Posts Tagged ‘decriminalise drugs’

Friday News Review

05/08/2011, 06:18:45 AM

World markets in turmoil

Markets around the world have tumbled as fresh fears over the eurozone and US debt grip investors. America’s Dow Jones index closed down more than 4%, while the Asian markets also suffered massive losses on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 3.4%, South Korea 4.2%, and Australia tumbled 2.4%. Almost £50bn was wiped off the value of the FTSE on Thursday, with the listing for the UK’s top 100 companies closing at 5393, down 191 points or 3.43%, taking £49.8bn from its value. It is the biggest fall on the FTSE for more than two years. Since last Friday morning, £124.97bn, or 8.17%, has been wiped off the value of the FTSE 100. – Sky News

Eurozone countries are failing to stop the “contagion” of the debt crisis, the President of the European Commission warned yesterday. José Manuel Barroso’s warning came as stock markets plunged around the world amid growing fears of another global recession. Mr Barroso called for an emergency strengthening of Europe’s bail-out mechanism. He said he had “deep concerns” about the faltering Spanish and Italian economies. The stark message was delivered as the FTSE 100 suffered a 3.43pc fall, its biggest since the height of the banking crisis in March 2009. In the past five days, investors have lost a total of £125bn. The doubts spread to America as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 4.3pc to its lowest point since December 1 2008. – Daily Telegraph

Lib Dems: ‘decriminalise all drugs’

Liberal Democrats are expected to call for an independent inquiry into the decriminalisation of possession of all drugs. A motion to be put at the party’s annual conference next month is likely to be passed, officials said. It would be the first government-sponsored inquiry into decriminalisation, but is unlikely to have the support of David Cameron who has hardened his approach to drugs after being a past advocate of more liberal legislation as a member of the home affairs select committee. Ministerial sources point out that the government published a review of drugs strategy in 2010 and does not yet see any need for a rethink. Senior Liberal Democrats believe Cameron and the home secretary, Theresa May, could be persuaded to hold an open-minded inquiry into a controversy which divides public, political and medical opinion. The inquiry, the Liberal Democrats said, would look at reforms in Portugal which are said to have reduced problematic drug use through decriminalisation for personal use and investing in treatment centres. – the Guardian

The Liberal democrats are to call for the decriminalisation of all drugs, including heroin and cocaine, to be considered urgently by the Coalition Government in an effort to cut levels of addiction. The party’s conference is preparing to back demands for Britain’s “harmful” and “ineffective” drug laws dating back 40 years to be swept away and replaced with an entirely new strategy for tackling drug use. Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, who has previously supported drug decriminalisation, is understood to be relaxed about his party committing itself to such a contentious policy proposal. But it would be bound to provoke tensions with the party’s Conservative coalition partners, who strongly oppose reform of drugs laws. – the Independent

The coalition’s new 45p tax rate

David Cameron and George Osborne are considering emergency plans to slash the top rate of income tax from 50p to 45p in the pound, according to reports. However, Downing Street and the Treasury last night both strongly denied the claims. But the idea added to growing speculation about how the Government planned to improve sluggish growth figures. Any such plan would cause major friction with the Tories’ Liberal Democrat partners and be seen as a direct challenge to Business Secretary Vince Cable. Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has already dismissed the idea of cutting the 50p rate as “in cloud cuckoo land”. But it was suggested that cutting the top rate to 45p would cost the Chancellor no more than £750 million a year. Treasury analysis shows that Labour’s decision to raise the rate to 50p for those earning £150,000 a year or more has generated up to £2.4 billion a year. – Daily Telegraph

Councils told to sell the family silver

Town halls are being urged to sell billions of pounds’ worth of assets – including clubs, sports stadiums and bingo halls – to protect front-line services. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has asked councils to take a ‘good hard look’ at their extensive land and property portfolios in order to save taxpayers money. His department has located 180,000 assets, worth an estimated £385billion, owned by 600 public bodies – including 87 councils. Researchers found that these organisations own or lease properties to six horse-riding stables, more than 20 sports grounds, dozens of hotels and theatres, about 100 golf courses and a similar number of pubs. Mr Pickles has estimated that selling off some of these assets, or using them more efficiently, could save the taxpayer as much as £35billion over ten years. – Daily Mail

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