8.30pm WATCH: Two Conservative candidates for Police & Crime Commissioner Posts introduce themselves:

6.30pm Local Government: Labour backed sale of Elliot School "playing fields"

3.30pm Darren Millar on Comment: It's time for a Cancer Treatment Fund for Wales

1pm LeftWatch notes a new campaign to highlight sources of Tory funding: ‘The website David Cameron doesn't want you to see’

11am Matthew Oakley on Comment: How's this for a deal? Regional pay restraint…to fund regional infrastructure

Screen shot 2012-08-20 at 10.02.23ToryDiary:

Lord Ashcroft on Comment publishes new polling on the issue of gay
marriage and concludes
: "If, as some argue, the Prime Minister were to
drop his plans to introduce gay marriage he would be unlikely to win
many back on the strength of it. People who oppose gay marriage would
remember that he was in favour of it before the going got tough. Those
who support it would see that he abandoned the idea in the face of a
determined minority. Those who don’t much care either way would notice
another flip-flop."

Also on Comment:

Local Government: Conservative councillor attacks Policy Exchange proposal to sell expensive social housing

The Deep End: Modern culture: Ugliness is compulsory

WATCH: Akin defies Romney to stay in Missouri GOP Senate race

Osborne on course to borrow £30 billion more than expected.  Crucial OBR verdict will come in the autumn

1) Corporation tax down, benefit payments up

"Britain faces another round of savage spending cuts after the Government was forced to borrow more than expected last month. North Sea oil tax revenues have collapsed, while corporation tax receipts also fell as companies continue to feel the effects of the recession. Compounding the problems was a 7 per cent rise in benefits payments…But Treasury minister Chloe Smith insisted the figures showed Britain had to stick “to the plan that has won international credibility”. – The Sun

  • UK vulnerable as oil and gas output drops – Financial Times (£)
  • UK taxpayers face £1bn bill if stricken Greece leaves the euro – Daily Mail
  • Miliband should grasp that nothing can be made cheaper painlessly – The Independent

2) A £600 million deficit, not a £2 billion surplus

"Public sector net borrowing is £9.3bn higher so far this year than at the same stage last year, excluding some distorting effects, putting strain on the coalition’s plan to close the structural current deficit within five years.The public finances are usually in surplus in July, a big month for quarterly corporate tax receipts, but this year the government borrowed about £600m over the month to bridge the gap between spending and revenue. Economists had predicted a £2.2bn surplus." – Financial Times (£)

3) Chancellor faces further spending scaleback…

"Treasury officials are now warning that if the trend continues Mr Osborne could forced cut back still further of public sector expenditure in order to meet the Government’s target of eliminating the structural deficit by 2017 when he makes his autumn statement in November.[A Treasury] source said much would depend on whether the independent Office of Budget Responsibility – which is tasked with providing estimates on the health of the public finances – concludes that the borrowing overshoot can be offset in future years." – The Independent

  • It will soon be crunch time for Osborne's rules – Ben Chu, The Independent

4) …As a "growth push" next month is briefed

"Whitehall sources spoke of a co-ordinated growth push across the government in September. There will be a particular focus on liberalising planning laws, guaranteeing more housebuilding and boosting infrastructure projects. In a sign of the government's radical thinking, ministers are drawing up plans to reform the Highways Agency so it can borrow money to pay for a "horizon shift" in spending on roads to boost the economy and reduce congestion and delays." – The Guardian

5) Will there be a LibDem revolt? Survey finds two in five party activists don't want Clegg as election leader

Screen shot 2012-08-22 at 08.03.40"Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, is also facing the first signs of an internal revolt. John Pugh, the Lib Dem MP for Southport, asked whether slowing down the pace of deficit reduction might have been a better economic course. A new survey of 500 activists for the website Lib Dem Voice showed that 41 per cent did not want Mr Clegg to fight the next election as party leader." – The Times (£)

The IOD's verdict on the Government and the economy to date: too little, too slowly

"The Institute of Directors (IoD) says that the Chancellor’s growth strategy is largely “ineffective” and “too little, too slowly”, as demands increase for radical action in the autumn. A survey of more than 1,200 business leaders found they have “serious concerns” that the recession will last throughout 2012 with only a modest recovery next year. Their concerns come as official economic figures showed that the Chancellor has had to increase public borrowing." – Daily Telegraph

  • The Times's list of disagreements between the two Coalition partners exaggerated them – John Redwood's Blog

Poll finds that half of all drivers don't know that 60p out of every £1 spent at the pump is taxThe Sun

Tory MPs asked to plead with members to attend party conference

say they have been pressured to persuade grassroots supporters to go to
the annual conference in Birmingham to fill the hall and boost party
coffers.  Last year the ConservativeHome website found the average cost
to a party member of attending was £722 when accommodation, travel, food
and drink was factored in.  One Tory frontbencher said: ‘Conference is
going to be a washout." – Daily Mail

  • Shunned
    by rich donors, Mr Cameron may soon regret his neglect of the raffle
    ticket buying Tory rank and file – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail

Next Welsh Secretary must have a seat in Wales, leading Tories sayWales Online

Pickles attacks BBC and Ofsted secrecy over RIPA surveillance…

Screen shot 2012-08-22 at 08.40.48"The communities secretary, Eric Pickles, has sharply criticised the BBC and other public bodies for trying to hide their use of covert surveillance powers without any judicial oversight or transparency. Responding to research by the campaign group Big Brother Watch, Pickles said it was "simply unacceptable" for publicly funded bodies including the BBC, Ofsted and Royal Mail to use powers in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to spy on the public and then try to avoid any accountability." – The Guardian

> Today on Comment: Nick Pickles – It's time to take the scythe to the Grim RIPA

…Pursuing smokers, stalking dog owners – the 9,600 'missions' of council snoopers using RIPA powers

"The surveillance operations exploit anti-terror laws but many are targeting minor offences such as flouting the smoking ban, dog fouling and dropping litter. Council officers have also gone undercover to carry out ‘test purchases’ at local escort agencies, it was revealed last night…Civil liberties campaigners said was clear the hugely controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act was being abused." – Daily Mail

£1.4 billion saved from bonfire of the quangos

"And with many more of the public bodies due to be merged or closed, reforms are on track to hit the full target of saving a total of at least £2.6billion – equivalent to £150 for every working household – by the next election. The Cabinet Office said 106 of the quangos – quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations – have been shut down so far, more than half way towards the current “first wave” target of 204." – Daily Express

  • Time to ignite the bonfire of the quangos – Daily Mail

> Today on Comment: Francis Maude MP – Over 100 quangos scrapped. Fewer than 70 left. £100 saved for each household – but there's more to do

Damian Green plans new computer database to track down 150,000 illegal immigrants in Britain

"Border chiefs are due to launch the project next month to deal with the huge backlog of foreign nationals who have overstayed their student or temporary work visas. Letters will be sent to those in the 'migration refusal pool' warning that they will be deported and barred from entering the UK if they do not leave within 28 days…Letters will be sent to those in the 'migration refusal pool' warning that they will be deported and barred from entering the UK if they do not leave within 28 days." – Daily Mail

Lord Baker: Is this is the most improved college in the country?

Screen shot 2012-08-22 at 08.21.06"I think that the greatest improvement in student performance in England over the past two years could well be at the University Technical College in Staffordshire…The students selected themselves, so there is a wide range of ability. In 2010 only 57 per cent were thought likely to get A-C grades at GCSE in English and maths in 2012. In the tests before Christmas they hit a brilliant performance rate of 73 per cent; and on Monday it was announced that in the Level II functional skills tests, such as how to write a business letter, students achieved 97 per cent in English and 91 per cent in maths." – Lord Baker, The Times (£)

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – The Left's real target isn't Gove's playing field decisions. It's his
education reforms – and it's time we all got wise to their game

MPs' outside earnings figures revive citizen-legislators-or-professional-politicians debateThe Times (£)

Rape views controversy 1) Galloway attacked by own party leader over his "sexual etiquette" podcast on Assange rape claims  – Daily Mail

Rape views controversy 2) Akin’s rape remarks a godsend for ObamaFinancial Times (£)

Rape views controversy 3) One in nine complaints 'written off' by policeDaily Telegraph

Rape views controversy 4) Male politicians still getting it wrong on rape – Louise Mensch, Daily Telegraph

Syria envoy says Assad resignation is up for discussionBBC

New Government "too posh to swear" in new fourth series of "In The Thick Of It"The Sun


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