Osborne announces new anti-“tax dodge” measures

OSBORNE Blackberry‘Britain is to declare war on tax dodging by making it a criminal offence for residents to hide income in tax havens overseas. The tough new measure, announced by George Osborne at a meeting of finance ministers in the U.S., could help recoup some of the £15 billion in personal tax and national insurance that goes missing each year… The Chancellor said: ‘We are changing the balance of the law, so HMRC don’t have to prove someone intended to hide their money offshore to evade tax, just that they did so and didn’t pay tax.The message is clear with this new criminal offence: if you are evading tax, there is no safe haven and we will find you.’ – Daily Mail

  • Osborne plans to strengthen criminal law on tax dodging – The Guardian
  • Britain’s best days lie ahead says Chancellor – Daily Express
  • Danny Alexander: ‘The economic plan is as much mine as George Osborne’s’ – The Guardian
  • Nine million Brits save for retirement for the first time – The Sun (£)
  • Footballer buys West Cornwall Pasty after Osborne’s ‘pasty tax’ helps push firm into administration – Daily Telegraph

Simon Heffer: George, Boris and a bloody brawl to succeed Dave

‘One thing is certain: Mr Osborne detests Mr Johnson. He considers the London Mayor as ­having achieved little politically and is more of a stand-up comedian who disreputably takes credit for all the hard work done by his team of deputy mayors. As for Mr Cameron, I’m not sure how he views these two long-standing colleagues’ rival ­ambitions to succeed him.”- Daily Mail

Bone’s expenses under investigation by watchdog

bone‘Another Tory MP is facing an investigation into his second home expenses days after Maria Miller resigned as culture secretary after obstructing a parliamentary inquiry and overclaiming £5,800. Peter Bone, a prominent backbench Eurosceptic, is being investigated by Kathryn Hudson, the independent standards commissioner, who originally recommended that Miller repay £45,000 before her report was watered down by the Commons standards committee.’ – The Guardian

  • Former shadow Tory minister Patrick Mercer expected to be banned for up to six months – Daily Telegraph

‘Laughable’ cases set for probe after Evans is latest to walk free

‘SENIOR prosecutors could be hauled in front of Parliament amid mounting fury at the number of “laughable” cases being taken to court, The Sun can reveal. It emerged yesterday that TWO powerful Commons committees may launch probes as irate politicians yesterday upped the pressure on the Crown Prosecution Service. The row came in the aftermath of ex-Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans becoming the latest high-profile figure to walk free from court.’ – The Sun (£)

  • Attorney general demands answers from CPS over failed sex offence cases – The Guardian
  • We’re not ‘on a mission’ to get celebrities, says chief prosecutor after MP Nigel Evans is cleared of sex charges – Daily Mail
  • Nigel Evans faces ruin over £100,000 gay sex case bill – The Times (£)

Dan Hodges: The police and CPS have to stop dragging innocent people through the dirt

Screen shot 2014-04-12 at 09.14.17‘It took a jury at Preston Crown Court precisely four and a half hours to throw out every one of those charges. On average they were forced to deliberate for just 27 minutes over each “offence”. I’m amazed it even took them that long. It’s difficult to imagine a more blatant and disgraceful abuse of the British legal system than the one Nigel Evans has just been subjected to.’ – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Iain Dale’s Friday Diary – The next victim of our broken justice system won’t be Nigel Evans. It will be Joe Bloggs.

‘Let’s keep British common sense in Europe’: Poland promises help for EU reform

‘Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski said fears over the growing power of Brussels could be resolved, in order to win over the “great reserve of British common sense in favour of Europe”. Mr Sikorski, who was a member of Oxford University’s infamous Bullingdon Club at the same time as Mr Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson, told the British Government: “We are perfectly willing to help you fix some of the problems of the EU.”‘ – Daily Express

  • Sketch: A manifesto to stop things that aren’t happening – James Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Cries for David Cameron to face Farage in a live TV debate – Daily Express
  • The Conservatives are slowly gaining despite Ukip – Daily Telegraph

Offa’s Dyke is line between life and death, says Cameron

Screen shot 2014-04-12 at 09.15.04‘Offa’s Dyke, the historic boundary between England and Wales, is now the “line between life and death”, David Cameron has said. Mr Cameron’s comments to the Conservative Welsh party conference are an escalation in Conservative attempts to highlight disparities between health care in the two nations to attack Labour at a national level. The Welsh Labour run Welsh Assembly has come under repeated criticism from rivals amid increasing waiting times and claims of underfunding.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • PM: Don’t trust Labour with NHS in England – The Sun (£)
  • Whose NHS is best? It’s the wrong question – Andy McKeon, The Guardian
  • Anger as Labour aid tweets that death toll at scandal-hit Mid Staffordshire Hospital was ‘made up’ – Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

Andrew Brown: The Prime Minister says Christianity is the most persecuted religion but fails to act

‘I don’t want to be unduly cynical here, but anyone who claims that “Jesus invented the big society” – as the prime minister apparently did – is going to have to work hard to recover his reputation. Still, let’s suppose he meant it, or something like it, and consider his claim that “Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world today” and his determination to do something about this.’ – Andrew Brown, The Guardian

  • Is David Cameron really a Christian? – Damian Thomson, Daily Telegraph
  • Cameron: It’s not all about chocolate eggs – The Independent
  • Ed Miliband meets the long lost ‘aunt’ he had not seen in 37 years as he visits Israel on a personal and political journey – Daily Mail
  • I don’t think God exists, but faith is part of who I am, says ‘Jewish atheist’ Ed Miliband – Daily Mail

‘Defining moment’: Miliband urged to set out bold vision for the election as  McCluskey warns of split with party over austerity

MILIBAND Red Ed‘The Labour party is facing a defining moment in its history, the leader of the UK’s biggest trade union has warned, as Ed Miliband grapples with conflicting advice about how radical the party’s manifesto should be ahead of the next election. Len McCluskey, whose Unite union is Labour’s biggest financial backer, said the organisation was involved in a “fight for the future of the party”, and repeated his warning that his members may force a split from Labour and urge support for a new workers’ party if Miliband fails to set out a radical vision to inspire people before the next election.’ – The Guardian

  • Why has Miliband been compared to ‘a plastic bag caught in a tree’? – The Independent

Euan Blair, son of Tony, targets ultra-safe Labour seat in Merseyside close to mother Cherie’s childhood home

‘Euan Blair is targeting one of Labour’s safest seats for the next general election, it was reported last night. The ambitious 29-year-old, son of Tony Blair, is believed to have his eye on Bootle, Merseyside, just a stone’s throw from his mother Cherie’s childhood home.’ – Daily Mail

Co-op Bank needs £400m to save it: Firm blocks bonuses promised to former bosses as it reveals losses of £1.3 billion for 2013

Screen shot 2014-04-12 at 09.17.02‘The Co-operative Bank could go bust within months if it does not raise £400million, it was revealed yesterday. The dire warning was contained in the bank’s financial results, which showed a £1.3billion loss last year. Directors warned that failure to find the cash to plug a hole in its accounts could affect its ability to continue as a ‘going concern’.’ – Daily Mail

  • Like knitters by the guillotine, we wait for the next head to roll – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Monstrous cover-up: How the Liberal party, police and MI5 concealed MP Cyril Smith’s industrial-scale child abuse

‘The shocking scale of the Establishment cover-up of former Liberal MP Cyril Smith’s sickening sex abuse of boys is revealed today. For four decades, the depraved 29st politician was free to prey on vulnerable children as young as eight. Police received at least 144 complaints by victims of the predatory paedophile yet the authorities blocked any prosecution – allowing Smith brazenly to continue his abuse. The Liberal Party even put his name forward for a knighthood in 1988 in spite of the rumours of his sordid activities swirling around Westminster.’ – Daily Mail

Lib Dems are pointless – Browne

Browne Jeremy headshot‘There is no longer any point to the Liberal Democrats, one of the party’s most senior MPs has claimed. Voters cannot be blamed for abandoning the party, according to Jeremy Browne, a Liberal Democrat minister until October, who puts the blame at the feet of Nick Clegg for pandering to its left wing. “Every political party and every politician has to be able to answer the question: if you didn’t exist why would it be necessary to invent you?” he tells The Times in an interview today. “I’m not sure it would be necessary to invent an ill-defined moderating centrist party.”’  – The Times (£)

Today: ToryDiary – Browne turns a shade of Blue

Danny Alexander refuses to rule out further tuition fees rise

‘The Liberal Democrats‘ most senior finance minister has said the party cannot rule out raising tuition fees higher than £9,000-a-year after the next election, despite the bitter row that engulfed the party when Nick Clegg abandoned a flagship pledge to oppose the policy in 2010. In an interview with the GuardianDanny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said he did not see at the moment any need to raise them but could not guarantee what Liberal Democrat policy would say going into the next election.’ – The Guardian

  • Matthew Paris: No matter who wins the 2015 election, we are in for a period of party-shattering change – The Times (£)

Are we seeing the slow death of the home owning dream? After a boom in Thatcher’s right-to-buy era, property ownership has slumped to its lowest level since 1987

Homes Jobs Savings Small‘Over the past 11 years, home-ownership — something that has improved people’s lives more than any other single social advance of the 20th century — has gone into reverse. Indeed, we are now witnessing what some have termed ‘Generation Rent’. Official figures show that the percentage of people who own the home they live in dropped last year to 65.2 per cent — the lowest level since 1987. Conversely, the number of people renting homes nearly doubled, from 2.2 million in 2002/03, to  3.9  million last year.’ – Daily Mail

  • Homebuyers face tougher scrutiny – The Guardian
  • Pay will rise faster than rent for first time in four years this summer – The Sun (£)
  • House price rise sparks a huge boom in extensions because owners can’t afford to upgrade – Daily Mail

> Yesterday: Fewer homes are left empty than under Labour

Scottish Referendum 1) Civil Service impartiality under fire amidst and warning that UK is unprepared for ‘Yes’

‘Word is that Whitehall is making virtually no contingency plans for what to do if the Scots vote to go. If true, this is surely a dereliction of duty. Meanwhile, MPs at Westminster this week started an inquiry into Civil Service impartiality – or the lack of it – in the Scottish referendum debate. Shockingly, at the very first session, it became clear that the much vaunted code that bans officials from being politically partisan is unenforceable. The best that can be hoped for is that someone at the top will talk to those who breach the rules and tell them not to do it again.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Return of AAA rating at risk if Scotland votes Yes – Daily Telegraph
  • Salmond: UK break-up talks will start days after Yes vote – The Sun (£)

Scottish Referendum 2) Salmond must make the ‘speech of his life’ to rescue independence amid warning it would trigger £280billion run on the banks

SALMOND on Marr ‘Alex Salmond is under pressure to deliver the ‘speech of his life’ tomorrow as new opinion polls reveal that his independence campaign is faltering. The First Minister is in Aberdeen for the SNP’s final conference before September’s referendum, where supporters will be bitterly disappointed that movement towards a Yes vote has stalled. A Survation poll has handed the pro-Union Better Together campaign a comfortable ten-point lead, with backing for independence down two points since last month to just 37 per cent.’ – Daily Mail

  • Alistair Carmichael: SNP has built no momentum for Scottish independence – Daily Telegraph
  • Students fight shy of independence – The Times (£)
  • Alex Salmond calls on Labour voters to back Scottish independence – The Guardian
  • Voters don’t want to share the Pound with Scots if they quit UK – The Sun (£)

> Yesterday: David Mundell MP on Comment – By dismissing devolution the SNP retreat into fundamentalism

130,000 shortfall in primary school places as migration and birth rates soar

‘Councils are already deploying emergency measures to deal with the influx, such as squeezing pupils into ‘bulge’ classes and using little-known legal powers to override class size limits. But as many as 100,000 pupils – one in five in some areas – are expected to miss out on their first-choice primary, with around ten pupils fighting for each place at some of the most sought-after schools.’ – Daily Mail

  • Labour let in 350,000 more immigrants than reported – The Sun (£)
  • Primary school places: warning over admissions ‘chaos’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Primary school pupils must be taught about legal highs, says PM’s drugs adviser – Daily Mail

Yesterday: The Deep End – Heresy of the week: Perhaps education isn’t the funding priority we think it is

Omagh ‘bomber’ faces the victims’ families: Irish Republican in court accused of slaughtering 29 innocent people

‘Nearly 16 years on from the bloodiest atrocity of the Northern Ireland Troubles, Seamus Daly appeared at Dungannon Magistrates’ Court accused of the murders of 11 children and 18 men and women. One of the women who lost their lives when the Real IRA bomb ripped through the bustling market town in August 1998 was pregnant with twins – and in a bitter twist of irony, Daly’s heavily pregnant wife Aine was sitting in the public gallery on the day that she was due to give birth.’ – Daily Mail

  • ‘At last, I am hopeful of justice for my son James Barker’ – Daily Telegraph
  • When will Martin McGuinness break the IRA omerta over this atrocity? – Ruth Dudley Edwards, Daily Telegraph 

News in Brief

  • Iran’s UN envoy barred by U.S – The Guardian
  • Beer joke falls flat at Co-op supermarket – Daily Telegraph
  • Magistrates bar top judges over links to all-male Garrick Club – The Times (£)
  • The race to find MH370 – Daily Mail
  • Fury as head takes month off despite ban on pupil absence – The Sun (£)
  • Pistorious tells court Reeva Steenkamp did not shout out when he shot her – Daily Express
  • Death Salon mortality conference: the event meant to help you go out with a bang – The Independent