Category: Business

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Lancing the boil of Tory corruption

Peter Benson

It’s extraordinary that in 2021 a former Prime minister can bring such disgrace to himself, his party, our parliamentary democracy and the nation’s reputation around the world. But it is perhaps a foretaste of what’s around the corner from the current Prime Minister who seems to revel in controversy.

New cross-party scrutiny for UK-EU trade

Kim Sanderson

Businesses are certainly being affected. Conservative MP Roger Gale, who sits on the new Commission, said: “The impact of the UK’s new trading arrangements with Europe and the world are being felt by businesses in every sector and communities in every corner of the country. We will be looking in detail at the impact of these deals, particularly upon the small businesses that are bearing the brunt of new red tape at our borders.”

The invisible 1.2m British citizens scattered across Europe

Clarissa Killwick

Is it laziness or does it fit the agenda of some editors that readers’ preconceptions could be reinforced by their choice of images? On 6 April, under the inflammatory headline “Expats face hell in EU…”, the Daily Express gratuitously published no less than 4 pub photos to illustrate one article. According to a study on identity carried out by Brexpats founder Debbie Williams, birth country culture comforts are more likely to involve drinking imported tea, (if only we could still get it!), at home, rather than seeking out anglocentric pubs to be with our compatriots. Other than that our tastes are quite eclectic, blending cultures and with a common desire to share them. That, and the number of languages those in the study have between them, suggests a high level of integration, not to mention mobility. Stereotypical stock shots fail to convey any of this and, instead, are pernicious.

Was Jenrick “politically motivated”?

Peter Benson

The Towns Fund was set up to be shared between ‘left behind areas’ all around the country but it would appear that any poverty and depravation in the North East was of the wrong kind. The fund was found to have a clear bias for areas where the local MP was a member of the Tory party.

What’s next?: Part 4 of European Movement conference

Robin Tudge

The movement has to get away from seeing Brexit as this binary moment that split the country in two, “we need leavers to get with us.” And there are ‘stacks’ of Conservative MPs and party members who regret what happened, but who went with the flow seeing no other option, which was and is true for Labour. “We need to appeal to them with practical ideas for the country”: Push for harmonisation over veterinary checks, visa-free travel for certain professions, much greater co-operation on security, and foreign affairs, areas in which the UK Government is “artificially creating barriers to mask our divorce from Europe”. Revive Erasmus. “If we can attract the young, we have a very bright future,” he said, and noted: “There is no permanency in politics, it doesn’t exist. Going into the EEC was not a permanent thing, nor is leaving the EU.”

Jobs promise guarantee needed to tackle youth unemployment

Stephen Lambert

For individual young people, there are significant multiple ‘scaring’ effects associated with spending very long periods of time outside education and work. These include a loss of confidence and self-esteem; greater vulnerability to various limiting illnesses, including mental health problems; increased propensity to crime, and excessive use of drugs.

Theatre

Culture Recovery Fund grants (round 2)

Peter Lathan

Arts Council England has announced 2,272 grants totalling £261,582,823 to arts organisations to help them recover from the ravages of the pandemic. Distribution across England w

Corruption: The 60 million dollar question facing David Cameron

Peter Benson

As taxpayers we may be grateful for the diligence of the treasury officials who rejected the efforts of Cameron’s lobbying but we must continue to be vigilant on the actions of all government ministers. There is considerable evidence to suggest there is clear bias in the awarding of grants and contracts to friends and donors of the Conservative party.

The Tees Valley mayoral election campaign gets underway as Jessie Joe Jacobs launches her manifesto

Scott Hunter

The starting point for this is the need to deal with rising inequality in the region, capitalizing on the region’s industrial strengths and applying them to the industries of the future, hence the focus on the climate economy and the digital and tech sector. Her aim is to train up to 10,000 people in climate industry skills, either through apprenticeships or through loans and grants to support other workers, developing a training hub for climate jobs, and providing business investment and the creation of a green industrial park.

Review

Open: Kimberley Clausing

Giuseppe Bignardi

The starting point in the author’s analysis is that Donald Trump’s election was the consequence of dissatisfaction with economic stagnation and was based on a rhetoric that appealed to both the right and the left wing of the political spectrum.

Ireland is keeping a candle lit: Part 2 of European Movement conference, a talk by Noelle O’Connell

Robin Tudge

Irrespective of that, however, the referendum has opened a ‘Pandora’s box, and as Farry said earlier regarding NI, “Brexit has had significant and largely unwanted impacts”, mainly on the border.The Ireland-NI border is now the EU’s only land border with the UK, while the Protocol demands the increasingly shaky Irish Sea customs border over which a ‘new reality’ of ‘very stark trade differentials’ now exists. Covid-19 and stockpiling notwithstanding, port traffic between Welsh ports and Ireland has declined dramatically – while the threat to the GFA has risen as much.

Building Bridges: Part 1 of European Movement conference

Robin Tudge

The conference was opened by its host, Anna Bird, the CEO of the European Movement UK, with the keynote opening speech by Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, former leader of the Green Party and Green MEP. “We’re still grieving about Brexit,” she said, and “no treaty or trade cooperation agreement will make us […]

Hartlepool for beginners: a by-election special

Scott Hunter

And what did the people of the Headland do when it became clear that their supposedly independent councillors weren’t actually independent after all? Nothing. No fuss. Hartlepool people don’t make a fuss. Some were undoubtedly upset by what had happened, but they expressed their discontent very, very quietly. And the anti-Brexit minority would defend the town by pointing to the Headland and saying “it’s them on the Headland. They’re very Brexity”.

The worst Christmas present ever?

Joyce Quin

. My local port of North Shields is England’s largest prawn exporting port, the main customers, accounting for the majority of the business, being France and Spain. In the past the prawns arrived in France from North Shields the following day guaranteeing their freshness. Now this takes three days which for a product with a fresh shelf life of five days is far from ideal. Because of the new system of export hubs the prawns actually travel north to Glasgow first and then begin the long journey to the south coast. The new paperwork (a non-tariff barrier for the Prime Minister’s information) is complex and if the goods are part of a larger consignment then they risk being held up because of any mistake, even a minor one, by any other of the exporters in the group. On arrival at the port of entry in the EU costly customs procedures begin. The overall effect of the Brexit deal, if these problems are not dealt with, are threatening to any business’ survival in a competitive market.

Sunderland MP helps lead ‘First of its kind’ inquiry into what Northern Culture needs to rebuild, rebalance and recover

Daisy Windsor

Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central The Northern Culture All Party Parliamentary Group will launch its first Inquiry into what Northern Culture needs to rebuild, rebalance and recover. The Inquiry will shine a light on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Northern Culture and call for evidence from key voices and stakeholders across the […]

“Step by step towards rejoin”

Andrew Adonis

My platform as Chair will be ‘Step by Step Towards Rejoin’. Nothing less than rejoining the European Union is either acceptable or practical as our ultimate goal. For Britain’s security, prosperity and influence as a nation we must be full participants in the world’s largest free-trade bloc that lies on our doorstep. But accomplishing this politically in the current climate must be achieved in stages. That is not to be tentative – as anti-Brexit parties and politicians have been over the last year – but to bring as many people as possible with us on this journey.

Simply sheepish: year 1

Emily Hunter

Crucially we came up with the concept of ‘sheep made out of sheep’. I’d been going to craft shows for years and always picked up a random needle-felting kit but I’d never come across a kit that made a virtue out of the type of sheep being crafted from its very own wool. I knew very little about sheep despite my grandma having a farm full of them! The pandemic struck and I set to work researching sheep breeds, the qualities of their wool, and which would work together well in a collection.

Where’s the steel, tech and green industrial support in yesterday’s Budget?

Jane Neville

The budget missed a golden opportunity to spark a Tees Valley green revolution with targeted investment in future technologies. Jessie Joe Jacobs, Labour’s candidate in the looming Tees Valley mayoral election, has joined Ed Miliband to flag up a missed chance to reshape manufacturing, rebalance the economy and prepare Britain for a low carbon world.  Shadow Business minister and former […]

A bright blue future for the Tees Valley?

Scott Hunter

The surprise inclusion of Darlington at the last minute, makes you wonder just what the strategy was. The press and social media response to yesterday’s announcement has been predictable – Sunak picks a site thirteen miles from his own constituency. It’s not so special; there are government departments in other parts of the country, even Treasury ones. And so on.

Budget 2021: what we already knew but hoped we wouldn’t need to hear

John Jacobson

In the days before Budget Day, 3 March 2021, various government ministers and the Chancellor continued to give little previews, some tantalising titbits of what might be in the upcoming Budget. It made it seem, as was noted on Radio 4 Tuesday’s PM ‘more like Budget Week’ than Budget Day. Such was the fervour that […]

“Dammit man, what are we fighting for?”: a paltry £400m ascribed to Arts regeneration in The Budget

Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

In real terms £400m is a proverbial drop in the ocean and so our cultural capital as a society is in real danger of ultimately being lost to those who can afford it, be allowed to contribute to it and therefore own it. Without arts or culture our worldview narrows – because they give us the vital experience of knowing thoughts beyond those in our own heads and famously enable us to ‘walk around in someone else’s shoes’ (To Kill a Mockingbird).