Tag Archives: economy

Mark Reckless appointed UKIP economics spokesman


UKIP has today completed a mini reshuffle, with Mark Reckless being confirmed as the Party’s Economic Spokesman.

The former MP was a City Economist, and his past publications include ‘The Euro: Bad for Business’, ‘The Drivers of Regulation’ and Euromoney ‘Guide to the London financial markets’.

Mr Reckless said, “I am delighted to take up the economics role for the party. It is an exciting time with the European referendum now firmly on the horizon. One of the most important roles in that campaign will be to show to the British public the economic opportunities and advantages for British business and the wider economy when we leave the European Union.”

UKIP Leader Nigel Farage said, “This brings real world experience into our top team. Mark is an expert in his field and will be able to explain how the UK economy will benefit from EU exit.

“His appointment shows how the UKIP story has many more chapters to run”.

Marks priorities in his new role are set out below.

As UKIP’s economy spokesman I will make the non-socialist economic case against this Conservative government and put forward a better alternative.

Today’s employment data show the jobs market has been up and down in the past few months. But for the past five years there has been one major and consistent trend. The number of hours worked in the UK economy has greatly increased, but the output for each hour worked has barely changed.

It is that stagnant productivity that needs to change. Productivity growth of over 2% per year used to be the norm, but under Cameron and Osborne it has been near zero.

The non-socialist economic case I will be making against the government is that Britain needs three big changes:

  1. Deregulation. Not ‘better regulation’ or bureaucratic tweaks to add yet more complexity, but lifting the heavy and cumulative burden the state puts on business and enterprise. Taxes should also be simpler as well as lower. To set enterprise free we need to leave the European Union. We also need a government that backs markets, competition and enterprise, not big business corporatism.
  2. Banking and capital markets that work. Eight years after interbank markets froze in August 2007 we still haven’t dealt with the problems. Interest rates still at 0.5% and a quarter of government debt is owned by the government itself through the Bank of England. This means savers are not rewarded and capital fails to flow to more productive firms. Hence productivity still stagnates.
  3. Control immigration: an economic issue. An unlimited supply of cheap labour from overseas weighs on productivity. We need instead to train and invest in our own workforce to improve skills and productivity and hence wages. We also have to deal with our current deficit, at 6% the joint highest in the OECD. This means tackling not only our trade performance, but an investment balance skewed by printing too much money, and runaway ‘transfer’ payments e.g. overseas aid, EU contributions and migrant worker remittances.

VIDEO: Sunday Politics South East 14th June 2015

Mark Reckless, UKIP’s Director of Policy, joins Julia George on BBC’s Sunday Politics South East to discuss the forthcoming EU Referendum and why Britain is better off trading with Europe, but governing ourselves.

UKIP Manifesto 2015

Speaking on Channel 4 News, Mark Reckless highlights the “extraordinarily impressive” national manifesto launched today.

Click Here to view UKIP’s manifesto for Britain


Why I am leaving the Conservative party and joining UKIP

Today, I am leaving the Conservative Party and joining UKIP.

These decisions are never easy. Mine certainly hasn’t been. Many have been the sleepless nights when I have talked it over with my wife and thought about the future of our children.

But my decision is born of optimism, conviction Britain can be better, knowledge of how the Westminster parties hold us back, and belief in the fresh start UKIP offers.

We all know the problem with British politics. People feel disconnected from Westminster.

In fact, “disconnected” is too mild a word. People feel ignored, taken-for-granted, over-taxed, over-regulated, ripped off and lied-to.

And they have reason to.

MPs, with some honourable exceptions act, not as local representatives, but as agents of the political class. Too many focus, not on championing their constituents’ interests at Westminster, but on championing their parties’ interests in their constituencies.

We’ve even evolved a special vocabulary to talk about the way MPs betray their constituents’ interests. We talk of politicians being “brave” or “mature”, “pragmatic” or “realistic”. But they’re all euphemisms for the same thing: breaking your election pledges.

Well, I can still remember the promises I made in Rochester and Strood at the last election, and I intend to keep them.

I promised we would cut immigration. I promised we would deal with the deficit and then bring down taxes. I promised we would localise decisions, including over housing numbers. I promised more open and accountable politics. Above all, I promised to help get Britain out of the EU.

And shall I tell you something? I’ve found that it’s impossible to keep those promises as a Conservative. That is why I am joining UKIP.

I haven’t reached this decision lightly. I’ve been a Conservative for as long as I remember. I have friends across that party, in Parliament and in the constituency. I hope some will remain friends.

I don’t doubt the patriotism of Conservative volunteers and supporters. But I’m afraid that my party leadership is now part of Britain’s problem.

Let me return to those promises I made in Rochester and Strood.

I promised at the last election, as did every other Conservative candidate, that we would cut net immigration from the hundreds of thousands a year to just tens of thousands. The reality is that in the last year 243,000 more people came to this country than left, back up to the levels we saw under Labour.

I’m not someone who is always and everywhere against immigration. It takes guts and energy to cross half the world in search of a better life, and I support a sensible amount of controlled, legal immigration.

But if my constituents are asked to accept the case for some immigration, they want to feel, in return that we are in control of whom we are admitting and in what numbers. And we have no such sense today.

The insanity of our migration rules mean that second generation Britons in my constituency have huge difficulties just

to bring granny over for a wedding, let alone marry someone from abroad themselves, yet they see our borders open to unlimited numbers of EU migrants.

Does anyone, on Left or Right, genuinely support an immigration system where we turn away the best and brightest from our Commonwealth, who have links and family here, in order to make way for unskilled workers from Southern and Eastern Europe.

I promised to cut immigration, while treating people fairly and humanely. I cannot keep that promise as a Conservative. I can keep it as UKIP.

I also promised that we would make government live within its means, just like the rest of us have to.

Instead, we are adding more to the national debt in just five years than even Labour managed over 13 years.

And two weeks ago the three Westminster parties have just committed themselves to giving every Scot £1,600 more a year indefinitely.

I promised to restore order to our public finances. I cannot keep that promise as a Conservative. I can keep it as UKIP.

I also promised to put my constituents’ interests first and return power from the centre to our locality.

In particular we promised to do away with Labour’s top-down housing targets that forced us to concrete over our green fields.

Yet, now I find that, under government pressure, our Conservative council in Medway is increasing its housing target from the annual 815 we had under Labour, to at least 1,000 every year.

Despite the promised EU referendum, it is assumed that current rates of open door EU immigration will continue for at least twenty years.

In my constituency that means they are giving permission to build 5,000 houses in a bird sanctuary on the Hoo Peninsula, despite it having the highest level of environmental protection as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. If that goes ahead, where will it stop?

I promised to protect our rural Hoo Peninsula. I cannot keep that promise as a Conservative. I can keep it as UKIP.

I also promised to help make government more open and accountable, so MPs would answer outwards to their constituents, not inwards to their Whips.

David Cameron and his government promised to cut the number of MPs, give Parliament its own timetable, offer free votes in bill committees, have 200 postal open primaries, and bring in Recall for voters to sack MPs.

Yet, not one of those promised reforms has happened.

I promised political reform. I cannot keep that promise as a Conservative. I can keep it as UKIP.

And, of course, I promised to give people a vote on leaving the EU. When I voted that way in the Commons, along with 110 other MPs from various parties, we had three-line Whips against us from all three party leaderships.

Since then, David Cameron has promised a referendum. But I’m afraid I’ve reluctantly reached the view that he is doing so purely as a device. He has already preordained his intended outcome, namely continued membership of the EU on something very close to the current terms. Everything else is for show.

What the prime minister has in mind – it’s not even a secret at Westminster – is modelled on what Harold Wilson did in 1975, a bogus renegotiation followed by a loaded referendum.

David Cameron, and all levels of government backed with taxpayers’ cash, would pretend the terms of membership were radically reformed, when in reality little or nothing would change.

A referendum should be a solemn and binding moment. A reminder to politicians that we work for the rest of the country. It shouldn’t be a party-political trick, a way to paper over cracks, or a way to buy yourself time.

I believe the question now is, not if we get a referendum, but when and on what terms. So, why should we accept terms loaded against us?

In this hall we want a straight referendum. An honest question. In or Out. No fudge, no conjuring trick, no sleight of hand, no fake renegotiation, no pretended new terms. Just a clear choice between EU membership and an independent Britain, trading with Europe but governing ourselves.

Every vote for UKIP, every MP for UKIP, means a better chance of getting that straight, fair referendum. If you vote UKIP, you get UKIP.

I promised a straight In/Out Referendum. I can’t keep that promise as a Conservative. I can keep it as UKIP.

And when we get that referendum, I want us to make the case for British independence in warm, optimistic language. We are not backward-looking or gloomy, still less xenophobic. The only nostalgia I see is the nostalgia of those Euro-enthusiasts who cling to their 1950s vision of a United States of Europe.

In almost every other field of politics, we have moved on. We no longer believe, as we did in the 1950s, that big conglomerates are the future, that the expansion of government is benign, or that economies needed to be planned.

But the EU remains a child of its time, wedded to its five-year plans, its unelected commissioners, its common workplace entitlements, its fixed prices, its corporatism, its lobbying cartels.

That is why Europe is the world’s only declining continent.

It’s therefore not nostalgia that makes us Eurosceptics. It’s optimism. We understand how much greater Britain could be if we raised our eyes to wider horizons.

All of you in the hall already know this. But I want our friends watching through the media to understand it, too. UKIP is a positive party with a positive vision. We believe in a global Britain, prosperous, independent and free. We believe in a Britain of opportunity we would be proud to leave our children.

Before I conclude, I want to invite you to come to my constituency. And I may need you even more than Douglas because Rochester and Strood is not Clacton.

Matthew Goodwin, the leading academic to study UKIP, says Rochester and Strood is not even in the top 100 Conservative constituencies vulnerable to UKIP.

I am proud to represent many ambitious professionals, aspirational families and young commuters. And by the way, if any of you are watching now, I hope you will be voting for me.

In Rochester we have a castle and a cathedral. We’ve a lovely high street full of independent shops. There are French patisseries and Italian delicatessens. We are less than an hour from London and just two hours from France.

Matthew Parris would love it.

But, just as Douglas Carswell answers to his constituents in Clacton, I answer to the constituents I serve in Rochester and Strood.

They are my boss. And, if I want to represent them under different colours, I hope in a party closer to their values, then I should ask their permission.

So, I will resign my seat in Parliament, trigger a by-election and, your National Executive allowing, stand for UKIP.

And I need you to join my campaign because, if we can win in Rochester and Strood, as well as Clacton, and perhaps here in South Yorkshire then we will show that UKIP can break through across the country. We will show once and for all that if you vote UKIP, you get UKIP.

A UKIP which can do for politics, what modernity has done for society. A UKIP which is about hope and optimism. A UKIP which can safeguard our children’s future. A UKIP which believes we are more than a star on somebody else’s flag.

STOP PRESS: Five Romanians leave country

Coverage of yesterday’s labour market statistics showed the Westminster political/media nexus at its worst. Rather than focus on close to three-quarters of a million more people getting work, the Westminster ‘narrative’ for politicians and journalists was instead about thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians supposedly having left the country. Their basis for this essentially fictitious story was a less than 3% change in a 0.4% subset of the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

Not one of the politicians and journalists leaping to conclusions seems to have read even the two paragraph Executive Summary of the ‘Information paper’ published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on using the LFS. The first line states ‘The primary purpose of the LFS is “the prompt publication of key aggregate, whole economy, indicators, for the integrated assessment of labour market conditions”‘. Its purpose is manifestly not to conclude how many Bulgarians or Romanians are entering or leaving the country in a particular quarter.

The ONS Information paper Executive Summary continues “Output from the LFS is quarterly since 1992. Each quarter’s sample is made up of five waves at three-monthly intervals. The sample is made up of approximately 41,000 responding UK households per quarter. Respondents are interviews for five successive waves at three-monthly intervals and 20% of the sample is replaced every quarter”.

So, this survey cannot possibly tell us how many Romanians and Bulgarians started working in the UK during the first quarter of this year, since four-fifths of the UK households surveyed were recruited to the survey last year, before we removed restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians working here.

Moreover, to try to produce accurate information about the approximately 30.43 million people recorded as working, the ONS aims to undertake 41,000 surveys, a 0.13% sample. That is fine for estimating that 722,000 more people are in work than a year before, since the 0.13% of that 722,000 they have sampled equates to around 1,000 survey responses. We must though recognise that we don’t quite know that 722,000 more people are in work, due to random sampling error, but we can be pretty certain that the increase was somewhere between 650,000 and 800,000.

It is not however fine to use this survey to say that 4,000 Romanians and Bulgarian have left the country since the margin of error will be many, many times larger than the number cited. We can see this if we multiply that 4,000 by the 0.13% sample size. We discover that the past day’s news cycle about a supposed exodus of Romanians and Bulgarians from the country has been based on the survey response of just five people.

I tried my best to puncture this absurd media/political bubble on Newsnight last night.

Loan sharks could cost you an arm and a leg, warns Mark Reckless


Mark Reckless is warning local residents in Rochester and Strood that borrowing money from illegal loan sharks could cost them an arm and leg as part of a national campaign to tackle this on-going menace in our communities.

The campaign, run by the England Illegal Money Lending Team which has teamed up with Medway Council Trading Standards, is warning against resorting to loan sharks while also encouraging members of the public to report potentially illegal lending in order that action can be taken against the sharks.

Mark met up with campaign organisers in Rochester High Street to discuss the problems surrounding unlicensed money lenders and the devastating impact which it can have on vulnerable residents and families.

WP_20140404_032Speaking after the meeting, Mark Reckless said:

“Loan sharks prey on the most vulnerable and weak in our society, offering nothing but misery to those they ensnare.

People who are facing financial difficulties should seek support and advice from reputable agencies such as Citizens Advice Bureau as soon as possible. Sadly many don’t and end up paying extortionate rates of interest or, worse still, harassment and threats of violence.

I think that’s wrong and I would urge constituents who have any information on unlicensed money lenders to shop them so we can stop them by reporting them anonymously to 0300 555 2222.”

A spokesman for the campaign added;

“An estimated 310,000 households across the country are in debt to a loan shark.

These criminals usually appear friendly at first but quickly trap their borrowers into spiralling debt.

As the debts can’t legally be enforced many lenders will resort to the most extreme and callous methods to enforce repayment including threats, violence and intimidation.

Paperwork is rarely offered so victims are often in the dark as to how much they are actually paying.

Exorbitant extra amounts and interest are added at random – the highest interest seen by an illegal lender was equivalent to 131,000 per cent APR. In some cases the loan sharks have been known to take items as security including passports, driving licences or even bank or post office cards with the PIN in order to withdraw directly from borrowers’ accounts.”

For confidential help and advice contact the Illegal Money Lending Team on 0300 555 2222 or email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

VIDEO: Welfare debate 26th March 2014

Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood) (Con): We have to make these cuts because the expenditure has been unmanaged. As my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Ben Gummer) says, for the first time there will be more within the supposed “annually managed” category than the amount that is subject to departmental expenditure limits. The measure that the Chancellor has brought before us today will mean that for the first time this £120 billion of public spending will be properly managed annually by the Treasury and will be subject annually to a vote of this House.

Imagine the Home Office or the Department for Transport letting it slip out that it was spending £1.5 billion more than previously planned. The first thing a Minister must do if a budget is exceeded is bear down on it, find out why, do something about it, and, if necessary, find another area of the departmental budget where savings can be made. If absolutely necessary, they must go to

26 Mar 2014 : Column 391

the Chancellor and see whether they can make a case for a proportion of the strictly limited contingency reserve.

Mr Mark Harper (Forest of Dean) (Con): I listened carefully to what the hon. Member for Hackney North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott) said and at no point during her speech did she think about the other side of the coin: the people who have to pay the bills. They were the people referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Robert Halfon) and the Chancellor. They have needs and requirements. Many low-paid people have to pay the bills, but she never mentioned them once.

Mark Reckless: As we learnt in the Budget, the amount we will spend on benefits for the disabled—as the Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Wirral West (Esther McVey), will know well—is £1.5 billion more than was estimated in the autumn statement just three and a half months ago. In the past, we would have just ignored that and borrowed the extra money without even debating it in this House, but at least now we must have a debate.

The OBR expects that that money will be clawed back over the next couple of years—we will spend a similar amount extra next year, but not the following year. If that estimate is not right, however, surely we as MPs, representing the taxpayer and those who benefit from other benefits and from the NHS, must look into that and ask what we can do about it. Many people who are applying for the personal independence payment or employment and support allowance come to my surgeries and I see cases to which I am sympathetic and in which I think a misjudgement has been made in the assessment. The OBR might be right about what the spending will be—I am not saying that we should reduce eligibility for those benefits or that that is where the reductions must fall—but if it continues to increase we must either borrow the extra money, raise taxes, as the Opposition might wish, or find savings elsewhere.

Constituents of mine who, if they were lucky, were getting a 1% wage increase earlier in this Parliament were seeing people on benefits getting increases above 5%. In the five years since 2007, benefit payments increased by 10% relative to increases for those people who were in work. This year, for the first time, we have a 1% limit. Inflation has come down: it is now 1.7% rather than nearly 3%, as it was when we introduced this measure. I do not want to make further reductions to welfare benefits, but if payments to people who are disabled are £1.5 billion more than we thought they would be this year and if that continues to rise, we must make a decision about the priorities and where we want to make savings. Alternatively, should we just have more taxes and more borrowing, as the Opposition would like?

The other important principle of the measure before us is that the Chancellor is returning the control of spending to Parliament. Parliament used to debate the Government estimates in detail, but now the last thing that we debate on estimates day is anything to do with spending. Between the wars, Parliament lost that power

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and since then we have seen an explosion in state spending. We are spending £120 billion. It would be good news if spending came in below that, and the Treasury would not have to come to us for permission to spend more taxpayers’ money. But if spending is more than 2% above the projected figure there ought to be a debate and a vote in this House about whether to accept that.

George Freeman (Mid Norfolk) (Con): My hon. Friend is making an extremely elegant point. Is it not true that the Labour party’s positioning of itself as the welfare party has betrayed those who depend on the welfare system in two ways? First, it has meant that money required for those most in need is spent on those who are not most in need and, secondly, it has entrenched and locked hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable families into dependency on welfare, which is the great tragedy of the welfare state that the Opposition have supported.

Mark Reckless: My hon. Friend is completely right. The Labour party used to be the workers’ party, but it has become the welfare party. It has become the defender of the public sector. When Parliament discussed these matters 90 years ago and before, the radicals were those who were trying to control Government spending and who were standing up for the taxpayers—the people in their constituencies—and trying to reduce the amount of money that Ministers were spending on their behalf. Today, all we see from the Labour party is a defence of welfare spending and of whatever is paid in the public sector while our constituents, who have to pay for all that and who are often on very low incomes, are ignored. For the first time, we are considering the comparison between what we are spending on welfare and what we need to do with that money elsewhere.

I wholeheartedly support this House’s having its say on spending. There is an excellent precedent for such a debate in Parliament. The Government came to the House with a motion saying that we should freeze spending within the European Union, but the House looked at the motion, decided that that was not good enough and that we wanted a cut. We voted for one, and the Government went out and delivered it. Parliament took control of spending.

Previously, spending in the welfare area covered by the £120 billion has gone up and up, and people have said, “Oh well, there is a problem and we will have to spend more on these disabled claimants, but we are sympathetic to them so that is fine. We will just borrow the extra money.” For the first time, we will be forced into making a decision about what we can do to get proper control of public spending, represent our constituents and stand up for the taxpayer. Not only has the Chancellor brought in the fiscal watchdog and reformed pensions, but, in this third area, he will be remembered for restoring control of spending to Parliament.