Lee Rotherham: Policy, going spare
One of the greatest services any incoming UK Government could do would be to carry out a full and transparent cost-benefit analysis of EU membership. The current state of official statistics has gaps you could float a Guatemalan bananaboat through.
The Department for Trade was invited to provide official stats back in 2009 revealing how much EU membership had supposedly saved UK businesses in terms of reduced tariffs. This was the response;
Matthew Sinclair: Martin Wolf on the deficit
New data suggests that the picture on exports isn't as dismal as it looked earlier this year. But things still aren't great, particularly considering how weak the pound is, which should bolster exporters. As Martin Wolf says more exports will make it easier to reduce the fiscal deficit.
Fiona McEvoy: Non-job of the week
Many more public sector jobs on the Guardian site today, with the vast majority sitting in around the £30-£50k salary mark. Under the ‘regional development’ category we have adverts for an ‘Excellence Network Co-ordinator’ and a ‘Cultural Broker’ but it’s back to local government for this week’s non-job of the week.
John O'Connell: The complex web of business support
With the country facing a fiscal crisis, one way to cut back on public spending would be to scrap the Regional Development Agencies (RDA). Taxing businesses too much and then handing some of the money back to selected organisations hurts fair and productive competition, and research shows that they haven’t achieved their key objective of correcting regional economic imbalances. What’s more, the system creates a reliance on grants, meaning businesses are less inclined to adapt to the prevailing economic conditions.
Lee Rotherham: Party Policy on Europe V: Liberal Democrats
Danny Alexander is the jovial brains behind Cowley Street’s manifesto. His background as former Director of Communications for the European Movement and Head of Communications for Britain in Europe, coupled with the party’s pledge to be plain speaking on the key issues, suggests a vigorous EU dimension to their policies. Let’s look.
Jennifer Dunn: Millions wasted on Cycle Route Plans
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request sent by Richard Taylor about cycle routes on the Transport Direct website – run by the Department for Transport (DfT) – has brought some interesting facts to light.
The FOI request revealed that the “Find a cycle route” feature on the Transport Direct website will have cost the taxpayer £2.4 million pounds by the end of the current financial year, and there are plans to spend a further £400,000 to provide a route planner for a Cycling for Schools programme.