Long Term Economic Failure


Week by week Osbourne's economic plan is seen to be falling apart.

This week a Social Mobility Report revealed social mobility ‘cold spots’ around the UK. While poorer kids do well in London and its commuter belt, disadvantaged kids are badly let down in coastal areas- like Blackpool, Great Yarmouth and Minehead, Industrial towns – like Mansfield and Stoke – and rural areas like Norfolk.  So much for Osborne’s ‘rebalancing’ of the economy and opening up opportunity.

You can read the report at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/social-mobility-index
Last week the Chancellor’s claim that the tax deal HMRC had struck with Google was a ‘major success’ spectacularly unravelled. Far from a major success Google, the tax deal that HMRC apparently spent 6 years negotiating, amounts to just 3% tax on a company whose UK revenues amounted to $1.9 billion in quarter one of this year alone. It is a smoke and mirrors deal, done behind closed doors, which John McDonnell has rightly attacked as ‘derisory’.

Read John McDonnell’s recent letter to Osborne at: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/138488388094/google-john-mcdonnell-letter-to-george-osborne
The week before the Cabinet held a discussion on the UK’s dire trade situation. In 2012 Osborne unveiled a target to double UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020. Not only does that target look set to be woefully missed, by a whopping £350 billion, but the UK’s current account deficit has now risen to the highest level since 1830 – when the Duke of Wellington was Prime Minister.

Read my article on all of these issues at: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/economy/2016/01/five-years-mistakes-george-osborne-have-left-economy-more-vulnerable-ever

As a member of the Shadow Cabinet and National Executive Committee I’m always keen to hear your views and suggestions about our campaigning work against the Tories, or on any other issues. If you've any thoughts about how we are doing, or how we could do better, please do get in touch with my office at sarah_coombes@labour.org.uk.

Finally throughout 2016 I’ll be out campaigning across the country. If you want me to help in your patch and want to join me on one of my campaign days let me know.

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Google Tax Deal 


George Osborne's 'major success' on the Google tax deal has completely unravelled in the last weeks. It's a derisory deal for the British public and Labour have done a good job of holding Osborne to account.

Here are some figures behind the deal:

  • 0 - The number of times Osborne has come forward to explain himself in a live broadcast interview or in front of the House of Commons

  • 3%  - rate of tax paid by Google over the last 10 years

  •  -  the number of years HMRC spent negotiating the deal, details of which are still undisclosed

  • 20% - the set UK rate of corporation tax companies are supposed to pay on their profit

  • 25 – the number of meetings Tory Ministers had with Google executives over the last 18 months

  • £130 million – the 10 years’ worth of tax paid by Google to HMRC

  • $1.9billion – Google’s UK revenues in quarter one of 2016 alone



Last weekend Cameron continued his push to reshape his Prime Ministerial legacy as one of social justice and equality. The long dormant 'One Nation' theme has been reprised in an article discussing problems of racial and social inequality in Britain - particularly in our justice and education systems.

This is a hugely important cause and one that David Cameron is right to talk about. Unfortunately Cameron's record so far makes him ill-equipped to talk about these issues. 

These are some of Cameron's damaging policies over the last 6 years:

  • In 2012 the Coalition Government tripled tuition fees to £9,000 per year.

    • The Independent Commission on Fees has found significant and sustained fall in part time and mature students since this change

    • Since 2009/10 48.4% drop off in Part Time Students and 10% drop off in Mature students

    • The commission identifies this as a major social mobility concern

  • In January this year the Tories voted to scrap maintenance grants for students from poor backgrounds and replace them with loans.

    • This is quite simply and opportunity tax on more than 500,000 students who currently receive important maintenance grants to support them through university.

    • Students from families with household income of less than £25,000 currently get a Government grant covering living costs of £3,387 a year.

    • This change will leave the poorest students with huge burdens of over £50,000 of debt

  • George Osborne announced in the Autumn Spending Review that the Government would scrap grants for student nurses and replace them with loans

    • Student nurses are currently eligible for grants of up to £6,567 a year over their three year course depending on family income and other circumstances

    • If these grants are scrapped student nurses could be saddled with increased debts of up to £20,000

    • There is already a chronic nursing shortage in the NHS, with nursing shortages hitting dangerous levels in 90% of hospitals last year




David Cameron recent singled out Muslim women as needing to learn English to prevent their children becoming radicalised and has allocated £20 million to help them do so. The crassness and hypocrisy of Cameron on this matter is astounding.

Here are some of the real facts:

  • Since 2009 the overall adult skills budget that funds ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) has been cut by 35%

  • This has led to an overall drop in ESOL uptake by 22% since the Tories came to power

  • 80% of ESOL providers have seen waiting lists rise to up to 1,000 people

  • 2/3s of ESOL learners are women

  • Last year the Government announced the sudden and immediate withdrawal of ESOL funding

  • The Association of Colleges estimated this would affect 16,000 learners across 47 colleges with women and ethnic minorities disproportionately hit

Read my article on the issue at: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/01/if-cameron-wants-female-migrants-to-learn-english-why-did-he-cut-esol-funding/


Democratic Deficit

Changes proposed to political party funding by the Government could deprive the Labour Party of up to £8 million.

The Government is currently taking a Trade Union bill through Parliament that will see the trade union political levy, that provides a large chunk of the Labour Party's funding, changed to an opt-in system. Combined with a 19% cut to 'Short Money' - the money provided by the Government to opposition parties to ensure an effective opposition- these measures will cost the Labour Party up to £8 million, with the cost to democracy could be even greater.

While these measures will have a huge effect on the Labour Party's funding and its ability to hold the Government to account the Conservative Party's funding will not be affected at all.

Ex Home Secretary and Tory MP David Davies has called the Trade Union Bill and Short Money Cut "mean spirited" and "borderline immoral".

Sign the Labour Party Petition again the Trade Union Bill here - http://www.labour.org.uk/w/trade-union-bill-petition




Thanks to everyone who's emailed in asking for some basic facts on issues. Here are some that I hope will be useful for tweets, speeches, letters to local papers and when arguing with tory inclined friends!



  • The Tories are set to miss their target to double exports to £1tn by 2020 by more than £350bn (Office for Budget Responsibility, Supplementary economic tables, November 2015)


  • 17,000 police officers have been lost under the Tories, despite Cameron promising to protect the frontline (Police workforce statistics, July 2015)


As the May elections draw closer we must not forget that among the best ways of taking on the Tories is to take on their myths and lies on the doorstep, face to face with voters. 

In the last weeks I've been campaigning in the West Midlands, East Midlands and South East. Our hard work in a recent by-election in Measham South Ward in the East Midlands produced a fantastic result on Thursday night, with Sean Sheahan elected as District Councillor.

I'll be continuing to campaign all over the country over the coming months. If you'd like me to come and campaign with your local party please do let me know by emailing my office - sarah_coombes@labour.org.uk.




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