11.30am Latest from Parliament:
Star Chamber: What do readers think of Vince Cable's savings plan?
£45bn hole in Britain's public finances
"The Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that even big spending cuts in health and schools may not be enough to fill the structural deficit in the nation's finances. Robert Chote, the institute's director, said that by 2017-18 the loss through tax increases and cuts in public spending would be equivalent to £2,840 a year for every family in the country – only half of which has been accounted for by the government." – Guardian
"”Debt freedom day”, when the national debt returns to sustainable levels, will not be reached until 2032 – another 23 years away, the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies said." – Telegraph
Labour delay cuts to schools and hospitals… until after the next election – Daily Mail
Bronwen Maddox examines the implications of the fiscal hole for Britain's foreign policy – Times
The Sun attacks Labour's dishonesty
"It's a hallmark of Labour Budgets that you have to wait for the smoke to clear before you realise how badly your pocket has been picked. And so it proves again. Chancellor Alistair Darling’s sums mean a secret tax rise of £1,400 lies in store for every family after 2014, says the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies. That’s on top of the £1,000-a-family tax burden Mr Darling has just imposed by hiking petrol, drinks and smokes." – The Sun Says
Daily Mail: David Cameron must show that he has the courage to cut spending
The Chancellor has shown that he does not have the courage to make the cuts required to set Britain on the road to balancing its books. After that rousing Budget performance, Mr Cameron's priority must be to show that he and the Tories do." – Daily Mail leader
"The Conservatives have had an easy ride. That has to stop." – Martin Kettle in The Guardian
Tory priority will be to stop 0.5% increase in National Insurance
"The Conservatives are unlikely to withdraw the new 50 per cent higher rate of income tax – despite pressure building within the shadow Cabinet for the punitive new tax to be scrapped. If possible, David Cameron would abandon the new higher rate but this is unlikely to be affordable for several years. Mr Osborne said yesterday that his "priority" was to block the 0.5 percentage point increase in National Insurance which Labour is planning to introduce from April 2011. The rise will hit anyone earning more than £20,000." – Telegraph
"In defiance of its 2005 election manifesto, Labour now intends to levy a 50 per cent rate from April next year on those with incomes of more than £150,000 a year. As fiscal policy, this is flawed. It is not broadly based enough to raise significant revenue and may even reduce the taxes raised from the wealthy if they curtail spending and consult their accountants." – FT leader
Iain Martin: David Cameron has taken over Tory economic policy
"The central question, with the country in such a deep funk, is this: are the Conservatives capable of putting our affairs in order? Do they have the right stuff? They are certainly mastering the art of sticking it to Labour – but that is not enough. However, those looking for a fully formed economic programme before polling day are not going to find it. The Treasury does not know what the state of play will be next month, say the Tories, so how can they be expected to judge what spending and taxation will need to be in 2010? David Cameron's colleagues report that this year the Tory leader has effectively taken over the party's economic policy. The penny does appear to be dropping, gradually, that if the country is going to pay off any of the debt he decries as an obstacle to recovery, then spending will need to fall steeply." – Iain Martin in The Telegraph
Scale of recession to be revealed today
"Analysts forecast that gross domestic product (GDP) will have slipped by 1.5% from January to March, having dropped 1.6% between October and December 2008." – BBC
Damian Green's Home Office mole certain to be sacked from civil service – Telegraph
I'm prepared to be PM, says Boris Johnson
"Boris Johnson's rivalry with David Cameron intensified yesterday when the London Mayor said he could one day try to become Prime Minister. Mr Johnson hinted he might not stand for a second term in his current role and would be prepared to lead the country. In a newspaper interview, Mr Johnson likened himself to the ancient Roman nobleman Cincinnatus, who was plucked from his farm to become dictator." – Daily Mail
Yesterday's ToryDiary: Boris Johnson: Tax cutter and… future Prime Minister?
Downing Street says its proposed daily allowance will encourage MPs to turn up to Commons – BBC
"Gordon Brown's plan to pay MPs about £150 a day to "clock in" at Westminster was in crisis last night after it was denounced by senior Labour backbenchers and the parliamentary sleaze watchdog. The Prime Minister could be forced to withdraw the contentious scheme, which would replace the discredited £24,000-a-year second homes allowance, in order to avoid a humiliating defeat in the Commons next week." – Independent
David Blunkett to return to head Gordon Brown's 'compulsory voluntary scheme' (!) project – Guardian
Policy Exchange: Allow weak universities to fail
"Struggling universities should be allowed to fail or be taken over by private companies, a think-tank report suggests today. It warns that there is a real risk of some universities, particularly in London, not being able to survive in the current climate." – Times
Our PPC in Colne Valley Jason McCartney celebrated St George's Day yesterday by distributing a very patriotic cake in Holmfirth. He took donations for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. More pictures here. Yesterday we also reported Tories celebrating St George's Day in Bradford and, of course, Boris in London.
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