Tag Archives: Employment

Mark Reckless appointed UKIP economics spokesman

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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.

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

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Immigration is up to 624,000: 2.5x Medway’s population

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624,000 people came to the UK as immigrants in the year up to September 2014 we learnt on Thursday. That is two and a half times the population of the Medway Towns.

Even after subtracting the number of people who left the country in the same year, net immigration to Britain was about 300,000 people. That is as many as live in Medway and Gravesend put together.
Overseas national took up 768,000 National Insurance numbers last year and 43% of new jobs in the UK went to people coming from the EU.

Do you remember the Conservatives promising to cut net immigration to just tens of thousands?
We were told it was a “No ifs, no buts” promise and David Cameron said “kick us out in five years if we don’t deliver”.

They haven’t delivered and the election is in two months time.

Net immigration is three times what David Cameron promised, and he is now letting even more people into the country than Labour did.

I was asked onto BBC Question Time this week to debate the latest immigration figures with Conservative Chairman, Grant Shapps. You can see on the link below that he did not have any answers to my points:

Like Labour, the Conservatives support freedom of movement in the European Union, so almost anyone who wants from 27 EU countries, some much poorer than us, can come here at will.

How will our young people get a decent wage, or the chance to move up the career ladder, if employers can always instead just import labour from Eastern and Southern Europe?

Only UKIP will restrict immigration from the European Union.

UKIP will introduce an Australian-style Points Based System for Immigration. That means we will welcome highly skilled and qualified people up to an annual limit determined by Parliament.

Only UKIP has a non-discriminatory immigration policy. We will apply the same rules to people coming from Europe as to people from outside.

This will mean we can be fair to people from a Commonwealth background, instead of giving preference to Europeans, and cut total immigration to a level with which our country can cope.

Only UKIP MPs in Parliament will make David Cameron and the other parties act on immigration.

Mark launches online funding campaign for former BAE Club employees

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I am appealing for help for a group of constituents who have been left in the lurch by the BAE Club in Hoo. Despite the Club having been managed by a BAE employee, this massive defence firm is now refusing to help past employees of the Club to get the unpaid wages and redundancy pay which they are owed.

I should however make clear that the club was transferred to Medway Peninsula Partnership CIC at the beginning of February 2014 and it was under their control that problems emerged and staff were not paid.

Since BAE went back on an apparent offer to support them, I have been trying even harder to help the constituents involved. Some now face eviction despite being entitled to many thousands of pounds redundancy after 14 years of work. Unfortunately, it seems that they are only now able to receive this if they pay £1,250 to appoint an Official Receiver, but few of those involved have much money after losing their jobs.

I have offered personally to give £100 towards this for them, as well as to guide them through the process as well as I can. I also promised to support a public appeal for them, so if you would like to help, even in a small way, please let me know and I will pass on your details to those involved, who can explain more or donate online at www.gofundme.com/BAEClub

*Please note all money raised will be used to support former BAE Club employees. No money will used by UKIP or Mark Reckless.

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.

Supporting Enterprise

Mark Reckless (centre) with Cllr Rupert Turpin and Stephan Williamson

Mark Reckless (centre) with Cllr Rupert Turpin and Stephan Williamson

Mark Reckless was recently delighted to meet Mr Stephan Williamson and inspect the small furniture items he was making from reconditioned packing pallets.

Pallets used for transporting heavy goods would otherwise be thrown away, so it is fantastic to see Stephan recycling them to make valuable items, a living for himself, and a new business in the Medway Towns.

Stephan Williamson is receiving support from the enterprise allowance scheme. This provides someone who might otherwise be unemployed with an allowance of £65pw for 13 weeks followed by a reduced allowance of £33pw for a further 7 weeks. This allows the recipient to start up a business and receive support through the early stages before they begin making money.

Mark said:

“I was impressed with the quality of what Stephan is making, his relatively low prices of £20-60, and the environmental sustainability of his business. I may be commissioning him to make something for my own household. I would encourage others to get in touch to see what he might offer them on 07843165587.”

Click here for Stephan’s Facebook page

Mark Reckless welcomes Secure Station Scheme success for local rail stations

280414RL_04Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, was delighted to meet and congratulate staff and station managers at Strood railway station after both Rochester and Strood stations were recognised by the Department for Transport under the ‘Secure Stations Scheme’.

The scheme, which is run by the Department for Transport and the British Transport Police, recognises stations which effectively work to reduce crime, theft and antisocial behaviour, as well as generally making passengers feel safer and more secure.

Speaking of the awards, Mark Reckless said:

“This is very good news for rail passengers in my constituency. I am very pleased that both Strood and Rochester stations have fulfilled the criteria to be included in the Department for Transport’s ‘Secure Stations Scheme’. The Scheme’s guidelines are very stringent and it is clear that the management and staff at both railway stations have worked hard and deserve this recognition.

This accreditation shows that not only have managers and staff met the tough targets which are set by the Department for Transport and British Transport Police, but that passengers using these stations have seen a real and welcome difference in the service which they receive.

As a regular commuter myself it is reassuring to me and my constituents to know that this level of security is being maintained at both Rochester and Strood railways stations. My congratulations and thanks to all of the staff and managers who have worked hard to achieve this recognition.”