11pm Martin Parsons on CentreRight: Labour have squandered what Churchill fought to defend

9.30pm Matthew Sinclair on CentreRight: The Budget is full of holes, with some seriously bad news hidden in the small print

8.15pm WATCH: Giving his initial reaction to the Budget, George Osborne highlights the fact that the IMF has already issued more pessimistic growth forecasts and that tax rises will affect the many, not the few

7.45pm ToryDiary: The Tory leadership will oppose Gordon Brown's reform of MPs' expenses Updated with quotes from David Cameron and at 8.30pm with further details of David Cameron's alternative proposals

EmptyBudgetBox5.45pm ToryDiary: Tory activists target commuters with 'Labour's spent' leaflets Updated with photos of activists hitting the streets

5pm Budget Day Panel reaction on Platform: Jill Kirby describes the Budget as "an insult to our intelligence" and "an insult to families"

4.30pm Budget Day Panel reaction on Platform: Matthew Sinclair of the TaxPayers' Alliance suggests that the distributive effect of the so-called "sin taxes" is to impose a punishing burden on the poor

4.15pm Budget Day Panel reaction on Platform: Harriett Baldwin says that we risk another run on the pound if foreign investors now go elsewhere and borrowing costs increase

4pm Budget Day Panel reaction on Platform: Nick Bourne says that the people of Wales face a double whammy of spending cuts

3.45pm Budget Day Panel reaction on Platform: Dan Lewis bemoans the creation of a new quango and is sceptical about an increased subsidy for offshore wind power

3.30pm ToryDiary: New Labour is D.E.A.D.

3.30pm Budget Day Panel reaction on Platform: Charlie Elphicke describes the Budget as "economic madness" and "an exercise in denial" as the deficit per household hits £7,000 next year

3.15pm WATCH Two clips from David Cameron's response to the Budget in the Commons:

2.45pm Budget Day Panel reaction on Platform: Andrew Lilico says that the Budget was neither austere nor realistic, and that large tax rises on high earners are not the right solution

2pm CentreRight: Alex Deane's views on climate change are confirmed by the news that Antarctica is cooling  

Picture 81.45pm ToryDiary: David Cameron's response to the Budget – "Any claim Labour made to economic competence is dead, over, finished."

1.30pm Parliament: Conservative peers take apart the Government's economic policies

1.15pm ToryDiary: Live blog of the Budget statement

12.30pm: ToryDiary: David Cameron and Gordon Brown trade pre-Budget blows on the economy at PMQs

Noon: Parliament: So where HAS money to combat violent extremism gone?!

11.30am Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Why does the BBC need a Budget Day helicopter?

10.45am Parliament: John Baron continues campaign on behalf of nuclear test veterans

10am WATCH: ITN sets today's Budget in the context of others delivered over the last three decades

9.45am ToryDiary: Unemployment rises to 2.1 million 


Platform: Cut growth in spending? Abolish BERR? Reform the tax credits system? ConservativeHome's expert panel outlines its hopes for the Budget

Seats and Candidates: Where are the original A-Listers now? The 27 who have been selected for target seats

Andrew Haldenby on Star Chamber: Cut doctors' pay by 10%

Local Government:

Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Chris Grayling backs campaign to honour Ryan Giggs with a knighthood


DARLING ALISTAIR 2 Public borrowing set to soar in Darling's Budget

"Alistair Darling will be forced to issue more than £200bn worth of government bonds this financial year – well above market expectations – as he concedes in Wednesday’s Budget that the public finances have plunged deeply into the red. With public borrowing set to soar to £170bn-£180bn, the chancellor will have to tap the market for an issuance of gilts that will be well over £50bn higher than the Debt Management Office estimated last month." – FT

It's going to be a "Budget for jobs" (as long as you're not a civil servant)

"Thousands more Civil Service jobs will be lost over the next four years as departments struggle to find £45 billion in “efficiency savings” by 2013-14. Alistair Darling will claim to be introducing a “Budget for jobs” today with a £2.5 billion package that includes a guarantee of work or training for every young person out of work for more than a year." – The Times

IMF and Treasury row over cost of banking crisis

"Labour was embroiled in an extraordinary row over the cost of the banking crisis with the International Monetary Fund last night. On the eve of today's Budget, the respected organisation had issued a devastating warning that the catastrophe will cost every person in Britain £3,000.  But in an unprecedented move, the organisation last night dramatically withdrew its forecast after it was disputed by the Treasury." – Daily Mail

Budget expected to include car scrappage scheme

"Chancellor Alistair Darling will announce a £2,000 handout to buyers of new British-made vehicles when they trade in bangers ten years old. The taxpayer will chip in £1,000 — with the other grand coming from manufacturers who sign up to the scheme." – The Sun

The challenge for the Conservatives

"Whatever is announced will pose a challenge to George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, as well as to Labour MPs. Mr Osborne has indicated that he would not seek to stop the tax rises on the better-off, but would like to prevent the national insurance increase if he could. Today he may have to set out his line on much more." – The Times

Ken Clarke pointing Ken Clarke tops poll of business leaders' top politicians

"According to ComRes, the proportion of businessmen who have confidence in Mr Darling and Gordon Brown has doubled in the past month – to 22 per cent and 30 per cent respectively. However, they still trail their Tory counterparts. David Cameron enjoys the confidence of 61 per cent of business leaders and the shadow Chancellor George Osborne 41 per cent… The politician with the highest "confidence rating" is Kenneth Clarke, the shadow Business Secretary, on 69 per cent – almost twice as high as his opposite number Lord Mandelson (35 per cent)." – Independent

Some of the biggest banks refuse to take part in Governnment mortgage schemeDaily Telegraph

Deflation has returnedGuardian

Coverage of Gordon Brown's sudden announcement on MPs' expenses

"MPs are set to receive a tax-free payment of almost £25,000 every year simply for attending Parliament, under controversial proposals announced by the Prime Minister yesterday.The current system of claiming expenses to fund a second home will be replaced with a new daily "allowance" which MPs will receive for attending the House of Commons." – Daily Telegraph

"David Cameron said that the daily rate was not his preferred option. The Conservatives are concerned that the system could be “corrupted” by MPs and want assurances that the taxpayer will benefit from the changes." – The Times

"The speedy timetable was seen by MPs of all parties as an attempt by the Prime Minister to move on from the twin controversies of lavish expense claims and the "smeargate" revelation of a planned Labour dirty tricks campaign against senior Tories… Mr Brown also sought to turn the spotlight on the Conservatives by calling for MPs with second jobs to disclose every payment, who paid them and how many hours they worked. MPs will also have to provide receipts for every claim for office costs, travel and communications." – Independent

"More than 50 MPs in outer London constituencies will be the main losers under Gordon Brown's plans to reform parliamentary allowances and expenses… Tory MPs claimed yesterday that this reform was designed by Brown to penalise them. One said: "This is an example of Brown's utter ruthlessness. It is a trap for us. Labour MPs, who represent areas well outside London, will see little difference in their allowances. This is about hitting Tory MPs in the home counties." – Guardian

Gordon Brown to meet the Tory and Lib Dem leaders to discuss the plans later todayBBC

> Yesterday's ToryDiary posts:

> WATCH: Gordon Brown's webcast announcing the proposals

Row brews over Northern Ireland politicians' expense exemption

"A potential exemption for Northern Ireland MPs from the Prime Minister's proposed changes to expenses has been branded a sop to Sinn Fein… Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson slammed the decision to even consider treating Northern Ireland differently from other regions of the kingdom. He said, "It is nothing less than a blatant and hugely expensive sop to Sinn Fein's absentee MPs." Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson added: "All elected MPs should attend under the same conditions." – UTV

> Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight yesterday: Northern Irish MPs should not be treated differently from their mainland counterparts

GRAYLING-OPEN-SHIRT Chris Grayling blames failure to tackle binge drinking for rise in violent crime

"The number of people needing hospital treatment after violent assaults has risen by 21,000 in the past year, according to new research which blames the first increase in years on binge drinking. An estimated 960 people-a-day are hospitalised nationwide having suffered serious attacks, figures from Accident and Emergency departments show… Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, said: "This report shows how Labour's attempt to tackle alcohol related crime and antisocial behaviour has failed." – Daily Telegraph

Ex-Tory MEP fighting to clear his name in expenses row

"A Tory MEP expelled from his political group last year for alleged "gross misconduct" over expenses claims has launched legal action in the European Court in a bid to clear his name. Den Dover announced the move after being attacked in the European Parliament chamber by fellow North West MEP Chris Davies as "no better than a thief"… On Tuesday night he dismissed the issue as "a big fuss and bother" and insisted he would fight a "robust" case in court." – Daily Express

William Hague calls for ceasefire in Sri Lanka

“We are deeply concerned about the desperate humanitarian crisis in northern Sri Lanka and the suffering of innocent civilians who have been trapped by the fighting… We call for an immediate ceasefire on both sides to allow the civilians to leave the conflict area, to be monitored by international observers including the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross… The only way forward is a negotiated settlement that satisfies the concerns and legitimate aspirations of all Sri Lankans and preserves democracy in the country.” – Statement issued yesterday by shadow foreign secretary William Hague

Polls open in South African general electionBBC

Ex-union leader Jack Jones diesThe Times


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