First 100 Days
We are currently 71 days into this government and beginning to see its true colours. The “100 days” mark will occur during recess, so possibly it is worth reviewing how this “One Nation” government is doing.
- The BBC (a favourite friend of the Conservatives – and of Labour!) is to be “reviewed”
- It transfers – by ministerial diktat – the cost of free TV licences to the BBC – nice move! Any future changes will not be the Government’s fault – but the BBC’s.
- It chooses – again by ministerial diktat – an “interesting” panel to do the review that seems full of the BBC’c critics and competitors.
- The Freedom of Information Act (another favourite friend of ministers of all political colours) is to be “reviewed”
- It chooses – again by ministerial diktat – an “interesting” panel to do the review that seems full of the Freedom of Information Act’s critics.
- It declares that it wants to remove in-work tax credits
- without taking fully compensating action against poverty employers
- It announces a small rise in the “minimum wage” and renames it the “National Living Wage”. Neat move – they undermine the “Living Wage” which is intended to be a separate “conscience level” (calculated according to the basic cost of living) distinct from the “Minimum Wage” “exploitation level” (ref: Mark Littlewood of IEA)
- It announced the killing off of student maintenance grants.
- It defers plans for a very modest plan to support care costs for the elderly.
- It announces deferral of transport improvements in the North (arguably known about prior to the election)
- improvements key to the creation of Gideon Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse.
- It announces a diktat that any metropolitan region wanting devolution must adopt an executive mayoral structure.
- This is a structure that is regularly rejected when put to referenda.
- It rejects a plea by 93 councils in England and Wales for the highest stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to be cut from £100 to £2.
- the campaign wanted to prevent betting shops taking over deprived areas.
- these betting terminals can take thousands of pounds per hour off individual punters
- It puts the snooper’s charter and similar moves back on the agenda.
- It attempted to make it easier for hunts to enjoy their “sport”.
- It back-tracks on support for Greener Energy
- It announces changes in Inheritance Tax which mean that if you do not need to sell your home to go into care you effectively get a tax-free allowance of up to £1M (if you are fortunate enough to have that amount of assets).
Life has of course been easier for the Conservatives because two of the opposition parties went absent without leave. The smallest of the two, the Liberals are now under new leadership – just before the recess, but we are only half-way through the Labour Party’s near never-ending process to select a leader.
You may not like the Conservatives; their claim to stand for “One Nation Government” seems shabby, but you have to admire their political ability to use a “majority” based not on the support of 40% of those eligible to vote but on the support of 24% of the electorate.