European-parliament-strasbourg-inside 9pm Parliament: In Westminster George Osborne announces spending cuts. Meanwhile in Strasbourg…

7.45pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: What was Nigel Farage doing during George Osborne's statement on the CSR?

6pm Latest on CentreRight:

5.45pm Latest on the Comprehensive Spending Review:

5.30pm Howard Flight, Sajid Javid MP, Ruth Lea, Andrew Lilico, Matthew Sinclair and Nick Wood on Platform: ConHome's expert panel give their take on the Comprehensive Spending Review

4.15pm ToryDiary: Too many cuts or too few? Will the cuts hurt the Tories or are voters ready for them? Which cuts did you approve of and which do you oppose?

3.30pm ToryDiary: Has George Osborne balanced the budget on the backs of the poorest?

2.30pm WATCH: Video highlights of George Osborne's Comprehensive Spending Review Statement

1.30pm LeftWatch: With Labour still lacking a plan for how to reduce the deficit, Alan Johnson admits he needs help to come up with one

HO 12.30pm ToryDiary: Rolling Highlights from the Comprehensive Spending Review

12.30pm ToryDiary: At PMQs, David Cameron tells Ed Miliband that he can't attack the Government's spending plans if he hasn't got a plan of his own

11.30am Martin Sewell on CentreRight: The BBC is wrestling with precisely the same budgetary issues as the Coalition Government – and Legal Aid lawyers

10.30am Lee Rotherham on CentreRight: "If the Eurozone countries are now in a pickle, and need British acquiescence to change the terms of the party, then London has a precedent. Bring back national control of the UK’s fisheries and scrap the CFP as our price for agreeing."

10am Charlie Elphicke on CentreRight: Chancellor seeks to protect public services in spending review

ToryDiary: Merkel and Sarkozy give Cameron and Hague an opportunity to deliver on their renegotiation promises

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Howard Flight, Sajid Javid MP, Ruth Lea, Andrew Lilico, Matthew Sinclair and Nick Wood on Platform: ConHome's expert panel previews the Comprehensive Spending Review

Peter Bone Parliament: Peter Bone seeks to abolish the "flatterers, cajolers and sometime bullies" that are the party Whips

Local Government: Hammersmith and Fulham slash bureuacracy for voluntary groups

Mark Field MP on CentreRight: The impact of the CSR will only start to become apparent next year

Neil O'Brien on CentreRight: The truth about public sector jobs


George Osborne to announce that 500,000 public sector jobs will go…

George Osborne summer 2010 "Six million public servants will be put on notice today that one in twelve will lose their jobs as George Osborne takes the axe to vast swaths of the State. A day after David Cameron unveiled the deepest cuts to Britain’s defence budget for 30 years — including 42,000 job losses among civilians and servicemen — the Chancellor will lay out the full extent of his austerity drive. Mr Osborne will say that the £83 billion spending cuts over four years offer “a hard road to a better Britain”. – The Times (£)

"Pay for most public sector workers will be frozen for two years, while their average pension contributions could rise by up to 3 percentage points – an effective pay cut – to save the taxpayer billions of pounds. The chancellor’s austerity package was praised in advance on Tuesday night by Mervyn King, Bank of England governor, who defined “S.O.B.E.R.” as meaning “a decade of savings, orderly budgets and equitable rebalancing”. – FT (£)

…and it was Danny Alexander who unwittingly revealed the numbers

Danny Alexander "Danny Alexander has become the latest victim of the lenses trained on senior politicians. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury had a copy of today's spending review document on his lap as he was snapped in his car, with words warning of 490,000 public sector job losses clearly visible." – The Independent

"The Chief Secretary to the Treasury – who has been nicknamed Beaker after the Muppets character – was reading the document, which was caught on camera by waiting photographers." – Daily Mail

Day of cuts begins with raid on BBC

"Haggling over the deepest public spending cuts since the second world war has culminated in the BBC being forced to accept a 16% budget cut that will see its licence fee frozen for six years and the corporation taking over funding of the World Service from the Foreign Office. The negotiations left the BBC stunned, with insiders claiming that a licence fee settlement that would normally take years to thrash out had been imposed in three days." – The Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Coalition imposes 16% real terms cut in funding on BBC

> Alex Deane on CentreRight asks if it's fair that the BBC isn't getting cut as much as most government departments

Pension age to increase to 68 by 2038

"The pension age will be increased to 68 more quickly than expected, under Government plans to boost the economy. Millions of workers will have to work for years extra to counter the growing bill caused by people living longer. It is understood the pension age will rise to 66 by 2016 and to 68 by 2038, which is eight years earlier than expected." – Daily Telegraph

Deficit "will not shrink quickly"

"Economic forecasters have dealt an early blow to the Government's spending cuts as they warned the measures would not shrink the deficit as quickly as expected. Skip related content. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said lower growth would lead to less tax revenue, which would hold back efforts to rein in Britain's ballooning debt" – Reuters

Universities braced for cuts of more than £4 billionBBC

Science budget to be cut by 9% over 4 yearsReuters

Social housing budget "to be cut in half"BBC

Unions stage polite protest over spending cuts…

"The unions came to Westminster today, like doomsayers waiting for the rest of the country to catch up. The TUC kicked off what will become a difficult and protracted battle with a very polite protest. They booked a hall, made appointments with their MPs and invited the terribly well-spoken actor Benedict Cumberbatch to address the audience of 2,000 activists." – The Guardian

…but where was Ed Miliband?

Ed Miliband on Marr "When Ed Miliband was campaigning to become party leader, he promised union members that he would join them on a rally against the cuts held in London yesterday. By contrast, his brother David bravely refused to follow suit. And yet, surprise surprise, once union votes had installed Mr Miliband in his party’s top job, he suddenly decided that he couldn’t come after all." – Daily Mail

Lord Fowler warns of "a turbulent period of demonstrations, protests and industrial action”The Herald

Clegg struggles to contain his party's 'guilt by association' with Coalition cuts

"Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, yesterday tried to calm jitters among Liberal Democrat MPs about the impact of the cuts – not least on the party's own electoral fortunes. He said: "The spending review provides the best evidence yet of why we are in government – and that we are delivering on our priorities"… In a high-risk strategy, Mr Clegg urged his MPs to share ownership of the cuts, describing them as a "Coalition process and Coalition product". – The Independent

Poll hands Conservatives economy boost ahead of CSR

"Britain's best hope of emerging from economic austerity lie with the Conservative Party a new poll has found, handing the Government a timely endorsement ahead of today's round of public spending cuts. The latest Reuters/Ipsos MORI political monitor ruled that 38% of people asked believed the centre-right Conservatives have the best economic policies, compared to 25% who preferred the Labour Party's stance." – Daily Telegraph

Most think cuts are unavoidable The Sun

> Last night's ToryDiary: The state of public opinion on the eve of 'Axe Wednesday'

Allister Heath: A traumatic but necessary cutback

Allister Heath "The coalition has no choice but to act; the pain of the next few years would turn into a far greater disaster otherwise. Years of over-spending under Labour, combined with the recession, mean that the public sector is facing its day of reckoning. Government spending is too large for a shrunken private sector to support. There is nothing anybody can do about this reality: the spending cuts are the minimum required to eliminate the structural deficit over the next few years and are being accompanied by painful tax hikes." – Allister Heath in City AM

Daniel Finkelstein: The deficit is your fault. And mine. All of us

"As a result of this spending review lots of things that we like will get worse. Even with reform and efficiency. They will get worse because we spent too much money, all of us, and now we have to spend less. We will see cuts we don’t like and we will wonder if this one or that one is really necessary. And the answer is yes. We created this mess and now we have to get out of it. There’s a reason why we are all in this together." – Daniel Finkelstein in The Times (£)

Simon Heffer: £83 billion sounds a lot – but these cuts are nowhere near enough

"The reduction of £83 billion sounds like a lot of money, but it still represents a £92 billion increase in public spending by 2014-15. It will leave a state that is still too large, that is too much of a drain on the productive areas of the economy, and that is undertaking functions that could be done more efficiently and cheaply if transferred to the private sector. It will also leave a level of debt that will impoverish us steadily as interest rates rise, as one day they must. More should have been cut, and there should have been no shame in having an ideological ambition to take the state out of people’s lives as far as possible." – Simon Heffer in the Daily Telegraph

Jonathan Freedland: Osborne will escape public wrath if Labour lets him win the blame gameThe Guardian

Boris Johnson to axe Western extension of Congestion Charge today

Johnson Boris Pointing "Boris Johnson will later today confirm the complete scrapping of the western extension zone (WEZ) of the congestion charge from Christmas Eve. It’ll be part of a “mini Comprehensive Spending Review” announcement by Boris in which the implications of the cuts to London’s budget announced by the Government will be spelt out." – Andrew Gilligan in the Daily Telegraph

Defence cuts will leave Britain "unable to fight wars like Iraq and Afghanistan"

"Britain will no longer be able to fight conflicts on the scale of Iraq or Afghanistan after defence cuts significantly reduced the number of troops, aircraft and ships that can be sent to war. The Coalition’s defence review yesterday outlined cuts across the Armed Forces that will reduce the military operations the country will be able to conduct in future." – Daily Telegraph

"Britain will delay renewing its nuclear deterrent and cut back its army, navy and air force, the government said on Tuesday, but the scale of the reductions was far smaller than of those facing other government departments." – Reuters

"David Cameron has often described himself as a pragmatist when it comes to foreign and defence policy – and true to form the best thing that can be said about the strategic defence and security review is that it is shamelessly pragmatic." – James Blitz in the FT (£)

"No choices are easy when it comes to imposing cuts to the Armed Forces, and there will be pain felt in communities across Britain as a result of the decisions made – but still, they represent an important first step towards clearing up Labour's mess." – Daily Telegraph editorial

Harrier pilots bombard Cameron over defence cutsDaily Express

> Yesterday in Parliament: Highlights from David Cameron's statement on the defence review

EU proposes new Europe-wide VAT

EU-FLAG "The European Commission has put forward proposals for direct EU taxes on member states, including a possible EU-wide value-added tax (VAT). The proposals are part of a package of options for finding new sources of revenue for the European Union budget. EU Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski first said in August that he wanted member states to consider allowing the EU to levy direct taxes." – BBC

Bercow announces plaque in memory of Ian Gow

"A plaque is to be installed in the House of Commons in memory of a former Sussex MP who died when the IRA detonated a bomb under his car. Former Eastbourne MP Ian Gow, who was Margaret Thatcher's parliamentary private secretary, died in the blast on 30 July 1990. Commons speaker John Bercow said the memorial plaque would be placed in the Commons chamber. Mr Bercow said: "The matter was considered at the House of Commons Commission meeting last night and I am pleased to advise the House that the commission decided unanimously that there should be a permanent memorial to the late Ian Gow and that would likely take the form of a plaque." – BBC

Lady Thatcher "in good spirits" after being admitted to hospital for checks after flu infection

Margaret Thatcher 2010 "Baroness Thatcher was admitted to hospital last night — a week after she was forced to miss her own 85th birthday party through ill health. The former Prime Minister was taken by ambulance to the private Cromwell Hospital in West London suffering from an infection, believed to be linked to the flu she had last week." – The Times (£)

"Sir Mark Thatcher said his mother was doing "surprisingly good" after she was taken by ambulance for private treatment at Bupa Cromwell Hospital in west London. "She is in very good spirits, absolutely excellent," he said after a visit, adding tests due to be performed on the baroness were "entirely precautionary". – Sky News


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