February 27, 2012
By Rowena Mason
In a stark warning ahead of next month’s Budget, the Chancellor said there was little the Coalition could do to stimulate the economy.
Mr Osborne made it clear that due to the parlous state of the public finances the best hope for economic growth was to encourage businesses to flourish and hire more workers.
“The British Government has run out of money because all the money was spent in the good years,” the Chancellor said. “The money and the investment and the jobs need to come from the private sector.”
Mr Osborne’s bleak assessment echoes that of Liam Byrne, the former chief secretary to the Treasury, who bluntly joked that Labour had left Britain broke when he exited the Government in 2010.
He left David Laws, his successor, a one-line note saying: “Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid to tell you there’s no money left”.
Mr Osborne is under severe pressure to boost growth, amid signs the economy is slipping back into a recession.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies has urged him to consider emergency tax cuts in the Budget to reduce the risk of a prolonged economic slump.
But the Chancellor yesterday said he would stand firm on his effort to balance the books by refusing to borrow money. “Any tax cut would have to be paid for,” Mr Osborne told Sky News. “In other words there would have to be a tax rise somewhere else or a spending reduction.
“In other words what we are not going to do in this Budget is borrow more money to either increase spending or cut taxes.”
The strongest suggestion of help for squeezed family budgets came from the Chancellor’s claim that he was “very seriously and carefully” considering plans to help lower earners by raising the personal allowance for income tax, a proposal that has been championed by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister.
But he implied there would be no more help for motorists struggling with record petrol prices this spring. “I have taken action already this year to avoid increases in fuel duty which were planned by the last Labour government,” he said.
The Chancellor’s tough words were echoed by Liberal Democrat Jeremy Browne, the foreign minister, who warned that Britain faced “accelerated decline” without measures to tackle its debt and increase competitiveness.
In an article published today in The Daily Telegraph, he writes that Britain’s market share in the world used to be “dominant” but was now “in freefall” compared with the soaring economies of Asia and South America. “This situation has been becoming more acute for years,” he adds. “It is now staring us in the face. So we need to take action.”
August 23rd, 2010
By: Rebecca Smith
Research carried out on almost 60,000 pregnant women in Denmark found that those who drank artificially sweetened soft drinks, whether fizzy or still, were more likely to give birth early.
It was found that those who drank one serving per day of artificially sweetened fizzy drink were 38 per cent more likely to give birth before 37 weeks gestation and those who consumed four servings a day were 78 per cent more likely to have their baby prematurely.
The effect was weaker for still artificially soft drinks and there was no link between premature birth and sugar-sweetened drinks, they said.
It is thought the artificial sweeteners are broken down in the body into chemicals which may change the womb, the researchers said.
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Dr Shelley McGuire, spokesman for the American Society of Nutrition, said: “These findings may be really important in terms of preventing premature births, especially those that are medically induced by a woman’s health care provider.
“Certainly, until more experimental work is done, this study suggests that pregnant women should steer clear of artificially sweetened drinks. Quite frankly, pregnant women should be focusing more on nutrient-rich drinks anyway, like milk and fruit juices. And don’t forget the water.”
The study conducted by Thorahallur Halldorsson, of the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, did not examine which artificial sweeteners were contained in the drinks.
The effect was limited to women whose birth was deliberately induced early suggesting the drinks do not trigger premature labour but rather cause changes in the body that mean an early birth is necessary.
It was suggested that this could due to a rise in blood pressure or development of diabetes but the researchers ruled this out.
Dr Halldorsson wrote in the research paper: “In conclusion, our findings suggest that the daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks may be associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery.
“The relative consistency of our findings for carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks and the absence of an association for sugar-sweetened soft drinks suggest that the content of artificial sweeteners might be the causal factor.
“However, the replication of our findings in another experimental setting is warranted.”
A spokesman for the British Soft Drinks Association, said: “We should be cautious in our reaction to this study. Its findings should not be over-dramatised.
“Any woman who is concerned about her diet in pregnancy should consult her doctor.”
June 8, 2010
By James Chapman
Genetically modified crops were last night given enthusiastic backing by the Environment Secretary.
Caroline Spelman shocked colleagues by suggesting that the coalition government will take a more pro-GM stance than its Labour predecessor.
The Tories have traditionally taken a sceptical approach to so- called ‘Frankenstein foods’, and at present no GM varieties are cultivated commercially in the UK.
Labour ministers shied away from promoting GM foods in recent years over concerns about a public backlash.
But Mrs Spelman insisted last night they could bring ‘benefits to food in the marketplace’.
April 8, 2010
When Louise Walker, 30, went into labour with baby Harrison she employed Paul Hazell, hypnotherapist, to put her into a trance.
Mrs Walker, of Hull, East Yorks., said: “I am the biggest sceptic. I thought I would need all the pain relief going but I was gobsmacked when I didn’t have any at all.
“I was crying with the pain, but as soon as he started, I felt really relaxed. When the contractions came, there was hardly anything.”
Hypnosis involves a change of consciousness, where a person moves into a natural state of mind, and physical, emotional and mental relaxation.
Mrs Walker gave birth at the Jubilee Birth Centre in Hull last weekend. She was told by Mr Hazell, owner of the Hypnotherapy Clinic, to remember a time in her life when she “felt good about herself”.
She recalled her wedding to her husband Gareth, a police officer.
Mr Hazell said: “Louise was struggling really bad with the pain but I hypnotised her within a few minutes.
“She knew everything that was going on, but I was talking to her subconscious.”
Louise underwent the hypnotherapy while she was in a birthing pool, but did not give birth to her son Harrison, 7lbs 8oz, for almost four hours.
Expectant mothers can attend prenatal hypnotherapy courses, which includes listening to CDs but it is very rare for a hypnotherapist to actually visit a woman during labour.