Category Archives: Parliamentary Business

Coalition is likely to split before the next general election – According to senior Tory MP

The Liberal Democrats and Conservative coalition government has had many difficulties to overcome since the 2010 General Election. The cracks are starting to show and a number of people, both in and outside of Westminster, have predicted that it will break down before the 2015 General Election.

Graham Brady, senior Tory MP and Chairman of the Conservative Backbench 1922 Committee has become the latest person to doubt the life expectancy of the coalition. Read the rest of this entry

Building on the Green belt should be the very last resort!

Anyone who takes a walk in countryside surrounding peaceful Wiltshire market towns such as Marlborough, Devizes, or Westbury would find it a crying shame that such tranquility might be spoilt by the development of new housing estates, and the increase in noise and pollution they can bring. In fact it’s not just that more houses potentially means loosing more green spaces, or the fact that villages surrounding towns eventually get swallowed up. I used the afore-mentioned towns because I live in Wiltshire, but they could in fact be any middle-sized town where successive governments have failed to make sufficient infrastructure provisions. These towns get developments tacked on around the edge of them without much thought given to the inevitable extra vehicle movements these extra houses create. suddenly you get to the stage where a by-pass is needed, but no by-pass can be built because it’s either too expensive, or there’s something in the way, like a hill, or a new housing estate. In a recent interview for BBC Wiltshire, Devizes MP Claire Perry argued that plans at both a local and national level would try to ensure that this didn’t happen in the future. Read the rest of this entry

Ed Miliband: Lines of attack

Ed Miliband has not had a good start to the year. He returned to the dispatch box for PMQs last Wednesday looking to put the previous year behind him. His supporters may well point to his successes, such as fathering the Oxford Dictionary Word Of The Year, but 2011 was definitely not the year of the Ed (Miliband, that is). Some say that PMQs is unimportant, and in many ways it is. When it comes to party morale though, it can play a significant role. Miliband will have stepped up to the dispatch box with memories of the last time he was there; when David Cameron played conductor to government benches prompting them into a raucous outburst as he put Miliband in his place and summed up the year for the Labour leader. Click here to keep reading

The Christmas gift in the Autumn Statement

George Osborne once said he wanted to put an end to the mini-budget occasions of the Autumn Statement. It’s safe to say that is another target he has missed. In what seems like an age ago, Osborne announced a slew of figures, accompanied by a smattering of initiatives. Aside from the disappointment over the state of the economy, most of the announcements delivered with much fanfare were underwhelming. Osborne also pulled another trick out of Gordon Brown’s hat and rushed through many of his tough announcements. One that did draw some attention from inside the chamber however, was his plan to give a subsidy of £50 to every customer of South West Water, in an attempt to help those customers with their water bills. So what’s the big deal? Plenty, actually. Click here to keep reading

The public sector strikes; a big success or a “damp squib”?

Today has seen one of the biggest industrial actions in living memory.  Members of 29 trade unions (all of whom are public sector workers) voted to strike today, in opposition to proposed government reforms to public sector pensions. The government is still in talks with the unions over the reform plans.

The government are proposing a £2.8bn increase in contribution payments by 2014/2015, pegging the retirement age to the state pension age and switching the way pension contributions are increased every year from the higher RPI rate of inflation to the lower CPI rate.

The government also plan to move staff from final salary schemes to career average schemes. Approximately 2.6 million people from across the range of public sector posts from teachers to immigration officers and care workers were ballotted – with an estimated 750,000 voting yes.  The government say that the reforms are part of the plan to cut public spending, cut the deficit and improve the economy; however the plan faces large opposition as it will cut the amount the size of many people’s pensions. CLICK HERE TO KEEP READING

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