CBI Speech 1) Brexiteer anger over May’s hints of ‘transitional’ EU deal

EU Exit brexit‘Furious Brexiteers lashed out at Theresa May for ‘fueling uncertainty’ after she hinted at a ‘transitional’ EU exit deal to appease City firms that could see us tied to Brussels for years. The Prime Minister held out an olive branch to business by suggesting she wants to stage the process of leaving to avoid a ‘cliff edge’ for key economic sectors. But leading Vote Leave campaigners complained the move would ‘fuel uncertainty’ and leave the country in ‘limbo’ for years after the end of the Article 50 period in 2019. In her speech to the CBI this morning, Mrs May declared her determination to slash corporation tax – and appeared to back away from a previous commitment to put workers on boards.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Iain Duncan Smith’s column: Continuity Remain are fighting a desperate rearguard action to undermine the Leave vote

>Yesterday: MPsETC: May’s speech on how business can help build a fairer Britain: full text

CBI Speech 2) Treasury seeks a loophole to escape the Prime Minister’s tax pledge

‘The prime minister sought to repair her damaged relationship with business leaders yesterday by promising to match Donald Trump’s plans to slash corporation tax and ensure that Britain’s main corporate tax rate was lower than anywhere else in the G20. The loose language concerning potential spending commitments is likely to have horrified the Treasury, which is dealing with “eye-watering” levels of debt already. The government could, however, exploit a loophole because only the federal level of tax will be reduced under Mr Trump from 35 per cent to 15 per cent but state taxes are levied on top of this in many states. This will allow the government to claim that businesses will still pay more on average in the US even after Mr Trump’s proposed cut than they will do in 2020 in the UK when the single national rate drops to 17 per cent.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: WATCH: May: “I want to ask you to join me in shaping this new approach”

Autumn Statement 1) Hammond will reverse some of Osborne’s Universal Credit squeeze

HAMMOND Philip Marr‘Theresa May has ordered the Treasury to soften the blow of George Osborne’s eye-watering benefits cuts on the poorest workers. Chancellor Philip Hammond will reverse some of the £3.4bn axe that his predecessor took to Universal Credit in his mini-budget on Wednesday, The Sun can reveal. The move will halt up to three million of the most needy losing £1,000 from their annual income. Taking the cash away from the work allowance element of Universal Credit reduces the incentive to stay in work, putting the landmark new benefits overhaul at risk of failure. But a fresh squeeze on the nation’s poorest workers, with inflation also now rising again, has prompted a major rethink.’ – The Sun (£)

>Today: Steve Hughes on Comment: It’s time to take the Conservative approach to welfare beyond simply sounding tough

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Hammond’s debut. His big task is to persuade business that an Open Britain lies ahead after we leave the EU

Autumn Statement 2) £1 billion for better broadband

‘Philip Hammond is to plough more than £1billion of taxpayers’ money into improving Britain’s creaking broadband and mobile phone networks. The Chancellor will use tomorrow’s Autumn Statement to pledge that two million homes in bigger towns and cities will get access to gold standard ‘full-fibre’ broadband, which can download TV shows or movies in seconds. Whitehall sources said public investment would encourage ‘new players’ to enter the broadband market to help provide the technology, which is currently enjoyed by just 2 per cent of families.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: We ask our panel: What should be in the Autumn Statement?

May will urge NATO allies to increase defence spending

NATO‘Theresa May will tell the head of Nato that other members of the alliance must pay their way amid concerns that Donald Trump could withdraw his support. The Prime Minister will on Wednesday meet Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of Nato, in Downing Street for the first time since Mr Trump’s election. During the US election campaign Mr Trump criticised Nato members for failing to meet their obligation to spend 2 per cent of national income on defence. He suggested that under his presidency the US may refuse to come to their aid unless they “pay their bills”. Britain has also raised repeated concerns that other members of Nato are failing to spend enough on defence while enjoying the protection of the alliance.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Putin deploys missiles to Kaliningrad – The Times (£)

Hague: The first test for Trump is whether he sees sense on Iran

‘No rational observer now believes Iran is still developing nuclear weapons. She is disposing of her enriched uranium, exporting her heavy water – admittedly with a recent argument about the timing of that – and dismantling centrifuges. The danger of a terrible conflict in the foreseeable future is being averted. If America tore up this deal it is highly unlikely her allies would join in renewed sanctions on Iran, and inconceivable that there would be agreement at the UN on doing so. Thus there would never be the same pressure as before on the Iranians to come to any further agreement. The effect within Iran would be to vindicate the hardliners who argue the West can never be trusted.’ – William Hague, Daily Telegraph

  • Hague: I tell jokes, but America elected one – The Times (£)

Trump: Farage would make a good British ambassador to Washington

FARAGE big laugh‘Donald Trump has backed calls for Nigel Farage to be appointed Britain’s ambassador to the US, saying he would do a ‘great job’. The president-elect said that ‘many people’ wanted to see the interim Ukip leader as the UK’s senior diplomat in Washington. Mr Farage recently said he did not think he was ‘the ambassadorial type’ but would ‘love to help’ in dealing with Team Trump. Trump’s intervention is a snub to Theresa May and current ambassador Sir Kim Darroch and came hours after Mr Farage tore up his pledge to quit frontline politics. The interim Ukip leader has said he would stand for Parliament if there is a by-election in the seat where he has run previously.’ – Daily Mail

  • ‘There’s no vacancy’, retorts Downing Street – Daily Telegraph
  • Farage says he is flattered – The Sun (£)
  • Diane James leaves UKIP as the party continues to unravel – Daily Mail
  • UKIP Euro group accused of mis-spending taxpayers’ money – The Guardian
  • Trump video promises Day One executive actions – Daily Mail
  • Le Pen looms large – Gideon Rachman, FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Trump has it the wrong way round. Farage should be America’s Ambassador to Britain.

The British economy is the fastest-growing in the G7

‘The British economy has outperformed all others in the G7 group of developed nations over the past year, an international think tank has said. The UK grew by 2.3 per cent in the year to the end of September, outpacing all other members of the group and the wider European Union. The data collated by the OECD is a further signal that business uncertainty over the Brexit vote in June is not yet hitting the economy despite the doom-laden predictions made by the Remain campaign ahead of the poll. The robust economic growth comes after strong employment figures, lower than expected inflation data and surging retail figures from the high street.’ – Daily Mail

  • Record-breaking food and drink exports – The Sun (£)
  • Consumer spending on essentials rises at the fastest pace for two years – The Sun (£)

NHS accused of ‘pie in the sky’ financial planning

NHS_Logo‘A staffing crisis crippling NHS finances may take years to resolve, the National Audit Office has warned – with officials accused of making “pie in the sky” assumptions about how savings can be made. Almost every NHS authority drawing up plans for cuts to services already has dangerously high levels of bed occupancy, new research suggests. Health services have been ordered to make sweeping changes to make £22bn in savings, while meeting unprecedented demand from an ageing population.’ – Daily Telegraph

Labour prepares for snap election

‘Labour is preparing to move into bigger offices and hire more staff, and has partnered with communications and polling companies in anticipation of an early election. Jeremy Corbyn’s party has made “significant progress” in readying the ranks for a snap ballot, its governing body will be told today at a major “away day” event. Jon Trickett, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator, will announce details of the updated plan to members of the national executive committee. Theresa May has denied that there will be an election before May 2020, but speculation has grown that she could be forced to call one early if her government faces defeat in the Commons over Brexit legislation or grammar schools. She has a working majority of 14.’ – The Times (£)

News in Brief

  • MPs consider criminalising wearing unearned medals – Daily Mail
  • Man accused of Cox murder had house full of Nazi material – Daily Telegraph
  • School cancels Yiannopoulos speech after DfE Extremism Unit intervenes – Daily Mail
  • British engineer successfully breaks laws of physics – The Times (£)
  • Grayling has reservations about delivery drones – The Times (£)
  • Parliamentary Irn Bru sales soar after SNP MPs arrive – Daily Telegraph