Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

18 September 2019
Robots manufacturing cars

British businesses face being unable to compete with firms from other major economies unless they increase the number of robots in the workplace, MPs have warned.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee accused ministers of allowing G7 rivals to “steal a march” in the fourth Industrial Revolution. They said ministers need to draw up a "robot and artificial intelligence strategy" so the UK can take full advantage of the developing technology. And the MPs warned there was a danger that “too few” robots in the workplace could hold back the economy and future jobs growth. Committee chair Rachel Reeves said: “The switch to automation brings challenges for businesses and for workers, with fears for livelihoods or disruption to job roles coming to the fore. “The real danger for the UK economy and for future jobs growth is, however, not that we have too many robots in the workplace but that we have too few. “For all the potential of the UK, and despite our excellent tech and research base, the fact is that we are lagging behind our international competitors in our adoption of robot and automation...
18 September 2019
Gas Hob

The Big Six energy companies have come under fire once again this week, following a new report that UK households overpaid by £2.2bn on energy this year. Dods Monitoring's Alexandra Goodwin looks into what's going on. 

The Big Six energy companies have come under fire once again this week, following a new report from Bulb that UK households overpaid by £2.2bn on energy this year, despite the introduction of Ofgem’s energy price cap in January. Varying responses have been mooted, with Labour’s nationalisation plans countered by demands for greater regulation of the ‘oligopolistic’ market. Are markets oligopolistic? The Big Six currently maintain a 75 per cent market share for electricity and 73 per cent for gas, with the collapse of small energy companies such as Solarplicity and Our Power, highlighting a classic market oligopoly. The Competition and Markets Authority, amongst others, have raised concerns over increased barriers to the market, with cartel-like behaviours pushing up prices and reducing consumer choice. In turn, energy prices in the UK have become unaffordable to many. In England, more than one in 10 households live in fuel poverty, but this dramatically worsens in other regions. A...
17 September 2019
Lib dems badges

As the Liberal Democrats leave sunny Bournemouth, they head off with a host of new recruits and a radical position on Brexit.

Over the course of their party conference, Lib Dem members voted over a range of issues from saving music venues to housing reform and fighting crime. But the position that has got people talking is the party’s decision to take an uncompromising anti-Brexit stance. If they win the next election, they will revoke Article 50 - cancelling the result of the 2016 referendum without bothering to have another one. The new, hardline, stance does not enjoy the unanimous support of the party faithful. “Personally, yes absolutely 1000% I would support it any day of the week. But I’m not just making policy for me and the party shouldn’t be just making policy for the party faithful who will of course subscribe to this view,” campaigner Kirsty Allen said. “It took people a long time to come around to our current viewpoint and I don’t want to alienate them at this point. “To my mind if we complain that First Past the Post doesn’t give the Conservatives a mandate to do whatever they like,...
17 September 2019
Jon lansman

Labour officials have backed a move by the boss of Momentum to axe a moderate group representing student members of the party.

A marathon meeting of Labour's national executive committee agreed to pass a motion in the name of Jon Lansman calling for Labour Students to be disbanded. Mr Lansman had claimed the NEC had never approved the group's affiliation to the Labour party. In addition, the Momentum chief said Labour Students had never paid its affiliation fees - a claim denied by the group's chair, Rania Ramli. Ms Ramli had written to Jennie Formby, Labour's general secretary, urging her to reject Mr Lansman's motion, which called for the NEC to "urgently devise a plan to establish a Labour Students organisation which does meet its obligations". However, the motion was passed unanimously by the powerful body. One party source told PoliticsHome: "It's another nail in the coffin for a sensible Labour party delivered by an old man who couldn’t lace the campaigning boots of Labour students." In a statement issued before the NEC meeting, Labour Students said: "This motion is being brought forward as we approach...
17 September 2019
Supreme Court

Boris Johnson suspended Parliament in order to “silence” MPs who he believed would try to disrupt his Brexit plans, the Supreme Court has been told.

Lawyers challenging the Prime Minister’s decision to “prorogue” Parliament for five weeks said there was "strong evidence" that he saw the Commons as "as an obstacle" to his plans to take the UK out of the EU on 31 October. The move is being challenged in the highest court in the land after Scottish and English courts gave contradictory judgments on the issue earlier this month. The Court of Session in Edinburgh found the move to have been “unlawful”, days after the High Court in London dismissed a challenge against it as a “political” issue that was not for the court to decide. The Government has insisted that its decision to suspend Parliament until the Queen’s Speech on 14 October was so that ministers could introduce a fresh legislative agenda. But Lord Pannick, on behalf of campaigner Gina Miller, who is appealing against the High Court ruling, said: "The exceptional length of the prorogation in this case is strong evidence that the Prime Minister’s motive was...
17 September 2019

Government must invest in making our homes more energy efficient, says FMB.

Making the UK’s homes more energy efficient will reduce energy bills, tackle the scourge of fuel poverty and help address the climate crisis, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), in response to the speech by the Leader of the Liberal Democrats at its party conference. Sarah McMonagle from the FMB said: “The UK’s housing stock represents a significant contribution to our net carbon emissions and therefore the Government must invest in making our homes more energy efficient,as pledged by Jo Swinson in her Leader’s speech today. The buildings in this country are some of the oldest and leakiest in the world and therefore a programme of energy efficient upgrades would be a major step forward in cutting carbon emissions overall. What’s more, the Lib Dem Leader rightly points out that this would boost jobs in the construction sector, and reduce the burden of energy bills on the very poorest residents. However, given that 60 per cent of builders already can’t hire...
17 September 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson is now more popular than when he first took office despite being hit by a series of setbacks on Brexit, according to a new poll.

The YouGov survey showed that 38% of voters now have a favourable view of him, compared to 54% with an unfavourable view. That gives him a net score of -16, an improvement from the -21 he got at the time of the last poll in July, shortly before he took over from Theresa May. In the two months since, Mr Johnson has lost six consecutive Commons votes, including two attempts to call a general elections. He also saw MPs - including 21 rebel Tories - pass a law forcing him to seek an extension to the Brexit deadline if he can't reach a deal, and caused a constitutional crisis by suspending Parliament. Mr Johnson's favourability ratings are also far better than Jeremy Corbyn, who has a net score of -49, unchanged from two months ago. Among Conservative voters, the Prime Minister now has a favourability rating of +50, while among Leave supporters it is +46. Unsurprisingly, he scores -75 with Remain voters. Elsewhere, the poll also found that new Lib Dem leader Jo...
17 September 2019

News that London’s homebuyers are being offered 20 per cent discounts for homes in polluted streets is a wakeup call for us all. It reflects the magnitude of the problem and the extent to which it affects every aspect of our lives, says the British Safety Council. 

Matthew Holder, Head of Campaigns, British Safety Council, said: “If air pollution is damaging house prices, imagine how it’s affecting the health of people who work outside in the most polluted parts of our cities. Thousands of people, from construction workers to couriers, work in illegal levels of air pollution day after day.” In March 2019, the British Safety Council launched the Time to Breathe campaign to reduce outdoor workers’ exposure to ambient air pollution. The cornerstone of the campaign is Canairy, a unique free mobile app that calculates an individual’s exposure to ambient air pollution based on the London Air Quality Network (LAQN) data and emissions modelling by King’s College London. The employers supporting the app have been using it since March 2019 to collect the air pollution data of their workforce. Very shortly the British...
17 September 2019
Jo Swinson

Jo Swinson has told Boris Johnson that being a woman is not a sign of "weakness" as she said she is ready to take him and Jeremy Corbyn on at the general election.

The Lib Dem leader said it was "rather revealing" that the Prime Minister thought that calling someone a "girl" was a term of abuse. Documents released at the Court of Session in Edinburgh revealed that Mr Johnson had described former PM David Cameron as a "girly swot" in a note to his advisers. And during Commons clashes, he called Labour leader Mr Corbyn "a big girl's blouse". In her keynote speech closing the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth, Ms Swinson said: "Boris Johnson’s insults of choice are rather revealing - big girl’s blouse, girly swot. "But let me tell you conference, if he thinks being a woman is somehow a weakness. He’s about to find out: it is not. When the general election comes, I cannot wait to take on the collective forces of nationalism and populism that will be standing on that debate stage - Johnson, Farage and Corbyn." Elswhere in her speech, Ms Swinson compared a no-deal Brexit to setting fire to your house. She said that government documents warning of...
17 September 2019

The number of people forced to sleep rough has doubled in the last five years, PoliticsHome can reveal.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the total has soared from 2,414 in 2012/13 until 4,677 in 2017/18. Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said the data "shames the government", while charities said the Government must do more to tackle the problem. The ONS said that the number of people presenting themselves as homeless "has been reasonably stable" since 2013. But on rough sleeping, the independent statistics authority said that since the current system of recording was set up in 2010, the numbers “have been steadily rising across London and the rest of England”. They added: “Over the last five years, the numbers of rough sleepers identified across the whole of England have nearly doubled, from 2,414 to 4,677, though a small decrease was reported between 2017 and 2018.” Mr Healey said: “Rough sleeping has more than doubled since 2010 as a direct result of decisions made by Conservative ministers: a steep drop in investment for affordable...