Budget Day 1) A middle class tax cut

OSBORNE non-broken sword‘George Osborne will today unveil a major tax cut for Middle Britain. The Chancellor will announce a significant increase in the starting point for paying 40p tax – rewarding employees squeezed in the last Parliament. And he will let millions of poorer workers keep more of what they earn by raising the threshold for paying basic rate tax.’ – Daily Mail


Budget Day 2) ‘Very difficult’ welfare cuts on the way

‘George Osborne will use his Summer Budget to announce a shift to a “lower welfare, lower tax” Britain, with plans to slash benefits to low paid workers while cutting their taxes. The chancellor’s allies say there will be “very difficult” cuts to benefits but Mr Osborne will push some cuts into the second half of the parliament to ease the pain for vulnerable families.’ – FT

>Yesterday: David Burrowes MP on Comment: It’s time for all of us to de-weaponise welfare

Budget Day 3) Sunday Trading rules will be relaxed

growth flag‘The Chancellor will today confirm that councils and elected mayors will be given new powers to allow large stores to open for more than six hours on Sunday. He believes the plan will boost the economy, extend choice and enable stores to compete with online competitors. But the move has been strongly criticised by trade unions, small shops and the Church – which believes a shopping free-for-all would be ‘detrimental to us all’.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Osborne’s Sunday trading policy is an anti-family plan

Budget Day 4) The SNP gird their loins to fight Scottish cuts

‘Nicola Sturgeon accused the chancellor of being “economically counter-productive” as her party faces the first test over whether it can slow or halt austerity measures in Scotland. Scottish MPs fear that they will be hit hard by the budget both because of the welfare measures affecting Scots most severely and English public spending cuts squeezing Scottish funding delivered via the Barnett formula.’ – The Times (£)

  • They have no clout, says Danny Alexander – The Scotsman
  • Student grants to be replaced with loans – Daily Mail

Budget Day 5) Finkelstein: Thatcher demonstrates why Osborne must stick with austerity

THATCHER Che‘To such critics, the popular appeal of Mrs Thatcher’s housewife economics was frustrating and baffling in equal measure. Ditto the support enjoyed by George Osborne for his austerity programme. Can’t people read a graph? Do they not appreciate the statistical error in Reinhart and Rogoff’s correlations even after it was exposed by the team from the University of Massachusetts? Why can’t people just keep up? Here’s why. It is because people appreciate the basic common sense behind the household analogy. And they are right.’ – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

Present a workable plan by tomorrow, or you’re out, Greeks told

‘Greece has been given until tomorrow night to submit detailed plans for a third bailout programme or face being kicked out of the euro, European leaders said last night. Eurozone leaders were furious yesterday after Greece failed to table proposals at an emergency summit in Brussels and the new Greek finance minister turned up to talks with bullet points scrawled on hotel notepaper.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: Steve Baker MP on Comment: Our Party must learn quickly to disagree gracefully on EU membership

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

EVEL faces a problem

England flag‘Tory MPs have warned the government that it is pushing through plans for English votes for English laws too quickly raising concerns that the government could face a rebellion. Senior back-benchers said that the future of the Union is “hanging by a thread” as they called for more time for debate ahead of a vote later this month.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Lib Dems team up with Scots Nats to attack English devolution – The Guardian

Bridgen holds out hope for decriminalisation of the licence fee

‘John Whittingdale, the culture secretary, announced a surprise funding deal this week. The BBC agreed to assume the £600 million burden of free TV licences for the over-75s in return for a guarantee that the licence fee can rise in line with inflation. Mr Bridgen said that he was alarmed by the unexpected announcement. “I wonder what’s been negotiated away,” he told The Times. “The Beeb have said yes [to the deal]. They didn’t have to say yes. I do hope that the government have not negotiated away decriminalisation in order to get these concessions and agreements from the BBC.”’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: WATCH: BBC Director General on the licence fee deal

Johnny Mercer MP strips off for television soap advert

MERCER Johnny‘Johnny Mercer, a former captain in the Royal Marines, posed for the advert in February last year, long before he was elected by the voters of Plymouth Moor View. It aired recently on American television. He was put forward by a friend who had heard that Dove Men was looking for “real people” to appear in a campaign. The 38-year-old father of two had to shave his chest for the ad, in which he appears topless. His daughter Amalie, six, appeared with him.’ – The Times (£)

Might Miliband have the last laugh on energy prices?

‘Initially, Downing Street rejected this, saying: ‘The Prime Minister does not think that price regulation is the right approach.’ But officials later suggested Mr Cameron might accept some form of short-term limited price control designed to protect the poor and most vulnerable. His official spokesman said: ‘It is important that we distinguish between a cap across the market, which the Prime Minister has been clear he doesn’t support, and then what the CMA seem to be suggesting which is about safeguards on the most expensive tariffs.” – Daily Mail

Cooper supporters accused of attacking Kendall because she isn’t a mother

LABOUR holes‘Labour’s leadership race descended into acrimony today after supporters of Yvette Cooper were accused of trying to win votes by highlighting the fact that Liz Kendall does not have any children. Backbench MP Helen Goodman wrote an article saying she supported Ms Cooper because ‘as a working mum she understands the pressures on modern family life’. Ms Cooper then sent a link to the article to her followers on Twitter, sparking a furious response from Kendall supporters.’ – Daily Mail

Blair: We need boots on the ground to fight ISIS

‘Tony Blair has joined forces with generals to insist Britain and the US must commit ground troops to the fight against ISIS if they are to defeat them. The former PM’s intervention on 7/7’s 10th anniversary yesterday heaps pressure on David Cameron to increase the UK’s tiny commitment in Iraq. Less than 100 troops are there training the Iraqi and Kurdish forces at the moment.’ – The Sun (£)

>Yesterday: Mohammed Amin on Comment: Extremism helps to breeds terror – a lesson of 7/7. Many Muslims get this. Too many don’t.

News in Brief

  • Chinese stocks slump – FT
  • Why didn’t the BBC investigate Savile even after one of their own shows raised the question? – Daily Mail
  • Bill Cosby admits using date rape drugs – The Times (£)
  • Barclays sacks its Chief Executive – Daily Telegraph
  • Judges urged to quit the Garrick – The Times (£)
  • Young Han Solo to get his own film – Daily Mail
  • First British soldier to land in France on D-Day dies – Daily Telegraph