- Ed Miliband warns of a lost decade of low growth if Cameron is re-elected
- Nigel Farage attacks the "LibLabCon" for all backing expensive AND ineffective renewable energy
6pm MPsETC: How Andrew Griffiths helped to cut beer duty
3.30pm Cameron Penny on Comment: There are three answers to our economic plight — Build! Build! Build!
Donna Edmunds on Comment: Ultimately, a Budget that doesn't fix the economy isn't a good Budget
Danny Alexander warns that armed Forces and police to face further spending cuts – Telegraph
In his interview for The Telegraph Danny Alexander also insists that Whitehall is wasting taxpayers' money.
Second UK credit downgrade looms as Fitch ratings agency puts AAA on watch – Guardian
Matthew Parris in The Times (£) wants a government that will tell the truth about Britain's economic condition: "Stop teetering, knees wobbling, along the democratic tightrope; tell the unadorned truth; confide in us your darkest fears about what could happen if we don’t get borrowing and spending under control; put before us in all their cruelty your proposals for doing so — and let getting re-elected be damned."
George Osborne has found a Plan B – it's called the Bank of England – Andrew Grice in The Independent
The debate about childcare and stay-at-home parents continues…
- No wonder our leaders don't value stay-at-home mums (Just look at their wives) – Amanda Platell in the Daily Mail
- The growing number of working mums is something to celebrate – Cathy Newman for The Telegraph
- Don’t let the stay-at-home brigade shout down plans to help working women meet the crippling cost of childcare – Janice Turner in The Times (£)
- The Tories have lost the women of Britain forever – Judith Woods in The Telegraph
- George Osborne’s reformed ‘modern’ state finds the family on the brink of extinction and one earner couple families under siege argues Kathy Gyngell for the CPS think tank.
> Claire Perry MP on Comment yesterday: Tax-free childcare is about helping parents, not hurting those who stay at home
UK gas supplies won't run out during cold weather snap, says Prime Minister David Cameron – Express
Eight out of 10 Tory councillors believe their areas are already overdeveloped or fine the way they are
"The extent of "not in my back yard" resistance to development emerges in the week that Osborne introduced incentives for developers to build new homes by creating a £3.5bn scheme for interest-free loans to be available to buyers of such properties from next month. Ministers have also relaxed planning rules limiting construction on greenfield sites." – Guardian
Jeremy Hunt about to announce that doctors and nurses will not face criminal prosecution for failing to blow the whistle on the mistreatment of patients – Times (£)
Patients attack plan to reduce inspections of best hospitals – Independent
How 2,200 NHS staff were paid off… then re-hired months later costing the taxpayer tens of millions – Daily Mail
Tory MPs urge David Cameron to use a speech on Monday to toughen up on immigration – Express
The Left was wrong: I am now convinced that public opinion is right and Britain has had too much immigration too quickly – David Goodhart in the Daily Mail
Half of the squatters in London are Romanian as MPs warn of thousands coming to UK next year – Daily Mail
The Sun is unimpressed with Nick Clegg's new immigration policy: "NICK Clegg isn’t so much performing a series of U-turns as driving cluelessly round and round a mini-roundabout. Perhaps the public apology for changing his mind on tuition fees — later turned into a mickey-taking song by wags — wasn’t humiliating enough for the Deputy PM. Now he’s realised his firm manifesto pledge to give illegal immigrants an amnesty was wrong too. After almost three years in office he’s figured out the blindingly obvious."
LibDemVoice's Stephan Tall is also disappointed with the Deputy PM's "lazy, lazy" speech.
Political bloggers unite to oppose Leveson-inspired regulation
"Leveson was meant to be focused on the impact of "big media". In the end it may come to be seen as a damaging attack on Britain's blogosphere, which rather than being a weakness in British politics, has proved time and time again that it is a real strength." – Letter to the Guardian signed by, among others, Harry Cole, Tim Montgomerie, Paul Staines and Nick Pickles.
> Nick Pickles on Comment yesterday: Bloggers and local news websites should not be part of the Leveson stitch-up
The FT (£) gives its verdict on Leveson: A muddle may be as bad as a muzzle
Michael Gove is The Sun's hero of the week for his position on press freedom.
Boris Johnson yesterday caved in under a fearsome grilling from schoolchildren and confessed he does want to be Prime Minister – Express
Labour living in the past over the economy, says Lord Mandelson
"Lord Mandelson told business leaders: “The whole argument about whether we’re cutting too far and too fast, it’s in the past. It is rather predictable party political stuff from over the despatch box, and it is a bit tiring to the public." He said the Labour Party needs to come up with ideas about redeveloping the economy rather than "fight about the past and fight about what’s too far and what’s far enough"." – Telegraph
In a speech to his spring conference Ed Miliband will accuse the Chancellor of giving up on efforts to restore growth soon – Independent
"Mr Miliband will say later: "We are five years on from the financial crisis of 2008. We are in the slowest recovery for 100 years. And it is you who are suffering. Wages are frozen. Prices are rising. Living standards falling. Yet the chancellor offered no change in the Budget. He offered more of the same. Can you imagine another five years of this? Low growth. Living standards squeezed further. You paying the price. A lost decade Britain cannot afford. A decade of national decline."" – BBC
The Times (£) wonders whether Ed Miliband has ANY economic plan: "Mr Miliband’s leadership so far has been to excite vague hopes that Britain would be mysteriously fairer and more prosperous under his leadership without revealing how that would come about. The time is approaching when he will have to be more candid. Until he does, the words of Lord Mandelson will haunt him: “I can’t quite remember which member of the government it was who claimed to have abolished boom and bust. Well, we abolished boom!”
Ed Miliband tells The Times that he's still find it hard to govern with Nick Clegg
"The Labour leader once said that he couldn’t form a coalition with Mr Clegg. “I haven’t changed my position on this. I said it would be very difficult to work in a future Labour government with somebody who has taken the opposite position in a Tory government but I am not going to contemplate anything other than a Labour majority.” – The Labour leader gives a wide-ranging interview to The Times (£)
Simon Heffer turns his guns on Labour
"Ed Miliband’s shameful reaction to the Budget and his support for state regulation of the Press proves that a government led by him would be motivated by spite, dishonesty and authoritarianism, despise democracy, and be utterly incompetent… Such is the strength of Blairites’ concerns about Messrs Miliband and Balls that I’m told that some would even prefer five more years of Mr Cameron in No 10. For they fear Mr Miliband could be so unpopular that Labour would be out of power for years after." – Simon Heffer in the Daily Mail
Nigel Farage to tell his spring conference in Exeter that UKIP will target Labour voters in the local elections – BBC
We'll fight EVERY seat at next General Election, vows UKIP leader Nigel Farage as he dashes hopes of a Tory pact – Daily Mail
Southern Europe lies prostrate before the German imperium – Charles Moore, in The Telegraph, argues that Cyprus is only the first victim of a one-size-must-fit-all policy that is made in Berlin
Telegraph leader: "Tiny though it is, Cyprus manages to encapsulate all aspects of the implosion at the heart of many Western economies – an out-of-control banking sector swollen far beyond the needs of the domestic economy by inflows of “hot” foreign money, a credit-fuelled property bubble, a massive trade deficit, and a severe loss of international competitiveness. Cyprus was Britain on steroids."
The US Republicans are tied to the constituencies of the past – Christopher Caldwell in the FT (£)
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