It was fitting on the day that Channel 4's documentary Benefits Street aired its first episode, Chancellor George Osborne announced a further round of £25 billion worth of spending cuts. Coming mostly from the welfare budget, Osborne said 2014 would be the year of 'hard truths.'
So I'd like to introduce Mr Osborne to few people: Shaun Pilkington shot himself after his Employment and Support Allowance was stopped. Tim Salter ...
Either it's an election year, or Nick Clegg has suddenly discovered some principles. This week, George Osborne announced that there would be another £25 billion in spending cuts after the 2015 general election and around half of that would come from the welfare budget. For Clegg, who must have been given a spine at Christmas, it was apparently the straw that broke the camel's back.
The UK House of Lords EU Subcommittee on Economic and Financial Affairs this week came out railing against the financial transaction tax (FTT), which would place a 0.1% tax on trades in shares and a 0.01% tax on derivatives trades. George Osborne described it as "economic suicide". He is wrong. Not adopting an FTT would be economic suicide.
In last week's autumn statement, Chancellor George Osborne was able to showboat the supposed successes of his austerity-driven financial agenda and renew his increasingly unlikely commitment towards balancing Britain's topsy-turvy budget. Yet while he's busy fritting away government assets and liabilities at break-neck speed, Mr Osborne appears keen to ignore a major housing crisis looming just over the horizon. It won't be pretty.
Recent news that Britain is lagging behind its Asian counterparts in educational attainment is worrying for the UK as a whole and especially worrying for business.
George Osborne's announcement in the Autumn statement that the pension age will rise to 70 has prompted predictable populist opposition, which has bee...
In 130 pages of the Autumn Statement the Chancellor covered, as he was right to do, every major public sector programme: but there was one significant omission. A programme which now costs 8% of GDP - the National Health Service. Apart from the commitment to ring-fencing there was no single line in the whole report dedicated to the NHS.
The knives are out for the shadow chancellor. Again. But to call for him to be sacked on the basis of a single, bad Commons performance is absurd. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it is Ed Balls, not George Osborne, who has been vindicated on the economy.
In the modern age, we mark the passing away of world-famous figureheads not by our personal connection to their messages, or how our lives were affected by their action, but so often by the 'where I was when I heard' moment. For previous generations, it was the moment when JFK was shot or John Lennon gunned down. For mine, when Princess Diana died, and now the sad passing of Nelson Mandela. Except of course, that's not really the case with Madiba. As Jon Snow most eloquently wrote this week, "The impact of his death will reach far beyond the frontiers of South Africa. There will be tears, but celebration for one of the most remarkable lives of our time."
One problem is that ageing workers are widely seen as "a burden" with the focus of attention being on their chronological ages rather than their work capacity (or, to use an increasingly recognised concept, their work-ability) which can vary enormously from worker to worker of the same ages.
Thankfully the evidence is starting to show that Britain is turning a corner. We're now one of the fastest growing advanced economies in the world. Labour said this couldn't be done without growing the deficit too, but the British people have proved them wrong.
After several years of generally bad years, everyone will welcome the good news that the Statement contains. However we have good reasons to think that the medium term prospects are not as rosy as the Chancellor thinks...
After three wasted years, we have had another day of complacency from George Osborne. All we heard in a speech of nearly an hour was more evidence of the cost of living crisis and a few misplaced boasts about the state of the economy, despite the fact that this is no recovery at all for millions of families.
After all the leaking and heavy trailing of recent weeks the Autumn Statement has now been delivered to a grateful world. After all the huffing and puffing in the Commons it is worth standing back and considering the comms implications of what we have seen and heard.
I am immensely proud that we have managed to persuade policy makers of the benefits of measures such as this one announced in Thursday's Autumn Statement, benefits for young people, businesses, the Treasury and society at large.