UN officials meddle in British welfare reforms – again….

IDS headshot‘In an extraordinary report, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said strengthened immigration policies designed to prevent health and benefit tourism could leave immigrants feeling stigmatised. The measures have been introduced by the Government to verify migrants’ immigration status before they receive health and housing benefits. Angry Tory MPs branded the report foolish, irresponsible, Left-wing garbage.’ – Daily Mail

  • South Sudan, Syria..doesn’t the UN have real problems to deal with? – Daily Mail Leader
  • At least no one listens to these bureaucrats – The Sun Says (£)
  • Human rights ruling allows mother to stay in UK to see daughter she stabbed – Daily Mail

…as IDS declares: no hiding place for those who choose not to work

‘Looking for work requires as much effort and commitment as a full-time job – jobseekers should think of themselves as in work to find work. Claiming unemployment  benefits is no longer a lifestyle choice. Fair to claimants and fair to the taxpayer – those are the changes we’re making. We can’t fix the welfare system overnight, but we’re getting there.’ – Daily Mail

What a year for George Osborne

Osborne Growth‘The prediction that Britain is on course to overtake Germany as Europe’s largest economy by 2030 sets the seal on a remarkable year for George Osborne. In 2012 he was booed at the Paralympics, the shame of the “omnishambles” budget still hot and uncertainty widespread about whether Britain had plunged back into recession. During the past 12 months, by contrast, good economic news has flowed, first as a trickle, then a steady stream and now in a gush.’ – The Times (£)

Time to raise interest rates, savers urge

Savings‘Fifty per cent of the over-60s say a rise in interest rates would make them better off, according to a survey. By contrast, just 7 per cent say their finances would suffer. Over all ages, more people think they will benefit from higher interest rates, which is good news for David Cameron as a rate rise becomes more likely in the run-up to the election.’ – Daily Mail

“Mission successful” in Afghanistan, says head of the Army

‘While British forces are now undertaking fewer combat missions, leaving it to the Afghan security forces to take the lead role in operations against the Taliban, Sir Peter warns that our soldiers still face many challenges in the year ahead, not least making sure the Taliban does not try to reclaim hard won territory, such as the former Taliban stronghold of Musa Qala, that will be vacated as the British withdraw.’ – Daily Telegraph

Cutting weekly bin collections is bad for public health

PICKLES Eric 2009‘Fortnightly rubbish collections are a threat to public health, Government guidance warned yesterday.  It said that no longer picking up bins from homes every week ‘must surely increase the risk’ to health. The warning to councils contradicts years of assurances from Whitehall that fortnightly collections have no effect on health and that infestations or smells that began after their introduction are the fault of householders who fail to observe the rules.’ – Daily Mail

Married people feel more successful

‘Married people are more likely to feel successful than those who are merely in a relationship, a survey has found. This may be because many of us feel that success is not simply about money, said the researchers.’ – Daily Mail

Cameron warns press over Leveson

‘We’ve given you, the press, an opportunity to put this issue to bed I would think for 50 to 100 years if you want to. Now, if you choose to set up your self-regulator but say ‘we’re not going to seek recognition’, that is your choice.  Personally I think that is a mistake because you’re missing the opportunity to settle this and you’re risking that some future, less liberal, less enlightened government at the time of the next press crisis will hitch you…’ – The Spectator

  • The Charter is wrong in principle. End of. – The Sun Says (£)

Thousands head out to support Boxing Day hunts

‘Thousands of supporters attended traditional Boxing Day hunts yesterday as a poll showed 80 per cent of people were opposed to hunting with dogs as a sport. The poll came as leaders of the Countryside Alliance warned that the Government’s failure to meet a promise for a vote on repealing the ban could hit support for both coalition parties in the General Election.’ – The Times (£)

100 private sector experts brought in to save complex Government projects

‘About one hundred high-powered troubleshooters are to be drafted into Whitehall from the private sector to save the Government’s riskiest projects, The Times has learnt. The experts from management consultants and other industries will help to turn around difficult schemes such as Universal Credit, High Speed rail (HS2), and electronic tagging. They will also help to monitor new contracts and bulk purchasing across the public sector.’ – The Times (£)


NHS struggles to hire A&E consultants

‘Two thirds of casualty departments in England are short of at least one consultant. This includes 14 trusts where at least a third of posts are currently unfilled and one, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust in Essex, where 13 out of 21 posts are empty. Senior doctors are bracing themselves for a surge in patients next week on ‘Manic Monday’ following a relatively quiet festive period.’ – Daily Mail

The state should stand up to snoopers, not join them

‘The so-called Snooping Bill proposes that email providers should collect a year’s worth of records, which could be accessed by government agencies when they need to do so. So far, the Prime Minister has shown very little interest in arguments about civil liberties and the emergence of Big Brother. Of course, it can be argued that if tax-dodgers feel afraid, so what? This would be a fair argument if the system worked as it should. But it is manifestly, embarrassingly clear that it doesn’t.’ – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

The SpAd bill has risen 380 per cent in 20 years

‘The bill for government spin doctors has risen almost four-fold in two decades, official figures reveal. Salaries for the coalition’s special advisers now stand at £7.2million, up from just £1.5million in the early 1990s when John Major was prime minister. The extraordinary increase in the cost to the taxpayer of political aides comes as ministers prepare to hire more staff in ‘expanded’ personal offices.’ – Daily Mail

  • EU quangos grow ten-fold in a decade – The Sun (£)

Greg Dyke calls for Lord Patten to go

BBC‘Former BBC director-general Greg Dyke has called current BBC Trust chairman Lord Chris Patten a ‘busted flush’ who the broadcaster would be better off without. He said Lord Patten had been damaged by the Jimmy Savile scandal and payouts to former executives such as 54-day director-general George Entwistle. He said: ‘The BBC has a problem in the sense it’s got a busted flush as chairman.” – Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Thatcher’s anger at Ireland over stance on the Falklands – Daily Mail
  • EU red tape threatens cinnamon rolls – Daily Mail
  • Turkish government feels the heat of corruption investigation – FT
  • Saudi blogger faces the death penalty – Daily Mail
  • Seasteads offer the ultimate libertarian haven. Perhaps. – The Independent
  • The robber who fled prison because it was full of drugs – Daily Mail

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