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Speaking from China, the Prime Minister puts off middle-class tax cuts until the deficit is dealt with

CAMERON China“Middle class earners will have to wait until the end of the decade for tax cuts despite the economic recovery, David Cameron has signalled. … The Prime Minister said that delivering Conservative ambitions of tax cuts for higher-income households would have to wait until the deficit was ‘dealt with’. … Only when the public finances are in surplus will ministers be able to cut taxes on the middle class, Mr Cameron said. A married couples’ allowance to the better-off would be a top priority when the money was available, he indicated.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “Britain needs to face up to its household debts” – Gavin Kelly, Financial Times

He also confronts both the Chinese Government over their cyber warfare…

Chinese flag

“David Cameron has confronted China over cyber hacking in bid to stop it stealing our online secrets. … The PM wants the Eastern giant’s all powerful leaders to sign up to an international code of conduct for the internet. … Premier Li was said by No10 aides to be ‘open to an engagement’.” – The Sun (£)

  • “David Cameron has risked angering the Chinese government by launching a robust defence of GlaxoSmithKline as the UK drug company steps up its battle to save its reputation in the country.” – Financial Times

…and the Chinese opinion writers who were unkind about Britain

“David Cameron has been forced to shrug off an attack by a Chinese newspaper that described the UK as ‘just an old European country’ only fit for tourists and students. … The Prime Minister said he would concentrate on the ‘facts and figures’ showing rapidly increasing Chinese investment in Britain, rather than the excoriating article in the Beijing-based Global Times.” – Daily Mail

  • “Britain should be grateful that Romanians and Bulgarians take jobs shunned by local workers, according to a senior minister in Bucharest.” – Daily Mail

Autumn Statement 1: Despite Cameron’s words, there will be some tax cuts in Osborne’s mini-Budget

OSBORNE WITH BLACKBERRY“Mr Cameron said a move to offer a £1,000 transferable tax allowance to married couples with one basic-rate taxpayer, to be detailed in tomorrow’s Autumn Statement, was ‘the start of something I would like to see extended further’. … Chancellor George Osborne is also preparing to offer more than 20million basic-rate taxpayers a further tax break, despite calls from the Tory Right for him to do more for middle class families who have been dragged into the 40p rate.” – Daily Mail

  • “With growth weak and the deficit still yawning, the temptations of a voter giveaway are to be resisted” – Independent editorial
  • “As the Tories dance to Ed Miliband’s tune, George Osborne must now change the music with his Autumn Statement” – Andrew Grice, The Independent

> Today on ToryDiary: Here you go, George: Conservative members’ priorities for the Autumn Statement

> Yesterday:

Autumn Statement 2: The Chancellor will also scrap jobs taxes for young people

“All jobs tax for the under 21s will be abolished this week as the centrepiece of a major package to tackle the youth unemployment crisis, The Sun can reveal. … George Osborne will scrap employers’ national insurance contributions for every worker aged 20 or under in his mini budget on Thursday. … The bold action – which will save bosses £500 a year for each young employee – is designed to act as a major incentive for firms to take on tens of thousands more younger workers.” – The Sun (£)

> Today, by Nadhim Zahawi MP on Comment: It’s time to get big businesses to pay promptly

Autumn Statement 3: And cap business rates

“The chancellor will bid to boost firms and High Streets by capping increases in business rates in Thursday’s Autumn Statement, the BBC has learned. … George Osborne will announce that rate rises will be limited to 2% in England and Wales next year instead of being linked to inflation.” – BBC

Autumn Statement 4: Toll road plan to be shelved

“George Osborne’s decision to scrap plans for tolls on the key A14 freight artery was welcomed on Tuesday in Suffolk – in particular at Felixstowe, the country’s biggest container port. … Mr Osborne took the decision amid claims that tolling the main access road to Felixstowe would put the port at a disadvantage to its new rival, the London Gateway super-port on the north bank of the Thames.” – Financial Times

  • Calls for inflation-only train fare rises – The Guardian

Autumn Statement 5: Alexander launches a £25 billion national infrastructure planAlexander Danny Jan 12

“Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander will announce that ministers have signed a memorandum of understanding with Japanese firm Hitachi to build the new plant at Wylfa on the Welsh island of Anglesey. … The Lib Dem minister will also unveil the government’s fourth national infrastructure plan, which will be boosted by six insurance companies that have agreed to invest £25 billion in big projects over the next five years.” – Daily Mail

Autumn Statement 6: The Treasury Chief Secretary also has a £20 billion privatisation plan

“Britain’s stake in the cross-channel rail operator Eurostar will be sold off under a new £10bn privatisation programme. … Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, will announce on Wednesday that he has doubled the coalition’s target for the disposal of state assets to £20bn over the next six years, just weeks after the government was criticised for undervaluing Royal Mail during its controversial flotation.” – The Guardian

  • “The banking sector looks too much like Northern Rock” – Ross Clark, The Times (£)

Gove: The latest PISA rankings show the urgent need for education reform

michael-gove“British teenagers have dropped out of the top 20 rankings in maths, science and reading for the first time. … Tests on more than half a million pupils worldwide found those in Vietnam, Shanghai and Poland have a much better command of the core subjects. … Education Secretary Michael Gove said the poor results showed radical reform was necessary in a ‘stagnating’ education system.” – Daily Mail

  • “The utterly depressing message of Britain’s latest, D-minus school report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is that this country faces an education crisis which has profound implications for our survival in the first rank of developed nations.” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “No matter what party they come from, the political class would be far better off working out what they can learn from the country’s merely average performance.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “It is absurd to attack Michael Gove for the 2012 results of kids schooled for nearly ten years under Labour.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “The Pisa league tables raise some interesting points about world education, but they are far from infallible” – Guardian editorial
  • “It is too early to claim Michael Gove’s reforms have failed” – Independent editorial
  • “When will we wake up to the crisis in our educational ‘system’?” – Rosie Millard, The Independent

The Government’s new plan to silence hate preachers

“The Government is to introduce new civil powers, similar to those used against anti-social behaviour, to target extremists who radicalise others. … They are expected to be used to bar people from preaching messages of terror and hate, associating with named individuals thought vulnerable to radicalisation, and from entering specific venues, such as mosques or community halls.” – Daily Mail

  • “A fresh crackdown on Islamist extremism risks backfiring by fuelling anti-Muslim prejudice and driving hardliners underground, the Government was warned last night.” – The Independent

Baroness Rawlings suggests that people turn on their electric blankets. Her opponents turn on their outrage…

Baroness Rawlings“A Tory peer has sparked outrage by calling on hard-up Brits to use electric blankets to save on heating bills. … Baroness Rawlings said the bedding was ‘the answer to many of the Government’s aims’. … But critics said it was ‘out of touch’ to say people should get in bed to keep warm while energy bills go through the roof.” – The Sun (£)

Tory women hope for better from their party

“Tory women are keeping their fingers crossed this week in the hope that a female candidate is finally chosen in a clutch of upcoming selection contests. … Despite huge efforts to boost the number of women MPs in the party, a series of five battles in safe seats being relinquished by retiring men has seen not one woman selected. … The Times spoke to more than a dozen of those elected in 2010, half of whom said that they had at some point considered throwing in the towel. None would admit that she was leaving, but senior party figures fear that up to six more women could depart.” – The Times (£)

Poll highlights the UKIP dimension to the Tories’ struggle in key seats

FARAGE eating“The Conservatives are badly trailing Labour in two of their key Labour-held target seats, and are effectively neck and neck with the UK Independence party there, according to polling conducted by Survation and commissioned by a Ukip donor. … The polls show Labour with an 18-point lead over Ukip in second place in Great Grimsby and with a 20-point lead over the Conservatives in Dudley North.” – The Guardian

  • “The two main leaders are short-sighted if they let Mr Clegg continue unchallenged. ‘We are focusing on the wrong enemy, trying to out-UKIP UKIP, when in fact many of our biggest battles for seats will be against the Liberal Democrats,’ said one Tory moderniser.” – Alice Thomson, The Times (£)
  • “Labour needs more than empathy and catchy pledges to win power” – Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph

Tories attack Darling’s Scotland campaign – could Brown be drafted in?

“Senior Conservatives have warned they could lose the independence referendum in Scotland because its campaign chief Alistair Darling is ‘useless’ and ‘comatose’. … One Cabinet minister said: ‘We could be in real danger, we are not in any way complacent about this. The independence side have an easier sell.’ … The source said there was even talk of the former Prime Minister being brought ‘out of self-imposed exile’ to lead the campaign.” – Daily Mail

More details about Miliband’s delayed union reforms

“The Labour leader infuriated union bosses in the summer by vowing to weaken the historic links between Labour and the trade union movement. … But last night it emerged that the reforms will be delayed for at least five years, pushing them well beyond the next election in 2015. … The Tories seized on the move as evidence that Mr Miliband remains in hock to the unions, who have supplied 80 per cent of the party’s donations since he took over as leader.” – Daily Mail

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Miliband’s diluted trade union reforms are an exercise in policy homeopathy

Vaz to Rusbridger: “Do you love this country?”

Keith Vaz“‘I love this country,’ said Mr Vaz, voice so moist you could have grown cress on it. ‘Do you love this country?’ … Behind me, in seating normally used by reporters, perched a Tory backbencher, Julian Smith (Skipton & Ripon), who has been pursuing The Guardian. … ‘Good question!’ he said, even though spectators were meant to keep quiet.” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

As it emerges that Guardian journalists could face criminal charges

“Journalists from The Guardian could face criminal charges for transmitting out of the country top secret documents containing the names of British spies, a senior counter terrorism officer signalled last night. … Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick confirmed she is investigating whether the newspaper breached terrorism laws in its handling of tens of thousands of highly classified documents stolen by former US government employee Edward Snowden.” – Daily Mail

  • “We should look at the content of the Snowden files – not the messenger” – Julian Huppert, The Guardian

National Audit Office warns of wasted donations

“Big-hearted Brits could be wasting their charity donations because bogus organisations are not being tackled, the spending watchdog has warned. … In a damning report, the National Audit Office said the Charity Commission was not doing enough to identify and stamp out abuse of the system.” – The Sun (£)

News in brief

  • Two Northern Irish policemen were murdered by the IRA following tip-offs from the Irish police, says report – Daily Mail
  • Scientists and doctors warn of a “public health emergency” over the number of people using food banks in the increase in malnutrition – Daily Mail
  • Briton spend £46 billion a year on gambling machines, almost double the figure from four years ago – Daily Mail
  • Age UK warns that Government’s social care reforms could shut elderly people out of the system – Daily Mail
  • Parents could be £2,000 a year worse off from 2018 because of rising childcare costs – Daily Telegraph
  • A woman could one day run the military, says top female officer – Daily Telegraph
  • Attendances at A&E departments are up 11 per cent, to 21.7 million, over the past four year – The Guardian
  • Young people to be allowed to remain in foster care until age 21 – The Guardian
  • Tweeters warned about contempt of court – The Guardian
  • Detroit declared officially bankrupt as judge rejects appeal – The Times (£)

And finally 1… Boris’s IQ

borisfringe“Boris Johnson’s controversial speech on people with low IQs backfired today as the London Mayor failed intelligence questions on live radio. … challenged to answer IQ questions on his monthly radio phone-in today, he failed questions on bears and apples before refusing to answer a third on alarm clocks.” – Daily Mail

  • “He didn’t express it perfectly but Boris Johnson sees how all of us benefit from free enterprise” – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)
  • “London’s mayor is half right on envy, greed and inequality” – John Kay, Financial Times

And finally 2… Cameron’s selfie

“David Cameron got caught by the global craze for selfies when he was snapped by one of China’s richest men. … Internet billionaire Jack Ma insisted on taking the snap of the two men during a meeting on the PM’s visit to Shanghai.” – The Sun (£)

> Yesterday’s video to WATCH: Cameron’s Mandarin venture

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26 comments for: Newslinks for Wednesday 4th December 2013

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