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4.30pm WATCH: S&P downgrades US credit rating from AAA

2.45pm WATCH: A video reflecting on UKIP's warnings about the €urozone: "We told you so"

2pm ConHomeUSA: The top story on today's newslinks concerns America's downgrading by S&P, which comes as a result of Washington’s inability to address the US debt with the force needed

11.30am WATCH: Vince Cable: The €urozone crisis isn't about banks, "it's about sovereign debt, the debt of governments"

ToryDiary: End of term polls: Cameron and the Conservatives not damaged by Hackgate, continued grassroots support for the Coalition, and Labour's unconvincing fiscal message

Mats Mats Persson on Comment: The financial turmoil – what can the UK do?

Gabriel Sahlgren on ThinkTankCentral: Seek and thou shall find – exposing the confirmation bias of British free school critics

Local government: 

ConHomeUSA's The Republican: What has America got for $8.35 trillion of extra borrowing? "A glut of unoccupied homes, unemployment exceeding 9%, a stalled economy and a huge mountain of debt."

Bleak economic news dominates the headlines again

  • FT6thAug2011US credit rating downgraded to AA+ by Standard & Poor's – Guardian
  • Equities in worst week since 2008 crisis - FT (£)
  • Britain takes £150bn blow as debt chaos hits economy – The Times (£)
  • Emergency G7 summit called as markets continue to fall – Daily Telegraph
  • Double dip 'on the cards': UK economy in peril from world crisis, say ministers – Daily Mail
  • Europe cries out for leadership as global share sell-off continues – Independent
  • Scare market – The Sun Says
  • UK taxpayers face bank losses of £28bn – Independent
  • Scotland faces cash crisis with explosion of over-60s – The Scotsman

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: This is no time for half-measures. The €uro crisis gives George Osborne a great opportunity to reset the Coalition's economic policy. He needs to relaunch the Government with a ten year growth mission.

David Cameron speaks with European leaders… but stays on holiday

Cameron@Davos"David Cameron held talks with European leaders by telephone but refused to fly home from his foreign holiday yesterday as the crisis in the markets raged for a second day. The Conservative leader is not due to return from Italy for another week, while Mr Osborne is on holiday in Los Angeles and Mr Clegg is enjoying a break in France." – The Herald

"William Hague, the most senior Cabinet minister not enjoying a holiday abroad, rushed from his country residence to chair a Whitehall meeting about the financial crisis." – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: David Cameron spoke to Angela Merkel and George Osborne today… but John Prescott is still annoyed

Lib Dems want "sweetener" in return for agreeing to cut the 50p tax rate

Cable Vince March 2011 "The Liberal Democrats will keep the pressure up on George Osborne next month by using their party conference to press for a “sweetener” in return for agreeing to cut the 50p high rate of tax. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, repeated his hint that he wants a “mansion tax” that the Lib Dems could 'sell’ to their party as an example of a policy designed to ensure the rich pay their share." - Daily Telegraph

  • Cut VAT, not top tax rate, Labour urges Tories - Independent
  • 50p tax rate will be scrapped… but not yet – Daily Express

Iain Martin: Tax cuts are essential to stimulate growth

MARTIN IAIN "But it is the Government’s spending policy that needs most urgent review. The harsh truth is that more cuts are essential to allow the scope for tax reductions which will stimulate economic activity. It beggars belief that ministers still cling to the view that billions should be spent on foreign aid rather than being used as a stimulus for our flat-lining economy. Similarly, the imposition of a swathe of environmental regulations and green taxes on hard-pressed families and businesses — particularly increased energy bills, which, in turn puts pressure on jobs — should be suspended." – Iain Martin, in the Daily Mail

Cameron's American "super cop" idea blocked by Theresa May

MAY THERESA & CAMERON"It is understood that Downing Street informally sounded out Bill Bratton, the former New York and Los Angeles police chief, to see if he would be interested in taking the country’s most senior policing job. Mr Bratton … signalled he would be interested when he was approached. But Mrs May was uncomfortable with the idea, which would have ripped up the centuries-old tradition of British citizens serving in the police. Any immediate move was effectively blocked when an advert isement for the post was issued by the Home Office that specified that “applicants must be British citizens”." – Daily Telegraph 

Charles Moore: Why has the best man to run the Metropolitan Police been barred from applying?

MOORE"…this makes it all the more important that they should be led by people who can effect transformation, and let the world know about it. It would be a great pity if Whitehall timidity avoided this challenge. Theresa May should be pushed on this by Boris Johnson. Next year, the Mayor’s office for policing and crime comes into existence, and Johnson is standing for re-election. I can see him really changing London with the Old Bill (an unkind way of referring to Mr Bratton, who is 63 years old) at his side." – Charles Moore, in the Daily Telegraph

Iain Duncan Smith considers change in childcare benefits

DUNCAN SMITH DECEMBER 07"He wants more mothers to go back to work and to encourage them and make it worth their while he wants childcare costs to be met. He has established that most mothers decide that it is not worth going back to work after having a child if it is only for around 16 hours a week as any financial gain is offset by childcare fees. … The Department of Work and Pensions yesterday confirmed that one option being considered is allowing parents to only claim 70 per cent of childcare fees, a maximum of £210 a week." – Daily Telegraph

  • Liberal Democrats to demand changes to employment support allowance – Guardian

Grant Shapps targets wealthy council house tenants who sublet their homes

Shapps Grant On BBC"Under new laws those abusing the system will have their homes taken off them and face imprisonment, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. … Grant Shapps, the housing minister, said: “Social housing is really precious and it’s not right that tenancy fraud and abuse locks out some of the most vulnerable families from getting a roof over their heads.”" – Daily Telegraph

David Cameron aide helped derail Bombardier's Thameslink deal

"Michael Queen is among the Prime Minister’s cosy inner circle of economic experts. But he is also chief of Europe’s biggest buyout firm 3i group, which was involved in German firm Siemens securing the £1.4billion deal to build carriages for the Brighton to Bedford line." - Daily Mirror

"Chief 3i Executive Michael Queen is a member of a team of businessmen advising the Prime Minister on economic policy. And 3i chairman Sir Adrian Montague has been asked by Business Secretary Vince Cable to head the setting set up the Coalition’s Green Investment Bank." - Daily Express

The Guardian's interview with Nadine Dorries: "I suppose one advantage of the coalition is that the Liberal Democrats will be wiped out at the next election. That's a positive."

DORRIES NADINE""My views are not in tandem with the leadership of the party. I think my views are rooted in common sense." And what are their views rooted in? "You'd have to ask them." If she's detached from the leadership, she's very loyal to the party: "I suppose one advantage of the coalition is that the Liberal Democrats will be wiped out at the next election. That's a positive." One imagines many Tories feel this way, but it's not common for people to say it." – Guardian

Libraries will rely on volunteers to survive, says report

"Libraries will increasingly rely on volunteers and community groups, with more books distributed from shops and village halls, according to a report released on Friday from the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA)." – Guardian

Coalition's human rights reform panel "won't confront" the power of European judges  - Daily Mail

Lib Dems face clash with Tories over legal drugs callYorkshire Post

Tesco attacked by Labour as 'almighty conglomerate'Guardian

Baby P killer freed The Sun

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