UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Raising the pension age

BRITAIN/The Conservatives say they plan to raise the retirement age for men to 66 from 65 by 2016 if they win power, a measure that could raise 13 billion pounds to help plug the huge shortfall in the public finances.

They would also hold a review of the retirement age that could speed up further rises – potentially ushering in a state pension age for both men and women of 68 as early as 2020.

Bringing forward the increase in the retirement age will mean about 2.5 million people aged between 48 and 57 will have to work at least a year longer than they were expecting before they can get a state pension.

Do you think this is either fair or necessary? Should the money come from other cuts and savings?

Live blog: Conservative Party conference

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daveThe Conservatives will get a chance to show they are ready for office at their annual conference in Manchester. After 12 years in opposition, the party could be on the verge of returning to power in an election due by next June.

Conservative leader David Cameron has said they will set out plans this week for reducing the country’s gaping budget deficit and unveil a “massive” programme to cut unemployment.

Will the Sun win the election for the Conservatives?

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murdoch_newThe Sun trumpeted “It’s the Sun Wot Won It” after the Conservatives won the 1992 general election following the newspaper’s polling day headline “If Kinnock wins today, will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights”.

Five years later, Britain’s top-selling daily newspaper switched sides and backed Tony Blair and Labour at the next general election, remaining loyal to the centre-left party at the 2001 and 2005 elections.

from Matt Falloon:

Labour lays down policy gauntlet


The Conservatives might be wishing they could have held their party conference before Labour.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown's address to his party conference in Brighton on Tuesday has thrown down a flood of new ideas, policies and initiatives from faster cancer diagnosis to choosing how Britain votes in what read more like an mini-election manifesto than a speech.
Brown played to his strengths (policy) and avoided trying to overcome his well-known weaknesses (not much of a political entertainer) in public. Trying to be someone else could have been a disaster for a man way behind in the polls to the Conservatives.
Whether it will be enough to make any difference to the polls remains to be seen -- Labour needs a miracle there after all.
But, for now, going for the policy jugular seems to have done the trick -- giving his browbeaten party something to get excited about and hitting the Conservatives where it hurts.
David Cameron's Conservatives have been accused of not giving enough detail on how they would govern the country if the polls are correct and they are to win power next year.
They will have to start showing their hand soon if they are going to convince voters that they have the ideas to run the country and aren't just a vote for change for the sake of it.

UK unions fear future with the “enemy”

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cameronAfter more than a decade of railing against a Labour government that they feel has betrayed their shared socialist roots, British trade unions are now starting to fear what a future with a Conservative government will be like.

“They’re going to come after us like rabid dogs,” said Brian Caton, general secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association said — dubbing the Conservatives “the enemy”.

Cameron calls time on cheap beer

House of parliament Where can you get the cheapest pint in London? In a bar in parliament, according to David Cameron.

Cameron said a pint of Fosters in bars sells for only 2.10 pounds in Westminster, little over half of what you would pay outside the confines of parliament.

from The Great Debate UK:

Government must deliver on Olympic legacy promise

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robertson1- Hugh Robertson is the opposition Conservatives' Olympics spokesman. The views expressed are his own. -

With three years to go, it is remarkable that London 2012 is going so well.

London’s Olympics were launched with a massive government miscalculation that resulted in the budget having to be increased threefold, were based on a plan that required us to build two Terminal 5s in half the time and have had to contend with the worst economic recession in living memory.

Should Esther Rantzen stand for parliament?

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Television host, journalist and reality TV star Esther Rantzen is to stand as an independent candidate in the Luton South constituency at the next election.

Rantzen’s interest in running for office was sparked after the seat’s Labour MP Margaret Moran was caught up in the parliamentary expenses scandal.

Was Norwich North just a local protest vote?

At 27, the Conservative candidate in the Norwich North by-election Chloe Smith becomes the youngest MP in the Commons.

She turned Labour’s 5,000-plus majority in the seat into a 7,348-vote winning margin and keeps the Conservative bandwagon rolling. The election had been forced by the resignation of Labour MP Ian Gibson, who claimed almost 80,000 pounds in second home expenses on a London flat which he later sold at a knock-down price to his daughter.

Where would you cut public spending?

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Vows by Labour and the Conservatives to protect the NHS from spending cuts will require tax hikes or cuts to other areas, a new report shows.

Promises to “ring-fence” health spending in the lead-up to the next election — to be held before June — might lead to cuts of about 8 percent in other departments over the next six years, say researchers at the King’s Fund and the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

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