2015 and politics of austerity

Last week’s spending review kick-started longer term positioning by the parties on how each will administer austerity. A cross-party consensus has emerged on reviewing benefits for wealthier older people, including free TV licenses and Winter Fuel Payments, after 2015. This was previously a no-go area for the Conservatives and Labour. Labour have also grudgingly acceptedRead more

Small spending review, no-one hurt

Today’s Spending Review was a small and slightly boring Spending Review, which was the point. Small, because the £11.5bn cuts announced are about a quarter of what it will cost to service the national debt in 2015/16.  The review also only covers one year, given the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats campaign in 2015 on separateRead more

Strivers, pensioners and skivers

Older people’s benefits have so far been untouched by austerity, but that may be about to change in a couple of years as cross-party consensus has emerged over the need for reform. So far, pensioners’ benefits have been untouched by austerity.  In 2010 the Conservatives pledged to protect them from cuts during this parliament, andRead more

For government, no news can’t be good news for long

Announcements from No.10 seem to have been few and far between lately. Does this signal a new style to the coalition’s management of the government agenda? Or will we see an abrupt end to the pause this week with the Spending Review? Admittedly the PM and his advisers have been busy with some significant internationalRead more

Energy Bill Round 2: burning issues

The Energy Bill started its House of Lords stages yesterday. What are the key battlegrounds? 2030 decarbonisation target Firstly and most obviously the 2030 decarbonisation target. Labour’s position on the issue has hardened still further since Third Reading in the Commons, with Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex announcing last week that Labour will commit toRead more

Chris Kerr, WA LSE Scholar, completes his second year

Chris Kerr, the current recipient of the Westminster Advisers scholarship at the London School of Economics (LSE), has just completed the second year of his studies. Chris is studying the BSc Government programme at the LSE. The scholarship was established to provide financial support to a student who would otherwise be unable to take upRead more

Civil service reform under the microscope

The IPPR has published what looks like an interesting report today on civil service reform. The report was commissioned by the Cabinet Office last year, which tasked the IPPR to look at how other civil services work. Researchers looked at Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Singapore and Sweden (come on, it’s IPPR!), and howRead more

HESTER La vista!

News on Wednesday that RBS Chief Executive Stephen Hester has been strongly encouraged to stand down will come as no surprise to those who’ve followed the bank’s reprivatisation saga in some detail. As more details have emerged it seems increasingly likely that HMT, via UKFI, played a key role in edging Hester towards the exit.Read more