

What we have now is a mess, and that’s dangerous for business and jobs.  On the one hand, the government trumpets its localism – devolving decision making from the regions to local authorities.  On the other, they centralise – with trade, investment, business support and skills being re-nationalised back to Whitehall.  Sir Roy McNulty, chairman of the west midlands RDA, described the policy as ‘a strange type of localism’.  Strange indeed, when it includes centralising key functions. (more…)

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The week Uncut

04/07/2010, 01:44:53 PM

 Another busy week for June. The leadership candidates have been racing up and down the country securing endorsements and nominations, consoling England players, cheering on Murray and offering up policy positions on pretty much everything.

In case you missed them, here are half a dozen of Uncut’s better-read pieces of the last week:

Kate Williams gets suckered into facing Nick and Dave

Painter offers his 10 lessons for Labour from England’s hopeless World Cup

Tom Copley wakes up agreeing with Ken Clarke and doesn’t like it

Rachel Reeves argues that we need a growth plan, not regional economic vandalism

Dan Hodges fires off a blistering assault on the new pluralism

Furber gives the candidates and their web campaigns what for

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