Section: Economy

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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 […]

The UK cannot afford Sunak: he is a massive threat to our well-being

Richard Murphy
Chancellor Rishi Sunak laughing

It was claimed in the Guardian yesterday that Rishi Sunak had written to the prime minister to ask for a relaxation in Covid travel regulations. He had. The populist in No 11 was trying to out-popularise the populist in No 10. You could not make up the scale of Covid recklessness on display when debate should be […]

How to change the future?

Robert Golden
young people demonstrating

This artice came out of West Country Byline’s recent online event on the true cost of cheap food. You can listen to the session here: A list for change We are ordinary people facing the huge wealth of the 1 per cent and the power of the state in an assumed democracy which is in […]

On the frontline: the safety of shop workers is being ignored – again

Vicky Rosier
smashed bottle of red wine n supermarket aisle

Shop workers go unnoticed by much of society. They toil away mostly unseen in the background so that the rest of us can get our groceries, ready meals, beers or clothing in well-stocked, pristine-looking stores. They work for some of the big, long-established companies in the UK – Sainsbury’s, Asda, Next, M&S, John Lewis, WH […]

Bulging bins and empty shelves – the Brexit dividend

Mick Fletcher
Rubbish in the street

It was all so predictable.  Ending the free movement of UK and EU citizens and making the UK a less welcoming place for EU nationals was always going to lead to labour shortages in key sectors.  Government were warned repeatedly but didn’t listen; or perhaps just didn’t care.   They can’t avoid it now. One of […]

Has it come to this? Agreeing with Baroness Thatcher (over Nissan)?

John D Turner
nissan logo on the side of a building

Baroness Thatcher would have been appalled. She would want to know why a Tory government, yes a Tory government of self-proclaimed free marketeers, was writing out a blank cheque in the name of the UK taxpayer to give to a successful, profitable Nippon car company and a Chinese Communist Party-owned firm. My politics are centre […]

Somerset binmen and Brexit: a story of waste

Mick Fletcher

Somerset residents have been warned by Somerset Waste Partnership that continued staff shortages will mean delays and interruptions to rubbish collection services across the county. The contractor, Suez, is struggling to cope with a lack of staff to drive their bin lorries and has called on people to be patient while they attempt to recruit […]

The return to roaming charges in Europe – letter to the editor

David Love

One of the numerous benefits of being in the EU was the fact that you could move seamlessly from Britain to mainland Europe, and you would not pay any extra charges on your mobile phone beyond what you were already contracted to pay. Roaming charges on moving to another EU country had been abolished. Before […]

Truss is no support for cheese

Anthea Simmons

Blessed are the cheesemakers, for they will inherit Liz Truss’s vision of the earth. Trade secretary Liz Truss is famous for her obsession with cheese. Unfortunately this zeal does not translate into recognition of the damage done to the UK’s cheese businesses by Brexit. Instead, it manifests itself in maniacal enthusiasm for miniscule trade deals […]

Johnson’s ‘new dawn’ Australia deal is a load of (dangerous) bull dust

Anthea Simmons

Johnson wrote an effusive letter to the Conservative party faithful on 15 June begging them to share the news of the Australia deal far and wide. He was no doubt trying desperately to distract from the Johnson/Delta variant Covid-19 failure which could cost thousands their lives and the revelation of institutional corruption in the Metropolitan […]