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Budget 1) Treasury alleged to be considering inheritance tax hike for social care

tax‘A compulsory ‘death tax’ to pay for elderly care is being considered by ministers, it was claimed yesterday. Whitehall sources said the Cabinet Office is looking at imposing a levy on people’s estates to be taken after their death. Although Treasury minister Jane Ellison ruled out the proposal during a Commons debate, Downing Street declined to deny it was being considered. The revelation led to the Tories being accused of ‘sheer hypocrisy’ last night as critics pointed out that they had savaged the proposal when Labour put it forward in 2010. Ministers are desperate to fill a growing black hole in the social care budget’ – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Has the Chancellor got the right deficit reduction timetable? Please take our monthly survey.

Budget 2) Hammond eyes tax changes for the self-employed

‘Philip Hammond is likely to announce plans to overhaul the tax system for the self‑employed in next week’s budget. The Treasury believes there is a strong case to tackle the growing disparity between workers who pay tax using PAYE, the self-employed and those who operate personal service companies. The chancellor is expected to say that there will be changes to self-employed taxation in the autumn budget and is likely to announce a consultation. Mr Hammond could also reveal some immediate changes to self-employment rules, although Whitehall sources said that this issue had not been settled. There are almost 5 million self‑employed people in Britain, up from just over 3 million in 2000.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Conservative MPs are not up for the challenge of reducing public spending growth

Budget 3) U-turn ahead for motor insurance premiums

Truss‘In a first sign of a u-turn, Philip Hammond met with insurers and said the Government would hold an “urgent” review of the formula used to calculate the payouts. And he promised to “bring forward any necessary legislation at an early stage”. The meeting followed an outcry over Justice Secretary Liz Truss’ decision to force firms to cough up more for serious injury claims. Insiders last night said the Chancellor’s review may not be soon enough to prevent a staggering £4 billion increase in motor insurance premiums this year.’ – The Sun

  • Insurers attend emergency meeting at the Treasury – The Times (£)
  • They think Truss’s decision is ‘crazy’ – The Times (£)
  • Has she lost her marbles? – The Sun Says
  • Government wins injunction against protesting prison officers – The Times (£)

Budget 4) Raab makes case for massive savings

‘Mr Raab – the former Justice Minister – said: “There remains ample scope to build on the Prime Minister’s early gambit, and consolidate the sprawling arms of Whitehall. “A popular start would be to scrap the Department for International Development.“Without touching the aid budget, that could save £2 billion each year.” Just days before the Budget, the Tory high-flyer said reforming “grey welfare” could unlock as much as £31 billion, through changes to pensions to scrapping free bus passes and eye tests for wealthy OAPs. Writing on ConservativeHome he said: “The ground needs to be prepared for a more balanced approach that both reduces the burden on the taxpayer, and makes Government spending fairer.’ – The Sun

>Today: Ryan Shorthouse on Comment: Balancing the budget. Make private schools pay VAT. End ring-fencing. Charge for missed GP appointments.

>Yesterday: Dominic Raab on Comment: With courage, Hammond could save billions

CBI’s Fairbairn attacks the industrial strategy

MAY Theresa pensive‘The head of the CBI is to criticise Theresa May’s flagship industrial strategy as lacking in “clear actions and milestones”, and will challenge ministers to set out what exactly they plan to do. Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the employers’ group, will use a trip to the Midlands on Wednesday to urge the government to “sharpen its focus” on the strategy, which is still in draft form. Labour has accused the government of offering a “piecemeal” industrial strategy and of making it up as it goes along, citing the hurried support offered to Nissan to persuade it to stay in the UK despite the Brexit vote…In a reference to the UK government’s support for the automotive industry, Ms Fairbairn will urge ministers to admit whether “all sectors” will be offered deals or only some. “If the answer is some, then which ones, and why?” she will ask.’ – FT

  • Dyson plans thousands of jobs at new tech hub – Daily Mail
  • It’s a £2.5 billion investment – The Times (£)
  • Together we can unleash the potential of British technology – Karen Bradley, The Times (£)
  • Nissans wants £100 million overhaul of the car parts industry – The Times (£)
  • The company says Britain is best place to manufacture cars – The Sun
  • It’s only by chance, not strategy, that the stock exchange has been saved – Daily Mail Leader

Davis tells Cabinet to prepare for ‘unlikely scenario’ of no Brexit deal

‘David Davis has warned the Cabinet to prepare their departments for a hard Brexit if Britain has to walk away from vital talks without a trade deal. The Brexit Secretary told ministers they should be prepared for the possibility that the UK might fail to get a free trade deal with the EU before leaving – describing it as an ‘unlikely scenario’. But a Downing Street spokesman said the ‘overriding message was that we are ambitious about the nature of the free trade deal we will be able to agree with the EU’.’ – Daily Mail

Trump’s state visit is delayed to October

donald-trump-09-10-16‘Donald Trump’s state visit to Britain will be delayed in an alleged attempt to avoid embarrassing protests over his Muslim ban. The visit will reportedly now take place in October after the US President supposedly expressed his fears to Prime Minister Theresa May during a phone call two weeks ago. Trump’s stay was rumoured to be set up for June but has been postponed so the controversy over his attempt to ban migrants from seven majority Muslim countries from entering the U.S can die down.’ – Daily Mail

Tory MPs rally to exclude students from net migration figures

‘Theresa May is facing a Commons rebellion over the government policy of including international students in UK net migration figures. More than 30 Conservative MPs yesterday signed a letter to the prime minister demanding that she end the practice of counting foreign students as long-term migrants to Britain. They argued that the policy sent out a negative message to overseas applicants considering study in Britain and threatened to “damage the UK’s longstanding reputation as a global higher education leader and therefore limit economic growth”. Britain is the second most popular destination in the world for international students, whose spending is worth £7.3 billion a year to the economy. The issue is poised to return to the Commons as a cross-bench group of peers has tabled an amendment to the Higher Education and Research Bill.’ – The Times (£)

  • Rudd’s plea may not be enough to stave off a Lords defeat over EU migrants – The Guardian
  • Student spared deportation by a matter of hours – WalesOnline
  • EU citizens struggle with our complex residency form – FT

UKIP at War 1) Carswell has discussed returning to the Conservatives

Carswell on Marr‘UKIP’s only MP has discussed re-defecting back the Conservatives at the next election with senior Tories, the Sun can reveal. The secret plan would see Douglas Carswell — who dramatically jumped ship in 2014 — restand under the Tory banner in his Essex constituency at 2020 after Brexit…Government Whips have already been in conversation with the Clacton MP over key EU votes, and he said recently “who knows what the world will look like” at the next election. A senior Tory source said last night “we talked about him coming back to rejoin the Conservatives”…Last night Mr Carswell told The Sun: “I am 100 per cent Ukip and will be staying with Ukip. But this is the first Brexit government in my lifetime and I am happy to help them get a good Brexit.”’ – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: The Telegraph becomes the Faragegraph

UKIP at War 2) Banks pledges to stand against him in Clacton

‘One of Ukip’s biggest donors threatened to stand against its sole MP yesterday as the party descended into open warfare. Arron Banks pledged to take on Douglas Carswell in his Clacton constituency in the 2020 general election. The multimillionaire insurance tycoon, 50, said that he had started looking at properties that could serve as a campaign headquarters. “I’ve had enough of the bloke. And if I say I’m going to do something, I do it,” he said. His announcement came after a longstanding feud between Nigel Farage, to whom Mr Banks is a loyal ally, and Mr Carswell, 45, flared up. The former Ukip leader called for the party to kick out Mr Carswell after allegations emerged that he had tried to block a knighthood for Mr Farage.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: MPsETC: If Carswell is expelled from UKIP, should the Conservatives take him back?

Army commander tells ISIS: We will find you and we will kill you

Army‘Britain’s top commander in the war against Islamic State yesterday vowed to hunt and kill UK jihadists. Major General Rupert Jones said coalition forces were killing the militants ‘at a rate they simply can’t sustain’ in the ‘most deadly targeting campaign in history’. He said the RAF would target the remaining fighters even if they were from London, warning them: ‘We will find you and we will kill you.’’ – Daily Mail

  • The terror group uses ‘Mad Max’ drones – Daily Telegraph
  • Birmingham council accused of going soft on extremism – The Times (£)
  • Terror expert defends the European Arrest Warrant – The Sun

>Yesterday: Iain Duncan Smith’s column: Poor quality housing for service families harms their happiness and our defence

Green agrees to pay £363 million into the BHS pension scheme

‘The Pensions Regulator has secured its biggest payout by forcing Sir Philip Green to pump up to £363 million into the BHS pension scheme. The retail boss, 64, agreed to dip into his multibillion-pound personal fortune yesterday in an effort to salvage his reputation and keep his knighthood. The deal will ensure that 19,000 BHS pensioners get better payouts than under the government scheme for failed companies. Former employees will not receive their full entitlements, however, and Labour last night derided the settlement as “peanuts” for Sir Philip and far short of the £571 million needed to fully plug the scheme.’ – The Times (£)

Starmer sees ‘no prospect’ of Labour winning the next election

Labour-Party-Red-Rose-logo‘There is ‘no prospect’ of Labour winning a general election unless Jeremy Corbyn improves, Keir Starmer has warned. The shadow Brexit secretary delivered the grim assessment as he insisted ‘no-one should underestimate’ how bad the result had been in the Copeland by-election. Sir Keir stressed that he believed Labour’s problems went much deeper than the leadership, and yet another challenge to Mr Corbyn was not on the cards.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Leon Spence on Local Government: Why I have left Labour and joined the Conservatives

Northern Irish leaders hold final debate before Stormont election

‘The leaders of the five big parties went head to head in a ding-dong debate on BBC Northern Ireland last night with Arlene Foster coming under renewed pressure from her political rivals. The DUP leader was on the receiving end of a string of incisive one-liners from Mike Nesbitt, Colum Eastwood and Naomi Long. Mrs Foster was unable to successfully rebut their criticisms or land any blows herself. Under likely orders not to appear stern or aloof, she smiled as her opponents and members of the audience laid into her over ‘cash for ash’ and her record in government. However, DUP insiders will be relieved that she did not lose her temper despite the verbal bombardment.’ – Belfast Telegraph

News in Brief

  • Channel 4 questions Timothy over South Thanet emails – The Times (£)
  • Two injured as police marksman accidentally opens fire at Hollande event – Daily Mail
  • Tunisia attack survivors intend to sue travel firm – The Times (£)
  • House prices block the poorest pupils from Britain’s best state schools – The Sun
  • 12,000 millionaires left France last year – Daily Mail
  • Student who agreed with Khan about racism and Scottish nationalism fears for safety – The Scotsman

21 comments for: Newslinks for Wednesday 1st March 2017

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