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United Kingdom

Yearbook 1998

UK stands for United Kingdom as abbreviated by Abbreviationfinder.org. The big victory in the May 1, 1997 parliamentary elections had given Labor a very strong majority (419 of the 659 seats of the House of Commons), and the new government was able to work relatively undisturbed during the year. Prime Minister Tony Blair is still enjoying great popularity. In January, Labor challenged its voters for the first time when a controversial welfare reform was launched. Among other things, the contributions to single parents were lowered, and the contributions to the disabled should be tested for needs. The UK government wants to get as many of the country's contributors as possible to start working again and break their dependency. But the proposals were not accepted by the Labor Party's left wing, and the designated groups also reacted very negatively.

1998 United KingdomLater, Finance Minister Gordon Brown introduced a more popular New Deal reform for young unemployed people. Brown promised to start a crusade against unemployment and that anyone between the ages of 18 and 24 who has been unemployed for six months should get a job or education. To further dampen criticism and to make work more attractive than grants, Finance Minister Brown introduced in his new budget, which was presented in March, a guaranteed minimum wage and tax exemption for the lowest paid.

But welfare reform had nevertheless damaged confidence in the Labor government. Social Minister Harriet Harman had to carry the dog's head and was forced to resign when Blair reformed his government in June. Several other ministers were replaced by new ones, among others. it disputed Peter Mandelson, one of Blair's closest men, who became a new Minister of Commerce.

In March, 200,000 people marched through London in one of the biggest demonstrations of many years. It was a loose coalition of different groups, all of which demanded a greater understanding of the rural population. The requirements ranged from increased rights to hike on private land to increased financial support for the farmers affected by the BSE crisis (mad cow disease crisis). However, the frustration of meat producers eased somewhat when the EU finally decided to lift the ban on the export of British beef 32 months after it was introduced on March 27, 1996. However, it will be until spring 1999 before British meat exports can be resumed again. During the long blockade, 4 million cattle have been slaughtered, which is estimated to have cost the UK taxpayers about 4.6 billion pounds despite compensation from the EU.

One of Labour's most important election promises was to modernize Britain, and already in the first year in power, referendums were held that led to increased independence for Scotland and Wales. A new referendum during the year decided that London should also have its own political government and a directly elected mayor. Now the very old-fashioned upper house, The House of Lords, is in turn to be adapted to the new Labor guidelines. The government wants to abolish the nobility's inheritance right to debate and vote in the upper house, but the heirs have announced that they do not intend to let their old privileges disappear without a fight and the conservatives in the lower house have also opposed.

Conservative leader William Hague was subjected to public humiliation when he discovered that the Conservative leader in the upper house, Lord Cranborne, had negotiated behind him on his back to save some of the inheritance for the time being. Hague dismissed Cranborne, while another six Conservatives in the upper house resigned in protest, and the Tory leader's authority was questioned. The historic democratization of the British upper house will be one of the major political issues in 1999.

Tony Blair stated that the UK, which has chosen to stand outside the EMU, must approach the EU in order not to risk being excluded when the EMU enters into force on 1 January 1999. The UK government intends to strengthen its position in Europe by increasing bilateral contacts with certain selected countries: Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Nordic countries.

It looked as if 1998 would be another very successful year for Prime Minister Blair, but just before the Christmas holidays he suffered a severe setback. His friend and adviser, the influential Peter Mandelson, was unexpectedly forced to resign after it was revealed that he had borrowed just over SEK 5 million from Geoffrey Robinson, Deputy Minister of Finance with special responsibility for tax issues. Robinson also decided to step down when it came to Mandelson keeping the loan secret in order to borrow more money, to an exclusive home, from other lenders.

1998 United Kingdom

In September 2006, Blair visited Lebanon after the Israeli attack on the country. The journey merely to further aggravate Blair's image in the UK and abroad. Subsequently, Minister of Social Exclusion, Hillary Armstrong declared that Blair intended to resign from the post of Prime Minister after the next Labor Assembly in 2007.

After nearly two years of speculation over Blair's departure, Finance Minister Gordon Brown took over the post of Prime Minister in June 2007. In his accession speech, he stated that it was "a government with new priorities". Observers pointed out that there would be changes in foreign policy in particular. Already at this time, Britain was on its way to drastically reducing its presence in the Iraqi occupation force. A few months later, the British transferred responsibility for Basra to the Iraqis.

Blair himself was appointed coordinator for the Middle East Quarter, responsible for Roadmap for Peace.

Relations between Russia and Britain deteriorated throughout 2007. In November 2006, former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko died in London after being poisoned with the radioactive substance Polonium-210. From the beginning, Russia was accused of being behind the murder, which was rejected by Russia. However, as early as January 2007, British investigations were directed at FSB agent Andrei Lugovoi, who was formally required to be extradited later in the year. Moscow denied this, after which Britain expelled 5 Russian diplomats. Russia responded again with the expulsion of a similar number of British diplomats. Litvinenko jumped off the UK in 2001, claiming he had been sent to the country to murder Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who had been granted political asylum in the country.

The banking crisis in the autumn of 2008 led the government to implement terrorist legislation against Iceland. About 300,000 Britons had speculated about putting money into the Icelandic bank Icesave, which went bankrupt in September 2008. The government adopted immediate exemption legislation, which froze the values ​​of the Icelandic bank in the UK, and in the following time tightened legs for relief packages to Iceland. In the summer of 2009, the Icelandic government agreed to pay compensation to the British speculators. In 2017-23, Iceland will have to pay 4% of its GDP to UK speculators to compensate them for their losses.

In the summer of 2009, the daily newspaper Daily Telegraph reveal that the British MPs were largely scammed with the system that allowed them to "cover their expenses of being a Member of Parliament". The system was intended to cover e.g. the cost of double housing for members who lived far away, or similar transport costs. But the money was used for e.g. to pay the MPs' children, buy or modernize luxury villas that were subsequently rented out. The scandal revealed that at least half of both Labor and Conservative members had their fingers deep in the box office. The President had to step down as he had allowed the scam to continue. The leaders of both Labor and Conservatives tried to limit the damage by calling on their scammers to lament and repay the funds. In February 2010, charges were raised. However, only against 4 members: 3 Labor and 1 Conservative. The public reaction was deeply politicized and a political move towards other candidates. However, the scandal was largely forgotten when the British were to vote in the May 2010 parliamentary elections.

The May 2010 parliamentary elections were a big victory for the Conservatives, who went 97 seats up to 306. Percentage progress was limited: 3.7% to 36.1%. But due to the British electoral system, the small percentage increase gave a large increase in mandate. The party's leader, David Cameron, subsequently became new prime minister. For Labor, the election was a disaster. It fell 91 seats to 258. Percentage decline was 6.2% to 29%. The election was historic because neither of the two old parties had a majority, and Cameron therefore had to form government with the Liberals. Until then, British governments had always been pure party governments.

A frightening feature of the election was that the Nazi party, the British National PArty (GDP), rose 1.2% to 1.9% - without, however, getting any candidate elected. An indication that the radical right wing also gained a greater foothold - as in the other European countries.

The UK was relatively hard hit by the global economic crisis, which seriously hit in 2008. The country's GDP fell 5.1% in 2009. Yet unemployment rose only slowly in 2009: from 7.2% in March to 7.8% in December. Youth unemployment was then up 19.7%. Unemployment was well below the EU average of 10%. Nevertheless, the country was in a critical situation due to large government borrowing. The new British government therefore launched a tough crisis package in June 2010:

  • VAT was raised from 17.5% to 20
  • 17 billion to be saved UK on public budgets
  • Public employee salaries are frozen until 2012
  • The retirement age is set up to 66 years
  • Social spending is regulated by the consumer price index instead of the general price index. The same applies to public pensions. It will save the state another 6 billion. UK annually
  • Child support is frozen for a 2-year period
  • Housing support gets a max. 400 per cap. week. It will save an additional $ 1.8 billion. UK
  • A medical examination of disability pensioners is introduced from 2013 - to see if they still qualify for disability pension

In July, the government announced further drastic cuts to health. On the other hand, the government did not touch the war budget. In 2010, the country spent approx. 40 billion UK on the military.

The crisis package thus particularly affected the country's poorest and public employees. On the other hand, there was good news for the companies. The corporate tax rate was lowered from 28 to 24% and for the smaller companies from 21 to 20%.

In October, the Liberal-Conservative government adopted the most widespread welfare degradation since World War II. Until 2015, the government will reduce public spending by approx. 20%, or approx. 700 billion Kr. About half a million public servants are fired. The culture is cut by 50%. Social benefits are cut by 20-40%. On the other hand, schools are exempt from cuts - unlike Denmark where the government's education policy has led to massive deterioration in most of the country's municipalities.

 

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