4pm Nathalie Tamam on Comment on Iran: Is time running out for diplomacy and sanctions?
3.45pm ThinkTankCentral: Policy Exchange begins its second decade with a focus on the striving classes
12.45pm Local government: Council byelection results from yesterday
Noon ConHomeUSA newslinks: Obama faces rebellion from Democrats on gas prices
11.30am ConHomeUSA: Obama's 'The Road We've Travelled' video provides a model for Cameron
11am Matthew Hancock MP on Comment: The Government's legal aid reforms protect the vulnerable and deliver justice for the taxpayer
Columnist Bruce Anderson: Cameron will suffer if the Coalition looks obsessed with gay marriage and Lords reform
Concluding our ThinkTankCentral series on Cutting Spending: If we want smaller government, we will have to think big argues Neil O'Brien of Policy Exchange
Local government: Boris nine point plan – a rebuttal of the rebuttal
The second edition of The Deep End is now live. It's the new part of ConHome that, once a week, takes us below the surface of the daily news events:
- What happens when two atheists and two agnostics meet for lunch?
- "English opponents of the Union talk about money: about Scotland’s free eye tests, prescription charges and tuition fees. These should not be the arguments on which Great Britain is broken"
- A little-noted fact these days is that the Anglosphere is still far and away the world’s largest economic bloc
- Comparing American and French healthcare systems.
- America's top 1% captured 93% of the income gains in the first year of Obama's recovery
Read all of The Deep End.
Lib Dem President Tim Farron: Our presence in the Coalition has stymied the Tories
"We took power because the alternative was a Tory minority government, a snap election and then a Tory majority government. As a party in government we've fought like tigers to win tax cuts for the poor, to protect our NHS, to green our economy, to kick Trident into the long grass, to remain at the heart of Europe and to reform our democracy. We have made more difference to this country in the last two years than we made in the previous 65 years." – Tim Farron in The Guardian
- Their failure to stop the health bill will come to define the Lib Dems – Polly Toynbee in The Guardian
Cameron will today promise new laws to reduce the chronic delays endured by children waiting for adoption – Daily Mail
"The Government is expected to set out plans for a more effective national register to match children with families who want to adopt, even if they are hundreds of miles apart. And a new time limit is expected to be imposed to force councils to approve prospective adopters more quickly and allow them to take custody of a child." – Telegraph
Cameron resistant to Osborne's wish to cut 50p tax rate to 45p – Independent
- The top 10% of Britons already pay nearly 60% of Britain’s taxes – Dr David Green in the Daily Mail
- "Whilst I agree fairness is important, in current circumstances I think successful recovery is even more so as it can deliver the jobs that fairness and solvency require" – John Redwood
"George Osborne is looking to raise taxes on the pension contributions of the highest earners in this month’s Budget, in a move which will release funds to help low earners escape the tax system but antagonise some Tory MPs" – FT (£)
The Daily Mail declares that a raid on pensions would be "an unforgivable mistake"
The Express agrees: "Savers have already been punished by the mix of poor returns and high inflation that has been brought about by the Government’s policies of low interest rates and so‐called “quantitative easing”. So Chancellor George Osborne needs to get back to basics. He should not view his role as finding ways to squeeze yet more cash out of private citizens to bankroll the bloated state sector. Rather he should calculate how much money can reasonably be afforded in taxes and then find ways to reduce state spending to that level."
Real household incomes likely to be growing again by general election year – Telegraph
"Families will lose on average £1,000 by next year because of the combined tax and benefit changes introduced by the Government, economists said yesterday. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said that changes coming into effect next month, which will save the Treasury £4.1 billion, will cost each household £160 in 2012-13. But the next year this will more than double to £370 once the full year effect of fuel duties and child benefit are felt. This will come on top of changes totalling £630 between January last year and next month, which include the increase in VAT to 20 per cent." – Times (£) | Daily Mail
The Sun's verdict: "A raft of changes to handouts and tax credits come into effect next month, effectively snatching away the tax breaks Chancellor George Osborne oversaw during the past year. This means that if a household has only one earner, it will have gained NOTHING from the Coalition Government's centrepiece pledge to help those on modest wages."
Rail passengers face higher fares during a new “super peak” period under government proposals to ease overcrowding at the busiest times – Times (£)
The Sun Says: "The Government hopes to make peak-time trains unaffordable for many commuters and force them to travel later. What are they meant to do? They may not have the luxury of swanning into work any time they fancy."
Eric Pickles: Migrants who failed to learn English risk becoming a ghettoised and unemployable sub-class – Telegraph
"Immigrants who do not learn English become a virtually unemployable ‘sub-class’, a Cabinet minister claimed yesterday. Eric Pickles said it was unacceptable that children were leaving school unable to speak the language ‘like a native’. No other senior politician has been so outspoken on such a contentious issue." – Daily Mail
Britain has not ruled out providing more 'non-lethal' help to Syria's rebels, according to William Hague – Telegraph
Olympics runs £2 billion over budget – Independent
Lib Dem anger as Sayeeda Warsi signals determination to win Eastleigh from Chris Huhne – FT (£)
"Chris Huhne may quit politics even if he beats a speeding points charge, the Tory chairman has revealed. Baroness Warsi said the Tories would "fight hard and fight to win" any by-election in the ex-Energy Secretary's seat in Eastleigh, Hampshire." – The Sun
Boris Johnson to hold biggest ever conference call on Monday night with supporters – Telegraph
Anushka Asthana: Promote your talented women MPs, Mr Cameron
"Look to your backbenches, Mr Cameron, and you’ll see an abundance of female talent, ready to talk on the issues that matter most to women. Such as Elizabeth Truss (maths education, free enterprise and childcare) and Andrea Leadsom (the EU, banks and sex education). Or Claire Perry, who chairs the Women’s Forum and campaigns on internet porn; Amber Rudd ,who is leading the charge on teenage pregnancy; and Jane Ellison, fighting against female genital mutilation." – Anushka Asthana in The Times (£)
Sir Andrew Green: Immigration to Britain is greater than at any time in history. We must pull up the drawbridge before it is too late – Daily Mail
Scottish Tory U-turn as Ruth Davidson backs SNP on minimum drink pricing – Scotsman
"The decision to make Edinburgh the headquarters of the £3 billion UK Green Investment Bank was made in part to strengthen the case against Scotland breaking away from the UK, The Scotsman can reveal."
"The unemployed would be guaranteed the offer of a job but could lose their benefits for six months if they turned it down, under a tough new policy on welfare planned by Labour" – Independent
In praise of Norman St John-Stevas, an unconventional democrat – Economist
UUP leader Tom Elliott quitting as party leader – BBC
The wrong war in the wrong place. Every day we linger there means more lives wasted – Max Hastings in the Daily Mail
"Aid is being poured into the country, much of it stolen, wasted or departing in suitcases on the next plane to Dubai. Both Britain and America have signalled their exit by 2014, leaving Afghans to make peace with whomever they regard as the enemy. Meanwhile, American marines are planning to leave Helmand this summer, which puts British soldiers back in an exposed position, mentoring an unreliable Kabul army to keep Pashtun fighters at bay. The prospect is of a retreat as depressing as from Basra in 2007, with local troops expected to continue a civil war that Nato began. Everyone knows the Taliban will just take over." – Simon Jenkins in The Guardian
40% of BNP supporters believe armed conflict between ethnic, racial or religious groups could be justifiable – Guardian
And finally… Obama to take British PM David Cameron to NCAA basketball tournament game in Ohio – Washington Post
While in the US, Cameron should look at Romney’s plans to stimulate growth – Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph
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