7.30pm On Comment, Nick Wood writes about today's Business for Britain launch: Cameron secures a powerful ally in the quest for the right approach to Europe

David Cameron5pm WATCH: David Cameron defends the Coalition's plans for training nurses

3pm ToryDiary: David Cameron doesn’t need to legislate for an aid target to meet his aid target

2.45pm Local Government: Conservative councillor resigns after racist comments

12.30pm Mohammed Amin on Comment: A Government register of hate preachers

10.30am Alex Morton on Comment: How to build better homes – for both younger and older people

BfBToday's morning selection leads with two posts about the new Business for Britain campaign:

Also on Comment, Robert Halfon continues our special series on Compassionate Conservatism with… the Conservative case for overseas aid 

Garvan Walshe writes this week's Foreign Policy column: The Boston bombings show Islamist terrorism’s weakness, not its strength

Local Government:

The Deep End: It’s not just nurses – ministers are also trapped in a bureaucratic cage

Senior Conservatives believe that Britain will narrowly avoid a triple-dip this week

GO"Ministers are privately confident that official figures out this week will show that the economy grew in the first three months of the year, following a contraction at the end of 2012. … That optimism is shared by City economists, who expect figures to show that the economy grew by around 0.1 per cent." – Daily Telegraph

  • "…three years into government, with output sluggish at best, and the deficit and debt still rising, the Chancellor finds himself under more personal pressure than at any time since he moved into Number 11." – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • "Mr Osborne, rightly, shows no inclination to bend. When the IMF team arrives in London they will not find a man paralysed by doubts. They are likely to find, instead, a Chancellor convinced that the pace of deficit reduction is appropriate, given the still daunting size of the deficit." – Times editorial (£)
  • "There may well be methodological problems with the GDP figures that need to be addressed, such as whether or not they properly reflect the rapid growth of small businesses. But Mr Osborne must not be driven off course, even if they do suggest the country has entered a triple-dip recession." – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • "The past week has dented Mr Osborne's reputation; but it should be a chastening one for economic policymakers in Brussels, Frankfurt and Washington, too." – Guardian editorial

But is the Government united on the economy? Sir Jeremy Heywood reveals the "four plans for growth" at the top


"Britain’s most senior civil servant has laid bare stark differences at the top of Government over how to revive the flagging economy. Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, revealed a 'diversity of views' in the highest ranks of Cabinet at a recent private meeting with bankers. … The four most senior members of the Cabinet all champion different projects and policies, he revealed, stoking fears that the coalition may have lost focus." – The Times (£)

  • "Banks have put a damper on George Osborne’s hopes that an expansion of the Funding for Lending Scheme will spark a rush of credit to small and medium-sized companies as the chancellor finalises plans to revamp the programme." – Financial Times

Further coverage of Business for Britain, which launches today

Pins"Business for Britain will be at the Prime Minister’s elbow, encouraging him to be bold in his demands for a more competitive EU. If he delivers, it won’t just be Britain that will prosper. The European mainland’s record number of unemployed people will benefit too." – John Caudwell, The Times (£)

> Today:

A new "technical baccalaureate" is announced today

"Teenagers studying vocational qualifications will be able to take a new 'technical baccalaureate' to showcase their practical skills, the government has announced. … It will be introduced this autumn, the Department for Education said, and will be aimed at those hoping to work in roles such as lab technicians, construction or information technology." – Financial Times (£)

David Cameron drops pledge to write foreign aid increase into law, reports the Times


"David Cameron has ruled out enshrining his controversial increase in aid spending in law this year, fuelling fears that he is preparing to ditch the pledge. … The Queen’s Speech next month will omit the promised legislation to fix international development spending at 0.7 per cent of national output, The Times understands." – The Times (£)

> Today, by Robert Halfon MP on Comment: The Conservative case for overseas aid 

As cyber-security experts advise him to drop the Communications Data Bill

"Sweeping plans to hand the security services the power to snoop on e-mails, website visits and social media sites are dangerous and must be abandoned, David Cameron has been warned. … Cyber-security experts have written to the Prime Minister saying that the proposals 'will be expensive, will hinder innovation and will undermine the privacy of citizens'." – The Times (£)

Is the Tory leadership gearing up for a "living standards election" in 2015?

Coins"An ally of David Cameron’s chief policy adviser will this week publish a paper, 'We Deserve Better', recommending ways for consumers to more easily compare prices and switch suppliers in key utility markets. … The proposals by John Penrose, former parliamentary aide to Oliver Letwin, could pave the way for similar measures to be included in the 2015 Tory manifesto." – Financial Times

  • "Controversy around Britain's energy industry will intensify on Monday amid revelations that the former head of a low-tax-paying power provider has been hired to help oversee HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and a warning that a new price regime demanded by the regulator, Ofgem, could still mean consumers paying £55m more a year than they should." – Guardian

Poll suggests that the Government's countermeasures will deter Romanian immigrants

"Benefit restrictions are likely to deter Romanian migrants from coming to Britain, a poll has found. … Seven in ten of the Romanians who are thinking about moving to live in Britain would reconsider in the light of the new system. … Among Bulgarians, however, there was little evidence they would change the minds of those planning to move to Britain." – Daily Mail

Elizabeth Truss attacks "chaotic" nurseries and the effect they are having toddlers

LT"Nurseries are breeding a generation of toddlers with no manners, the education minister has warned. … Elizabeth Truss condemned ‘chaotic’ pre-schools that allow children to do what they want all day long, leaving them unable to sit still and listen by the time they get to primary school. … In an interview with the Daily Mail, she said many nurseries were filled with toddlers ‘running around with no sense of purpose’." - Daily Mail

David Gauke unveils HMRC's new £45 million tax computer

"A £45 million super-computer has helped Revenue officials grab back an extra £2billion from tax-dodgers. … Inspectors can trawl a billion pieces of information to spot criminal gangs or super-rich evaders within minutes. … Treasury minister David Gauke said Connect would make sure everyone paid their dues." – The Sun

The Government rejects Baroness Grey-Thompson for post-Olympics role

"Baroness Grey-Thompson, Britain’s trailblazing Paralympian, has been rejected by the Government from a key role in delivering the 2012 legacy. … The decision to overlook the candidacy of Lady Grey-Thompson, who had the backing of Lord Coe and was Mr Bitel’s main rival, is likely to spark a political row." - The Times (£)

Cough up or lose out, child poverty advisers tell the Government

"In their first interview since taking over as chairman and deputy chairman of a new Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, Alan Milburn and Baroness [Gillian] Shephard told The Independent that there was no chance of the Coalition hitting its target, enshrined in law by the previous Labour government, to abolish child poverty by 2020." – Independent

Clive_Dunn560"A cross-party group of MPs has warned the Government against plans that critics say will create a 'Dad’s Army’ defence force for Britain’s nuclear deterrent bases"
The Times (£)

Rob Wilson (along with other MPs) wants an investigation into the Leveson lawyers' affair

"Tory MP Rob Wilson, parliamentary aide to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, has sent a letter to the judge urging him to examine the implications of the relationship. … He wrote: 'In the interests of transparency and in maintaining public confidence in the complete integrity and impartiality of your inquiry, I strongly urge you to make inquiries and to get to the bottom of this matter without delay.'" – Daily Mail

  • "From the start, there was a disturbing closeness between the inquiry team and Hacked Off, the lobby group trying to fetter the Press." – Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail
  • "This is the Leveson Effect. It has begun to suffocate the crucial flow of information that distinguishes a free country from a police state." – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

Tory councillor John Cherry resigns over race remarks

"A Tory councillor was forced to resign last night after suggesting inner-city children from a ‘coloured area’ would not be welcome at a proposed new school in the countryside. … John Cherry, 73, said the youngsters could ‘escape into the forest’ and trigger a ‘sexual volcano’ because they had been ‘plucked from their natural surroundings’." – Daily Mail

The Telegraph continues its serialisation of Charles Moore's Margaret Thatcher biography

CM"No one in her office was in charge of coordinating the work of government. She did not believe that the bureaucracy should be reshaped from top to bottom, but rather that it should be regalvanized. 'It was not,' according to Richard Ryder, who ran her private office, 'the Maoists arriving at No 10'." – from Charles Moore's biography of Margaret Thatcher, Daily Telegraph

  • "Margaret Thatcher biography reveals passions across the years" – Michael White, Guardian

Boris Johnson: We can’t afford to ignore our dynamic friends in the East

"The Qataris are wearing M&S underwear beneath their kanduras. They are eating in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants. They are driving Land Rovers and phoning with Vodafone – and last year the UK exported goods worth a record £1.3 billion to Qatar alone; not bad for a place with only 1.8 million people. It was a joy to hear the natives speak spontaneously of their affection for Britain." – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Tim Montgomerie: To beat the Left, Tories must aim for its heart

"In the Conservative vision of government, the State is less like Santa Claus and more like a parent. Success involves citizens becoming independent and fulfilling their potential. This State will always catch people if they fall. A generous safety net should never be an afterthought for Conservatives but a proud and central duty." – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

Ed Miliband wants to revamp the NHS, and he'll explain how in an announcement today

Ed Miliband"Ed Miliband wants to restructure the services in far-reaching proposals that would result in elderly patients being cared for at home rather than in hospitals. Mr Miliband will say in an announcement today that the only way to make healthcare spending sustainable is to bring social care within the NHS. He will appoint a commission charged with finding how such a merger of budgets, powers and decision-making could be achieved." – The Times (£)

"Labour has warned of a risk to patient safety after figures revealed a significant rise in the use of private sector ambulances by some trusts. … Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said people would be stunned that 'blue-light 999 services' were being privatised without proper debate." - Daily Mail

  • 2,600 NHS workers earn more than David Cameron - Daily Mail
  • Two in three nurses fear their patients are at risk of neglect in their own hospital - Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

"Senior Labour figures blasted leader Ed Miliband yesterday for holding a secret meeting in his office for an hour with firebrand leftie George Galloway"The Sun

"David Watts, the chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, told theTelegraph that Mr Miliband’s standing is being affected by principled but 'unpopular' decisions on issues like welfare"Daily Telegraph

RmThe Communication Workers Union urges Mr Miliband to renationalise Royal Mail, or risk losing donations
Daily Telegraph

  • "If Mr Miliband finds himself beholden to trade union funding, he might reflect that he has, in effect, asked for it." – Times editorial (£)

Should Labour stick to Tory spending plans? The Times asks Neal Lawson and Dan HodgesThe Times (£)

  • "Labour lacks a plan, as shown by its failure to capitalise on Osborne’s current misfortunes" – Jeff Randall, Daily Telegraph

Must work harder, says Margaret Hodge to her fellow MPs

"A senior MP has urged Parliament to extend its hours, saying it feels as if politicians 'are hardly working'. … Margaret Hodge, who chairs the public accounts committee, says MPs are spending too much time in recess and too little time scrutinising policy." – Daily Mail

The Boston bombers may have been driven more by a warped desire for notoriety than by real fanaticism, writes Gaby Hinsliff


"What’s odd is that he sounds disturbingly like any other 22-year-old trying to get fame by posting attention-seeking clips on YouTube. It’s just that his channel, like that of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, dealt in jihadi rantings, not skateboarding dogs." – Gaby Hinsliff, The Times (£)

"Atrocities such as the Boston bombing are hard to tackle, but gun crime isn't" – Gary Younge, Guardian

  • "Britain is at risk from 'extremist Islamic' exiles from the North Caucasus who have been allowed to live in the UK, claimed an advisor to the Russian government last night." - Daily Mail

> Today, by Garvan Walshe: The Boston bombings show Islamist terrorism’s weakness, not its strength

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: "There will always be those who use religion as a basis to commit these heinous acts"

News in brief:

  • Four in ten students may default on their loans – Daily Mail
  • "Two in three black and Asian people deem police 'institutionally racist'." – The Sun
  • Pensioners should pay more tax, argues Fabian Society – BBC


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