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CURSE OF CLEGG oneGreen taxes row rolls on and on as Clegg claims scrapping green taxes would raise energy bills

“David Cameron, the Prime Minister, is considering relaxing green taxes in an attempt to relieve the “squeeze” on families struggling with the rising cost of living. A series of announcements on water bills and financial services is expected in coming weeks….But the Deputy Prime Minister said that any decision to axe environmental levies on people’s household bills would end up increasing bills.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Green policies forecast to add 41% to electricity costs by 2030 – Financial Times (£)
  • Coal will surpass oil as the key fuel for the global economy by 2020 despite government efforts to reduce carbon emissions – Daily Mail
  • Opposition to fracking and GM crops is anti-science and harmful to the world’s poor – Times Editorial (£)
  • It’s not just green taxes on your energy bill – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)
  • Danny Alexander news 1): He wants to reduce fuel duty for remote areas* – The Sun
  • Danny Alexander news 2) Brussels won’t let him reduce fuel duty for remote areas* – Sun Editorial
  • (* Which just happen to contain lots of LibDem-held seats)
  • Danny Alexander news 3) He strives to establish ownership of raising tax thresholds for poorer voters, as…

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – There is nothing to lose in publicly falling out with the Lib Dems over green taxes

…Tories strive to establish ownership of raising tax thresholds for poorer voters…

Screen shot 2013-10-15 at 08.17.38“Some ministers want the move – which would cost the Treasury an estimated £8billion – to be a flagship proposal at the next General Election, expected in May 2015, to show they are on the side of hard-working families. They believe raising the threshold from the current £9,440 would give more cash to low and middle-income earners and counteract Labour complaints about a “cost of living crisis”. It would also stop the Tories being outflanked by the Lib Dems after Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander signalled that his party’s manifesto would include a pledge to raise the threshold to £12,500.” – Daily Express

> Today:

…But Janan Ganesh warns: We aren’t out of the woods yet over debt and the deficit

“For now, the problem is not being eased by the recovery. Last week the independent Office for Budget Responsibility said it did not expect borrowing to fall in 2013-14; receipts from certain taxes, such as value added tax, are lagging behind economic growth. According to Treasury officials, the vaulting rise in the income tax threshold means little revenue is being generated by some of the new jobs being created.” – Financial Times

Chinese whispers: Boris tells Osborne he’s more Mandarin than thou

Screen shot 2013-10-15 at 08.18.40“Boris Johnson seems to have a point to prove as he and George Osborne meet up in China. London’s Mayor wagged a finger at the Chancellor and bragged how his daughter, 16, will visit China next week to study languages. He piped up after Mr Osborne said his daughter, ten, was learning Mandarin. The pair met in Beijing during separate trips to drum up trade. Boris also stopped for a bite to eat.” – The Sun

EU 1) Cameron presses Brussels on market reform

“The prime minister will tell his European counterparts that it is time to “move faster to reform the way Europe regulates” as he publishes a report by his business task force identifying ways to cut EU red tape. The study, drawn up by senior business leaders, including Ian Cheshire of Kingfisher and Marc Bolland of Marks and Spencer, identifies 30 reforms that they say could save British and European businesses tens of billions of euros.” – Financial Times (£)

EU 2) IDS battles Brussels over benefit claimants

DUNCAN SMITH AITW“Britain will ‘utterly refuse’ to water down rules on benefit claims by EU immigrants – and is winning support from other countries for tighter regulation, ministers said yesterday.   The Government is embroiled in a deepening row with the European Commission over so-called ‘benefit tourism’, with bureaucrats in Brussels saying there is no evidence people are attracted to the UK by its welfare system.” – Daily Mail

EU 3)…Plus the ECHR: Grieve says that Britain must play an active part in both

“If we are to remain secure and prosperous in the new century, the British body politic has to ensure it does not lose sight of the value in being a central player in developing the international system. I hope it is clear that the economic, physical and ethical well-being of the United Kingdom remains rooted in international engagement. We have to play an active part in these organisations [the EU and ECHR] and discussions to make sure that our voice is heard, and British interests are protected.” – Daily Telegraph

EU 4) Paul Goodman: Cameron can’t count on the Tory truce over the EU lasting

Screen shot 2013-10-15 at 08.20.25“In short, much of the Conservative Party wants major treaty revision, our EU partners do not, and Angela Merkel’s hands may well be bound further if her party goes into coalition with Germany’s social democrats. The Prime Minister will thus try to delay bringing forward manifesto proposals about renegotiation for as long as possible. Any row within his own party over them therefore looks likely to take place during the run-up to the next election, and not before it.” – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Columnist Jesse Norman MP – The mixed blessing of Germany’s elections

Harper tells five-times-failed asylum seeker to go home on live television

“Mark Harper said that Iraqi-Kurd Esam Amin’s request for asylum was ‘not credible and ridiculous’. British courts have denied him asylum on five occasions. Mr Harper said: ‘We don’t believe you and neither did the judge.’ The senior Tory minister was responsible for the controversial ‘go home’ ads displayed on vans in London that told illegal migrants to leave the UK. Critics attacked the campaign as racist and offensive.” – Daily Mail

Foreign police chiefs could run forces after government reforms

GREEN Damian August 2011“The policing minister, Damian Green, has also confirmed radical plans to open up the recruitment of middle-ranking officers to outsiders with business and leadership skills for the first time. The introduction of a direct-entry annual recruitment scheme for at least 20 police superintendents and 80 fast-track inspectors from next year will end a century’s tradition of all police officers starting their career on the beat.” – The Guardian

Lord Baker to announce new plan for network of technical colleges…

“The career colleges, modelled on technical high schools in New York, will forge links with local employers who will design and help to deliver their curriculum. The plans will be published today by Lord Baker of Dorking, the former Tory Education Secretary, in a speech for the vocational education charity Edge. The plans have the enthusiastic backing of Matthew Hancock, the Skills Minister. “With a million young people unemployed it is a disgrace that we have a skill shortage,” Lord Baker said.” – The Times (£)

  • The Times follows up Dominic Cummings memo – The Times (£)
  • Polly Toynbee claims Cummings has misunderstood genetic research, and writes that “some on the left were once drawn to blood-curdling eugenics for breeding away inherited disadvantage” – The Guardian
  • London Academy bans students from saying ‘coz’, ‘ain’t’, ‘like’, ‘innit’ and ‘bare’ – Daily Mail

…As Laws reveals league tables overhaul

LAWS David Yeovil“From 2016, secondaries in England will be rated instead on children’s success in eight subjects. The move is part of a major overhaul of league tables. The Government fears the current system encourages schools to focus too much on students at the C/D grade borderline. Under the reforms announced by Schools Minister David Laws, the eight subjects will include English and maths plus three other English Baccalaureate subjects such as science, foreign languages, history or geography.” – Daily Express

> Today:

We should all build our own homes, says Pickles

“Helping tens of thousands of people build their dream properties would stop them from putting up ‘homogeneous, pasteurised housing’, he claimed. The senior Tory said the UK should emulate Austria, Belgium and Sweden in rewarding those who dared to build their own homes. He revealed that self-builders would have access to a £47 billion loan scheme.” – Daily Mail

> Today: Nicholas Boys-Smith on Local Government – Red tape stops us building the homes we want

> Yesterday: Alex Morton on Comment – How the Government can boost housing between now and 2015

Cruddas: What Labour got wrong in government

CRUDDAS Jon green background“Labour failed to realise the impact of immigration, didn’t pay enough attention to the kind of low paid work people are doing and treating problems rather than preventing them, according to the man leading Ed Miliband’s policy review. Jon Cruddas, speaking at an event held by the Civitas thinktank, said that Labour “got things wrong” under the last government, and that the changes going on within the party are deep and difficult but that it will emerge in a better state.” – The Guardian

  • Former Labour MP Mohammed Sarwar is now Governor of the Punjab – The Guardian
  • Gloria De Piero profile – The Times (£)
  • Tyrie confirms support of Ed Balls’ plan for monitoring spending – The Guardian

Lord Blencathra hits out at online spying by GCHQ

BLENCATHRA, Lord“The Tory peer – David Maclean when he was an MP – said he felt “deeply, deeply uneasy” about programmes that allow the security services to examine the internet activities of British citizens without the consent of parliament. In an interview with the Guardian, Blencathra said that the public had a right to know their internet data might be “lifted” and shared with US intelligence services – and that MPs should either vote to approve the surveillance programmes or put a stop to them.” – The Guardian

  • Press freedom and a life and death matter – Daily Mail
  • How the Dreyfus case taught me that shackling the Press is inimical to liberty – Robert Harris, Daily Mail
  • Rulings dent London’s role as libel hub – Financial Times

Government accused of betraying the elderly on social costs

“Thousands of pensioners will be forced to sell their homes to pay for care despite Government promises to the contrary, it has been claimed. The Coalition was accused of betraying the elderly by introducing a means test for access to a flagship scheme designed to prevent anyone having to sell their property while they are still alive to pay for care either residential or in their own home…Lord Lipsey, a Labour peer and former member of the Royal commission on long-term care of the elderly, accused ministers of misleading the public.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • Screen shot 2013-10-15 at 08.26.59Polonium on Arafat’s underwear and toothbrush suggests he may have been poisoned – The Times (£)
  • Four men held in terror plot raids across London – Daily Mail
  • Truce in sight on U.S shutdown – The Independent
  • Madeleine McCann timeline shifts after release of efits – The Guardian
  • HS2 1) Northern leg of HS2 could be built first – Daily Telegraph
  • HS2 2) ASDA chief urges business to support HS2 – Financial Times
  • Pensioner “snoops” to check on care homes – Daily Express
  • Samantha Cameron photographed carrying three designer bags costing £1685 – Daily Mail

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