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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Measurement and evaluation