The Great Debate UK

The morally blind leading the arithmetically blind

–Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School. The opinions expressed are his own.–

You’ve got to admire the endless inventiveness of our politicians. Just when you think there’s nothing new under the sun, they catch you out by coming up with an idea so bad nobody seems to have thought of it before.

Now the All-Party (or was it All-night Party?) Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People has come up with the daftest idea I’ve heard since the previous Government’s idiotic Home Information Pack scheme, but which threatens to do far more serious damage. They propose, in the FT’s words, that “High street banks responsible for some of the worst consumer mis-selling scandals of the past decade will be invited into British schools to help teach financial education”.

I had to read this paragraph two or three times, then ask myself if it was April 1st, before digesting the craziness of this idea. Presumably it will be followed by an invitation to Silvio Berlusconi to lecture our MPs on ethical behaviour in politics. After all, most people would expect a course in prudent personal financial management to start with the lesson: “Whatever you do, don’t take advice from your bank”.

The real story of the Spending Review was the absence of any shocks

BRITAIN-SPENDING/In the end, the ‘leaks’ worked. The various snatched photographs of briefing documents leaked in the past couple of days meant that the real story of the Spending Review was the absence of any shocks. The government managed our expectations, so political new junkies and the money markets were not really surprised as Chancellor George Osborne outlined the cuts today.

Some benefits, such as the winter fuel payment and free entry to galleries and museums, had been considered low hanging fruit, almost certain to go, but the Chancellor surprised the gallery by throwing out a few spending commitment trinkets as he wielded the axe elsewhere.

from UK News:

MPs and the property market: an uneasy pairing

Photo

BRITAIN-ELECTION/Would you have an MP for a tenant? Not so long ago, those two letters placed after a person's name were seen as a mark of respectability, but the unending drama of the expenses scandal has blown all that away.

New rules, brought in after revelations last year about MPs "flipping" their main and second homes to maximise allowances, stipulate that MPs can no longer buy second homes and claim mortgage payments on expenses. If they wish to claim expenses related to a second home, they will have to be content with renting one.

Why not scrap the Child Trust Fund?

-Rachel Mason is public relations manager at Fair Investment. The opinions expressed are her own.-

The Child Trust Fund is set to become one of the victims of the new UK Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition’s emergency budget.

Leaders’ debates highlight need for Scottish independence

- Paul Henderson Scott has written numerous books on Scottish history, literature and affairs, including ‘A 20th Century Life’ and its sequel, ‘The New Scotland’. He has been Rector of Dundee University, President of the Saltire Society and of Scottish PEN and a Vice-President of the Scottish National Party. The opinions expressed are his own -

The television coverage of the forthcoming election has hardly mentioned Scottish issues and Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), which forms the Scottish government, has not been included in the televised leaders’ debates.

from UK News:

Will a hung parliament create a serious hangover for British business?

Photo

parliamentElection day is fast approaching and with the poll gap narrowing between the Conservatives and Labour, there is a very real probability that the UK will end up with a hung parliament. For the first time since 1974, the UK may be left without clear political leadership.

- What will this really mean for British business?
- How will the markets and sterling react?
- Will a hung parliament scare off international investors?
- Could the economy survive a second general election within a year?

from UK News:

Will a Hung Parliament create a serious hangover for British business?

Photo

ParliamentElection day is fast approaching and with the poll gap narrowing between the Conservatives and Labour, there is a very real probability that the UK will end up with a hung parliament. For the first time since 1974, the UK may be left without clear political leadership.

- What will this really mean for British business?
- How will the markets and sterling react?
- Will a hung parliament scare off international investors?
- Could the economy survive a second general election within a year?

from UK News:

Taking Twitter’s political temperature

Photo

Britain's first live television debates between the leaders of the three mainstream political parties are not the only new feature to add spice to the upcoming general election, which Prime Minister Gordon Brown today announced will be held on May 6.

The 2010 vote is also the first time politicians and their strategy teams have had to factor in the micro-blogging site Twitter.com. The social media tool, which did not exist at the time of the last election in 2005, now has over 75 million users who between them sent four billion tweets in the first quarter of 2010.

from UK News:

Budget for votes riskily delays UK debt pain

Photo

BRITAIN-BUDGET/-- The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Alistair Darling promised no election "giveaways" and in one sense he delivered. The UK finance minister's budget is about not giving away the election. It might have been worse -- if Darling had acceded to his boss Gordon Brown's even more populist instincts. But there are vote-seeking swipes at high earners and banks, as well as a crowd-pleasing but misguided tax cut to first-time house-buyers. The UK's budget-balancing pain is being postponed and concealed. And that's risky.

Send your questions to George Osborne

Photo

osborneShadow Chancellor George Osborne will set out the Conservative Party’s strategy for rebuilding the UK economy in an exclusive Thomson Reuters Newsmaker at 11 a.m. on Monday, October 26.

We will bring you full coverage of Osborne’s speech, including a live video feed and blog, after which we will conduct a short social media interview with him.

  •