Annabel Denham

Annabel Denham is deputy comment editor at the Daily Telegraph

Working from home won’t fix Britain’s productivity

Why is Britain’s productivity so stubbornly low? Output per worker increased just 0.1 per cent in the year to April. Across swathes of the economy it is in absolute decline.  One theory, posited by those brave enough to voice unfashionable opinions, is that working from home is dragging down productivity growth. This has been dismissed by unions

The Green party is terrifying

Is the Green party the most controversial force in British politics? It’s certainly giving Reform a run for its money. In the past few months, the Greens have suspended a former London Assembly member and two-time London mayoral candidate after he lamented that colleagues had denounced the Cass Review. After the local elections, one councillor sparked outrage by

The problem with Labour’s free breakfast clubs plan

Labour has been deliberately opaque when it comes to their plans for government, but on one issue Sir Keir Starmer has been uncharacteristically lucid. The leader of the opposition will be slapping VAT on private schools on ‘day one’ in Downing Street, a promise which has already prompted some parents to cancel places for September.

The horror of NHS maternity wards has been exposed

Will any woman who has given birth on the NHS be surprised by a damning report into maternity services? I wasn’t. I was horrified to read of babies born with cerebral palsy because of mistakes and failures made before and during labour. I was deeply saddened to read about mothers who were mocked, neglected, patronised, even shouted

What do falling birth rates mean for the future of the planet?

Few Britons will have heard the phrase ‘apocalyptic winter’, but that may soon change. It’s how Italian politicians describe the season when deaths in the country outstrip births. In Italy, the total fertility rate (TFR), the average number of children born to a woman in her lifetime, is now 1.24, far below the 2.1 required

It’s time to take a chainsaw to the British civil service

Slashing Whitehall waste is a pledge that brings to mind Augustine’s prayer for the Lord to make him virtuous – but not yet. It is something repeatedly promised by governments, but rarely delivered. Here we are again, days out from the final Budget before voters go to the polls in a general election, and Jeremy Hunt

The cynicism behind Labour’s Race Equality Act

Labour is desperate to come across as business-friendly. Last week, the party said it will no longer reinstate a cap on bankers’ bonuses, and that it will ‘unashamedly champion’ the financial services industry. But how to square that with the party’s new Race Equality Act? Most people understand equal pay to mean exactly what was

The Tories’ childcare plans aren’t grounded in reality

Of all the reasons why the Conservatives deserve to lose the next general election, their nonsensical childcare policy is among the most convincing. Labour had needlessly meddled in this sector, with little positive effect on affordability, accessibility, or maternal employment. The Tories could have taken on the vested interests and trades unions, scaled back the

Why is measles on the rise?

Having endured months of restrictions on our freedoms to deal with Covid-19, we now face a major health threat entirely of our own making: vaccine hesitancy. Measles – a centuries-old contagious disease which can lead to serious complications – is on the rise. Hospitals in Birmingham are dealing with their biggest outbreak in years. Health

Labour won’t fix Britain’s childcare mess

Labour appeared stumped when, earlier this year, the government announced it would be drastically increasing its ‘free’ childcare provision. Given it was a policy that shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson was rumoured to be considering, her party would now need to find a way to outdo itself. Now, we have a clearer idea what its

Will striking doctors bring down the NHS?

Doctors haven’t always been keen on the NHS. A former chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) said in response to the 1946 National Health Service Act, that: ‘It looks to me uncommonly like the first step, and a big one, to National Socialism as practised in Germany.’ In 1948, the BMA claimed that only 4,734

The Tories must get serious about welfare reform

You can’t fault Mel Stride for trying. Conscious that our current levels of worklessness are neither sustainable nor likely to win the Tories plaudits at the next general election, the Work and Pensions Secretary has been proposing a range of wild and wacky solutions. In February, it was reported the government would be expanding ‘midlife

How to avoid repeating the mistakes of the HS2 fiasco 

Rishi Sunak has finally slayed the white elephant that is HS2 or, perhaps more accurately, cut off its hind legs by scrapping the northern leg. It’s been a tortuous process: remember the proposals to link it with HS1 to Europe (March 2014), the spur to Heathrow Airport, and the Eastern leg to Leeds? The hope

The BMA isn’t striking to protect patients or the NHS, just itself

What a fall from grace. Three years ago, the British Medical Association (BMA) could barely put a foot wrong. It could moralise over Tory failures – austerity, health inequalities, poverty, chronic underfunding of the NHS, mishandling of the pandemic – and even Tory politicians would quietly nod along. Its members were national heroes, even angels

The problem with the ‘right to strike’

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has vowed to report the government to the UN workers’ rights watchdog over its controversial strikes bill, but how seriously can we take this threat? The TUC’s leader, Paul Nowak, certainly sounds like a man on a mission: earlier this year, Nowak claimed the legislation was ‘almost certainly illegal’, a

The SNP’s four day week won’t work

Pigs will surely sooner fly over Glasgow Pollok than business will take inspiration from Humza Yousaf’s approach to running government. Nonetheless, the claim made by Scotland’s First Minister and his advisers is that moving state employees to a four-day week could be a catalyst for the private sector to follow suit. In the clearest sign yet that

‘Lazy girls’ aren’t what’s hurting the British economy

The current government will do almost anything to avoid reforming welfare or the NHS. Last month, we were informed school leavers might be allowed to train as doctors without a traditional medical degree in an ill-conceived cosplay scheme. And it was reported yesterday that GPs may be encouraged to refer patients to life coaches, rather

The BMA shouldn’t look down on cleaners

During the lockdown, there was a cohort of workers who toiled through the night in what was described as a ‘fairly thankless job that is taken for granted day to day.’ Those workers were cleaners, who decontaminated buses and trains so that commuters could remain safe. We didn’t clap for them on our doorsteps, nor did they even