Kemi Calls in Intellectual Support to Resist Woke Policy Skew in Government

As the two-year anniversary of the Sewell Report approaches, and with Nicola Sturgeon’s Gender Recognition Bill threatening women-only spaces across the UK, Guido is happy to report that Kemi Badenoch has beefed up her team in the Equalities Unit by appointing Nikki Da Costa and Mercy Muroki as Policy Fellows. Two warriors in the culture war on the side of the angels.

Nikki has served as the Director of Legislative Affairs for two PMs, has huge experience navigating parliament, and speaks a whole lot of sense on women’s issues. Mercy has a Masters from Oxford on Social Policy and was one of the Commissioners on Tony Sewell’s mould-breaking Race and Ethnic Disparities Commission, who – to the disgust of much of the Labour Party and the woke left – found that Britain was “not an institutionally racist country”.

With nearly every charity, chattering class pundit and academic ready to slaughter anyone with a dissident view on women and equalities issue regardless of what they say, this Government can use all the outside expertise it can get…

mdi-timer 9 January 2023 @ 15:26 9 Jan 2023 @ 15:26 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
‘Independent’ OBR Chairman’s Love-In with Left-Wing Torsten Bell

Now the Office for Budget Responsibility isn’t even trying. This morning, less than a day after the Autumn Statement, the OBR’s Chairman Richard Hughes held a fireside chat with none other than Torsten Bell at the latter’s left-of-centre think tank, the Resolution Foundation. The same Resolution Foundation that spends its days pushing for ever-higher welfare payments and attacking every Tory chancellor since George Osborne.

Why would Hughes appear at the Resolution Foundation, flanked by Resolution Foundation employees and effectively endorsing the Resolution Foundation, when he’s running an ‘independent’ body that blesses every policy coming out of the Treasury? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he used to work there, spending his days co-authoring reports on the horrors of Brexit and rubbing shoulders with the man who used to be Ed Miliband’s policy director. You can perhaps wonder if Kwasi Kwarteng had legitimate suspicions about the OBR/Resolution Foundation marking his homework. The Resolution Foundation has a left-leaning ideological position, plain as day. Even the BBC thinks so…

mdi-timer 18 November 2022 @ 12:20 18 Nov 2022 @ 12:20 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Office for Budget Responsibility’s Not-So-Independent Leadership

There’s been plenty of media squawking in the last couple of weeks over the lack of an Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast in the mini-Budget. Never mind the fact the OBR didn’t even exist until 2010, without its explicit blessing, how can any fiscal policy ever be trusted?

Even a cursory look at the OBR’s personnel gives you an idea of which school of thought its leaders belong: both the chair of its Budget Responsibility Committee and its Deputy Chief of Staff are former colleagues or protégés of Torsten Bell, chief executive of the left-of-centre* Resolution Foundation (RF). Torsten Bell will be a familiar face to co-conspirators. Before he spent his days pushing for ever-higher welfare payments at the RF, Bell was Labour’s Director of Policy under Ed Miliband. For years it seemed carving Labour’s manifesto into stone would be his crowning achievement. It turns out seeing his friends land top jobs overseeing government fiscal policy has won out…

 

Richard Hughes, now the chair of the OBR’s Budget Responsibility Committee, spent a year alongside Bell at the Resolution Foundation as its research associate, where he:

  • Co-authored new fiscal rule proposals which were “urgent” because the Government was promising “a flurry of spending commitments and promises to cut taxes” in 2019.
  • Warned of the “economic disruption associated with a no deal Brexit“, and claimed it would lead to “a smaller and slower-growing economy in the long run.”
  • Claimed the impact of Brexit on the economy would be “worse than Covid” which was responsible for over 100,000 deaths.

 

Laura Gardiner, OBR Deputy Chief of Staff responsible for policy costings, expenditure, receipts and “fiscal risks“, worked for Bell for six years. In that time she:

  • Claimed it “makes sense” to bribe 25-year olds with £10,000 handoutsan £8 billion-a-year policy which was soon swept under the rug, presumably once everyone realised how bonkers it was.
  • Attacked the government for “the era of austerity“, and proposed reforming Universal Credit. Learned plenty from her days alongside Bell, obviously.
  • Served as a “Lambeth Equality Commissioner“.

It baffles Guido that Richard Hughes was recruited to head the OBR from an organisation, the Resolution Foundation, which has been unremittingly critical of every Tory chancellor since George Osborne. Is it any wonder that Kwasi didn’t fancy having his plans benchmarked by known ideological opponents who favoured staying in the EU and egalitarian redistribution on a gargantuan scale. It doesn’t take a great insight to guess what the OBR will say when a budget that doesn’t align with their values and objectives lands on their desks…

*David Willets, the foundation’s president, is used as a token Tory shield against accusations it is a left-wing campaigning organisation. Guido would not go as far as to say Two Brains is a useful idiot, he is however an ideological fig-leaf…

mdi-timer 3 October 2022 @ 16:35 3 Oct 2022 @ 16:35 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Check Your Council’s Rich List Performance

The annual Council Rich List is out and the data provides insights into local government. Rather than moaning about the increase in six-figure earning local officials, Guido thought we should perhaps pay tribute and applaud one council, Epping Forest, where the number of officials drawing six-figure pay packets has halved from ten to five. Guido notes that the council has not one Labour Party representative on it…

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has created this very handy interactive map so you can see for yourself how your council is performing:

They highlight that:

  • The number of officials earning over £100,000 has increased five-fold since the Council Rich List was first published. In 2007, there were 578 council officials earning above £100,000. In the last financial year, which this list covers, at least 2,921 people were employed by local authorities on this amount.
  • The number of officials earning over £150,000 has increased ten-fold since the Council Rich List was first published. In 2007 there were 64 council officials earning above £150,000, compared to 739 in the 2020-21 financial year. There are now more council officials on over £150,000 than there were total officials on over £100,000 15 years ago.

Something to contemplate when you consider your council tax bills before the local elections. Are the most effective councils really the ones with the most highest paid officials?

mdi-timer 11 April 2022 @ 09:58 11 Apr 2022 @ 09:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
City Expects Rishi to Put Economy on “Semi-Wartime Setting”

Ahead of Rishi’s Spring Forecast Statement due in two weeks, the Centre for Economics and Business Research has issued a chilling scenario analysis which calculates the likely knock on effect from Russian sanctions on global commodity prices and consequently UK inflation. They expect GDP growth this year will be halved – down from a previously forecast 4.2% in 2022 to 1.9%, with growth in 2023 reduced to zero. They calculate the reduction in GDP to cost more than £90 billion per annum…

Higher commodity prices will:

  • Reduces the level of disposable income by 1.9% in 2022 and by 2.1% in 2023. As a result they estimate disposable incomes will fall in 2022 by 4.8%, with a further fall of 1.4% in 2023. The fall in 2022 is the largest since records started in 1955.
  • The forecast fall in living standards this year is an estimated £71 billion – which amounts to £2,553 per household. The part of it due to invasion of Ukraine is about half – £35 billion (£1,259 per household) – with a further reduction from this source in 2023 of £29 billion (£1,043 per household).
  • The combined effects of sanctions and slower world trade growth reduce export growth in 2022 by 2.1% and by 0.5% in 2023. Export growth was previously predicted to be 3.0% this year and 0.4% next so these combined impacts more or less wipe out the predicted export growth.
  • Inflation by Q4 2022 is likely to be 4.1 percentage points higher than CEBR previously forecast. They now expect quarterly CPI inflation to hit 8.7% in Q2 and to remain above 7% until Q1 2023.
  • The CEBR now expects the Bank of England to guide interest rates to 1.25% in 2024 rather than the previous forecast of 2%.

CEBR’s analysis was based on oil and other commodities being at lower prices than they actually are today. Rishi is going to be under pressure to put the economy on a semi-wartime setting in his spring statement…

mdi-timer 8 March 2022 @ 12:45 8 Mar 2022 @ 12:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Taxpayers’ Alliance Invites Starmer to Join

As the Tories become the party of tax and spend it’s noticeable that Starmer’s essay references a newfound emphasis on keeping taxes low for workers and being careful when spending taxpayers’ money. Here’s a flavour of some extracts:

Why when government departments are funded by taxpayer money are we so lax about ensuring that money is spent appropriately? …

There can surely be no greater example of the misplaced priorities and hubris of this government than the fact it is currently spending hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayer money on a vanity yacht when that money could be spent on tackling anti-social behaviour. 

The government should treat taxpayer money as if it were its own. The current levels of waste are unacceptable.

Starmer seems to have even come to appreciate capitalism:

The role of government is to be a partner to private enterprise, not stifle it.

All very encouraging. Guido asked the wonks at the Taxpayers’ Alliance to have a read of Starmer’s 12,300 word-long Fabian essay and tell him what they thought:

Looking at the report, the comments on waste, transparency and efficiency in the public sector through technology are welcome. One line also mentions that Labour wants the low-paid to keep more of the money they earn.

On the other hand:

Our concerns would include the commitment to increasing the minimum wage, emphasis on significantly more public spending to tackle climate change and increased role of the government in business. He also promises to buy, make and sell in Britain – a fundamentally a protectionist policy and means taxpayers don’t get best value for money.

They have, however, decided that on balance Starmer’s newfound commitment to low taxes means he would be welcome to join the thousands of members of the Taxpayers’ Alliance. Starmer can register his support here!

mdi-timer 23 September 2021 @ 11:08 23 Sep 2021 @ 11:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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