We Owe How Much?

Today, The Independent ran an interesting article on the true scale of the debt inherited from the last government. It points out that, if you include all public sector liabilities, total debt is £3.8 trillion – around four times higher than the official measure. For policy wonks and bean counters, the article is based on […]

Read More

The Selfishness of Socialism

Last week, the opposition seized on selective Treasury figures suggesting the government’s emergency budget would lead to 1.3 million job losses – ignoring the 2.5 million expected to be created. It is a sign of the shrill, partisan and selective politics we can expect in the months ahead. What surprises me most is the sheer […]

Read More

The Coalition’s First Budget

I have just walked out of the House of Commons, having listened to – and spoken in – the budget debate. This budget was never going to leave a smile on anyone’s face. But that is not how it should be judged. In the wake of the worst recession – and burdened with largest budget […]

Read More

Maiden Speech

Yesterday, I delivered my maiden speech in the House of Commons, during the Constitutional and Home Affairs debate on the Queen’s Speech. I paid tribute to my predecessor Ian Taylor, highlighted the poor funding deal we get from central government for local services – and its ramifications – and made the case for reversing the […]

Read More

Welfare Reform

She laughed, assuming it was a joke. Then, reality dawned. A normal employer looking for someone ‘reliable and hard working’, Nicole Mamo was barred from advertising in the local job center in Norfolk last January. Staff said it would discriminate, against those who are unreliable. Nothing more neatly captures the something for nothing culture built […]

Read More

Coalition Cup – Half Full?

As the policy wonks, commentators and public digest the coalition programme for government, there will be a lot of carping. I was not enthusiastic about a full 5 year coalition. But having joined it, we must make it deliver. The programme is not perfect. It reflects compromise. But let’s not lose sight of the positives, […]

Read More

First Week – High Stakes and Hum Drum

And I was anticipating a quiet first week. After a roller-coaster election, we had the drama of the coalition negotiations, culminating in a (pretty much) unprecedented Con-Lib pact. The deal is far from perfect – but, then again, we didn’t win a working majority. David Cameron went for a five year deal, and has made […]

Read More