In April 2015, a month before the General Election, the Conservative party published its manifesto. Contained within it was the unambiguous promise: “we will not raise VAT, National Insurance Contributions or income tax” (it’s on page 3). Whether or not you take issue with the idea that sometimes tax changes need to be made in order to increase fairness or (heaven forbid) pay for better public services, it’s hard to deny the clarity of the message.
In April 2015, a month before the General Election, the Conservative party published its manifesto. Contained within it was the unambiguous promise: “we will not raise VAT, National Insurance Contributions... Read more
Anneliese Dodds MEP is hosting a discussion on European politics following Brexit.
Focusing on ‘British and German politics following Brexit,’ Anneliese will be joined by Jo Leinen MEP and Jakob von Weizsacker MEP, both MEPs for Germany.
The event will be held in East Oxford Community Centre, and will begin at 3:30pm on Friday, 10th of March. Tea, coffee and refreshments will be provided.
Anneliese Dodds MEP stated ‘The Prime Minister only has 23 days until her self-imposed deadline to trigger article 50. Britain, and her government, are ill-prepared for negotiations, with her Brexit bill stuck ping-ponging between the Houses of Parliament. She has provided meagre assurances that she intends to protect the rights of EU nationals to live and work within Britain, and little to no indication of UK’s aims of negotiation.
As such, relations between the UK and the other countries in the European Union look set to remain uncertain and uneasy. Now, more than ever, it is especially crucial to maintain an open dialogue between the UK and citizens of European economic powerhouses, like Germany, to implement a Brexit that works for everyone.
I am very much looking forward to an interesting discussion between UK MEPs and German MEPs, and look forward to seeing you there.’
Anneliese Dodds MEP is hosting a discussion on European politics following Brexit. Focusing on ‘British and German politics following Brexit,’ Anneliese will be joined by Jo Leinen MEP and...
Earlier this week I received a reply from the European Commissioner for Competition to a letter that I sent the week before. In my letter, I expressed my concerns about the allocation of prize money in Formula One and its wider impact on the competitiveness of the sport following the recent collapse of Manor Racing, which is based in my constituency. Currently, bigger teams are guaranteed prize money, regardless of where they end up in any race, whilst smaller teams do not benefit from this guaranteed payout.
I also inquired as to why the Commission did not rule on the sale of Formula One to Liberty Media. The motor sport industry is an important employer in the South East of England, and recent local developments, including some smaller teams experiencing severe financial difficulties, have suggested to me the need for more scrutiny of whether the sport is still truly competitive.
Earlier this week I received a reply from the European Commissioner for Competition to a letter that I sent the week before. In my letter, I expressed my concerns about... Read more
On Tuesday of last week The Times reported on my concerns about Formula 1 racing (‘F1 facing investigation into “anti-competitive behaviour”’, 14 February). This seems to have prompted the sport’s regulator, the FIA, to issue a press release in which they seek to rebut comments which they describe as “inaccurately informed or made maliciously”.
On Tuesday of last week The Times reported on my concerns about Formula 1 racing (‘F1 facing investigation into “anti-competitive behaviour”’, 14 February). This seems to have prompted the sport’s... Read more
I was recently privileged to join members of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the UK to gather evidence for our investigatory Committee into the Panama Papers scandal. The idea behind the visit was to meet with significant figures and organisations involved in fighting tax avoidance and evasion, and money laundering, to see the strengths and faults in current efforts.
I was recently privileged to join members of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the UK to gather evidence for our investigatory Committee into the Panama Papers scandal. The idea behind... Read more
This year’s “I love Unions” week, running from now up to Valentine’s day, could not have come at a better time. Working rights are increasingly under pressure from changing patterns of work like the so-called ‘gig economy’ and false self-employment. At the same time, the British government seems determined to shut trade unions out of our workplaces and industrial relations.
David Davis, the Minister for Brexit, has made much of the fact that his first Ministerial meeting was with Frances O’Grady, the leader of the TUC. Yet much of Davis’ actions, and those of his government, demonstrate a deep antipathy towards working peoples’ self-organisation.
This is clear from the government’s White Paper on Brexit released last week. There are many criticisms that can be made of this poorly-thought through, repetitive and confused document. However the section on working rights is one of the most concerning. First, the White Paper argues that, post-Brexit, the UK will seek to maintain its ‘status as a global leader on workers’ rights’. This is a surreal statement given that until recently the government was seeking to impose stronger controls on British workers who had voted to strike than exist in any other developed economy, through its Trade Union Act. Concerted action by the TUC and other trade unions, working with Labour MPs and peers, led to a climbdown in some areas but this Conservative government has still made it much, much harder for ordinary people to join trade unions and participate in trade union activity.
Secondly, the White Paper refers to a desire to ‘enhance’ working rights, but omits to mention huge swathes of employment protections. In particular, the need to prevent discrimination against Black and Minority Ethnic, LGBTQ and disabled people is not even deemed worthy of mention in the White Paper. Nor is there mention of preventing sexual harassment or guaranteeing equal pay, especially worrying given the precipitous drop in cases being taken to employment tribunal following the imposition of new tribunal fees. And finally, no mention is made of the need to secure British workers’ safety and health at work. These rights are more important than ever, whether we are talking about safety for a Deliveroo cycle-deliverer navigating London’s busy streets without insurance, a care-worker trying to lift a heavy patient as part of a 15 minute appointment, or a salon manicurist working with toxic chemicals.
Theresa May has professed to make Britain, post-Brexit, a country that works for everyone.
This ‘I love Unions’ week, we must reflect on how we can hold her to that promise, when the Brexit White Paper suggests a very different vision for our country – and especially for its working people.
This year’s “I love Unions” week, running from now up to Valentine’s day, could not have come at a better time. Working rights are increasingly under pressure from changing...
"Brexit means Brexit," Theresa May has said for months on end – a fatuous phrase that has infuriated our EU partners and done nothing to enable British businesses to plan for the future. Then as 2017 dawned, after forcing out our most experienced EU civil servant for trying to deliver honest advice, the Prime Minister promised to set out today what Brexit really means.
And now we know. Brexit - to this supposedly moderate Prime Minister – means leaving the Single Market altogether and almost every element of the Customs Union in order to "go it alone". That's the Single Market which one Theresa May MP said, in a speech in April 2016, “accounts for a huge volume of our trade” and which, once completed, “would see a dramatic increase in economic growth, for Britain and the rest of Europe”. The Theresa May of 2016 said that continued membership of the Single Market would mean “greater economic growth in Britain, higher wages in Britain and lower prices for consumers - in Britain.”
And why does the Theresa May of 2017 want to take the UK out of this incredibly prosperous and beneficial trading bloc? The spurious reason she gave in her speech today is that it was what the British people voted for on 23 June 2016: "both sides in the referendum campaign made it clear that a vote to leave the EU would be a vote to leave the Single Market." But that is simply untrue. Many Leave campaigners quite specifically said that they wanted a future where the UK was outside the European Union but still inside the single market. Take Daniel Hannan MEP as just one example: "to repeat, absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the Single Market."
Well, they are now, Daniel. If the Prime Minister had been honest when giving her reasons for taking us out of a market of some 500 million consumers, she would have admitted that she was being driven once again by the pressures of Conservative party management rather than national interest. She has chosen to appease her rabid Eurosceptic backbenchers, and to prioritise slapping an arbitrary figure on migration levels rather than allow British businesses to continue benefiting from membership of the world's largest trading area. She claims to be doing so on the basis of popular opinion, but that doesn't stand up to scrutiny: a poll for the Independent conducted just after the referendum vote showed that, given the choice, 48% of people would rather have single market access than a cap on immigration, compared to 37% who said their preference was the other way around.
In fact, contained within May's speech was the answer she needs on immigration that would allow us to remain members of the single market in any new deal with the EU. She said, rightly, that there is pressure within the UK on public services, housing and wage growth. That pressure stems from six years of Tory underinvestment in public services; decades of not building enough houses; and the government turning a blind eye to highly dubious undercutting of workers' pay. All of these problems could be fixed without capping the number of people who arrive in our country and make an overall net contribution to government coffers – and so allowing us to keep our membership of the single market. There was no need for the choice that May now suggests was inevitable.
May, with all the zeal of a convert, has decided that her "hard", "clean", "red, white and blue" Brexit must mean an economic hit to the country (which will, inevitably, be felt by the poorest) so that she can appease the xenophobic right wing of her party. She demands that the EU play ball in helping her to deliver this. And if they don't? The threat could not have been clearer: the UK, she said, would then be free to set "competitive tax rates" and "to change the basis of Britain's economic model". A leaf taken straight out of the newly minted Trump Playbook. Play ball with us, or we turn the UK into a giant tax haven and undercut the lot of you. The starting gun fired for a trade war. If Theresa May stays on this course, it will end badly for everyone.
"Brexit means Brexit," Theresa May has said for months on end – a fatuous phrase that has infuriated our EU partners and done nothing to enable British businesses...