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What we should debate during Living Wage Week

What we should debate during Living Wage Week

by Katie Schmuecker / 04 Nov 2013 10:46

Today marks the start of Living Wage Week.  This is the week when the new Living Wage rates for London and the rest of the UK will be announced, but it’s also an important opportunity for us to focus on the related problems of low pay and in-work poverty in the UK, and what we should do about them.

Families experiencing poverty despite having some - or all - adults in work is a problem

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HS2: Some answers to the critics

HS2: Some answers to the critics

by Jim Steer / 31 Oct 2013 10:44

Tuesday’s Strategic Case for HS2 was a significant turning point for the future of Britain’s railways. It answered critics and resoundingly reaffirmed HS2’s convincing business rationale in principle and in detail.

The case was crystal clear on what HS2 would achieve in both improving transport links and in real added value to the UK economy.

Benefits for capacity were particularly convincing. Not only for stations directly served by HS2 but for towns and cities off

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The rights, lefts and wrongs of free schools

The rights, lefts and wrongs of free schools

by Nick Tyrone / 29 Oct 2013 15:10

Nick Clegg has spoken of his discomfort around three current areas of Free Schools policy: teacher qualifications, Core Curriculum and school meals standards. The Tories and the right wing press have bit back hard on the Deputy Prime Minister for this sudden about face. Some of it has been (predictably) overtly political, with Conservative peer Baroness Buscombe describing Clegg as “two-faced”. But some of the criticism actually does appear to be genuinely policy driven.

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Is Westminster listening to regional rebalancing?

Is Westminster listening to regional rebalancing?

by Graeme Henderson / 29 Oct 2013 14:52

Yesterday saw the launch of yet another commission aimed at reviving the UK’s regional cities. Jim O’Neill, the Chair of the City Growth Commission, as a retiring Goldman Sachs banker, seems an improbable candidate for rebalancing the economy. Yet promisingly his commission will focus on infrastructure, skills and devolution rather than special incentives and tax breaks for business. The key question though is with several high profile reports over the last 12 months

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Review: Handbagged

Review: Handbagged

by Anoosh Chakelian / 24 Oct 2013 15:55

“It’s all artifice and sham,” grumbles one of two unsettlingly realistic Margaret Thatchers to the audience. The essence of Handbagged, Moira Buffini’s play sending up the Queen and former PM’s relationship, is its self-referential wit. “Whatever we say must stay between these three walls,” quips an Elizabeth II, poker-faced.

This new political satire showing at the Tricycle Theatre and sturdily directed by Indhu Rubasingham is a feast of mirroring and juxtaposing characters – with most

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PMQs sketch: It's not easy being green

PMQs sketch: It's not easy being green

by Anoosh Chakelian / 23 Oct 2013 13:31

"It's not easy being green," a morose puppet once sang, wearing a perpetually fixed smile while perching sorrowfully on a selection of hard green and brown benches, alone. The lyrics continue: "When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow... or something much more colourful like that."

But the only hue Kermit the Cameron was today was blue - in more ways than one. For he began singing that signature tune the moment Ed 'the Eagle'

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A Major intervention

A Major intervention

by Sam Macrory / 22 Oct 2013 17:09

"I can say what I think now. I don't have worry at all about what I say".

So said John Major, signing off after a speech to the press gallery earlier today. He had been true to his word – and how.

For many observers – among them a handful of political journalists who were working in Parliament when Sir John was prime minister – this had been one of the most impressive speech they

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How to make the NHS fit for the future

How to make the NHS fit for the future

by Sarah Bickerstaffe / 21 Oct 2013 16:23

It seems we cannot go a month without another report landing to shake our confidence in the NHS and social care system. From the horrors of Mid-Staffordshire to last month’s reports that death rates in the NHS may be 45% higher than in the USA, questions are being asked about the care provided in our hospitals. Overcrowded emergency departments and reports of substandard homecare add to sense of services struggling to cope.

The health

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COMPETITION: One World Media Festival tickets

COMPETITION: One World Media Festival tickets

21 Oct 2013 14:28

The One World Media Festival brings together the most innovative minds from across the global media industry for two days of insight and inspiration.

It is on the 8 and 9 November at the University College of London.

The One World Media Festival’s exclusive closing event will feature a one-woman show BONO & GELDOF ARE C**TS, a lighthearted look at foreign aid and who it really helps, from the acclaimed comedienne, comedy writer and author Jane Bussmann whose credits

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How open for business is Britain?

How open for business is Britain?

by Tom Wadsworth / 16 Oct 2013 10:59

Can you be on the side of business and on the side of voters at the same time?  It’s a big challenge for politicians, and this week has brought into sharp relief the tensions between keeping the electorate and business happy.

Boris Johnson and George Osborne are both in China this week selling British wares.  Meanwhile, Japanese-owned Hitachi and Nissan, as well as manufacturing body the EEF, have all warned that Britain

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Speakers and their deputies: A democratic deficit

Speakers and their deputies: A democratic deficit

by Richard Berry and Sean Kippin / 15 Oct 2013 16:15

Tomorrow, MPs will elect a new Deputy Speaker to replace Nigel Evans, who resigned after being charged with sexual assault. There are two things we know for certain about the new Deputy. The first is that they will be a Conservative, as convention dictates Evans’ successor must be a governing party. David Amess, Henry Bellingham, Brian Binley, Simon Burns, Nadine Dorries, Eleanor Laing and Gary Streeter are all expected to stand. Liberal Democrats are eligible to

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Clinton's world tour

Clinton's world tour

by Sam Macrory / 12 Oct 2013 11:06

She went away, she briefly looked like stopping all together but Hillary Clinton is back. No question about it.

After stepping down as Barack Obama’s Secretary of State earlier this year, Clinton officially moved onto the side-lines after three decades in public office. Her health had briefly failed her, after she was diagnosed with a blood clot, and a lengthy rest, if not semi-retirement, beckoned. Her supporters, who had earmarked 2016 as the year in which

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