IDS shoots holes in Miliband’s ‘jobs guarantee’

IDS headshot‘A flagship Labour plan to ‘guarantee’ jobs for every young person unemployed for a year is ‘pie in the sky’, Iain Duncan Smith said last night. He said Labour’s suggestion that 80 per cent of the placements would be in the private sector was ‘pie in the sky’, pointing out not one employer has signed up although the party trailed the scheme a year ago. He added: ‘Fundamentally, this type of scheme just doesn’t work. Labour’s Future Jobs Fund, which this scheme looks very similar to, created short-term placements predominantly in the public sector. Each placement cost £6,500, and half of participants were back on benefits as soon as their time on the scheme was up.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Businesses steer clear of Labour’s jobs guarantee – and Miliband only has himself to blame

de Bois: Raise the threshold for 40p tax

‘Nick de Bois, secretary of the influential 1922 Committee, said the Government risked ‘undermining aspiration’ by allowing millions of middle-income earners to be dragged into the 40p tax bracket, which was once reserved for the wealthy. The Government has raised the threshold at which people pay basic-rate income tax to £10,000. But Tory MPs are now lobbying Chancellor George Osborne hard ahead of next week’s Budget because workers are now hit with the 40p rate as soon as they earn £41,450 a year.’ – Daily Mail


Growing prospect of sanctions on Russia

Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 08.21.34‘International powers are to meet in London tomorrow to work on drawing up a list of Russian figures who could face asset freezes and travel bans if Moscow fails to defuse the current crisis over Ukraine, David Cameron has told MPs. In a statement to the House of Commons on last week’s emergency European summit on the Ukraine crisis, Mr Cameron acknowledged that sanctions against Russia could have consequences for the UK and its European Union partners. But he warned: “Britain’s own security and prosperity would be at risk if we allow a situation where countries can just flout international rules without incurring consequences.” – The Times (£)

>Today: Garvan Walshe’s Foreign Policy column: Ten actions Cameron can take for Ukraine now

>Yesterday: The Deep End: Forget sanctions – Russia will pay dearly for Crimea anyway

Job prospects creep closer to 2008 levels

‘Winter floods helped to lift job prospects to a six-year high as all sectors of the economy plan to take on staff. Repairs on an estimated 6,000 homes damaged in the rains has raised demand for builders, the one part of the economy continuing to experience weak employment, a survey by Manpower, the recruitment group, found.’ – The Times (£)

Clegg’s free school lunch plan under fire

CLEGG Bird‘Nick Clegg’s free school meals plan was in disarray last night after it was savaged by headteachers. They blasted ‘ludicrous’ official advice that infants could be asked to choose their meals two hours ahead, eat at 11am and have cold lunches. The guidance from the Department for Education even says parents might be brought in to chop vegetables.’ – Daily Mail

  • Spare us from another hung parliament – Daily Mail Leader
  • Lib Dem local government minister criticises his own department’s tax policy – Daily Mail

MP, judge and returning officer: Scrap on-demand postal voting

‘Mr Stephenson, the MP for Pendle, which is one of the 16 areas of concern, said: “I want us to scrap on-demand postal voting and go back to the system that we had before this got loosened up. “Now when you actually look in the UK and look at what’s going on in Pendle… there is real fraud going on.’ – BBC News

Cameron to visit Israel

cameron-face‘David Cameron will make his first trip to Israel as prime minister this week, as he seeks to ease Israeli concerns over the thaw in the relationship between the west and Iran. Downing Street has confirmed that Mr Cameron will spend two days in the country. He will meet Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and address the Knesset, the country’s parliament.’ – FT

Judges fail to jail serial burglars

‘Under supposedly tough laws passed by the last Government, housebreakers should be jailed for a minimum of three years if they have three or more convictions. But figures unearthed by the Civitas think-tank show the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ punishment is being administered in only 22 per cent of cases.’ – Daily Mail

Private sector pay rises above the public sector

growth flag‘Average pay for public sector employees in April 2013 was 1.9 per cent lower than the average among private sector employees, according to the Office for National Statistics. This represents a reversal of the pattern in 2010 when the Coalition took office.’ – The Independent

>Today: The Deep End: Hooray! We’re all much richer than we think we are

Pension scheme to be closed to councillors

‘Town hall pensions claimed by Boris Johnson and thousands of councillors are to be abolished from May, the Government will announce today. The number of elected representatives who have climbed aboard what ministers call a ‘pensions gravy train’ has soared in recent years. More than 4,500 now qualify for guaranteed pensions based on the allowances they are paid as councillors, which can exceed £50,000 a year.’ – Daily Mail

Claims that Whips knew of Nigel Evans allegations five years ago

Police‘One alleged victim went to Tory whips five years ago to demand Mr Evans’s resignation but agreed not to pursue the allegation after being told that there was a general election coming up, Preston Crown Court was told yesterday. The complaint was not reported to the police and was dealt with by Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, who was then the Opposition Chief Whip, and his deputy, John Randall. The court heard that Mr Evans was told to seek help for his drinking, come out as gay and apologise.’ – The Times (£)

  • ‘Scandal’ of domestic violence conviction rates – The Sun (£)

Willetts goes in search of new planets

‘British boffins are to lead global attempts to find new planets in outer space. Science minister David Willetts will today say the Government is giving its support to the building of a new satellite and telescope by UK engineers. It is part of a £300million boost for the science industry that is tipped to create an extra £150million a year for the country.’ – The Sun (£)

Bob Crow shows his inner right winger

THATCHER Che‘Challenged over his decision to remain a council tenant, he told BBC Radio Four’s PM programme: ‘I’m the only person in my road paying the rent – everyone else is on social. ‘Every single person down my road – because there are only nine houses – is on benefits. ‘Who really is the mug?’’ – Daily Mail

Is Farage too much of a tyrant?

‘“We call it Fukip — Farage’s Ukip — it’s all about him,” says a former aide. “Nigel uses the party for everything he can get. He is incredibly charismatic when you first meet him. He came to visit me and strode off across the fields, extolling the virtues of the hedgerows, but after ten minutes he was out of breath. That sums him up really, he can’t keep anything up. Under pressure he crumbles. He is very charming — until he’s not.”’ – The Times (£)

  • ‘Walter Mitty’ psychometric tests didn’t work – The Times (£)
  • Humphrys: The BBC should be more eurosceptic – Daily Telegraph


>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Nick Clegg sees UKIP as his secret ally

News in brief