October 14, 2010
No one can accuse the government of paucity of ambition as it seeks to overhaul the paralysingly complicated array of welfare benefits. Wisely it also recognises that such wholesale reform cannot be rushed. It will – electorate willing – prove a two-term task. The holy grail of ending the welfare trap for those in the workplace, who otherwise stand to be better off claiming benefits, has been tantalisingly elusive...
September 13, 2010
The saga of Equitable Life often seems second only to ‘Bleak House’ in the annals of protracted legal process. Rummaging through my own papers the other day I realised with amazement that I had first spoken in parliament as long ago as November 2002 in defence of Equitable Life policyholders, who have been treated so shabbily. Although the scandal never affected me personally, I have received in my postbag a long and steady stream of correspondence from Equitable Life policyholders since I was first elected in 2001...
July 28, 2010
‘A Double Raid on UK Plc as Overseas Buyers Swoop’ was how the Evening Standard fearfully described both a recent bid by a US-Canadian consortium to buy British manufacturing firm, Tomkins, and the revival of merger talks between France’s GDF-Suez and the UK’s International Power. That news of either deal would have raised eyebrows in alarm a few years ago seems unlikely. And yet how the coalition government reacts to the selling of these British assets to foreign buyers is being watched with close interest....
July 5, 2010
I fear that the acute financial woes in Greece are but a side-show to a much more serious sovereign debt crisis that threatens to engulf the Eurozone in the months ahead.The lesson of this week’s global stock market jitters is that the UK, whilst proudly standing outside the Eurozone, will not be immune to its political and economic impact...
June 18, 2010
George Osborne’s month of frenetic activity at the Treasury has provided welcome reassurance to many in the City of London. The creation of the Office of Budget Responsibility is the sort of thing that gets promised in Opposition and conveniently forgotten once an election is behind us! So full credit to the Chancellor for seeing it through. However, such has been the sorry state of economic forecasting over the past couple of years ...
June 17, 2010
We now know for sure that the nation faces a huge hole in its public finances. So amidst an economic crisis that has opened wider the social divide between the haves and have nots, a rise in capital gains tax to 40% seems to be an especially easy sell...
June 9, 2010
Mark contributed to the debates following the Queen's Speech, concentrating on the economy and constitutional reform. The following is the full speech he wished to make had there been no time constraints. The shortened version will be in the Speeches section: 'Parliament has returned to a sea of fresh faces, a transformed party political landscape...
June 1, 2010
George Osborne would not have wished his early days as Chancellor to be dominated by a rearguard action at the European Parliament. Yet as the Greek economic storm swirls, further clouds are on the continental horizon as the proposed Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) - which I wrote about here last September - goes to crucial votes by MEPs today.
April 26, 2010
As we go into the third week of the election campaign, Mark has been overwhelmed by the fantastically positive response he has received across the constituency when talking to voters on the doorstep, in local pubs, at community meetings and on street stalls. He is out and about every morning, afternoon and evening in the constituency and hopes to see as many residents as possible. However, if you do not manage to see him to chat personally, you might wish to catch him at one of the following:...
April 1, 2010
Now that the dust has settled on a highly political Budget, it has become ever clearer that our nation desperately requires strong Conservative governance to put our national finances back in order. Whatever the remedies within our reach should we secure office at the imminent election, we will also have to keep a close watch on events in the global economy which will surely have a significant bearing on the British economy in the years to come...