European Union flag

A catastrophic solution to an imaginary problem

Paola Buonadonna  |  22 October 2014

When I first arrived in Britain, to complete my education at a Scottish university, I thought I would only stay three years. After all, mutual recognition of degrees among the (then) 12 European Union member states meant my qualification would be recognised back home in Italy. But then I found a job, and after that …

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Job Centre Ellesmere Port

The problem with sanctions

Matthew Downie  |  15 August 2014

This week figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions confirmed some of Crisis’ worst fears – that benefit sanctions punishing some of the most vulnerable in our society are on the increase. Between January and March of this year, 16,000 sanctions were handed down to ill and disabled people on employment and support …

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Dole queue

Labour must be the party of the self-employed

Philip Ross  |  12 August 2014

Almost every week I seem to come across a story in the press about some super executives and their mega-salaries, which are meekly justified by their board members who insist that they are worth. The myth is that some sort of battalion of superstar executives is driving the recovery. The reality I feel is somewhat …

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Labour doorstep campaign Fiona Mactaggart

Tackling migration myths

Atul Hatwal  |  10 April 2014

Getting tone and message right is essential for discussing immigration, advises Atul Hatwal That is the toughest subject for Labour on the doorstep? It is a fair bet you have just answered ‘immigration,’ the one topic where various Labour politicians have fallen over themselves to say ‘sorry.’ Yet if some have expressed regret for the scale of migration …

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George Osborne

Not tough on crime

Jacqui Smith  |  8 April 2013

George Osborne was despicable and wrong to link the case of the killing of the Philpott children to the benefits system. Many others have rightly condemned him for this. He was wrong in what he said – and he was wrong in what he failed to say. If he wanted to comment on the case, …

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The inconvenient truth about migration

Barbara Roche  |  2 April 2013

In the past few weeks each of the party leaders have said there needs to be a public debate on immigration. Well, we’ve got one, but it’s not been a balanced debate. The emphasis has been almost exclusively on costs with little discussion of the benefits. Where the positive aspects of migration have been raised, …

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Crowd at Liverpool Street Station

The truth about migrants and benefits

Kevin Peel  |  25 March 2013

Why let the facts get in the way of a good bit of immigrant-bashing? David Cameron certainly hasn’t. His speech today either highlights a woeful lack of knowledge of existing government policy or is deliberately misleading in order to whip up hysteria and community tensions. I’ll let you guess which. The National Institute of Economic …

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Frederick the Great

Services for the poor …

Stephen Bush  |  15 January 2013

If you try to hold everything, Frederick the Great once wrote, you hold nothing. That may well have been sage advice if you were a German princeling in the early modern era, but it’s a pretty terrible way to preserve the welfare state. Ed Miliband would almost certainly have done a pretty poor job as …

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Despatch box

Tax on strivers?

Simon Evans  |  12 December 2012

Today’s PMQs were lively as expected with the main focus being on the government’s proposed one per cent benefit cut, especially its effect on the working poor. The Tories were also gleeful about the numbers released this morning showing that unemployment figures were going down – but, as we know, that doesn’t tell the full …

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George Osborne

The Osborne trap

Jacqui Smith  |  10 December 2012

One of the most surprising things about George Osborne’s omnishambles budget statement was that it undermined his reputation as a canny – some might say devious – political operator. The autumn statement has gone some way to restoring this reputation. His proposal to cap benefit payment increases has set a potential trap for Labour. We …

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