UK economy enters virtuous circle 

money“Britain’s economic recovery is gathering momentum as demand for mortgages surges, banks become more willing to lend and companies scramble to hire staff. Strong data on Wednesday showed the economy was entering a virtuous circle. ‘The recovery is snowballing,’ said Robert Wood, an economist at Berenberg” – Financial Times

  • House prices will soar in 2014 – Daily Express
  • Osborne slaps down Cable’s house-price warnings – Daily Mail
  • Carney must consider raising interest rates – Chris Giles, Financial Times

EU official accuses Cameron of ruining Britain’s future

“David Cameron is ‘destroying the future’ of the British people by fermenting ‘populist’ Euroscepticism, one of the EU’s most senior officials has claimed. Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, said that British political leaders had, in an attempt to win votes in the European election in May, created a myth that the UK would be swamped by migrants” – The Times (£)

  • At last the BBC talks about immigration – Allison Pearson, Daily Telegraph
  • Warsaw politician calls on Poles to boycott Tesco – Financial Times
  • Romanian in Benefits Street lives with bride aged 15 – The Sun (£)
  • Channel 4 has betrayed the residents of Benefits Street – Lynsey Hanley, Guardian
  • Dave must give the Tories back their dreams – Patience Wheatcroft, The Times (£)

Tax breaks for firms could soften blow of minimum wage rise

sajid“The cost to businesses of a big hike in the minimum wage would be offset with tax breaks under plans being drawn up by Conservative ministers…Treasury minister Sajid Javid yesterday gave a clear signal that the move, designed to help struggling workers reap the rewards of Britain’s economic recovery, is likely to be given the green light” – Daily Mail

  • Maude plays down universal credit IT row with DWP – Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The pressure is on for a Minimum Wage rise – but is it the right thing to do?

Zahawi: planning reforms are damaging the countryside

“The ‘physical harm’ being inflicted on the countryside as a result of the Coalition’s planning reforms could become ‘the defining legacy of this Government’, a senior adviser to the Prime Minister has warned. Nadhim Zahawi, an MP and member of the No 10 policy board, said that planning regulations are causing ‘pain’ to communities across the country” – Daily Telegraph

  • People living in fracking areas to get more compensation – Independent

Riot police fear violence after Duggan inquest fury

“Riot squads will be on standby for days after an inquest jury found yesterday that police lawfully killed the alleged gangster whose death prompted Britain’s worst public violence in a generation. Hundreds of officers in London are braced for disorder after the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan ended amid extraordinary scenes of anger” – The Times (£)

  • Boris to buy first water cannon for the Met – Daily Mail

Ministers accused of “caving in to the alcohol lobby”

beer“Campaigners have accused ministers of caving in to pressure from the drinks and supermarket industries to drop plans to impose a minimum price for alcohol…an investigation has found industry lobbyists had at least 130 meetings with ministers and officials in the run-up to the u-turn and key evidence in favour of the policy had been suppressed” – Daily Mail

Cameron says storms are linked to climate change

“David Cameron admitted that he suspects the recent devastating floods across the country were the result of climate change…But his comments at Prime Minister’s Questions will infuriate some Tory backbenchers who do not accept global warming is affecting Britain’s weather” – Daily Mail

  • Heavy rain returns and flood risk remains – Guardian
  • Homes on stilts are answer to flooding in Wales, says expert – Wales Online

UKIP “up for” by-election after Labour MP dies

UKIP logo“Labour is set for a fresh battle with UKIP in one of its heartlands after a by-election was sparked by the shock death of one of their MPs. Paul Goggins, 60, suffered a stroke while jogging on December 30 and died on Tuesday night. The dad-of-three retained his Wythenshawe and Sale East seat with a 7,500 majority at the last election…Although UKIP came fourth in 2010, party sources said they were confident of doing well in the upcoming by-election” – The Sun (£)

Coalition rejects Labour demand for crackdown on gambling machines

“Labour demands for tighter controls on high-stakes gambling machines failed to win the support of coalition MPs on Wednesday night. The government won a Commons vote by 314 to 232, majority 82, in a vote on a Labour motion calling for local councils to be given the power to limit the number of high-stakes fruit machines” – Guardian

  • Time to curb the gambling scourge – Jane Merrick, Independent 

O’Sullivan: Thatcher was difficult on Britain’s behalf

THATCHER resolute“Aitken…demolishes the fallback anti-Thatcher position adopted since her greatness became impossible to deny. This position…is that Mrs Thatcher won major battles but they arose more from her combative personality than from any wider political necessity. Aitken flirts with that idea, but in the end he rejects it. She was indeed a difficult woman, but she was difficult on Britain’s behalf” – John O’Sullivan reviews Jonathan Aitken’s biography of Thatcher – Standpoint

Don’t call me Dave’s Crony Crimper

“Lino Carbosiero has been taken aback by the allegations of cronyism and the malignant suspicion by some that he was personally honoured by Cameron just because he’s his crimper. He says simply that he does a great deal of charity work and is active in the hairdressing industry…Downing Street has assured Lino that they and the PM had nothing to do with it” – Jan Moir, Daily Mail

  • Cameron’s father-in-law remembers the Profumo scandal – Daily Mail

News in brief