This government has been dragging its feet on energy policy since 2010
The prospect of the televisions blacking out in the middle of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing on a bleak, cold winter evening sometime soon should focus the minds of politicians that the UK’s energy policy needs the long view when it comes to planning and strategy.
Too often politicians look at issues through a narrow short-term prism – it was Harold Wilson who said: “A week in politics is a long time.”
A collective shiver went down the nation’s spine when this week the National Grid warned that its capacity to supply electricity in the coming months will be at a seven-year low due to generator closures and breakdowns.
The DWP must deliver a better service for disabled people and better value for taxpayers
Today the government has announced the new provider for the ailing Work Capability Assessment (WCA). Maximus are replacing Atos, who quit the process after repeated concerns, raised by Labour and disabled people, about the operation of the test.
The government has spent months seeking an alternative provider.
While we’ve always said that simply changing the provider isn’t enough to deal with the underlying problems, Labour hope the new start under Maximus will lead to improved results.
Disabled people have every right to feel wary. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are agreeing a new contract that will last years. With a general election looming, and Labour already having outlined a series of reforms we’d make to the Work Capability Assessment, it is unclear how the new provider will be expected to deliver improvements – or what penalties they’ll face if they don’t. Read More
The UK’s possession of nuclear weapons is often justified in terms of uncertainty about the future. However, developments at home and abroad may one day make the UK’s Trident weapons system politically (and legally) impossible
Over the years, governments have defended plans to replace the ageing Trident weapons system by reference to unspecified future threats.
In the foreword to a 2006 White Paper advocating the principle of Trident replacement, Tony Blair wrote:
“We believe that an independent British nuclear deterrent is an essential part of our insurance against the uncertainties and risks of the future.”
Child poverty has increased in the rich world since the onset of the global recession in 2008, according to a new report from Unicef.
The report says that the proportion of children living in poverty in the UK has increased from 24 per cent to 25.6 per cent. Meanwhile Greece and Iceland have seen the biggest percentage increases in child poverty, followed by Latvia, Croatia and Ireland.
Overall 18 of the 41 countries in the study have seen falls in child poverty, with Chile achieving the biggest reduction from 31.4 per cent to 22.8 per cent.
Norway has the lowest child poverty rate, at 5.3 per cent, whereas Greece has the highest, at 40.5 per cent. The rate in the US is 32 per cent. Read More
The ambulance service in the UK is one of the best in the world, unfortunately it has been taken for granted
The Labour Party is right to highlight the problem of the increased use of private companies in the Ambulance Service. They cost taxpayers millions each year.
The service they provide lacks the professionalism of the NHS service, their ambulances are poorly equipped and many of their staff are inadequately trained.
But the use of private ambulances is a symptom of deeper underlying problems that need to be addressed. Read More
The pay gap between men and women in the workplace has widened and the UK has dropped out of the top 20 countries for gender equality, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
According to the research, the UK has fallen from 18th to 26th place in the rankings of the Global Gender Gap Report, recording its lowest overall score since 2008.
The countries which scored best in the research were Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden, in that order. Read More
Assad is not an ally, he is a man whose stubborn determination to preserve his dictatorship has killed hundreds of thousands
Abdul Raheem Kour Hassan was a journalist who worked for a radio station in Damascus. His family was informed in April 2013 that he had died while in regime custody, tortured to death in one of Assad’s prisons.
Bilal Ahmed Bilal worked for Palestine Today and covered the early protests in Syria. His family was informed in April 2014 that he had died while in regime custody, also tortured to death in one Assad’s prisons.
As Brooklyn Middleton wrote in August, the Islamic State’s ‘sensationalist’ type of brutality – beheading hostages on camera, crucifying people in public squares, forcing John Cantlie to tell the world ‘the truth’ about ISIS – has almost entirely eclipsed Assad’s. ISIS flaunts its brutality in a way that the Assad regime manifestly does not, and as a result the regime’s brutality, to be blunt, has grown banal. ‘Another day another barrel bomb’ almost. Read More
The UK has too many poorly performing workplaces, according to a new report
On October 23, the Smith Institute launched a report entitled ‘Making work better: an agenda for government‘ – an independent inquiry into the world of work by Ed Sweeney.
Sweeney of course is the former chair of the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), former deputy general secretary of Unite and former general secretary of the finance union Unifi, now part of Unite.
The report, which runs to over 100 pages, is the product of a nine month inquiry involving research, interviews, discussion events around the UK as well as opinion polling. Read More