Autumn Statement, Day Two: Hammond is sceptical about OBR forecasts…

“To me it makes sense, given the warning signals from the OBR report, to keep a little bit of firepower in the locker, to build a little bit of a reserve so that if there is a slowdown next year, we’ve got enough capacity to support the economy, to protect jobs, to ensure that the economy can get through any headwinds it encounters,’ he told Sky News’s Sunrise. Mr Hammond went on: ‘Until we get to the end of the negotiation we don’t know what the outcome will be, so the OBR itself has said there was an unusually high degree of uncertainty around the forecasts they have made in the Autumn Statement.” – Daily Mail


  • screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-07-14-40Osborne 1) He battles with Clarke for same seat to hear Autumn Statement (and loses)… – The Sun
  • Osborne 2) …But makes £300,00 in a month from delivering speeches… – The Independent
  • Osborne 3) …And WORLD EXCLUSIVE: he tweets the world’s first photo of Cronus, the Chief Whips’s pet tarantula (see right) – The Sun
  • Chancellor gives with one hand to higher rate taxpayers and takes with another: key national insurance change hidden away on page 42 of the statement’s policy costings – Daily Mail
  • Backlash against car insurance plans – Daily Mail
  • Raid on pensions tax breaks for higher earners “in pipeline” – Daily Telegraph
  • £10 billion black hole claimed in stamp duty receipts – The Times (£)
  • Tax system struggles to come to terms with rise of gig economy – Financial Times
  • Lansley attacks Government over NHS funding – Guardian


  • Smooth Hammond – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Cheerful Leadsom – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Higher taxes and borrowing? What kind of Conservative Government is this? – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

…As the IFS claims that families face the biggest squeeze on their living standards since World War Two. But Gauke replies that it’s not taking tax cuts into account…

“One cannot stress how dreadful that is – more than a decade without real average earnings growth,” said IFS director Paul Johnson. However, Treasury Chief Secretary David Gauke said the IFS analysis had failed to take into account Government tax cuts which meant working people keep more of that they earn. “Since 2010 we’ve stabilised the economy and acted to help families struggling to get by. We’ve cut income tax for millions, introduced the national living wage and raised the state pension,” he said. “Living standards are now at their highest ever level, and the OBR forecast them to be higher still by 2021.” – Daily Mail

  • Duncan Smith and Redwood assail OBR, Morgan and Grieve assail Brexiteers – Independent
  • The ideologically driven assault on the OBR’s sober professionalism is disgraceful – Martin Woolf, Financial Times
  • IFS claims are “offensive” and “inflammatory” – Daily Mail Editorial

…And Continuity Vote Leave says that the OBR’s own figures show a £32 billion Brexit dividend

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-07-59-13“Data from the Office for Budget Responsibility show the Brexit bonus from cancelled payments to Brussels has already been pencilled into its forecasts. A net saving of £32 billion could be made in the first three years after Britain’s scheduled departure in 2019. Senior MPs yesterday united in a call for the dividend to be spent on the NHS and other key priorities at home. A statement by the MPs backing Change Britain, including former Cabinet minister Michael Gove and Labour backbencher Gisela Stuart, said: “When we leave the EU we will be able to take back control of the billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money we send to Brussels each year.”

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Sing along with Big Phil. Reasons to be cheerful. One, two, three…

> Today: ToryDiary- The Treasury is losing influence – and the Chancellor is content for it to happen

Major joins Blair in calling for a second EU referendum

“The former Tory prime minister, a leading Remainer, said he ‘could not accept’ that those who voted to stay in the EU should have ‘no say’ on the terms of Brexit. It came as Tony Blair yesterday declared that Brexit ‘can be stopped’ and announced plans to build a political movement to overturn the decision. Sir John, speaking at a private dinner in Westminster, said Mrs May was wrong to rule out a second referendum on EU membership, saying there was a ‘perfectly credible case’ for holding another vote.” – Daily Mail

Truss to cut off prisoners’ abuse of phones

TRUSS Chancellor“The Sun can reveal that the Ministry of Justice, Home Office and phone operators signed a ground-breaking agreement on Friday last week.  And it will finally allow Governors to stamp out the explosion in handsets being used behind bars to organise crime, terrorise victims and post videos on social media sites. New jamming “denial and disruption” technology is being installed at three jails over the coming days – a high-security site, one in London and one in a city in the north of England. The technology will ‘go live’ early in the New Year – cutting-off signals to all-but a handful of approved numbers within the prison building.” – The Sun

  • Legal aid reductions “have created a two-tier system” – The Independent

Paul Goodman: Ministers’ jibes at Johnson’s expense are no laughing matter – because they help to undermine his standing

“May appointed him Foreign Secretary in the first place, and that if she doesn’t want him in the post, she shouldn’t have put him there. It would be self-defeating for her – not to mention infuriating for him – were other Cabinet members now to believe that it is open season on Boris and that they can take a pop at one of their most senior colleagues with impunity. It would also be bad for the country. To the Foreign Secretary falls the task of restoring his department’s morale after the collapse of its core policy for over 50 years – staying “at the heart of Europe”…Mr Johnson is used to being asked to knock off the jokes. But the same request should now be made of the Prime Minister, at least as far as those at his expense are concerned.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Business leaders and Bank of England chief economist attack May’s plans for executive pay reform – The Times (£)
  • Radical Gove civil service accountability plan – The Times (£)

Almost 90 per cent of Labour’s latest donations came from the unions

LABOUR holes“Unite and GMB alone accounted for 36% of the money received by the party. Labour donations amounted to just over £2 million between July 1 and September 30, according to the Electoral Commission’s register. Of that, £1.78 million came directly from trade unions, meaning 88% of all donations received by the party in the last quarter came from unions. Some 21% of all donations came from Unite, while 15% were from GMB. Under Jeremy Corbyn, trade unions have tightened their stranglehold over the Labour Party, both financially and politically.” – Daily Mail

  • Party to push for more access to justice system – The Guardian

News in Brief

  • Armed killer murders a woman in retirement home for missionaries – Daily Telegraph
  • Peers call for end of lawfare against British troops – The Times (£)
  • Now there’s an inquiry into the Child Abuse inquiry – Daily Mail
  • Trump won Michigan – Daily Mail
  • Lidington to take PMQs in May’s absence next month – The Times (£)
  • Met failings leave children at risk of sexual abuse, claims watchdog – The Times (£)
  • Scotland may trial basic income scheme – The Independent
  • Lord Deben, formerly John Gummer, says that Heathrow plan may breach environmental limits – The Times (£)
  • Next stop for Sturgeon: British-Irish Council meeting – Scotsman
  • Next stop for Farage: a speaking tour of America – Daily Express
  • Could Carswell rejoin the Conservatives? – Daily Telegraph
  • UK energy switching by households reaches a four-year high – Financial Times
  • Maggie Throup claims obesity is as big a threat to Britain as terrorism – The Sun
  • Maggie Thatcher kept CPRS welfare state downgrading plan on file – Daily Mail
  • Black Friday bargains end as landfill – The Times (£)