Osborne: I’ll take family homes up to £1 million out of inheritance tax

OSBORNE non-broken sword‘Homeowners will get a £1billion-a-year inheritance tax windfall if the Tories win the General Election. The pledge by George Osborne means that the vast majority of homeowners can leave all their money to their children – with not a penny going to the taxman…Mr Osborne told The Mail on Sunday: ‘By taking the family home out of inheritance tax, our message is clear: if you work hard, save and want to pass on your family home to your children, you shouldn’t be penalised – you should be supported.’ – Mail on Sunday

Cameron sets out a positive vision for a Tory future

‘He does admit the next phase will see him map out a more upbeat vision of “what Britain is going to look like after five years” if he is re-elected. “That’s what I’m excited about. For me there is no greater sunshine than giving people the chance of a job, or more of their own money, a home to own, a school place they can be proud of, a community they love. Do we need to spell it out in more detail? Do we need to bring it alive in a thousand different ways? Yes, of course we do. We’ve got to get across that if we complete the plan there’s a real reward, a real bonus for people of better jobs, more money, good homes, stronger communities.”’ – Sunday Times (£)

No more benefits on arrival for migrants

Border‘Immigrant workers will have to pay £22,600 in tax and national insurance before they can claim a penny in benefits, the Tories will pledge this week. The tough rules will put an end to welfare tourism and stop tax credits turning Britain into a honeypot for low-paid East Europeans.’ – The Sun on Sunday (£)

The polls are still neck and neck

‘Making sense of the state of play is not easy. On Thursday three polls generated excitement when they reported Labour leads of up to six points. A few hours later two other polls showed the Conservatives one point ahead. On these occasions it is worth bearing in mind that all conventional polls are subject to a margin of error, of 3-4 points per party and 5-6 points on the gap between Labour and Tory. Taking that into account, all five of Thursday’s polls were consistent with a neck and neck race.’ – Peter Kellner, Sunday Times (£)

CCHQ’s message: Keep calm and carry on

Rosette shield‘One of those in the engine room of the campaign says: ‘There was too much panic in 2010. We’ve got to hold our nerve.’ But with the polls improving for Labour, why isn’t Tory high command more rattled? Well, they believe they haven’t ‘played a major card’ while Labour has ‘fired two of their biggest rockets’…the idea that most excites Tories is the prospect of the right to buy being extended to housing association properties. It’s this policy that defines them as the party of aspiration.’ – James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday

Truss’ pitch for the British food industry

‘Hundreds of traditional British delicacies including artisan cheese, sausages, and beer will be given special protected status, under sweeping Conservative plans to “turbo charge” the country’s food and farming industry. In a package of manifesto commitments, Elizabeth Truss, the Environment Secretary, promised to increase the number of British-made foods given “protected name status” across Europe from 63 to more than 200.’ – Sunday Telegraph

How the Tories are wooing Asian voters

Union Jack Tree Logo‘A turning point came when Lord Ashcroft, the Conservative peer, commissioned a report into ethnic minority voters in 2012. Ashcroft wrote in the introduction: “The gulf between the Conservative party and ethnic minority voters is a well-known feature of British politics.” He refused to accept it was a gulf that could not be bridged — and there were those in the party who listened to him. Turn up to any Asian awards bash and there will be at least one Tory cabinet minister up on stage.’ – Sunday Times (£)

  • Record number of women set to be elected – Sunday Times (£)
  • Put senior female Conservatives on the front line, argues Goodman – The Observer
  • The rising stars of left and right are profiled – Sunday Times (£)

>Yesterday: Tory Diary: It’s time for women

The fight to hold the last blue seat in Scotland

‘On a walkabout in Biggar High Street on Friday, Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader, spoke in biblical terms of the challenge faced by Mr Mundell and the party’s other candidates. “We’ve got our guys on the roof of the building,” she said. “There is a tsunami of SNP coming, and it’s just about how high the wave is. If the wave hits the second floor, the guys on the roof will be fine and we might have some new MPs in the House of Commons.”’ – Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: Left Watch: Could Labour’s days as a national force be numbered?

Boulton: Do manifestos really matter any more?

books‘The age of manifestos may be over if we are still in a hung parliament era on May 8. If a party does not have a majority its manifesto ceases to be a contract with voters and an indisputable mandate to take political action. Instead it becomes a basis for negotiation and every firm pledge is a hostage to fortune. Both parties in the coalition government have learnt this the hard way. So did Nigel Farage, who junked Ukip’s entire 2010 manifesto and has dragged his feet on producing a new one. It is no accident the Scottish National party, which is most likely to be the deal maker or breaker, will be the last to reveal its hand formally.’ – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)

Labour plans tax avoidance and evasion crackdown

‘Labour has claimed it can raise £7.5bn a year by targeting tax avoidance and evasion if it forms the next government. The party’s election manifesto, which will be published tomorrow, includes plans for a 10-point tax crackdown, including new laws and a review of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) powers.’ – Sunday Times (£)

Miliband won’t match the £8 billion NHS spending pledge

NHS_Logo‘Ed Miliband’s NHS election pledge was in tatters last night after he refused to match a Tory promise of extra cash. Labour had vowed they would spend £2.5billion “over and above any Tory plans” on the health service. But Red Ed ditched that promise as the Tories said they would plough an extra £8billion a year into the NHS by 2020.’ – The Sun on Sunday (£)

  • Carwyn Jones’ father goes private because of the wait for surgery – Mail on Sunday
  • 1,794 dentists make over £100,000 – Mail on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: Francis Maude – future provider of savings, future funder of the NHS

DfID spent £400,000 on interior design for an office that’s about to close

‘Of all the spending, perhaps the most perplexing for taxpayers is the hiring of a firm of interior designers to work on DfID’s opulent offices in New Delhi at a cost of £442,978. Although the department has about 90 staff, this didn’t prevent the purchase of 280 special desks during its refurbishment. Bizarrely, the office opened one month before Greening announced that the aid programme to India was ending – and a full year after her predecessor, Andrew Mitchell, made it quite clear that it was drawing to a close.’ – Mail on Sunday

The special relationship is over, argues US Congress briefing note

obamacameronWashington believes that the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the US is over, according to a secret briefing document seen by The Mail on Sunday. The memo for members of Congress states damningly that ‘the UK may not be viewed as centrally relevant to the United States in all of the issues and relations considered a priority on the US agenda’.’

>Today: Michael Fallon on Comment: Our new triple lock to guarantee the size, shape and power of our armed forces

Charlottes vote Tory, Andys vote Labour…and Nigels vote UKIP

‘If your name is Nigel you are twice as likely as the general population to vote Ukip, according to research by YouGov. The figure went up from 16 to 31 per cent among men named Nigel, the poll of 46,000 people found. Joe Twyman, YouGov’s head of political research, said the idea was to look at whether a person’s first name had any bearing on how they voted.’ – Mail on Sunday

News in Brief

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