Autumn Statement 1) Osborne walks a tightrope between popularity and responsibility

OSBORNE red and blue“The Chancellor warned yesterday he would make difficult decisions in his Thursday mini-Budget to get the nation back on its feet. But he will sweeten the deal by slashing green levies on energy bills, cutting rates for small firms and confirming free school meals for infants. He also promised further action on benefits, showing the Tories are walking a tightrope to win votes while sticking with austerity plans — despite growth forecasts doubling.” – The Sun (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: The affordable state? You read it here first…

>Yesterday: WATCH: George Osborne speaks to Andrew Marr about energy bills, growth and housing bubbles

Autumn Statement 2) Fox: throw down a tax gauntlet to Labour

cut taxes“It is time to turn the tables on Labour. The Conservatives bought into a wrong-headed policy of matching Labour’s spending plans in the last decade as a means of “decontaminating the brand”. Now, rather than promising to spend more, we should promise to tax less and dare Labour to match us.” – Liam Fox, The Times (£)

  • It’s about sharing the proceeds of growth – The Times (£)
  • Business rate rises will be capped – FT
  • Private sector favours the UK tax regime – FT
  • Chancellor warns of curbs on housing to head off boom and bust – Daily Telegraph

>Today: The Deep End: So, that’s the problem with Tory rightwingers – they’re far too rational!

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Uber-modernisation is dead – but that must not mean a return to old, losing positions

Autumn Statement 3) Green taxes hammer UK industry

gas-energy“British industry has warned that green taxes are pushing it to “crisis point” even as George Osborne prepares to cut environmental levies on household energy bills in this week’s Autumn Statement. Leading industrialists from companies such as Tata Steel and Ineos told the Financial Times that green taxes were putting their British plants at a competitive disadvantage.” – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Let’s make clear that on energy prices Tories want red meat, and Lib Dems insist on Quorn

Autumn Statement 4) Eurozone envies British growth

Euro meltdown“The strength of the UK economy is drawing covetous and occasionally envious glances from the eurozone as investors from around the world size up the opportunity presented by Britain’s recovery…In France, traditionally the third biggest source of foreign direct investment for the UK, Britain is regarded as a success story which casts an unflattering light on French malaise.” – FT

>Today: Priti Patel MP’s column: Why Conservatives must end the free movement of EU peoples as we know it

Cameron makes a pitch for Britain to be China’s partner

Chinese flag“We want to see China succeed. Whether it is welcoming China’s investment in our nuclear energy sector, or creating a western hub for the renminbi in the City of London, we believe that the right way forward is openness, dialogue, trade and investment; working together for mutual benefit not against each other in a zero-sum game.’ His gushing magazine article goes on to welcome Chinese reforms to ‘free its markets and open them up to foreign participation’. He writes: ‘There is no greater advocate of that economic openness than Britain and no better partner for China as it opens to the world.'” – Daily Mail

  • 131 business representatives travel on biggest ever delegation – Daily Mail
  • Prime Minister wants an EU-China free trade deal – FT
  • Don’t kowtow to a draconian regime – Daily Mail Leader
  • Do, it’s worth it – The Times Leader (£)
  • China wants to invest in HS2 – The Guardian
  • Protests against spoil dumping in the Chilterns – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: What is the Government’s foreign policy? Is trade or freedom more important?

Schools fail to climb international league tables

GOVE, Michael blue sky“Britain’s schools have failed to improve over the past three years with standards of attainment remaining far below those in South Korea, Singapore and Shanghai, it was claimed yesterday…However, Mr Gove said that because the new round of tests were sat by teenagers last year and the OECD has been analysing and collating results since then, it was too early to show the effect of his reforms. He said: “The results due out this week are a verdict on the last government. These tests were taken in 2012 by children who had been educated almost entirely under Labour.”” – The Times (£)

Two care home patients a week die of dehydration

“Vulnerable patients are still suffering fatal neglect in care homes – with more than 1,100 residents dying from thirst in the past decade. Government figures show 1,158 care home residents died of thirst or while suffering severe dehydration between 2003 and 2012.” – Daily Mail

  • Tripadvisor for the NHS flooded with complaints – Daily Mail

Scandal grows over Essex forced Caesarean

“A mother ordered to give up her baby after a forced caesarean begged a judge: Please don’t take my daughter away. The newborn was taken into state care on the orders of a judge in the notoriously secretive Court of Protection…Douglas Carswell, the Tory MP for Clacton, said: ‘As an Essex MP, I have serious concerns about Essex children’s services. They are unaccountable and out of control.” – Daily Mail

BORIS at rally

What will Boris do for those left behind?

“Boris, like many Tories, must also do more to recognise that social justice involves standing alongside people as well as setting them free. A winning Tory message will be about security as much as freedom; about people who’ll never touch the stars and who worry that they’ll never afford a home of their own and are seeing their wages stagnate — even as the economy recovers. As Mayor, Boris talks a lot about housebuilding and a living wage for every Londoner. If he wants to become prime minister he needs to convert that talk into a bit more action.” – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

  • Osborne is lukewarm on the Mayor’s message – The Times (£)
Police helmet

Property crime surges in the North of England

“Unpublished police data shows a sharp increase in property crime, as thieves target smartphones and tablet computers through break-ins, and snatch thefts and street muggings. There has also been a rise in shoplifting, with police forces reporting first-time arrests of people stealing basic food. Police leaders have been summoned to a Whitehall meeting to discuss the trend, which emerged in data from around the country between April to September.” – The Times (£)

May pressed for answers over hunger strike deportation

“Home secretary Theresa May is coming under growing pressure over an apparently botched attempt to deport a seriously ill man from Britain on a private plane. Ifa Muaza, who was carried to the plane on a stretcher after a 90-day hunger strike, was returned to the UK after a 20-hour flight that saw the plane prevented from entering Nigerian airspace.” – The Guardian

News in brief

  • Sun readers give more to the Philippines than France – The Sun (£)
  • George Osborne brings the first dog into Downing St since the 1960s – Daily Mail
  • Labour select 18-year-old in Bath – The Independent
  • Huge protests in Ukraine in battle between East and West – Daily Mail
  • Royal names fall out of fashion – Daily Mail

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