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Cameron: “We need a far more socially mobile country”…

CAMERON byline photo“Social mobility has stalled in Britain because young people from modest backgrounds lack aspiration and no longer believe they can make it to the top, David Cameron suggested yesterday. … Endorsing his predecessor Sir John Major’s comment that there are too many ‘posh’ people in top jobs, he said the Government and the professions need to move ‘further and faster’ to change that.” – Daily Mail

“The economic recovery will be a ‘failure’ unless it raises earnings and living standards for ordinary people, the Government’s adviser on child poverty and social mobility warned today.” – The Independent

  • “John Major is right to say privately educated get the top jobs – but that’s because they have been better educated than the comprehensive-schooled generation” – Allison Pearson, Daily Telegraph

…as he also calls for cuts to mobile phone bills…

“David Cameron is urging mobile phone companies to give customers a better deal as the prime minister fights to win ground in the battle over the rising cost of living. … Downing Street has instructed Maria Miller and her officials in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to exact concessions from mobile phone companies, including on roaming bills, as well as on the lack of transparency in costs.” – Financial Times

…and tries to defuse any impending row over immigration

“David Cameron has warned of the need for ‘sensible and calm language’ about immigration after former home secretary David Blunkett suggested the arrival of Roma immigrants could lead to riots. … the prime minister said he believed in a combination of tough action and measured language about immigration, after Blunkett added to concerns raised by Ukip and Tory right-wingers about a potential influx of settlers from Romania and Bulgaria.” – The Guardian

“The number of Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK has risen by 19 per cent in the past year, according to official figures published yesterday.” – The Times (£)

  • “Britain’s doors are wide open, and we can’t even talk about it” – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
  • “Immigration, talk of race riots and why ministers can’t claim they haven’t been warned” – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • “Brontosaurus Blunkett was wrong about immigration” – Rod Liddle, The Sun (£)
  • “As Cameron prepares to travel to Sri Lanka, my husband – a journalist who criticised the regime – is still missing” – Sandya Eknaligoda, The Independent
  • “Cameron is right to take the trade show back to China” – Francis Elliott, The Times (£)

Osborne is looking to cut taxes to boost youth employment, reports the Sun

OSBORNE SWORD“George Osborne is looking at a radical plan to abolish all jobs tax for bosses if they take on unemployed young people, The Sun can reveal. … Under it, employers would not have to pay National Insurance contributions for any job-seeking under-25s they take on. … The Chancellor has been persuaded only dramatic action can solve the crisis of the million-strong lost generation of youths out of work.” – The Sun (£)

  • “…we urge George Osborne to take up the bold idea of exempting firms from National Insurance on any young jobseeker they take on.” – Sun editorial (£)

Today, by Michael Fallon MP on Comment: A Conservative business policy – competition, entrepreneurship, deregulation

Meanwhile, there’s good news for the Chancellor: falling unemployment and rising growth forecasts

Economic recovery has finally taken hold, the governor of the Bank of England declared yesterday. … Publishing its most optimistic set of forecasts for years in the latest quarterly inflation report, the Bank raised its outlook for growth and jobs and lowered its outlook for inflation. … It came as figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that employment rose by 177,000 between July and September to a record high of 29.95million.” – Daily Mail

“Around seven in ten jobs created in Britain over the last year went to people who were born in this country, it emerged yesterday.” – Daily Mail

  • “…through an unflinching belief in the need to reduce public spending, carry the faith of the markets and cure the cancer of welfare dependency, the Tory Government has put the country on the right path.” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “…the bigger puzzle is productivity. A fall in output combined with better than expected labour markets has meant disappointing output per worker since the crisis.” – Financial Times editorial
  • “To be sustainable, growth needs to be geared more to investment and exports than to the sort of debt-fuelled consumption that drove the economy from around 2002 to 2007, when Mr Brown was Chancellor.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “A few weeks of decent figures on the economy and there are crazy demands for interest rates to be hiked sooner rather than later. It must not happen. … Rock-bottom mortgages are all that’s kept many afloat during the recession.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Mark Carney’s forward guidance takes a wrong turn” – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • “Miliband gambles that recovery will be weak” – Jenni Russell, The Times (£)

> Yesterday:

Is the 111 helpline a good way to ease the A&E crisis?

NHS“The NHS 111 helpline could be putting even more pressure on A&E units – despite being set up to reduce the number of patients turning up at casualty, research has shown. … A government-commissioned study found that in some areas the helpline led to an extra 400 patients and an additional 600 ambulance call-outs every month.” – Daily Mail

  • “Thousands of patients are needlessly going blind because they are  waiting so long for appointments at NHS eye clinics, a report warns.” – Daily Mail
  • Five of the ten English regions have cut their budgets for maternity services in the last year – Daily Mail
  • Government doctors to reconsider whether UK should vaccinate all children against deadly disease meningitis B – The Independent
  • NHS volunteers offer to ease elderly winter crisis – The Times (£)
  • “Millions more Britons may be told to take statins to lower their chance of strokes and heart attacks” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “Rather than giving in to the mob, MPs should be out there explaining why fewer A&E departments, say, actually means a better service. Sir Bruce has prepared the ground well.” – Independent editorial
  • “Hunt wants to do for the NHS what Gove did to schools. How should Labour respond?” – Rafael Behr, New Statesman
  • “We can’t leave A&E reform to our children” – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)

IDS takes on Europe over the matter of winter fuel payments to British expats

“The bill for winter fuel payments to British pensioners living abroad has soared by 70 per cent in a year, thanks to a European court ruling. … Iain Duncan Smith yesterday said the decision by the European Court of Justice was ‘ridiculous’ as his department revealed its staggering cost. … ‘This increase is a direct result of a ridiculous ruling by the European Court of Justice and we are not prepared to sit back and allow hard-working taxpayers money to be used in this way.’” – Daily Mail

  • “Traditional families with stay-at-home mothers and fathers who work are now more likely to be poor than any other kind of family, a major study said yesterday. … Many would be better off on benefits than living on the wages of a low-paid father, it found.” – Daily Mail

Tim Montgomerie: A campaign to leave the EU is taking shape

MONTGOMERIE purple background“In contrast to the 1975 referendum campaign the Out campaign will also have money. Some of Britain’s richest business leaders, including the likes of the mobile phone billionaire John Caudwell, are likely to provide financial muscle. There will also be a broader range of politicians arguing for exit. Crucial to the Out campaign having any hope of victory will be the enlistment of key leftwing voices and this presents something of a dilemma for David Cameron.” – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

Grayling promises no “lef off” for repeat offenders

“Police will today be banned from letting off repeat offenders with a second caution for similar offences within two years. … Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is clamping down on the scandal that has seen cops give thousands of persistent offenders an easy way out.” – The Sun (£)

Green proposes to strip chief constables of powers to investigate their own officers

“Chief constables could be stripped of powers to investigate their own officers for rudeness or laziness on duty, a minister signalled today. … Instead, low level misconduct probes could be carried out by elected Police and Crime Commissioners, police minister Damian Green suggested.” – Daily Mail

  • “A summer 2012 poll showed 27 per cent expected PCCs would give them a greater say. In the new poll, only 9 per cent of those polled thought PCCs had contributed to a fall in crime in their area.” – The Guardian
  • Met police put £500m of services out to tender – Financial Times

And comment:

  • “Justice isn’t supposed to make a victim ‘feel better’, Damian Green” – Carol Sarler, The Spectator

Pickles interviewed in the Daily Telegraph: He advocates “nudges” for local councils

PICKLES Eric 2009“[Pickles] says he has not imposed reorganisation on councils but has left them to change ‘organically’. Once they have made savings, they can concentrate on what matters to the public, like schools, parks and… emptying bins. ‘We’ve stopped the drift towards fortnightly collections; we’ve reduced or abolished bin fines. But it is the public who have to start organising petitions, holding meetings and securing pledges from local councillors. What I’m doing is giving a nudge.'” – Daily Telegraph

Timpson criticises the official inquiry into the death of Hamzah Khan

“The Children’s Minister has criticised the ‘useless’ official inquiry into the death of four-year-old Hamzah Khan, who was found mummified after being starved by his alcoholic mother. … Edward Timpson, the Minister for Children and Families, expressed his ‘deep concerns’ about the ‘glaring absences’ in the 126-page report.” – Daily Mail

  • “The death of a child who should have been rescued is uniquely distressing. It’s right to demand answers and seek out those responsible. Individuals make bad calls, which may have been fostered by weak institutions. But it’s not a cop-out to see a social and political context, too, and that’s out of their control.” – Guardian editorial

Patten defends the BBC licence fee against Shapps’ attacks

“…the chairman of the Conservative Party launched himself into an exceptionally ill-judged attack on the BBC. … .The chairmen of the Conservative Party invariably have a bash at the BBC in the run-up to elections. I have to say to my eternal shame I did the same. But what was odd [about Shapps’s intervention] was publicly linking an attack on a journalist [the BBC home editor, Mark Easton] with the BBC as whole and the licence fee.” – Chris Patten, interviewed in the New Statesman

Tories deny web subterfuge, as speeches disappear from their website

“The Conservatives have said they did not mean to delete David Cameron’s pre-election speeches from the internet, a move that prompted accusations of Orwellian interference. … Speculation arose on Wednesday that Mr Cameron had authorised a deliberate drive to minimise reminders of his pro-green, pro-localism speeches from the halcyon days of opposition.” – Financial Times

  • “Britain has formally distanced itself from a call by Europe’s human rights watchdog for an inquiry into the gathering of ‘vast amounts of electronic data’ by intelligence agencies.” – The Guardian

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Deleting the archive of speeches may be understandable, but that doesn’t make it any less foolish

Two-fifths of northern voters would NEVER consider voting for the Tories

Screen shot 2013-11-14 at 07.25.46“Two fifths of northern voters would never consider voting for the Conservatives, according to a poll laying bare the challenge facing David Cameron outside his party’s southern heartlands. … One in four voters in the North said they did not know anyone who supported or voted Conservative. Only 21 per cent thought the Tories understood their area and 20 per cent thought that their region was represented among the Tory leadership.” – The Times (£)

  • “Unless the Conservatives act swiftly the North could become as barren for them as Scotland” – Times editorial (£)

> Today on ToryDiary: New Times polling confirms the Conservatives’ northern problem

James Forsyth: Bercow is getting too curt and personal

“John Bercow could go down as a great reforming Speaker of the House of Commons. It’s thanks to him, in large part, that the Commons chamber once again seems like the cockpit of the nation. But he now risks becoming the second successive Speaker to be ousted from his job. Even his friends admit that his inability to conceal his dislike for David Cameron and various Tory backbenchers has put his position in jeopardy.” – James Forsyth, The Spectator

Clegg criticises Cameron for “ideological” austerity drive

“David Cameron’s plans for permanent cuts in spending would condemn Britain to ‘indefinite austerity’ and ever-worse public services, Nick Clegg has said. … The Deputy Prime Minister rejected the Prime Minister’s call for a leaner, smaller state as “ideological”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “By extolling the virtues of permanent austerity, the prime minister has abandoned the middle ground he needs to win” – Martin Kettle, The Guardian

Cable warns of the “degrees barrier” that blocks people from entering work

“Vince Cable yesterday attacked the demand for ‘superfluous’ degrees in a range of careers that act as a barrier to applicants. … The Business Secretary said ‘qualification inflation’ was holding back people who wanted to become police officers, nurses or accountants.” – Daily Mail

Party donations: Unite hands Labour a further £770,000

MILIBAND Red Ed“Official figures yesterday revealed that Unite donated £777,740 a fortnight after the Labour leader reinstated two union members who had been suspended over allegations of trying to fix the selection of a new parliamentary candidate in the safe seat of Falkirk. … The huge cheque was almost a quarter of the £3.1million donated to the party in the third quarter of this year.” – Daily Mail

“A Labour rightwinger who had hoped to be selected as the party’s candidate in the embattled constituency of Falkirk West has admitted paying for 11 members to join the party with a single cheque amid claims that the new recruits were expected to support his nomination.” – The Guardian

  • “Unite can’t be left to resist Cameron’s smear campaign alone” – Seumas Milne, The Guardian

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Practicing what they preach – Labour struggles under self-inflicted £12m debt burden

Adonis: Radical state action is the answer to Britain’s housing crisis

“It is not enough to exhort the market and fiddle with planning. The state must engage once more in building communities – including new towns, extensions to existing towns and cities, and a radically improved approach to transport investment linking infrastructure to new housing.” – Andrew Adonis, Financial Times

  • “Garden cities can be the wonders of our age” – Simon Wolfson, Daily Telegraph

> Today:

> Yesterday on Local Government: Labour ignore the plight of the overcrowded

Lord Butler suggests members of Blair’s Cabinet were kept in the dark over Iraq

“Lord Butler, who led the Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction in the aftermath of the invasion, said there was no shortage of ‘very good’ information available to help ministers evaluate the case for war in 2003. … But [he] suggested that the former Prime Minister had intentionally kept the documents away from the majority of the Cabinet.” – The Independent

  • “Washington is playing the lead role in delaying the publication of the long-awaited report into how Britain went to  war with Iraq” – The Independent

Torture report to urge questions about the role of Labour ministers

“A report prepared by the Gibson Inquiry, to be published next week, is understood to conclude that there is evidence that UK agents were aware that detainees were being maltreated in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere. While it may not contain direct criticism of Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary from 2001 to 2006, it is believed to recommend investigation of how much his office knew and the extent of ministerial oversight.” – The Times (£)

The Archbishop of Canterbury argues against rigid selection procedures in Anglican schools

WELBY, Justin“Anglican schools are moving away from selecting pupils on the basis of religion, the Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday. … [He] said faith-based entry tests were no longer the best way of choosing students. … ‘There are unbelievably brilliant schools that are entirely open to all applicants without selection criteria apart from residence, where you live, and which produce staggeringly good results,’ he said.” – Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Richard Keen QC appointed Scottish Tory chairman – Daily Telegraph
  • The president of the Historic Houses Association describes current Government policy as “lunacy” – Daily Telegraph
  • Afghanistan’s production of opium has reached record levels – Daily Mail
  • Art worth £50 million donated to the UK to cut inheritance tax bills – Financial Times
  • Serco has over £4 billion worth of contracts with the Ministry of Defence – Financial Times
  • Richard Drax upsets neighbours by pushing through plans for solar farm – The Times (£)
  • Prince Charles is 65 – every newspaper, everywhere

And finally… Russell Brand reckons that Cameron and Osborne are, er, bad in bed

“Russell Brand has lashed out at David Cameron and George Osborne — claiming they slash benefits because they are rubbish in bed. … The comic laid into the PM and Chancellor over their welfare bill cuts, insisting ‘mean’ people are no good between the sheets.” – The Sun (£)

40 comments for: Newslinks for Thursday 14th November 2013

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