Mar 252015

Fighting: Reeves with Paul, Warren and Sue in Wales

Last Friday, a grandmother walked in to Rachel Reeves’ surgery in her Leeds constituency.

“She came to see me about a foodbank voucher,” Reeves says.

“Her husband, a pensioner who had served in the Armed Forces, had refused a voucher because he didn’t want to turn to charity.

“She had come back to ask for it because she knew her family desperately needed it.

“She came in, in tears, because she didn’t have enough food. She has full-time care of two of her grandchildren and has pawned all their furniture.

“My job this week is to try to get their stuff back and to help her sort out their arrears. These are dignified people who have worked all their lives being completely failed by the system.

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Mar 202015

Ed Balls’s less stringent plans mean a dramatic gap with the Tories.

George Osborne and Ed Balls 

It’s often written that Labour and the Tories are committed to near-identical levels of austerity after the election. The Greens, the SNP and Plaid Cymru all argue that Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have embraced the Osborneite consensus. Commentators question how a Labour-led government would survive while imposing further cuts.

But, as I’ve noted before, these points belie the fiscal chasm between the two parties. Unlike the Tories, Labour is not committed to achieving an absolute budget surplus by the end of the next parliament (pledging only to balance the current account deficit), has left room to borrow to invest and would impose some tax rises to reduce borrowing (Osborne has pledged to use cuts alone). Even after the Chancellor scaled back austerity in yesterday’s Budget, Balls would still have around £39bn more to play with than Osborne by 2019-20. Continue reading »

Mar 202015

You can waste a lot of time talking about what was in the Chancellor’s speech, but what he left out is far more telling

The Budget 2015
Osborne: ‘If you don’t vote, he doesn’t care about you’

You can waste a lot of time talking about what George Osborne said in his budget speech.

“Britain is paying its way in the world today.”

Why can I hear the Cheers theme tune?

“Choose the future.”

Who’d seriously choose something else?

“The jobless claimant count is the lowest since 1975.”

Because they’re all in work or because you’ve stopped them claiming in the first place?

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Mar 182015

Labour has a five point lead in the minister’s Wirral West seat, which she won in 2010 with a majority of 2,436

Esther McVey

Ambitious: McVey has said she wants to be PM

Welfare slasher Esther McVey is set to be one of the Tories’ biggest casualties on election night, a new poll reveals.

Labour has a five point lead in the minister’s Wirral West seat, which she won in 2010 with a majority of 2,436.

The findings are a major setback for the champion of the Bedroom Tax who recently boasted she would like to be Prime Minister.

The poll of eight marginal seats by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft also showed Labour on course to win in six of them.

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