Health 1) Cameron fights off Labour’s latest NHS attack

NHS_Logo‘Labour accused David Cameron today of “running from his record on the NHS” as it accused ministers of deliberately making it harder for overworked hospitals to declare crisis stations. The issue dominated rowdy exchanges at question time in the Commons with the prime minister repeatedly demanding that Ed Miliband apologise for his “appalling” promise to “weaponise” the NHS in the run-up to the general election.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Labour’s long-term decline as the party of trust on the NHS


Health 2) Blairites bite back

‘Labour’s big beasts were last night at war over Ed Miliband’s controversial election campaign tactics. Lord Prescott reacted with fury after two former Cabinet colleagues questioned their leader’s relentless focus on the health service, rather than the economic legacy of New Labour. The former deputy prime minister branded John Hutton and Alan Milburn ‘Tory collaborators’.’ – Daily Mail

  • Stop fighting, pleads Kinnock – The Times (£)

>Today: LeftWatch: Looking at Labour 2) The next generation of MPs

Economy 1) IFS: Osborne’s got £21 billion to go on welfare cuts

OSBORNE red and blue‘The Conservatives will need to slash £21 billion from the welfare budget after the election because the pensions bill keeps rising, experts warned last night. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said Tory spending plans suggest post-election cuts to Britain’s bloated benefits bill will have to be far deeper than those imposed since 2010.’ – Daily Mail

  • IDS plans to double fines for fraudsters – The Sun (£)
  • The Tories are getting people back to work – The Sun Says (£)

>Yesterday: Ryan Bourne’s column: Should Osborne target “full employment”?

Economy 2) Bad news for savers – rates could stay low

‘Britain faces another five years of ultra-low interest rates in a blow to millions of savers, the Bank of England hinted yesterday. Andy Haldane, the Bank’s chief economist, said officials are in ‘no rush’ to raise rates having pegged them at a record low of 0.5 per cent since the depths of the recession in March 2009.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: WATCH: The ConHome Manifesto 8) Hands-on financial education

Economy 3) Carney attacks German austerity

Mark Carney‘The governor of the Bank of England launched an unprecedented attack last night on German austerity, warning that the failure of wealthy states to help poorer countries risked trapping the eurozone in “another lost decade”. Mark Carney made a barely coded call for Berlin to yield to Greek demands to relax austerity.’ – The Times (£)

Aid money vulnerable to fraudsters

‘Millions of pounds of British aid money could be lost to crooks and fraudsters because of ‘unacceptably poor’ controls on corruption, MPs warn today. The Commons public accounts committee warns the Department for International Development (Dfid) needs to impose ‘much tougher’ scrutiny of money channelled through the private sector.’ – Daily Mail

  • Stop the spending – The Sun Says (£)
  • Whitehall’s £100m first class travel bill – FT

New Coalition 1) The ’22 demands role for Brady in any talks

BRADY Graham headshot‘Backbench Conservative MPs expect to be given a key role in any coalition talks involving their party after the next election, BBC Newsnight understands. The 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers is in discussion with Downing Street over how the party’s MPs should be consulted in any negotiations.’ – BBC News

New Coalition 2) Sturgeon: I, not Salmond, will decide who we support

‘The First Minister, in the UK capital for the second time in 72 hours, declined to rule out a formal coalition with Labour should the electoral arithmetic result in it as the largest party at Westminster and the SNP holding the balance of power but she stressed her preferred option would be a so-called confidence and supply arrangement to “make for a much better Labour government”. Speaking to journalists at Westminster, Ms Sturgeon was asked who would lead any alliance negotiations, her or Mr Salmond, who is seeking to become an MP again. The SNP leader declared: “I’m the party leader. Me. With Stewart(Hosie) by my side, I hasten to add.”‘ – Herald Scotland

£1 billion local spending boost

money‘David Cameron will today hand out £1bn to boost local economies in an ongoing Whitehall revolution. The Growth Deal giveaways are part of a major power pass down pioneered by Tory grandee Michael Heseltine. The Whitehall money – bidded for by 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships – will pay for thousands of new jobs, as well as home building and infrastructure projects such as road extensions.’ – The Sun (£)

Montgomerie: Nick Clegg, my hero

‘The stability of the coalition and Mr Clegg’s survival is partly just plain lucky. As in Aesop’s fable about the wind versus the sun, the hostility of Labour to the Lib Dems was not only unreasonable but extremely foolish…It wasn’t just luck, though. Mr Clegg’s leadership has been a textbook exercise in deft party management and it should be widely studied, not least by David Cameron who has presided over a historic split of the centre-right family.’ – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

May urges victims of minor crime to report online

Police shield‘Victims should report crime online to help cut the number of 999 calls, the Home Secretary declared yesterday. Theresa May said using the internet would save police money and free up officers for frontline work. Already being tested at two forces, the scheme would cover non-emergency cases such as criminal damage and minor theft.’ – Daily Mail

  • Rape accused will be expected to prove the victim consented – Daily Telegraph

Housing shortage pushes parents and children together

‘The number of households containing two or more families in the UK has surged during the past decade, highlighting the extent to which rising housing costs have forced changes in behaviour. In a reflection of the same pattern, the number of people living alone in the 25 to 44 age group fell 15 per cent between 2004 and 2014.’ – FT

UKIP battle over organiser’s violent past

UKIP logo‘Nigel Farage has given his ‘100 per cent’ backing to county organiser Paul Lovegrove after a storm sparked by his previous convictions for assault. The row has seen Don Jerrard quit as Ukip candidate in Fareham and sent shockwaves across the party in Hampshire, where Mr Lovegrove is in charge of the election campaign.’ – Daily Mail

Is either party getting social media right?

‘Both parties are failing to use social media properly to communicate with voters, which will undermine their election campaigns, according to Kirk J Torrance, the director of Industrial New Media. The Conservatives are spending heavily on Facebook, with recently disclosed invoices suggesting that the party is paying the US social media company £120,000 a month.’ – The Times (£)

Thousands kicked out of school for alcohol or drugs

School‘23,670 pupils have been kicked out of school for drink or drugs in the past three years. Temporary or permanent exclusions for booze and narcotics now make up almost a tenth of the total number in England’s state schools, education ministers have admitted. The figure even includes 40 children at primary schools in the academic year 2012-13.’ – The Sun (£)

  • ‘Lazy’ school tells pupils to wear name badges – Daily Mail
  • Allegations over inappropriate questions asked by school inspectors – Daily Mail
  • Ofsted infected with political correctness – Daily Mail Leader

Car ownership set to fall

‘The number of people owning their own car is likely to drop over the next 50 years because of growing anger over the state of Britain’s traffic-clogged roads, research suggests. A rising number of adults — principally in the inner cities — will shun car ownership in favour of club-style rental deals and greater use of taxis, the Independent Transport Commission suggests.’ – The Times (£)

News in brief