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The current European Commission

  • RE: British Press and Social Media

    Winter Weather Causes Travel Headaches

    Snow across the United Kingdom has fallen, with significant falls of up to 25 centimetres in Scotland, Ireland and northern England, with 15-20 centimetres expected to fall around central and southwest England. The travel nightmare has shut down several airports and trains have been delayed or cancelled altogether across Britain. The Met Office has warned that London and the southeast will experience significant rain and wintry mix and wind speeds up to 70 mph (110 km/h). 

    London Stansted, Birmginham, Edinburgh, and Dublin airports had to wait as snow was cleared from their runways before flights could take off, but as the day has worn on, it has grown apparent that air travel across the United Kingdom has been interrupted due to the inclement weather. 

    posted in European News Consortium
  • RE: United Kingdom Government White Papers

    Building Britain's Energy Future: Industry and Energy in the 21st Century

    It is imperative that, as an island nation, the United Kingdom stands ready to accept the reality that climate change is a real and present threat to Britain's physical status and to its economy. If we allow climate change to run rampant, our seaside towns will be swallowed, London will be submerged, and our economy will cease to function normally. That being said, the Government has come together on a sensible and smart energy policy, culminating with the Industry and Energy Act 2017. 

    What we have seen is an energy sector that has grown inefficient and unwilling to change in public hands. While we have built numerous nuclear energy facilities from 1980-2016, research and development into battery storage of hydroelectric, solar, and wind energy has stagnated. British Energy, under the direct management of the Government is not as competitive as the counterpart companies across Europe. Therefore, it has become the view of the government that we allow British Energy to be sold off in 2018 and be allowed to be a publicly listed company. That said, the Government does have a package of regulations and incentives ready for the private energy sector.

    The Rt. Hon. Dr. Greg Clark, MP

    Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

    1. All new plants must be made to be carbon neutral, which includes nuclear, natural gas, oil, and coal fired power plants. 
    2. The establishment of cogeneration plants will be promoted, which will provide 50% of all heat in the United Kingdom by 2030. This target allows companies to use waste hot water to generate heat for millions of homes in the UK.
    3. Encourage the creation of loans by the Government and other banks for fitting households and industries with energy saving technologies. The Government will also provide a rebate of up to 30% of all costs in switch to energy efficient technologies for households.
    4. OFGEM will be used to regulate the energy market and standards will be a joint implementation between OFGEM and the Environmental Agency. 
    5. Energy cost will be capped at rising 1.2% above inflation with no ability to raise energy prices more than once a year. 
    6. British Energy will be privatised and shares in the company will be publicly available in 2018 at market value of the company in the initial public offering.

    posted in Politics & Incidents
  • RE: Monthly European Union Economic Report

    November 2017 - December 2017

    • Wage growth in the United Kingdom (1.2%), Australia (1.9%), and Derecta (7.4%)
    • Wage stagnation in Angleter, Duxburian Union, Inquista
    • Wages fell in Miraco (-7.3%), Fremet (-0.5%), Pefki (-2.1%)
    • November GDP growth:
      • Derecta (15%)
      • Australia (2.9%)
      • The United Kingdom (2.2%)
      • Angleter (1.8%)
      • Inquista (1.2%)
      • Fremet (1.2%)
      • Duxburian Union (0.8%)
      • Pefki (-0.5%)
      • Miraco (-3.3%)

    Top European Economies

    1. Inquista
    2. Duxburian Union
    3. Angleter
    4. The United Kingdom
    5. Australia
    6. Fremet
    7. Derecta
    8. Miraco

    posted in European Central Bank
  • RE: British Press and Social Media

    Politics: New Poll Shows Large Gap between Liberals and Social Democrats; SNP Falters

    The Prime Minister will be grinning as her party continues its 12th consecutive poll in almost 8 months after the election. The Liberals and the Social Democrats are 8 points apart in the latest Ipsos/Mori poll, with the Government getting a 2% bump up after the Budget. Measures that included technology subsidies for start ups in Ireland and Scotland has helped raise the Prime Minister's numbers. If an election were held today, almost none of the seats would change in England, Ireland or Wales. The Scottish equation, however, changes dramatically. The SNP which was on at 3.1% nationally was down to about 2.5%, which means that in Edinburgh and across Scotland, seats would change hands. Where would they go? Back to the Social Democrats and to a couple of Liberals running in those seats, which means that both major parties have seen off quite a huge challenge in the general elections when it comes to Scotland. 

    What does this mean? Nicola Sturgeon seems to have radically charged politics in Scotland and that included threats to call an independence referendum. The Liberal Unionists and Social Democrats both have decided that they would fight for the Union, as would the Progressives. That combination of parties would soundly defeat a referendum vote right now 68-32, and with the SNP already forming a minority government in Holyrood, would they risk what could be set up as a vote of confidence in the Scottish government and head to yet another election on Scottish independence, or would they work on some other angle? Perhaps spinning the Budget and other decisions in London to get more support for a majority government in Holyrood would be beneficial as well. 

    In terms of the UK Government, they have more political capital to use. They have done a good job of proving their economic competency and are trying to develop the economy in other parts of the United Kingdom, including Ireland and Scotland, with Scotland not being merry hunting ground for the Liberals. This Government is playing a longer ball than most governments in the past, including the near two decade rule of the Social Democrats between 1997 and 2015. Now guaranteed 7 years of Government, the Liberal Unionist Party have an opportunity to shape and mould the centre ground in their image, and it is very likely they'll get it.  

    posted in European News Consortium
  • RE: The EU's Latest Tweets


    posted in European News Consortium
  • RE: House of Commons Official Hansard

    Financial Statement

    29 November 2017

    Volume 652

    Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Lindsay Hoyle)

    Before I call the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I remind hon. Members that copies of the Budget Resolutions will be available in the Vote Office at the end of the Chancellor’s speech. I also remind them that it is not the norm to intervene on the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Leader of the Opposition.

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Phillip Hammond)

    I report today on an economy that is seeing rapid growth the likes of which we have not seen since the early 20th century: an economy that seeks to work with our European neighbours and community to continue to grow prosperity for all nations who seek friendly and fair trade. What Britain must do in this period of unprecedented growth is look to the future to secure the dreams of our children and grandchildren and fix the roof while the sun is shining. 

    This Government has worked to reform the welfare state in a way that hasn't been seen since its inception in the late 19th century, and we will continue to find savings while delivering the leg up for the most vulnerable in our society. While the party opposite would keep Britain overspending, borrowing and saddling our children and grandchildren with debts that become insurmountable, we on this side of the House have managed to keep our fiscal promise with the British people. Spending has come down from 45% of GDP to 35.8% of GDP and government revenue is at its highest it has ever been at 35.9% of GDP. Yes, we have achieved a budget surplus for the third year in a row. The Government will use the surplus of £15 billion on Britain's debt so that this budget is a fully balanced and costed budget. The Social Democrats could not have dreamed of making a balanced budget, nor do I think the Leader of the Opposition or the Shadow Chancellor care about prudent management of Government funds. 

    Britain is the fourth largest economy in the world, and London is at the heart of the global financial trade. While we have transitioned into a service economy, the Government has put forward some more achievements. The Government will continue to contribute to the British Infrastructure Investment Bank at £15 billion for the 2018-2019 year. That investment will allow the High Speed 3 and 4 links from Manchester to Edinburgh via Leeds and Manchester to Dublin via Blackpool to be finished ahead of 2018. The construction of this vital link for the North to Manchester and London has employed 2,000 workers directly, allowed small business to hire 3,000 in the areas of construction. That is this Government's economic policy, creating jobs and developing all parts of this United Kingdom. The BIIB has also announced plans to invest in the Tyne and Wear rolling stock, the full electrification of the main lines in the North, Scotland, and Ireland, which will be completed in 2022. 

    With the T-Levels introduced, we have given brought the secondary education budget up to £56 billion and the tertiary and vocational education budget up to £154 billion. The extra funds provided to the education budget at the secondary and tertiary levels will be used to get all schools across the United Kingdom ready for the T-Levels. I am announcing that part of that tertiary education budget a £10 billion increase to the apprenticeship scheme across the United Kingdom. Not everyone needs a university education, but everyone deserves an education that puts them on track for good, high-wage jobs and this Government will partner with the private sector to develop it. The Oxbridge Tech Corridor has already seen tech startups explode, and I am pleased to announce another tech corridor initiative in partnership with the Irish Government. Dublin's Trinity College is on par in terms of prestige and importance in the United Kingdom with Oxford and Cambridge, and they have pushed for Dublin to receive the same incentives as the Oxbridge Tech Corridor. I am pleased to announce that the Fine Gael Government and the UK Government together will be cooperating on that. But, not to leave Scotland behind, I have heard from my Liberal colleagues in Scotland that they want this too. Therefore, I am announcing that tech companies that partner with the Universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen will receive a tax rebate similar to those starting up in Dublin and Oxbridge. That is how this Government builds jobs across the United Kingdom.

    Stamp duty is something that can keep first time home buyers out of the market. I am, therefore, abolishing stamp duty for first-time home buyers on all properties at £300,000 or lower across the United Kingdom, and at £600,000 or lower in London. Fuel duty has been permanently placed in the reduced rate of VAT at 2%, something that the Social Democrats would have increased now to 8% according to their tax plans. We will also make sure that those who charge their electric cars at work will not be charged for their services. Personal tax allowance will be frozen at £11,000, but we have announced a closure of all loopholes on personal income tax and corporation tax, so that the highest rate earners and corporations pay the same rate at 20%, 15% lower than under the Social Democrats. That being said, there will be no deals and no ways to avoid paying tax so that all money made here and earned here is paid to the United Kingdom and HMRC. Income tax bracket of £11,001 to £45,000 above the allowance pay 10%, 45,001 to £100,000 pay 15%, and all income £100,000 above the allowance are at the top rate. Simple, effective tax that people can fill out on an index card to know exactly what they will be paying at all times. 

    The devolved institutions, in accordance with the Edinburgh Agreement and Smith Commission will receive a total of £150 billion on a per capita basis. 

    The Government has said time and time again that it is for working people and that we want work to pay, and this is a budget that allows more people to keep more money in their pockets, business to pay their fair share and remain competitive internationally. This is a Government that will ensure that our future as a country and prosperity for future generations. This is a transformational budget. This is what this Government is proud of, and I commend this statement to the house.

    Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 51(2)),

    That, pursuant to section 5 of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act 1968, provisional statutory effect shall be given to the following motions:—

    (a) Stamp duty land tax (higher rates for additional dwellings) (motion no. 35.)

    (b) Stamp duty land tax (relief for first-time buyers) (motion no. 36.)

    (c) Tobacco products duty: rates (motion no. 40.).—(Mr Philip Hammond.)

    Question agreed to.

    Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Lindsay Hoyle)

    I now call upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer to move the motion entitled “Income tax (charge)”. It is on this motion that the debate will take place today and on succeeding days. The questions on this motion and on the remaining motions will be put at the end of the Budget debate on Tuesday 5 December. 

    Income tax (charge)

    Motion made, and Question proposed,

    That income tax is charged for the tax year 2018-19.

    And it is declared that it is expedient in the public interest that this Resolution should have statutory effect under the provisions of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act 1968.—(Mr Philip Hammond.)

    Sir Keir Starmer (Holborn and St. Pancras)(SDLP)

    The hallmark of any budget is the good it will do for the people of the United Kingdom, and this budget has failed to deliver the real relief that families need -[Interruption]

    Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Lindsay Hoyle)

    Order. If the Government backbenchers cannot control themselves, we will be here for a very long time. Simple as that. 

    Sir Keir Starmer

    What we see is a Government that will put more children in poverty with their disastrous Universal Credit scheme, that has taken nearly £4,000 of child benefit from families every year. Household wealth for those who make lower than the average £51,570 a year will fall by 20% by 2025. At that time, the top 1% of this country will have seen their wealth grow at 9%. No mention of the fact that people who are still on the old state pension system saw the Government cut the available funds by 10% in favour of those with superannuation. We have not heard anything about increased spending for the NHS, which was a campaign promise put forward by the Liberals at the last election. This Government does not care about what they say.

    When the Social Democrats were in Government, there were 1.2 million children taken out of poverty during our tenure. Since then, the ONS and IFS have stated that there have been nearly 1 million children placed back into poverty. The school lottery of birthplace is still alive and well, despite the Prime Minister and the Chancellor saying that they want to build a Britain that allows everyone to achieve based on merit. There are still schools that are struggling with high class sizes per teachers. There is a teacher shortage in this country at the primary and secondary levels, the most important levels of education. We need more teachers, yet the Government continues to cap public sector pay. 

    The Government has weakened trade unions and has stifled wage growth cross the country. Britain's trade unions guaranteed good working conditions and fair wages for work throughout the industrialization of the United Kingdom, yet we have seen an attack on the trade unions and increasing privatisation of the vital public services of our country. When will the Government stop? We did not see any money directed towards energy policy, because the Government is on the side of the coal, oil and gas companies that continue to push fossil fuels and destroy the environment across Europe. 

    This budget does nothing to prepare Britain for the future; it instead sidles our children and grandchildren with the same rigid society that we have had, where it absolutely matters where you were born and how much money your parents have when it comes to success in life. As this budget gets uncovered, we will see the true priorities of the Government.

    posted in Politics & Incidents
  • RE: British Press and Social Media

    Mini-News: Autumn Budget "A Worker and Innovator Friendly Budget" - Chancellor

    LONDON --- The Chancellor will be firmly in the spot light on Wednesday as he presents the first Autumn Budget in quite some years. Phillip Hammond inherits a strong, still growing UK economy that looks to be at the forefront of European economic growth, the fourth largest economy in Europe behind Inquista, the Duxburian Union, and Angleter and what the Government has signalled is that innovation and middle class friendliness is the hallmark of this budget.

    "The Autumn Budget will be a budget that will unite innovators with capital, and secure more in pay packets for British workers," the Chancellor said before dashing off.

    posted in European News Consortium
  • RE: The EU's Latest Tweets

    #MeToo #PartTwo

    posted in European News Consortium
  • RE: Get Ready For The Future...


    posted in Chamber Of Loose Lips
  • RE: British Press and Social Media

    Andrew Marr: Good morning, this is the Andrew Marr Show. On today's programme:

    • The Budget is coming in on 22 November and we have Treasury Secretary Sajid Javid to give us a preview of what the Government is planning for the economy in the next fiscal year.
    • Is Keir Starmer an effective enough SDLP Leader? New polling shows the Social Democrats behind by nearly 8 points, and a lost election in 2017 could spur a leadership spill in 2018. Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry is in to say if she does or does not support Sir Keir in his current position.
    • Is the Government sacrificing security for taking in migrants from Dromund Kaas? After the terror attack this fall in Piccadilly Circus, is the Government not doing enough to keep Britain safe?

    All that and more on the Andrew Marr programme. 


    AM: First, we know that the Budget is coming up so the Exchequer has sent out allies to set the groundwork for expectation on the budget. I'm pleased to welcome Sajid Javid, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and former Chancellor of the Exchequer. Welcome to the programme, Chief Secretary.

    Sajid Javid: Happy to be here, Andrew. 

    AM: The Budget is set to be handed down from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, in about 17 or so days. Is there anything that we should be looking for in the economy that the Government will be moving towards?

    SJ: Well, first I'd like to say that as you know, I can't say what's in the Budget until it has been handed down by the Chancellor. What I can say is that there's a lot of good ideas bouncing around the Treasury and Cabinet, and we will be looking to continue the Government's programme of creating a Britain that works for everyone. That means we'll be backing British business, improving British infrastructure, and giving our children and workforce the education it needs to meet the demands of the 21st century. 

    AM: The biggest criticism that the Government has faced is that wages have been growing slower than at historical levels in Britain. What will you do to solve that problem?

    SJ: Well, what I can say is that we have the highest amount of people in work in our peacetime history. We have more people making more money than ever before. Average wages are at £50,200 now, the highest its ever been. We have the strongest currency in the European Union, with many more people investing in government bonds on the LSE. We are a powerhouse economy, and the Government simply wants to ensure a steady hand is at the helm making the investments to magnify the effect of this time for our children and grandchildren. That includes the National Broadband Network, which has now been in effect for two years now and has seen internet speeds and access boom across the United Kingdom...

    AM: But what about those who feel they are stuck at the bottom of the wage ladder?

    SJ: Andrew, let me finish. We are investing in the infrastructure needed to continue to have good, high paying jobs for everyone in the United Kingdom. That's the goal of this Government. So I'd respond to that claim with evidence that we are building economically sound policies that will bring greater economic stability and growth for the future and that the growth of the country will lift wages naturally. 

    AM: But the bottom 10% are at £19,400 annually and the richest 10% start at £112,600 and are concentrated mostly in the south east. Surely, those people who want wealth to spread and prosperity to spread will be upset that you haven't made many investments north of London since coming into power. 

    SJ: I disagree with that claim, Andrew...

    AM: Then what would you tell the people who think that way?

    SJ: The Government has put in the Universal Credit to help people out of poverty with the freedom to invest in whatever they like. We've heard people have used it to buy groceries at the supermarket or as a down payment on their first home or a new car. That is what welfare is intended to do, Andrew. Lift people out of poverty and give them the tools to better their lives. We've paid for it through closing income and corporation tax loopholes on the biggest businesses and the highest income earners.

    AM: Universal credit is means tested though, meaning that as people earn more, they get less. That kind of squeeze on people's incomes surely is not something that will help the bottom percentages of British income earners.

    SJ: No, that's not our policy at all. Yes, the Universal Credit is means tested, but that also allows us to guarantee a basic rate of £1,000 to every household income under £30,000 a year. We are a One Nation conservative Government that wants to give people the means to get on in life without endless interference of the state. As such, we definitely subscribe to the way that the Universal Credit has been settled. 

    AM: The Office for National Statistics has said that the UK loses nearly £15 billion annually due to lack of proper infrastructure, particularly in transportation. The Government has built the expansion on London Stansted and Gatwick, giving London 3 major airports. High Speed 2 has been completed, with High Speed 3 spurs continuing to Edinburgh via Leeds-Newcastle and Dublin-Glasgow via Blackpool estimated to be completed next year and High Speed 4 to Cardiff wrapping up in 2020. All of these projects put together has cost nearly £150 billion over the course of the 15 years of their construction, starting from the previous SDLP Government. Many would rather see a widening of existing railways under National Rail, something that the Transport Secretary could do today...and also the expansion of motorways, particularly around major cities in Britain. 

    SJ: Why not do all of it? The Government is committed to, over the course of the next 10 years, £120 billion in projects jointly funded by the Government and by the UK Infrastructure Bank, established under this Government. It is right to tackle all 3, and at £12 billion annually, it is the right thing to do to make sure we have transportation infrastructure to not only get goods to port, but also to get people across the country to greater economic opportunity, greater cultural opportunity. 

    AM: Most of the time, the Liberal Governments of the past would be cutting taxes, traditional Tory pledges to reduce public spending. Adding that £12 billion there, promises to increase NHS spending by £2 biillion, defence spending at nearly £390 billion annually....will you be spending more or less than the £1.5 trillion target you have set for yourself as a Government on budgets?

    SJ: I cannot say anything about that due to market sensitivity, but we will make sure that the Government lives within its means and that we do not saddle the future of our country with great big heaps of debt. We want to get to 40% of GDP by 2020, and the Government will do everything it can to meet that target.

    AM: Like what?

    SJ: Prudent fiscal responsibility. 

    AM: So higher taxes or cutting public services and spending?

    SJ: Andrew, I have already said I cannot comment. What I can say is that the Government will show its record on prudent fiscal responsibility to be accurate and we will continue to find economies where we can without sacrificing the world-class public services that the United Kingdom is known for like the National Health Service. 

    AM: I do think we're out of time. Thank you...Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid Javid.

    SJ: Thank you, Andrew.

    posted in European News Consortium

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