Autumn Statement 1) Osborne intends to retreat on tax credits

OSBORNE scissors‘George Osborne is set to offer big concessions on tax credits after his original plan for £4.4 billion in cuts was blocked by the House of Lords. The chancellor is expected to reduce losses for families from £1,300 to about £300 in a bid to appease more than two dozen Tory rebels. Mr Osborne will insist his “destination” on tax credits remains the same — sticking to a plan to dramatically reduce the overall bill for Gordon Brown’s reform. However, the level of savings in this parliament could fall by as much as half, with raids on housing benefit to make up the shortfall.’ – The Times (£)

  • Backbenchers will watch him closely – The Sun (£)
  • Be straight with us, George – Daily Mail Leader
  • Cuts cannot be avoided – The Sun Says (£)
  • Infrastructure guarantee scheme falls short – FT
  • Dozens of HS2 executives earn more than the Prime Minister – Daily Telegraph
  • Top-up funding for Network Rail – The Guardian

>Today: Liam Fox MP on Comment: A debased currency. Eroded earnings. Devalued savings. Today, the Chancellor must tackle this other security threat.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Tomorrow, Osborne must pass the surplus test

Autumn Statement 2) Billions of pounds for new homes

‘Housebuilders will today be handed billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money by George Osborne to provide subsidised homes for first-time buyers. The Chancellor will say that, to tackle a ‘crisis of home ownership’, 200,000 new homes will be made available to the under 40s at a 20 per cent discount. Plans to build the starter homes have been announced by the Government at least twice before, including on the election stump. But Mr Osborne will say that, to make the scheme work on a large scale, he is now giving private sector housebuilders £2.3billion.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: To The Point: The grand context for tomorrow’s Spending Review

Autumn Statement 3) Devolving money must mean devolving policy control, says Porter

growth flag‘Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, backed devolution but warned that national politicians will have to accept less control over policymaking.You can’t give me a bunch of responsibilities and then tell me how you want them done and then tell me I’ve got less money to do it,” he said. “If government really wants to do better for less, the only way is doing it locally.” In the health service, passing down power to a local level would mean an end to national standards, he added, “because it won’t be a national service, it will be a range of local services” with priorities being set at a local level.’ – FT

  • Osborne to press mobile firms to cut switching times – The Sun (£)
  • What other changes might the Chancellor make? – Daily Mail
  • Ten things to look out for – FT
  • We’re glad the Government is boosting the World Service – The Times Leader (£)

>Yesterday: Jonathan Carr-West on Local Government: Prime Minister Osborne, the curator of local economies, delivers in 2025

Syria 1) One terror suspect is arrested every day in the UK

‘A jihadi suspect is arrested each day in a bid to prevent a Paris-style attack here, Britain’s top anti-terror cop revealed yesterday. It came as a review of security at smaller airports was being launched by the Government, amid fears they are a weak spot in the war against IS. The Met’s Assistant Commissioner for Special Operations Mark Rowley said there were “several thousand” homegrown terror suspects in the UK.’ – The Sun (£)

  • Clamp down on known extremists – The Sun Says (£)
  • ISIS supporters filmed propagandising in East London – The Sun (£)
  • Four steps to defeat them – Roger Boyes, The Times (£)
  • Anger as Ashdown suggests Tories are biased by Gulf money – Daily Mail
  • Royal Navy flagship to be decommissioned straight after refit – Daily Mail
  • Whitehall isn’t equipped to face this threat – Jonathan Shaw, FT

Syria 2) Turkey shoots down Russian plane that entered its airspace

Russian flag‘Vladimir Putin has accused the Turks of a ‘stab in the back’, branding them ‘accomplices of terrorists’. Russia warned the incident – the first time a Nato country has downed a Russian military jet since 1953 – would have ‘serious consequences’. And a leading Moscow military analyst said war was ‘most likely’. Putin has broken off any military contact with Turkey in the fight against ISIS and is deploying a warship, with an air defence system, to the Mediterranean Sea. The cruiser will destroy ‘any targets representing a potential danger’ to Russian forces in Syria. Its defence ministry also said that Russian bombers carrying out airstrikes in Syria will now be escorted by jet fighters. ‘ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: John Baron MP on Comment: A successful Syrian intervention requires a grand strategy, and co-operation with Iran and Russia

Syria 3) Hague: We were wrong on Iraq, but we are right this time

‘When David Cameron sets out his strategy this week he will rightly be questioned about whether the military objectives are clear and what political plan goes with them. I hope his answers will show that those objectives include the destruction of Isil rather than its containment. That means, regrettably, attacks on the economic assets and infrastructure it controls. The astonishing thing is not that American jets this week destroyed hundreds of tankers carrying oil for Isil, but that they did not do so before. The destruction of this enemy also means that someone has to be able to take control on the ground where state failure has allowed a terrorist organisation to roam free.’ – William Hague, Daily Telegraph

Cameron is set to drop his EU renegotiation demand on welfare for migrant workers

EU FLag‘David Cameron will drop his plan to block European Union migrants from claiming in-work benefits at a summit next month, according to negotiators in Brussels. A European diplomat close to negotiations told The Times that the prime minister’s proposal to ban EU migrants from claiming tax credits and child benefits for four years “does not fly”.’ – The Times (£)

  • Finalise your demands this week if you want a deal by the end of the year, urges Brussels – FT
  • Vote Leave isn’t keen on Banks’ proposed merger – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: The main obstacle to a deal between the rival Leave campaigns is Arron Banks himself

>Yesterday: Isabel Oakeshott on Comment: Arron Banks’s letter. Is he striving to unite Eurosceptics? Or just throwing in the towel?

Babies born at the weekend in the NHS face an increased risk of dying

‘Experts estimate there are 770 more baby deaths every year than would happen if performance was consistent throughout the week. The latest study reveals “babies born at the weekend had an increased risk of being stillborn or dying in hospital within the first seven days”. The findings, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), will feed into the row over the “weekend effect”, relating to research that suggests worse outcomes for patients admitted to hospitals on Saturdays and Sundays.’ – Daily Express

  • We cannot keep throwing money into the system – Daily Mail

I warned Shapps about Clarke last year, claims Minister

grantshapps‘Grant Shapps was personally warned by a senior Conservative MP about three cases of alleged bullying by the “Tatler Tory” Mark Clarke a year ago – but indicated he would do nothing about it, according to a former Tory minister. Mr Shapps, who is now a junior minister but at the time was Conservative party co-chairman, was warned by a former Tory minister that Mr Clarke had bullied three young people. The senior Tory MP warned Mr Shapps at the Conservative party conference in October 2014 and shortly afterwards when MPs returned to Parliament.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • He allegedly bragged of a deal with Pidding to get back on the candidates’ list – The Times (£)
  • Complainants believe someone at CCHQ leaked their names to Clarke – The Guardian
  • How close to Clarke was Shapps? – Daily Mail

Minister pushes for restrictions on booze at airports

‘In a withering speech Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said airlines had approached Government worried about the number of incidents sparked by drunk passengers during flights. He said it was time for airports to “put a break on things” before they get out of hand. Speaking in London, the Minister called on airports to follow the example of Glasgow and Manchester, who have started to sell duty free booze in sealed bags that cannot be opened during a flight.’ – The Sun (£)

  • John Frieda’s meal with Cameron – Daily Mail

Ofsted reveals troubling findings in faith schools

School‘A female governor at a Muslim school was forced to sit in a separate room during meetings and had to talk through an open doorway, Ofsted revealed yesterday. Another school’s library contained literature with extremist and sexist views, including a book that said that women made unreliable witnesses, the regulator said. It castigated a number of independent faith schools — some Christian — for failing to promote British values or to teach a broad curriculum.’ – The Times (£)

  • Religious schools need strict inspection – The Times Leader (£)
  • Schools are ‘plagued’ by homophobic bullying, warns Morgan – Daily Telegraph
  • University fees are higher in the UK than anywhere else – FT

Corbyn should stop saying the first thing that comes into his head, urges McCluskey

‘Jeremy Corbyn has been warned by the leader of his biggest union backer to think before he speaks, in a sign of unease over his performance as leader. Len McCluskey, the Unite general secretary, also described Mr Corbyn’s comments questioning the police’s right to shoot to kill an armed terrorist as “inappropriate”.’ – The Times (£)

Defence rows deepen Labour’s divisions

trident‘Jeremy Corbyn failed to talk to his shadow defence secretary in the immediate run-up to Monday’s strategic defence review — in the latest sign of dysfunction at the helm of the Labour party. “They don’t trust anyone,” said one member of the shadow cabinet. “There is a bunker mentality.”’ – FT

There are tough times ahead, the Queen warns the Church of England

‘The Queen told the Church of England that stormy waters lay ahead as she opened the tenth general synod. Speaking after the service at Westminster Abbey, she said that “deep disagreements” on the consecration of women bishops had been conquered, but there were tough decisions ahead and that different views needed to be reconciled. The five-year synod is expected to be dominated by debate over homosexuality. The Archbishop of Canterbury is to host a summit in January with the heads of all the other Anglican churches to try to avert a split.’ – The Times (£)

Second SNP forced to resign the whip by scandal allegations

Scottish Independence‘Natalie McGarry has become the second Scottish National party MP since the general election to resign the party whip, in the latest incident that could add to questions over the vetting of the party’s candidates. The MP for Glasgow East has agreed to meet police in the wake of allegations by a pro-independence group of which she was a founding member that £30,000 of donations have gone missing from its account.’ – FT

>Today: Henry Hill’s Red, White and Blue column: Tories put Labour under pressure in Holyrood polls

>Yesterday: Ruth Davidson MSP’s column: The SNP’s independence plans have been exposed as delusional – when will they come clean?

News in Brief