Osborne needs welfare cuts of £21 billion a year

OSBORNE scissors“George Osborne must slash nearly twice as much from the welfare budget if he wants to ensure cuts to police, councils and roads do not need to accelerate through the next parliament, an economic think-tank said yesterday. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that the chancellor would need to find welfare cuts of about £21 billion a year by 2020 to avoid digging deeper than he wants to into the budgets of Whitehall departments. This is almost double the £12 billion of welfare cuts Mr Osborne claimed was needed at the Conservative party conference” – The Times (£)

  • Spending plans open £27 billion gap between the parties – Financial Times
  • Tax changes to “clobber” London’s luxury homes market – Financial Times
  • Osborne’s plan requires personal borrowing binge – Independent
  • Autumn Statement fails to boost Osborne’s popularity with voters – The Sun (£)
  • Osborne can’t get away with this blatant spin – Philip Collins, The Times (£)
  • Even if Osborne’s outlook is deluded, he did not dream it up – Stephanie Flanders, Financial Times
  • Osborne is a debt addict – and so is the entire western world – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • Why there’s still plenty of scope for savage cuts – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • A misguided raid on the British banking sector – Financial Times Comment



Cameron’s foreign aid pledge to cost £1 billion more

“Britain will have to spend almost £1bn more than forecast to be sure of meeting its foreign aid commitments this year and next, according to figures buried in this week’s forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility. Figures released by the OBR alongside the chancellor’s Autumn Statement on Wednesday show the estimate of the UK’s gross national income is much higher than thought. Ministers have committed to spending 0.7 per cent of national income on international development, which means they will now have to spend more to hit that target” – Financial Times

  • Lib Dems fear Tory backbenchers will torpedo foreign aid bill – Guardian
  • Tories plan to kill bill with dozens of amendments – Daily Telegraph

Tories go to war with BBC over cuts

BBC logo“Open warfare broke out between Tory ministers and the BBC last night over its doom-laden coverage of spending cuts. George Osborne was angered by a report on Radio 4’s Today programme which said austerity was ‘utterly terrifying’. It claimed the cuts risked taking Britain back to the sort of Depression-era poverty George Orwell wrote about in his 1937 book The Road To Wigan Pier” – Daily Mail

  • Tory war with “biased” BBC draws battle lines for general election – Daily Telegraph
  • BBC executive attacks the corporation’s critics – Daily Mail
  • The BBC can’t stand the heat of being criticised – Ross Clark, The Times (£)

May faces make-or-break meeting with victims of child sex abuse

“Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is facing a make-or-break meeting with groups representing victims of child sex abuse who are poised to withdraw co-operation from the beleaguered historic abuse inquiry. The organisations are set to demand a raft of changes to the terms of the inquiry, which has already seen two chairwomen resign over potential conflicts of interest. Earlier this week 23 individuals, including victims of alleged historic abuse, told Mrs May they would no longer co-operate with the inquiry, describing it as ‘not fit for purpose’” – Daily Telegraph

Foreign criminals remain despite targets

Home Office logo“Two targets set by the Home Office for the removal from Britain of foreign national offenders are being missed by huge margins, according to an official watchdog report published yesterday. A plan to remove 62 foreign criminals and save £10 million a year under a new fast-track process has led to the deportation of just two, while another targeting 85 offenders who had absconded also ended with just two leaving the country…John Vine, the chief inspector of borders and immigration, said that Operation Nexus had had a ‘positive impact’” – The Times (£)

  • Open penal camps on off-shore islands – Frederick Forsyth, Daily Express

Burnham refuses to rule out leadership bid

Andy Burnham has refused to rule out launching a Labour leadership bid – piling more pressure on Ed Miliband. The shadow health secretary has been accused of plotting to take over from Mr Miliband if the party lose next year’s election. In an interview with Total Politics magazine, he denied that he was already laying the ground for a tilt at the top job. But challenged to rule out he wants the job, Mr Burnham said: ‘It would be odd for me to say that. No one knows. I’m doing the job I love. I’m proud to do it for Ed’” – The Sun (£)

  • Britain is a Labour country, not a Tory one – Martin Kettle, Guardian
  • Blair claims he is only worth £10 million – Daily Telegraph

Lib Dems pay tribute to Thorpe

Jeremy20Thorpe“Jeremy Thorpe, who brought the Liberal party to the brink of coalition government in 1974 but resigned amid scandal soon after, has died aged 85 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, his son Rupert has announced. Former colleagues paid tribute. Lord Steel of Aikwood, who succeeded him as party leader, said: ‘He had a genuine sympathy for the underprivileged – whether in his beloved North Devon where his first campaign was for “mains, drains and a little bit of light” or in Africa, where he was a resolute fighter against apartheid’” – Guardian

  • Jeremy Thorpe obituary – Daily Telegraph
  • Has any leader ever fallen so far as Thorpe? – Daily Mail
  • When the going gets tough, Clegg clears off – Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail


News in brief

  • Putin threatens currency speculators as rouble falls – Financial Times
  • New York protests continue against Eric Garner verdict – Guardian
  • Hospital launches review after death of mother and baby in gorge – Guardian
  • Mark Pritchard MP arrested on suspicion of rape – The Times (£)
  • Drink drive limit cut in Scotland – Scotsman
  • Anne Milton MP says “fat bottomed” commuters must lose weight – The Times (£)
  • Elgin Marble moved out of Britain for first time – The Times (£)
  • Cameron joked about Berlusconi’s “jacuzzis and whores” – Guardian
  • Paxman offered Belfast tour after Titanic comments – Belfast Newsletter
  • YouGov poll says Russell Brand is a hypocrite and not funny – The Sun (£)
  • Arctic blast to give Britain its first dose of snow – Daily Telegraph

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