“That’s what our Start Up Loans are all about – it’s great news that 25,000 loans have now been issued, giving people who want to work hard and get on the tools and confidence to turn their entrepreneurial vision into a reality.”
Chelsea’s Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel received his English Premier League African Player of the Month of December award recently and expressed delight at it.
The Tory record on jobs
The Tories claim the unemployment figures are a sign of economic success. But they ignore the fact that the real story of the labour market is one of growing low-paid, insecure work and stagnating wages, which is helping to push up the welfare bill.
MILIBAND: THE TORIES KNOW THEY HAVE FAILED ON THE COST-OF-LIVING CRISIS – AND THE ECONOMY
Ed Miliband today rounds on the Government’s economic record, saying David Cameron’s remarks in recent days are an extraordinary admission of failure from a Prime Minister who has presided over the worst cost-of-living crisis in more than a century.
He warns that the Tory plan to slash back spending on public services to the level it was in the 1930s will undermine any prospect of long term prosperity.
And, in his speech to the Fabian Society’s annual conference, he sets out how the next Labour government will build economic success, deal with the deficit fairly and tackle the cost-of-living crisis by putting working people first.
SUMMARY AND EXTRACTS:
Mr Miliband describes the reality facing millions of British families:
“For the first time since the 1920s, working people will be worse off at the end of a government than they were at the start.
“We all know the reality. Young people face a harder life than their parents, university tuition fees have trebled and apprenticeships for young people are falling.
“We all know the reality. Rents and the cost of a home put the dream of home ownership beyond the reach of millions
“We all know the reality. Zero hours contracts have exploded, driving down wages and allowing some firms to play havoc with people’s lives
“We all know the reality. We’re a country of food banks and bank bonuses.A country where social mobility is going backwards and privilege is rewarded. A country where millionaires get tax cuts and millions pay more.
“And we are a country where they have failed on the deficit. Because they have failed to tackle the cost of living crisis, because wages have been pushed down for ordinary families, because the revenues haven’t come in, they can’t balance the books.
Mr Miliband says that David Cameron and George Osborne have been in denial over their economic failure
“Week after week, month after month, year after year, this government has shown a tin ear for what is really going on. They have denied the cost of living crisis. They have been woefully out of touch with the daily struggles of families. They have rubbished the idea that people are worse off.
They have pretended that their “give with one hand, take more with another” tax changes have made people better off. Even this week George Osborne was saying we were set under him to be ‘the richest country in the world’ And that his economic victory is complete.
He says the Prime Minister is now acknowledging a problem.
“But we wake up this morning to hear that the Prime Minister thinks ‘Britain needs a pay rise’. People across the country will have been choking on their cornflakes.
“This is someone who has spent months and years telling us there was no cost of living crisis, and then if there ever was one, it had been fixed. You couldn’t make it up. Five years of denial, complacency and failure on living standards, and less than four months before an election, he claims to have woken up to the problem.
“You can’t wipe out five years of failure on living standards with pre-election pleading. You can’t magic away people being £1600 a year worse off by trying to take credit for falling oil prices. You can’t obscure your decisions to cut taxes for a few millionaires, with warm words about everyone else. You can’t change who you are: a party and a government for a few at the top that has betrayed the working people of Britain.
“I say to the British people: you don’t need to look in the crystal ball to see what the next five years of a Tory government would be like. You just need to look at their record. Failure on living standards, failure on the economy, failure on the deficit. You and your family worse off.
“You can’t build an economy that really works for working people unless we have a Labour government.”
He says that David Cameron is running scared of TV debates because he is running scared of his economic record.
“And why has he suddenly claimed to understand the problems of the country? Is it because he really means it or because he knows he has failed?
“It’s because he knows he can’t defend his record. That’s one of the reasons he is running from debates. He is neither proud of his record, nor confident about his plans for the future.”
He warns that Tory plans to shrink the state will not just endanger key public services and threaten to overrun the NHS but also undermine Britain’s prospects for long term economic success.
“We can’t build a 21st century economy with 1930s levels of public spending. Think about what the Tory plan would mean for the productive potential of our country – education, skills, opportunities for our young people. They would all be further undermined.
“The Tories will never tackle the cost of living crisis. They will never build real and enduring prosperity for working people. They will never balance the books with a plan to cut back to 1930s public spending. Britain can do better than this.”
He sets out a Labour’s plan to address Britain’s economic problems by putting working people first
“If you put working people first, then Britain as a whole will do well, both now and in the future. Each day, each week, each month, the beating heart of the Labour government will be the fortunes of working people.”
Labour’s plan will:
– Balance the books through common sense cuts in spending, the tax changes Labour has already announced, and building a high skill productive economy.
– Offer a new direction for young people with an education system that values vocational and academic qualifications equally.
– Hold powerful interests like the energy companies to account and making competition among banks work for British business
– Have fair rules on immigration by outlawing the exploitation that leads to undercutting of wages and ensuring people contribute before being able to claim benefits
– Invest in the NHS to improve care, take the pressure off hospitals and build a preventative service that can sustain itself through the 21st Century
– Hand power back to the great city and county regions of England by devolving £30 billion-worth of funding.
Responding to David Cameron’s comments on wages, Shabana Mahmood MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury Minister, said:
“Working people are £1600 a year worse off under David Cameron and wages continue to stagnate. A few months of falling world oil prices will not solve the deep-seated problem of our economy not working for working people.
“While David Cameron just talks, Labour will take action to create more good jobs and make work pay. Our economic plan will raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour, introduce tax incentives for firms to pay the living wage, boost apprenticeships and cut business rates for small firms.
“David Cameron says he wants falling oil prices to be passed on in all ways possible. But just this week the Tories voted against Labour’s plans to give the regulator the power to force energy companies to cut their prices when wholesale costs fall.”
Orange, title partner of the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea for the 4th consecutive edition
PARIS, France, January 16, 2015/ — On January 17, 2015, the Orange Africa Cup of Nations Equatorial Guinea 2015 will kick off in Malabo. The competition will take place over a three-week period in the cities of Bata, Malabo, Mongomo and Ebebiyín. This is familiar territory for the major African football event, since the country had already hosted the tournament with Gabon in 2012.
Orange (http://www.orange.com) is once again the title sponsor of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations, with participation by the teams of Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Conakry, Mali, Senegal and Tunisia, where the Group is established. Throughout the competition, the Orange brand will be visible in the stadiums of Equatorial Guinea and in the African countries in which the Group is present, with exclusive content for mobile phones and on the Web via Orange Football Club and the StarAfrica portal.
bringing the stadiums to life
In the stadiums, Orange has created a special trophy designed to illustrate the unique link between the fans and the players themselves. The “Man of the Match” and the “Fan of the Match” trophies are built from a single, interlocking design. During each match, the most passionate supporters are invited to take part in the “Fan of the Match” photo competition. The winning supporter is then given the privilege to hand-over the “Man of the Match” award to the best player during a press conference following the match. Throughout the competition, 32 lucky fans will win the trophy and get the chance to immortalize the moment with one of Africa’s greatest football stars.
bringing the match-spirit into towns and cities across Africa
Numerous events and festivities will be organised held in African countries in which Orange is present to allow fans to experience the tournament live and share their passion for football. The “Orange Villages” will be set-up in major cities across Africa, with giant-screen broadcasts of key matches as well as the organisation of football-based video game competitions and photo contests
bringing football into the digital world
Inspired by the success of initiatives in previous editions of the Orange AFCON, the Group has sought to go even further this year in the range of digital services on offer:
Orange Football Club is a platform for fans of African, European and international football where the latest live news is available for free on the web, mobile phones and on social networks. Orange Football Club has more than 500,000 Facebook fans and the mobile app has been downloaded 100,000 times. More information is available at http://www.footballclub.orange.com
online contests have also been set-up, with prizes to be won each week until the competition begins:
– Golden Ticket: an online treasure hunt to find virtual tickets hidden in a series of on-screen pictures with prizes including a trip to Equatorial Guinea to watch a match, Samsung tablets and several other prizes;
– Best Supporter: a contest in which fans can upload photos of their favorite moments. 34,000 people have already voted for their favourite photo among the 800 photos uploaded.
For more information, go to the fan page at http://www.facebook.com/OrangeFootballClub
exclusive content is also available on http://www.StarAfrica.com, Orange’s entertainment portal in Africa, which is available in English, French and Arabic and attracts 1.5 million unique visitors each month. A team of sports journalists will be dispatched to report on the events live, produce video broadcasts and give live-text commentary on all of the competition’s matches. The Orange AFCON Equatorial Guinea 2015 newswire will also be available on Twitter @StarAfrica and on Facebook.
The Orange Africa Cup of Nations is a major and hugely successful event in Africa. It is one of the only events on the continent to go beyond the borders of the countries taking part. For Orange, it is an opportunity to forge strong bonds with its customers, its employees and fans of football across the continent to experience and share their passion for the sport.
Orange’s commitment to football goes far beyond this sponsorship deal. The Group has actively supported the national football teams of Botswana, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea Conakry, Mali, Niger and Senegal for many years. This involvement in African football took on a new dimension with the signature of the partnership between Orange and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in 2009, which made the Group the principal sponsor of the six major CAF competitions until 2016.
Security in Africa: Structural challenges are reaching crisis point
The latest report from Think Security Africa is the organisation’s fifth annual review on security in Africa
LONDON, United Kingdom, January 19, 2015/ — The latest report from Think Security Africa (http://www.thinksecurityafrica.org) is the organisation’s fifth annual review on security in Africa. It assesses changes in Africa’s security situation between 2013 and 2014 in three main categories: (1) Challenges impacting the national chain of command, (2) Maintaining territorial integrity, and (3) Societal management.
Download the report at: http://thinksecurityafrica.org/research/security-in-africa-2014
Watch the project video at: http://thinksecurityafrica.org/videos/security-in-africa-2014
Download the Infographic: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/150119.jpg
The key findings of the report, which use graphs, infographics and maps as visual aids, is that African countries are increasingly struggling to maintain territorial integrity. In 2014, ten African governments were competing with non-state groups for territorial control, which represents more than a fifty percent increase from last year. What has made the problem worse in 2014 is that non-state groups are no longer making demands, they are just going ahead and establishing fiefdoms, indicative of a decline of governmental capacity vis-à-vis non-state actors. There was also a substantial rise in the number of countries impacted by border and maritime security challenges, indicative of a growing structural problem that is regional in scope.
Although the report noted a decrease in the number of countries experiencing challenges in relation to managing national chains of command and society, the sharp decline in the overall ability of African government’s to maintain territorial integrity offset improvements in those areas. The result was a sharp rise in the number of countries impacted by conflict. Between 2013 and 2014 the number of African governments impacted by serious conflict rose from seven to ten.
‘The key to improving security in Africa, and improving the ability of governments to maintain territorial integrity, is to ensure that improvements in the number of countries impacted by serious chain of command-related challenges are sustained in 2015. However, with elections in several fragile states due to occur this year, this is going to be difficult, ‘ says Adunola Abiola, founder of Think Security Africa.
All Progressives Congress, APC United Kingdom Chapter paid a courtesy call on the British Prime Minister The Rt. Hon. David Cameron to deliver a CHARTER on FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS AND THE STRENGTHENING OF DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS IN THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA IN 2015 AND BEYOND.
Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, has today written to all university Vice-Chancellors, Local Authority leaders and the Electoral Commission urging them to take action to prevent the disenfranchisement of one million voters.
The full text of the letter and a link to the speech are below:
I am writing in regard to the representation of students and young people on the electoral register.
As you will know, the Government is introducing Individual Electoral Registration without the safeguards proposed in the original legislation.
As a result, students will no longer be able to be block registered by their halls of residence.
We have already seeing the dramatic effect this change has had on student registration, as well as young people living in rented accommodation. Figures released by local authorities show that one million voters have fallen off the register over the past 12 months, with a disproportionate drop-off in areas with a high student population. By the time of the General Election, many students and young people may find they are unable to vote.
This year’s election is an important moment for the future of our country and it is critical that the young people have their voice heard in this debate. Over the next few weeks and months, all of us must work together to ensure as many students as possible are registered to vote.
I am writing to you to strongly encourage your institution to do all it can to register students and young people to vote. Just some of the things that could be done include:
– Advertising registration drives through online networks (people can now register online).
– Inviting organisations such as Bite the Ballot onto the campuses to organise registration drives.
– Engaging with local letting agents of student tenants to ensure those living off campus are aware of the changes.
– Use National Voter Registration Day on 5th February as a hook for emphasising the need to register.
– Writing a letter to your Electoral Registration Officer to ask for information, ward-by-ward, of rates of registration, to target areas with significant drop-off.
It is not too late to avoid widespread disenfranchisement amongst students and young people. But to ensure their voice is heard in 2015 and beyond, we must all spend time and effort ensuring as many are registered as possible.
Ed Miliband MP
Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow International Development Secretary, responding to the NAO report: Managing the Official Development Assistance target, said:
“This NAO report criticises the Tory-led Government for incompetent planning which risked £1 billion of taxpayers’ money being poorly spent by DFID.
“The 0.7 per cent aid target is vitally important but ministers must plan spending flexibly to ensure they help the world’s poorest people. David Cameron promised value for money but this report shows his ministers have failed to achieve it.
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