Speaking in Cardiff recently, George Osborne warned that the UK faces a 'dangerous cocktail' of economic risks, pinning the blame on external forces such as China's slowing economy, for example. This is in stark contrast to the upbeat tone the Chancellor adopted during his Autumn Statement where you'd be forgiven for thinking the economy was thriving under the Conservatives.
My forecast is by the end of this Parliament there will be a lower percentage of homes that are owner occupied, there will be fewer social rented properties, there will be more insecurity and pressure on family budgets and we won't have built the million homes the Prime Minister promised. We should all be very worried.
Everyone deserves a home and a chance, but too many people my age in Scotland are either living at home with their parents or stuck in expensive rents unable to get that first foot on the property ladder. Home ownership is a big ambition for hundreds of thousands of Scots, but for too many people my age it remains an ambition rather than a reality.
This situation cannot and should not go on. Our railways are a public service, enabling people to get to work and linking families and friends who are separated by long distances. They can, and should, be the pathways to our business success and our engagement in leisure. Instead, they are overpriced, but underfunded. Overcrowded, but understaffed. Driven by profit, not by what is best for passengers. But there is an alternative.
I know from my own experience that universities and higher education transform the lives of individuals and shape our society for the better. In addition, with 130 higher education institutions in England, and revenues of £23.3 billion, 262,700 members of staff and two million students, universities are also powerhouses for economic growth in their own right.
My reluctant bet is that by the end of 2016 the UK will be slipping back into at least a severe slowdown. I hope to lose.
It would be dangerous to presume that everything is now just fine with our banking system. It is a huge risk to assume that it's safe to return to 'business as usual'. Politicians who believe that all we need to is to return to 'letting the bankers get on with it' may come to regret taking this view. But with memories of the 2008 banking crisis fading in some quarters, it seems that the Conservative Government thinks it can start to undo that good and necessary work.
Labour have always been the party of working people, the clue is in the name. But what about our relationship with business? Labour Business is a socialist society, affiliated to the party and at its annual dinner, Shadow Business Secretary, Angela Eagle and Labour's London Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan both gave upbeat, pro-business speeches.
The Conservatives are upbeat, but if Osborne takes over they may find they have a leader who simply cannot appeal to voters as Cameron does. He still has several years to turn this around this, but right now it seems the next election may not be a foregone conclusion, after all.
Successful economies today have governments prepared to take a strategic approach to how development takes place. The old idea that simply exposing new industries to the full blast of competition will promote their development is increasingly discredited... But the Tories are stuck in the past, and ducking the challenge. In November, the UK became the only G7 country to increase fossil fuel subsidies. We are paying out £6billion a year, almost twice the financial support we provide renewable energy providers - which we are now continuing to cut. After the deal struck in Paris over the weekend, the shift to a low-carbon economy is inevitable. The government should be supporting this transition, not hampering it.
You've probably heard a lot of rhetoric from the Tories about this supposedly "high-wage economy" they're creating. If you have, it might surprise you to hear that there are almost a quarter of a million working people in the UK getting paid less than the legal minimum to which they are entitled. Sports Direct may be just the tip of the iceberg.
Today's annual Family Spending release from the Office for National Statistics contains a wealth of useful information - and the ONS has done a good job of presenting much of that data. Below we set out the Resolution Foundation's five key charts that explain just who spent what in 2014.
In London more than a third of our trips start or end within 200 metres of a tube stop - helping complement today's public transportation infrastructure. And more than four in ten Uber journeys are now in energy efficient hybrid cars that produce less pollution... Over time this could become a real game-changer for a city where a million people still drive to work each day with nobody else in the car.
Cameron's new campaign contains no concrete plans for curtailing the above, no plans for injecting life into the economies of these communities once IS has been eradicated and no plans for bringing an end to a civil war which has displaced 9.5 million people. Thus, as seen in Ma'an, a cycle of fight or flight will continue in the absence of any genuine offering of enduring stability for the Syrian people.
Being in Europe makes Britain stronger in international trade talks. By being part of the world's largest market, standing with 500 million people, Britain is a more important trade partner for countries around the world than we would be on our own. This has been demonstrated vividly today with the signing of a new free trade agreement between the EU and Vietnam.
Employment rights are ultimately of benefit to everyone but the fee regime not only undermines those rights but actively encourages rogue employers to flout the law and I say it should be scrapped.