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Category: News & Articles

  • December 7, 2010

    Testing times for coalition cohesion

    The following article was posted this morning on Critical Reaction, an online blog which commissions pieces from a wide range of authors on politics, culture and books: Formulating an acceptable policy on tuition fees was never going to be an easy task. There were far too many hostages to fortune given before the General Election for that. It is also worth remembering that the opt-out in the Coalition Agreement applies implicitly only to Lib Dems outside the government and expressly to the outcome of Lord Browne’s Report. Yet these proposals have already been watered down considerably at the behest of the Liberal Democrats. ...
  • December 3, 2010

    A wake up call for the national game

    So the recriminations begin in earnest. Only our elimination from the footballing competition proper brings more soul-searching than the repeated failures of England to secure the right to host the World Cup since 1966. First in line the media. The Sunday Times and BBC’s Panorama investigations about FIFA corruption will be regarded as pivotal. Next the process itself. For the first time FIFA insisted that the decisions about hosting the 2018 and 2022 tournaments should be made at the same time. Those wily Russians and Qataris cut their deals...
  • November 30, 2010

    The next financial crisis is now upon us

    An abridged version of the following article appeared in this morning's City AM. To view it, click here. Last week a few unpalatable home truths began to become apparent to the UK political class. Nevertheless, the acute financial woes in Ireland are likely to prove a side-show to a much more serious sovereign debt crisis that threatens to engulf European financial markets in the months ahead. Outside the single currency the UK may smugly stand, but as this drama unfolds it is clear we will be directly affected. Some 55% of our external trade is with the Eurozone and our exports are likely to become considerably less competitive as the Euro depreciates ...
  • November 23, 2010

    The true cost of the UK’s liabilities

    Last week, ConHome noted the absence of any questions at PMQs about Britain’s role in a potential bailout of Ireland. With the possibility of the UK contributing billions of pounds to help shore up our near neighbour’s economy, the Opposition leadership instead focussed all six of their questions on police numbers. It was an episode symptomatic of our increasing national immunity to big figures. The more we have read about ‘billions’ over the course of the financial crisis...
  • November 18, 2010

    Mark writes for Daily Telegraph

    Mark was featured in this morning's Daily Telegraph discussing his concerns for the future of our financial services industry. We have posted a copy of his article in the Newspaper section of this website but you can...
  • November 3, 2010

    Mark stands up for the City

    Mark will be launching a defence of the City this afternoon in a Westminster Hall debate he has tabled on rebalancing the economy. Previewed on the front page of this morning's City AM, the paper's editor, Allister Heath, said 'His excellent speech is unusually brave and lucid. Others must now stand up for London’s most important industry, taxpayer and employer'. We shall be posting Mark's full speech online tomorrow but in the meantime it can be previewed on the blogs of City AM, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.
  • October 28, 2010

    Flexibility on Immigration

    The wisdom of the Coalition’s strict monthly cap on skilled immigration is the hottest topic for many of my commercial constituents. For multinational businesses, a liberal immigration policy is the litmus test for the proposition that the UK is ‘open for business’. Surely, my associates suggest, a cap is at odds with the government’s passionate commitment to economic growth. The apparent softening of the government’s stance on the cap this week to reflect this widely-held sentiment has been subject to press criticism...
  • October 28, 2010

    Housing Benefit

    Following a contribution he made to a Westminster Hall debate on Wednesday on housing investment, Mark's comments on the government's cap on housing benefit were picked up in a number of media reports. The speech he made has been copied below so that constituents can read his words verbatim. In short, Mark robustly supports capping the amount that can be claimed on housing benefit at £20 000 per annum. He believes reform of the housing system is...
  • October 20, 2010

    The first cut is the deepest?

    There has been furious activity in recent days amongst the ConHome community with claim and counterclaim about the extent of the cuts. So just how severe can we expect this week’s Comprehensive Spending Review to be? For sure the unrelenting austerity message risks undermining business confidence, which urgently needs to be boosted by a growth strategy and a consistent recovery plan. Moreover, the fall-out of the likely future spending cuts, especially in terms of public sector employment, cannot readily be dismissed as minor fiscal tinkering...
  • October 14, 2010

    Welfare reform never comes cheap

    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...