5.45pm ToryDiary: Four paths to the abolition of the 50p tax rate
4.30pm Robert H Halfon MP on Comment: "According to Business Insider, estimates suggest that the US Federal Government have $54 billion to spend: Bill Gates has $56 billion. Apple meanwhile has $76.2 billion in cash and marketable securities."
4pm ConHomeUSA: The outlines of a US budget deal begin to become clear
2pm ConHomeUSA: Today's American political news
David T Breaker on Comment: Why the death penalty is wrong
Local government: Council byelection results from this week
Norman Lamont joins call to scrap 50p tax rate
"Lord Lamont, who was chancellor in John Major's Tory government in the early 1990s, uses an article in The Sunday Telegraph to declare that tax rates in Britain are "too high and too uncompetitive" compared to other European countries. He says the best way to cut the deficit would be with tax cuts backed by further cuts in public spending – but admits such a package would be "unlikely to be agreed by the coalition."" – The Sunday Telegraph
In a leader The Sunday Times (£) agrees: "The 50% top tax rate was Britain’s signal to the world that we are no longer concerned about attracting the best entrepreneurs to these shores. It should be abandoned."
Vince Cable rejects 50p tax cut without imposing some kind of mansion tax, saying relief for low-paid must come first
"Whether it's Ed Balls or the Mayor of London [Boris Johnson], they are assuming there is some kind of Father Christmas at work that helps you keep a balanced budget. Well, there isn't. You can't just have tax cuts without paying for them… "We will look at it [the 50p rate], but it will have to be balanced by something that's really strong in terms of tax fairness." Mr Cable will not cede his pet projects. He refuses to give up on a mansion tax – "mansions can't run away to Switzerland" – and is adamant the Lib Dem pre-election policy of a levy on homes worth £2m or more is "still a solid basis to proceed from"." – The Business Secretary interviewed in the Independent on Sunday
- "If reducing business taxes carries too much unfortunate baggage, why not reduce the taxes of ordinary people, too?" – Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph
The Cameron/ Osborne relationship has hit a rocky patch – Melissa Kite in the Mail on Sunday
- A shortage of empathy is lethal for a 21st-century government in hard times – Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph
Oliver Letwin: Public services will reform when public sector workers start fearing for their jobs
"You can't have room for innovation and the pressure for excellence without having some real discipline and some fear on the part of the providers that things may go wrong if they don't live up to the aims that society as a whole is demanding of them." – Oliver Letwin quoted in The Observer
Local authorities, environmental watchdogs and charities combine to attack HS2 – The Sunday Telegraph
- Because he wears a t-shirt, no one recognises that Steve Hilton is a Thatcherite – Ian Birrell in the Mail on Sunday (scroll to bottom of link)
- Also in the Mail on Sunday, Lord Tebbit applauds Hilton's proposal to burn regulations
- We need star-gazers like Hilton to think the unthinkable – Sarah Sands in the Independent on Sunday
- " I once asked one of his cabinet whether he regarded the prime minister as "intellectually curious". After a long pause during which he debated with himself what the loyal answer would be, the minister finally smiled and said: "I could call him many things, but not that." By having Mr Hilton around, the prime minister fills a gap in himself." – Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer
And Tim Montgomerie in The Sunday Telegraph: "My friend Paul Goodman has put it best. If you want to understand Steve Hilton, imagine Edmund Burke transported to contemporary San Francisco."
- The Sunday Times (£) argues that Andrew Cooper, the new Downing Street strategist, has reduced Hilton's power: "Cooper, a pollster brought in earlier this year after a series of government mishaps, has foiled Hilton’s more radical schemes with a strong dose of pragmatism. Hilton’s aversion to polling has been summarised as “you don’t test something you believe in”."
Sunder Katwala paints a very positive profile of 'the Black Boris'; Kwasi Kwarteng MP – Observer
Looming boundary changes will test solidarity of Coalition as it becomes clear how much Lib Dems will lose and Tories will gain – William Rees-Mogg in the Mail on Sunday
Only 35% of voters expect Nick Clegg to be Lib Dem leader by next election – The Sunday Times (£)
- Labour is ahead by 44% to 35% in latest YouGov survey. LDs register 10% support.
- "A YouGov poll in November 2010 found 74% of people supported the death penalty for murder in some circumstances, though only 16% supported it for all murders." – Anthony Wells
Pensions Minister Steve Webb believes MPs should pay higher contributions into their own scheme – The Sunday Times (£)
Labour sends 50 questions to Cameron about Murdoch links – BBC
Labour is accusing the government of moving NHS spending in England away from poorer areas towards richer parts of the country – BBC
David Miliband set for tentative return to front-line politics with twenty Q&A sessions at universities – Mail on Sunday
Blair to face withering fire in Iraq report; Chilcot criticisms said to zero-in on WMD, 'sofa-style', secret pledge to Bush, and post-invasion plans – Independent on Sunday
"The Mail on Sunday has been told that the former Prime Minister will be held to account on four main failings: Bogus claims that were made about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Not telling the British public about his secret pledge with George Bush to go to war. Keeping the Cabinet in the dark by his ‘sofa government’ style. Failing to plan to avoid the post-war chaos in Iraq."
Os-Borne in the USA; Chancellor takes family to Disneyland for summer break
"George Osborne has flown out to Hollywood for a luxurious holiday in one of LA’s smartest hotels. The Chancellor left behind Britain’s economic woes as he relaxed at Mr C’s, a new hotel where rooms can cost as much as £1,000 a night. He flew out from London on Friday to join wife Frances and their children Luke, 10, and Liberty, eight. They were later spotted enjoying a family day out at Disneyland on the outskirts of the city." – The Sunday Mirror
The PM's Tuscan holiday has also begun and The Sunday Telegraph reveals that his choice of holiday home is also a favourite haunt of TV chef Jamie Oliver.
Please don’t drop in, Mr Berlusconi – The Sunday Times (£) hopes Italy's scandal-struck PM won't visit.
And finally… Lib Dems are most active on Twitter, then Labour, then Tories – The Sunday Telegraph
Louise Mensch, Robert Halfon and Brandon Lewis are the Tories' top three tweeters – Mail on Sunday
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