BEST FOR BRITAIN'S
Once again, we’re looking back at a
very busy week in politics. And what a week it has been. We’ve had the
Chancellor trying to come out all fairy godmother and ending up
looking rather more like the Wicked Witch of the West. We’ve had more
shocking revelations about the P&O scandal (and just how much did
the Government know?) and we’ve seen yet more drama unfolding across
all the various parliamentary debates that we’ve been keeping an eye
So, without further ado, here’s
our update for this week. Stay tuned and stay in the
Cost of living crisis won’t
Sunak came up rather short this week (sorry, that’s not intended as
a dig about his height), announcing a set of measures that barely
scratch the surface of the cost of living crisis. Cost of living
affects everyone, regardless of whether they have taxable income -
it’s causing a 10% increase in daily living costs but those receiving
benefits got nothing from Sunak and when you account for the £20 UC
uplift being scrapped, those who simply cannot work due to disability
are being left much poorer.
We can’t forget that though every country is facing rising
living costs, only British consumers and businesses are having to bear
the extra pain of a self-inflicted hard Brexit on top.
Our CEO Naomi Smith and journalist, author and podcaster
Ian Dunt shared their thoughts on the budget in this Twitter
Spaces (the usual Dunt expletives warning
stats from the OBR show the terrible impact Brexit
has had on the UK economy. Not only has our economy experienced a slow
decline, but it has also become far less resilient to economic shocks.
Trade as a share of GDP has fallen 12% since 2019 - TWO
AND A HALF TIMES MORE than in any other G7 country.
That’s Brexit Britain for you.
EU've got to be
While the headline measures Sunak chose to tout were a 5p cut
in fuel duty and a £3,000 rise in the National Insurance threshold,
one of the stranger moments of the budget was when he announced how,
as a result of "Brexit", he was able to remove VAT on solar panels and
heat pumps. It was quickly pointed
out that you can already cut VAT on solar panels
within the EU - something that some member states have actually
Still no joy for Johnson in
While the EU is weaning itself off fossil fuels from despots
by signing a deal with the US, Britain has just deepened its links
with despotic oil-producers. In fact, Britain has again been told
by the USA that threats over the Northern Ireland
Protocol will mean no trade deal for the foreseeable.
Trade Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan might be celebrating
getting a deal on reducing US tariffs on UK steel - but it's 5 months
after the EU got an even
better deal with the US to remove tariffs
Signs of the tension were
visible at this week’s NATO meeting of world leaders where Biden
seemed very keen to speak to anyone but Boris Johnson.
The Nationality and Borders Bill was passed in the Commons
without much Tory rebellion. Which means we’re on the way to
‘offshoring’ asylum seekers for processing outside the UK. This has
been trialed by Australia where the policy has resulted in a number of
abuses of those caught up in it, shocking conditions in the processing
camps and extraordinary costs to taxpayers of offshoring. One MP this
week observed it would be cheaper to house
every single asylum seeker in the Ritz and send all
the children to Eton than to actually send them to offshore camps for
processing. Seems like a terrible policy to us.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe gave her
first press conference after her release from Iran wearing the
colours of Ukraine.
Not only do we absolutely rate
that, we also rate her candour in refusing to let the British
Government off the hook for failing to get her home for so long. Why
did it take six years and five foreign secretaries?
We also loved this interview with Anoosheh Ashoori, another dual citizen
who was detained in Iran. His case never received quite so much
coverage but we think his story should be heard.
The Dissolution and Calling of
Parliament Bill received Royal Assent this week. And we wave goodbye to the Fixed
Term Parliaments Act, it seems like just a short time ago you were
supposed to put an end to snap elections once and for all. Your
replacement more or less guarantees that all future elections will be
snap ones timed to suit the poll ratings of the government of the
The Policing Bill was back in
the Lords, with some victories for peaceful protestors as the House of
Lords once again defeated Government proposals to criminalise ‘noisy’
protest. Expect to hear more from us about this next week.
The Elections Bill completed
its fifth day of Committee Stage in the Lords. Peers seem to have
drawn out deliberations on the Bill to such an extent that they’ve had
to add on another day of Committee Stage next week to tidy things up.
The engagement from Peers across the House has been really
encouraging. Report Stage comes next and we hope to see some big
amendments going in.
Back again with the
Backbench Business Debate
You’ll remember we told you last
week that there was to be a Backbench Business Debate on Long Covid
this week involving members of the APPG on Coronavirus. Because of the Budget, this debate has
been pushed back to next week - so watch it next Thursday at 11 am
The APPG on Coronavirus also
published its report on Long Covid this week, calling on the UK
Government to double the £50 million pledged in the ‘Living with
Covid’ plan each year to fund urgent new research into diagnostics and
treatment, as well as providing financial support for key workers
living with Long Covid.
Best for Britain provides
secretariat for the APPG.
The week just didn’t get any better
for Sunak after he was widely mocked for a staged photoshoot in which he borrowed a Sainsbury’s worker’s
Kia to get some pictures for the ‘gram. Sunak decided that to look
more ‘normal’ he should fill up a car that wasn’t his own and have his
picture taken while doing it - a totally ordinary thing to do, right?
Also in the same photoshoot, Sunak was snapped trying to pay for some
chocolate and coke by putting his contactless card against a barcode
scanner. It’s an uphill
struggle it seems.
Keep up to date and keep checking our messages. All of us at
Best for Britain thank you for being with us, and for supporting the
work we do together.
Director of Operations, Best for
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