SPEECHES, ARTICLES AND LETTERS
Barry responds to the Budget
On 21st March 2012 Barry delivered his response to the Government's budget in Parliament, criticising the Budget as a relic of corrupted economic principles. Barry made the case for natural resources as a key aspect of the economic consideration, arguing for more innovation in taxation and the introduction of a land tax.
Barry's Speech on UK-India Trade
On Wednesday 25 January 2012, Barry, as Chair of Labour Friends of India, delivered a major speech on UK-India Trade in Parliament. During his speech, Barry highlighted the challenges for India if she is to reach her economic potential, criticised the UK Government for policies which made trade with India more difficult and also pushed the Indian High Commission in India to take a more active role in UK-India trade.
For the past 15 years, I have counted myself, and been counted, as a friend of India. In 1999, I founded Labour Friends of India, which I now once again chair. I set up and currently chair the all-party group on UK-India trade and investment. I declare those matters as interests. I have argued the case for, and often defended, India in Parliament. However, true friends do not just tell us what we want to hear, and today I want to be a true friend of India—yes, praising her development and economic progress, but also highly critical of her failure to achieve her full potential for economic growth.
Barry's Speech on Energy Prices
On 11 January 2012, Barry spearheaded the debate against doorstep selling as part of the Opposition Day Debate on Energy Prices in the House of Commons. Barry has continually advocated for decreased energy prices and continues to campaign against the Big Six Energy Companies.
Since 2004, gas and electricity bills have increased more than six times faster than household incomes, meaning that a quarter of all households in England and Wales are now in fuel poverty. Increasing energy bills and stagnating incomes also mean that an additional 25% of people now face energy debts and more than 850,000 electricity consumers and more than 700,000 gas customers are now in debt to their energy supplier.
I would dearly love to give the hon. Member for Ipswich (Ben Gummer) a lesson in the history he so eloquently went into earlier, but I shall defer that to another occasion. I would point out, however, that although he accused the previous Government of not having tackled structural reform in the energy market, they did so on two occasions with the new electricity trading arrangements, or NETA, and the British electricity trading and transmission arrangements, or BETTA. We will save the rest of that debate for another day.
Time to move beyond the eurozone
It had to be both the best and the worst financial joke in the world… And there it was headlining in the Financial Times – an organ of record not noted for its forays into satire and stand up.
In the week Greece has had to ask for another €8 billion on top of the €109 billion rescue package already agreed, the FT (£) announced:
“A work-to-rule by Greek tax officials”
Now forgive me for finding some levity in what is a horrendous situation but wasn’t this a large part of the original problem? That they never collected the taxes in the first place?
Over the past few months a tightening recession has reduced the tax receipts anticipated when the rescue was put together last year which is why Greek finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, popped his request for an extra €8billion in a conference call to the ECB, IMF and EU Commission last week.
What is Green Growth? And can we have some, please?
Next year will mark the 20th Anniversary of the original “Earth Summit”. Rio+20 represents a key opportunity for our mutually inter-dependent world to secure political commitment for green economic development. Will we do it? Do we even know what green growth is?
Before setting out the features of a green economy, perhaps we should take a step back and identify what it is that we (people, businesses and government) want from our economy. I would identify five key shared objectives:
1. Security of food, energy and other material resources;
2. High rates of employment through skills training and job creation;
3. Prosperity through innovation and competitiveness;
4. A healthy natural environment with well-functioning ecosystem services;
5. An equitable distribution of resources and wealth that maximises assent.
Green economic development can secure all of these; but it will take genuine cooperation between government and business to chart a course to success. Green economic development will not come from slowing growth, but from the right kind of growth. So how is it different?
On Brent libraries
This is the letter from Barry Gardiner MP to his constituents in Brent North on the proposed closures of local libraries.
"Libraries are special. They are vital for our children's well being and general education. Many children use local libraries to do homework when there is no quiet space in the home. Many young parents use them as an ever-refreshing source of bed-time stories for their toddlers. In my own family as our children were growing up, the weekly trip to the library saw each child come back with six new books every week: books they treasured, like Dogger, The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Mog the Cat. As they grew, so did their appetite for good books by Michael Morpurgo, Roald Dahl and Philip Pullman. No family's budget can be expected to keep pace with voracious young readers. Libraries increase equality in society by ensuring that literature and culture are not the preserve of the rich. They are important places where children can learn that reading and learning are not solitary pursuits but social pleasures where people engage in cultural exchange, and yes, they do have to be local. It is simply not realistic to say that a mum can get on a bus with her buggy and two toddlers to access a library three miles away. The fact is most mums won't.