The austerity narrative is finally being meaningfully punctured from the front bench of the opposition. If Labour maintains this level of pressure it can expect to do rather better than its critics predict in the upcoming local elections.
The economy slows yet the government persists in following the same scorched-earth cuts policy which has already so abjectly failed. And of course this isn't just an abstract failure, to be pointed out on a graph in an economic journal, it has real human consequences.
This was not David Cameron's victory. In fact, his role in this is only just beginning. Time will tell if he is prepared to follow through and make sure that this regressive tax is finally scrapped. Working alongside my Labour colleagues in Brussels and Westminster, I'll be pushing him all the way to make sure he does.
Encouraging more saving is a worthy objective that public policy should be looking to achieve, and this kind of measure will help younger people save for both of these events. However, like other recent initiatives, such as Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantees, or Starter Homes, they provide an attractive product for consumers now, but may prove much less helpful in the long-run.
There has been a rise almost 10% in child hospital admissions for severe tooth decay in England over the last four years. Researchers have pointed to a strong correlation between area deprivation and the rate of tooth extraction. Which is why I find it bizarre that one of the main arguments deployed against the sugary drinks tax is that it will hit the poorest hardest. Irrespective of how much income people have, how is it morally sound to keep the prices of dangerous food low? Powerful companies spend a lot of money each year advertising to us and selling us sugary drinks that are giving us diabetes and more. They put them in front of us all day in train stations, newsagents, even leisure centres.It is time for society to protect itself and our children.
Quite frankly, I can't vote in an election in favour of the position put forward by members of UKIP, even if that leaves me siding with Cameron and Osborne.
It's a weird priority. Does Osborne seriously believe that in thirty years' time he could have had George Jr. Jr. bouncing on his knee, asking him "Why didn't you take action Grandpa? The science was clear for decades. The warning signs were there. Why didn't you do something about fizzy drinks?" Our Chancellor told us that this was a Budget for the next generation. If he meant it, he'd tax carbon, not carbonated drinks.
If any of these factors have more of an effect than the OBR has suggested then the Chancellor will find he has far more room for manoeuvre. I suspect that he already knows this: his largest "cuts" in response are either a re-phasing of existing commitments or subject to a review that wont publish until 2018, by which time the picture will be very different.
Did the Chancellor invest in improving our children's prospects in yesterday's Budget? Kind of. He certainly invested. Over four years he is spending £640 million on turning all schools into academies and moving to a new funding formula, £690 million on longer school days, £490 million on school sports and £80 million to improve attainment in Northern schools. Sadly, the chances of this windfall actually improving education, especially for children from low income backgrounds, is uncertain at best.
This budget will, like the last, undoubtedly see some U-turns on its most callous and unpalatable elements, which will probably be enough to satiate growing public anger and satisfy the small number of Tory MPs who threaten the government's slim majority. But the foundations of an economic recovery, built on the political expediency of a Chancellor looking to move next door and the backs of those who can afford it least, will inevitably be one built on sand.
Some of you in the HIV field may have read this. And if you haven't, read and sign. It's a letter to the Chief Executive of NHS England demanding to...
The strong opposition that Labour is providing to Tory austerity - and the credible, coherent alternative that puts investment in our future at its core - makes this, and victory in 2020, possible. Then, if we create a better, balanced economy, our children and grandchildren can grow up in a world where things get better.
Yesterday the Chancellor, George Osborne, unveiled his latest budget and Jeremy Corbyn took the Prime Minister to task on his clean energy policies. We are looking at a sugar tax, a new theatre in Merseyside, and more cuts but what did yesterday's parliamentary business tell us about the environment?
Eighteen times Mr Osborne claimed to be speaking up for "the next generation". But I cannot count the number of times I have heard from young people about the harmful effects they are suffering from this Government's policies.
The first Budget of 2016 was announced in parliament yesterday amidst the uproar that one can expect every time George Osborne makes a public appearance. - Although it doesn't cease when he's hidden behind the big shiny door of number 11 either.
The Tories have been exposed. They don't have a stable majority, they don't have the country's consent for their approach (having won the support of just 24% of eligible voters). We cannot allow George Osborne to stand up eight more times to deliver more benefits for the 1% of the richest at the cost of the rest of us, to ignore the reality of the finite environmental limits of our one fragile planet.