Published:

9.30pm WATCH: Hunt – Punish NHS staff neglect , don't punish mistakes

9pm WATCH: Spain ramps up the pressure on Gibraltar

7.15pm ToryDiary: Who on earth are British Influence trying to influence?

4.45pm Local Government: DEFRA spends £85,000 pushing for Council Tax rises

Nickde4pm Nick de Bois MP on Comment: "That our childcare plans have seemingly angered the stay at home parent, is regrettable but
inevitable if policies do not support a clear, robustly-argued vision,
namely that Conservatives believe in family and will support family."
Without a strong family policy and message, even the best policy initiatives will flounder

3pm WATCH: Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt – why it's crucial to help Syria

1.15pm Local Government: Doncaster Council tops the league for zero hours contracts

11.30am Brian Monteith on Comment: "Who would have
expected a Conservative-led government to take Labour’s public health
regulations that restricted the availability or consumption of tobacco and the
campaigns that demonised smokers – and seek to make them even more punitive?"
Will the persecution of smokers ever stop under Conservatives?

10.30am WATCH: The Australian Liberals' attack ad: "Kevin Rudd is all talk"

ToryDiary: Osborne's pro-marriage move is part of the Cameron charm offensive

Also on ToryDiary, we ask for a fourth day: Why can't we be told how many members the Conservative Party has?

Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 08.00.32In this week's Foreign Affairs Column, Oliver Colville MP says that Mugabe has stolen Zimbabwe's election. Here's what should happen now.

Jonathan Isaby on Comment: It’s time to stamp out Stamp Duty

Local Government: Labour's opposition to mutuals prompts them to lose control of Redcar and Cleveland Council

MPsETC: Introducing eight new PPCs from across the country

The Deep End: Germany’s unpleasant experiment with legalised prostitution

Cameron and Hague: "Serious concern" over Gibraltar. Chief Minister Picardo compares Spain's language to North Korea's

Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 08.20.31
"Officials held crisis talks with their Spanish counterparts and the British Overseas Territory’s Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, was moved to describe the comments from Madrid as “reminiscent of the type of statement you’d hear from North Korea than from an EU partner”. Mr Picardo told Radio 4’s Today programme that the recent deterioration in relations represented “sabre-rattling of the sort that we haven’t seen for some time”." – The Independent

Cameron to end civil service experiment…

"Mr Cameron has become frustrated at the sluggish pace of change and is being advised that a full-time civil service leader is required, with the clout to chase progress across Whitehall. The shake-up would end an experiment lasting under two years that saw Sir Bob Kerslake juggling two jobs as head of 400,000 civil servants as well as being permanent secretary at the Department of Communities. Sir Bob is said to have concluded that the civil service needs a full-time leader." – Financial Times

  • Boy wonder from Maude civil service stable has plan to save taxpayer £4 million – The Times (£)

…As Downing Street says: Ministers must do more to promote fracking

Cameron looking right"David Cameron’s spokesman said the prime minister believed that shale gas offered “exciting potential” to contribute to UK energy security and economic growth. But Number 10 stressed that fracking should be carried out only if there was “no risk” to the environment. The government has unveiled big tax breaks for the drilling technique, which involves injecting water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to create fractures in shale rock and release oil and gas trapped inside." – Financial Times

  • Co-op major backer of anti-fracking movement – Daily Telegraph
  • First photo of potential Balcombe fracking site – Daily Mail
  • Coalition squabbles about how to keep the lights on – The Independent
  • Britain's green policy failures are choking off billions in private investment – The Independent

James Wharton: we will be keeping a watch on Britain's next man in Brussels

"Mr Rogers is a longstanding Treasury civil servant, with experience both at US investment bank Morgan Stanley and working as private secretary to Tony Blair. Tory MPs made clear that while they would be watching his work they did not object to his appointment. James Wharton, the Tory MP sponsoring a referendum bill, said “Ivan Rogers’ appointment will be watched carefully and he needs to show he is representing UK interests well”. – The Times (£)

Janan Ganesh: Lynton Crosby doesn't matter

Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 08.24.35"This is, of course, a fantasy. The first law of politics is that almost nothing matters. Voters barely notice, much less are they moved by, the events, speeches, tactics, campaigns or even strategies that are ultimately aimed at them. Elections are largely determined by a few fundamentals: the economy, the political cycle, the basic appeal of the party leaders. The role of human agency is not trivial, but it is rarely decisive either." – Financial Times

Osborne unveils childcare scheme, visits nursery

"The Chancellor enraged campaigners by unveiling a plan to hand up to £1,200 a child to families where both parents work – even if they bring home as much as £300,000 between them. The scheme will be available to up to 2.5million families and will allow them to claim back 20 per cent of childcare costs. With the cost limit set at £6,000 a year per child, the scheme would be worth up to £2,400 for a family of four." – Daily Mail

  • Little lad Titas is Osbored by nursery visit – The Sun

Paul Goodman: Cameron must force Osborne to play fair with Britain’s families

Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 08.26.09"The Chancellor may not be an enthusiast for the policy, but the Prime Minister claims to be. “I am pro-commitment, I back marriage, and I think it’s a wonderfully precious institution,” he said two years ago. “Strong families are where children learn to become responsible people… there’s a whole body of evidence that shows how a bad relationship between parents means a child is more likely to live in poverty, fail at school, end up in prison or be unemployed in later life.” Quite so. Which is why Mr Cameron must ensure that Mr Osborne delivers on the commitment he confirmed yesterday to announce transferable allowances in his autumn statement." – Daily Telegraph

  • Cameron must not let Osborne run the show – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)
  • Should mothers work or stay at home? Don't ask George Osborne – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

> Today: ToryDiary – Osborne's pro-marriage move is part of the Cameron charm offensive

The Chancellor clashes with Cable over Zero Hours

"The Chancellor said a flexible labour market was crucial for Britain’s recovery and said of the contracts: “Let’s see if there is a problem before we try to fix it.” His views put him on a collision course with Business Secretary Vince Cable, who said the law could be changed to restrict zero-hour deals. Labour is planning a staff and bosses summit to discuss the issue. But the Institute of Directors said banning the contracts would be “misguided and extremely damaging” for firms and workers." – The Sun

> Yesterday: LeftWatch: Labour Co-Op MPs slam zero hours contracts…while their own donor uses them

Economy 1) Britain's economic recovery "is approaching escape velocity"

Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 08.27.42"The UK services sector expanded at the fastest rate in more than six years in July, survey data released on Monday suggested. It was one of the strongest signs yet of recovery in the world’s sixth-biggest economy, which has been seen as a laggard among its biggest international peers since the financial crisis. A composite index for the UK, based on surveys of the services, manufacturing and construction sectors, was the highest of all the major economies." – Financial Times (£)

  • Carney to unveil new interest rates guidance – The Guardian

> Yesterday: The Deep End – The new era of low growth will change our politics forever

Economy 2) Labour claims living standards squeeze…

"Chris Leslie, the shadow financial secretary, said David Cameron has presided over almost three years in total of falling wages and rising prices which had caused a longer period of squeezed living standards than under any other prime minister. After analysing figures from the Office of National Statistics, Labour found working people are £1,350 a year poorer since Cameron entered Downing Street. By the time of the next election, people will be £1,520 a year worse off in real terms, according to forecasts by the Office for Budget Responsibility." – The Guardian

  • We can't leave Twitter to the trolls and wind-up merchants – Stella Creasy MP, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Matthew Hancock MP on Comment: Why Labour has zero credibility on living standards. And what Conservatives are doing to raise them.

…But Miliband is under pressure as Labour falls in poll of polls…

Miliband Odd and Red"A weighted average of July’s polls shows Labour’s lead over the Conservatives has tumbled from 11 points in March to just five points. It puts the Tories on 33 per cent, Labour on 38 per cent and the Liberal Democrats and the UK Independence Party on 11 per cent each. The last time the gap between the two largest parties was narrower was in March 2012, shortly before George Osborne’s “omnishambles” Budget triggered a slide in Tory fortunes." – The Independent

…As Balls and Cooper are accused of "Barbecoup" plot

"Labour power couple Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper have been accused of plotting against ailing leader Ed Miliband — by attending a summer barbecue with local activists. Insiders claim the husband and wife are planning for his departure by raising their profile among the rank and file. It follows last year’s “lasagne plot”, when the pair hosted dinner parties for MPs at their home. This time they will appear at the annual fundraiser for Stevenage Labour Party in Hertfordshire on September 7." – The Sun

  • Labour faces capital gains bill on £1.6m gift of shares – The Times (£)

Liberal Democrats and money 1) Party plots tax raids on the rich

Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 08.46.56"The Liberal Democrats are planning a raid on the wealthy after the next election that will mean a huge expansion of capital gains tax, a fresh assault on pensions and a widening of inheritance tax. New wealth taxes form the backbone of the proposals drawn up by the party’s main policymaking body and are due to feature in its manifesto for the 2015 general election. They come on top of the Lib Dem plan for a mansion tax, which is likely to be a “red line” for the party during any negotiations to form another coalition government." – The Times (£)

Liberal Democrats and money 2) Danny Alexander defends cash for schemes in his own backyard

"Money to save the London to Scotland sleeper train and tax breaks for ski lifts are among the schemes signed off by the Liberal Democrat Treasury minister, which critics say are designed to help him to hang on to his seat. He won his Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency with a majority of 8,765 in 2010, but faces an even stronger challenge from Labour next time around. A spokesman for Mr Alexander said that his constituency was benefiting as part of a wider programme to help rural constituencies." – The Times (£)

The Times gives the Taxpayers' Alliance new anti-stamp duty campaign front page billing

Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 05.38.02"Hundreds of thousands of people are being sucked into paying “punitive” rates of stamp duty, with one in four now having to hand over at least £7,500 to the taxman to buy a house. Buyers in London and the South East are the hardest hit, with families often facing bills of more than £20,000 for modest homes, research reveals. And across the country, first-time buyers are crossing the stamp duty threshold for the first time, despite a pledge from George Osborne in 2007 to abolish the tax for “almost all” first-time buyers." – The Times (£)

> Today: Jonathan Isaby on Comment – It’s time to stamp out Stamp Duty

LGA and Boles part company over high streets

"The idea was condemned by the Local Government Association, which accused Mr Boles of acting to kill off the high street altogether. Mike Jones, chairman of the LGA’s environment and housing board, said: ‘Councils are working locally to improve high streets. ‘This national intervention could undermine that and lead to some shopping hubs being shut down forever with residents and businesses left powerless to raise an objection." – Daily Mail

Peter Hoskin: It’s store wars as robots replace shopworkers

Hoskin Pete"All these scanners and apps are what progress looks like. But, as with much progress, they have an unhappy side-effect — in this case, unemployment. Why will stores hire good ol’ Stan when they can hire Rapid Scan? It’s a question that ought to terrify the coalition and governments to come. It could well upset their best-laid plans for growth and for getting people off benefits. After all, retail is the largest private sector employer, accounting for about three million jobs. It has provided work for the low-skilled, especially after the ravages of deindustrialisation. If it withers, so much else will too." – Peter Hoskin

Rudd confronts Murdoch

"Kevin Rudd has escalated his confrontation with News Corp Australia, “questioning” whether chairman Rupert Murdoch’s “opposition” to Labor’s National Broadband Network was driven by commercial self-interest and sarcastically noting the “strange coincidence” that Murdoch’s views were the same as his “mate” Tony Abbott. “He’s made it fairly clear he would like to give us the old heave-ho and get his mate Mr Abbott in,” Rudd said in Brisbane." – The Guardian

> Yesterday: International – Christian Kerr asks Is Labor's Kevin Rudd on the verge of one of the greatest political comebacks in history?

News in Brief

  • Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 08.53.53Gollum v Boris latest – Daily Mail
  • Commuters face fare rises of up to 9 per cent – The Times (£)
  • 30 charity chiefs paid more than £100,000 – Daily Telegraph
  • Millions of Brits keep food that is 10 years old – Daily Express
  • 15 tonne "Fatberg" of waste found in London drain – The Independent
  • Falklands Navy hero Sir John 'Sandy' Woodward dies aged 81 – Daily Mail
  • Killer dog yobs face life in jail – The Sun (£)
  • British shipping on highest-ever alert over Yemen terror threat – The Times (£)
  • Tyneside and west country under water as rain batters Britain… – Daily Mail
  • …And helps England to win the Ashes – Daily Telegraph
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