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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Nine and a half good news stories from 2013

The Spectator blog had a feature last week outlining ten good news stories from this year. I have termed this nine and a half because I am not sure that all-time high sales of the Spectator counts.

They cite the fact that recorded crime has fallen to the lowest level in 25 years, that people think public services are getting better, in spite of substantial cuts in local authority spending. The doomsayers were wrong, they say, thanks to resourceful British public servants, more is being done with less. And, despite the trebling of tuition fees acceptances of university places are at an all-time high.

They add that last year, 60 academics wrote a letter of protest saying the decision to treble tuition fees would lead to a drop-off of university students especially from poorer families. But poorer families are exempt from the fee, and acceptances of university places are at an all-time high.

Equally, as important the rich are being squeezed harder than at any time in history:

George Osborne has discovered what JFK called the “paradoxical truth” – that lower tax rates can lead to higher tax yields. The 50p rate was cut to 45p – and what happened? See below. An FoI request from The Spectator revealed earlier this year that the top 0.1 per cent – yes, the richest of the riches – now contribute more income tax than the bottom 50 per cent (who now pay less than 10pc of total income tax). Never have the lower-paid been asked for a lower share of income tax. Under a Tory Chancellor, the British income tax burden is more fairly spread than ever.

The private sector have created two jobs for every one lost in government. As a result employment is through 30 million for the first time. What is more UK-born workers make up most of the jobs rise.

Finally, the BNP is dying on its feet and despite the huge challenge of youth unemployment, smoking and drug use amongst the young is declining.

We are far from out of the woods of course and there is much more to be done, but things have looked up for the UK over the past year. The challenge is to take that improvement and build on it in 2014.
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