Category: Blog

‘Trading Matters!’, by David Collins

This week as David Davis met the EU’s chief negotiator, much of the initial exchange will seem to be a side show – with the politics of holding the EU together dominating the EU approach, while Britain should focus on its future trade arrangements. Here, David Collins considers the legal issues involved with the UK’s post-Brexit trade opportunities, focusing on a UK-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the UK’s status within the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Given limited legal obstacles there is every likelihood that an FTA with Europe will be achieved within the next few years. Even without one, the UK should do very well as an independent member of the WTO. It will also be able to form mutually advantageous trading agreements with other countries, maximizing the gains from trade. The publication presents a checklist for strategies for the UK government to pursue in the coming months with a view to achieving the smoothest and most beneficial Brexit possible… Read on

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‘Public Sector Pay – To Cap or Not to Cap? ‘, by Anthony Coombs

As the government resists pressure to bury the public sector pay cap, Anthony Coombs, Chairman of S&U plc, suggests there is more to the matter than the political battle between ‘blue’ and ‘red’ in a special featured piece. Read here

… The Commons debate on a Labour motion to amend the Queen’s speech to lift the four year cap on public sector pay, gave a sad example of this important and pressing debate stifling British political tribalism.

In the blue corner, the new Government defending this cornerstone of austerity, designed to save up to £5 billion per annum by 2020 – but uneasily aware that the General Election had undermined its political, if not economic, imperative. In the red corner, Labour, traditional defenders of the State and its denizens, with a dash of nostalgia for Clause Four, brazenly playing recent terrorist attacks and the tragedy at Grenfell Tower to condemn Tory austerity, service cuts and general grad-grindedness to the noble public sector worker …

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‘OFFA’s Topsy-Turvy World’, by John Marenbon

This week Les Ebdon, the director of OFFA (the Office for Fair Access, which regulates how universities choose their undergraduates) has just published his annual report. It contains two pieces of disquieting information. In 2014-15 the proportion of students from disadvantaged families who dropped out of university was much higher than those from well-off backgrounds, and only 52% of black students achieved a first or 2:1, as compared to 76% of white students. These statistics are open to a variety of explanations.

Students from disadvantaged backgrounds may be more worried about building up debt and so more likely to choose to give up early (though many of them receive special financial help). Some black students may not settle as well as white ones into university culture. Or perhaps, although conscious racial prejudice is rare in higher education, there is an unconscious prejudice, which consists in expecting less academically from black students, or of being reluctant to criticize their work, from the very fear of seeming prejudiced – with the result that black students may achieve less highly than they might have done….Read on

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‘Cliff Edge Corbyn’, by Bernard Jenkin MP

As the Left go into overdrive about the prospects of a Corbyn led government, Bernard Jenkin MP explains that the real battle to leave the EU is about to begin.

We are on the brink of Corbyn. That is the central political effect of the general election result. Labour clearly believes this, and they will do everything possible to bring it about. This should concentrate the minds of every sensible being in the British Establishment.

With this in mind, it is unsurprising that we Conservatives are now collecting ourselves, to sustain Mrs May’s administration for the indefinite future. Over the next few days, I expect we will win the votes on the Queen’s Speech, with the support of the DUP, whether or not there is a formal agreement. And then within the next few weeks, we will see the Second Reading vote on the Great Repeal Bill, and the vote on the all important timetable for the passage of the bill through the Commons. It was the inability of John Major’s government to obtain a “guillotine” to curtail debate on the Maastricht Treaty bill that so discredited the authority of his EU policy… Read on

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‘A Historic Queen’s Speech!’, by Chris Chope MP

Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech will be the last before the UK leaves the EU. In this special blog, Chris Chope, MP for Christchurch and a lawyer by profession, anticipates its tone of optimism for Britain’s future.

Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech will be the last before the UK has left the EU in March 2019. The decision of the Government to have a long first session of Parliament, as was done in 2010, is a wise one. It will make the Brexit Parliamentary process easier. There will be no opportunity for mischief-makers in the House of Lords to use time as a weapon to derail the UK’s departure from the EU customs union and its internal market. Europhiles continue to try to confuse the public by referring to the single market. It is, indeed, a single internal market for EU members. When we leave we will be outside it but able to access it in the same way as EU countries will be able to access the UK single market… Read on

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