Osborne to outlaw deficits

Osborne Growth‘Future governments will be legally required to run a surplus, George Osborne will announce tonight. The Chancellor will use his annual Mansion House speech to say Britain should only go into deficit in exceptional circumstances. The change will be voted on in the Commons later in the year – laying down the gauntlet to the new Labour leader to prove their economic credibility by voting in favour. Mr Osborne will tell financiers: ‘Governments of the Left as well as the Right should run a budget surplus.’ – Daily Mail

As HSBC threatens to leave the UK, might the Chancellor cut the bank levy?

‘Osborne is speaking at the Mansion House tonight, and is expected to soften his bank-bashing tone. But the industry does not expect him to take any big steps, such as cutting the bank levy which he introduced and has hiked nine times. That levy is a major cost for HSBC – it is a 0.21 per cent charge on its global balance sheet, and is expected to cost it $1.5bn (£975m) this year. By contrast Barclays is set to pay around £600m, and RBS less than £300m. A Treasury spokesperson played down chances of a tax cut: “We are committed to maintaining our position as a global financial hub. And as set out at the Budget, it is right that as it becomes more profitable our banking sector makes a fair contribution to fixing the public finances.”’ – City AM

Brady and Boris urge Cameron to let Ministers campaign for Brexit

EU Exit‘Making it clear now that this freedom will be allowed at the end of the negotiations, will act as a pressure release and set the tone for a mature and rational debate. On such a totemic issue as EU membership, it is only if it is clear that ministers are free to speak their minds that the public will know that they are genuinely urging a course of action that they believe in.’ – Graham Brady MP, Daily Telegraph

  • Who benefits most from collective responsibility? – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)
  • There might be an opportunity to change the EU treaties – The Times (£)
  • 81 MPs join Conservatives for Britain – The Sun (£)
  • Ministers must be allowed to campaign as their conscience dictates – Daily Mail Leader
  • A free and fair debate is vital – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • UKIP wrongly accuse Sainsbury’s of funding pro-EU campaign – FT


Goldsmith enters the race for the London Mayoral nomination

‘Zac Goldsmith, the multimillionaire Conservative MP, has thrown his hat into the ring to succeed Boris Johnson as mayor of London. The decision will delight many MPs in his party who believe he has the star quality the party needs to have any hope of holding London for a third term, but also create a potential headache for the prime minister. Like the current mayor, he is seen as socially liberal and willing to defy the party leadership on issues such as the expansion of Heathrow airport — features that endeared Mr Johnson to the London electorate.’ – FT

  • Downing Street: Zac can beat Labour – The Sun (£)
  • The runway decision will be delayed until next year – FT


Kawczynski expresses concerns over the ‘bedroom tax’

KAWCZYNSKI, Daniel‘David Cameron is facing pressure from his own party to ditch the so-called ‘bedroom tax’. A Tory MP has warned the policy where working-age people who live in council housing and have spare rooms pay more is proving unpopular with local constituency associations. In addition, the Prime Minister’s former speechwriter has said it is time for a ‘mea culpa’ moment over the change.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Foges voices growing Tory dissatisfaction with the “bedroom tax”

Anger over fees and delays in the pensions revolution

‘George Osborne’s pensions revolution was in crisis last night with thousands of savers unable to spend their nest eggs as they want. Just 65 days into the new regime, financial giants are under siege from furious customers. The Chancellor had promised savers easy access to their cash. But today a Money Mail investigation can reveal a string of disastrous failings.’ – Daily Mail

Labour leadership candidates booed for not promising to scrap the benefits cap

Labour Big Govt‘The Labour leadership front-runners have been booed and jeered by union activists as they refused to condemn Tory plans for a £23,000 benefits cap. Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and shadow health minister Liz Kendall all said they did not oppose planned cuts on principal. According to recent figures released by the Office of National Statistics, average weekly earnings are currently £489 a week, working out at £25,428 per year.’ – Daily Mail

  • Burnham guesses a litre of petrol costs £1.60 – Daily Mail
  • The favourite cosies up to McCluskey – The Sun Says (£)
  • The Opposition promises to scrap GCSEs – The Times (£)

David Miliband warns against a lurch to the left

‘David Miliband, who runs a humanitarian charity in the US, warned Labour not to return to a “pre-Blair political project”, in which it was untrusted on the economy, weak on reforming public services and confused over Europe. The party should admit that it should have cut spending more before the crash. He added that the weaknesses of New Labour should be recognised, but the strengths retained. “We should liberate ourselves from the delusion that running away from three election victories is a route to success,” he said.’ – The Times (£)

  • They need an honest debate about Blair – FT Leader

Danczuk: The Janner abuse case must be heard in court

Simon Danczuk‘The idea that Janner can simply sidestep justice is just not palatable to the British public. Someone must have the courage to reverse Alison Saunders’s decision. For this is not just the story of one privileged man — it is about the lives of those who say he abused and damaged them when they were too young to stop it.’ – Simon Danczuk MP, Daily Mail

NHS errors kill or maim 1,300 babies a year

‘The annual bill for NHS negligence in pregnancy has reached £1 billion after more than 1,300 babies were killed or maimed last year. One basic error accounts for a quarter of payouts, with campaigners saying it was a “scandal” that the health service was failing to learn from its mistakes. They blamed divisions between midwives and doctors, saying that the desire for “natural” births — without interventions — sometimes went too far.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: Hugh Byrne on Comment: The self-selecting media doctors are wrong about the Government’s seven day services plan for the NHS

SNP bullies are driving unionists to move to England

STURGEON debate‘Several “no” voters I know have quietly packed their bags. One friend, an engineer whose family can trace their Scottish roots back to the Battle of Bannockburn, said: “I’m weary of being accused of being a traitor even at the school gate so we’re going to Surrey.” Another “no” voter, a teacher, says she finds the common room unbearable, so is moving south of the border to Leeds. “My family worked in the shipyards of Glasgow for generations but I won’t be made to feel unpatriotic for wanting a United Kingdom.”’ – Alice Thomson, The Times (£)

  • Sturgeon’s polling position strengthens – FT
  • The future belongs to whichever party can make English devolution work – Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph

MPs to vote on the right to die

‘MPs are to consider allowing terminally ill people to end their lives in the first ever serious attempt in the House of Commons to overturn the ban on assisted suicide. Rob Marris, the MP for Wolverhampton South West, is to use a guaranteed slot for backbench legislation to bring proposals put forward by Lord Falconer in the Lords last year to the elected house.’ – Daily Telegraph

Petty prohibitionists are ruining Wales

Wales flag‘Why, on almost every economic measure, does Wales perform more poorly than any other part of Britain? Yet with no fiscal responsibility they have little influence over the economy. Give the Welsh Assembly full control of raising as well as spending money and it will have more to stretch its collective mind than absorbing the obsessions of lobby groups. It should be turning Wales into a land of opportunity, not of petty prohibitions.’ – Ross Clark, The Times (£)

News in brief

  • New evidence that ISIS may be planning a dirty bomb – The Times (£)
  • Elderly suburban spy unveiled after Sten gun is found in her house – Daily Telegraph
  • If the Greeks want to choose poverty, let them – Francesco Giavazzi, FT
  • Chimps filmed drinking heavily in the wild – The Times (£)
  • Airlines plan to cut size of hand luggage – Daily Telegraph
  • Bakers appeal against ‘gay cake’ judgement – Belfast Telegraph
  • Judge says ‘cultural context’ should allow migrants greater leeway to hit their children – The Independent
  • Aggressive charities risk losing public support – The Sun Says (£)