Annabel Denham

Annabel Denham is deputy comment editor at the Daily Telegraph

The Tories must get serious about welfare reform

You can’t fault Mel Stride for trying. Conscious that our current levels of worklessness are neither sustainable nor likely to win the Tories plaudits at the next general election, the Work and Pensions Secretary has been proposing a range of wild and wacky solutions. In February, it was reported the government would be expanding ‘midlife

How to avoid repeating the mistakes of the HS2 fiasco 

Rishi Sunak has finally slayed the white elephant that is HS2 or, perhaps more accurately, cut off its hind legs by scrapping the northern leg. It’s been a tortuous process: remember the proposals to link it with HS1 to Europe (March 2014), the spur to Heathrow Airport, and the Eastern leg to Leeds? The hope

The BMA isn’t striking to protect patients or the NHS, just itself

What a fall from grace. Three years ago, the British Medical Association (BMA) could barely put a foot wrong. It could moralise over Tory failures – austerity, health inequalities, poverty, chronic underfunding of the NHS, mishandling of the pandemic – and even Tory politicians would quietly nod along. Its members were national heroes, even angels

The problem with the ‘right to strike’

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has vowed to report the government to the UN workers’ rights watchdog over its controversial strikes bill, but how seriously can we take this threat? The TUC’s leader, Paul Nowak, certainly sounds like a man on a mission: earlier this year, Nowak claimed the legislation was ‘almost certainly illegal’, a

The SNP’s four day week won’t work

Pigs will surely sooner fly over Glasgow Pollok than business will take inspiration from Humza Yousaf’s approach to running government. Nonetheless, the claim made by Scotland’s First Minister and his advisers is that moving state employees to a four-day week could be a catalyst for the private sector to follow suit. In the clearest sign yet that

‘Lazy girls’ aren’t what’s hurting the British economy

The current government will do almost anything to avoid reforming welfare or the NHS. Last month, we were informed school leavers might be allowed to train as doctors without a traditional medical degree in an ill-conceived cosplay scheme. And it was reported yesterday that GPs may be encouraged to refer patients to life coaches, rather

The BMA shouldn’t look down on cleaners

During the lockdown, there was a cohort of workers who toiled through the night in what was described as a ‘fairly thankless job that is taken for granted day to day.’ Those workers were cleaners, who decontaminated buses and trains so that commuters could remain safe. We didn’t clap for them on our doorsteps, nor did they even

Is Labour really a credible government-in-waiting?

How long do you give it before Labour abandon their promise of golden hellos for new teachers? Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson has insisted their proposed £2,400 welcome bonus wheeze will be fully costed, funded by a tax raid on fee-paying schools. It is not yet clear whether Labour has considered that putting private education beyond

The Bank can’t blame wages for out of control inflation

After a bruising week, perhaps Andrew Bailey could take some solace in Rishi Sunak’s interview with Laura Kuenssberg this weekend. For a start, the Prime Minister threw his support behind the Bank of England governor, after senior figures within the Conservative party accused Bailey of being ‘asleep at the wheel’. But it was also a

Ministers are addicted to intervention

This week Rishi Sunak ruled out direct government intervention to protect homeowners from impending catastrophe. It’s a welcome development – bailing out mortgage debtors would be financially ruinous and grossly unfair on renters. But just a few days ago the Prime Minister was ordering banks to shield borrowers from surging rates, and the Treasury still insists that

Starmer’s economic promises would spell disaster for the UK

Britain is paying a terrible price for two decades of fiscal incontinence. Our borrowing costs have risen to the highest amongst advanced economies. Core inflation (which excludes food and energy) is actually rising. Mortgage costs are spiking as expectations mount that interest rates will be raised once again. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has conceded he would be

‘Protect the NHS’: The nanny state is waging war on life’s pleasures

British political discourse has barely progressed since David Cameron told voters in 2010 that he represented the ‘party of’ our revered healthcare service.  Over the past few weeks we’ve heard pledges – all clearly with an election in mind – ranging from the inconsequential to the ridiculous. Tired promises about community-led treatment. Receptionists-turned-‘care navigators’. School leavers

Forget the EU: Britain’s own red tape is strangling the economy

Ministers are considering scrapping the EU Working Time Directive. The news has been met with predictable howls from the usual suspects. This is the ‘health and safety’ law which limits most people’s working hours to 48 hours a week on average, including overtime. It has long been unpopular with employers, who warn it stifles productivity

Our nanny state holds back Britain’s young

Clever people often believe that their cleverness gives them the right to control other people. Nowhere is this more manifest than in nanny state Britain.  So fixated was Public Health England on shielding us from our own bad decisions that when an infectious disease arrived on our shores the quango was woefully unprepared. Junk food advertising bans

Junior doctors’ pay demands aren’t reasonable

Is a 35 per cent pay rise reasonable? That’s the question which, rightly or wrongly, is at the heart of the junior doctors row.  We are part way through a 96-hour walkout which the NHS national medical director for England warned would cause ‘unparalleled levels of disruption’. Coming straight after the Easter weekend, coinciding with Ramadan

In defence of landlords

Whisper it millennials, but YIMBYism (Yes In My Back Yard) might be gathering momentum. Recent surveys have found more people agree than disagree that there is a housing crisis in their local area, and more would support building houses than oppose it.  They may be given the chance to do so. Last year, government announced plans to

Sadiq Khan’s green vision risks impoverishing Britain

Earlier this week, Chris Skidmore and Sadiq Khan announced they were ‘teaming up’ to defeat the politicians they believe are attempting to thwart climate action. In an article for the Guardian, the duo has put aside political differences to ‘set an example’ of what is possible. Those differences could be disputed: the Conservative member for Kingswood is further to

Who will pay for Hunt’s ‘free’ childcare hours?

People love free stuff. Why wouldn’t they? Free healthcare, free education, free childcare – what’s not to like? Expanding free childcare hours doesn’t change the fact that a full-time nursery place costs around £15,000 a year Of course, government provides nothing for free. When the economist Milton Friedman appropriated the adage ‘there’s no such thing

In defence of the supermarket

Supermarkets are once again back in the firing line. Henry Dimbleby, the Leon co-founder turned government food tsar, has blamed the current food shortages on their ‘weird culture’. When food is scarce UK supermarkets won’t raise their prices, he claimed. It leads to growers selling less here and more in Europe, exacerbating shortages. He wasn’t alone