Autumn Statement 1) Radical Stamp Duty reform

HOMES Manifesto‘George Osborne cut taxes for most homebuyers yesterday and staked next year’s election on a growing economy powered by rising property prices. The chancellor balanced giveaways for middle-class families and small businesses with a raid on the most expensive properties and banks, as he moved to spike Labour’s guns. The surprise announcement to reform stamp duty also helped to distract attention from the admission of higher borrowing.’ – The Times (£)




Autumn Statement 2) Borrowing higher than planned

‘It reduced its growth forecast for Britain in 2016 from 2.6 per cent to 2.2 per cent, while its predictions for the pace of economic expansion in 2017 and 2018 were also downgraded. The public finances would nevertheless start to show a pronounced improvement over the course of the next parliament. While government borrowing this year and next is expected to be £12.4 billion higher than the OBR’s last estimate in March, the deficit will be sharply reduced in the following three years.’ – The Times (£)


Autumn Statement 3) ‘Google tax’ on multinationals

Google‘The UK announced plans to raise over £1bn over the next five years from a new “diverted profits” tax on multinationals but details were scanty and advisers said it was unclear how the levy would work. The measure was unveiled by George Osborne on Wednesday as part of his Autumn Statement of tax and spending measures to “make sure that big multinational businesses pay their fair share”.’ – FT

Autumn Statement 4) New attack on death taxes

‘Widows will be able to inherit their partner’s Isa without paying a penny in income tax, the Chancellor has announced. In a further purge on so-called ‘death taxes’, widows or widowers will be able to save nearly £500 a year on a £60,000 nest-egg that has been inherited.’ – Daily Mail

Autumn Statement 5) Fiscal devolution for Wales, Northern Ireland…and England?

Union Jack Tree Logo‘The chancellor has made a commitment to hand more tax-raising powers to Northern Ireland and Wales while warning that the scale of Scottish devolution “now makes the case for English votes for English laws unanswerable”. George Osborne said Westminster sympathised with the argument from Northern Irish politicians and businesses that they needed a lower rate of corporation tax to compete with the Republic of Ireland’s 12.5% rate.’ – The Guardian

Autumn Statement 6) Clegg boycotts the whole thing

‘The Liberal Democrats appeared to be disarray in the wake of the Autumn Statement after Nick Clegg boycotted the announcement and two of the party’s most senior ministers clashed over the plans in a Cabinet meeting. Mr Clegg deliberately stayed away from the Commons during the Autumn Statement because he no longer wants to be seen sitting next to David Cameron in Parliament.’ – Daily Telegraph

Autumn Statement 7) Balls says everything’s dreadfulLabour holes

‘The shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, brushed aside George Osborne’s eye-catching tax cuts and got straight to the heart of the problems facing his rival – stagnant wages, worrying borrowing and disappointing revenue receipts. The senior Labour MP was dealt a customary curveball by Osborne, who omitted to mention his radical stamp duty shake-up until the very end of his autumn statement speech. But Balls immediately dismissed these “diversionary tactics”.’ – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Andrew Gimson’s Autumn Statement sketch: Chancellor bludgeons Balls and presents himself as the progressive

Boris: It’s politicians’ job to overcome ‘natural’ xenophobia

‘Last week in Singapore the Mayor said there was a “certain amount of xenophobia” in the UK debate. Speaking in Kuala Lumpur he expanded: “All human beings are prey to that feeling. It’s part of human nature. It doesn’t mean people are bad people, ok? What we’ve got to do is point out that there are benefits of immigration and that there are benefits of having talented people.’ – Evening Standard

  • Mayor helps to restrain man on plane – Daily Mail
  • UN official attacks British immigration “b******t” – The Sun (£)

>Today: Graeme Archer’s column: Populism will eat ourselves: let’s not return to the Forbidden Planet

Farage complains of being ‘poorest politician’

Nigel Farage‘He is paid three times the average UK salary, has his own chauffeur and pockets tens of thousands in expenses every year. But according to Nigel Farage, he is the ‘poorest man in politics’. Despite earning £79,000 a year as an MEP, the Ukip leader, complains of meagre finances.’ – Daily Mail

  • European Parliament’s Christmas feast (at your expense) – Daily Mail
  • UKIP MEP in Mufti confusion – The Times (£)
  • Anti-immigration party destroys government (in Sweden) – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Syed Kamall MEP’s new column: How Juncker wriggled off the hook – thanks to UKIP and its allies

Nicky Morgan’s unlikely hero

‘‘Well I love the Tudor period. I think Henry VIII,’ she said. The minister quickly withdrew her choice when aides and her interviewer on the politics website, ConservativeHome, expressed their surprise. She said: ‘Shall I change that to Elizabeth I? A strong female monarch at a time when there weren’t many examples.’’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Interview: Nicky Morgan – “As a Christian Secretary of State for Education, I will oppose secular, politically correct dogma”

Grieve: Reducing Strasbourg’s power would be ‘devastating’

GRIEVE DOMINIC NW‘Conservative plans to scrap human rights laws and make Strasbourg rulings advisory would have “devastating consequences”, the government’s former attorney-general said last night. Dominic Grieve, QC, said that the move would be damaging for the UK and for human rights across Europe.’ – The Times (£)

Universities must fight extremism or be charged with contempt

‘University vice-chancellors could be found in contempt of court if they refuse to implement ministerial directions to tackle extremists on campus, the UK security minister has warned. James Brokenshire also said college lecturers were expected to report students if they had concerns about them being drawn into extremism or terrorism.’ – The Guardian

Aaronovitch: Hooray for political dynasties

Hillary Clinton‘The Redgraves have trodden the boards for five generations. My kids have grown up with two journalist parents. This has left them no chance of becoming doctors, but they all know who Vladimir Putin is and what he did in Crimea. Does that give them an advantage in some fields? Yep. Does really knowing what it means to be president of the US help someone who wants to do the job? I guess. True meritocracy doesn’t assume that the relative of the famous or wealthy will be better than anyone else…But it doesn’t assume that someone advantaged should be ruled out because of who they are either.’ – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)

Russell Brand – clown and hypocrite

‘Of all famous hypocrites, it’s hypocritical comedians who can often provoke the most intense irritation. They, after all, are usually paid vast fortunes to mock, berate, humiliate and shame….famous hypocrites. And they are also the ones who usually erupt with the most comically indignant fury when their own rank hypocrisy is exposed. Enter, my old friend Russell Brand.’ – Piers Morgan, Daily Mail

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