We urge the UK government to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit, before it’s too late

South Wales Evening Post Universal Credit (UC) is supposed to simplify and streamline the benefits system by putting Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Working Tax Credit, into a single registration and payment mechanism. So far, so good. We have no problem in principle with anything that makes our welfare state and social security more effective and less complicated. But the proof, as always, is in the pudding. And the fact is that the way in which the UK government has handled the set-up and roll-out of Universal Credit has been a total disaster, from start to finish. Continue reading

Commons Diary October 2017

'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...’ I couldn’t help thinking of the spell-binding opening lines of Dickens’ masterpiece as I watched the slow-motion car crash that was the Prime Minister’s speech at her party conference. What a contrast with the collective high-five that had taken place in Brighton just a few days before, and with the Tory tub-thumping that we saw in the run-up to the General Election.  Continue reading

Healing the divides

 (Photo Credit: The Times News Syndication) Progress, Written by Stephen Kinnock and Joe Jervis Labour’s next big social democratic project must be to unite our fractured nation Britain has so much going for it – economically, democratically and culturally. Yet as a country we find ourselves more divided and polarised than at any time since the second world war. Young versus old, graduate versus non-graduate, city versus town – these have become the faultlines upon which modern Britain is built. Continue reading

Squaring Our Brexit Circle

Photo credit: The Times News Syndication LabourList AN EEA / EFTA-BASED TRANSITION DEAL COULD UNITE THE LABOUR MOVEMENT AROUND A BREXIT THAT COMBINES MAXIMUM ACCESS TO THE SINGLE MARKET WITH PROGRESSIVE REFORM OF FREE MOVEMENT On Sunday Keir Starmer used an article in The Observer to call time on the ambiguity that had come to define Labour's approach to Brexit since the referendum. It was an approach that had served us well on 8 June, but it was never sustainable. With the clock ticking, the economy tanking, the pressure from Brussels building and the country crying out for some political leadership, it was high time that we set out our stall. Continue reading

Britain can use EEA as comfortable waiting room before Brexit

Financial Times The debate about what sort of Brexit the government should be seeking to secure has generated a tremendous amount of heat but not a great deal of light. Hard, soft, car crash, red white and blue — you name it, the list of random adjectives used to describe the type of departure from the EU is long. So, perhaps now would be a good time to remind ourselves of three vitally important facts. Continue reading

A Song For Jo

Jo Cox: More In Common, Book Review There's a scene in Brendan Cox's book that will remain seared into my memory for as long as I live. It takes place the day after Jo was brutally murdered. Her husband Brendan is sitting with their two young children, Cuillin and Lejla, just hours after he'd told them Jo has been taken from them. The children are deeply distressed and traumatised. Brendan is close to collapsing under the crushing weight of his grief. Continue reading

Labour should reach out to Tories on Brexit

  Photo: The Times / News Syndication New European June 8 shifted the political centre of gravity. There is now no mandate for the Theresa May-Daily Mail catastrophically extreme version of Brexit. Instead, the Labour Party now has the opportunity to forge a coalition of common sense that can seize the moment and chart a new course through these turbulent waters. For months now we’ve heard the Brexit mantra, that we want “the best possible deal”. But nobody seems to have a clue what that means in practical terms, and there seems to be even less idea about how to get there. This is not surprising, as we are embarking on a journey into completely uncharted territory, but the clock is ticking, and an already compressed timetable has been further squeezed by May’s unnecessary and hubristic election. Continue reading

Ignoring Brexit during this election would be a mistake

Photo: The Times / News Syndication Imagine driving through central London, at rush hour, with no traffic lights. Imagine the Merseyside derby (the fixture that has seen more red cards than any other in British football) being played without a referee. Imagine flights trying to land at Heathrow without any air traffic controllers. It probably would not end well, would it? And now imagine that Britain exits the European Union with no Article 50 deal, and no prospect of a trade deal -– the so-called World Trade Organisation (WTO) option. Much as we have all wished, even if just for a moment, that the offside rule did not exist, or that we could just jump that red light, ultimately we always come to see the value of rules, systems and the institutions that oversee them. Continue reading

Rebuilding trust

Photo: The Times / News Syndication For the Fabian Society I have written an article on how Labour’s long journey back to electoral relevance must start by rebuilding trust in our ability to manage the economy: Continue reading

No reason to delay Government decision on Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

Together with Carolyn Harris MP, Stephen Crabb MP & Nick Clegg MP, I have written an article urge ministers to give the green light to the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project. You can read the article here. Continue reading