Digital Government Boss Regrets Lack of Women

mike bracken

The biggest mistake Government Digital Service has made in recent years is failing to hire more women according to Mike Bracken, the head of GDS. Speaking to an audience at Policy Exchange yesterday, Bracken repeatedly refused to say what GDS should have done differently during his four year tenure other than to have diversified its workforce more.

“I regret not putting forward more stridently a generation of women in GDS at the start, and then in the technology profession. I regret not starting actively on that sooner, because while you’ve got a few great emerging leaders there’s not enough.”

Techno is a fan of the GDS and, of course, an ardent supporter of women in tech, up to a point. It seems Mike Bracken has forgotten about GDS’s failure to meet even half of its targets for online services, or how they borked the Home Office Visa and Immigration site, or how they fell way short of the mark with the Verify program and failed to turn around the disastrous rural payments system. Yet the biggest problem is that ‘only’ about 40% of GDS employees are women? What is the primary mission of the GDS? Gender equality or getting things to work?

Gordon’s Tax and Benefits Mess

tax+benefits

According to an ONS release today the mythical average household is £31 better off after taxes and benefits are taken into account. Think about all the complexities of tax collection collection and benefit calculation, the bureaucracy and time wasted. It really is time for a lower, flatter, simpler, single income tax…

The statistics also confirm that after 5 years of “we’re all in it together” that Osborne has raised taxes on the richest 20% and reduced the burden on the poorest 20%.  The bottom quintile are net recipients of just over £10,000 in welfare transfers from those who actually pay taxes. Will no one stand up for the wealth creators?

Danny Blanchflower Does it Again

Guido has in the past reflected with some scepticism on Danny Blanchflower’s economic forecasting.

There’s been an election and we have a new government, so it’s only fair to offer him fresh start and a chance to prove us wrong.

Last month derpy Danny wrote in the Indy that, despite wage rises in the previous two months, “Chances are next month we will see a big drop again. I will keep you posted”.

Well?

This month’s figures out today show that “Comparing February to April 2015 with a year earlier, pay for employees in Great Britain increased by 2.7% both including and excluding bonuses”. Here is the continuing rise in wages in graph form from the ONS:

Keep us posted, Danny…

IPPR: Tax the Poor

ippr-tax-the-poor2

Labour wonkshop IPPR have published a list of policy proposals today that aim to tackle the adverse affects of the government’s low-carbon programme on low-income groups. That would be the same IPPR who have spend years pushing for the decorbonisation policies that have disproportionately screwed over Britain’s poor…

The IPPR’s solutions to the problem include public ownership of new nuclear capacity and lifting the moratorium on onshore wind farms. Gaia would expect nothing less from the place that let a wind energy company write their report on wind power…

24 Hour Drinking: In Numbers

Today’s new Institute of Economic Affairs report by Christopher Snowdon looks at the impact of 24 hour drinking. Guido has crunched the numbers into a handy infographic:

As the report finds: “Facilitating longer opening hours may have been the best thing the Labour Party ever did…”

Ben Harris-Quinney OUT of Bow Group

Following a successful round of media interviews during the election campaign, Guido understands that Bow Group chairman Been Harris-Quinney has decided to step down to spend more time with his numerous other made up jobs. Every single patron of the group blasted BHQ for his Blue-kip endorsement plan so the writing was on the wall.

Tory Wars: Bow Group Split Over UKIP Endorsement

Ben-Harris-Quinney

The oldest Tory think tank has descended into open warfare after its chairman said Conservative supporters should vote UKIP where the Tories can’t win. Earlier today Ben Harris-Quinney told the Telegraph:

“Our preference at this election is a Conservative majority, but few in the Conservative Party will acknowledge the reality that this is now very unlikely to happen… We recognise the need to keep Ed Miliband out of Number 10, and the best way to do this is for Conservative voters to lend their votes to Ukip, who are best placed to beat Labour in many areas.”

He has a point…

This evening at CCHQ’s behest four patrons of the Bow Group have kicked back at Harris-Quinney. Michael Heseltine, Michael Howard, Norman Lamont and Nirj Deva MEP said in a punchy statement:

“As Patrons of the Bow Group we believe that this country’s best interests are served by voting Conservative in all situations. Ben Harris-Quinney does not speak for us or represent our views.”

Blue on Blukip!

Labour Manifesto Author Backs Tory Right-To-Buy Policy

MARC-STEARS-ED-MILIBAND

Marc Stears, Professor of Political Theory and Fellow of University College, Oxford, is not merely an old university friend of the Labour leader, he is one of Ed’s closest advisers and his chief speech-writer. More importantly he is the co-author of the Labour manifesto.

In 2012 Stears wrote approvingly in the New Statesman about an IPPR report calling on the left to favour letting housing association tenants have a right-to-buy:

The stable patterns of social interaction that are associated with communities of ownership are preconditions for the kind of social reciprocity that the left champions, as well as the more conservative disposition that is more usually commented upon. There is, in other words, a social argument for ownership…

 An argument being made by the author of the Labour Party manifesto, for a policy appearing in Conservative Party Manifesto… 

Last night however the knee-jerk Labour twitterati collectively lost it when they heard of the Conservative manifesto commitment to introduce a right-to-buy for housing association tenants. Atul Hatwal, editor of Labour Uncut, was a lone Labour voice of sanity:

It could have been so different, the policy could have been a Labour manifesto commitment if only they had taken up the recommendation from the Labour aligned IPPR think-tank:ippr-sell-homes

The report recommended:

Extending the rights to buy, acquire and manage to all housing association homes, levelling the playing field in terms of opportunities for ownership and control in social housing… 

… there are currently over a million housing association properties which cannot be bought by their tenants through the right to buy or right to acquire (Davis and Field 2012), and the right to manage does not apply to housing association homes. Notwithstanding the legal, logistical and administrative challenges entailed, the rights to buy and acquire (with the discount rate sensibly capped) and the right to manage should be extended to all housing association homes

The authors were not wild-eyed wonks, they were Andy Hull and Graeme Cooke. Hull is a councillor in Islington and the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance and since leaving IPPR now works for Owen Jones’ left-wing Class think tank. Cooke used to be a SpAd when Labour were in government and still works for IPPR (helping to write the Condition of Britain report which inspired a lot of the Labour manifesto).

Labour tweeters attacking the Tories for putting this policy in their manifesto should know that comrades Hull and Cooke recommended this policy as a way to improve housing. Alan Milburn and Frank Field also called for the right-to-buy years ago. No doubt the Labour twitterati will say these are all irredeemable Blairites (they’re not), therefore apostate. Marc Stears however is Ed Miliband’s left-hand man and he too supports the right-to-buy for housing association tenants. 

First They Came for the Upper Decile…

top-decile

Yesterday was another orgy of “bash the rich” political populism. Once again, as the above chart from the Treasury shows, the most productive people were punished the most by the Chancellor. This is because he thinks it is good politics. It isn’t.[…] Read the rest

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Now Even the Nerds Turn On Ed Top Prof Warns Miliband Has “Failed to Perform”

If there was one voting block Ed Miliband thought he could rely on, it would be his fellow nerds, yet a four-year academic study granted access to Ed Miliband’s inner circle today concludes he has “failed to perform as a leader”.[…] Read the rest

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Ending the Migrant Worker Subsidy

immigrant-subsidy

Youth unemployment in the Eurozone’s southern victims is catastrophic, half their young have no jobs. The young are mobile, usually without children and it is entirely natural that they will seek work where it is, in fact it is admirable. The above chart highlights the lure of the UK, unskilled minimum wage workers from the EU can double or triple their wages and the British taxpayer will top up their income with a benefits/tax credit subsidy as well.[…] Read the rest

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Debating Sound Money

steve

Hayek MoneyIn the commons chamber right now Steve Baker MP is proposing the denationalisation of money. Together with colleagues spanning four parties – Michael Meacher (Lab), Caroline Lucas (Green), Douglas Carswell (UKIP) and David Davis (Con) – he has secured a debate on Money Creation and Society.[…] Read the rest

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Defusing the Debt Timebomb

Sponsored post.

Government borrowing is currently running 10% higher than last year – exacerbating the already parlous state of the UK’s public finances.

This week, as part of its 2020 Vision initiative, the Institute of Economic Affairs launched its new report, Defusing the Debt Timebomb.   […] Read the rest

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Wonk Watch: Loss of Faith But It’s No Talent PX-odus

Nick Faith is leaving his role as comms chief at the shrinking Policy Exchange to set up a new wonk shop with former Cameron adviser turned PX propeller head Sean Worth. It isn’t another talent exodus however, Faith and Worth’s Westminster Policy Institute will still work closely with their previous employer.[…] Read the rest

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Miliband Slammed for “Shameful”, “Disgraceful” Attack on Freud …But Welfare Minister Offers Grovelling Apology

Interesting that Labour’s Anne Begg admitted on Sky News that she had not been told the context of Lord Freud’s comments by party spinners, heavily caveating her criticism accordingly. The Adam Smith Institute have come out in support of Freud, condemning Labour for misrepresenting what he said:

“Lord Freud has been shamefully mistreated by Ed Miliband.

[…] Read the rest

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Finding NiMo Another Special Adviser

Nicky Morgan hid in her office while she had the three SpAds she inherited from Michael Gove sacked back in July. Now she has finished replacing them. Guido is told Morgan has hired up Holly-Lee Davis from the Centre for Social Justice – which is becoming the government holding pen once embodied by PX.[…] Read the rest

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