Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

19 March 2019
Michel Barnier

Theresa May has been warned by Michel Barnier that the UK must come up with a clear "plan" if it wants to delay Brexit.

The EU's chief negotiator spoke out as the Prime Minister prepares to send a letter to Brussels formally requesting an extension to the Article 50 process. Mr Barnier suggested that a second referendum or a general election could be two reasons to authorise a delay. He also ruled out the possibility of Mrs May asking for a short extension while seeking a longer one as a backup. Speaking at a press conference, the top EU official said any extension must be "linked to something new, a new political event, a new political process". He added: "If not, what would the purpose and outcome be for an extension," he continued. "And how can we ensure at the end of a possible extension we are not back in same situation?" "In any case the European Council will need to assess what is in best interests of the EU, extending uncertainty without a clear plan would add to economic cost for our businesses but also incur a political cost for the EU.  "If we have a long extension we are concerned about the...
19 March 2019
Opposition leaders

Splits between the opposition parties over Brexit have erupted after Jeremy Corbyn urged them to back Labour's plans for leaving the EU.

The Labour boss met with the Westminster leaders of the SNP, Plaid Cymru, Lib Dems and Greens for the first time. But it soon became clear that the meetingn had broken up without any agreement being reached. In a statement issued following the talks, a Labour spokesperson said: "Should there not be a majority in parliament for May's deal or a public vote, Corbyn called on the other parties to engage constructively to find a parliamentary majority for a close economic relationship with the EU that can work for the whole country.  But in their own statement, the other parties said: "In the meeting our message was clear, Labour must move to back a public vote, which includes the option to remain, before the window of opportunity closes. "There is no such thing as a good Brexit – whether it is a Labour or Conservative version of it – jobs, public services and the environment will suffer. Remaining in the EU is the best deal on offer and, with time running out, Labour must now deliver on...
19 March 2019

BSNA members are disappointed that Channel 4 televised a misleading episode of Dispatches on 18th March 2019, with many inaccuracies and assertions likely to unduly concern parents who, whether due to medical need or personal choice, feed their children infant formula.  

BSNA members fully recognise breastfeeding as the best way to feed a baby and support initiatives to increase the rates of breastfeeding in the UK. However, for those babies who are not exclusively fed breastmilk, sometimes for medical reasons, the only food recognised as a suitable and safe alternative to breastmilk is a scientifically developed infant formula. As an industry, we also provide life-saving formulas without which some babies would not thrive, and in some cases not survive. We are a highly regulated industry and rightly so. The strict legal framework within which we operate sets standards for the composition and communication about baby milks.  It gives parents a high level of protection and is closely scrutinised.  Additionally, companies are only able to use European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved claims on product labels. We would therefore urge any parent who has concerns about their specialised formula to speak to their healthcare professional...
19 March 2019
Anti-semitism demo

Labour has let down its Jewish supporters and members by failing to tackle anti-semitism in its ranks, according to the party's peers.

Some 128 of them - more than two-thirds of the total - signed a letter of support to the Jewish Labour Movement. The organisation, which is Labour's longest-standing affiliate, will vote next month on whether to sever its ties with the party. That follows concerns about the way Labour has tackled the anti-semitism rows which have dogged it in recent years. In the letter, which was sent last Friday, the peers said: "We know Labour has let our Jewish supporters and members down by failing to eradicate the anti-semitism within our ranks. "Each of us recognises the leadership role we must ourselves play in addressing this toxic racism; calling out those who seek to make solidarity with our Jewish comrades a test of foreign policy and proudly standing with them in saying and acting to ensure anti-semitism has no place in the Labour movement at any level." However, in a thinly-veiled swipe at the Labour leadership, the peers said that "words mean little when not backed by deeds". And they...
19 March 2019

Food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply, a new report from WaterAid warns.

As high-income countries buy products with considerable ‘water footprints’ - the amount of water used in production - from water-scarce countries, WaterAid is calling on this World Water Day for the production of these goods to be made more sustainable and for consumers to be more thoughtful in their purchasing habits. In many areas that amount of water pumped out of underground aquifers (groundwater) for irrigation exceeds the amount that is naturally replenished – meaning that wells and pumps can run dry. Some products have a huge water footprint: Your morning cup of coffee which contains about 125 ml of actual water is made from ground coffee which takes 130 litres to produce. Avocados have an estimated water footprint of almost 2,000 litres per kilogram. Rice accounts for 40% of all global irrigation, and 17% of global groundwater depletion, with an average water footprint of 2,500 litres of water per kilogram. Cotton is a thirsty fabric: grown and produced in India it has...
19 March 2019

On Tuesday 26th February the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Working at Height published its report into serious injuries and fatalities of employees whilst working at height. 

The Group took verbal and written evidence and the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) played its part in this Consultation. The Report revealed some stark figures showing that the UK has 0.55 fatalities per 100,000 employees. This is by no means the worst but just a single fatality that could be avoided is too much. The Report highlighted that more needs to be done to improve the safety culture in organisations where working at height is normal practice. Paul Blanchard, who is a champion for change, spoke passionately about his experiences. Paul had been a building contractor for over 20 years but fell from a height of 12 feet resulting in three months in a coma and nine months in hospital. He now regularly shares his experience of life as a wheelchair user and how it impacts on his family. The GGF is working closely with The Ladder Association to create an awareness program for window installers which will include a toolkit for business leaders. It will help senior managers,...
19 March 2019

Amidst all things Brexit in the last seven days, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond delivered his Spring Statement with some encouraging proposals made for the construction industry. 

Here are the main items from the statement with commentary from Kevin Buckley GGF Group Chief Executive and Richard Hearn, Head of Membership and Training. Energy Efficiency The Spring Statement built on the Government’s commitment in its Industrial Clean Growth Strategy and 25 year environmental plan with the following proposals: to help smaller businesses reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions, the Government is launching a call for evidence on a Business Energy Efficiency Scheme to explore how it can support investment in energy efficiency measures to help ensure consumer energy bills are low and homes are better for the environment, the Government will introduce a Future Homes Standard by 2025, so that new build homes are future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency On the energy efficiency proposals, Kevin Buckley, GGF Group Chief Executive commented: “It will be interesting to see the full detail of the Future Homes...
19 March 2019
John Bercow

Downing Street today admitted Britain had been plunged into crisis after Speaker John Bercow blocked Theresa May from holding a third vote on her Brexit deal.

The Speaker enraged ministers on Monday when he announced he would not allow a third Commons vote on a motion that was “substantially the same” as the one MPs rejected last week. Asked today whether the move amounted to a constitutional crisis, Mrs May's official spokesman said: "If you were to look back to the speech which the Prime Minister gave just before ‘meaningful vote two’, she said that if MPs did not support ‘meaningful vote two' we would be in a crisis." He added: "I think events yesterday tell you that that situation has come to pass." Number 10 meanwhile confirmed that Mrs May will send a letter to European Council president Donald Tusk on either Tuesday or Wednesday requesting a formal delay to Brexit. It came after the Prime Minister chaired a meeting of her Cabinet, with ministers mulling how best to navigate the block imposed by the Commons Speaker. That included discussion of what changes would be required before the deal can go to a third vote, as...
19 March 2019

Theresa May was handed a major boost today as official figures revealed the number of people in work has hit a new record.

The Office for National Statistics said the proportion of people in employment was at 76.1% for November 2018 to January 2019 - the highest since 1971. Estimates show 32.71 million people of working age were in jobs – 473,000 more than a year ago. Meanwhile, unemployment has fallen to its lowest since the mid-1970s, at just 3.9%. It was estimated that 1.34 million people were unemployed - 112,000 fewer than last year. The proportion of people classed as 'economically inactive' - meaning they are not looking for work - stood at 20.7%, the lowest ever rate. Elsewhere, wages rose by 1.4% compared with a year ago when adjusted for inflation. Employment minister Alok Sharma said MPs could "safeguard" the figures by backing the Brexit deal the Prime Minister brought back from Brussels. “Today’s employment figures are further evidence of the strong economy the Chancellor detailed in last week’s spring statement, showing how our pro-business...
19 March 2019

IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) has welcomed data showing more women are turning to self-employment than ever. It has, however, warned the government must recognise the importance of this sector to women and many others and do more to protect it.

Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released today shows the number of women in self-employment rose by 31,000 in the last quarter of 2018. Ryan Barnett, IPSE’s Economic Policy Adviser, commented: “Today’s data shows just how important it is for women across the UK to have the choice to go into self-employment. More of them than ever before are taking advantage of the freedom and flexibility of this way of working. “As IPSE’s own research has shown, the number of women in self-employment has increased by 63 per cent since 2008 – and clearly that strong growth is continuing. “The jobs recovery since the financial crisis has been driven by the huge number of people turning to self-employment – particularly mothers. IPSE research shows that one in eight of all self-employed people are now mothers. “As more and more people – and especially women – turn to self-employment, it is vital that the government recognises the importance of this sector and gives it the...