Cameron does God

Church shield‘Some people feel that in this ever more secular age we shouldn’t talk about these things. I completely disagree. I believe we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country, more ambitious about expanding the role of faith-based organisations, and, frankly, more evangelical about a faith that compels us to get out there and make a difference to people’s lives.’ – David Cameron, The Church Times


Economy 1) Osborne welcomes news that wages are rising faster than inflation

‘Yesterday, Chancellor George Osborne said Britain’s booming job market provides ‘compelling evidence’ that his economic strategy is working. He added: ‘Every job created means another family with greater economic security.’  The ONS revealed the number of  people with a job has reached 30.4million, the highest since records began, after the biggest increase in employment for 25 years.’ – Daily Mail


Economy 2) Unemployment fall brings interest rate rise closer

Work & Prosperity (Deep End)‘Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, has repeatedly dampened expectations of an early rate rise. However, analysts said yesterday that the first increase could come before Christmas if the good run of economic data continued. Alan Clarke, of Scotiabank, said: “It does encourage a rate hike sooner rather than later.”’ – The Times (£)

  • Brown has ‘no plans’ to quit parliament – Daily Mail
  • Austin Mitchell will stand down, after a last crack at Miliband – The Guardian

800 patients a day catch infections in NHS hospitals

‘One in 16 patients are developing infections on NHS wards because of poor hygiene among staff, according to NICE. The government body says 800 patients a day – or 300,000 a year – are infected by a member of staff or by dirty equipment. It is estimated the infections cause 5,000 deaths annually and contribute to another 15,000.’ – Daily Mail

Trussell Trust accused of ‘misleading the public’ over food banks

Food bank‘Claims that almost one  million people have had to resort to emergency supplies from food banks in the past year were dismissed as ‘misleading and emotionally manipulative’ yesterday…But senior figures in the Government yesterday accused the Trussell Trust of ‘publicity seeking’ to benefit its own ‘business’, pointing out that the growing number of food banks inevitably leads to people seeking out free food if it is available. The Department for Work and Pensions added that a recent report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development actually found that food poverty has gone down under this government.’ – Daily Mail

Pensioners will be given a ‘death date’ on retirement

‘Pensioners will be given estimates of how long they have left to live to help them manage their savings, a minister has disclosed. Steve Webb said that the Government wants to provide pensioners with a rough life expectancy guide when they reach retirement to allow them to make better financial decisions. Experts will take into account factors including gender, where a pensioner lives or whether they smoke, the pensions minister said.’ – Daily Telegraph

Russian spies are controlling uprisings in eastern Ukraine

Vladimir Putin‘Pro-Russian militia in Ukraine are being supervised and guided by Russian army intelligence agents based in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, according to a document seen by The Times. Ten Russian “spies and raiders” were arrested in Ukraine during the past month, the analysis of Moscow’s involvement by the Ukrainian secret service says, while telephone intercepts show orders from Russian agents directing attacks.’ – The Times (£)

  • Russian militants seize vehicles from Ukrainian army – Daily Mail
  • NATO beefs up forces in Eastern Europe – The Sun (£)
  • Corporate lobbying cracks the EU’s resolve on sanctions – FT
  • The West can only order Putin to stop, and be ignored – The Times Leader (£)
  • Do we know what we stand for? – The Spectator Leader
  • All the Russians want is respect – Bruce Anderson, FT

Two fifths of children miss out on their first choice of primary school

‘Up to four in 10 children missed out on their first choice primary school in parts of England while hundreds of pupils were not allocated places at all. There were warnings of a mounting admissions “crisis” as figures show that almost 40 per cent of infants in parts of the country failed to secure places at the main school of their choice.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The alleged “Trojan Horse” takeover of Birmingham schools is a minefield Gove must clear

More questions over UKIP’s finances

UKIP glass‘Ukip insiders have repeatedly raised concerns over £287,734 spent by the party’s southeast branch in 2004 and 2005. The money was not used for campaigning, communications, property rental, utilities or auditing and was described only as “other” running costs, according to accounts filed with the Electoral Commission. In subsequent years, running costs amounted to no more than £8,200.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: Brian Monteith’s column: Farage’s challenge to Salmond reveals an opportunity for Scottish Tories

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White and Blue column: Farage challenges Salmond to debate ‘true independence’ – from the EU

Hannan: Scrap these unaccountable UN bureaucrats

‘The UN has a way of cutting its staff off from reality. Working in a cloistered international environment, enjoying massive tax-free salaries and perks, convinced that their cause is just, they can slip all too easily into self-righteousness. Businesses must answer to their customers and their shareholders. Politicians must answer to their constituents. But international civil servants – accountable to no one – are free to concentrate on making themselves comfortable.’ – Daniel Hannan, Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Prince George makes friends with a giant, cuddly wombat – Daily Mail
  • Golfers threatened by giant, un-cuddly exotic bird – Daily Mail
  • MPs defend the census – FT
  • 29-year-old grandfather is proud of his daughter – The Sun (£)
  • Coulson describes the first time he heard hacked voicemails – FT
  • Heathrow delay will cost passengers £300 – The Sun (£)
  • Severe power cut in northern Scotland – The Scotsman