Hunt: Respect your elders and end the rise in loneliness…

Hunt Jeremy 15“Britain should be ashamed of the way it treats  grandparents, Jeremy Hunt will say today. The Health Secretary will warn a million elderly are left forgotten and isolated because friends and relatives fail to visit them. Citing the example of Asian nations, he will say families should take more responsibility for grandparents and not leave caring to the state. Mr Hunt, who has a Chinese wife, will say he is struck by the reverence and respect for the elderly in the Far East.” – Daily Mail

  • Prince Charles is right to blast the pension industry – The Times Leader (£)

…cut pensioners’ benefits, or risk bankrupting the welfare state, says Milburn

MILBURN-ALAN-e1382082358140“Alan Milburn, a health secretary under Labour, called on the Government to slash universal benefits for over-65s such as free TV licences and winter fuel payments. He said it was ‘unfair’ that better-off pensioners were protected from the impact of the cuts while working families with children were bearing two-thirds of the burden of cutting the deficit.” – Daily Mail

Jeremy Browne: The Lib Dems are a shopping trolley with a wonky wheel, rolling left

CLEGG Bird“Nick Clegg is in danger of being dragged from the centre by a Liberal Democrat “shopping trolley that defaults to the left”, an influential former minister warns today. In his first interview since being sacked in last week’s reshuffle, Jeremy Browne reveals that he has rebuffed overtures from senior Tories he suspects were seeking his defection.” – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Does Cameron really want rid of Jeremy Browne?

New assessment of green taxes, as energy companies raise bills again

NUCLEAR-POWER“Ministers are to “stress test” green measures that have contributed to rising fuel bills, as British Gas added to the political controversy over rising energy prices with an average 9.2 per cent increase from next month. Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, said ministers would look at all measures imposed on fuel bills by the government to make sure they bolstered infrastructure investment and insulation and tackled fuel poverty in a cost-effective way.” – FT

  • Sun launches petition to slash green taxes – The Sun (£)
  • Blackouts on the way, warns Royal Academy of Engineering – Daily Mail
  • Osborne sings deal for Chinese investment in new nuclear power stations – Daily Mail
  • It’s lights out or turn to China – Daily Mail Leader
  • Security fears about the long arm of Beijing – The Times Leader (£)

>YesterdayWATCH: Osborne – “I want to see Chinese investment in the British nuclear power industry”

Fuel duty cuts for ten rural areas

“Drivers living in remote or rural areas are to receive a 5p a litre discount on their petrol. Three communities in England and seven in Scotland have been judged to meet strict criteria to qualify, the Government will announce today…Critics pointed out, however, that eight of the ten areas to benefit are in constituencies with Liberal Democrat MPs.” – Daily Mail

  • Alexander accused of favouring his patch and his party – FT

Crime hits record low – as Savile coverage sees a rise in reports of sexual offences

Police helmet“There were about 8.5 million crimes last year, down 7 per cent despite cuts to police budgets. But there was a nine per cent rise in reports of sexual offences, in part blamed on the inquiry into abusers like Jimmy Savile encouraging victims to come forward.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Shout it from the rooftops: crime is down to a record low

Human rights on the battlefield hobbles the military

“The threat of legal action is sapping Britain’s ability to fight wars, with commanders increasingly worried about being sued under human rights law by their enemy or fellow soldiers for decisions taken in the heat of battle, according to a report published today. The creep of European human rights legislation into war zones and barracks has left the military fighting thousands of claims for compensation that is costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds, according to the study by the Policy Exchange think-tank.” – The Times (£)

Give prisoners the vote or leave the ECHR, writes eurocrat

“By continuing to defy the ruling allowing prisoners to vote, Niels Muižnieks, human rights commissioner at the Council of Europe, said the whole system might ‘unravel.’…Tory MP Dominic Raab said: ‘Mr Muiznieks is desperate to defend the international gravy train he has made a living out of.'” – Daily Mail

Labour loyalists like Ed more, but his poll lead slips

MILIBAND Red Ed“Ed Miliband’s personal ratings among Labour supporters have reached the highest levels since 2010 following his crowd pleasing call to freeze energy prices during the Labour party conference. But Miliband’s boost among party loyalists has not translated into a larger Labour lead with the Ipsos Mori poll now putting the two parties neck and neck on 35%.” – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Majority Conservatism: Labour’s poll lead slides and slides

Retail sales on the rise again

“The volume of goods purchased in the three months to September rose 1.5 per cent compared with the second quarter. This is the fastest quarterly increase since the pre-recession peak five years ago. The amount spent in the retail industry also increased in September, rising by 0.5 per cent compared to August and by 3.2 per cent relative to last year.” – FT

Al Madinah Free School faces funding cut

“Ministers are set to cut funding for the Al Madinah school in Derby after a damning Ofsted report that has raised questions about the government’s wider free schools policy. The schools regulator published a report on Thursday detailing a string of failings, including pupils being given the same work regardless of ability and ineffective governance.” – FT

News in brief

  • Meet Britain’s shameless shoplifters – Daily Mail
  • £400m strike cost of militant unions – The Sun (£)
  • Cull costs £2,200 per badger (including policing protesters) – Daily Mail
  • de Piero: Stop the hunt for these photos – The Independent
  • English nervous about celebrating St George’s Day – Daily Telegraph
  • School hands out cigarettes to 11-year-olds – Daily Mail
  • Swinson aide says it would have been sexist to offer her a seat – Daily Mail

And finally…

Maude has to install his own wifi after Labour failed to include it in the IT contract

“Francis Maude became frustrated at the time it took to log on to government systems and wanted to use his iPad instead for non-sensitive material. But the Cabinet Office minister was astonished to find that a multi-million contract signed by the Labour government did not include providing a easy wireless web access usually found in coffee shops.” – Daily Mail

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