Foreigners “to be charged for A & E use…”

Screen shot 2013-12-30 at 08.57.47“Short-term migrants and holidaymakers may be billed for emergency casualty care to help claw back some of the estimated £2billion a year they currently cost the NHS. However, top doctors have warned the proposal — expected to be announced by ministers next year — is unworkable. Measures to stop foreign “maternity cheats” — pregnant women who fly in from abroad to give birth here without paying — are also expected.” – The Sun

  • Clampdown on rogue cosmetic surgeons – Daily Mail

…But they won’t be charged for visiting doctors

“The government will today set out further details about new restrictions on access to the NHS for migrants but doctors surgeries will be excluded from the crackdown. Earlier this year ministers suggested migrants from outside the European Union visiting GPs should pay a fee and surgeries would be given a new obligation to check whether patients were genuine British residents. However, ministers will say today this plan has now been dropped and new patients will not be charged to go to a GP.” – Daily Telegraph

Almost 100 Conservative activists demand transitional controls stay in place…

CAMERON looking right“In a letter to the Prime Minister, seen by the Daily Mail, 90 activists and constituency chairmen demanded that he tear up plans to end transitional controls on January 1, saying the Government’s position was untenable. In a challenge to Mr Cameron’s authority, the Conservative Grassroots group rubbishes claims by ministers that the Government is powerless to prevent what they call a ‘destabilising wave of mass immigration’. ” – Daily Mail

> Today: Priti Patel on Comment – Romanians and Bulgarians: it’s Labour’s fault

…As the Liberal Democrats claim that their membership is up

“Figures released by the party showed that in the last three months of the year membership grew by more than 2,000 – wiping out reductions seen in the first two quarters of 2013. Overall the party will go into 2014 with over 200 new members – which is an achievement not matched by their Conservative coalition partners who have seen steep falls in paid membership since 2010. Much of the success, party sources said, was down to a new incentive scheme for local Lib Dem associations to recruit new members.” – The Independent

Cameron retreats on garden cities

cameron-face“Until recently the prime minister was an advocate for plans to build a wave of new towns similar to Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City, saying he wanted to see them sprout up in areas of “high potential growth”.  But while Mr Cameron remains publicly supportive of new garden cities, he has grown nervous about pushing ahead with detailed proposals for fear of prompting a backlash among “Nimby” protesters in the run-up to the 2015 general election.” – Financial Times

  • It may not be enough, but the Tories have won the argument over welfare reform, the budget deficit and free schools – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph

The Government says no to Syrian refugees…

“The government has rejected a call by Nigel Farage for Britain to “honour the spirit” of a 1951 UN convention and allow Syrian refugees into the country. In an unlikely reversal of roles, the government responded to the Ukip leader, who has been campaigning against immigration from Romania and Bulgaria, by saying that Britain has no plans to accept Syrian refugees and would instead focus its efforts on providing humanitarian aid.” – The Guardian

  • My person of the year is Assad – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)

…As UKIP members say no to Farage

FARAGE eating“However, it rapidly appeared to backfire among some of his supporters. The party’s Facebook page was inundated with comments from those opposed to his remarks. “No sorry we are full,” wrote one. “I feel for these people. But it’s not our problem.” Another said: “Tell them to go to Iraq.” Dozens of people told the UKIP leader that he had lost their vote. An estimated 2.3 million people have fled Syria since the start of the conflict in March 2011, which has left at least 125,000 dead.” – The Times (£)

  • Whatever his motives, the UKIP leader’s instincts on Syrian refugees are sound – The Times (£)
  • Yet again, Farage has wrong-footed the Prime Minister – Editorial, Daily Telegraph

> Today: Kate Maltby on Comment – Farage has upstaged Cameron over Syrian refugees

> Yesterday: ToryDiary –  Instead of being spooked by UKIP, the Tories need to reassure Mondeo man

Osborne: Last year, I retreated into the Treasury. But this year, I’ve been out and about

” ‘I have got out of the Treasury a bit more over the last few months and tried to consciously go around the country, meet working people, go to lots of work places and the like. Because I think it is an obligation on someone doing my job, with the responsibilities I have, to explaining what I am doing. It is probably true to say that last year I retreated a bit into the Treasury but now I feel I have got a very important message to take to the people about what we are doing on the economy, and I have got a very important set of people I need to listen to which is the people of this country.’ ” – Daily Mail

  • UK economy shrugged off triple-dip fears in 2013 – Financial Times
  • Jobless figures point to early rise in interest rate – The Times (£)
  • Jobs creation confidence for 2014, as ‘Wales’ real earnings fall by 12.5%’ – Wales Online
  • Let’s find even more supporters for the living wage – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Penning: 500 disabled people find work every week

PENNING Mike ruins“Mike Penning, minister for disabled people, said: ‘This Government is determined to boost the employment rate for disabled people and is helping more and more people with a disability into work. Our measures are working to help people fulfil their potential.  ‘Our Disability Confident campaign is backed by the country’s biggest businesses and has started touring the country to showcase the impressive talents of Britain’s 6.9million disabled people.” – Daily Mail

Bush-Blair Iraq records to be de-classified and published

“The Mail has learned senior civil servants are ‘close’ to a deal to let the Chilcot Inquiry into the war publish the documents after more than a year of wrangling. Records of telephone conversations between Mr Blair and Mr Bush, notes between the two men and even papers documenting Cabinet discussions on the war are expected to be released to the public.” – Daily Mail

  • Miliband to pursue free childcare – The Guardian
  • Cooper backs Sun domestic violence campaign – The Sun
  • Miliband: SNP not tackling cost of living crisis – Scotsman
  • Miliband is at his strongest when he defies convention – Steve Richards, The Guardian

CBI: Scotland split would batter economy

Screen shot 2013-12-30 at 09.03.39“CBI chief John Cridland told the Sun that the overwhelming majority of companies across Britain were in favour of the union, but were too worried to go public for risk of upsetting SNP leaders such as Alec Salmond. He said the “economic case” for independence had not been made and that devolution could knock as much as 4 per cent off Britain’s GDP in the first year of a “messy divorce”. His comments came in a New Year’s Message which warned that political risk was now a bigger concern to British business than the risk posed by the economy.” – The Sun

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – How Scotland was lost – and what happened next

Libby Purves: A lesson of the floods is that we’re less tough then we were

“Extreme weather challenges the services expected by a nation infinitely more comfortable, wired, and therefore dependent than its great-grandparents. We rightly expect lifesaving emergency services, but the second rank of support — from utilities and local authorities — is never going to be perfect. And if you’ll forgive a shake of my grizzled locks, I have to say that even a baby-boomer can easily remember when Britain was far more willing to accept hitches and even admire those who keep things going.” – The Times (£)

News in Brief

  • Boris sky cycle plan – The Sun
  • Sun has flipped upside down – The Independent
  • Former Lord Chief Justice in fresh challenge to ECHR – Daily Mail
  • BBC server hacked at Christmas – The Guardian
  • At least ten dead in second Russia blast – The Times (£)
  • Schumacher “critical” – Daily Express
  • Northern Ireland: U.S urges peace talks compromise – Newsletter
  • Irish Republic: Photos of Irish farmers taking “selfie” photos with their livestock have gone viral – Daily Telegraph

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