Neglecting the realities of poverty will lead to misery for many



A stark warning from the north west's voluntary sector suggests that David Cameron's dismissal of research and monitoring would make a bad situation worse. Dan Silver offers examples
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The Prime Minister with Iain Duncan Smith, whose narrative of broken families and poverty is just the sort of assertion which needs testing and research. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The stated aims of the government's welfare reform agenda appear to be sound on the surface: simplifying benefits, making work pay and reducing dependency. However, a more thorough examination reveals a deeply worrying shift, which come April will manifest itself in the suffering of many of our most vulnerable communities as they are drawn further into poverty.

Evidence to support this is stark and mounting. Just last week, research by the Chartered Institute of Housing showed that 400,000 vulnerable families will be worse off with the introduction of Universal Credit, with lone parents, those on minimum wage and those already in poverty losing out.

Further, with payments being made directly to claimants on a monthly basis, around 20-30 percent of tenants may well struggle to pay the rent on time when the Universal Credit comes in. In addition to this, it is actually questionable as to whether the government will achieve its aim of 'making work pay'; a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that given other barriers to work such as childcare costs, the supposedly improved financial benefits may not materialise.

There's more from the Foundation in this Guardian report today.

These impacts do not appear to have been seriously considered by the government, and the potential for further assessment of how policy impacts upon vulnerable communities has been undermined by David Cameron's recent speech to the CBI in which he declared:


Consultations, impact assessments, audits, reviews, stakeholder management...assessing sector feedback - this is not how we became one of the most powerful, prosperous nations on earth. It's not how you get things done.


Such processes are not 'bureaucratic nonsense' but a means of being able to judge whether policy is equitable or not. The welfare reforms and the accompanying swingeing cuts to the advice services which help people to navigate through the changes will have a devastating impact on many people. Report after report has warned of the growing scale of child poverty in the UK. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

A report last week from the New Economics Foundation shows how 'everyday insecurity' is set to rise. There will be an increase in both the breadth and depth of poverty. More people are slipping into poverty, whilst others are becoming increasingly desperate - as can be seen by the continued use of food banks. At a conference last week run by Voluntary Sector North West, attended by two hundred voluntary sector representatives and political leaders, frontline advice agencies told how some people may not survive. This is simply not acceptable in twenty-first century Britain.

The government's solutions to bring about more social justice? One is to monitor the number of children still in households that include both their parents – in which family breakdown is seen as important as a lack of money. This is an active choice of priorities and fits into the wider narrative of Broken Britain, which increasingly reveals itself to be at best a tragically flawed assessment and at worst, what academic Tom Slater identifies as a 'pernicious ploy.'

A narrative of 'scroungers' serves to individualise blame for poverty, whilst neglecting the wider social factors that contribute – such as a socially unjust economy, a deeply unequal labour market and structural inequalities that pervade our society, as well as the fact that the majority of people in poverty are in fact working. Fundamentally, it absolves government of the need to consider how policy affects people's lives. Such an approach will inevitably lead to impacts that cause tremors through our communities for many years to come.

What do you want to ask Lord Adonis?



Education, transport, industrial policy, Michael Heseltine … post your questions for the Labour peer
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Lord Adonis is a shadow infrastructure minister in the Lords. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA


As well as being the architect of the New Labour academies programme, Andrew Adonis has been head of Tony Blair's policy unit, an education minister, transport secretary and director of the Institute for Government. He's now a shadow infrastructure minister in the Lords as well as the person reviewing industrial policy for Ed Miliband. I'm interviewing him this week. What do you want me to ask?

Adonis is not doing an education job at the moment, but he's recently published a book about the academies programme, Education, Education, Education: Reforming England's Schools, that I'll want to raise. It's an excellent book, not so much because of the vigour with which Adonis defends his policies but because it's one of the few ministerial memoirs that fully gets to grips with how and why significant change does (and doesn't happen) in Whitehall. "In my experience, charisma, persuasion, and money, not legislation and regulation, are the great drivers of reform," says Adonis. Deservedly it's had rave write-ups (for example, here and here).

Now Adonis is shadowing Paul Deighton, who starts work as the Treasury's new infrastructure minister in the new year. "This is an unusual, if not unprecedented, case of the shadow materialising three months before the substance," Adonis said last month in his new role in a speech in the Lords on the infrastructure bill. I will, of course, ask about industrial policy. There are more clues to what Adonis thinks in this speech he gave in the Lords.

But do suggest questions on other topics. Adonis seems to have clear views on most things and he has got a particularly good website where his articles and speeches are easy to find. The articles on Michael Heseltine and on Nick Clegg are especially good.

I won't be able to use all the questions you suggest, but it is helpful to get ideas from others and it is useful to know what topics you find particularly interesting.

The Work Programme, payment by results and the restriction of debate



Debate over today's Work Programme figures should not forget the outsiders, argues Dan Silver. They are central to employment and poverty issues
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Is it working? And can he have a voice on that? An unemployed man at a Work Programme session for long term unemployed people at Pertemps in Hull. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

The Coalition Government's Work Programme brings all previous welfare-to-work programmes under the delivery of 18 Prime Contractors, who are commissioned centrally by the Department for Work and Pensions at a potential cost of up to £5 billion.

Initial evidence suggests that large corporations are benefiting the most from these arrangements, whilst smaller specialist providers are left in limbo waiting for referrals.

Until today, figures have not been released which show whether the programme has been a success in terms of getting people into work, and keeping them there – on which the Prime Contractors will receive their payment. There will be much discussion on these figures, and rightly so – the central mechanism of the government's employment policy is finally open to a level of scrutiny we have not yet had.

You can read the Guardian's main story on today's figures and associated links here.

However, there needs to be wider discussion about the very framework that exists for measuring success. At the core of the government's approach to public services and increased focus on outcomes is a model of payment by results. This is a far-reaching programme that is being extended into Welfare to Work, Sure Start centres and offender rehabilitation. Indeed, KPMG contends that it 'should be implemented across the public sector without exception' as a means of reducing bureaucracy, and with the aim of ensuring more responsiveness to the customer due to an incentive structure derived from the seemingly omnipotent market.

Much has been made of the move to payment by results as a supposed antidote for the target driven world of New Labour. However, David Boyle argues that payment by results experience the same difficulties as targets – which are about the 'difficulty of measuring precisely what is most important.' These problems include a technocratic approach to defining the terms of success and effectiveness. Another participant in the Hull session. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

This is driven by what appears to be a quite bureaucratic dominance represented by performance measurement. Such an approach to assessment is based disproportionately upon statistical analysis, and neglects inclusive public debate. This focus purely on statistical outcomes means that the most marginalised communities and more difficult-to-place individuals can potentially be neglected, as they could be considered too far away from achieving such results and therefore not financially worth investing resources into supporting - even if there is greater reward.

This is illustrated by today's figures showing that of over 240,000 young people on the Programme, only 2.5% have so far moved into a sustainable job, a figure even worse for people with disabilities.

This is especially problematic as there is no space for deliberation about the social justice issues that this presents, about the efficacy and equity of policy, or the deeper social structures that exist. This contributes to what Jacques Rancière has termed passive equality, in which those outside of the decision-making process are assigned roles as passive objects.

So, the questions we must be asking are not just a case of whether the Work Programme has been successful in placing people in jobs (important as that is). But also, in the knowledge of the fact that the majority of people in poverty are in work, whether or not the current labour market is appropriate for a more just social economy. Such questions need debating beyond the issue of what the government deems to be a result.

Small people, not big processes



Thursday's Rotherham byelection has attracted plenty of sound and fury. Here, Independent candidate Simon Copley offers a different, calmer approach: drawing on community muscle to solve local problems effectively
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Here comes the sun - to a Rotherham street packed with solar panels. There's plenty of good going on in the town. Like the sun, it needs harnessing. Photograph: SolarCentury

I once worked for a local charity that was very effective getting alongside disaffected young people. Despite our reputation, we struggled for funding. I suspect we were overlooked because we were too small. It was a case of a local David competing with huge national Goliaths.

Our society seems hooked on big "processes" (policies, programmes, initiatives etc) trying to "fix" problems and the political/commercial elite have vested interests in controlling these and making business from them. However, I don't remember learning much about processes in school history; I did learn about people (Mahatma Ghandi, William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King etc) who inspired and made true changes.

Politics must be more than "fixing" people's problems for them. We need to empower people in communities to find their own answers, improve their own lives and build on the good resources that they already have. Examples abound of major programmes failing to hit the mark, siphoning off huge resources in management and bureaucracy while effective and inspirational people struggle at the coal face. Political and financial decisions need to be brought closer to the grass roots… Remember who won. David and Goliath by Osmar Schindler (c.1888)

In Rotherham, where I am standing in the by-election as an Independent, this approach applies especially to issues like sex-grooming. The communities facing these issues are the secret weapon in the fight because they bring their own moral resources and knowledge to bear. Specialist charities and funders can also be brought in to help tackle underlying issues, keeping things at the grass roots. Third Sector and community groups can tackle many other issues if properly resourced: empty housing, homelessness, youth engagement, debt relief and offender mentoring. Government must be about supporting community and faith groups, charities, and youth organisations who are trying to make their communities better places.

My vision: if Rotherham communities work constructively together to address such a high-profile issue, we will send a message around the UK that Rotherham is on the up. This will be an important step to attracting investment that will address our bigger economic problems.

But, just as big processes miss the mark, so do big parties. The issues facing us are complex; party-politics have become too confrontational, clumsy and downright childish to deal with them. Local and independent-minded people are needed to bring dispassion on debate and passion for our neighbourhoods.

This means I have my own David/Goliath battle to fight. Trying to get elected, an Independent candidate lacks time, resources, bodies and money to take on the big party machines and get the message over. Even when willing helpers step forward, campaigning has to synchronise and compete with jobs and family. And the media frequently overlook the good things smaller parties say in their obsession to comment on the 'ya-boo' antics of the big boys.

Who will win in Rotherham this Thursday? Respect and UKIP are circling vulture-like around Labour, a hapless, dying wildebeest - even the Conservatives fancy their chances of chewing the carcass. The 'vote-red' tradition dies-hard in this particular desert however, and, apparently, Independents "don't have a prayer." But I live in hope that voters will bring their hearts and brains to the booth, not just their traditions. After all, David did beat Goliath…

Simon Copley, 52, is a full time Trusts fundraiser with Good Fundraising, a Yorkshire-based consultancy. He is also an ordained Minister in the United Reformed Church, part of the leadership team at Herringthorpe URC in Rotherham. He is married to Judith with a daughter at Exeter University. He Tweets here.

Leveson: special pleading and Stockholm syndrome on Fleet Street



Everyone except the industry and 86 MPs and peers knows something must be done to curb the press's abuses of its power
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Christopher Jefferies is still awaiting apologies for being called a murderer. Photograph: Antonio Olmos


Listening to the familiar, self-justifying nonsense being peddled by the booze industry as the government finally squares up to imposing a minimum unit price on alcohol left me with a sense of deja vu. Where else had I recently heard such special pleading from an industry which is often recklessly indifferent to the destructive consequences of its own behaviour?

Bankers? Tobacco barons? Supermarkets? Ah yes, that was it: my own industry, the Fleet St in and around which I have worked since becoming the Evening Standard's summer relief reporter in 1970. I arrived just in time to be outside No 10 when a woman threw red paint over the new PM, Ted Heath. Alas, I missed the incident, being in the phone box talking to the office ("all quiet here") at the crucial moment.

But my error was no bigger than the street's collective miss as it tries to browbeat the political class into rejecting the independent regulator, underpinned by statute to prevent the usual jury-rigging of the old "self-regulation" regime as Lord Justice Leveson checks the spelling on tomorrow's big report. The special pleading has been awful, and has served simply to remind everyone that the newspapers want everyone to be independently regulated except itself.

Today's opinion poll, commissioned by the high-minded Media Standards Trust (MST) and scrupulously reported by Patrick Wintour, shows 79% of voters in favour of an independent regulator established by law, including readers of the Daily Mail (81%), whose editor leads the charge to resist this totalitarian (etc etc) imposition.

We can all take such polls (and the MST) with a pinch of salt: voters like to have their cake and eat it. But I suspect it reads the public mood better than the cheerfully cynical "free press" letter from 86 MPs and peers, which both the Guardian and Telegraph publish today. What fun that must have been to draft. Trebles all round!

Then read this column, written by Charles Moore – Lord Snooty, to Private Eye readers – Margaret Thatcher's biographer and a clever, fastidious Etonian who makes David Cameron sound like a character from EastEnders. Moore was the last gentleman (no irony intended) editor of the Torygraph before the tax-efficient Barclay Brothers, Fred and Dave, bought the paper and let the barbarians (a lot of rough, Daily Mail types) over the wall.

Unlike most of the Street of Shame, Lord Snooty gets it. He knows how bad the papers' behaviour has often been – intrusion, bullying and illegality, with no public interest to justify it – for so long, how many chances to reform themselves have been pissed away in the last chance saloon, and how they are currently sounding as bad as (well, he is a Tory) trade union barons. Get real, says Moore.

Good. That sort of talk comes better from him than from the Guardian, though Moore, too, will be mocked as someone who has never chased a fire, doorstepped a starlet's flat at midnight or bought a copper lower than deputy commissioner a drink – and only then in the Savoy Grill. A fair point, but it cuts both ways. What was most humiliating at some of Leveson's hearings, as Dan Sabbagh points out in a very comic precis, was the way so many witnesses confused the public interest with anything that may interest their little corner of the public and shift a few copies.

That was why dead Millie Dowler's phone was hacked (oh yes, it was), why Sienna Miller was chased down a dark road by snappers, why the love lives of not-so-talented actors and useless footballers were stalked, snouts and tarts paid off, and the private lives of ordinary people – humbug phrase – noisily ruined for a bit of fun.

They still don't get it. That's why the papers have been pouring buckets of manure on to the BBC for its failure to expose Jimmy Savile. Ditto Cyril Smith, in recent days. Yet, inasmuch as "everyone" knew there was something dodgy afoot, the failure was everyone's, not least that of the tabloids, which pride themselves on sex and smut.

That's why the MPs' letter can solemnly claim that a legally imposed regime of regulation – the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) was really a front job for the industry, not a regulator – would be a return to the kind of press licensing abolished in 1695, though the punitive stamp duty on newspapers ( a "tax on knowledge": ho, ho) was actually only lifted in 1855. In an era when human rights are a major UK industry, the comparison is preposterous.

It's also why the letter from 86 MPs and peers can claim that the abuses Leveson examined (at excessive length, says me) "were not a sole failure of regulation but rather of law enforcement". Well, of course they were. But why was that? Because the media barons – notably the tax-efficient Murdoch empire – had squared or squashed the coppers as well as large chunks of the political elite.

That's why the Guardian's phone-hacking allegations were brushed under a carpet at Scotland Yard for so long. Isn't it? Let's not forget, though I realise memories are short. Here's a list of failed reforms over many decades, provided by George Eustice, the Eurosceptic ex-Ukip MP who used be David Cameron's press flack. I can find it only on the website of the self-styled libertarian Guido Fawkes, but let's be broadminded.

The scandal was also about poor corporate governance at newspapers all too happy to throw the book at hospitals, politicians, Rotherham social services and others who fall short of their duty. They are warier of people with expensive lawyers (such as banks) until it is quite safe to pick up a brick. Pretty careless internally, too, some of them. There's not much about that in the letter either.

Instead they have floated, elsewhere in this week's press, the preposterous notion that African dictators will eagerly copy the draconian press laws that mild-mannered Leveson may – may – have in mind if Cameron and Nick Clegg embrace a statutory framework. What cynicism. Alas, dictators in Africa or nearer home need no encouragement. Good to see the lads taking a belated interest in Africa's wellbeing, all the same.

Nothing illustrates the disorienting effect of a seductive press campaign than the presence of David Blunkett's name on today's list, in a classic case of Stockholm syndrome, sympathy for one's captor. We can understand why Norman Tebbit's name is there: at least it is consistent with his wider worldview.

But what can the former Labour home secretary be thinking? He was twice forced to resign on what were essentially spurious grounds cooked up by the press: a nanny's fast-tracked passport (case not proven) and some allegedly undeclared share dealings (ditto). Both cases were wrapped up in sex headlines about one genuine affair (he was a single man over 16 at the time) and one a bogus honeytrap job.

So Blunkett's career was wrecked by newspapers he thought were his friends. Yet he went to a Sun party at Wapping on the night of one sacking, wrote a lucrative column for the News of the World ( later killed off by Murdoch in a bid to rescue his BSkyB deal), and quietly took a sizeable (£300,000?) settlement when it was confirmed his phone had been hacked. The Observer's reporting of the deal he described as harassment, in the Mail. Money can have that effect.

Unlike Lord Snooty, I suspect he may have had a bit of help drafting it, though both vaguely hope that a sensible and workable arrangement can be found that protects both a robust inquiring press and victims of its abuses. Nor everyone is as tough or rich as Max Mosley, who took the bullies on.

It isn't easy. Liberty rarely is. Powerful forces are slugging it out. The Guardian, FT and Independent have held out against endorsing the Fleet Street pack's expensive campaign, while also resisting a form of independent regulation that requires statutory underpinning. Everyone agrees that a parliamentary bill would be fraught with risks of foolish or vindictive amendment in either direction.

But something has to be done. Even the industry admits that, while murmuring "as little as possible" under its breath. Twitter and other social media must be made more accountable for excesses, too. But Leveson deserves a respectful hearing for his proposals, however wise or not they turn out to be, not an hysterical hail of denunciatory abuse of the kind we have seen in recent weeks.

If you doubt that, just remember Milly Dowler, Christopher Jefferies (still awaiting any apologies for being called a murderer) or the grieving Dr Kate McCann, who put up with such accusations for weeks on end. Some of the lads in the pub still think she did it.

But Fleet Street takes a dimmer view of human nature than it should because it's usually on the lookout for the downside. That's corrosive, too.

Devolution for England – It's time we examined the option of an English Parliament



A Parliament in York answerable to England's historic counties. What could be more agreeable? Eddie Bone of the Campaign for an English Parliament makes his case
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Cultural nationalism - a rich mix in England with St George a chap from the Middle East. Photograh: Martin Argles

Last week all political eyes were rightly focused on the evolutionary process of devolution and government in Wales (the Silk Report). Yet as we in England watch the blossoming futures of Wales and Scotland we appear too worried to peek at our own governance mirror. Worried because we know we will be shocked by our own lack of direction, our lack of a cohesive policy and our evident self-doubt as a nation.

The future doesn't look rosy for the people of England because our reflection is overshadowed by those of the three main political parties which do not have a viable proposal for the future governance of England. The current state of affairs is quite simply untenable. It is England's democracy that needs reshaping in a newly emerging Federal Britain, not the others as their national governance looks healthy by comparison. We ignore England at our peril, because unstable government will lead to the poor becoming poorer, the vulnerable ignored and trampled upon.

We need to have the strength of character to keep looking at ourselves, to sort the devolutionary English mess into some sort of order. Political leaders need to shake off British imperialism and they need to rekindle confidence in representing England's future.
Beefing it up. An English Parliament needs taking seriously. Photograph: Steve Cavalier/Alamy/Alamy

Campaigners for an English parliament understand that there are a number of devolution options up for consideration. This is why we endeavour to encourage serious political debate on what the most progressive option might be in protecting the poor and vulnerable of England. The prospect of Scotland possibly dissolving the Union has heightened the need to find a workable solution; not just for the North of England but for ALL of England.


We need to secure employment for future generations across the whole of England so the governmental structures we decide upon are vitally important. It is not good enough for politicians to fudge the democratic future of England in an attempt to save the UK. The West Lothian Question must be answered whilst ensuring democratic accountability. England and the UK must be stabilised so that the country is saved from insular nationalism (ethnic nationalism) whilst progressive nationalism (civic nationalism) is encouraged to flourish. An internationalist approach is beneficial to trade but will only work if you have a solid and coherent national foundation to work from. Regional identity lacks the global brand that the word 'England' has, leading to internal turmoil; regionalisation versus centralisation, county versus region, Scotland versus the North of England, British identity versus Englishness, et cetera.

England needs coherent governmental structures that improve on Whitehall centralisation and that won't cost excessively more than our existing bureaucratic structures. Those structures need to maintain an English sense of community. Politicians need to remember that the people of England have a strong local affinity to their county. A good example of why our politicians should not talk up a north/south divide is cricket, which is played between counties with intense but friendly rivalry. Most countries around the world will play sports based on north/south divides or state boundaries. England does not do this as its history is based on county identity.

There are merits to counties working together on a bottom-up basis to improve the delivery of public services. There are benefits from economies of scale and local knowledge on infrastructure projects which wouldn't incur additional cost to the taxpayer. And just who decides where the north ends and the south begins in England anyway?

A fair and more accountable English Parliament would surely iron out the concerns being expressed by Labour Northern groups. A reorganised English parliament would encourage more involvement from the North because it would need to maintain balance within England whilst working potentially within a UK federal system. Billy Bragg suggested it could be located in York. Perhaps Newcastle? The prospect of England deciding where an English Parliament should be located is exciting and would eliminate southern bias concerns. How much nicer than Westminster. And less of a shambles. Photograph: Don Mcphee


One fear is that without an English Parliament, insular nationalism could be replaced by insular regionalisation. One easily foreseeable problem with regional government is that without a collective voice we will run into a asymmetric system which would destabilise relationships between autonomous regions simply by the virtue of the disproportionate number of electors being contained within each region, i.e. a rich region, in times of need, may vote to hold onto their taxes, ignoring the needs of poorer regions. The North of England should consider this before seeking autonomy.

The fundamental error made by regional policy makers was to encourage Scottish and Welsh national identity whilst ignoring England's. For Regionalisation to have worked in 1997, all the countries within the UK should have been mixed together. Regions should have crossed national borders. They did not and insular nationalism is now on the march across the UK. An English Parliament speaking for the whole community would be in a far better position to nurture progressive English nationalism. Proportional Representation could also easily be introduced, killing off fears that an English Parliament would be dominated by Conservatives from the south.

We need to be sure that any proposals deliver what the people want. So let's start the debate on England's new democratic future and ask the question…

What the golden car park of St Ives says about the UK's hourglass society



Inequality of opportunity and prosperity means many places are only for the rich and the poor - and no one in between
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The five parking spaces on Barnoon Terrance in St Ives, Cornwall, which have been sold at auction for a combined total in excess of £160,000. Photograph: Ryan Hooper/PA


Don't know if you spotted it, but five parking spots in the Cornish resort of St Ives were sold or bid for at sums between £50,000 and £60,000 apiece this week in a town where the average local salary is £22,000 and part-time, seasonal working is rife. This seems to sum up the polarised way Britain is going and it isn't healthy.

Yes, we know all this. The FT ran an analysis of the UK labour market the other day, one which it described as acquiring the structure of an hour glass – good jobs for some near the top of the glass, plenty of low-paid jobs (3 million people would like to work more hours, it was reported yesterday) at the bottom. But all sorts of middling jobs disappearing for all sorts of reasons. Not that St Ives – fishing, farming, tourism and tin – ever had too many of them.

You probably know where the golden mini-car park is, even though you may think you don't. It's on Barnoon Terrace, just above the Tate St Ives gallery, an institution which loves to insult casual visitors by staging deeply obscure and second rate exhibitions at peak holiday periods. Never mind, the handsome gallery's presence has prolonged the visitor season, raised hotel and restaurant standards (the only way to go in cold northern Europe), so the town puts up with its elitism.


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The corrosive effect of outside money is something else, as local councillor, Bert Biscoe, explains in the Guardian's account here. Like most things in life it's all about balance. Some injections of outside money is always welcome in poor but gorgeous places like St Ives. It helps the shops, maintains the fabric of a town, which is on the receiving end of the mighty Atlantic ocean 365 days a year and provides some work alongside some housing problems.

But, as with posh parts of any town or city, the very qualities that attract outsiders – between the wars social diversity made shabby Chelsea attractive to bohemian members of the upper classes, as parts of east London do today - is often destroyed as the incomers take over completely and strangle the vitality of the place.

This can't happen to St Ives. It's just too far from the City or the West End for a commute and a bit far for an easy weekenders' habit – by road, rail or air. I've tried them all. But retirees and second homes are now a problem, as they are in many beautiful places; in Cornwall, parts of Devon, the Lake District, in nearby St Just in Penwith, the old mining community which now has a flourishing artistic scene, refugees from expensive St Ives, I wouldn't wonder.

I have to declare a small interest here, though it may already be obvious. I've known St Ives all my life and three of my grandparents are buried in Barnoon cemetery, just west of the Tate and below Barnoon car park, which is a much-needed money spinner for the council in the season.

We have just one cousin left in the town now, but my siblings and I, our children and grandchildren, assorted cousins and friends have been meeting up there in rented flats and cottages over Easter week for over 30 years. There can be 50 of us on a good day.

There's always been tension between the town and the outsiders, of course there has. The artists discovered the peninsula's wonderful white light over 100 years ago. And it's many years since I heard my aunt, Gertrude Major, wistfully say: "That was the last shop on Tregenna Hill owned by a local family."

Even Hart's ice cream parlour, next to the Sloop Inn (founded 1312) on the wharf and famous for always closing on the Sabbath, is another pie, pasty and pizza place now – quite a good one too, I admit.

And there were always visitors, even second home types, including Sir Leslie Stephen, whose novelist daughter, Virginia, may well have been inspired by Godrevy lighthouse which she would have seen from her Victorian bedroom window. Come to think of it, there's a lucrative car park in the garden of the old Stephens house nowadays.

It goes without saying that the Golden Mini-Car-Park of Barnoon Terrace is owned by an investor from outside. Apparently, he bought a nearby house – great views of the bay at that height and away from the narrow, tourist-engulfed streets of the town – for £400,000 (probably a three-storey Victorian, we once stayed in that terrace) and carved out a car park, thereby raising £271,000 with which to do it up.

In the City they'd call the car park manoeuvre sweating the assets. Pretty slick, huh? There's always demand for parking from Easter to October and they tell me New Year's Eve is pretty lively in St Ives these days, though I'm happy to take their word for it. But it can't but make local residents think hard, and rightly so.

It may just be a coincidence, but we felt uneasily last Easter that the delicate balance of forces was getting unstuck. Here's why. As the visitor drives into the town he/she sees a new block of flats pointing into the sea above Porthminster beach (the boring one, in White family lore) and the station which has (miracle) survived decades of cuts and still links the town to the Paddington-Penzance line at St Erth via a lovely estuary route.

The Peninsula apartments block – you can catch the details here – made some concessions to local vernacular architecture, those Victorian homes and boarding houses above the old fishing quarters. But there was also a lot of steel and glass, balconies which would have been draughty on Salford Keys (miles from Atlantic gales!) and the prices started at an eyewatering £480,000.

That's over half a million if you add fees and taxes! In St Ives, for heaven's sake. Should we be surprised? Not really. A house above Porthmeor Beach (that's what the Whites call a proper beach, one on which I spent childhood holidays) sold a couple of years back for a million, and a quick glance at the Zoopla website shows one round the corner in Carbis Bay on sale for £2.25m.

Wow! What's more, from our rented flat last April we could see what looked like a very ambitious development taking place – more plate glass and steel – below the Malakoff where the buses turn. A restaurant (Gordon Ramsay's name has been mentioned) or a night club? We couldn't find an answer and I can't online today. But it looked a very alien presence.

That story can be repeated in many communities, villages, towns like St Ives and, of course, big cities where a quarter like Spitalfields, just outside the old City boundaries of London, contains nowadays what are beautifully restored 17th-century Huguenot houses close to some tough and poor territory, much of it now Bangladeshi.

But it's especially acute in small, remote places where outsiders with money for restaurants are always conspicuous. No point in me saying: "Look, we come from around here, my granny's in the cemetery,"; we're outsiders too now. But at least we're aware there's a problem and one not confined to Cornwall: inequality of opportunity and prosperity in which places like St Ives are in danger of becoming like Manhattan – somewhere only for the rich and the poor.

Portrait of a town as Rotherham votes



Photographer Ann Czernik meets some of the South Yorkshire people whose byelection today puts Rotherham in the national spotlight
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Ann Czernik
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 29 November 2012 11.53 GMT
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Dawn Wright was taken into care by Rotherham social services as a child and her family has had issues with the department since, which have left her highly critical. The Labour council is to hold an inquiry into the workings of children's social care. Photograph: Ann Czernik for the Guardian













Tackling poverty and inequality need to be at the heart of any plan for economic growth in the North of England.



To mark today's conference Northern Prosperity is National Prosperity, Julia Unwin of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation calls for five key reforms
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Making things - big, small, mass-produced, one-off. The north must rediscover traditional skills and win its share of new ones. Photograph on Teesside: John Giles/PA

As a member of the Northern Economics Futures Commission, I am passionate about the need to tackle poverty and inequality, as part of any economic growth plan for the region. As our own research at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows, the northern economy will worsen and, without action, will only entrench regional disparities over the next decade.

Earlier this month, I announced the new Living Wage rate for those living outside London. The national focus on the Living Wage rightly focused attention on different ways of reducing poverty and inequality. But the fact that we need two rates - £7.45 outside London and £8.55 within – tells us a lot about the nature of inequality in the UK and the means by which it needs to be challenged.

There is the danger that a pan-northern strategy glosses over so-called 'pockets of deprivation' and overlooks areas of risk and poverty in its thrust for growth in the core cities. It is too easy to see the pursuit of high skill, high value jobs as conflicting with the creation of lower skill jobs. These are very difficult challenges, and the Commission has attempted to reconcile them.

We need to act now.

So what are the solutions?


Full employment is essential
While important high growth sectors matter, there are also a great many potential jobs in the service-based sectors as well as in construction and engineering, aligned with proposals for investment in transport infrastructure and housing. Job quality, skills utilisation and the Living Wage are all important elements of this.

Decentralisation of employment and training provision
By bringing together local skills strategies with locally commissioned welfare-to- work programmes, we can deliver a system that is more reactive to local needs, as well as create the connection between employment and training for those out of work. Welfare-to-work programmes have been unresponsive to local economic environments, reflecting regional economic inequity rather than ameliorating it, and thus leaving many of the long term unemployed without work, or without training.

Expansion of Small and Medium Enterprises
SME growth is central to delivering full employment, but also to sharing the fruits of economic growth amongst more marginalized groups in the labour market. Evidence from the Federation of Small Businesses, shows that SME expansion has a greater impact on employment growth than larger employers. Groups of people such as the long-term sick, and disabled people, are more likely to be employed by a small business.

Apprenticeship funding
Improving the quality of training and apprenticeships must be a cornerstone to boosting the supply of well paid jobs in the North of England. Funding for apprenticeships should be reallocated away from the weaker intermediate level qualifications towards advanced and higher apprenticeships to improve job quality, pay, and progression. The aim is to double advanced apprenticeships from 30,000 to 60,000 places by 2015.

By emphasising the primary importance of economic growth of all kinds and supporting the Living Wage, the recommendations in the Northern Economic Futures Commission report will go a long way to ensuring that we reverse, rather than exacerbate, levels of inequality and poverty in the region.

Julia Unwin is chief executiv of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and a member of the Northern Economic Futures Commission.

Sturgeon sharpens independence debate as a battle for centre-left



In her first major speech on independence, Nicola Sturgeon ought to worry Labour by attacking their recent political history and claims to be the natural champions for Scotland's centre-left voters
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Scotland's first minister and Scottish National party (SNP) leader Alex Salmond with deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon at the party's annual conference in Perth. Photograph: David Moir/Reuters


It is some three months now since Nicola Sturgeon gave up pursuing minimum pricing and gay marriage – both potential firsts within British politics - to focus on delivering a far greater political prize, independence.

In her first major speech on independence on Monday, Scotland's deputy first minister has set out her case for independence, again marking out political territory which is a direct, open challenge to Scottish Labour – the Scottish National party's most significant opponent in this contest.

One key passage in that speech, at Strathclyde University, is this:


the UK's ability to re-invent itself is spent. The Westminster parties are at best sceptical and at worst hostile to further substantial reform in Scotland's interests. The post-war economic decline has continued and now the very institutions which once made us distinct, the welfare state and - in England – the NHS, are under attack from the Westminster system of government.

What do we get from leaving our powers in the control of others? A high risk economy and an eroding social fabric.

Swiftly cutting dead talk of greater devolution, she brought a very specific focus, disavowing romantic nationalism based on identity – the kind which she said the nationalist historian Neil MacCormick would call "existentialist" - to pursue the pragmatic case for independence.

She is, she says, MacCormick's utilitarian nationalist – the kind which believes independence is a mechanism for delivering specific social and economic outcomes: social justice, redistribution of wealth (Sturgeon makes that a stated goal) and greater equality.

It's a personal vision for Sturgeon; she made that clear. This is her manifesto. After all, she's the "social justice lawyer" from a working class Glaswegian family who failed to fit the mould and join the Labour party.


I joined the SNP because it was obvious to me then - as it still is today - that you cannot guarantee social justice unless you are in control of the delivery.

In doing so, she's continuing the repositioning of the debate by placing the case for independence firmly in centre-left territory. She also appeared to be suggesting that identity-based nationalism is unnecessary, even anachronistic – that will be a significant message for non-nationalist centrist and left wingers who could be tilting towards independence.

Even if "most" modern SNP members are both existentialist and utilitarian nationalists, she states that sentiment only gets you so far:


For my part, and I believe for my generation, I have never doubted that Scotland is a nation. And while I might not go on about a thousand years of history and that sort of thing I take it for granted as a simple fact that Scotland is a nation with an inalienable right to self-determination.

But for me the fact of nationhood or Scottish identity is not the motive force for independence. Nor do I believe that independence, however desirable, is essential for the preservation of our distinctive Scottish identity. And I don't agree at all that feeling British – with all of the shared social, family and cultural heritage that makes up such an identity – is in any way inconsistent with a pragmatic, utilitarian support for political independence.

My conviction that Scotland should be independent stems from the principles, not of identity or nationality, but of democracy and social justice.

Worryingly for Scottish Labour, she's stamped that vision with the precision and economy she was noted for when she was Scottish health secretary. Sturgeon is in charge of the strategic planning for much of the Scottish government's roll-out of its prospectus for independence.

She is now raising the barre on this debate.

Still, it very much remains to be seen how easily she can sell their "indy lite" version of independence – keeping sterling, the Bank of England, Nato and many other UK institutions of government - to both marrow and bone nationalists and sceptical neutrals.

She claimed, a little glibly it could be said, that a series of official papers would over coming months prove that "we will be the most prepared nation in the world gaining new powers, so that the transition is smooth." Her opponents have set the UK civil service, their own tacticians and strategists to the same task, to prove the nationalists wrong.

And her central themes are familiar from many of first minister Alex Salmond's speeches. Yet there was none of the bombast, or broad-brushed rhetoric which her boss - while one of British politics most enthralling speech-makers – can be guilty of at his most tub-thumbing. Sturgeon has a coolness and calmness that Salmond often lacks, an interesting counterbalance to his crowd-pleasing style.

It became clear at the SNP's annual conference in Perth that there is some quite deliberate repositioning going on about the SNP itself and about independence: it is a battle for the centre-left of Scottish politics.

Sturgeon has identified what will, to a great degree, define which side wins or loses by attacking the "best of both worlds" proposition advanced by her pro-UK opponents. She says this about Labour:


Labour's argument is that Scotland should bear the storms of UK membership when the Tories are in office because, in the event of a Labour government, things will improve more than they ever could with independence.

To me, that argument is deeply flawed.

First, I simply do not believe that Scotland should have to put up with long periods of UK government led by a party we did not vote for. It is - surely - democratically indefensible that although the Tories have never won a majority of votes or seats in Scotland in my entire lifetime – or even come anywhere close – they have nevertheless governed Scotland for more than half of my lifetime.

Second, it is clear from its record that for Labour to be elected across the UK, it must become something different to what Scotland wants.

Social justice becomes a policy to be bartered against other interests - wars, nuclear weapons and welfare cuts.

In the end the Blair government elected in 1997 was not an alternative to Conservatism. It was business as usual.

Given too that Sturgeon is a Glaswegian politician, this positioning has a longer-term benefit; if, as the current polls suggest, the SNP and Yes Scotland fail to win the 2014 referendum, the SNP has to survive as a viable and potent political force.

Winning the referendum would make this moot, but defeat would make it essential that her party continues to make Scottish Labour the party of opposition. Building a compelling case to be the most capable, proven party for Scottish centre-left urban voters is central to that.

It is relevant too that Sturgeon is a woman. Recent polling confirms that women are less supportive of independence and nationalism; polls confirm Salmond still sets many women voters' teeth on edge. And his opponents are capable, combative women, in Johann Lamont for Labour and Ruth Davidson for the Tories. It is crucial for the SNP it has substantial female voices, but that is secondary.

Assuming a defeat in 2014 isn't devastating (and even its critics believe the SNP will at the very least close the current two to one gap against independence shown in recent polling), the SNP will want to win again in the 2016 Holyrood elections as the best champions for Scotland within the UK.

There is a clear political risk for the SNP in fighting solely on centre-left territory. Are they narrow-casting their message too much? There are many unaligned and centre-right voters who, with the right message, could bend towards independence. It is a risk too for the Yes Scotland campaign: its chief executive Blair Jenkins is parroting similar lines to the SNP leadership.

Remember that Salmond won his Holyrood majority in 2011 by appealing to a remarkably diverse set of fans; even Tony Blair would have struggled to win backing from the socialist leader Tommy Sheridan and simultaneously the arch-capitalist investment banker Martin Gilbert, of Aberdeen Asset management.

The longer-term strategy for Sturgeon becomes even clearer when you consider that the pro-UK parties will, as far as nationalists are concerned, have to be held to their promise to devolve even more power to Holyrood. And the SNP may – depending on the scale of their defeat and Salmond's willingness to carry on – have to do so with a new leader. Sturgeon now has two years to establish her credentials.

How can budget-slashed local councils subsidise business rates?



Government calls for action under Section 69 of the Localism Act are tokenistic hypocrisy, says Rochdale retailer Paul Turner-Mitchell
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Mark Prisk. Peddling a half-baked policy. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA Archive/Press Association Ima


There's nothing more pointless than a rock'n'roll star, said Radiohead's Thom Yorke. If he ever gets round to reading Clause 69 of the Localism Act he may yet come to revise this view. In pointless policy terms this one is in a league of its own. Happiness indexes and cycling lanes designed not to be used don't come close.

From the perspective of many northern councils, the policy is not only pointless but also insulting. Essentially, it gives councils the power to reduce business rates, something many small businesses have long been crying out for. But to do this councils will have to cut back on care for the elderly or disabled services because it has to be paid for from council budgets that have already been cut to the bone.

It is naked political calculation of the worst kind, allowing central government to keep business rates at an unsustainably high level (increased by over £500m for retailers in last two years) and being able to direct small business complaints towards councils for not reducing them. Once again it's a case of more sophistry and politics for the High Street and no serious policy.

Mark Prisk, the man responsible for taking on responsibility for the Government's high street review - operating under the ridiculous moniker of Local Growth Minister – is busy beating a drum for Clause 69. Last week he told an Association of Convenience Stores conference that their members should be lobbying councils to reduce business rates.

Never mind the fact that Government has ignored the likes of the British Property Foundation, the British Independent Retailers Association, the Chambers of Commerce and many more trade bodies by continuing to introduce punishing business rate rises. Never mind that Government continues to oversee the decline of the body responsible for evaluating business rates to the point where it has a massive backlog of business rate appeals it's taking so long to process that businesses paying too much tax are going under in the meantime. Never mind Government introducing the biggest increase in business rates in 20 years last year, costing retailers £350million, while throwing £20million of scraps in Portas Pilot funding to hard pressed high streets. Never mind government failings. If business rates are crippling your business then it must be the fault of your local council.

If rhetoric could revive our high streets, a New Jerusalem would be springing up tomorrow and empty shops up and down the country would be filled overnight with vibrant businesses. But I'm afraid the high street doesn't work like this and there has to come a time when political calculation ends and painful reality begins.

Sadly Mary Portas made the same mistake of lapsing into wishful thinking rather than focusing on the realpolitik of business rates and local authority funding. Her independent review said local authorities should use their discretionary powers to give business rate concessions to new businesses. But with Greater Manchester local authorities having to make cuts of just short of £1billion by 2015 where is the room to subsidise business rates?


Greater Manchester rates

Local Authority
Discretionary Rate Relief for 2012/13 for town centre regeneration under Clause 69
Overall budget and savings that must implement from 2010 to 2015
Population size in 2011 Census
Budget cut per person
Rochdale 0 £137M 211700 647.14
Oldham 0 £130.9M 224900 534.5
Manchester 0 £266M 503100 528.72
Salford 0 £110.2M 233900 471.14
Tameside 0 £101.6M 219300 463.29
Bolton 0 £101M 276800 364.88
Trafford 0 £55M 226600 242.72
Stockport 0 £55.3M 283300 195.2
Bury 0 £31.8M 185100 171.8
Wigan 0 Refused save for £48M for 2010/11 & 2011/12 301500


Not surprisingly, a freedom of information request reveals that not one single local authority out of all the 10 Greater Manchester authorities is currently using Clause 69 of the Localism Act to reduce business rates. This policy has been in place since April and it speaks volumes that a major business conurbation like Manchester is not using it. The reality is councils simply can't afford to cut business rates. Last Friday's headline in the Guardian of 'up to 900 more jobs axed at Council' explains why.

Small businesses will be hoping this week's Autumn Statement sees the Chancellor finally grasp the nettle of business rates to offer some real hope to all those who feel over-taxed, under-valued and unsupported by this Government, especially here in Greater Manchester. We've all had enough of political skulduggery dreamed up by policy mandarins who are a billion miles away from the reality at the coalface.

If the government really wants localism, then let councils determine their own business rates instead of having to impose unsustainably high rates set by government that no longer bear any relation to property values. Clause 69 isn't localism, it's half baked policy that isn't working.

We can't go through parliament with government introducing tokenistic policies that councils won't use. There is nothing worse than giving businesses false hopes. We've had enough pointless gestures, we need the right tools to rebuild the high street.

Paul Turner-Mitchell owns Rochdale's 25 Ten boutique, writes columns for Drapers and Retail Week and contributed to Mary Portas' high street review. Last month on the Guardian Northerner he invited Ed Miliband to work for a day in the Rochdale shop. The Labour leader is considering it.

Autumn statement 2012 - coverage of George Osborne's speech as it happened



Closing summary • Lowest earners hit as welfare squeezed
• UK to miss debt target
• Highlights from 12.30pm
• The Treasury view...and the Labour line
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Andrew Sparrow and Graeme Wearden
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 5 December 2012 18.37 GMT
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The chancellor, George Osborne, delivers his autumn statement today. Photograph: PA






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7.58am GMT
George Osborne to deliver autumn statement
The chancellor, George Osborne. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

There are 'no miracle cures' to the UK's economic strife.

That's how George Osborne will defend today's autumn statement when he stands up in the House of Commons at 12.30pm.

The chancellor is expected to admit that the British economy is in a much worse state than predicted in March's budget. With the Office for Budget Responsibility likely to cut its growth forecasts, Osborne may have to admit that his debt and deficit reduction plans are off track.

Some of the details have been leaked already – we know that Osborne is planning a £5bn infrastructure spending plan, financed by deeper cuts across Whitehall. A headline-friendly clampdown on tax-avoiding multinational companies is also in the works. And welfare cuts and a tax raid on the wealthy could allow Osborne to claim that the country is sharing the pain.

But for the chancellor who pledged to deal "decisively with our country's record debts" in his first budget statement in June 2010, today is likely to be a difficult end to a tricky year.

We'll bring you the build-up, the statement itself, full reaction and detailed analysis through the day.

We're both writing the blog. If a post has AS at the end, it's from Andrew Sparrow, and if it has GW, it's from Graeme Wearden. If it doesn't have initials at the end, that's either because we both contributed - or because it's not particularly relevant.

Updated at 1.33pm GMT


8.18am GMT
Osborne to say 'we're confronting Britain's problems'


We're expecting George Osborne to take a defiant line in today's statement, saying:


In this autumn statement, we show that this coalition government is confronting the country's problems, instead of ducking them. The public know that there are no miracle cures. Just the hard work of dealing with our deficit and ensuring Britain wins the global race.

That's from the Guardian's front page story, which reveals that the government also stands accused of cutting NHS spending in England, having repeatedly said it is rising in real terms.

Updated at 8.48am GMT


8.45am GMT
Autumn statement - politics


We're going to get hundreds of charts and figures today, but, for my money, the most interesting autumn statement-related figures are the one on page 13 of this chart (pdf). It's the YouGov tracker showing which party is seen as best at handling various issues, and page 13 shows who is ahead on the economy. For most of 2010 the Conservatives had a double-digit lead over Labour. At the start of December the Conservatives were still ahead, but just by one point. This indicator is one of the better guides as to who is going to win the general election, and if the Conservatives lose their lead here by 2015, then Labour must be almost home and dry.

It's surprising that Labour is not ahead already because, at face value, George Osborne's economic record has been woeful. Growth has been feeble, we've had a double dip recession and there is still the chance of a third. He's got two fiscal rules, and he is expect to admit today that he is going to break at least one of them. Austerity is being extended, some taxes are going up and, as the Guardian reveals today in its splash, the party that promised in 2010 to cut the deficit but not the NHS is actually doing the opposite.

But Osborne has managed to retain his lead over Ed Balls on economic competence because the Conservatives have successfully managed to persuade a chunk of the electorate that, if the economy is in a mess, it's more Labour's fault than the government's. A similar thing happened in reverse in the 1990s and, in his recent biography of Osborne, Janan Ganesh says this has a profound effect on his outlook.


[Obsorne] does not scar easily, but he learns rapidly. For him, the lessons of the Major years was the primacy of politics over policy. After all, by any reasonable standard, Major led one of them more effective post-war governments. The first five years of what would turn out to be a fifteen-year economic boom took place under his premiership. The British curse of inflation was finally exorcised. Crime ... began to fall ...

Yet, for all this, Major's reward was the largest defeat endured by any party during this lifetime. His shrewd judgment and quiet competence ... mattered less than his party's repellent reputation.

When Osborne spills out the bad news today, will the public conclude that he has lost all credibility? Or can he continue to persuade the public that he's doing his best in appalling circumstances and that Labour would be worse? That's the big political challenge for him for today, but also for the rest of this parliament. AS

Updated at 12.57pm GMT


8.51am GMT
Autumn statement - economics


The main economic news will come early in the statement, when George Osborne presents the latest official forecasts for the public finances.

The Office for Budget Responsibility is widely expected to slash its forecasts for UK economic growth, which would push up UK's borrowing requirements (to compensate for the resulting lower tax receipts).

The key question is whether the chancellor will admit that he is now on track to miss his two fiscal goals – for national debt to be falling as a proportion of GDP by the 2015/2016 financial year, and to eliminate the structural deficit on a rolling basis over five years.

Some City economists believe both goals could be missed.

The UK's cost of borrowing remains close to record lows today (10-year gilts are changing hands at an interest rate of just 1.83% this morning), so we aren't to be locked out of the markets (Britain, as they say, is not Greece).

But the prized AAA credit rating is already looking tarnished, and a particularly bleak set of forecasts could bring the dreaded downgrade closer.

Kit Juckes, global strategist at Société Générale, turns to Shakespeare to explain the mood in the Square Mile today:


"A sad tale's best for winter: I have one of sprites and goblins". And of Osbornes and triple-As too.

Welcome to UK (snowy) Autumn Statement Day. The UK has been a leading proponent of using super-easy monetary policy and devaluation as a strategy to offset fiscal austerity in the post-crash world.

Today's Autumn Statement won't be an admission of failure, but lower OBR growth forecasts, acknowledgement that debt level targets will be missed and another hotch-potch of tax and spending measures will reflect the lack of progress. The rating goblins will be sharpening their swords, no doubt, and the sterling bears will prowl the woods.

For the record, in March the OBR predicted the UK would grow by 0.8% in 2012, 2.0% in 2013 and 2.7% growth in 2014. GW

Updated at 9.03am GMT


9.09am GMT


This is interesting.

Prayer cards are the cards that MPs use to reserve a seat in the chamber. They enable MPs to get a seat for prayers, which take place, in private, before the start of Commons business every day. AS

9.25am GMT
What we expect today

Thanks to a torrent of leaks in recent days we have a decent idea about what to expect in today's statement. They include:

• Pensions: a tax raid on wealthier people, either by cutting the tax-exemption threshold (currently £50,000 per year) by as much as a third, or by cutting pension tax relief levels. That could raise €2bn

• Mansion tax. Or a 'son of mansion tax', as Westminster insiders describe it. Not Vince Cable's dream of a levy on all homes worth more than £2m, but just on those owned by "non-doms" – super-rich from overseas.

• A crackdown on tax avoidance. The public accounts committee tee'd the ball up for Osborne on Monday with a blistering attack on Starbucks, Amazon and Google. Expect the chancellor to seize the opportunity with more money for HMRC to thwart tax-avoiding multinationals.

• Welfare cuts. There had been talk of a freeze in welfare payments, but we're now expecting them to simply rise by less than the rate of inflation, perhaps 1%.

Here's a few links to round-ups: