Parliament Roundup

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 26/09/14-3/10/14

Cameron pledges to scrap Human Rights Act for British Bill

David Cameron has announced during the Conservative Party Conference that a future majority Conservative government will repeal Labour’s landmark legislation and replace it with a “British Bill of Rights”. The proposed British Bill of Rights will intend to transform Britain’s relationship with the European court of human rights. There have been many criticisms towards this new proposal and some argue that the British Bill of Rights would be ‘incoherent’ in the sense that  it will only increase the number of cases that go to Strasbourg, and will almost certainly produce more, not fewer, negative rulings against the UK. Cameron and some Tories would argue that the Human Rights Act gives Strasbourg the power to order British judges around. However, it is evident that it does not since Strasbourg’s power is derived entirely from the international agreement from which we are not withdrawing (for now). All the act does is advice UK courts to take Strasbourg jurisprudence into account.

More tax cut promises from Tories

During the Conservative Party Conference , the Prime Minister promised that a future majority Tory government will raise the personal income tax threshold by £2,000 a year as well as lifting the 40% tax band to £50,000. Furthermore, Cameron plans to Increase the tax-free personal allowance from £10,500 to £12,000, saying that it will ensure that full-time workers on the minimum wage were exempt from paying income tax. Lifting the 40% tax rate would cost £1.6bn to implement if the Tories did so in April 2020. Also, he argued that by raising the income tax threshold to £12,500, a further 1 million people would be taken out of paying income tax altogether. This would cost £5.6bn and would mean that people in a full-time job on the minimum wage would pay no tax. The personal tax threshold is due to be raised to £10,500 from next April after strong pressure from the Liberal Democrats.

Lord Hill recalled for more questioning by MEPs

The UK’s candidate to join the European Commission, Lord Hill, has been asked to attend another hearing of MEPs to assess his suitability for the job. The Conservative politician, nominated by UK PM David Cameron is running for a financial position –one which is quite doubtful since the UK is not in the Eurozone. On Wednesday, he told MEPs he will act for all 28 EU member states and is not a representative of the City of London. All 27 commissioners nominated by EU states must get the approval of the European Parliament before they can join Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s top team. He was seen to have underperformed at his first hearing, with certain MEP’s describing him as ‘’charming but empty’’. He promised to work in the general interest of all 28 EU countries, but many MEPs still see him as David Cameron’s man. Hopefully, he succeeds in convincing the MEPs that he’s the right candidate for the position.

Ed Miliband vows to increase funding for NHS

Ed Miliband has said a future Labour government would pay for 36,000 more doctors, nurses and midwives, partly funded by a tax on tobacco firms. The Labour leader told his conference the £2.5bn funding pledge to “save and transform” the NHS by 2020 would be the centrepiece of his plan for government. It will be paid for by a “mansion tax”, a crackdown on tax avoidance and a levy on tobacco firms’ market share. Moreover, he stated that Labour’s mission is to ‘restore people’s faith in the future’. Mr Miliband said he would boost NHS funding without extra borrowing or asking working people to pay extra tax. The extra resources, he said, would provide for 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 more care workers and 3,000 more midwives by 2020.

By Gloria Ganda