Support for Tories slips after post-Budget bounce

osborne-budget“The budget has failed to boost the Conservatives with voters, according to a new Guardian/ICM poll, as the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, says Labour will continue to talk about the cost of living because people are likely to be worse off at the next election than in 2010. The Tories have dropped three points to 32 per cent over the month since March despite the positive media reaction to George Osborne’s ‘budget for savers’. The chancellor and David Cameron continue to perform well with voters when they are asked who is best to run the economy” – Guardian

  • ComRes poll puts Tories on 30 per cent, Labour 36, UKIP 12, Lib Dems 9 – Independent
  • Blow to Labour as wages outstrip inflation – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary – According to Peter Kellner “the fundamentals favour Cameron”

Britain’s aid spending the highest in Europe

“Britain hiked its aid spending by more than any other country in Europe last year, figures show. Foreign aid soared by 28 per cent last year, meaning the UK hit its target of spending 0.7 per cent of GDP on overseas development. It left Britain with the second most generous aid budget in the world, outstripped only by the United States, and it came as a series of developed nations cut back on their aid spending. The figures will reignite concerns among Tory MPs” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: The aid budget increased 28 per cent last year – what have we got to show for it?

Duncan Smith: the benefit cap is working

“Nearly half of benefit claimants hit by the cap on welfare payments are now doing more to find work, according to a poll…Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith hailed the figures as evidence that the benefit cap is working. He told the Mail: ‘By capping benefits we send a clear message: the only way to increase the amount of money you receive is through work’” – Daily Mail

Wollaston defends her role in the Evans case

Sarah Wollaston“Following his acquittal on nine charges of rape and sexual assault, Nigel Evans – the former Deputy Speaker – has claimed that I ‘had it in for him’. Others have demanded that I apologise, and reflect on my role in the case. To them, I ask this: what would you do if, in a social setting, someone told you that they had been sexually assaulted by one of your most popular colleagues? Would you have laughed off the allegation, or brushed it aside?” – Sarah Wollaston MP, Daily Telegraph

Fuel duty cuts boost Treasury revenues

“Cuts in fuel duty since the Coalition came to power in May 2010 have significantly boosted output and government revenues. A new Treasury study released today estimates that the effective 20 per cent real cut in fuel duty since 2010 will add 0.3 to 0.5 per cent to growth over the long term. The findings of the study, which has been checked by leading academics, also show that the impact in terms of increased profits to companies, the income of households and consumption leads to rising tax revenues” – Daily Mail

  • The mounting proof that tax cuts make us all richer – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail

Farage faces investigation into “missing” EU expenses

FARAGE big laugh“Nigel Farage faces an expenses investigation into almost £60,000 of ‘missing’ European Union funds paid into his personal bank account. The Ukip leader has received £15,500 a year from the EU since at least 2009 to pay for the upkeep of his constituency office, a small converted grain store near Bognor Regis, according to transparency reports filed on the party’s website. However, the grain store was given rent-free to Mr Farage by Ukip supporters 15 years ago” – The Times (£)

NHS heading for financial crisis

“A financial crisis for the NHS looms in 2015-16, according to the King’s Fund think-tank…Richard Murray, director of policy, said: ‘It is now certain that the next government will need to find more funding for the NHS, or accept significant cuts to services’” – Financial Times

Collins: Clegg can be proud of his record

CLEGG Bird“The siren voices of the Tory Right tell the tale. They complain, as if the electorate had granted them a full victory, that the Lib Dems have prevented them from doing what Tories are born to do. The list of complaints looks to me like a prospectus of liberal triumph and a record of negative capability to be proud of” – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

  • Clegg vows to remain Lib Dem leader until 2020 – Financial Times
  • Clegg blames Blair for delay in publication of Chilcott Report – Daily Mail
  • Cyril Smith abuse happened before I was born, says Clegg – The Times (£)
  • Clegg to be asked why he pays election guru from public funds – Daily Mail

Ganesh: Scotland is already leaving the Union behind

“Scottish public life is growing so unlike England’s as to already resemble that of a separate state. Wonderfully, Mr Salmond can call for more immigration and live to tell the tale. No Westminster politician would try. Less wonderfully, he can espouse the kind of economics that would cause much of England to check that it was not 1975. This disparity is not going away” – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times

  • First Sea Lord: Scottish independence would damage Royal Navy – Daily Telegraph
  • Hammond to warn that removing Trident from Scotland would be slow – Scotsman
  • Independent Scotland could abandon UK debt – Financial Times

News in brief