Category: Economy

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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.”

Beyond our bubble: Part 3 European Movement conference

Robin Tudge

What must be done is to relate the losses of Brexit to people’s own experiences and lives, to build a narrative that Brexit isn’t working. Like Cummings’ modus operandi, ‘we need to relate to people’s lives’. Activists must chart, “town by town, shop by shop, how Brexit affects us, what’s going wrong, and develop a Brexit narrative.” So, in two, three years’ time, people will say, “Brexit’s going badly, I can feel it”, information that can be deployed in manifestos.

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.

Opinion

No more shielding

Peter Lathan

Will the streets, parks and other open spaces be filled with released detainees celebrating their re-acquired freedom, running and singing and dancing in glee? Will there be parties and will joy be unconfined? Will bliss reign and the Kingdom of Heaven appear among the people of England?

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.

Bid to save ‘The Heart of the Furnace’ at Redcar

Scott Hunter

Save our Steel Heritage and Tees Steel Bridging the World have started a petition demanding that the heart of the Redcar blast furnace be saved and turned into a monument to commemorate 170 years of iron and steel making on Teesside.  “Larger than the Angel of the North, the Heart of the Furnace would act […]

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.

A pandemic, a limited vaccine supply and secret vaccine contracts

Giuseppe Bignardi

On 17 March, the EU announced the intention of changing its export policy, particularly in relation to countries which are also vaccine producers. The EU argues that there needs to be reciprocity and proportionality to make sure there is an equitable distribution of vaccines. I do not know the details of the EU vaccine export plan, but I do know that Boris Johnson has failed on reciprocity and global solidarity.

“Take back the tap” on World Water Day

Julie Ward

Across the world 1 in 3 people live without safe drinking water, and it is estimated that by 2025 half of the global population will be living in areas where water is scarce. In many of the world’s poorest countries girls aren’t going to school because they have to fetch and carry water for their families. As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the world the mantra of “wash your hands” was meaningless in places where clean water is still in scarce supply.

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.

Rishi Sunak’s budget ignores the NHS and social care

Giuseppe Bignardi

The government has failed to put together a plan to rescue the social care sector, despite Boris Johnson’s claim in 2019 that he would fix the crisis in social care “with a clear plan we have prepared”. The NHS also needs extra funding to deal with the huge backlog of non-Covid health needs. Rishi Sunak made no mention of either social care or improved NHS funding in his budget statement.

Crap for our carers?

Scott Hunter

The government’s pay award of 1% to NHS staff has received widespread condemnation for its parsimony. There has been further condemnation that workers in the care sector continue to suffer low pay and poor working conditions.

Poetry Corner

1% and a round of applause

Harry Gallagher

For all the zipped-up body bags,
for carrying your country without pause,
for tending all those beds,
for tending to our dead
you get 1% and a round of applause.

Opinion

Histrionics and persistence: Brexit is looking bad

Gareth Kearns

They’re desperate. They’ve been found out. They’re currently riding the unwillingness of their readers, and Brexiters generally, to accept that Brexit is now revealed to be a lie because so many of those very readers are complicit in facilitating that lie, and the consequences for the country are so grave. It’s a particularly potent brew of complicity because it was notions of patriotism and loyalty –in themselves perfectly fine sentiments – that were harnessed and weaponised to spur normal people into this betrayal of country and kin.