Experts warn of huge tax rises as Tory MPs revolt against cuts…

OSBORNE penknife“George Osborne’s Budget came under attack from financial experts last night, with one saying that if he were the Chancellor he would not be able to sleep at night. Paul Johnson, head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, gave him only a 50/50 chance of fulfilling his pledge to get Britain back in the black by the end of this Parliament in 2020. Mr Johnson added that Britain should be ready for ‘genuinely big’ tax rises.” – Daily Mail

  • Lifetime ISAs worry UK pension industry – FT
  • Budget unfair, say voters as Osborne slides – The Times (£)
  • Chancellor challenged over broken promises – Daily Express
  • Pay and living standards set to fall – The Sun
  • Richest ten per cent easily the biggest beneficiaries – The Independent
  • Tory Lords defeat prompts compromise on trade union levy – FT


  • Ministers clash over coffee cup tax – Daily Mail
  • Tax disposable cups to cut waste, urges Stewart – The Times (£)
  • Quicket u-turn on record? Department rejects cup tax – Daily Telegraph
  • Backlash against Osborne’s sugar tax – Daily Mail
  • Sugar tax could increase calorie consumption, warn experts – Daily Telegraph
  • Tax on sugary drinks is ‘nannying’ and ‘impractical’ – FT
  • Financially regressive, but progressive for health? – The Guardian
  • The Chancellor nudges us back towards the world of prohibition – Robert Shrimsley, FT


  • Osborne faces mass revolt over personal independence payment cuts – Daily Telegraph
  • Growing rebellion over cuts to disability payments – The Times (£)
  • Tory rebels could halt the Chancellor’s cuts – The Sun
  • Minister suggests disability plans ‘just a suggestion’ – The Independent
  • As personal independent payments Osborne’s new tax credit disaster? – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph
  • Targeting the disabled is woeful politics – Ian Birrell, Daily Telegraph
  • The case for changing disability benefits – Daily Telegraph editorial


  • Tory MPs prepare for ‘tampon tax’ revolt – The Times (£)
  • European leaders agree to ease VAT rules to let UK scrap ‘tampon tax’ – Daily Mail
  • Cameron claims victory in VAT fight with Brussells – Daily Telegraph
  • Chief of independent budget watchdog denies having reached verdict on Brexit – Daily Mail
  • OBR attack Osborne for selectively quoting them to sound anti-Brexit – The Sun

Ed Conway: Osborne is not a real Conservative

“This is not to say that Mr Osborne is all control freak – that would be too simple. But there is at least one version of him which refuses to let go. For all the talk about devolution, the big society and shrinking the state, leaving people to their own devices isn’t something that comes naturally to the chancellor. He is an instinctive centraliser. At this stage you’re probably thinking: hang on, that isn’t very Tory at all, and you’d be right.” – The Times (£)

  • The Chancellor is trying to kill off the pensions industry and tax us by stealth – John McTernan, Daily Telegraph
  • Selling the London Stock Exchange to Germany is madness – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • Osborne is forcing devolution on English cities which rejected it – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • If I were the Chancellor I’d be starting to sweat about Tory unpopularity – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • Bryant gives a turn worthy of Julian Clary – Quentin Letts’ sketch, Daily Mail


  • Cheap stunts won’t put us in the black – Daily Mail
  • Get back to Conservative principles, Chancellor – Daily Telegraph

>Today: James Sproule in Comment: Osborne has posed problems for business recently. But this Budget was, on balance, good news.


Cameron urges EU to boost NATO to curb migration

Cameron1“David Cameron urged EU leaders to step up Nato’s mission in the Aegean Sea so naval vessels can intercept boats trafficking migrants from Turkey to Greece. However, the prime minister said that this should not mean the EU “taking an eye off” the Mediterranean Sea route from Libya.” – The Times (£)

  • Should the EU adopt Australia’s turnback policy? – The Guardian
  • Deal with Ankara will not increase migration to UK, claims the Prime Minister – Daily Express
  • The current deal with Turkey will not be enough to stem the crisis – The Times (£) editorial
  • British warships to intercept migrant boats off Libya within months – Daily Telegraph
  • Pressure mounts on Cameron to answer MPs questions on Libya – The Guardian

Ministers 1) Javid comes under pressure over tax avoidance scheme

“Sajid Javid was accused last night by fellow MPs of ‘having something to hide’ after he appeared to evade questions about a ‘Houdini’ investment scheme used by bankers to avoid tax. In an ill-tempered television interview, the Business Secretary was asked six times whether he was aware of a multi-million-pound scam concocted when he was a high-flying employee of Deutsche Bank.” – Daily Mail

Ministers 2) Morgan proposes that schools be allowed to drop parent governors

School“Parents will no longer be compulsory on school governing bodies under new plans which favour professionals with the ‘right skills’ instead. The government has proposed to scrap the requirement to reserve places for elected parent governors, which have traditionally acted as the voice of families. An education white paper released today suggested there will be a new focus on skills, rather than stakeholder representation.” – Daily Mail

  • Plan to force children to study maths to 18 comes under fire – FT


  • Axing parent governors is a cynical move, and a disaster for schools – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian
  • The anti-academy brigade are talking rubbish – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: We need an Opportunity Commission, not an Equality Commission

Ministers 3) Fallon welcomes new defence pact with Ukraine

“Britain is to sign a new defence pact with Ukraine pledging to help the country with more military training and intelligence amid its confrontation with Russia. Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, said the new agreement was a signal Britain would “stand firm” with the beleaguered eastern European nation.” – Daily Telegraph

Ministers 4) Whittingdale faces backlash against BBC governance reform

BBC“John Whittingdale, the Culture Secretary, is facing a backlash in the House of Lords against his controversial plans to reform the governance of the BBC. Lord Anthony Lester QC is to table a private members’ bill which, if it passed into law, would prohibit many of the ideas that Mr Whittingdale favours for the BBC’s new royal charter.” – Daily Telegraph

Poll puts Labour ahead for the first time

“A new poll has put Labour ahead of the Conservatives for the first time since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader. Labour was on 34 per cent, with Tories one point behind on 33 per cent, according to the YouGov poll. Ukip was in third place on 16 per cent with the Lib Dems on six per cent, The Daily Mirror reported.” – The Independent


  • Johnson fears ‘tough battle’ against Brexit – Daily Mail
  • Brown urges Britain to stick with Brussells – Daily Express

Sturgeon defends plan for higher Scottish taxes

SNP logo white background“Nicola Sturgeon has defended her plans for middle-class Scots to pay more income tax than anywhere else in the UK by arguing they get free prescriptions, care for the elderly and university tuition for their children in return. The First Minister confirmed she will not copy George Osborne’s decision to increase the threshold at which workers start paying the 40p rate when control over income tax is devolved next year, and argued that Scots get a range of benefits not available in England.” – Daily Telegraph

  • SNP will not match Osborne’s tax cut for high earners – FT
  • Swinney claims that Scotland needs its own ‘Chancellor’ – The Scotsman
  • Holyrood approves sweeping Scottish land reform – FT

US military chief rejects Trump’s anti-terror rhetoric

“The senior US military commander said on Thursday that proposals by Donald Trump to revive waterboarding and target the families of terrorists would be illegal and likely to damage the morale of troops. General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, did not refer directly to Mr Trump in his comments to the Senate armed services committee. However, asked to respond to ideas floated by Mr Trump about how to combat Isis, Gen Dunford gave a blunt assessment of the proposals.” – FT

  • Trump campaign gets nastier than ever – The Sun
  • Sanders dismisses call to drop out of Democratic race – The Guardian
  • Sinn Fein leader wants White House security review after snub – News Letter

News in Brief:

  • Brussels’ botched migration efforts wasted millions – The Times (£)
  • EU leaders agree to send tens of thousands back to Turkey in exchange for EU fast track – Daily Mail
  • Europe and Turkey harden position on latest migrant plan – FT
  • Australia hails success of tough immigration strategy – The Sun
  • Top Army pilots could quit if MoD demand they pay back thousands – Daily Telegraph
  • Highest-paid housing associations amongst the worst for building new homes – The Times (£)
  • German ‘triple agent’ who spied for the CIA and Russians jailed – The Independent
  • Scottish police officers investigated over drugs – The Scotsman
  • Health bodies furious as ‘cheap joke’ kills Welsh e-cig ban – WalesOnline
  • First Catholic attorney general of Ulster denounces Rising as ‘profoundly wrong’ – News Letter