Archive for mars, 2015

OECD Thumbs-Up for UK Economic Policy

samedi, mars 28th, 2015

That the long-term economic plan of the Conservative-led Coalition is working for the United Kingdom is confirmed by the OECD in this survey linked to below.

Why would you as a voter risk the UK’s economy by handing control of it back to Labour?

The OECD, as a neutral independent organisation, is broadly positive on the policies and achievements of the present UK government.

Voting for the Conservatives in the General Election would ensure that these responsible policies continue.

At a press conference at the Treasury on 25th. February, the OECD Secretary General with the Chancellor presented a positive report on the UK economy.

Key conclusions are:

– UK GDP growth in 2014 was 2.6%, the strongest performance among G7 countries;
– The recovery has benefitted from wide ranging domestic policy measures;
– While productivity growth should be accelerated, employment is at a record level;
– Fiscal policy has included well-chosen consolidation measures;
– With the exception of the housing sector where inflation needs careful management, inflationary pressures have been low;
– Although public debt continues to rise, the budget deficit has been significantly reduced since its 2009 peak;
– Infrastructure underinvestment is being tackled by the authorities within tight fiscal constraints;
– Important regulatory reforms have been implemented in the banking sector to address financial stability risks;

While generally favourable on UK economic policy, the OECD makes important recommendations on future priorities:

– The Bank of England should begin to tighten monetary policies to meet emerging inflationary pressures
– fiscal consolidation needs to be continued in the medium term;
– further efficiency gains are needed in health and education;
– The successful National Infrastructure Plan should be used as the basis for further progress;
– Public/private partnerships for infrastructure developments should be continued and strengthened;
– Regulatory constraints to boost housing supply should be further relaxed.

Peter Huggins
BCiP Member

Defence & Security: A Current Electoral Issue

lundi, mars 16th, 2015

Of immediate concern in Parliamentary circles is the Defence Budget as part of the Conservatives? ?electoral platform? for 2015.

At issue is David Cameron?s refusal to commit the Party formally to a Defence Budget equal to 2% of GDP in conformity with NATO policy. At the same time, he maintains that he does not necessarily see a need not to commit but wants flexibility.

This seems to me to be ill-advised. Firstly, from a public-relations point of view it can serve as an example to other NATO members to drag their feet. Secondly, it has alarmed our American ally, already concerned by cuts in our level of military spending.

From a practical point of view, present cuts of 20,000 men in the Army, 5000 in in the RAF and 5,999 in the Navy have been met with criticisms from our Defence chiefs that we have fallen below the level of our commitments.

This seems to me to be a very dangerous time for instituting economies in our Defence Budget. The international scene has taken on a more threatening aspect than we have seen for some years: again an increasingly threatening attitude from Russia, a Middle East engaged in increasing turbulence, an as yet immeasurable threat from terrorists.

This is a time not for Mr Cameron?s ambivalence but for the strengthening of our defences and a firmer attitude from our political leaders.

Michael Webster
BCiP Member

Why Europe matters by Laura Sandys

jeudi, mars 12th, 2015

Laura Sandys who has written the article linked to below is Member of Parliament for South Thanet and Chair of European Movement, UK.

« In the lead up to one of the most important elections of recent decades and, potentially, one of the most important debates about the UK?s political arrangements we have ever seen, it is crucial that we are constantly talking and thinking about the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, two great entities that can do so much for each other when they work in tandem, cooperatively and positively. »

Why Europe matters

Overseas Voters – How to set up an « Absent Vote »

vendredi, mars 6th, 2015

It’s been brought to our attention that some expats are unaware that even when registered as an overseas voter, without also setting up an »Absent Vote » (via postal or proxy means) they will still be unable to vote in the 7th May, 2015 general election.

Here’s a useful link on how to set up an « Absent Vote ».

MPs and their Second Jobs

lundi, mars 2nd, 2015

This entertaining article from The Independent of 2nd March, 2015 shows how careful politicians of all parties should be when addressing the sensitive issue of MPs’ « other » activities, given the reaction of an increasingly distrustful, disillusioned and cynical electorate living with the pressures of austerity on their incomes.

That being said, it would seem more beneficial for their constituents if MPs also had experience of the « real » world outside politics.