Ed Holmes

Obsorne’s banking reforms are only the start of a solution

‘The most far-reaching reforms of British banking in modern history.’ That’s how George Osborne called it in Parliament this afternoon, in a statement that contained few surprises. What the government’s doing, in large part, is to follow exactly the recommendations contained in September’s Vickers Report. But is that really as far-reaching, or as radical, as

Vince Cable dances with the unions

The Business Secretary’s words to the GMB union today about the government’s reluctance to reform Britain’s antiquated trade unions laws could hardly have been more modest. He called for a ‘mature and productive relationship’ with the trade union movement. Given the reception he received, this seems like wishful thinking (we at Policy Exchange had a

Allowing growth, not forcing it

What is a “Budget for Growth,” and how can one be delivered? These questions have been preoccupying civil servants across Whitehall, policy folk in think tanks, and the press since the coalition announced in November that it would be reporting back on its “Growth Review” in the 2011 Budget. While foreign events rightly moved discussion

A second national debt that needs to be dealt with

Public sector workers will be waiting nervously for John Hutton’s pension review, due out tomorrow.  It is likely to mandate extra pension contributions of around 2.5-3.5 percent of pay and new ways to make entitlements grow more slowly.  Policy Exchange advocated a similar solution in a report published last year.  Predictably, the TUC is up

Protecting the silent majority – and the Royal Wedding

David Cameron made significant waves yesterday both at Prime Minister’s Questions and in a Sun article about reforming Britain’s antiquated trade union laws.  He was responding to a favoured tactic of the new wave of militant trade unionists: threatening action at times that most inconvenience or imperil the safety of the general public.  We have

When public safety is threatened, strikes should be banned

The Fire Brigade’s Union (FBU) have called for strike action in London during the busiest firefighting night of the year: Bonfire Night.  Attempts to renegotiate work patterns (already changed in several fire brigades but unchanged in London for thirty years) have been hysterically termed ‘sacking’ all London firefighters by the union.  Rather like the threatened

Osborne blunts the axe – slightly

As expected, the Chancellor announced reductions in public spending – though not quite as severe as indicated in the Emergency Budget last June.  Government expenditure will fall by 3.3 percent over four years rather than 3.6 percent as expected, leading George Osborne to state – correctly – that departmental budgets will be higher than those

Reforming Britain’s antiquated industrial relations laws

The TUC Conference rumbles on with some rather blood-curdling statements about the future of industrial relations in Britain.  The RMT leader Bob Crow called for a campaign of civil disobedience and spoke of ‘confronting… the enemy’.  The PCS’ Mark Serwotka has spoken of a ‘campaign of resistance the likes of which we will not have

A credible start

Today’s Emergency Budget announced the most ambitious fiscal consolidation programme in decades.  It sets out a framework returning the government broadly to a state of fiscal solvency by 2014.  To do this, George Osborne announced a deficit reduction programme amounting to just over £100 billion in real terms – entirely in line with our recommendations. 

Why a public sector pensions levy makes sense

Today’s papers are awash with stories that a public sector pensions levy will be announced in tomorrow Emergency Budget. Trade unions have already issued dire warnings, ranging from the PCS’s promise to “organise the widest possible popular opposition,” to Bob Crow of the RMT’s rather prosaic: “when someone’s winding up to give you a kicking