Autumn Statement 1) Conservatives and LibDems divvy up the announcements between them. Bicester braves Curse of Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister announces new Garden City.

Homes For All Big“Plans for a new settlement in Bicester, Oxfordshire, containing up to 13,000 homes, will be funded with nearly £100 million of public spending and loans. The Treasury announced that the Autumn Statement will also contain measures to ensure that 300,000 homes are protected from flooding. Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will set out a series of projects that will receive a share of £2.3 billion in the coming years.” – Daily Telegraph

Autumn Statement 2) New fund to tackle dementia

“In tomorrow’s Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne will pledge at least £15million towards a new fund focused on boosting investment into dementia research. It will bring together investors from the private, public and philanthropic sectors to pool their money in a single scheme that will invest in research projects identified by scientists as having the best potential for future success.” – Daily Mail

Autumn Statement 3) More money for flood defence

OSBORNE ConHome“More than 1,400 flood barriers and other defence measures will be upgraded to help defend around 300,000 homes against surging water levels. The “huge investment” in flood defence – including work in the Thames and Humber estuaries – is part of a series of major infrastructure projects being announced by the Government in the run up to Chancellor’s Autumn Statement to the Commons tomorrow.” – Daily Express

Autumn Statement 4) Osborne ready to devolve corporation tax to Northern Ireland. Is he angling for DUP support in a hung Parliament?

“George Osborne will signal his backing this week for the devolution of corporation tax to Northern Ireland, in a politically significant move which would allow the province to compete with super-low business taxes in the Republic of Ireland. The commitment will be part of the chancellor’s Autumn Statement on Wednesday, with Mr Osborne struggling to find good news against a backdrop of very tight public finances and a deficit which is barely falling.” – Financial Times (£)

  • Lord Kilclooney says that claims of 50,000 jobs are “wishful thinking” – Belfast Telegraph

Autumn Statement 5) The Chancellor Does Boris a favour….

Boris Hurdles“The chancellor has agreed to back mayor Boris Johnson’s “Olympicopolis” vision, an east London equivalent of the “Albertopolis” cultural and scientific quarter in South Kensington inspired by Prince Albert and the 1851 Great Exhibition. Mr Johnson is in advanced talks with the Smithsonian, the Washington DC-based museum and research complex, about it establishing an outpost at the site of the 2012 Olympic Games, officials said.” – Financial Times

Autumn Statement 6) …And tends his own backyard…

“A multimillion-pound science institute in Manchester will be announced by George Osborne tomorrow as the next step in his plans for a “northern powerhouse” to rival London’s thriving economy. It can be revealed that the research and innovation centre will mirror the Crick Institute, due to open in London next year. It will cost more than £200 million, but the chancellor has been negotiating for months with private investors to secure extra funding.” – The Times (£)

> Today: The Deep End – Guess what the case for the London ‘Super Sewer’ is full of

More Autumn Statement. More, more, more.

  • Osborne’s 50p tax cut gives Treasury a headache – The Times (£)
  • Chancellor lobbied on stamp duty – Daily Express
  • Brussels slams brake on fuel subsidies for marginal seats – The Times (£)
  • Extra two million could be dragged into 40p tax band – Daily Mail
  • Poll: Tories still trusted more on the economy than Labour – The Independent

Autumn Statement? Must be time for some quick differentation…

CURSE OF CLEGG one“Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, [Nick Clegg] said: “What the Conservatives are saying is a complete and utter nonsense. There is not a single developed economy anywhere in the world that has balanced the books and only done so on the backs of the working-age poor, which Osborne has now confirmed several times he wants to do.” – The Guardian

  • Cameron and Clegg’s Stonehenge stunt – Daily Mail
  • Mixed response to A1 upgrade announcement – Financial Times (£)
  • Severe congestion in the Commons, as scores of Conservative MPs raced to thank the Government for its announcement about road building. It was a pile-up of praise. – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Tunnel vision – Daily Mail Editorial
  • Cable to block sale of torture devices – The Independent

> Today: Columnist Stephen Tall: A spectre haunts the Lib Dems. Actually, scratch that. At least five spectres haunt the Lib Dems.

Polly Toynbee exclusive: ConHome masterminding secret Osborne cuts plan.  Goodman & Wallace give Chancellor marching orders.  Phibbs commandeers Macpherson’s office…

TOYNBEE Polly The end is nigh“Cuts Osborne dare not speak are listed by the ConservativeHome website: abolish whole departments, cut more public jobs and pay. An affordability commission will monitor fairness between generations (not between rich and poor) as cover for trimming pensioner perks so far guarded by David Cameron, even the cripplingly costly “triple lock” for rich and poor pensioners alike.” – The Guardian

…But has anyone told Rupert Harrison?

“On Wednesday when Mr Osborne stands up to make his last autumn statement before the election, it would be true to say that it will be as much Harrison’s work as the Chancellor’s. “To say that Rupert is central to the process underestimates his role,” said one senior civil servant. “Every important policy crosses his desk before it gets to Osborne and every idea from officials will have been run past Rupert first.” – The Independent

  • The coalition is deeply divided on tax and spend – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)
  • Will the liberal George Osborne please stand up? – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
  • It’s time for George Osborne to explain why lower taxes are so good for growth – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • The Bank mustn’t delay interest rate rises – Robert Peston, The Times (£)

> Today: Sam Gyimah on Comment: We are winning the argument on childcare

> Yesterday:

So will Osborne get the whole day to himself?  Not so fast.  Here comes Bill Cash with an immigration control bill…

CASH Bill purple sweater“His proposal is co-sponsored by prominent Tory MPs John Redwood, Bernard Jenkin, Sir Edward Leigh, Chris Heaton-Harris, Sir Gerald Howarth, Steve Baker, John Baron, Peter Bone, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Christopher Chope. As an angry backlash grows against Mr Cameron for buckling to Germany boss Angela Merkel, the rebels claim it could get the support of 100 Tories MPs if they can push it to a vote.” – The Sun (£)

  • 1.3m eastern Europeans have come to UK – Daily Mail
  • Up to 1million EU migrants will flock to UK despite reforms – The Sun (£)
  • Row over Mark Garnier “dog end” remarks – The Sun (£)
  • Clifton Brown championing bill to restore expat voting rights – Daily Telegraph

Cameron attacks China’s ban on MPs visiting Hong Kong

“MPs on the Foreign Affairs Committee have been warned they will be denied entry if they go ahead with a planned visit to the former British colony. The Prime Minister this morning attacked the decision as ‘mistaken and counter productive’, adding: ‘It only serves to amplify concerns about the situation in Hong Kong rather than diminishing concerns.'” – Daily Mail

Crosby plans to syphon off left-wing votes to the Greens

green20party (1)“Senior Tories plan to the brand the Greens the “new Socialists” to pull left wing votes away from hated Ed Miliband. A blitz is being drawn up for the New Year in a bid to cash in on the Greens’ surge in opinion polls. Labour admitted last month that the popularity of the environmentalists could stop them taking 17 target seats from the Tories.” – The Sun (£)

It’s official: Brown to retire

“In a highly personal speech, he told of the pain the couple suffered when they lost their first child, Jennifer, shortly after her birth. He also revealed that problems with his eyesight in Downing Street were more serious than previously admitted. The former Labour leader suffered a serious rugby accident at the age of 16 which blinded him in one eye, and he required lengthy treatment to save the sight in the other.” – Daily Mail

  • BROWN 1970sHe believed Murphy used No campaign to further leadership ambitions – Daily Telegraph
  • A man with towering strengths to match his tragic flaws – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Brown and Out – Sun Editorial (£)
  • His best years may lie ahead – Times Editorial (£)
  • His legacy is greater than Blair’s… – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian
  • …Talking of which: Guess who’s Christmas card – “The teeth seem to follow you round the room” – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Labour’s lead narrows to two points in my latest National Poll

Claims of UKIP candidate fixing

“More than a dozen activists previously loyal to the Eurosceptic party have resigned over perceived efforts by Mr Farage and his allies to remove long-serving Ukip members from standing as MPs and MEPs in winnable seats. As Mr Farage attempts to broaden Ukip’s appeal and to capitalise on its recent successes, some of his most longstanding foot-soldiers have accused the party of ignoring its own rules on selection procedures to the benefit of favoured candidates.” – The Times (£)

  • UKIP denies affiliation to homophobic Twitter account – The Independent
  • Grand Mufti of Egypt to be Ukip guest for religion debate – The Times (£)
  • Calling Ukip candidate by Turkish name did him a ‘favour’, says Jackie Doyle-Price – Daily Telegraph

Iain Martin: Would UKIP send Paddington back to darkest Peru?

Screen shot 2014-12-02 at 08.13.56“Despite calling their opponents all manner of names they are affronted when it is dished out in return, even in jest. It also seems to be the case that any defectors have to hand in their sense of humour when they join the party. This was apparent on Thursday, when Douglas Carswell received an award at the Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards and gave an acceptance speech. I know Douglas to be amusing and thoughtful, but the joke he tried – something about Ukip being the true heirs to Gladstonian liberalism – got no laughs at all. Funny that.” – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: UKIPWatch – UKIP’s NHS funding confusion deepens

Dominic Cummings: Tear up Whitehall

“The 150-year experiment with a permanent civil service should end and Whitehall must open up to outsiders. The role of permanent secretary should go and ministers should appoint departmental chief executives so they are really responsible for policy and implementation. Expertise should be brought in as needed, with no restrictions from the destructive civil service “human resources” system.” – The Times (£)

Jeb Bush admits: “So, I’m thinking of running for president.”

Screen shot 2014-12-02 at 08.20.49“Speaking in Washington DC last night, Mr Bush said he thought partisan politics in America was “a pretty ugly business right now” and was still asking himself, “Can I do it in a way that tries to lift people’s spirits and not get sucked into the vortex?” Latest polling shows that while there is a deep field of Republican candidates for 2016, there is no outstanding front runner.” – The Times (£)

News in Brief

  • Five men held at Dover on suspicion of terror offences – Daily Mail
  • Iraqi government investigation finds 50,000 ‘ghost soldiers’ on army payroll – The Guardian
  • Small Heath Trojan Horse Oldknow school taken over by academy trust – Birmingham Post
  • The coming nuclear power crisis – The Independent
  • Campaign calls for police bail to be capped at 28 days – Daily Telegraph
  • Four out of ten empty shops in Scotland vacant for years – Scotsman
  • Most voters want utilities back under state control – The Times (£)
  • Study highlights problem gamblers – Financial Times
  • Edwina Currie’s one night stands – Daily Express
  • Battle of the Five Armies premiere – The Sun (£)

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