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  • Two U-turns, plus a devolution revolution

    The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review package contained two key changes to the direction of policies announced only four months ago. The first, and highest profile, is the reversal of the previous decision to cut the main tax credits, at a cost of £9.4bn over the five years of the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast.

    Osborne’s blue collar blueprint

    GEORGE Osborne took big steps yesterday to rid the Conservative Party of its image as being on the side of the rich. He took aim at middle Britain as he ordered an overall £28 billion tax rise to soften the effects of austerity on Britain’s lowest-paid workers and Labour supporters. Council tax is set to soar, buy-to-let landlords will be hit and fuel taxes will rise.

    Five silly mistakes people make on Twitter

    How to crack the social media enigma that is Twitter? The internet abounds with tips from those claiming to have beaten the system. How To Maximise Your Brand On Twitter. The Ultimate Guide To Building Your Twitter Presence. How To Dramatically Increase Your Twitter Following. The complex tactics preached by these self-professed social gurus are myriad.

    After Paris

    The first issue on the European agenda following the Paris atrocities is how to improve the acquisition, interpretation and sharing of intelligence. Levels of effectiveness – and mutual trust – are very uneven across the Union and will remain so. Among a million or more refugees entering Europe, some are bound to be undesirables, petty or serious.

    Cameron: The EU Speech

    David Cameron's speech confirms the limited nature of the renegotiation and his determination to succeed and to be able to recommend a 'yes' vote in the referendum. There is no change in the  issues on which Britain is negotiating: greater EU competitiveness; a 'red card' for EU national Parliaments on proposed legislation.

    The renegotiation begins

    This week, David Cameron will write to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, to set out his requirements in the renegotiation of the terms of Britain’s EU membership. Under the heading of ‘Sovereignty and Subsidiarity’ David Cameron wants the commitment to “ever closer union among the peoples of Europe” to be disapplied to the UK.

    Sir Stephen Wall joins Portland

    The referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union will dominate politics next year, with ramifications for every business operating in the UK. To help our clients navigate this landscape, I am delighted to announce that we have appointed Sir Stephen Wall as Portland’s Chief Adviser on Europe. There is nobody better placed to advise on Europe than Sir Stephen.

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