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Early Day Motions on the Economy

Below are a number of Early Day Motions (EDMs) that I have signed to express my views about what should be done about the financial crisis, the recession and the economy.



That this House believes that in light of the global economic crisis and in the context of the forthcoming G20 talks it is vital that the focus of the UK Government is on creating a new, improved economic model rather than simply business as usual; therefore commends the Put People First Alliance report and campaign, backed by over 100 development and climate charities, non-governmental organisations and trades unions; and hopes that the Government will heed its recommendations and support the following four principles laid out in the report, when negotiating and acting on this matter, of ensuring democratic governance of the global economy, creating and supporting decent jobs and public services, ending global poverty and inequality and building a green economy.



That this House notes with concern the high cost to small businesses of additional business regulation in the current economic climate; further notes that nearly 30 per cent. of members of the Federation of Small Businesses cite increasing amounts of regulation as a barrier to expansion; believes that the Government's priority as unemployment approaches two million should be to keep people in employment and make it easier for small businesses to retain staff and grow; and calls on the Government to review the impact of all business regulations due to come into force in April 2009 and delay the introduction of those that will impose additional costs or administrative burdens until the economy shows real signs of recovery.

EDM 982


That this House believes that any review the Government initiates, or asks other bodies to initiate, of the bonus system in banking and financial services should be given terms of reference which take account of how important the bonus system is to lower paid workers.

EDM 984


That this House believes that the taxation of workers' pensions continues to act as a deterrent to saving and disadvantages those workers who have invested in pensions throughout their working life, including members of the coal miners pension fund; further believes that as a fiscal stimulant and a reward for saving, pensioners should be exempt from taxation for the first £15,000 of income and that taxation levels for pensioners in excess of £50,000 a year should be significantly increased, with those receiving a pension of over £700,000 a year being taxed at 90 per cent., leaving a pensionable income of £70,000 which is more than enough for any pensioner.



That this House welcomes The People's Charter - a Charter for Change, which sets out a programme for challenging the economic crisis and providing hope for a fairer society; notes that this programme includes public ownership of the main banks, public utilities and transport and ending the privatisation of public services, a progressive tax system, investment for full employment, increasing the minimum wage, the restoration of the earnings link for state pensions, an end to home repossessions, empowerment of local authorities to provide affordable quality housing for all, the ending of child poverty, enforced equal pay for women, the restoration of trades' union rights, halting new nuclear weapons and investment for a greener and safer world free of poverty and famine; further notes that the Charter is already supported by the general secretaries of some of Britain's biggest trades' unions as well as numerous national trades' unions, campaigning organisations and prominent people from all walks of life; further welcomes the Charter's declared ambition of collecting one million signatures; and calls upon the Government to respond positively to the demands of this campaign and begin putting people first before the interests of big business and corporate finance.



That this House is deeply concerned by reports from licensees and pub owners that they have been unable to access credit and have been told by bank representatives that it is their policy not to offer finance to pubs; is worried that pubs like many small businesses are often dependent on such credit lifelines, particularly during such difficult economic times; is disappointed that these banks do not appear to be adhering to requirements laid out by the Treasury that funds made available to the banking sector would be dependent upon banks giving a commitment to lend to small businesses; and believes that action should be taken to ensure that banks extend credit to pubs, as they would other small businesses.



That this House notes with concern the salaries being paid to senior executives of industry regulators; further notes that Colette Bowe, the newly-appointed Chair of Ofcom, is being paid a salary of £200,000 for up to three days a week; recognises the important role industry regulators have to play but at the same time realises that one of the primary roles of regulators is to curb any excesses by private companies and therefore they should set an example in their own salary structure; and therefore calls on the Government to review the wage structure for senior executives of industry regulators.



That this House expresses major reservations at the recent decision by the Financial Services Authority to lift its ban on short selling; notes that the lifting of the ban coincided with a dramatic fall in the share prices of several major banks, including RBS, Lloyds and Barclays; expresses concern that Lansdowne Partners was able to make a profit of £12 million on the short selling of shares in Barclays, the share price of which fell by over 50 per cent. in the week immediately following the end of the ban; further notes that other countries such as Australia and Italy have maintained their ban on the practice; and urges the Financial Services Authority to reverse its decision and reinstate the ban for the sake of financial stability in the United Kingdom.



That this House believes that in the light of the fact that RBS will lose £8 billion this year and be forced to write-off a further £20 billion because of the reckless takeover of ABN Amro, yet still intends, despite being nearly 70 per cent. owned by the taxpayer, to pay £1 billion in bonuses this year, decisions on bank bonuses should be taken far more expeditiously than the year-long timespan accorded to the committee set up by the Treasury to investigate the issue; further believes that independent and robust judgments will not be reached by a committee composed of a chairman, Sir David Walker, and members who have themselves received enormous bonuses in the past; further believes that a cap, whether at £25,000 or any other level, does not meet the central requirement that there should be no automaticity of bonuses and that employees should be paid the rate for the job without bonuses, which can perversely incentivise reckless and harmful transactions; and calls on the Government to introduce regulations speedily to ban the payment of bonuses and where the state holds a significant proportion of the equity, to recover past bonus payments even where the company or relevant division of the company made a substantial loss.



That this House notes with concern the delay in accessing training schemes for those who are unemployed; recognises that at a time of economic downturn, with rising unemployment rates, many people need to access training courses in order to gain new skills to find employment; further notes with concern that those who are currently losing their jobs can face a delay of up to six months to access a training course; and calls on the Government to take immediate action to speed up the process for those wishing to access training courses in order to help people retrain and return to work as soon as possible.



That this House recognises the importance of a highly-skilled workforce to the future of the UK economy; further recognises that manufacturing in the UK needs to retain its skilled workers in order to exploit the opportunities on offer when economic growth returns; understands that many skilled workers in manufacturing are being asked to work short-time and that this could put severe pressure on their finances; further recognises that for many skilled workers the only option may be to leave manufacturing and seek full-time employment elsewhere; calls on the UK Government to look at all options for helping manufacturers retain skilled workers in the current climate, including possible adjustments to the tax credit system; and demands that manufacturers continue to invest in the training budget and skills of their workforce in anticipation of potential growth of the UK's manufacturing base in the future.

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