Osborne 1) Sunday trading restrictions may be scrapped

OSBORNE non-broken sword“Sunday trading restrictions could be axed under plans to be announced by George Osborne in tomorrow’s Budget. The Chancellor wants to hand power to councils and elected mayors to scrap some or all of the rules governing the opening hours of larger stores on Sundays. The move will be welcomed by many supermarkets, garden centres and other large retailers, who have warned for years that the restrictions from 1994 are out of date and unfair. But it will put the Chancellor on a collision course with church groups and trade unions who want Sunday to be treated as a special day.” – Daily Mail


  • Boris calls for no cut in top rate of tax until employers pay the living wage – Daily Mail
  • Doctors’ union urge end to public health cuts – The Independent
  • Landlords may increase rents if they lose tax perks – The Times (£)
  • Petition against end of tax credits receives 300,000 signatures – The Independent


  • Why the Chancellor should scrap National Insurance – Tom Hitchings, Daily Telegraph

Osborne 2) Licence fee could start to rise with inflation

“John Whittingdale, the culture secretary, told MPs that the fee could start to rise in line with inflation — but only as long as the BBC continued to make cuts as deep as those in the public sector. He also made clear that the BBC faces losing a further £200 million if moves to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee are approved after the publication of a report in the next few weeks. Negotiations over the renewal of the BBC’s charter for the next ten years will start this year once ministers set out terms in a Commons paper this month. The main part of the deal has already been agreed in secret talks with Mr Osborne, the chancellor, as he handed the BBC responsibility for delivering free TV licences for the elderly — a Conservative manifesto pledge.” – The Times (£)

  • BBC agrees new funding deal with the Government – Financial Times
  • Corporation will bear £650m cost of free licences for over-75s – Daily Telegraph
  • Triple blow to BBC viewers with iPlayer charge and rising licence fee – The Sun (£)


  • Corporation warns that services will suffer – The Independent
  • Cuts to BBC will hurt UK’s TV ecosystem, claims independent producers group – The Guardian


Rachel Sylvester: Osborne is a shape-shifting Chancellor

Rachel Sylvester“The transformation of George Osborne is one of the strangest political phenomena of the past five years. Most politicians become more cynical with age but the chancellor has grown into an idealist. Whatever he says about welfare spending or tax in tomorrow’s budget, it will be driven as much by his own political journey as by the replacement of the coalition with a majority Tory government. Mr Osborne is the shape-shifting chancellor. His altered physical appearance — he has lost two stone on the 5:2 diet since the start of last year and now sports a sharp “caesar” haircut — has gone hand-in-hand with an ideological metamorphosis. The former special adviser who made his name as a tactician obsessed by Westminster games now wants to use the power of government to rebalance the country and change lives.” – The Times (£)

Grexit could provide boost to Eurosceptics

“The turmoil in Greece and the growing prospect of its exit from the eurozone could help the case for Britain leaving the European Union, MPs on both sides of the debate said yesterday. The decisive rejection of Brussels by the Greek people is likely to boost the argument that Britain should not be tethered to a failing political project. Meanwhile, ministers admitted that they were preparing for all eventualities, including the chance that EU treaties would have to be rewritten in the coming months to cope with Greece leaving the single currency.” – The Times (£)

  • Baker claims decision to reject EU bailout will encourage Brits to be ‘courageous’ – Daily Telegraph

Leadership strikes more conciliatory tone

  • Osborne urges Merkel to open talks with Athens – Daily Telegraph
  • Britain appeals to both sides to take ‘one last chance’ to resolve crisis – The Independent
  • No 10 hopes Greece will stay in the EU – The Guardian


  • UK could send plane filled with cash to tourists in Greece – Daily Mail
  • British tourists warned to be ‘well-prepared’ for Greek visits – Financial Times

Comment and Editorial:

  • Greece’s Che Guevara crashed the economy – Ed Conway, The Times (£)
  • This Greek horror show wouldn’t be happening if Europe had listened to Maggie – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail
  • If Greece can afford to reject more Europe, Britain can’t afford not to – Douglas Carswell, Daily Telegraph
  • Tsipras’ government has destroyed its credibility – The Times (£)
  • A dose of reality for the Eurozone – Daily Telegraph


  • Does Osborne think the referendum was a good idea? Another no… – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Tories cheer Corbyn’s call for Greek debt cancellation – Patrick Kidd, The Times (£)
  • Bearded leftie can’t keep sour face as Osborne endorses his leadership bid – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

William Hague: Greece marks the beginning of the Euro debacle, not the end

Euro meltdown“I was regarded around the EU as a rather eccentric figure, almost pitiable in being unable to see where the great sweep of history and prosperity was heading. Idealistic heads in Brussels were shaken in sorrow that the dreaded eurosceptics were not only growing in the Conservative Party but had now taken it over, with me having become, astonishingly, its Leader. There is no doubt that I was wrong about quite a few things when I was leading my party. But I hope the Eurozone leaders meeting today will remember that those of us who criticised the euro at its creation were correct in our forecasts. Otherwise they risk adding to the monumental errors of judgement, analysis and leadership made by their predecessors in 1998.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Garvan Walshe’s column: Greece and Tunisia show the limits of sovereignty


Education: Javid seeks savings in student support…

“Sajid Javid, the business secretary, plans to ease pressure on his department’s strained finances and help protect science and research funding by converting maintenance grants for poorer students into loans. While the announcement — which could come in this week’s Budget — is expected to be unpopular with students’ groups, ministers will try to mitigate any backlash against the policy by stressing that universities must do more to widen access to higher education for those from low-income backgrounds. They are determined to press ahead, based on evidence that the coalition’s tripling of tuition fees to £9,000 a year three years ago has not deterred poorer students from applying for higher education.” – Financial Times

…as lawyers jeopardise plan for satellite grammar school

BARRIE CHARACTER EDUCATION“Plans for Britain’s first ‘new’ grammar school in 50 years have been torpedoed by lawyers. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has been told that proposals to build a ‘satellite’ of an existing school in Kent do not comply with the law – and would likely be overturned by the courts if approved. No formal decision has been reached, but it makes it extremely difficult for Mrs Morgan to give the green light because of fears of a judicial review. The revelation – which hinges on whether the site is considered an ‘annexe’ or an entirely new school – will cause dismay among Tory MPs keen to see grammar expansion go ahead. And last night supporters of the project reacted angrily.” – Daily Mail

  • Leave nothing to chance in helping poor pupils, warns Morgan – Daily Mail

Labour leadership 1) Candidates’ views on education

“Education was remarkably low key throughout the general election campaign. Even the shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, suggested last month on these pages that the Labour party had failed to project a strong radical message to the voters. And apart from a few skirmishes and soundbites over free schools, and early branding of each of the four candidates on the spectrum of “new” to “old” Labour on education policy, the subject seems so far to be getting an equally low profile in the campaigns of the candidates standing to be the new Labour leader. So we decided to ask the candidates some questions. Why did Labour fail to put education at the heart of the election campaign? Has it provided an effective opposition to Michael Gove’s and Nicky Morgan’s policies? What would change if they were to become Labour party leader?” – The Guardian

Labour leadership 2) Corbyn a close second in race

LABOUR dead rose“Labour could come close to electing Jeremy Corbyn as its next leader, with one key lobbyist predicting he will come a close second to the winning candidate. The left-wing candidate won the backing of Britain’s biggest union Unite at the weekend. It has 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. Five unions – including the Fire brigades Union and the RMT rail union – are now backing Mr Corbyn to beat rival Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham to be Labour leader this September. Luke Akehurst, the respected Labour lobbyist, has predicted Mr Corbyn will come second in the race. Andy Burnham is still the favourite to win the contest.” – Daily Telegraph


  • Unite gets carried away over Corbyn – Michael White, The Guardian
  • Grown-up Labour is finally thinking straight – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph

>Today: The Deep End: The Clinton campaign shows that establishment politicians aren’t as well-established as they think

>Yesterday: Alex Burghart in Comment: Unite’s backing for Corbyn threatens to disrupt Labour’s uncomfortable coalition

Byrne finds next electorate will be older than ever

“People aged over 55 are likely to make up the majority of voters for the first time at the next general election. House of Commons research shows there are likely to be three times as many voters who are over 55 years old, as those who are under 35, by the 2020 election. Liam Byrne, a member of Labour’s Cabinet under Gordon Brown, who commissioned the research, found that there are likely to be 16.2 million over-55s – an increase of 1.5million. In comparison he said the number of under-35s is likely to fall by 35,000 to 4.8million. The figures showed that Labour had to offer pensioner-friendly policies to win back power in 2020.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour must target over-55s or stay in opposition for a decade – Liam Byrne, Daily Telegraph

Scotland’s last Liberal Democrat MP faces court challenge over Sturgeon memo

LibDemDead“A legal challenge to the election of Scotland’s only Liberal Democrat MP in May is due to be heard at the Court of Session tomorrow. The case has been raised against Alistair Carmichael under the Representation of the People Act 1983 by four constituents in Orkney & Shetland. Campaigners last night vowed to pursue the case to trial, even though it could cost more than £250,000. The legal challenge to the MP, whose majority of more than 10,000 was squeezed to 817 votes, is being brought under section 106 of the act, which makes it a criminal offence to release a “false statement” about the character and conduct of an election candidate.” – The Times (£)

  • Press watchdog reprimands Daily Telegraph over story on First Minister – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Britain’s biggest charities ruthlessly hound the vulnerable and elderly – Daily Mail
  • Bid to help millions save money on energy – The Sun (£)
  • Sign our deal or quit the Euro, Greece told – The Times (£)
  • Dutch have strongest warning yet for Greece – The Independent
  • French president emerges as a tireless advocate for Athens – Financial Times
  • London pays tribute to victims of the 7/7 terror attack – Daily Telegraph
  • Are Russia and China the world’s new superpower axis? – The Guardian
  • MI5 boss claims ‘twisted minority’ of Muslims put UK at risk – Daily Mail
  • London braced for worst Tube strike in a decade – Financial Times
  • Britain’s top police officer wants law change to protect officers who shoot people – The Independent