Section: Economy

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All credit to credit unions

Mick Fletcher
Credit Union sign on building

Credit unions represent the quiet approach to community action. While some groups, like Greenpeace or Extinction Rebellion, seek to bring about change by hitting the headlines, credit unions are rarely in the news and not well understood. Yet figures published by the Bank of England show that they serve some two million members in the […]

The iron cage revisited: how Brexit constrains the UK

Bob Hancké

In recent weeks, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU has once again been making headlines. Bob Hancké reports on a recent study which suggests not only that the agreement has made trade in goods between the UK and the EU very difficult, but that it has also severely limited Britain’s ability to […]

Pigs sacrificed on the altar of Brexit

Anna Andrews
Pig snout poking through fence

“…This government has always been quite comfortable with importing… more food from abroad – cheaper imports – and not worrying about our food security and producing at home here, and I think that philosophy is starting to show now…” (Nick Allen, CEO of the British Meat Producers’ Association, on the BBC’s Farming Today on 6 […]

Employers are in the driving seat, but they don’t train drivers

Mick Fletcher

In an attempt to pose as doing something to help tackle the shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers the government has announced that the Department for Education (DfE) will be spending £10 million to train an estimated 3,000 drivers.  Set aside for the moment that this is a drop in the ocean compared with […]

“It’s only one petrol station…”

Tomasz Oryński

“It’s only one garage”, I was told when I mentioned that there was no HGV diesel at Lomond Gate earlier this week. But is it really not an issue when only some garages have no fuel? A thread: Lomond Gate is the last garage on the A82 going north that is really suitable for trucks. […]

Why on earth is the government mucking about with our data privacy laws?

Mariano Delli Santi

Thursday 9 September, evening: the UK Government published their long-awaited proposal for a new UK data protection regime. The new framework is the peak of a journey which Open Rights Group has followed closely, starting from the National Data Strategy and down to the TIGRR report and the Digital Regulation Plan. We will analyse and react to Government consultation thoroughly, […]

What can be done about tax havens? Part 1: the abuse of tax havens by multinational corporations

Richard Murphy

In the first four videos in this series on tax havens I have explored how they work, what they abuse, and why that abuse should worry anyone who is concerned for fair markets, the rule of law and democracy, all of which tax havens (or secrecy jurisdictions as I prefer to call them) actively seek to undermine.   This then leads to the obvious question, which […]

A beginner’s guide to supply chains

Eric Gates

The term ‘supply chain’ is bandied around frequently in discussions about Brexit. Since it appears  that some cabinet ministers have a somewhat hazy grasp of the phrase, I wonder if it would be helpful to explain it in simple terms. I am not trying to imply that readers of West Country Bylines have an understanding […]

Why pay rises won’t solve the Brexit staffing crisis

Russ In Cheshire

There SHOULD be pay rises in most sectors, including HGV. But pay rises won't solve the staff problem, and here's why. For arguments’ sake, imagine we give a 20 per cent pay rise to HGV drivers. This attracts 20,000 people from lower paid jobs. HGV problem solved (in a year or so) But… The industries […]

Tuned out: Performing Rights Society gets it wrong

Richard Wilkins

During the Covid-19 lockdown, online exercise and dance classes became a staple part of many people’s lives. As well as keeping us physically fit and healthy, they helped provide social interaction which supported mental wellbeing. Unable to offer face-to-face classes, exercise and dance instructors had needed to embrace online platforms such as Zoom or MS […]

Send Botham Down Under? That’s just plain batty!

Anthea Simmons
Chappell and Botham cartoon

Liz Truss, the cheese obsessive who counts rollover trade deals as the sign of the dawn of a new era for ‘global Britain’ and crows about flogging a few stiltons to the famously-lactose intolerant Japanese has hit diplomacy for six with her gleeful appointment of Brexit-fanatic Botham as trade envoy to Australia. Ennobled for his […]

Construction costs exacerbated by Brexit

Anthea Simmons

Our eye was caught by this thread on Twitter which we are reproducing with the author’s kind permission. It prompted some further research into costs and an interview with a carpenter with a business in renovation and conversion projects in Devon. More from him below. Conversation with the dads at my son’s footie training yesterday […]

Horticulture: blighted by Brexit

Anthea Simmons

You may have already seen the story that Plants Galore in Newton Abbot, Plymouth and Exeter will be giving away £100,000 worth of stock because of Brexit.  WCB had also been sent a press release from the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) about a recent visit by Brexit-backing MP for South East Cornwall, Sheryll Murray, to […]

Bring in the Army – or MACA

Eric Gates

Military Aid to the Civil Authorities is the set of situations in which military personnel can be deployed in the UK in support of the civil authorities. Like all large organisations, MoD operates in acronyms and this one is known as MACA. The use of military personnel is carefully prescribed so that it is very […]

Lithium: Cornwall’s white gold?

Tom Scott

When leaders of the world’s richest countries gathered at Carbis Bay in Cornwall for the G7 summit, the climate emergency was (allegedly) high on their agenda. Could part of the solution lie deep in the Cornish granite? Or is lithium mining yet another environmental disaster waiting to happen? In March, the Conservative MP for St […]

A pay rise for us all – letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Madam, David Love is quite right to call for a pay rise for NHS staff: Why can’t we give nurses a fair pay rise? Letter to the editor BUT it isn’t just NHS staff that are suffering: (almost) all of us are. TUC research shows that about 58 to 61 per cent of national income […]

The happy little trucker

Mr Rushforth

Why is this man smiling, you may ask? Is it because of his new hat? No, says our great portrait artist, Mr. Rushforth, it is because he is none less than Andrew Bridgen, the Honourable Gentleman for North West Leicestershire, who recently and single-handedly divined the cause of the nation’s intractable haulage crisis. Given Mr […]

Johnson’s gin palace

Eric Gates

So now we know that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has drawn the short straw for building the Prime Minister’s latest vanity project. The good news is that, notwithstanding the regular damning reports of its performance, Defence Equipment and Support does know a bit about acquisition and programme management. There are no other departments that […]