Weekly Parliament Roundup: 18th -24th January

Mandelson Attacks Mansion Tax

Lord Mandelson has warned Ed Miliband that he won’t win the election by “clobbering” the wealthy a “crude, short-term” mansion tax. Speaking on BBC Newsnight, Mandelson supported instead a Lib-Dem plan to increase the council tax bands to raise the tax on homes worth more than £2 million. “It will be more effective and efficient in the long term,” he said. Alongside Mandelson, other Labour members such as Tessa Jowell and Diane Abbot have criticised what is seen as a “London tax” because of the high property values in the capital. Despite this, there seems to be a support for the mansion tax as a recent YouGov poll shows that 72% of all voters support the mansion tax and among Labour voters, 85% support it. Additionally, support is also shown by Tory voters with a 58% vote for the tax. But it’s Mandelson’s critique that Miliband can’t win by “clobbering” the rich alone that will strike a chord with former New Labour MPs who never voted for Ed as party leader.

Are the Greens more radical than UKIP?

Recently, the Green party have been quite popular as a result of Cameron’s demand for their leader, Natalie Bennett to be included in the Live TV debates ahead of the General Election. Furthermore, Green party membership has overtaken UKIP’s, while in the latest Ashcroft poll they are up three points on 11 per cent – higher than the Lib Dems (nine per cent) and not far off the slumping UKIP (15 per cent). However, will the Green’s still be as popular after their polices have been examined? If they come out of the general election with more MPs, would any major party want to invite them into a coalition? As the Daily Telegraph reports, the Greens have been dubbed the “UKIP of the left”. Their core policies however might be seen as more radical than Farage’s. For example:

In regards to advertising they have stated that: The “overall volume” of advertising on TV and in newspapers would be controlled and reduced, as part of a war on the “materialist and consumption-driven culture which is not sustainable”. All alcohol advertising would be banned.

Economy: The only way to a greener future is for zero – better still, negative – growth. It leads to less personal consumption.

Healthcare: The NHS would return to full government-run status with an NHS tax brought in to fund it. Assisted dying would be legalised, abortion liberalised and “alternative” medicine promoted.

Sex and drugs: Brothels and all elements of the sex industry would be decriminalised. Trading and possession of cannabis would be decriminalised, too, along with possession of Class A and B drugs for personal use.

The monarchy: Sorry, Your Majesty, it would be abolished.

Plain cigarette packaging laws to go through before May

The government has finally decided to introduce new laws on plain cigarette packaging before the General Election in May. Public health minister Jane Ellison announced the move, which will make all cigarette packs uniform in size, shape and design with large picture health warnings. Ellison said the new regulations would be laid before parliament in time to be agreed by both Houses before the election. Cross-party support for the measure suggests it is almost certain to pass. The announcement comes after years of delay and disputes about the success of a similar Australian scheme. Australia’s Daily Telegraph reported last week that tobacco and cigarette spending had fallen by 7.3 per cent since plain packaging was introduced in December 2012. But others continue to argue that smoking rates were falling anyway and that other factors, such as tax increases, are at play.

Gloria Ganda








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