Alun Michael: a concession was painted as a climbdown

Former Welsh Secretary and first minister Alun Michael says the 10p tax issue played very badly with

Labour's Alun Michael says the 10p tax debacle was a big issue on the doorstep in the run up to the 1 May elections and by the time concessions came from Number 10 people felt it was too little, too late.

Michael, who represents Cardiff South and Penarth, said the prime minister's reaction to concerns that the abolition of the tax band would hit the poorest in our society was being painted as a climbdown and not a concession borne out of listening to people.

"It's been particularly unfair on Gordon as he's put such effort into tacking poverty across Britain. There was a perception that the decision on the 10p tax band was going against Labour values. When the concessions came they came too late to be potent in persuading voters."

On the particular situation in Wales, Michael said the picture was very mixed. He pointed out that as well as Labour losses, Plaid Cymru had suffered defeats in their heartland as well.

Ben Davies trained as a journalist after taking most of the 1990s off. Prior to joining the New Statesman he spent five years working as a politics reporter for the BBC News website. He lives in North London.
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New Digital Editor: Serena Kutchinsky

The New Statesman appoints Serena Kutchinsky as Digital Editor.

Serena Kutchinsky is to join the New Statesman as digital editor in September. She will lead the expansion of the New Statesman across a variety of digital platforms.

Serena has over a decade of experience working in digital media and is currently the digital editor of Newsweek Europe. Since she joined the title, traffic to the website has increased by almost 250 per cent. Previously, Serena was the digital editor of Prospect magazine and also the assistant digital editor of the Sunday Times - part of the team which launched the Sunday Times website and tablet editions.

Jason Cowley, New Statesman editor, said: “Serena joins us at a great time for the New Statesman, and, building on the excellent work of recent years, she has just the skills and experience we need to help lead the next stage of our expansion as a print-digital hybrid.”

Serena Kutchinsky said: “I am delighted to be joining the New Statesman team and to have the opportunity to drive forward its digital strategy. The website is already established as the home of free-thinking journalism online in the UK and I look forward to leading our expansion and growing the global readership of this historic title.

In June, the New Statesman website recorded record traffic figures when more than four million unique users read more than 27 million pages. The circulation of the weekly magazine is growing steadily and now stands at 33,400, the highest it has been since the early 1980s.