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Government has to admit: the new nuclear plant may not mean lower bills in future…

The Times 22nd October 2013“A minister who claimed Britain’s first nuclear power station for 20 years would save consumers money had to perform a U-turn yesterday. … Ed Davey had suggested the new  generators – paid for by levies on household bills for 35 years – would help  consumers in the long run. … But within hours he conceded it would be ‘absurd’ to guarantee any savings from the deal.” – Daily Mail

  • “Energy bills will top £1,500 for the first time after npower became the latest supplier to announce an inflation-busting price rise.” – The Times (£)
  • “David Cameron was blasted last night for taking advice from British Gas chairman Sir Roger Carr while publicly condemning energy firms for price hikes.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Justine Thornton, the wife of Ed Miliband, has advised France’s EdF on its plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.” – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • “…if new nuclear plants are needed to keep the lights on, that is because the UK has ruled out other options by adopting targets for emissions reduction that are among the toughest in the world.” – Financial Times editorial
  • “Britain’s new nuclear station should have been commissioned a decade ago. Now consumers will have to pay more” – Times editorial (£)
  • “Hinkley Point gives Britain breathing space for proper strategic thinking on energy” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “The contractual small print gives too much security to the investors, and too little power to the customer when the inevitable contingencies crop up.” – Guardian editorial
  • “If you want to know why the era of affordable energy is over, cast your mind back to the politicians who stuck their heads in the sand as the juggernaut thundered towards them.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “The farce of the Hinkley C nuclear reactor will haunt Britain for decades” – George Monbiot, The Guardian
  • “This nuclear deal is a devastating indictment of the muddled approach of successive governments” – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • “The bullies at the Big Six must be stood up to” – Owen Jones, The Independent

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Nuclear power: the Government plumps for trying to keep the lights on

…Fallon says that nuclear spares us from “wind farms blighting our landscape”…

Michael Fallon portrait“The Department for Energy and Climate Change said that Britain would need to build more than 30,000 onshore wind turbines to produce the same amount of energy … [Michael Fallon] told The Daily Telegraph: ‘Without new nuclear local people would face many thousands more wind farms blighting our landscape. By contrast, nuclear power is popular in areas that have existing stations and will deliver significant jobs and investment.'” – Daily Telegraph

  • No guarantee of nuclear jobs for British workers – The Times (£)

…as more infrastructure projects are readied

“A £300m biomass plant in Avonmouth, a £400m gas storage facility in Northern Ireland and a large wind farm in Scotland are among 15 infrastructure projects lined up for a potential government guarantee. … The full list, to be announced on Tuesday, will be held up by the Treasury as proof that George Osborne’s ‘UK Guarantee’ scheme is smoothing the path for energy, road and rail projects.” – Financial Times

Cameron’s “tense” meeting with Clegg over free schools

Curse of Clegg 2“David Cameron and Nick Clegg held ‘tense’ face-to-face talks yesterday over the Liberal Democrat leader’s controversial U-turn on free schools. … Mr Clegg said on Sunday he no longer supported some of the freedoms exercised by free school heads.” – Daily Mail

“Tory sources said Clegg was unapologetic but that the Liberal Democrat briefing to the weekend papers had been stronger, and had greater impact, than Clegg and his communications team had intended.” – The Guardian

“…friends of Mr Laws dismissed as ‘total rubbish’ claims that he had been contradicted by his leader, while senior Lib Dem sources launched a withering counter-attack, saying that David Cameron and Mr Gove had failed to keep pace with the junior partner’s official policy.” – The Times (£)

  • “Nick Clegg signed up to the free-schools policy. He should not now rubbish it for electoral gain” – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)

> Yesterday, by Philip Booth on Comment: Are teachers qualified to teach? Is Nick Clegg qualified to call himself a liberal?

Clegg advocates removing benefits from wealthier pensioners

“Nick Clegg has signalled that the Liberal Democrats would repeal free television licences and winter fuel payments for the better-off elderly. … Those ideas would form part of the Lib Dems’ manifesto at the general election, he said. … His remarks are in stark contrast to those he made last week following suggestions that the Government should treat wealthier pensioners less generously.” – Daily Mail

Janan Ganesh: Why Cameron must fear a narrow election victory

Janan Ganesh“Despite the blue rosette on [Cameron’s] lapel, many Tories regard him as an apostate … More than enough words have been written challenging the beliefs and tactics of the Tory right; it is now more pressing to highlight that, in a year and a half, they could be the power in the land. A narrow Cameron victory in 2015 would see to that. And yet he must strive to win all the same.” – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times

  • “It’s hard not to be cynical about politicians as the election nears” – Iain Martin, Daily Telegraph
  • “We can’t allow Brussels to lay down the law” – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph
  • “A proposed coalition [in Germany] will not serve David Cameron’s purposes — or Europe’s” – Times editorial (£)

Tories slam the police’s “half-apology” over the Mitchell affair

“[Three police officers] issued a partial apology for their conduct following a meeting with Mr Mitchell at the height of the ‘Plebgate’ row last year. … But they pointedly did not apologise to the former Government chief whip himself. … Former shadow home secretary David Davis said: ‘After bringing down a Cabinet minister, a half-apology won’t do. These people are guilty of a serious misconduct.’” – Daily Mail

May to scrap the “go home” vans, after they underwhelm in pilots

“The controversial ‘Go home or face arrest’ poster vans targeted at illegal immigrants are to be axed because they have been ineffective. … Sources close to Home Secretary Theresa May said she had examined the evidence for continuing the Government’s billboard campaign which resulted in the voluntary repatriation of just one person.” – Daily Mail

> Yesterday, by columnist Priti Patel MP: We should be proud of the tough new measures in the Immigration Bill

Health tourism costs the NHS £2 billion a year – Hunt hopes to recover £500 million

HUNT Doctor Carla Millar“Foreign visitors and short-term migrants cost the NHS £2billion a year, an official report warns today. … However Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt hopes to recover up to £500million a year, arguing Britain cannot afford an ‘international health service’. … Mr Hunt said: ‘Having a universal health service free at the point of use rightly makes us the envy of the world, but we must make sure the system is fair to the hardworking British taxpayers who fund it.’” – Daily Mail

  • “The Mail congratulates Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on his efforts to recover up to £500million a year from those who have been given a free ride.” – Daily Mail editorial

Hague to host Syria talks in London

“Arab and Western foreign ministers are to meet Syrian opposition officials in London in an effort to persuade them to attend the next round of peace talks. … A key group in Syria’s main opposition alliance is threatening to boycott the talks, expected next month in Geneva.” – BBC

The Government’s cyber squad could employ former criminals, admits Hammond

“Convicted hackers could be signed up to a new government cyber unit despite their criminal past, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond admitted. … He said convictions will be acknowledged but for candidates that get past the vetting process, ‘I can’t rule it out’.” – Daily Mail

Plaudits for Osborne… from Alan Greenspan

“Mr Greenspan, 87, who ran the Fed from 1987 to 2006, said he was surprised the economy was managing to grow at all given the scale of cuts planned by the Chancellor. … ‘What Britain has done with its austerity programme has worked much better than I thought it would,’ he said.” – Daily Mail

  • “The public sector pay squeeze is likely to last after 2015, the head of the Treasury said yesterday as he admitted that the Government had been ‘too soft in the past’ on the wage bill.” – The Times (£)
  • “The Government chose not to close a tax loophole which costs the UK economy at least £500m a year after intense lobbying from the financial sector, The Independent has learnt.” – The Independent

Douglas Alexander urges Cameron to boycott Sri Lanka summit

Douglas Alexander“First, [Cameron] should reverse his decision to attend the summit. In doing so he would make clear to the Sri Lankan authorities the extent of Britain’s concern about human rights. If he does this then, as the opposition, Labour will support him.” – Douglas Alexander, The Guardian

  • “Rachel Reeves is Labour’s best hope for shifting the national conversation towards how to give the unemployed a future” – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

MPs fight to maintain their food, hotel and taxi expenses

“A group of MPs are fighting to save their dinner, hotel and taxi expenses amid fears they will be curbed in an unreasonable way by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa). … The House of Commons standards committee mounted a defence of the current arrangements after the expenses watchdog said MPs received reimbursement for some costs that they would not normally get in other professional jobs.” – The Guardian

  • MPs spent £750,000 of taxpayers’ cash last year on junkets to America and Australia – The Sun (£)
  • The free snuff that’s never used by MPs – The Independent

The Co-operative Group agrees a resuce plan for its bank, but loses overall control

“The Co-operative Group is to lose overall control of its banking arm amid a funding struggle, Sky sources have confirmed. … The Co-op will be left with only a 30% stake in the bank, according to Sky News City Editor Mark Kleinman.” – Sky News

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Co-Op Bank, the generous lender which props up the Labour Party, goes into meltdown

News in brief

  • It isn’t our job to stop rising house prices, says Bank of England economist – Financial Times
  • Over 1 million couples will fail to reap the full benefit from the married couples tax allowance, claims think-tank – Financial Times
  • Whistleblower arrested for revealing her local Police Commissioner’s expenses won’t be charged – Daily Mail
  • Ministry of Justice fined £140,000 after the details of inmates at Cardiff prison were emailed to three prisoners’ families – BBC

And finally 1)… “No email Thursday”

No email“Civil servants have been instructed to ditch their emails for some old-fashioned face-to-face communication, after officials found their inboxes were ‘bombarded’ with unnecessary messages. … Cabinet Office officials have been told to stretch their legs and directly speak to colleagues while any online messages between internal workers have been outlawed on ‘no email Thursday’.” – Daily Mail

And finally 2)… Brandreth’s autocutie MPs

“The fastest route to parliamentary success is via a television studio, according to Gyles Brandreth, the former MP and broadcaster, who has applauded the rise of the “autocutie” in the recent Cabinet reshuffle. … Mr Brandreth hailed three daytime television presenters turned politicians — Labour’s Gloria De Piero and the government ministers Esther McVey and Anna Soubry — as the future of a media-savvy and aesthetically pleasing Parliament.” – The Times (£)

14 comments for: Newslinks for Tuesday 22nd October 2013

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