Fuel Duty freeze welcomed…

sunfuel“Chancellor George Osborne heralded a new dawn for hard-up Brits yesterday as he declared: “The sun has started to rise above the hill.” He also told delighted Tory delegates: “The future looks brighter than it did just a few dark years ago.” A welcome freeze on fuel duty right up to the 2015 General Election replaces the planned 2p rise next year and will save motorists an estimated £750million.” – The Sun(£)

  • “His most eye-catching new policy was the fuel duty freeze, which comes after a campaign by Tory MPs. Mr Osborne said: “Provided we can find the savings to pay for it, I want to freeze fuel duty for the rest of this Parliament. Conservatives don’t just talk about being on the side of hard-working people. We show it day in day out in the policies we deliver.” On fuel duty, both the AA and the RAC pointed out that Mr Osborne was already getting big sums from motorists in taxation.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “He did have one crowd-pleaser — fuel tax will not go up. But Osborne mainly told Britain stark truths you will not glean from Ed Miliband’s vote-grabbing gimmicks.” – The Sun Says(£)

> Yesterday: Osborne pledges no rise in fuel duty and to budget for a surplus in the next Parliament

guardianpain…but spending to remain tight with Osborne’s 2020 vision of budget surplus

“The chancellor, George Osborne, warned on Monday that austerity may continue until 2020 as he set out plans for a new fiscal mandate that will require further welfare cuts to build an overall budget surplus by the end of the next parliament.” – The Guardian

  • “The Chancellor used his address to the Tory conference to vow to “bear down on our debts and prepare us for the next rainy day” as he sought to draw clear dividing lines with his political opponents as well as to ensure that the deficit remains a key issue at the next election. “It should be obvious to anyone that in the years running up to the crash this country should have been running a budget surplus” – The Times (£)
  • “Already an enormous £25bn cut is marked out for 2016-2018, harsher than the pre-election years, says the Institute for Fiscal Studies. His new policy to get into surplus leaves another £43bn to be eliminated by 2020. If he keeps to his pledge to do this by cuts not tax rises, that’s a 10-year freeze which, says the IFS, has never happened before.” – Polly Toynbee The Guardian

mailgpsCameron promises more flexible GP hours

“Family doctors should open surgeries seven days a week and outside office hours, David Cameron will say today. The Prime Minister will set out plans for the first wave of surgeries which will be open from 8am to 8pm every day, making it easier for patients who struggle to fit in visits with their family and work commitments.” – Daily Mail

  • “GP surgeries will be able to bid for Government funding to roll out Skype and telephone consultations with patients as well as extend their opening hours, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce.” – The Independent

Welfare claimants face 35 hours a week in Job Centres

“Some benefit claimants suspected of operating in the black economy are to be required to look for a job in a government jobcentre for 35 hours a week for up to six months, the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, will announce.” – The Guardian

  • “BRITAIN’S worst scroungers are to be ordered into Jobcentre classrooms from 9am to 5pm. The strict eight hours a day, five days a week regime is set to be unveiled by Iain Duncan Smith. While there, they will get intensive training and help to find a job, the Work and Pensions Secretary will tell the Tory conference in Manchester.” – The Sun (£)
  • Tories must balance tough with tender –  Rachel Sylvester The Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary: IDS: My job hunt hothouse for workless people

At the ConHome rally Boris warns of UKIP danger

“Joking about pictures of the Prime Minister fast asleep at the wedding of his sister-in-law, Alice Sheffield, the Mayor echoed Margaret Thatcher’s famous ‘the lady’s not for turning’ speech. ‘Ukip if you want to – David Cameron’s not for kipping not unless, obviously, he’s at his sister-in-law’s wedding,’ he told a rally at the Tory conference last night.” – Daily Mail

  • “Boris Johnson denied he wanted to be Tory leader after getting a rock star welcome at the Conservative Party conference.” – The Sun (£)

> Yesterday: Boris maintain lead over Gove in next leader poll

Poet Laureate denounces Gove’s school reforms

GOVE, Michael blue sky“The Poet Laureate today leads 200 writers and academics in calling for Michael Gove’s school reforms to be suspended. Carol Ann Duffy heads a collection of leading figures from across the arts and education, who have written to The Times saying that “incessant testing” and school performance targets risk damaging the quality of childhood. Their criticisms are timed to steal attention from Mr Gove’s speech to the Conservative Party conference this afternoon and will revive simmering tensions between critics he dismisses as “militant Marxists”, “bad academia” and “the blob”.” – The Times(£)

  • “Competition between children through incessant testing and labelling results in a public sense of failure for the vast majority. The drive
    towards ever-higher attainment in national tests leads inevitably to teaching to the test, which narrows the range of learning experiences. Harmful stress is put on young people, their parents and their teachers.” – Letter The Times(£)
  • “The signatories to today’s letter are right that “children are natural learners”, but Mr Gove is right that concepts without facts can sap a
    child’s desire to learn, and he has acted to rebalance the national curriculum in favour of knowledge.” – Leader The Times (£)

Owen Patterson cautions against climate change alarmism

“Speaking on the fringes of the Tory party conference, Mr Paterson said that a major UN report into climate change published on Friday suggested the threat of global warming had been overstated and indicated his confidence that humans would be able to adapt to its consequences. “People get very emotional about this subject and I think we should just accept that the climate has been changing for centuries,” he said.” – The Independent

  • “A new generation of biodegradable plastic bags could be spared the 5p charge planned by the Liberal Democrats, Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, said yesterday.” – The Times (£)

Where are the Tories?

“Under the headline “Who comes to our conference?” is a pie chart: 4% event support; 2% international; 20% media. Then the two biggest slices: 38% party members and 36% commercial/charity/exhibitors. In other words, barely a third of those swarming Manchester this week are paid-up Conservatives – and they are almost equalled by corporate lobbyists. Of all the mainstream parties, it is the Tories that have retreated furthest and fastest from being a mass party.” – The Guardian

  • Tories snap up Thatcher memorabilia – BBC

Tories rule out UKIP pact

“All Conservative Party candidates can only stand on a Tory-only ticket at the next general election, the party chairman has said. Grant Shapps said the party will stand in every seat and its hopefuls will “only ever be on the ballot paper as Conservative candidates.” – BBC

  • “Nigel Farage — rock star. Look, I’m sorry, but that was exactly how he was treated yesterday as he took Manchester Town Hall by storm, banned from the Tory party conference and loving it. He was, of course, late, because rock stars always are.” Ann Treneman The Times (£)
  • “Nigel Farage complains he is regarded as a “plague carrier” by Tory high command because he is refused entry to the Conservative party conference. But it would indeed be political death for Conservatives to open the door to him.” Nick Herbert The Guardian

May announces Tory Government would scrap Human Rights Act

“Britain should be prepared to leave the European Convention of Human Rights to fix the country’s human rights laws, the Home Secretary said. Theresa May promised that the next Conservative Party manifesto would promise to scrap the human rights Act as she announced plans to reduce appeal rights for illegal immigrants and foreign national prisoners.” – The Times (£)

Karren Brady is Conference hit

“The 44-year-old West Ham United vice-chairman was unveiled as a Government small business ambassador. She introduced the Chancellor’s keynote speech, accusing the last Labour government of having “all but bankrupted the country”. She said: “David Cameron and George Osborne held their nerve and stuck to the plan and I hope you can see how right they were – we are now starting to recover.” – Daily Express

McLoughlin tells HS2 critics to “stop moaning”

“Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has hit out at critics of HS2, accusing London-based commentators of “moaning” about the rail link’s cost.” – BBC

Fox says Conservatives should stand up for their beliefs

“Liam Fox has issued a rallying cry to Conservative Party members to stand up for their beliefs and stop apologising for being Tories. The former defence secretary, who was forced to resign over a lobbying scandal, said the party leadership had to show more “emotion”.” – BBC

Councils could go bust says Merrick Cockell

“The most senior Conservative in local government has warned that the finances of some councils are close to breaking point as a result of the latest round of government-imposed spending cuts.” – The Guardian

School funding bonus for children in care

“Schools will be given almost £2,000 a year for each pupil who lives in foster care or a residential home to help to improve their performance. The money will pay for one-to-one tuition, catch-up lessons or other help that children in care need to boost their grades.” – The Times (£)

Did Ed Miliband’s father love Britain?

“Saturday’s article referred to a single diary entry by my father, written as a 17-year-old, describing the suspicion he found of the Continent and the French when he arrived here. To ignore his service and work in Britain and build an entire case about him hating our country on an adolescent diary entry is, of course, absurd.” Ed Miliband Daily Mail

  • “What is blindingly clear from everything he wrote throughout his life is that he had nothing but hatred for the values, traditions and institutions — including our great schools, the Church, the Army and even the Sunday papers — that made Britain the safe and free nation in which he and his family flourished. The constitutional monarchy, the bicameral legislature, property rights, common law . . . even ‘respectability’ and ‘good taste’ — all were anathema to this lifelong, unreconstructed Marxist who craved a workers’ revolution.” – Editorial Daily Mail
  • “Ed Miliband says that his father ‘loved how the Navy brought together people from all classes and all backgrounds’. Miliband Snr’s own words suggest something rather more. According to his official biographer, Michael Newman,  : ‘Miliband saw it as the negation of elementary democracy based on the assumption that officers were “gentlemen” while those on the Lower deck were part of the “swinish multitude”.” – Geoffrey Levy Daily Mail

Labour lose their bounce – lead down to 6 per cent on YouGov, 4 per cent on Com Res

“Labour’s lead over the Conservatives stands at four points, down two points since the last poll for The Independent in August. Labour is on 37 per cent (unchanged), the Tories 33 per cent (up two points), the Liberal Democrats on 11 per cent (down one point), Ukip on 11 per cent (up one point) and others on 8 per cent (down two points).” – The Independent

  • Labour lead at six – YouGov
  • “Lord Ashcroft said the Tories should benefit from the Labour leader’s recent lurch to “radical socialism”. The former party treasurer, who now carries out in-depth opinion poll research, compared Mr Miliband’s Left-wing politics to a belief in Father Christmas. He said: “I was at the [Labour] party conference, I was actually sitting in the hall listening to Miliband. And if I were a Conservative scriptwriter who wanted Ed Miliband to say certain things to help the Conservative cause in the last 18 months to the next general election, then he just about touched on every issue.” – Daily Express
  • Women voters ask if David Cameron can hear them – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft – Conference Diary

News in brief

  • US Government shuts down – Daily Telegraph
  • Minimum wage rises to £6.31 – BBC
  • Tenants to have longer tenancy agreements – The Times (£)
  • Teachers set to go on strike – BBC
  • UKIP spin docto race row – The Times(£)
  • Police request report on Mike Hancock MP – BBC
  • Welsh Labour Health Minister pulls out of debate – BBC

And finally..George Osborne has a hair cut

“It’s a Madchester haircut”, remarked a colleague. “He’s trying to make himself look like Liam Gallagher”. Which was alarming on a number of levels.” Dan Hodges Daily Telegraph

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