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Maude under attack over civil service reform

Francis Maude“The minister responsible for civil service reform, Francis Maude, does not understand leadership, the former head of the service has told the BBC. Lord Butler of Brockwell said what he called “backstairs sniping” showed contempt for the civil service. Mr Maude recently said Whitehall should take more responsibility for errors.” – BBC

  • “Lord Butler of Brockwell accused Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office Minister, of urging Whitehall officials to “speak truth to power” while warning that they will be “dumped on when things go wrong”.” – The Times(£)

> Today: ToryDiary: Jeremy Heywood leads a fresh offensive against Maude – so what chance of civil service reform? 

Universal Credit doubles time unemployed spend looking for work

“Benefit claimants are spending TWICE as long looking for work under the Coalition’s flagship welfare shake-up, new research shows. People on Universal Credit spend an average of 27.1 hours a week seeking a job – compared to just 13.6 hours by Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants. The scheme will see all benefits rolled into one monthly handout by 2017 to ensure work always pays more than the dole.” – The Sun(£)

Osborne to cut energy bills by £50

telegraphenergy“Household energy bills are expected to fall by £50 a year as a result of cuts in green levies to be announced in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement next week. Final negotiations between the Big Six energy firms and ministers are taking place this weekend and suppliers could announce a reduction in prices as soon as Sunday.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “Energy firms will not have to install so much expensive solid wall insulation in hard-to-treat homes. Instead, they will be given greater freedom to install cheaper cavity wall and loft insulation in easy-to-treat homes.” – BBC
  • “HATED green taxes will be slashed next week in a bid to stop energy bill rises for years to come, David Cameron has declared. The PM vowed “sustainably low energy prices” by cutting environmental levies that add £112 to annual power bills.” – The Sun(£)
  • “It is to be hoped, contrary to the denials, that the Government is seeking an accommodation with the energy companies that would see prices fall. It is in everyone’s interests that they do. The Big Six energy would be wise to conclude that their reputations would go up as prices fell. Whether it is fair or not, energy companies are starting to replace banks as corporate national villains.” Leader The Times (£)
  • “There will finally be some good news: the Office for Budget Responsibility will for the first time revise its projections for growth upwards, rather than downwards. The bad news is that Mr Osborne will have a difficult balancing act. He must resist the temptation to crow and claim victory over his adversary Ed Balls.” – Andrew Grice The Independent
  • Osborne vindicated say allies – The Guardian

Commons approval for James Wharton’s EU referendum bill

“A bill calling for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU in 2017 has been approved by the House of Commons. The legislation passed its final stage in the Commons on Friday despite efforts by Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs to delay its passage. The bill will now move to the House of Lords for scrutiny early next year.” – BBC

  • “The legislation passed its final hurdle in the House of Commons despite cynical efforts by Labour and the Lib Dems to delay its passage.” – Daily Express
  • “Lord Dobbs of Wylye, the man who wrote the political thriller House of Cards, is to introduce the Conservative bill pledging an EU referendum into the House of Lords.” – The Guardian

Cameron hits back at Laszlo Andor over “nasty country” comment

“David Cameron has described comments by a European commissioner about the UK’s immigration policies as “unacceptable”. Laszlo Andor suggested the UK was at risk of becoming a “nasty” country if it curbed benefits and sought to limit freedom of movement by EU nationals.” – BBC

  • “Britain benefits from young, hard-working immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, four foreign ministers said in an unprecedented rebuke to David Cameron yesterday. The governments reacted angrily to the Prime Minister’s suggestion that migrants should be restricted from moving from poorer to wealthier nations across the European Union.” – The Times(£)
  • “Mr Andor speaks of Britain as a “country”, but perhaps he has not given much thought to what that word means. In what sense is it a country if it cannot rule according to its own laws, or decide who may live in it? When it ceases to be a country, you can be fairly sure it will become nastier for all.” Charles Moore Daily Telegraph

Call for transparency on APPGs

“Parliamentary groups must be more transparent to ease fears that they are being used by lobbyists to impress clients, a Commons watchdog has said. The Standards Committee said all-party parliamentary groups (APPGs) must open their finances to scrutiny, showing what they receive and how it is used.” – BBC

PM to distance himself from Dalai Lama

“David Cameron will distance Britain from the Dalai Lama during a trip to China next week as the price for restoring full business and diplomatic relations with Beijing. The changed stance is the result of an internal Whitehall debate on the best approach to Tibet and China that was won by the chancellor, George Osborne.” – The Guardian

Owen Paterson’s links to climate sceptics

PATERSON OWEN NW“The Environment Secretary, regarded as part of the Tory’s hard-right countryside squirearchy, is linked to an alternative network of leading climate change sceptics that include Margaret Thatcher’s former chancellor, Nigel Lawson, his controversial Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), and arch-sceptic Matt Ridley, the nephew of Lord Lawson’s former cabinet colleague, Nicolas Ridley. Matt Ridley also happens to be Paterson’s brother-in-law.” – The Independent

Daily Mail print Boris’ speech which “shows what he really believes”

“In an extraordinarily candid speech on Lady Thatcher this week, London Mayor Boris Johnson – who an increasing number of Tories think is the
only man who can lead them to victory – also provided a tantalising insight into his own values and beliefs. Here, we present the edited extracts…” – Daily Mail

Thatcher estate contributed £750,000 towards funeral costs

“Baroness Thatcher, who died last April, left an estate of almost £4.7 million before inheritance tax. It is understood that this is after paying around £750,000 towards the cost of her funeral….Left-wing critics had predicted that her funeral procession and service would cost £10million, but government figures released in July showed the actual bill for the taxpayer was just £1.2 million.” – Daily Mail

Matthew Parris is “getting worried” about Cameron

“Impelled perhaps by the insecurity that all leaders feel, Mr Cameron is trying too hard to make his peace with a bad crowd. Yet he must know that the Conservative Right do not really like him and never will. Their friendship will always be tactical. The message they preach, for all its easy populist appeal, spells death for the Conservatives as a mainstream governing party in our first-past-the-post electoral system. At heart they are haters and haters seldom prosper.” – Matthew Parris The Times(£)

Stay-at-home mothers hit back at Clegg

“Stay-at-home mothers have criticised Nick Clegg for attacking the ‘old-fashioned’ assumption that women should shoulder the burden of
looking after young children. The Deputy Prime Minister said new rights for couples to share parental leave – meaning a new father will be able to take as much as 50 weeks off  – were designed to challenge ‘Edwardian’ attitudes to child-rearing.” – Daily Mail

Rise in patients waiting over four hours in A&E

“More than 3,200 patients spent up to 12 hours on  trolleys in A&E last week, with hospitals bracing themselves for worse to come as winter takes hold. The number is up 25 per cent on the figure for this time last year – which was itself higher than usual due to a winter vomiting bug outbreak. A further 26,300 patients spent more than four hours in casualty before being admitted on to a ward or sent home, 7 per cent higher than the same week in 2012.” – Daily Mail

Charities campaign to keep Human Rights Act

“Charities have been criticised for running a campaign which could frustrate Tory plans to reform the Human Rights Act. The ‘Equally Ours’ campaign is being backed by eight charities “to raise awareness of how human rights benefit us all in everyday life”.” – Daily Telegraph

Andrew Mitchell has been vindicated says Jacob Rees-Mogg

Andrew Mitchell talking to press“This leaves the question of how trust can be restored in the police, for these events have undoubtedly been damaging. Historically, the Conservative party has put its faith in the forces of law and order. From Sir Robert Peel founding the Metropolitan Police in 1829 onwards, it has been a relationship of instinctive trust.” – Jacob Rees-Mogg Daily Telegraph

Brown adviser says Labour weak on strategy

“Labour is still hampered by “potentially crippling strategic weaknesses” on the economy that could harm its chances of winning the 2015 general election, according to the man who wrote the party’s 2010 manifesto with Ed Miliband.” – The Guardian

60 minute makeover tells you more about politics than Newsnight says Graeme Archer

“You might scoff, but the programme does often leave me a bit weepy. Yes, I’m entertained by the “reveal”, the shots when sad rooms are shown in their bright new states. But the human stories on the show offer their own revelation: that the fears that keep me awake at night are commonplace.” – Graeme Archer Daily Telegraph

Straw, Blair, Prescott – the next generation

“David Prescott was born just a few days after his father John became MP for Hull East. “So I’ve known nothing else,” he says. Before he was four years old, he was on the campaign trail in the 1974 general election – “I used to go round in the car saying ‘vote Yaybour’; I couldn’t pronounce the letter L” – and he has volunteered in every election since 1983.” – The Guardian

News in brief

  • £350 million for asbestos victims – BBC
  • Prospective adopters to have greater access to register – The Times (£)
  • Schools adjudicator attacks sibling rule – Daily Mail
  • Household debt reaches £1.43 trillion – The Sun(£)
  • Badger cull ends – BBC
  • Secrets of the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought – and other Leftist cults – Daily Telegraph
  • Princes Trust helps 55,000 youngsters – The Prince of Wales writes for The Mirror

And finally..Cameron joins Weibo

“DAVID Cameron has joined China’s version of Twitter – and sent his first message in fluent Mandarin. Within just eight hours, the PM had gained 30,000 followers for his Weibo account.” – The Sun (£)

34 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 30th November 2013

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