Thursday 1 July 2010

Labour select committee members

Business, Innovation and Skills: Adrian Bailey (c), Luciana Berger, Jack Dromey, Chi Onwurah, Rachel Reeves.

Children, Schools and Families: Nic Dakin, Pat Glass, Liz Kendall, Ian Mearns, Lisa Nandy.

Communities and Local Government: Clive Betts (c), Heidi Alexander, Clive Efford, Toby Perkins, Chris Williamson.

Culture Media and Sport: David Cairns, Paul Farrelly, Alan Keen, Jim Sheridan, Tom Watson.

Defence: David Hamilton, Madeleine Moon, Alison Seabeck, Gisela Stuart, John Woodcock

Environment and Climate Change: Gemma Doyle, Tom Greatrex, Albert Owen, John Robertson, Alan Whitehead.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: David Anderson, Tom Blenkinsop, Thomas Docherty, Bill Esterson, Mary Glindon.

Foreign Affairs: Ann Clwyd, Mike Gapes, Emma Reynolds, Frank Roy, David Watts.

Health: Rosie Cooper, Fiona Mactaggart, Grahame Morris, Virendra Sharma, Valerie Vaz.

Home Affairs: Keith Vaz (c), Steve McCabe, Alun Michael, Bridget Phillipson, David Winnick.

International Development: Hugh Bayley, Russell Brown, Richard Burden, Ann McKechin, Anas Sarwar.

Justice: Chris Evans, Sian James, Yasmin Qureshi, Linda Riordan, Karl Turner.

Political and Constitutional Reform: Graham Allen (c), Sheila Gilmore, Tristram Hunt, Catherine McKinnell, Peter Soulsby.

Science and Technology: Andrew Miller (c), Gregg McClymont, Pamela Nash, Jonathan Reynolds, Graham Stringer.

Scottish Affairs: Ian Davidson (c), Cathy Jamieson, Jim McGovern, Fiona O’Donnell, Lindsay Roy.

Transport: Louise Ellman (c), Lilian Greenwood, Tom Harris, Kelvin Hopkins, Angela Smith.

Treasury: John Cryer, Andy Love, John Mann, George Mudie, Chuka Umunna.

Welsh Affairs: Geraint Davies, Nia Griffith, Susan Elan Jones, Jessica Morden, Owen Smith.

Work & Pensions: Anne Begg (c), Karen Buck, Margaret Curran, Kate Green, Shabana Mahmood.

Public Accounts: Margaret Hodge (c), Eric Joyce, Austin Mitchell, Anne McGuire, Nick Smith.

Social bonds, the future of public funding?

With coverage of Ken Clarke’s justice speech yesterday focussing on prison Vs community sentencing, there was one interesting political issue that was overlooked.

Despite various characters on the left and right getting huffy about sentencing, Clarke’s suggestion of using more community orders is actually pretty old hat.

The far more radical proposal was the increased use of ‘social impact bonds’ to raise funds to pay for offender rehabilitation.

This is where a private investor pays a sum to buy a bond. That money is then used to pay for a scheme designed to stop people re-offending.

When less people then re-offend, the Government saves money as a result (in not having to pay for courts and prisons etc). Some of the savings are then used to repay the private investor with interest.

So the private sector gets a profit, crime falls and yet the tax-payer doesn’t spend a penny – too good to be true? We’ll see.

Bonds are being explored by Clarke because there is little public money and because he thinks prisons are too expensive.

The thing is Nottingham North MP Graham Allen, a Labour member, has been calling for the use of these bonds to pay for policy to tackle deprivation for a long time.

While Allen thinks the bonds a good idea because of an instinct towards social policy, Clarke thinks they’re good because he’s economically pragmatic i.e. a Tory.

That the bonds can appeal to both Tory and Labour sentiment in that way is interesting enough in itself to make them worth looking at.

Wednesday 30 June 2010

A brief quibble...

There is an unhealthy stink of hypocrisy when Labour MPs act all outraged about the Tories briefing hacks on an announcement before going to Parliament.

Shadow Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw in particular had a face like a supply teacher chiding a six year old in the House when the issue came up just now.

The problem is I had loads of early briefings with Labour ministers and secretaries of state, and no one was ever forcing them to do it.

At no point did they come to the briefing and pronounce that despite having arranged it themselves, it absolutely could not go ahead because of their duty to inform Parliament first.

Press briefings before big announcements were a key part of the Labour way of doing things, now they may well be a key part of the Tory way of doing things.

I can understand if new members on the Labour benches want to change things, but if they’re going to do it credibly they need to have a little honesty as to how the status quo came about.