Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

When it comes to Britain’s EU membership, it really is the economy, stupid

04/04/2014, 08:50:40 AM

by Callum Anderson

In less than a couple of months, UK voters will go to the polls to elect their representatives in Brussels. In the event of a strong UKIP performance, it is likely to put yet more emphasis on the potential referendum on Britain’s EU membership.

And that’s in addition to the exposure the issue has received as a result of the debates between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage.

As I have already argued, it is my strong belief that the UK needs to play at the heart of a reformed EU and resist the temptation to ‘pull up the draw bridge’.  As was teed up by the Budget a couple of weeks ago, the economy is the issue that concerns the vast majority of voters: jobs, real terms wages and taxes will be the particular battlegrounds. Like it or not, Britain’s ability to build a strong and resilient economy lies in its ability to form and maintain relationships with other nations. None of this is more evident than the relationship with the EU.

Now, I know Nigel Farage and his fellow Eurosceptics can sometimes be a little short on facts, but let me shed some light.

Let me start off with trade.

Business for New Europe recently found that the growth in free trade within the EU has generated as much as 6 per cent for every British household, equivalent to £3,500 every year. A not too insignificant figure. This is clearly because UK businesses have access to the richest and biggest single market in the world. And it’s not just that. The UK benefits from the EU conducting free trade deals on its behalf, and undoubtedly obtaining deals on better terms than if it negotiated alone.

For instance, the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement has benefitted UK businesses to the tune of £500 million a year. The Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) has also found that a EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could boost UK national income by up to £10 billion a year, with our automotive industry benefiting most, thus creating the manufacturing jobs that Britain has needed for a generation.

So, what effect does this have on jobs?


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

We do not need to divide the country to get through difficult times

15/04/2013, 06:49:16 PM

by Helen Godwin Teige

Ed Miliband came to Bristol on Saturday, so I, my husband. our two toddlers and my sister went along to see Ed and listen to what he had to say. He did an ‘on the stump’ speech and answered questions from members and non-members who had gathered in the busy St Nicholas Market in Bristol.

I am pretty sure Ed won some votes for both himself and the Labour party on Saturday. He took questions on everything from mental health, vocational qualifications, and the bedroom tax to legalisation of drugs and Trident. Bristolians are an understated bunch but they know what they are interested in and we felt Ed answered each question well; he listened, gave real and honest answers and didn’t sound as policy light as the press are desperate for him to be.

He was here on the back of the local elections but there were key things that he mentioned that I think Labour need to drill down into and build deeper policies

1. Mental Health

The stigma of mental health needs to end. The increase in dementia cases means this is on the agenda in a big way but mental health affects all ages and  is a vast subject requiring more research, treatment and occupational health. We need to take the lead in accepting people with mental health problems and ensuring their place in society is understood and valued.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Today’s growth figures vindicate the action Labour took, argues Alistair Darling

23/07/2010, 02:30:44 PM

Today figures show the results of the Labour Government’s balanced approach to supporting the recovery. And they remind us of the threat posed by the coalition’s willingness to take risks. 

This is the fastest growth we have seen for over four years. It shows that confidence was returning. And you can see the success of maintaining support for important sectors like construction. This is the final nail in the coffin of the Coalition’s argument that things are worse than they believed before the election. Today’s figures show that growth was twice as fast as expected.

The Coalition’s economic policy is not inevitable – it’s the choice they’ve made. And they will have to accept responsibility for the risks they are taking with the economy.

As I have consistently argued, withdrawing help to the economy now puts growth in jeopardy and could be more costly in the long run if more people lose their jobs. It is increasingly clear that we’re seeing the return to politics of a serious ideological debate. This  government’s clear and overriding priority is to cut back the state. Otherwise they would not announce cuts with such relish (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Labour must show it could cut the deficit and drive growth and the jobs of the future, argues Pat McFadden

23/07/2010, 10:49:13 AM

The Tories have a clear plan for their austerity programme which is to discredit Labour’s economic record, blame the situation they inherited from Labour for all the cuts they will make and suggest that anyone who doesn’t support their programme has no worthwhile economic proposition at all. 

 It is a plan which should be challenged at each point.  But it would also be a mistake to suggest that anyone on the centre left who wanted to address the issue of the deficit was somehow endorsing the Tory plan.  That isn’t true and would appear to suggest that there was no worthwhile difference between the plans on which Labour and the Conservatives fought the election. 

Yet the difference between the two parties is being felt every day in issues from the abandoned school building programme to cancelled regeneration projects and support for key industrial projects such as the Sheffield Forgemasters plan to make Britain a key player in the worldwide civil nuclear supply chain.

Labour won power in 1997 partly because we had worked hard to develop economic competence, to move on from a reputation for having big hearts but soft heads when it came to the nation’s finances.  We didn’t lose that focus in government.  We presided over the biggest increase in GDP per head in the G7 between 1997 and 2009, even after taking into account the financial crisis.

Of course the global financial crisis and our response – designed to stop recession turning into depression – meant borrowing was raised but this was a choice, a judgement we made. 

Labour fought the election on a plan to reduce the deficit over a longer timescale, with a different balance between spending reductions and tax measures and with key priorities protected.  That plan would have required some tough decisions and there’s no getting away from that.  We had already announced some spending reductions in the PBR last year and had proposed for example changes to civil service redundancy terms.  But Labour’s approach would have been very different to the Tory plan now being rammed through, a plan characterised by deep cuts started before recovery is established, with no regard for the impact on the private sector or future industrial opportunities for the country.

Labour’s plan would have had, at its heart, an active role for Government in promoting growth and ensuring Britain tried to develop key capability in areas of future employment growth such as low carbon vehicles, the digital economy, green energy and other areas.

The Tory deficit plan pays no regard to these areas.  This week’s document issued on this had little to say.  In fact, in addition to cancelling the Forgemasters loan the Government seems to be giving up on plans for a Green Investment Bank.  And their plans for abolishing the RDAs and cutting support for the regions will make recovery and growth even harder to achieve.

Cutting the deficit in the way they are doing is faith based economics, with the Tories playing the role of high priests and the Lib Dems displaying the zeal of the recently converted.

The challenge for the Labour Party is to address the deficit in a way that also includes a drive for the growth and jobs of the future.  And that’s a far cry from what the Tories and Lib Dems are doing.

The Rt Hon Pat McFadden is MP for Wolverhampton South East  and Shadow Secretary of State for Business

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon