Has the coalition lost the plot on growth?

Following the depressing growth figures, coalition big wigs have been keen to offer their hapoth's worth to George Osborne with a series of bizarre ideas.

Following the depressing growth figures on Tuesday, coalition big wigs have been keen to offer their hapoth’s worth to George Osborne with a series of bizarre policy ideas.


Foremost among them is David Cameron’s “blue skies” thinking guru Steve Hilton, who appears to have been up in the sky with his pie in the sky idea to abolish – yes, abolish – maternity leave, and scrap consumer rights legislation for nine months. Dodgy goods? Ripped off? Missold something? Tough!

The FT reports (£):

Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s enigmatic strategy director, has startled colleagues by proposing the abolition of maternity leave and all consumer rights legislation, as part of an initiative to inject life into Britain’s sluggish economy…

“Steve asked why the PM had to obey the law,” said one Whitehall insider of a meeting in March to discuss the government’s growth strategy. “Jeremy [Heywood] had to explain that if David Cameron breaks the law he could be put in prison.”

Adding (£):

Over the past few months, government officials have relayed to the Financial Times some of Mr Hilton’s quirkiest ideas… The 42-year-old, “Big Society” advocate’s solution to long-term unemployment was to abolish all jobcentres and to hand out money to community groups.

But perhaps his most ambitious unfulfilled plan was to scrap maternity rights. “Steve thinks that they are the biggest obstacle to women finding work, because companies know they are required by law to offer maternity leave,” said one Whitehall insider.

“He also wanted to suspend all consumer rights legislation for nine months to see what would happen. Some of his ideas are great but a lot of time is spent at an official level trying to deconstruct his maddest thoughts.”

Boris Johnson, meanwhile, ever keen to help out his fat cat chums in the City (you know, the ones whose recklessness got us into this mess), has proposed scrapping the 50p tax rate, which will help those hard pressed souls having to scrape by on a mere £150,000 a year, who have a low marginal propensity to consume anyway.

Boris’s policy is hardly going to get the economy moving again.

Finally, to Vince Cable, who wins the award for silliest silly season idea yet, with his “red tape challenge” solutions of lowering the age at which Christmas crackers and liquer can be bought, an amendment to the Wireless Telegraphy Act, and making poisons easier to buy, saying:

“All sales of acids are based on the impression that we are all Dr Crippens wanting to dispose of bodies.”

Yep, that’s really gonna reverse the damage Osborne’s done to the economy. Nope, if they want to kick start the economy they need a Plan G for Growth

48 Responses to “Has the coalition lost the plot on growth?”

  1. Len Arthur

    Has the coalition lost the plot on growth? asks @ShamikDas //bit.ly/o2w0Ni

  2. Shamik Das

    Has the coalition lost the plot on growth? asks @ShamikDas //bit.ly/o2w0Ni

  3. Sam Barnett-Cormack

    Has the coalition lost the plot on growth? asks @ShamikDas //bit.ly/o2w0Ni

  4. False Economy

    Has the coalition lost the plot on growth? asks @ShamikDas //bit.ly/o2w0Ni (via @leftfootfwd) #falseeconomy

  5. Michael

    Has the coalition lost the plot on growth? l Left Foot Forward – //j.mp/ozaA0O

  6. David Carter

    Has the coalition lost the plot on growth? asks @ShamikDas //bit.ly/o2w0Ni (via @leftfootfwd) #falseeconomy

  7. chris star

    Has the coalition lost the plot on growth?
    //j.mp/ozaA0O

  8. Andy Holdcroft

    Has the coalition lost the plot on growth? asks @ShamikDas //bit.ly/o2w0Ni (via @leftfootfwd) #falseeconomy

  9. TheBiPolarBearMD

    Has the coalition lost the plot on growth? l Left Foot Forward – //j.mp/ozaA0O

  10. Samuel Tarry

    RT @leftfootfwd: Has the coalition lost the plot on growth? asks @ShamikDas //bit.ly/o2w0Ni

  11. Michael Bater

    RT @leftfootfwd: Has the coalition lost the plot on growth? //t.co/9v3G4MK

  12. haynony mouse

    Has the coalition lost the plot on growth?
    //j.mp/ozaA0O

  13. PJD

    Looks like Cable has confused Crippen with “Acid Bath Murderer” John Haigh

  14. Will Straw

    Scrapping maternity leave, lowering xmas cracker sales, 50p tax cuts: has the coalition lost the plot on growth? //bit.ly/o2w0Ni

  15. Jessica Thompson

    Scrapping maternity leave, lowering xmas cracker sales, 50p tax cuts: has the coalition lost the plot on growth? //bit.ly/o2w0Ni

  16. James Mills

    Scrapping maternity leave, lowering xmas cracker sales, 50p tax cuts: has the coalition lost the plot on growth? //bit.ly/o2w0Ni

  17. CiaranNaidoo

    Scrapping maternity leave, lowering xmas cracker sales, 50p tax cuts: has the coalition lost the plot on growth? //bit.ly/o2w0Ni

  18. LouLouK

    “@wdjstraw: Scrapping maternity leave… //t.co/VZD3zoG <- ok I'm never going to be taking advantage of this but you WHAT????

  19. Chris Wallace

    Scrapping maternity leave, lowering xmas cracker sales, 50p tax cuts: has the coalition lost the plot on growth? //bit.ly/o2w0Ni

  20. Matthew Rhodes

    Scrapping maternity leave, lowering xmas cracker sales, 50p tax cuts: has the coalition lost the plot on growth? //bit.ly/o2w0Ni

  21. Steve C

    Scrapping maternity leave, lowering xmas cracker sales, 50p tax cuts: has the coalition lost the plot on growth? //bit.ly/o2w0Ni

  22. Anon E Mouse

    “Boris Johnson’s fat cat chums in the city” WTF Shamik?

    From the Labour Party that rewarded bankers, city slickers and spivs like no other government in history I think that’s a bit rich. Pots and kettles?

    Does no one who supports Labour and would like them to be re-elected again ever realise how bad stupid comments like that one look?

    Every time Ed Balls hits the media and denies the deficit, callers and texters immediately comment about hypocrisy yet he continues to do it. Why?

    (Any minute now the lunatic fringe among the activists – like Leon Wolfson – will start shrieking about racism or some other unrelated topic in a determined effort to make Labour unattractive to floating voters. Tick Tock…)

  23. LucaHelvetica

    Scrapping maternity leave, lowering xmas cracker sales, 50p tax cuts: has the coalition lost the plot on growth? //bit.ly/o2w0Ni

  24. Nick Bent

    Scrapping maternity leave, lowering xmas cracker sales, 50p tax cuts: has the coalition lost the plot on growth? //bit.ly/o2w0Ni

  25. Liz McShane

    Anon – are you in denial about this fact?:

    //www.labourlist.org/the-osborne-effect—9-months-on

  26. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – Always the same in a recession – I don’t dispute the point.

    What I object to is Labour activists trying to rewrite history and then making sweeping statements about people being “chums” with the very people the Labour Party spent 13 years sucking up to and rewarding with knighthoods and goodness knows what else.

    Labour wants to be re-elected and by blatant hypocrisy such as the above comment it will only serve to alienate people further from the party.

    There is no electable alternative in this country – the polls clearly show it and this does not help and I for one do not want the only opposition to be the unelected media.

    Your point is valid Liz plus you were right on NOTW but the method by which articles such as this, whilst playing well to a core audience will not win over middle England. And Labour will stay in out of office…

  27. Marilyn Freeman

    Scrapping maternity leave, lowering xmas cracker sales, 50p tax cuts: has the coalition lost the plot on growth? //bit.ly/o2w0Ni

  28. Shamik Das

    Goodness. Anon, I think you’ll find the only person consistently rewriting history, lying and smearing on this blog is you. Virtually every single comment of yours, most glaringly your laughing at Leon Wolfson’s attack by BNP thugs. Disgusting.

  29. Anon E Mouse

    Shamik Das – I don’t believe him. Why would a fascist group “ambush” a man for being white for goodness sake? Twice.

    Of course are you now saying Labour didn’t reward bankers, city slickers and spivs more than any other government in British history?

    Wolfy’s story story doesn’t add up any more than his silly Incredible Hulk nonsense and is about as credible as you not watching Sky Sports (Partially owned and invented by the big bad Murdochs.)

    I’ve never accused you of lying Shamik Das – only hypocrisy and would be grateful for you to point out where I have lied myself on this fine blog…

  30. Shamik Das

    Anon still doesn’t get it. BNP thugs will have no qualms about attacking a white Jewish man, or a white Muslim or a white non-Brit or a white anti-fascist, and they regularly do. It is outrageous for you to suggest otherwise. Wilfully outrageous, implying sympathy with their cause, as Leon Wolfson has written.

    But, well done anyway, in once again diverting the thread away from the issue in hand.

  31. Anon E Mouse

    Shamik Das – Excuse me. I’m not the one who diverted this thread away from your topic. You did.

    Liz McShane linked off and I AGREED with her but just asked HER why it was Johnson who was being accused of being their “chum” when Labour were far more chummy with bankers, city slickers and spivs and rewarded them with knighthoods like no other government in history. That was all. It just detracts from your article and is unnecessary.

    I agree I know nothing about the BNP but even assuming Wolfy isn’t lying, which I don’t, how on earth would this marauding gang of thugs know he was Jewish? And in turn how would he know they were BNP members?

    Twice.

    I may live out in the sticks Shamik and lead a simple life but I’m sure if his story was true (twice) then the police would have arrested the perpetrators by just going to their local meetings wouldn’t they?

    The story stinks to me and as for diverting the thread I AGREE WITH YOUR POINTS in the main. Unusually.

    And I do get it Shamik Das… 🙁

  32. Simon Watkins

    //t.co/nqiWDu5 Mitchell & Webb sketch was more accurate then we thought! Irony is dead! @cathyby

  33. Ed's Talking Balls

    ‘Goodness. Anon, I think you’ll find the only person consistently rewriting history, lying and smearing on this blog is you.’

    Come on Shamik, that’s simply not true. On several occasions, I have been insulted for offering an opinion which a non-Guardian reader might agree with. The same goes for 13eastie and Selohesra, among others.

    There is plenty of history rewriting on this blog, although thankfully far less inaccuracy and vitriol than can be found on Liberal Conspiracy.

    On this occasion, Anon E Mouse quite reasonably pointed out your hypocrisy in talking about Bojo’s fat cat chums in the square mile. Undoubtedly he has plenty, but clearly the Brownite cabal leading Labour has many friends in that area too.

    Regarding the substance of your article (you are quite right, the digression is unwelcome), I broadly agree. Scrapping maternity leave seems barmy and destroying consumer protection is also stupid. Nonetheless, perhaps we should give heed to what some employers have been saying about maternuty leave, including the Labour Lord Sugar; it’s always worth listening to what those people who create jobs have to say. Similarly, I would be interested to see some studies on the effect of the 50p tax. Instinctively, I am against such a punitive rate of tax (except in the case of irksome celebrities, on whom I’m inclined to think society should impose a super tax…) and would like to see the back of it. The question is, does it genuinely drive away/scare off entreprenuers who would otherwise be offering jobs here? I honestly don’t know. Still, I don’t think it’s crackpot stuff to suggest that scrapping the tax could aid growth.

    Finally, Cable is a fool. It’s important to remember that before paying too much attention to what he says.

  34. Leon Wolfson

    Really? No, you’ve been insulted for defending vicious, nasty cuts to vital services. This isn’t a labour site, many of us have no truck with New Labour and are highly suspicious of, for example, Miliband’s attack on the disabled recently (and let’s not start on the Tories of “Blue Labour”).

    There have been studies which show the value of maternity leave;

    //www.hrw.org/node/96430/section/5

    “The vast majority of establishments responded that the program had minimal impacts on their business operation. They said that the program had a “positive” or “no noticeable” effect on productivity (88.5 percent), profitability and performance (91 percent), turnover (92.8 percent), and employee morale (98.6 percent).”

    The areas of America where it’s still not compulsory, under 10% of businesses offer it.

    //www.opm.gov/oca/leave/html/ParentalReport.htm

    “Still, I don’t think it’s crackpot stuff to suggest that scrapping the tax could aid growth.”

    It’s pure supply-side economics. If you support those, then yes, you DO deserve to be mocked, I’m afraid. The UK has the second lowest levels of red tape (next to America) among Western countries, there is no real correlation between that and growth in the last few years.

    @7 – No, I’m afraid he does get it. One of the things I do is research for a film production company, and I track down people we’re interested in contacting. Finding Mouse’s far-right friends, by comparison, was easy. (And no, I don’t tap phones, the internet’s a wonderful thing). I’m sure he’ll claim innocence himself, but I don’t believe him.

  35. Juan Voet

    Has the coalition lost the plot on growth? asks @ShamikDas //bit.ly/o2w0Ni (via @leftfootfwd) #falseeconomy

  36. Ed's Talking Balls

    Ah, these vital services you bang on about. Yep, supporting the principle of a smaller state and balanced budgets is evil and warrants unthinking insults. I forgot I was living in your realm of caricatures.

  37. Leon Wolfson

    Oh, the vital services excuse now, I see. The “principle” of the smaller state, when pushed constantly as you do for everything means “screw anyone not rich”. And a balanced budget requires that things not be spiralling downwards.

    And if you make your views out as a caricature, that’s your problem.

  38. Ed's Talking Balls

    No, the problem is entirely yours if you can only see things in black and white and insist on seeing opposing views as evil.

  39. DianeLaw

    Has the coalition lost the plot on growth? //t.co/MiiVKVt

  40. Leon Wolfson

    What rot. You’re holding up a mirror and blaming me for your failures. It’s the typical tactic of demonising the opposition rather than engaging in dialogue – something this government is also doing.

  41. Ed's Talking Balls

    ‘It’s the typical tactic of demonising the opposition rather than engaging in dialogue’

    Thus spake a master of the art! I would have thought you would recognise such a tactic well enough to realise that it’s not one I was employing.

  42. Leon Wolfson

    No, I refuse to employ it skilfully enough that I see your use of it. I’m always willing to talk where there are grounds to do so. If you can’t stand sarcasm, well, that’s not MY problem. I mean, it’s not my problem anyway, but just saying…

  43. Richard

    “Every time Ed Balls hits the media and denies the deficit, callers and texters immediately comment about hypocrisy yet he continues to do it. Why?”

    Every time Mickey Mouse repeats the false claim that Balls denies the deficit, I immediately wonder whether the benefit scrounger can’t find something better to do with his time like finding a job.

  44. Look Left – Just when you thought hackgate couldn’t get any worse... | Left Foot Forward

    […] it just gets better; as I wrote yesterday: “Coalition big wigs have been keen to offer their hapoth’s worth to George Osborne […]

  45. Anon E Mouse

    Richard – Well now we know your partner works as a translator sucking money from the NHS which should be used to provide for sick people I’ll take no lessons from a Labour sycophant about the deficit.

    I may not be as highly paid in my employment as you are but I can sleep at night Richard.

    Still considering the inhumane views you continue to espouse I don’t know why I should be surprised…

  46. Leon Wolfson

    Ah right, Mouse, people should fuck off back to their countries then? Yup, typical BNP politics! (see, Ed, I told you…)

  47. Two weeks after ‘fixing’ it, Cameron creates a new “women problem” | Left Foot Forward

    […] Osborne, Eric Pickles and Steve Hilton, the ‘blue sky thinker’ who proposed an abolition of all maternity leave and consumer rights laws, are said to be in favour, while Liberal Democrat […]

  48. All in it together, eh Gideon? FTSE fat cats see pay rocket 50 per cent | Left Foot Forward

    […] Has the coalition lost the plot on growth? – Shamik Das, Thursday, July 28th, 2011 Share | Permalink | Comments: 1 […]

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