Cameron suggests that Help to Buy could be pared back

help-to-buy-logo-jpg“Mr Cameron said Help to Buy had been ‘very important to get the housing market moving’. … ‘It did play an important role in helping to restore confidence in housebuilding,’ he added. Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, ‘had the tools at his disposal’ to recommend the scheme is pared back if he is concerned the property market is overheating. … ‘The Bank of England has all the powers they need to deal with this,’ Mr Cameron told the Daily Mail.” – Daily Mail

  • “The Treasury is unlikely to decide whether to rein in the controversial scheme until the Bank of England’s formal report in the Autumn.” – The Sun (£)
  • “The Treasury is losing £40bn a year due to a shadow economy where firms and individuals deliberately hide sales from the taxman, according to a leading tax justice campaigner, Richard Murphy.” – The Guardian
  • “Vince Cable has warned booming house prices are destabilising the economy and any sane person should worry about what is going to happen when interest rates rise as the economy returns to normal.” – The Guardian
  • “About 2.3 million householders could become ‘mortgage prisoners’ who struggle to afford their repayments when interest rates rise, according to a report published today.” – The Independent
  • “Prices are rising faster than wages again, official figures could show on Tuesday, days after Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, said that the cost of living crisis was over.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “Wake-up! It’s house price bubble time” – David Blanchflower, The Independent
  • “On pay and property prices alike, there is no time to waste in making reforms, if Britain is to achieve a recovery that rewards toil a little more, and title deeds a little less.” – Guardian editorial

>Today: The Deep End – Homeownership isn’t to blame for our crazy housing market


The Prime Minister also takes the fight to UKIP…

Farage Nigel Eating Cakes“David Cameron ferociously condemned Ukip last night saying voters had heard enough of its ‘appalling’ views. … In the closing days of campaigning for European and local elections, the Prime Minister said Ukip represented the ‘politics of anger’. … Decent, hardworking people who were tempted to vote for the anti-European party should think again, he said.” – Daily Mail

  • “A disabled man called police after after a UKIP MEP tried to take a megaphone from him after he used it to question him about his expense claims. … Roger Helmer, was caught on camera rushing over to try and grab the megaphone after he was heckled during a campaign visit.” – Daily Mail
  • “Nigel Farage’s comments about Romanians have been branded racist by three prominent Labour figures – Yvette Cooper, Diane Abbott and David Lammy” – The Guardian
  • “UKIP have been accused of descending to a new low after activists used graves of Britain’s war dead to drum up anti-foreigner votes.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Just one in seven Brits says Nigel Farage speaks for the nation – as Ukip’s support appears to be on the slide.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Victory for the United Kingdom Independence party in this week’s European elections could nudge Scottish voters toward independence, according to an opinion poll that also suggests Ukip is likely to fail to win its first seat in Scotland.” – Financial Times

And comment:

  • “Ukip’s latest Euro election tactic is an outrage. We can’t believe Nigel Farage gave it the nod . . . but he’s no longer talking to us. … We’re not sure why.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Among a crowd of political automatons, Nigel Farage is like a wacky neighbour in a sitcom” – Charlie Brooker, The Guardian
  • “Faragemania simply cannot last – these European elections will be the crest of his power” – Steve Richards, The Independent
  • “Defying the collective pessimism is the greatest difficulty politicians face today.” – Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph

…has his say on White Dee and her benefits…

CAMERON Marr Europe“Reality TV star White Dee will be stripped of her benefits if she is found to be earning significant sums by cashing in on her notoriety, David Cameron implied yesterday. … The Prime Minister stepped in after the star of Channel 4’s Benefits Street insisted she would continue taking state handouts until he or his Government stopped her. … White Dee, whose real name is Deidre Kelly, has repeatedly insisted she is too ill to work as she suffers from depression.” – Daily Mail

  • “The real scandal of White Dee: It’s not just her brazen milking of benefits, but the system that makes it a more rational choice than working” – Daniel Hannan, Daily Mail
  • “Nothing will stop David Cameron’s race to the ‘weightless state'” – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

…and on the Premier League chief’s sexist emails

“Under-fire football chief Richard Scudamore escaped the sack today despite the Prime Minister joining the backlash against his sexist emails. … David Cameron suggested a member of his Cabinet would not survive if they admitted sending crude messages, as the Premier League chief executive had done.” – Daily Mail

  • “It showed poor judgment to send these [emails] from an office account and poor taste to think that they were funny. The incident did not, however, indicate that Mr Scudamore either has failed, or that he will fail, at his job.” – Times editorial (£)

The Government insists it will keep its hands off press regulation

Newspaper mastheads“The government was forced to clarify that it will play no role in judging any self-regulatory press body after a senior civil service press officer said the new Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) was the ‘only show in town’ – and said the Guardian should not be allowed to join. … A spokesperson for the culture department said it was up to the press to decide how to develop the work of the new body that has been established by some national newspapers, adding it was ‘not for the government to judge’ any proposed self-regulator.” – The Guardian

  • “David Cameron is concerned about a judgment granting people the right to demand that information about them is removed from search engines, Downing Street suggested.” – The Times (£)

Examiners prepare new history A-level to satisfy Coalition reforms

“Teenagers will study African kingdoms and the rise of Islam as part of a new history A-level aimed at broadening lessons beyond ‘Hitler and the Henrys’. … Examiners yesterday proposed a range of extra topics to be added to history A-levels under Coalition reforms aimed at making public exams more rigorous. … Education Secretary Michael Gove has also ordered exam boards to ensure that history covers at least a 200-year sweep instead of 100 years under the current syllabus.” – Daily Mail

Academy chain goes under

“An academy chain in charge of running six state schools became the first in the country to fold today – forcing a sudden hunt for new sponsors to take them over. … The Prospects Academies Trust, which runs six schools in Paignton, Bexhill and Gloucestershire, was one of 14 chains told by the Government it could not take on any new schools because of concerns over standards.” – The Independent

  • “The UK’s leading universities are due to spend more than £9bn on new research facilities, accommodation and IT infrastructure during the next three years in a sign of the growing importance of education to the British economy.” – Financial Times
  • “A teenager at one of the country’s most prestigious private schools has outed himself as a virgin and is encouraging his classmates to employ the same restraint to avoid getting their hearts broken.” – Daily Mail

A blue-on-blue scrap over prisoners

Prison bars“Humiliated justice ministers were last night blasted for going soft on criminals – and blocking moves to end days out for murderers. … Tory backbencher Philip Davies put up proposals to stop temporary release for killers last week – but the move was thrown out in the Commons. … Yesterday he blasted Justice secretary Chris Grayling for talking tough – but failing to protect the public.” – The Sun (£)

  • “The recent disappearance of three criminals who absconded after being held in open or lower security prisons has led to a promise by Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, to tighten the rules surrounding the temporary release of offenders into the community.” – The Independent

And comment:

  • “The Tories were always the party of law and order. What’s gone wrong?” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Home Office figures show that 99.9% of releases on licence ended with offenders returning as required.” – Guardian editorial

Boris denounces a proposal for a 24-hour Heathrow

“A proposal to run Heathrow 24 hours a day would inflict ‘untold misery on more than a million’ people, Boris Johnson said yesterday. … Mr Johnson said: ‘Heathrow is already the most noise-polluting airport in Europe and it would be catastrophic for the quality of life of Londoners if aircraft were allowed to take-off and land 24 hours a day . . . Do these people not deserve a decent night’s sleep?’ – The Times (£)

Fabricant: The Tories have changed for the better

“Conservative MP Michael Fabricant has said his party is no longer made up ‘retired colonel types’ with ‘horrendous’ views. … The Lichfield MP has also revealed that the Labour Party unsuccessfully attempted to persuade him to cross the floor of the Commons and join its ranks shortly after the 1997 Labour landslide.” – Pink News

Clegg’s latest attack on the Tory backbenches

CLEGG Bird“Mr Clegg will tell the European Studies Centre at Oxford University: ‘UKIP. Conservative backbenchers. Isolationists. … They mask their hostility towards Europe as British bulldog spirit. But these are false patriots.’ … He will warn that if ‘the forces of insularity and chauvinism get their way’, they ‘will hand the keys to running our European continent to the Germans, the French and others, while we retreat back across the English Channel’.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Europe has lost the ability to shape its neighbours” – Gideon Rachman, Financial Times
  • “Europe’s unnoticed election is bad news for the UK” – David Charter, The Times (£)
  • “The overwhelming victor at the European election will be indifference” – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph


>Yesterday: Priti Patel MP on Comment – This is the most successful Euro-sceptic government since Thatcher’s. So vote Conservative on Thursday.

Those same backbenchers will stick by Cameron until the election

“Tory Eurosceptics are planning to stand by David Cameron even if the party performs poorly in the European elections, as the right keeps its powder dry for a battle over Europe after the general election. … One senior figure said that the ‘wagons are beginning to circle’ protectively around the prime minister as rightwing Eurosceptics acknowledge that the Conservatives need to unite in the runup to May 2015. … But the right is preparing for a battle over Europe before the prime minister’s planned referendum on EU membership in 2017, amid warnings from insiders that it could lead to a Tory split as epic as the divisions over the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846.” – The Guardian

  • “The Conservatives could be forced to forge alliances with nationalist parties with hardline views on immigration in order to keep the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) coalition alive after this week’s elections.” – The Independent
  • “Uncertainty among British businesses over the UK’s future relationship with the European Union has risen in recent months, according to the latest survey from the British Chambers of Commerce.” – The Guardian

Lib Dems urge their leader to play down the prospect of another Coalition

“As the Liberal Democrats head towards another round of damaging local election losses this week, Nick Clegg has been told by senior colleagues to distance himself from a possible second coalition with the Conservatives. … Mr Clegg says he would not want to prop up one of the two leading parties in a minority government in a hung parliament, saying he would favour a coalition in such circumstances. But his position has been seen by some on the left of the party as preparing the ground for a second Lib-Con coalition; some Lib Dems believe the party might be better off rebuilding its fortunes in opposition.” – Financial Times

  • “Nick Clegg said on Monday it was ‘flamingly obvious’ that being part of the coalition government had damaged Liberal Democrats’ chances in this week’s European elections.” – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary – The facts and the fears of giving MPs and members the power to veto a 2015 coalition deal

Miliband’s new minimum wage pledge comes under heavy fire

Miliband coffee“Labour leader Ed Miliband today promised to end the ‘terrible scandal’ of low pay by linking the minimum wage to average earnings. … But the move threatened to backfire after the Tories highlighted official figures which suggested the minimum wage would be 20p lower today if the policy had been introduced in 2010 when they took over. … Business Minister Matthew Hancock claimed the minimum wage had ‘never been higher’ as a proportion of wages, suggesting that Labour’s proposal would hit low earners in the pocket.” – Daily Mail

  • “…a weekly telephone poll carried out by Lord Ashcroft, the Tory peer, yesterday found that Ed Miliband’s Opposition was ahead by 35 per cent to 29 per cent.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Ed Miliband makes four out of 10 people less likely to vote Labour, according to a ComRes survey for The Independent.” – The Independent

And comment:

  • “Labour’s proposal to tie UK rate to wages is wrong-headed” – Financial Times editorial
  • “Ed Miliband’s latest plan to take Britain backwards” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “Miliband’s plan to link the two is foolish. It would have meant the minimum wage falling in 2009 along with average pay. Instead it went up.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Why does Mr Miliband struggle? Because he almost never does anything that you would not expect a leftwing politician to do; and so his audience never grows beyond people who are already leftwing.” – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
  • “Now Ed is under pressure from left and right” – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)
  • “Miliband was on Today talking about his plans to raise the minimum wage. He is truly, madly, deeply concerned that Britain has become one of the ‘worst countries in the developed world’ when it comes to low pay. … And whose fault is that?” – Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
  • “The Labour leader answers all your questions on home maintenance.” – As told to Craig Brown, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft on Comment – Labour lead by six points in my latest poll

The 62 Labour MPs who are employing staff on zero hours contracts

“Labour leader Ed Miliband has repeatedly hit out at the growing use by employers of ‘exploitative’ contracts that offer staff no guarantee of any work. … But figures produced by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority reveal that MPs employ 151 staff on zero hours contracts. … Of these, 62 are employed by Labour MPs, 77 by Conservatives, five by Liberal Democrats and seven by independents and the minor parties.” – Daily Mail

Taxpayer money going towards union activity among the police

Police shield“Taxpayers are shelling out nearly £10million a year so police officers and staff can do union work. … Despite the financial squeeze leading to huge falls in police budgets, spending on union activity has shot up by 65 per cent in just two years, figures suggest. … The vast majority of that money pays the salaries of representatives from the Police Federation, the embattled body rocked by a series of scandals over recent months.” – Daily Mail

  • “More than a quarter of the public do not trust the police to tell the truth, a survey commissioned by the organisation which represents frontline officers in England and Wales has disclosed.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Modernisers are battling to stop the Police Federation voting down key reforms at its annual conference, which began in Bournemouth on Monday.” – The Guardian
  • “Almost two thirds of police files handed to prosecutors are virtually useless, a damning report finds today.” – The Sun (£)

>Yesterday: Peter Walker on Comment – May still has lots to do – the Police Federation could help

Doctors warn of crisis if money has to go towards social care

“A coalition health reform could trigger a fresh cash crisis immediately after the election, NHS officials have warned. … Doctors fear that the NHS budget is going to be used to provide funding to plug gaps in social care at a time when the system is already under huge strain.” – The Times (£)

  • “Thousands of NHS staff are being paid through controversial off-payroll deals that can cut tax payments.” – Daily Mail
  • “Thousands of women’s lives could be saved by a simple test for heart attacks due to be introduced across the NHS within months.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Doctors should be free to prescribe e-cigs on the NHS, the UK’s leading expert on smoking said yesterday.” – The Sun (£)

AstraZeneca rejects Pfizer’s bid

Pfizer“AstraZeneca yesterday rejected a last-ditch £69billion offer by US rival Pfizer – ending a month-long battle over its future. … The British pharmaceuticals giant all but secured its independence when it called the bid ‘inadequate’ in a strongly worded rejection. … Bosses said it ‘failed to make a compelling’ case which presented ‘serious consequences’ for the company, jobs and research in Britain.” – Daily Mail

  • “Consumers made a record number of complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service last year, with nearly four-fifths of the total generated by complaints about payment protection insurance.” – Financial Times

And comment:

  • “It’s vital that the lessons of this narrow escape are learned.” – Daily Mail editorial

Hamza convicted in New York

“Hate preacher Abu Hamza is expected to die behind bars after he was last night found guilty in the US of a string of terror offences. … Hamza was convicted of 11 counts of criminal conduct related to the taking of 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998 that left three Britons and an Australian dead. … He was also found guilty of advocating violent jihad in Afghanistan in 2001 and conspiring to establish a jihad training camp in Bly, Oregon, between June 2000 and December 2001.” – Daily Mail

  • “MI5 faces claims that it has been complicit in torture as recently as this February, after a former British resident told how he was beaten by Egyptian security forces working closely with the UK.” – The Independent

News in brief

  • Thai army declares martial law – The Times (£)
  • Camden market on fire – Daily Mail
  • Man taken to court over offensive Twitter messages aimed at Labour’s Stella Creasy – Daily Mail
  • BBC spends £28.8 million on hotels in three years – Daily Telegraph
  • US to charge Chinese with cyber spying – Financial Times
  • Credit Suisse faces $2.6 billion fine after pleading guilty to tax evasion – Financial Times
  • World’s most expensive divorce to cost Russian billionaire £2.7 billion – The Independent
  • Louis Van Gaal appointed Manchester United manager – The Independent

And finally 1) Robinson’s lost phone

Phone“During an unfortunate incident as he attended a football match, Nick Robinson lost his mobile phone containing personal contacts for everyone from the Prime Minister down. … Mobile numbers for ‘most of the Cabinet’, Downing Street officials and key civil servants were stored on the phone, sources said. … Now the loss of the treasure trove of government contacts is being treated as a ‘serious security breach’ by No.10.” – Daily Mail

And finally 2) Cameron does his bit for the Union

“David Cameron has spoken passionately about his desire for Scotland to remain in the UK, insisting that ‘we would be deeply diminished without Scotland’. Now that sentiment is to take on a personal hue for the prime minister and his wife Samantha, who have hired a Scottish nanny to take care of their three children.” – The Times (£)

And finally 3) The only way is NOT Nick Clegg

Curse of Clegg 2“More young women say they would back reality TV star Joey Essex in an election than Nick Clegg, a new poll reveals. … Just 1 per cent of women aged 18-30 surveyed by Cosmopolitan said they admire Mr Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, but 3 per cent said they would consider voting for Essex. … In fact all of Britain’s party leaders proved so unappealing that most young women said they would rather vote for politicians who are from other countries or dead.” – Daily Mail

And finally 4) Raising awareness

“This is the moment MP Charlotte Leslie took to the beach to recreate a picture which emerged of her as a young Tory – looking like a stunning Baywatch babe. … Donning a red swimming costume the 35-year-old posed in a bid to raise awareness of the lifesaving efforts carried out daily on Britain’s coasts.” – Daily Mail

8 comments for: Newslinks for Tuesday 20th May 2014

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