Displaying items by tag: Government

Friday, 12 August 2022 11:05

Cost of living crisis and cutting taxes

Public finances are under pressure from a predicted recession. Both PM candidates agree that people will need help with the cost of living this autumn, but tax cuts will only bring relief to taxpayers. Cutting health and social care levies gives no money to pensioners or anyone earning less than £12,570. The new prime minister will not start the job for another four weeks. The candidates are coming under increasing pressure to spell out their plans. Gordon Brown recently said an emergency budget was urgently needed and that Boris Johnson, Ms Truss and Mr Sunak must agree on one now. A financial time bomb will explode with the October energy price cap. Loughborough University’s Prof Hirsch said, ‘It is urgent for the next prime minister to ensure families have enough to live through this crisis and beyond.’ Some will be £1,600 worse off per year. On 11 August government ministers met with energy giants, focusing on how energy companies can alleviate pressure on consumers: see

Published in British Isles
Friday, 12 August 2022 10:40

Mass migration has cost Britain dear

Some say that failure to plan for the millions of people coming to Britain is behind our current woes. Twenty years ago, Migration Watch UK said Britain could expect over two million immigrants every ten years unless curbs were introduced. The Home Office denounced the prediction, but the actual increase is far greater. Since 2002, the UK's population has grown by eight million. 80% of which is attributed to immigration: but no one talked about it. At the 2001 general election, parties promised ‘not to play the race card’ during their campaigns, so the impact of extensive immigration was closed. By the 2005 election it could not be ignored. Population increase is now the fastest in history. Recruiting overseas professionals (doctors, teachers, etc.) helps support our growing needs. However, the extra hospitals, schools, GP surgeries, houses, transport links and the like that are required for such a large number of people have not been provided in sufficient quantity.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 15 July 2022 09:47

Sri Lanka: financial and leadership crisis

The prime minister, the president with his family, and his brother the finance minister all fled the country after thousands stormed the president’s residence, demanding their removal for mismanaging the economy and causing Sri Lanka’s financial ruin. The nation hoped these departures would end the family dynasty that has dominated Sri Lanka's politics for two decades. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, speaking from the Maldives, said he would step down by 13 July but his resignation letter did not arrive, causing further clashes between riot police and protesters in which 84 were injured and one killed. A curfew is in place in a bid to ward off any further protests and troops secured the parliament building in armoured personnel carriers. If Mr Rajapaksa resigns as planned, Sri Lankan MPs have agreed to elect a new president on 20 July to serve until 2024. There is concern that if the president does not publicly quit, the people will continue demonstrating and the military will be increasingly involved.

Published in Worldwide

Sats results show year 6 standards in reading, writing and maths have slipped in England since the pandemic. 59% of pupils met the expected level. The government says the Sats results were as expected due to the pandemic and there is ‘more work to do’ to help pupils catch up. By 2030 it wants 90% of children leaving primary school to have the expected standards in reading, writing and maths. Unions said further investment in schools and teaching staff was needed to achieve that target. The government said it values the work teachers up and down the country are putting into education recovery. £5bn has been allocated to help pupils catch up and children struggling in English and maths will ‘receive the right evidence-based targeted support to get them back on track’. The education unions and former advisor Sir Kevan Collins said the recovery fund falls short of what was required - around £15bn.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 08 July 2022 06:09

Sri Lanka: People flee the bankrupt nation

Sri Lanka will soon have 60% inflation. The Prime Minister said the nation is bankrupt and he does not expect a bailout from the International Monetary Fund. He believes he can turn the economy around, but 2023 will be tough with improvements in 2024. People queue for days to get fuel. Sadly a man who had lived in his car for five days queuing for gas died in his car and no one realised it. Things became this bad due to political mismanagement and corruption. As food, fuel, and medicine prices increase, people are escaping by boat to India or Australia. In India, people are kept in refugee camps. Rulers have mismanaged Sri Lanka for 10 to 15 years and borrowed money from China, but up to 30% of it never reached its purpose. People have lost faith in the government and their traditional religions. Meanwhile, Christians meet to pray for economic and spiritual revivals.

Published in Worldwide

To strengthen international efforts to ensure freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), the government will host an international conference in London on 5 and 6 July. Promoting FoRB is one of the UK’s long-standing human rights priorities. The government remains deeply concerned about the severity and scale of violations and abuses in many parts of the world. Persecuting or discriminating against people for their religion or belief is often linked to other foreign and development policy challenges. The summit will gather politicians and campaigners from over 50 countries to continue to make progress on the issue. This year the organisers are being approached by diplomatic representatives from countries with historically poor records on religious freedom and who aren't part of the alliance, saying they want to come.

Published in British Isles

A statutory body set up to monitor and review EU citizens’ rights after Brexit will review Home Office rules impacting 2.5 million European nationals living in the UK. The Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA) is challenging the Home Office decision to remove the rights of people living in the UK for less than five years before Brexit if they do not apply in time for permanent residency status. The rules mean they would be classed as undocumented migrants and lose their rights to reside, work, rent property or access services including the NHS. At worst, they could face deportation. The IMA argued the rules were a breach of the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU, which guaranteed the rights of EU citizens who were in the country before Brexit. There is also a real issue as to the potential application of EU law in the interpretation of the withdrawal agreement.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 01 July 2022 15:04

USA: Global reaction to abortion ruling

The US's overturning of women’s rights to abortion is reverberating globally, with activists on both sides of the debate responding. In 1978 Italy legalised abortion. The current rise of politics, closer to the Catholic church, has brought it back into focus, and the US decision is rumbling in Italy. A former foreign minister said it showed the risk in Italy of moving backwards and ‘losing achievements that seemed permanent’. But on the right, ‘A great victory’, declared Simone Pillon, hoping Italy and Europe would follow suit. In Ireland, America’s ruling triggered a swift, passionate response, stirring deep emotions where abortion was only recently decriminalised. Many vocal Irish campaign groups and activists still exist on both sides. A pro-abortion rights' activist in El Salvador, where abortion is banned in all cases said, ‘This will embolden the most conservative groups in our countries who consistently deny women rights.’ In Canada and India similar loud debates are being discussed in the media, Twitter and online.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 23 June 2022 23:39

Coal mine for Cumbria?

In April a deadline of 7 July was set for a decision on whether to go ahead with a new coal mine in Cumbria. The proposed mine would remove coking coal, which is used for the production of steel in the UK and Europe, from beneath the Irish Sea. Around 40% of this type of coal needed by the UK is imported from Russia. Meanwhile, West Cumbria is crying out for skilled, long-term, well-paid private-sector jobs. ‘Digging down to level up’ is often quoted; it is the idea that geography should not be destiny, and regional inequalities should be lessened. In light of the war in Ukraine, boosting energy security and reducing the UK's dependence on Russia need to be considered. The Government may also be reconsidering the commitment to net-zero-carbon emissions by 2050. Coal is widely seen as one of the dirtiest and most polluting energy sources. See also

Published in British Isles
Friday, 17 June 2022 09:56

Nigeria: kidnapping and ransom demands

The Nigerian government is about to pass a bill that will punish those who pay ransoms with up to fifteen years in prison. It would also give a death sentence to those who commit abductions. Armed groups have kidnapped hundreds of people for ransom across Nigeria over the last two years. Most recently, a ransom of $240,000 was paid by the Nigerian Methodist Church after eight gunmen abducted its head, His Eminence Samuel Kanu, and two other pastors while they were on their way to the airport in Nigeria’s southeastern state of Abia. The clergymen’s driver and one other church member managed to escape. The 69-year-old recounted how the abductors showed them the rotted bodies of previous victims, threatening to do the same with him. Archbishop Chibuzo Opoko, who heads the Methodist church in Abia State, said paying the ransom was necessary.

Published in Worldwide
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