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Bucks County Council extends council tax freeze


This week Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) announced its budget plans for 2013/4. Keeping money in people’s pockets during these tough economic times is an essential part of ensuring the continued prosperity of Buckinghamshire. It is also welcome to see that the Conservative 2010 General Election pledge to freeze council tax for two years has been achieved and extended by the Council. I reproduce an extract below from the BCC press release: Despite £14.4m less funding from central government, freezing Council Tax […]

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Good news on GDP


Everyone but the Opposition will be pleased by today’s GDP figures: GDP was estimated to have increased by 1.0 per cent in Q3 2012 compared with Q2 2012 Output of the production industries was estimated to have increased by 1.1 per cent in Q3 2012 compared with Q2 2012, following a decrease of 0.7 per cent between Q1 2012 and Q2 2012 Construction sector output was estimated to have decreased by 2.5 per cent in Q3 2012 compared with Q2 […]

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On double-dip recession, Tullett Prebon rightly ask “What’s the big idea?”


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The latest strategy note from Tullet Prebon asks, “What’s the big idea?” with the subtitle “the imperative need for a new ideology”, writing: Effective government is not simply a matter of management. Even in good times, competence is barely enough. In bad times, ideological clarity is imperative, and the lack of a clear, ideas-based strategy is the black hole at the heart of the coalition administration. This chart is particularly informative: They comment, “The centre-right is in desperate need of a […]

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In Greece, Atlas is Shrugging


Via BBC News – Greece MPs pass austerity plan amid violent protests: Tens of thousands protested in Athens, where there were widespread clashes and buildings were set on fire. Violent protests were reported in cities across the country. Protesters outside parliament threw stones and petrol bombs, and police responded with tear gas. Scores of police and protesters were injured. Prime Minister Lucas Papademos urged calm, insisting that the austerity package would “set the foundations for the reform and recovery of […]

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The Government’s business strategy


The Government recently announced a number of policies to help British businesses. They have launched the updated and overhauled businesslink.gov.uk website. This is now the primary gateway for businesses, of whatever scale, seeking support and information from the Government. It’s backed by a new telephone contact centre and many thousands of new business mentors. They have launched a new nationally-delivered Manufacturing Advisory Service to help small and medium-sized manufacturers to grow. It is estimated that this will help generate £1.5 […]

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A well-attended EU Fresh Start meeting


I just attended the inaugral AGM of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for EU reform, which was well attended by colleagues from across the range of opinion, all concerned about the effect of EU regulation on jobs and the economy. I asked that we consider democracy and the classical rule of law as the subtext to all our detailed work. Via the website, EU Fresh Start: UK citizens want co-operation and free commerce with our partners in the European Union, but a majority […]

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Three economic dragons and a three-pronged plan


Via Future Conservatism | Conservative Home. The three economic dragons: Britain faces much more than a debt challenge. Through no fault of their own Cameron and Osborne have inherited three historic economic challenges: massive levels of personal and government debt; the Eurozone crisis; and the long-term rise of China, India and other emerging economies. Taken together these challenges threaten to make the British economy dangerously uncompetitive in the years ahead. Meanwhile, for the FT (£), the Prime Minister writes: The eurozone crisis has […]

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Give the Games industry a (tax) break


NB: this post is by Tim Hewish, my Parliamentary Assistant, and the views expressed are his own. Jim McGovern, Labour MP for Dundee, called a Westminster Hall debate to address the growing disparity between the UK and other nations on the latter’s favourable tax credits towards the video games industry. The UK has a long history of innovative creative industries; video games are one such platform: from Rareware and Eidos to Media Molecule and Rockstar Games. Currently, what we are […]

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The State Opening of Parliament


Today, I found myself standing by the exit into the aye lobby for the state opening of Parliament. The text of the Queen’s Speech, for which I was lucky to be able to enter the House of Lords, may be found here: The Queen, seated on the Throne and attended by Her Officers of State, commanded that the Yeoman Usher should let the Commons know that it was Her Majesty’s pleasure that they attend Her immediately in this House. When […]

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A contract between the Conservative Party and you


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Via The Conservative Party | Policy | Our Contract With You: We go into the general election on 6 May with trust in politics and politicians at an all-time low. And I can understand why: the years of broken promises, the expenses scandal, the feeling that politicians have become too remote from the people – they’ve all taken their toll. That’s why I’m making this contract with you. For too long, you’ve been lied to by politicians saying they can sort […]

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