4.15pm Local government:
- Slough Labour councillor defects to Conservatives
- Hammersmith and Fulham joins spending transparency revolution
11.45am WATCH: David Cameron reacts to 300th troop death in Afghanistan
11.30am Simon Less on CentreRight: The Winter Fuel Payment could be better focused on helping the poorest pensioners
Seats and candidates: Eastleigh Tories join Daily Mail in attacking Chris Huhne's "hypocrisy"
On Local government:
- "The Government will not provide any more money to local authorities for new fixed speed cameras."
- 97% of Council fraud undetected
- Mark Wallace of the Taxpayers Alliance says the bullying opposition to trade unions to spending cuts is undemocratic
George Osborne to press ahead with Capital Gains Tax rise
"George Osborne, the Chancellor, will risk a confrontation with his backbenchers after vowing to press ahead with a rise in Capital Gains Tax (CGT) in tomorrow’s emergency Budget. He said he would not back down in the face of growing anger from Tory MPs, business leaders and the housing sector over the Liberal Democrat-inspired move to bring CGT into line with income tax." – Telegraph
John Redwood is still fighting the battle in The Times (£): "A good way to send a positive message would be to cut the long-term rate of capital gains tax to 10 per cent. By all means impose higher rates on short-term gains, in accordance with Lib Dem wishes. A lower long-term rate would collect more revenue, and act as a stimulus to business and other investment that is much needed. We can only get out of the present financial mess if we grow more strongly and expand the tax base. Raising rates of tax will undermine the economy further and lead to lower revenue than we can achieve with competitive rates on earning, investing and saving."
Emergency Budget set to include council tax freeze – BBC
The CBI wants new union laws to cope with the surge in industrial action they expect after Budget's public sector cuts – Times (£)
Oxfam, Save The Children join up with TUC to oppose budget cuts
"A coalition of charities and trade unions – including Oxfam, Save the Children and the Trades Union Congress – will today call on David Cameron and Nick Clegg to honour pre-election pledges to cut the deficit without "cutting back on fairness". They say they are concerned that the measures will fall heavily on the poorest. Tim Nichols of the Child Poverty Action Group and spokesman for the bodies said: "Despite promises of fairness from the coalition government, they appear to have no process in place for delivering it. We need to know why people on low incomes are being clobbered with cuts to free school meals and the future jobs fund while many higher up the income scale have barely felt a pinch." – Guardian
Public spending cuts will hit poorer areas of Britain hardest – FT
Incapacity benefits of nearly £46million a year go to thousands of expats in places like Spain, France, Cyprus and Portugal – Express
Cost of Iraq and Afghan wars hits £20bn not counting care of wounded – Times (£)
The Sun: The cuts must fall on the public sector
"Everyone will feel the pain as tens of billions are sliced off Labour's deficit – the worst in living memory. But it is scroungers who must be hardest hit, not hard-working Sun readers. It is gold-plated public pensions that need cutting down to the size, not the money of those who carefully saved for their old age. It is civil servants who must stop spending £500,000 a year on jollies like day trips and ten-pin bowling sessions, as we reveal today." – The Sun Says
Allister Heath, in City AM, says the private sector has already suffered: "It hasn’t been fun being in the private sector in recent years. It bore all of the cost of the recession, with more than 100 per cent of the contraction in GDP falling on private firms – the public sector, meanwhile, continued to expand. Wage growth has been weak to non-existent for most private workers over the past couple of years, there has been a sharp drop in employment and hardly any firms can afford to offer pensions any longer."
Norman Lamont: The world is running out of lenders
"Governments of the richest industrialised nations, including Britain, are reaching the limits of their borrowing capacity. Having bailed out the banks, they have now been bailing out each other, with the crisis ricocheting back to banks that have also been lending to the same governments. We are running out of lenders of last resort. If there is another crisis, some heavily indebted countries won't find it easy to support the European Central Bank and the IMF." – Lord Lamont in The Telegraph
Former Labour Cabinet minister John Hutton appointed to head a commission that will look for ways to cut the cost of pensions for public sector workers – Independent
> ConservativeHome's verdict: "Appointing the likes of Field and John Hutton binds some of the Left's most thoughtful people into the Coalition's most difficult decisions."
Cameron embarrassed after Will Hutton, appointed by him to advise on public sector pay differentials, accuses Coalition of planning "brutish" cuts – Telegraph
Chief Constables are visiting Downing Street to hear about Coalition plans for directly elected police commissioners – BBC
"The Prime Minister is expected to tell chief constables from across the country that they will have to do more work with less money and accept a higher level of public scrutiny through a regime of elected officials overseeing their performances." – Times (£)
More than one thousand EU officials earn more than the Prime Minister – Telegraph
Angela Rumbold dies
"Tory former education minister and party vice-chairman Dame Angela Rumbold has died, the Conservatives said today. The 77-year-old ex-MP forged a Westminster reputation as an outspoken Thatcherite who also worked hard to secure more representation for women. Tributes were led by party co-chairman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who hailed her 'tireless effort' to improve schools." – Daily Mail
> Leave your tributes on The ConservativeHome Gazette
The World Cup has given South Africa renewed pride and hope for the future – Boris Johnson in The Telegraph
Gays have won their political battles – Julian Glover in The Guardian
Greece is the sideshow, a warm-up act. Spain is the main event – Irwin Stelzer in the Wall Street Journal says Spain will determine the €urozone's future
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