The end of Uber as we know it?

The end of Uber as we know it?

Black cab drivers across the capital were left jumping for joy, whilst millions of Londoners and Uber driver were left shocked after Transport for London announced it will not renew Uber’s private hire licence when it expires on September 30. 

Earlier today TFL said Uber’s application had been rejected as it believed the operator was “not fit and proper to hold a private licence”. It said Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number go issues, which have “potential public safe and security implications.”

Cervical screening week -   How smears save lives

Cervical screening week -   How smears save lives

Cervical cancer currently claims two lives every day in the UK and is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under.

It is largely preventable, which in itself is quite rare, and this is mainly due to the screening programme we have in the UK.

However awareness for the disease, and the need for cervical screening, is becoming ever more vital as 1 in 4 women are failing to attend when invited and attendance in England is at a 19 year low.

Brexit Bill: Broken promises and uncertain futures

 Brexit Bill: Broken promises and uncertain futures

MPs voted overwhelmingly to allow the government to trigger Article 50 last night.

The draft Brexit bill was given the go ahead by MPs who voted 494 to 122. The only thing now standing in Prime Minister Theresa May’s way of pushing the exit button by the end of March is the House of Lords, who have also been warned not to block the legislation.

The EU isn’t the problem; OUR weak leadership is.

After months of ferocious campaigning we are finally approaching the finishing line, the time to decide is nigh, and I’m IN.

First thing to say; I haven’t always wanted to remain in the EU, I too have become disillusioned by the state of affairs that we currently find ourselves in and was initially impressed with the consistent message that the leave camp have been dishing out.

That was until I realised that it wasn’t about just me, it’s about all of us and our responsibility to future generations who will feel the impact the most, of what is the biggest decision we have had to make in a generation.

Everything you read, see and hear isn’t always the truth, and if you are basing your decision and believing the media and sensationalist views rather than facts and doing some research yourself it’s difficult to know what to believe.

Britain is a great nation and I am proud to be British, and one of the reasons for this I believe; is our ties with Europe, and what that brings with it, Unity.

The years of peaceful co-existence within Europe cannot be ignored, one of the reasons the EU was set up was to ensure that what happened in previous world wars, which started in Europe can never happen again.

A divided Europe only seeks to gratify our enemies, we are much stronger together than we will ever be apart, and I firmly believe our diversities should unite us, not divide us.

A united Europe against the terrifying enemies we now face both at home and abroad makes me feel much safe than the prospect of a divided one.

Yes, there are problems with the EU, but I agree with Gordon Brown and we must unite behind his message, we should “lead, not leave”, by trying to implement effective change from within the EU rather than abandoning it.

For years’ successive governments have blamed the EU for failings in our country, effectively passing the buck. This I fear will now be their undoing, consistently telling the British people the EU is to blame rather than laying it at their own doorstep. By doing so they have put themselves in this position, facing the prospect of leaving the EU.

I believe our problems are home grown and will therefore remain problems long after a leave vote. The problem isn’t the EU, the problem is our consistent lack of strong leadership.

A vote to leave the EU would leave us governed solely by this weak leadership, and while some may view this as a fantastic great forward step to 'take back control’ we will be faced with an even weaker government that will be ill-equipped to lead in a crisis.

I mean who isn’t worried about the prospect of a world where Boris Johnson is Prime Minster and Donald Trump is President of the United States?

If you want an alternative to an elitist government a vote out won’t get you your desired outcome! WE voted this government in with a majority vote last year, if you aren’t happy with the result look in the mirror, that’s who to blame not the EU.

This referendum is about the future, when has taking steps back been progressive for moving forward?

This referendum is a farce in my opinion masking the fundamental problems we have in this country by putting the blame firmly at the EU’s front door, rather than where is should be at our own leaders’ front door, No 10.

The issues we face aren’t about taking back control of our country from the EU, it’s about taking back control of our country from within, by holding those who govern us accountable.

That’s how we ensure Britain remains a great nation, and it starts with a vote to stay in the EU.

So why do I believe we should stay?

 

Before the EU

Prior to joining the European Economic Community in 1973, Britain was floundering economically whilst France, West Germany and Italy were beginning to fare better having founded the EEC. After declining to join in the 1950s Britain changed its mind in the 1960s, as it is suggested that we were facing increasing economic decline, but were denied entry at first by then French President Charles De Gaulle.

 

Since the EU

Upon joining the EU Britain’s economy grew and was relatively stable between 1973 and 2010, when the recession hit.

Since the recession our economy has steadily grown but remains precarious, we may be the 5th biggest economy but would we remain so if we left the EU and instability ensued? 9 out of 10 top economist agree that the instability would have a detrimental effect.

 

Economy

There is no doubt that a vote to leave will have an effect on the economy, and while both sides agree, no one has a crystal ball that will tell us by how much. The leave camp thinks it’s worth the risk but when economic decline hits it’s not people like them that suffer, but you and me!

The list of economists, world leaders, business leaders urging us to stay for fear of economic repercussions cannot be ignored, and while some argue that they are only looking out for themselves something has to be said for the diverse range of people who share this view.

Ask yourself is putting us at a risk of economic meltdown worth it?

For me having struggled to find a job when recession hit last time and already seeing the chances of ever buying a house reduced; they are not. Why set us back now when we have just started to pick ourselves back up again?

And if it does all go wrong after a vote to leave, will Boris Johnson’s pledge to apologise on national TV, make sure you keep your job or put food on the table for your family?

 

Sovereignty

Throughout the leave camps campaign, over and over again they have compounded the message of taking back control.

However, it’s not just EU membership that requires a level of trade off on sovereignty.

·      Membership of NATO requires us to come to the mutual defence of any other member, Collective defence means that an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies” (Nato 2016), thus meaning we lose sovereignty over the deployment of UK Armed forces, but is deemed a trade-off to ensure security and support from other members.

·      Membership of the World Trade Organisation also commits the UK to supra-national regulation and arbitration, but the loss of sovereignty here is seen to be out-weighed by the gains in prosperity.

Would we also want to leave the added security of NATO or the World Trade Organisation that enables us to trade globally?

I feel the notion of ‘taking back control’ is being used to evoke people’s emotional response to fear and nostalgia, to believe in a notion that we would be better off and safe going it alone. It is also important to highlight that isn’t just Britain that makes compromises on sovereignty, other nations trade off just like we do.

Why in an increasingly globalised world would we want to exclude ourselves to make us feel like we taking back control of things we have not lost control of, these small trade-offs on sovereignty, in the bigger picture are for the greater good.

 

Immigration

Our multicultural society is something that I am proud to be a part of, our vast array of cultures gives us a rich and diverse society and we can learn so much from each different background.

While the country seems divided on immigration issues and the so called ‘migrant’ crisis, we seem to have forgotten the poignant photo of little Alan, who featured on the front of newspapers when he tragically drowned in his quest to reach safety. We seem to have forgotten that these are people fleeing conflict and persecution. Have we lost our humanity that much that we bemoan taking in those who need us most?

Once again this cannot be blamed on the EU, as part of the Geneva convention (and not to mention human decency) we are obliged to protect those fleeing conflicts.

Immigration has been the back bone of the vote leaves campaign, and is simply not a clear cut single issue. It is true that the levels of EU and Non EU migration to the UK are at highest recorded levels, BUT leaving the EU will not solve this problem.  

I agree that we need to have a better handle and tighter controls on immigration, but that’s both EU and Non EU migration.

Free movement is good for business, allows us to travel freely around Europe and makes doing so easier and cheaper, but I agree it needs to be controlled.

Remaining in the EU and tackling this issue while we still have a ‘seat at the table’, I believe is the only option to tackle this problem, but our own government needs to deliver a plan on how they will tackle immigration.

Irrespective of whether we vote to leave or remain in the EU the issue of immigration will not disappear, free movement isn’t the problem.

The consistent lack of realistic immigration policy by successive governments has allowed the rate of immigration to rise in this country and can only be dealt with at home, a vote to leave will not be the magic solution that fixes the issues we face with immigration.

 

The Norwegian Model

Leaving the EU will not necessarily free us from free movement.

The leave campaign has been using Norway as an example of the type of model Britain could follow if we leave the EU; they are not part of the EU but still trade with them.

We have been told that it’s a great alternative, they aren’t part of the EU, they are independent, can govern themselves and trade with the single market, however it is not strictly true.

As a condition of their trade agreement with the single market they have to allow free movement of people. So even as a non EU member they still have to allow citizens of all 28 member states free movement, abide by some rules and regulations from Brussels, whilst not really having a say over what these are, as they no longer have a place at the EU table.

For me this doesn’t sound like a better alternative, we would have less power than we have now and while some argue we would get a better deal, it would be naïve to think that the EU wouldn’t impose this on Britain to make an example or to ensure other countries don’t follow suit.

 

Public Services

Public services are severely stretched, the NHS is at breaking point, houses are in short supply and schools are over-subscribed. This has been widely blamed by ‘immigration’ and the sheer amount of people needing to access these services.

The NHS is a cause that I feel extremely strongly about and am passionate about protecting, as without a doubt, like many others its services have saved my life. It is under increasing pressure a fact that cannot be simply blamed on immigration.

Over the past few years the NHS has be faced with a multitude of home grown factors that are pushing it to the limit; austerity has meant cut backs in funding, rise in illness from poor lifestyle and an increasingly ageing population.

Infrastructure in our country is struggling, but again isn’t at the hands of the EU, immigration is not the only reason services are facing increasing pressures.

 

A United & Connected Europe

Peaceful co-existence is what the EU strived to achieve and has done so for 70 years’. The success of this cannot go unnoticed. For centuries Europe saw a lot of bloodshed, not least with two world wars battled on its soil and millions of lives lost. The EU has enabled the member states to replace conflict with negotiation, cooperation and unity.

Leaving the EU and dividing Europe will not make us safer from the increasing threats of terror at home and abroad. Together we are so much stronger, having a united Europe working together for common goals is a bigger deterrent than facing the rest of the world alone.

 

It’s a vote for the future

I graduated in the recession so know first-hand the impact, the first people to suffer in a recession are the poor and young people. 50% of young people are unemployed in Greece, caused by financial instability and the inevitable lack of jobs in the country.

This is a decision for our future and will affect the next generations for years to come.

It is no wonder then with the threat of more economic hardship, that the majority of young people want to remain a part of the EU, while the majority of older people are in favour of leaving the EU.

I have heard time and time again, “well I’m voting to leave for a better future for my children and grandchildren”, if you are truly voting for the next generation then surely you should listen to what they think and what they want, no more so than those under 18s who can’t have a say.

Young people want economic stability, jobs, unity and cooperation and ultimately want to remain in the EU.

 

A vote to leave will:

·      Have detrimental effects on the economy, whether short term or long term.

·      Not stop free movement and take back control of immigration.

·      Not be the vote future generations want.

·      Not get rid of an elitist government.

·      Put us on the side-lines of an increasing united and connected world.

 

A vote to remain will:

·      Allow us to continue to work with EU member states to reform the EU.

·      Allow us to have a veto of who comes into the EU.

·      Allow us to vote on laws passed down by Brussels.

·      Maintain stability and security across Europe.

·      Ensure unity and cooperation.

·      Continue to put us at the heart of the world’s biggest trading bloc.

 

A vote to remain will ensure we will continue to work towards a world of peaceful co-existence, unity and cooperation and where our differences unite us and cease to divide us.

 

Vote to remain for all of our futures, not just your own. 

A life dedicated to others, lost to hate.

When anyone is murdered it is a tragedy, but when a young mother is mercilessly slain on the streets of her home town while simply doing her job to help others it is incomprehensible.

When I heard the news that Jo Cox had been killed I was shocked to the core that something so heinous and vile could happen on our streets. A public servant killed in cold blood doing her job serving her community.

As tributes have poured in from across the globe a picture has built of the type of person she was. She wanted to make the world a better place and fought against injustices around the world, as well as at home.

As a former aid worker she became an MP just a over year ago and it was clear she wanted to use her position to make a difference, championing the causes of the Syrian refugees and other international plights.

MPs are elected members of parliament, the people we vote for to make sure our voices are heard when we think no one is listening. Some people seem to forget that while they are 'politicians', they are still people just like you and me, people with colleagues, friends, families and children. They may be demonised in the media and critized for what they believe in but they are still human beings, who are simply doing their jobs and striving to make the country and the world a better place. 

Democracy is the foundation of our society and cannot be taken away, we must all have a voice and we must all have an opinion.

The biggest question that has arisen from this dreadful incident is; why is our world increasingly filled with so much hate? So much hate that an innocent, caring and selfless woman has been brutally murdered within the community that she loved and served, and taken from a loving husband and two young children, who will now grow up without a mother.

Underneath we are all the same, we are of the same flesh, we bleed the same blood and breathe the same air. 

Our differences should unite us not divide us. Our world should be built on love, compassion and cooperation, not hate and acts of extreme violence.

Times like these only highlight the need for us to all stand together and unite against a sea of depravity, where hate, anger and violence seems to be eroding all the human values we hold dear.

We enter this world alone and leave it alone, all that is left is our legacy, why would we want our time on this earth to be marred with hate and contempt for others?

Hopefully Jo Cox’s family can take some comfort in the knowledge that her legacy will be one of strength and grace in the face of adversity and that her compassion and commitment to others has shone through; especially when seeking to give a voice to those who need it most when others turned their backs.

The words of Jo’s husband should echo as the compounding message out of this senseless act, “we must fight against the hatred that killed her”.

For to conquer such hate we must love even harder. 

 

“We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.” Jo Cox

It's a Risky Business

There are just 9 days until the polls open and the nation decides our fate. In or Out, that is the question.

Last week saw both sides battle it out in a number of debates; Nigel Farage and David Cameron got a grilling, Boris Johnson suffered some very personal attacks in a live TV debate and Eddie Izzard took aim at Nigel Farage on Question Time.

While each side claiming victory, I believe it did little to help the undecided electorate, and with each side seemingly contradicting each other at every turn, it really is proving extremely difficult to choose a side to believe.

It is a monumental decision for our great nation, one which I fear, we will never be fully informed enough to decided, especially as the politicians seem more concerned with who can score more points and prove ones power.

The campaigns are showing no signs of let up and the battle for our votes will only increase in intensity until the June 23rd.

The past few days have seen the tides turn as the leave camp appear to have taken a slight lead in opinion polls. The remain camp have in-turn rebooted their campaign and have brought out the big guns; Gordon Brown and Tony Blair to try and sway it back in their favour.

While the leave campaign may be currently leading the way, a large proportion of the electorate still remain undecided. 

I’ve been asked countless times how are you voting?, what are the facts?, people simply do not know what to think or who to believe.

The reality is, whichever way the vote goes no one knows what will happen, we face an unprecedented situation, a country has, as yet never left the EU and there are no concrete facts or predictions either way.

So what do we know that may help us decided which box to tick:

Reasons to stay:

Trade

EU Membership allows us to be part of one of the worlds largest trading blocks, giving us more trading clout in the global market.

44% of our overseas trade is with the EU with membership allowing us tariff free trading. 

If we left, we would no longer be part of this block and may be punished for leaving by our former partners through future trade deals with anything from; trade tariffs, restrictions or certain conditions to any proposed agreements.

Leave campaigners are hoping to negotiate trade deals similar to that of Norway. However, some believe that it may prove difficult, if we leave we will effectively be deciding to 'divorce' the EU, and how many of those end up amicable! 

In The Economist it was claimed that "If Britain were to join the Norwegian club, it would remain bound by virtually all EU regulations, including the working-time directive and almost everything dreamed up in Brussels in future" And would be outside of the inner circle of the EU so would have no say on what those regulations would be.

We may also be viewed as outsiders, lose negotiating power and seen as ‘small’ fish in a big pond, this has already been highlighted by American President Barrack Obama, who declared that we may end up at the back of the queue when it comes to trade deals with other countries.

 

Free Movement

The EU single market allows free movement of good, services, capital and people.

It allows EU member states citizens to move freely around Europe, giving us the option to live and work anywhere in the EU, and those in other EU countries free movement here, which adds to our unique multicultural society, boosts the workforce, wealth and talent in our great nation.

Over a million Britons live in EU countries and at least 30,000 British nationals claim unemployment benefits in other EU countries, much more than their counter parts do here, which makes for a compounding counter argument to the leave campaigns insistence that immigration from the EU is a drain on our resources.

Allows cheaper mobile roaming costs in EU countries.

Makes travelling EU destinations, cheaper and easier.

 

EU Membership

While they may see disproportionate, especially with the leave campaigns claim that the UK pays £350million a week, as seen emblazoned across their campaign bus, it isn’t that clear cut. 

The annual fee paid to the EU is £18bn, but after a rebate and the money the EU then spends in the UK through farm subsidies and other programmes, the actual annual cost to the UK is £8.5bn, roughly £163million a week, which most will agree is still a huge figure, but no where near the £350 million.

However according to Martin Lewis the money saving expert, the membership fees shouldn’t be viewed as a stand alone issue but considered in relation to our economy. 

According to him “Just a 1% economic change is £18bn a year. The IN campaign’s worst case scenario is that Brexit will cost 7.5%, so £135bn. Some OUT economists say the gain could be 4%, so £72bn.”

In a nutshell, regardless of which side is right, how the nations finances as a whole will change should outweigh views on the EU membership fees, as the fees we pay are dwarfed by changes in our economy.

 

Economic Impact 

A vote to leave will have an effect on the economy no one is disputing that it won’t, the amount it will be effected is however disputed by both sides.

It is thought that an exit from the EU will cause an economic shock and would result in slower growth and have a detrimental effect on our economy in short to medium term, but no one can say with any certainty by how much until it happens.

 

A United Europe

German Chancellor Angela Merkel highlighted that while we are a member of the EU we have a seat at the table, if we stay we will continue to have a seat at the table thus influencing what happens in the EU.

Gordon Brown outlined in his speech yesterday how we should remain in the EU and "Lead, not leave", seeking to create reform from our place within rather than leaving and trying to go it alone.

But just because we will still have our seat at the table, doesn't mean it will be easy, it will still difficult to get the reforms and conditions that we want.  But the fundamental point that for remaining; we will still be in the room to have our say.

A united Europe has meant a relatively peaceful co-existence. After two world wars, which started in Europe, we have had peace among the EU nations who are bound by common goals, although some do attribute this to NATO.

 

Jobs & Workers Rights                         

Being part of the free movement of people and workers creates jobs, and according to the remain campaign three million jobs are linked to trade with the EU.

Workers rights including; maternity and paid annual leave are also protected under the EU, although even if we did vote to leave these would only change if the UK government decided too, which is very unlikely.

 

 Reasons to Leave:

Trade

Leaving the EU would allow us to establish our own individual trade agreements and would enable us to trade freely with other countries, such as the emerging markets of China and India.

The leave campaign believes that we would still have access to the single market of the EU through a trade agreement and would not be bound by the EU laws that we are currently and could agree a similar trade deal to that of Norway, who still enjoys trade with the EU but is not bound by all its rules and regulations.

The EU is not our only potential alley when it comes to trade, if we were to vote to leave it would open up trade opportunities with Commonwealth nations such as Australia.

According to City Am it could also open free movement between commonwealth nations with "An ambitious plan for Commonwealth free movement of people, starting with Australia, the UK, Canada and New Zealand, only likely to make meaningful progress if the UK leaves the EU. Britain’s membership of the EU denies it access to the most culturally compatible, highly-educated workforce in the world."

 

Sovereignty & Laws

Regulations handed down by Brussels are binding across all member states and as a EU member the UK has to abide by and apply them, and these do not always necessarily align with the wishes of the UK. 

As Nigel Farage likes to highlight, a proportion of our laws are now made in Brussels by unelected ‘bureaucrats’ and other member states can force through decisions that the UK doesn’t agree with, in essence we have lost the ability to some extent to control and govern our own nation.

A deal that David Cameron has tried to negotiate includes a ‘commitment’ to give back some powers to Britain and allows national parliaments to block legislations.

However this is not the full regain of sovereignty that people are hoping for and those that do hold this view believe the only way to regain full sovereignty will be to leave the EU.

 

Economic Impact

Our economy is the 5th largest in the world.

A vote to leave will have an effect on the economy in some way that's a given, but a vote to stay does not mean we are guaranteed economic stability. The EU is far from stable, Greece is in economic meltdown and the Euro currency is severely struggling.

Leaving will have a detrimental effect in the short term, some believe that things will need to get worse to enable them to get better and that a break away from the failing Euro now, while we have a stronger economy rather then wait for the situation in the EU to worsen, and if we don't leave may see more countries become reliant on us and Germany through the EU to bail them out.

 

Immigration & Security

Immigration is a huge, contentious issue in this referendum. 

While some view freedom of movement as a positive aspect of the EU, others worry that it allows EU citizens to enter the UK with too much ease, increases immigration to unsustainable levels, while also posing a security risk if terrorists travel with an EU passport. Figures show net immigration rising, which is causing some to attribute inevitable increase in pressures on our already stretched public services and infrastructure such as the NHS, benefits, housing and schools.      

There is also a large amount of concern surrounding incoming countries joining the EU and the weight they may add to an already volatile situation regarding immigration in the EU. Turkey and other countries are set to join in coming years and will allow over 80 million more people to move freely around the EU member states.

Nigel Farage is adamant that the only way to "gain back control of our borders" is to leave the EU.

A vote to leave, despite what Mr Farage & Mr Johnson say, may not guarantee the end free movement and give us back full control of our borders. We could end up in a similar situation to Norway who, as part of their trade agreement with the EU have certain conditions, which for them includes free movement.  

 

Things to think about….. 

   There is no right answer.  

   Nothing is guaranteed.

   NO One has a crystal ball, NO ONE knows what will happen if we stay or leave, there will always be a level of uncertainty. 

   Risk, there is risk on both sides. Staying in is still risky, there are no guarantees that a vote to remain will be beneficial, the EU is struggling with Greece awaiting another bailout and other economies on the brink. But a vote to leave does come with a greater element of uncertainty, a country has never never left the EU before, so will the remaining EU countries punish us and look to discourage others from following suit with trade tariffs and free movement conditions even if we do?, we just don’t know.

    You need to decided if the risks of leaving out-weighs the risks of staying.

If you think.. 

  • Leaving the EU poses more risks than staying. 
  • Changes do need to be made but we need have a seat at the table to make reforms.

You should consider a …..Vote To Remain in the EU. 

  • The risks of leaving are worth it.
  • It may get worse before it gets better but fundamental change outside of the EU is necessary. 

 You should consider a …...Vote To Leave the EU.

And ultimately, whatever you decided make sure you exercise your democratic right and have your say by voting on 23rd June 2016, because we all need to decided our future, as one nation with one vote.

 

Resources -

Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert

The Telegraph

BBC Reality Check 

The Economist

City AM

The Guardian

 

A British Institution and 11,000 jobs lost.

The British high street is looking set to lose another institution today, with the news that administrators have been unable to find a buyer who may have saved BHS from the liquidators. 

All 163 stores across the UK are now set to close and 11,000 jobs are expected to be lost in the biggest high street collapse since Woolworths in 2008.  

The news came after numerous offers and attempts were made to save the ailing company from closing its doors permanently, including those from Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, Poundstretcher boss Aziz Tayub and a last minute bid from retailer Greg Tufnell (brother of ex-cricketer Phil Tufnell).  

Unfortunately as outlined by Philip Duffy, managing director of appointed administrators Duff & Phelps, in a statement earlier today, he said  "Despite the considerable efforts of the administrators and BHS senior management, it has not been possible to agree a sale of the business", as they weren't able to acquire the funds needed to secure the future of the company, due to the amount of money required to revive it from the abyss.  

He continued to say that, "The British High Street is changing and in these turbulent times for retailers, BHS has fallen as another victim of the seismic shifts we are seeing." 

In April it was announced that BHS had appointed administrators to try to find a solution to save the former high street giant, and it was also revealed that there is a pension deficit of £571 million. 

This deficit had been accumulated despite the fact that over £500 million of dividends were declared and paid out to former owner Sir Phillip Green and other investors, until after 15 years of ownership he sold it for £1 to a consortium led by former bankrupt Dominic Chappell, who then received millions of pounds during the 13 months they were in charge. 

Both businessmen have been widely critised for their handling and management of the company and are set to appear before MPs who are investigating the whole debacle and seeking to find out how such a large 'black hole' in the pension fund has been allowed to form. Mr Chappel is due to appear before them on 8th June and Sir Phillip a week later. 

It's once again a sad day for the British high street with another prominent presence set to disappear and thousands set to lose their jobs. However the story doesn't end unhappily there, what will continue to unfold following the collapse, is how and who will fill the sizeable gap left in the pension fund, will Sir Phillip & co be held to account?, or will it fall once again on the hard working taxpayers to pick up the pieces of the messy trail left behind by greedy 'fat cats'?. 

The sad fact of the matter as always, is that the ones who will ultimately end up suffering are the thousands of BHS workers who have contributed for years to a pension that may never be paid out as promised. 

The European Union Referendum - Are you In or Out?

It's the fierce debate sweeping the nation, one that has been generating intense discussion in all walks of life, the like that hasn’t been seen in a generation. You can't go a day without being asked “Are you in or out?” and it's certainly sparking strong and seriously divided views amongst voters.

But are we as informed as we should be?

A large proportion of the nation still remain undecided and it's easy to see why. Both the Britain Stronger in Europe and Vote to Leave camps are churning out persuasive campaign material and it’s easy to be swayed from reading one leaflet or news bulletin to the next.

There’s strong argument, impressive statistics and endless notions that whichever way we vote, we face some sort of catastrophic event.

Whilst I am already marginally leaning towards a camp to back, I do not feel adequately informed or confident in the knowledge that I am aware of all the relevant facts and figures to make the right decision. And it’s not just the right decision for me, it’s the right decision for our great nation, as they say we need to make Britain great again.

I will be closely following this momentous referendum with the aim to bring you impartial and balanced discussion, upon which an informed decision can be made to ensure voters feel confident of their choice when going to the polls. 

Firstly, I want to start off with some background; An overview of the European Union & why we should really care about staying in or leaving

Unless you've been living in the remotest parts of the world you will probably already know what the EU Referendum is and why it’s something that cannot simply be ignored. Thursday 23rd June 2016 will be a historic day. The day that we, the people of the United Kingdom, decide our future with one simple vote; to either remain in the European Union or take a leap of faith and leave the inner circle of Europe. 

What is The European Union? 

It is an economic political union of 28 member states that are located in Europe, essentially a membership to one big borderless network. The EU is designed to operate as one single market; allowing the members to enjoy free movement of goods, services, capital and people. The latter of which has come under intense scrutiny since the recent problems facing Europe as a result of mass migration.

The EU referendum is creating such a furore in the UK because of the potential impact the outcome will have. Both sides of the argument have very strong views on what the implications might be depending on which way the vote will go, but it’s clear that a lot of what is being banded around by advocates of the stay and leave campaigns seem to amount to a certain level of speculation and conjecture. 

There are several campaigns running on both sides of the referendum but there are two main campaigns in the run up to the vote.

Who are the two camps?

Britain Stronger in Europe

Spear headed by Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, Britain Stronger in Europe is the main campaign advocating voters to tick the stay box on June 23rd.  

What they believe; Britain will be financially worse off if the nation does vote to leave the EU and that we will once again be plunged into years of austerity. They also predict that interest rates will rise, thousands of jobs would be at risk, house prices would fall and that the average household could be worse off by between £850 - £1700 a year.

Vote Leave

The other side of the fence is fronted by ex London Mayor Boris Johnson and backed by Michael Gove and Ian Duncan Smith to name but a few. Vote Leave is the main campaign for those backing the nation to leave the EU. 

What they believe; Britain would save £350 million a week on EU membership which could be put back into the UK. Without free movement and other restrictions the EU membership enforces, Britain would be able to take back control of it's borders, limiting the amount of people entering the UK and once again decide the laws that govern the country from Britain rather than in Brussels. 

With just under a month to go until the polls open the campaigns will show no sign of let up and will continue to gather momentum and probably get even uglier. What remains to be seen and heard amongst all the mud slinging, political point scoring and scaremongering, is which outcome would actually be in the best interests for the 60 million people that live in Britain.

That for me is the big question that still remains unanswered and one which I’m hoping to shed some light on over the coming weeks.