6.30pm WATCH: Simon Burns MP: "Liberal Democrat, Crossbench, and even Labour peers" have helped "strengthen" NHS reforms

4pm ToryDiary: Who said that surveys showing strong support for a high top tax rate were "the usual opinion poll guff"?

3.45pm WATCH: Matthew Hancock MP: Tomorrow's Budget will be "a Budget for working families"

3pm Steve Baker MP on Comment: It’s time to denationalise marriage

Screen shot 2012-03-20 at 14.32.07

2.45pm WATCH: The Queen reacts to the Speaker's assertion that she is the "kaleidoscope Queen of a kaleidoscope country"

2.30pm MPsETC: Jacob Rees-Mogg urges the Government to respect ancient British liberties and restrict powers of entry

2pm Local government: Boris opens up 8% lead in latest poll

Queen Jubilee speech12.30pm WATCH: The Queen gives Diamond Jubilee address to Westminster Hall

Noon ConHomeUSA newslinks: Paul Ryan unveils "Path to Prosperity" budget

10.30am Kit Malthouse on Comment: Dealing with some misconceptions about compulsory sobriety

ToryDiary: A fresh statement of ConservativeHome's purpose

50PAlso on ToryDiary: Tory members support abolition of 50p rate but urge Osborne to make lower petrol duty his Budget priority

Christopher Pincher MP on Comment: National pay bargaining is a throwback to the collectivist 1970s – and it should go

Also on Comment: Matthew Jupp - Why the Chancellor should leave higher rate tax relief for pensions alone

MPsETC: George Osborne implements Ben Gummer MP's taxpayer receipt idea and also Mark Menzies MP's Sunday trading suggestion

Peter Walker on Local Government: Changing police employment conditions is key to reform

WATCH: Boris Johnson gives schoolchildren a lesson on the history of the Olympic torch

Budget news 1) Taxpayers to be told how Government spends their tax

Telegraph20th march"Each person will be sent an annual tax statement setting out what proportion of their income has been deducted and explaining… what ministers have used it for. The move, which will come into force in 2014, is expected to help ministers persuade voters of the need for public spending cuts, including welfare payments… For example, according to Treasury calculations based on current taxes, someone earning £50,000 would be informed that their taxes will fund £4,727 worth of welfare payments, including £493 of housing benefit annually and £860 in sickness benefits." – Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday - Charlie Elphicke MP on Comment: We should target overseas tax dodgers, help the low-paid and only then abolish 50p

Budget news 2) £20bn in government loans for small business

"George Osborne will pledge to remove a crucial barrier to Britain's economic recovery today by offering £20bn of government-backed, low-cost loans to small firms. After failing to persuade the banks to release more of their cash reserves to boost the flatlining economy, the Chancellor will announce that companies with a turnover of up to £50m will be able to apply for the first £5bn tranche of loans from today. Banks taking part in the credit easing scheme will provide loans one percentage point lower than they would otherwise have been." – Independent

  • Cheaper loans used in latest salvo against independence – The Scotsman
  • Move over Merlin, credit easing has arrived – Ben Chu

Budget news 3) Redistributive taxes on the rich to appease Lib Dems?

Clegg on Sky"It is likely that Mr Osborne will announce a new minimum rate of tax that everyone will pay, irrespective of how they define their income, as part of a range of measures designed to squeeze the super-rich. A version of the “tycoon tax” floated by Mr Clegg, this is said to go beyond closing loopholes and clamping down on stamp duty evasion… Mr Osborne is also expected to make the case that the Budget measures will, overall, redistribute money from rich to poor." – Rachel Sylvester in the Times (£)

  • The Lib Dem strategy: insist the Budget will make the rich pay more – Guardian
  • Non doms flee UK tax attack – City AM

> From yesterday:

Budget news 4) Boris Island?

BORIS THUMBS UP"More airport capacity is needed in the South-east of England for the country to remain a competitive force in world trade, David Cameron warned yesterday. He said the Government would carefully examine the case for a new "Boris Island" airport in the Thames estuary, the pet project of the London Mayor, Boris Johnson. But Mr Cameron's words will also reopen the possibility of expanding Heathrow airport later in the decade, even though a third runway has been ruled out by the Coalition." – Independent

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: The Government finally goes for growth but the politics won't be easy

Tories retake poll lead but appear at odds with public on 50p taxGuardian

Tim Montgomerie: Class is the Tories' Clause IV moment – can Osborne and Cameron show they are on the side of strivers rather than millionaires?

Screen shot 2012-03-19 at 07.39.55"What Cameron and Osborne need is a blood-on-the-carpet moment that demonstrates they are on the side of working families. Nothing is more likely to help the two men counter the notion that they are out-of-touch than a battle with elements within their own party who want them to defend people who got rich from the property boom. They should relish a fight with Tory MPs who are more worried about people with £2m homes than people on incomes of £20,000. Every penny raised should be used to fund tax relief for working people. It should be the beginning of a much broader move to increase tax on wealth and cut tax on wealth creation as well as lighten the load of those still aspiring to the first rung of the housing ladder." – Tim Montgomerie in the Guardian

> From yesterday - Columnist Bruce Anderson: Osborne may at last be about to reveal his economic philosophy

OBR to raise forecast for economic growth

"Forecasts for the UK economy will be revised a touch higher in the Budget on Wednesday, as the Office for Budget Responsibility is expected to follow recent more optimistic moves by private sector economists." – FT (£)

  • "DON’T say it too loudly – but the economy appears to have gained traction again." – Allister Heath

Budget news in brief:

  • Osborne to raise income tax threshold to £9,000 now, and £10,000 by 2015 – FT (£)
  • Private funds show interest in toll roads – City AM
  • Osborne has mastered the other three members of the Quad – The Times (£)
  • Former LibDem Treasurer calls for top rate to be slashed to 35p – Daily Express
  • The UK's poorest areas could drive growth – BBC

Budget comment in brief:

  • Economically it's neutral, politically it's radical – Steve Richards
  • Voters won’t like this Budget, but they don’t trust Labour either – Mary Riddell
  • Anti-Tory! anti-family! anti-success! – David Green
  • This child benefit injustice betrays Conservative values – Daily Mail editorial
  • Privatising our roads will be a terrible deal – just as it was for the telecoms and water industries - Aditya Chakrabortty
  • It's full-steam ahead for George Osborne's inequality drive – Polly Toynbee

The government's plans for roads built by private companies ‘will end in mass tolls’

Cameron Rajoy presser"The Prime Minister’s commitment to “massively increase” the amount of private sector finance on trunk roads ran into strong opposition from transport groups yesterday, but won the support of the business lobby. Motoring organisations and transport charities said that plans to let private companies charge drivers to use new roads and possibly new lanes on existing routes would inevitably lead to more widespread tolls." - The Times (£)

  • 'Lexus Lanes' for rich, gridlock for the rest… pay-as-you-go proposals will allow wealthiest drivers to bypass jams - Daily Mail
  • Road charges take their toll on French drivers - Chares Bremner (£)
  • Business leaders call on SNP to lease out Scotland’s road network - The Scotsman

> From yesterday - WATCH:

I'm prepared to risk unpopularity over developing the countryside, says David Cameron

"The Coalition is prepared to risk "short-term unpopularity" over controversial plans to build new towns, runways and roads across miles of British countryside, David Cameron has said. Mr Cameron said he was ready to ignore "furious objections" to make sure the country has better transport links and enough housing. He admitted there would be “costs and protests” about the construction projects, especially a new airport runway near London." – Daily Telegraph

  • New towns to 'disfigure' UK: Fury over move to ditch 60 years of planning law in bid to construct new garden cities – Daily Mail

Government u-turn forced on aircraft carriers

"David Cameron will perform a humiliating U-turn over the warplanes that will fly from the Royal Navy’s planned new aircraft carriers. Military chiefs have advised him to axe plans to buy the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter after the cost of converting the carriers to fly them trebled to £2billion. Instead, the Government will buy the F-35B version which takes off and lands like the Harrier jump jet – a move they controversially decided against in the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010." – Daily Mail

Lords approve NHS reforms and Labour force emergency Commons debate

BercowJohnPublicDoesntLikeIt"The government's planned changes to the NHS in England have cleared their final reading in the House of Lords. Labour have forced a Commons debate on whether MPs can consider planned NHS changes for a final time before an assessment of the potential risks to the health service is published. It will take place on Tuesday after being granted by Speaker John Bercow. The government has agreed to a series of changes to the bill and want it to become law as soon as possible." – BBC | Guardian

Labour warns thousands more schools are needed by 2015 to cope with birth rise

"At least 454,571 places will be needed to cope with rising birth rates and an influx of foreigners. That means 2,030 extra schools, based on an intake of 224 pupils, Labour claims. Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg urged Chancellor George Osborne to use his Budget to deal with the "growing crisis" in schools." – The Sun

Lords_ChamberDiamond Jubilee: The Queen to address Parliament – BBC

SNP attacks Shetland and Orkney 'troublemakers' after islanders say they may not join independent ScotlandDaily Telegraph

Veteran Argentine politician launches vicious attack on Maggie as he claims Iron Lady suffered 'illness of alcoholism'Daily Mail

Terence Blacker: Like it or not, Sentamu is the best hope for the Church of England - Independent

Royal Mail keeps no records of £1million-worth of undelivered presents it auctions off every yearDaily Telegraph

Newspaper boss speaks out on town’s ‘failed’ multi-culturalismHoldTheFrontPage

Mark Thompson to leave the BBC after the Olympics FT (£)


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