This week on the Weeks Update we take a pause at the end of what's been a very busy news period for the UK markets and look at some of the most topical highlights from our regular commentator Professor John Week's recent shows, starting with discussion on Theresa May's article 50 comments with Professor Jan Toporofski of SOAS, then the merits of the new Chancellor Phillip Hammond and the performance of his predecessor with the economist Ann Pettifor & finally a closer look at the appeal of Donald Trump to white working class American voters with Professor Michael Zweig of New York State University.
We begin with a clip of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders speaking after his victory in Indiana over rival Hillary Clinton, as they slug it out for the Democratic nomination in the US presidential elections. Although Mrs Clinton as good as has the top prize in her pocket, Mr Sanders has refused to make life easy for her. Despite trailing by an average of seven points in opinion polls and losing bigger states on the east coast, his latest victory shows that he still appeals to disaffected mid-west voters. So...does Bernie Sanders have any further rabbits to pull from a hat...or could Hilary Clinton yet outfox him by inviting him onto her ticket as her running mate? In the studio is Jeff Faux, author of The Servant Economy and founder of the "Economic Policy Institute in Washington", and Professor John Weeks, Share Radio's regular economics commentator.
With the local elections just two days away the Labour party could be on track to suffer one of its worst results in opposition for 34 years....according to one of the country's leading polling experts. Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University believes Labour could lose 170 councillors and control of key local authorities like Redditch and Crawley. It's the latest run of bad news for a party still reeling from claims of anti-Semitism in its ranks. Labour's candidate for Mayor of London, Saddiq Khan, has even warned party leader Jeremy Corbyn that accusations of anti-Semitism will make it more difficult for him to beat his Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith. Could Mr Corbyn's days as leader be numbered, and what last minute actions can the party take to avoid a massacre at the polls? Councillor Angela Mason, Cabinet Member for Children at Camden Council, is in the studio along with Professor John Weeks, Share Radio's regular economics commentator.
This week experts from Greenwich University's Political Economy Research Centre will publish a report which include proposals to strengthen trade unions and increase the statutory minimum wage in Britain and Europe. Similar themes will be addressed in May when a conference hosted by the University, will argue the case for raising public and private investment to stop Europe lagging behind the US and Japanese economies. The reports are published as the debate over the UK's position in Europe gathers more heat in the run up to June's referrendum, and as questions are raised about the future of think tanks like the "Political Economy Research Centre", which get some or all of their funding from Europe. What future do they have if Britain leaves the EU and what could happen to their research? In the studio are Professor Ozlem Onaran and Doctor Giovanni Cozzi, from the Political Economy Research Centre, and Professor John Weeks, Share Radio's regular economics commentator.
On the day that Chancellor George Osborne made his budget speech to the House of Commons, the government's controversial Trade Union Bill was dealt a major blow by peers in the House of Lords. By a majority of 320 votes to 172, they defeated a proposal to change the way that union members pay their dues. It was a strong show of support to a recommendation from a cross-party committee which had said that any changes to party funding should be restricted to new members only. The Lords then ended what had been a bruising session for the government, by giving its overwhelming support to two other bill ammendments. So what happens now? Is the Trade Union Bill dead in the water? Will the government now have to rip it up and start again? Silkie Cragg is the "Policy & Campaigns Support Officer" for the TUC, and Professor John Weeks is Share Radio's regular economics commentator.
The House of Lords will consider a series of amendments to the government's controversial Trade Union Bill when it goes before peers on Wednesday. Condemned by critics as "undemocratic", the bill would only allow workers to go on strike if more than 50% of them voted for industrial action. Employers would also have the authority to hire agency staff to cover the jobs of workers who go on strike. However the greatest outrage has arisen from proposals to change the way that union members pay their dues, which according to Labour, could lose the party up to £8 million a year. Joining Investment Perspectives host Juliette Foster for more analysis of that story is Matt Wrack, Head of the Fire Brigades Union, and Professor John Weeks, Share Radio's regular economics commentator.
Next week the Chancellor George Osborne will unveil his spring budget to the House of Commons as speculation grows over whether he's likely to make any cutbacks or if he's course to pay down the nation's debts. Mr Osborne is saying nothing although he's dropped plans to end or alter tax relief on pension contributions in a move which campaigners believe is a missed opportunity to help the low paid. Yet regardless of what the Chancellor does on Wednesday, his calculations will have been influenced by an econimic model that critics claim is flawed and past its sell by date. Neo-classical economics may be Treasury's guding light, but has it done more harm than good? Is it time to look at the alternatives? Juliette Foster was joined in the studio by Professor John Weeks, Share Radio's regular economics commentator, and Professor Steve Keen of Kingston University London. Steve is also the author of the best-selling book "Debunking Economics".
Its time again for a look at the intersection of politics and economics, with our regular economic commentator John Weeks. Joining him, is Geoff Tilley, Senior Economist at TUC, and they unpack the CBI’s criticism of Osborne’s performance since the Autumn Statement.
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