Hammond pledges to keep paying for EU funded projects until 2020

HAMMOND Philip Marr“Chancellor Philip Hammond is promising to replace European Union funding for farmers, scientists and other projects after a British exit from the bloc. In a move which could cost up to £4.5bn a year, the Treasury will guarantee to back any EU-funded projects signed before the Autumn Statement. Agricultural funding now provided by the EU will also continue until 2020. The UK has not yet triggered the negotiation process for leaving the EU, following the referendum vote in June.” – BBC

>Today: ToryDiary: From Project Fear to Project Reassurance

24 new grammar schools planned for poorer areas

“Up to two dozen new grammar schools could be launched in working-class areas. The Government’s plans to allow the creation of more grammars are likely to be modest in scale and have a strict focus on providing for ‘hardworking’ middle-income families. This will not amount to a return to a nationwide system of selective education, according to the Times Educational Supplement. Government plans to allow the creation of more grammars are likely to be modest in scale and have a strict focus on providing for ‘hardworking’ middle-income families. A Whitehall source said: “It is unlikely they will try and bring in thousands of grammar schools. Instead, it will be a handful here and there, in normal working-class areas.” The new selective schools are expected to be required to admit a significant proportion of pupils in receipt of free school meals.” – Daily Mail

  • A welcome change of heart – Leader Daily Mail
  • What Britain really needs is vastly more vocational education – Emma Duncan The Times(£)

Mays holiday in Switzerland

mayswiss“As a visual metaphor it takes some beating. Yesterday Theresa May was pictured just on the outside of the European Union, striding with calm determination across rugged terrain. The prime minister began a 13-day hillwalking break in the Swiss Alps, her first holiday since entering Downing Street. Photographs released by No 10 at the start of Mrs May’s holiday show the prime minister, in striking round sunglasses, and her husband Philip walking down a mountain path with the aid of hiking poles and sturdy walking boots, and rucksacks.” – The Times(£)

Labour wins appeal to stop new members voting in leadership contest

“Labour was within its rights to stop new members voting in its leadership contest between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith, the Court of Appeal has ruled. It found Labour had the power “to set the criteria for members to be eligible to vote”, effectively reintroducing the voting ban on nearly 130,000 members. It overturns an earlier High Court ruling that the ban was unlawful.” – BBC

  • Momentum “trying to bore opponents into submission” – The Times(£)
  • Labour is the “new nasty party” says union leader – The Sun
  • Reds under the beds claims are a distraction says Abbott – The Guardian
  • MI5 could start tracking Momentum – Independent
  • Hustings plunged into darkness – Daily Telegraph
  • Theresa May must stand up to the militant Left – Leader Daily Telegraph

Halfon announces new incentives for apprenticeships

HALFON-robert“Employers in England are being offered an extra £2,000 to take on teenagers, care leavers and those with special education needs as apprentices. Under the plans, small businesses will be subsidised with 90% of the costs of providing apprenticeships.Larger firms will be required to contribute 0.5% of their payroll to the new apprenticeships scheme from 2017….Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon said: “We need to make sure people of all ages and backgrounds have a chance to get on in life. Apprenticeships give young people – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds – a ladder of ‎opportunity.” – BBC

May calls for more flights to the Falklands

“Theresa May is extending an olive branch to Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri over the hotly disputed Falkland Islands. She has written to him saying she wants more flights to the British-run islands and calling for restrictions on oil exploration there to be lifted…A Downing Street spokesman said: “Since the election of President Macri, we have been working towards improved relations with Argentina because we think that is in the interests of both our countries and the Falkland Islanders too.” – The Sun

Philip Davies attacks “feminist zealots”

Philip Davies MP“Conservative MP Philip Davies has provoked an online backlash after criticising the “benefits women have compared to men”. Speaking at the Justice for Men and Boys party’s conference, he said: “feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it”. The comments prompted many women to tweet photos of themselves eating cake with the hashtag #letthemeatcake. His remarks were also condemned by opposition MPs.” – BBC

Taxpayers Alliance denounces £250 Holiday Tax

“Families are being hammered with a £250 holiday tax – plus a triple whammy of stealth fees. Air passenger duty, VAT and insurance tax have together soared by up to 40 per cent since 2008. Hidden car hire extras, currency scams and exorbitant credit card fees add to the pain. UK holidaymakers are expected to pay £2.4billion in tax this year. Eight years ago – before the Treasury imposed the hikes – the figure was just £900million…The investigation into tax rises was carried out by the TaxPayers’ Alliance. ‘Families work hard and save every year so they can enjoy a week away in the sun,’ said chief executive Jonathan Isaby.”

Brexit means Wales should borrow more says Plaid leader

Leanne_newydd_head_and_shoulders“Wales should be allowed to borrow more money to prevent the economy suffering a Brexit “slowdown”, Plaid Cymru has said. The party claimed a legal limit of £500m to be used only for an M4 relief road was too low and too restrictive. Plaid leader Leanne Wood said schools, hospitals and transport links needed urgent investment. The UK government said it was committed to supporting the Welsh economy and funding would rise by 2020-21.” – BBC

Proposal to charge utility companies more for digging up the road

“Ministers are being urged to give councils the power to charge utility companies £2,000 a day for digging up roads in a bid to end the gridlock for millions of motorists. The Local Government Association (LGA) has said all councils across England and Wales should be given the power to charge companies a daily rate for work on key roads. Only Transport for London and Kent County Council have been granted approval to use the so-called lane rental schemes as part of seven year pilot.” – Daily Telegraph

Commuters face higher rail fares

train“More than £40 will be added to the cost of the average annual rail season ticket next year as the government prepares to increase fares despite serious overcrowding and chaos caused by striking unions. The rise of about 1.5 per cent expected to be announced next week will come into force in the new year in a move that will affect more than 1.7 billion rail journeys being made next year. It will be one of the lowest annual increases since the privatisation of the railways after the government pledged to hold fare rises at the rate of inflation for the course of this parliament.” – The Times(£)

  • The Government must stand up to the railway unions – Leader Daily Express

Botham attacks BBC presenter for bias against grouse shooting

“Sir Ian Botham has suggested Chris Packham, the BBC wildlife presenter, should not be allowed to publicly take sides in the grouse-shooting debate because of his status as an employee of the corporation. The pair were involved in an on-air row on BBC Radio 4 over whether or not grouse-shooting should be banned. Sir Ian, the former England cricketer, labelled Packham an “extremist”. Friday marks the official start of the grouse shooting season, with August 12 known as the Glorious Twelfth, but more than 80,000 people have signed a petition calling for it to be outlawed.” – Daily Telegraph

Plea to Republican Party to end help for Trump

TRUMP hair“More than 70 Republicans have signed a letter to the party’s National Committee head urging him to stop helping Donald Trump’s campaign. They said Mr Trump’s “divisiveness” and “incompetence” risked drowning the party in November’s election. The letter said that the party should instead focus on protecting vulnerable candidates in elections to the Senate and the House of Representatives. Former members of Congress are among the signatories of the letter.” – BBC

  • Is Trump a Russian agent? Edward Lucas Daily Mail

Oborne accuses Pickles of double standards

PICKLES Eric 2009“Sir Eric Pickles has been guilty of persistent hypocrisy ever since being appointed national anti-corruption champion last summer. The former Cabinet minister has thrown himself vigorously into examining alleged electoral fraud by Muslims in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. Fair enough. The problem is Pickles has shown no interest in examining the very serious evidence suggesting that the Tory Party broke election laws by overspending in key marginals ahead of the 2015 general election.” – Peter Oborne Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The test of Pickles’ anti-fraud plan will be voter identity proof

News in brief

  • Sir Bradley Wiggins becomes Britain’s most successful Olympian ever – The Guardian
  • NHS spent millions on Priory clinics – The Times(£)
  • Eurostar strike suspended – BBC
  • Junior Doctors threaten more strikes – Daily Telegraph
  • Syrian rebels liberate Manbij from IS – BBC
  • Britain First could be “finished by court order – Independent
  • Putin sacks Chief of Staff – The Times(£)
  • HMRC attack on employee perks designed to reduce tax – Daily Telegraph
  • Italy’s economy grinds to a halt – Daily Express

And finally…Nigel Farage grows a moustache

faragemou“Nigel Farage attracted ridicule on social media today after appearing on television sporting a newly-grown bushy moustache. The 52-year-old outgoing Ukip leader’s new facial hair has been compared to the likes of Ron Burgundy from the Anchorman films and Swiss Toni from The Fast Show. Other comparisons have been made to TV character Alan Partridge and James Beck playing Private Joe Walker in Dad’s Army.” – Daily Mail

  • Farage aide held in US over money laundering claims – Daily Mail