Autumn Statement 1) Hammond to put £1bn into welfare system

HAMMOND Philip Marr‘More than £1billion will be diverted into the welfare system in a move designed to ease the impact of cuts introduced by George Osborne, the Chancellor will announce today. Philip Hammond will use his inaugural Autumn Statement to increase the amount of benefits that claimants can keep while in work. It marks a significant departure from the benefit cuts imposed by David Cameron and forms part of Theresa May’s bid to appeal to families who are “just managing” to get by. The Chancellor will also announce a ban on letting agency fees in a bid to reduce the costs for 4.3million people who rent and help ensure that their “money goes further”.’ – Daily Telegraph

Autumn Statement 2) Hammond’s ‘housing sweetener’

cambridge-66714__340‘Philip Hammond will put cheaper housing at the heart of his first Autumn Statement on Wednesday, but his efforts to help “just about managing” Britons will be tightly constrained by a £100bn deterioration in the public finances and fears of a Brexit shock. Mr Hammond’s statement — the first “Budget” of Theresa May’s government — will see the chancellor grappling with what he calls “eye-watering” debt levels and pushing back the goal to run a fiscal surplus into the early 2020s. The chancellor’s allies say there will be “no rabbits” in a sombre and short Commons speech. The theme will be fiscal discipline and preparing for Brexit. “It will be deadly dull,” said one ally of Mrs May. “It’s what the prime minister wants.” Scarce resources will be put into improving the nation’s roads, broadband and science base, but Mr Hammond will also introduce modest measures to help working families including £1.4bn for 40,000 affordable homes.’ – FT

Autumn Statement 3) Living Wage set to increase as planned

hammondspeech‘More than four million workers will receive a pay rise of up to £600 next year after the national living wage increases to £7.50 an hour. The chancellor will raise the limit for people over the age of 25 from £7.20 an hour from April, giving a boost to many of the “just about managing” (Jam) families that Theresa May wants the government to champion. The increase is in line with what was expected and puts the living wage on track to reach £8.60 in 2020. The target is lower than the £9 an hour unveiled by George Osborne in July of last year, but meets the former chancellor’s goal of lifting the wage to 60 per cent of median earnings.’ – The Times (£)

Autumn Statement 4) Finkelstein: In discussing deficit, we should remember people don’t feel neutral about loss

‘In the years since I did my degree, economics has caught up with psychology. We now know that people feel differently about loss. It’s no good telling them that in the past they have had too much and now they’re having too little, so on balance they should feel neutral. They won’t feel neutral. And they will resist the loss. Understanding this is central to understanding why the government must now press on with deficit reduction and why it is going to find it incredibly difficult to do so. Whenever we discuss the deficit we are prone to the conventional economic thinking of my old textbooks. Yes, we say, we do need to drive down the deficit, that’s certainly true. Just, you know, not quite now.’ – The Times (£)

More Autumn Statement

  • Statement contains ‘exceptional flow of news’ – Guardian
  • Fuel-duty rise scrapped – The Sun 
  • What to expect in the Statement – FT
  • Hammond is the ‘Brexit chancellor’, and has strong views – Guardian  
  • Modest giveaways for ‘jams’ – Guardian 
  • Hammond’s fresh pragmatism – FT
  • Hammond to support ‘struggling workers’ – The Sun



  • Six things for the Statement – John Rentoul, Independent 
  • Maybe Hammond should turn up in gold lamé – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: The Autumn Statement. Giveaways from Hammond this morning. The takeaways will come will this afternoon.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: May’s “modern industrial strategy” must rest on education and skills

Farage ‘hits outs’ at Downing Street’s rejection of Trump’s ambassadorial suggestion

FARAGE standing down‘Nigel Farage has hit out at the “cesspit” of politics as Downing Street rejected Donald Trump’s calls for the interim Ukip leader to become Britain’s next ambassador to the United States. In a surprising tweet, which has raised eyebrows in the UK, Mr Trump made the recommendation to his almost 16 million followers on Monday night. In response, Mr Farage said: “I’m very flattered by the comments and I have said since I met the president-elect that I would like to do anything I can to act in a positive way to help relationships between our two countries.” However, the news was greeted with a quick riposte from No 10 who insisted that it is for Britain to decide who serves as its ambassador to the United States. A spokesman said: “You have an ambassador who only took up his post earlier this year. “He is doing a great job. We have chosen our ambassador and there is no vacancy.”’ – Daily Telegraph 

  • Foreign Office also ‘brushes off’ the idea – Guardian
  • EU Brexit negotiator ‘mocks’ Farage – Daily Express
  • His allies attack current ambassador – The Times (£)
  • Whitehall figures ‘accuse May of failing to engage’ with Trump – Daily Telegraph


  • Farage is suddenly relaxed about American interference – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • He is the old order’s ‘arsonist-in-chief’ – Raphael Behr, Guardian
  • Farage plot was ‘carefully planned’ – Isabel Oakeshott, Daily Mail
  • Cleverly accuses anti-Trumpites of virtue-signalling – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Farage in Washington not a bad idea – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express

Brexit 1) Davis ‘concedes defeat’ over parliament’s involvement in triggering Article 50

David Davis 05-09-16 (2)‘A senior EU official has said cabinet minister David Davis told him the British Parliament will be involved in triggering Brexit talks, effectively conceding defeat in the legal case the Government is fighting over the issue. The European Parliament’s chief negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said Mr Davis made the admission at a meeting in Strasbourg. It comes despite government officials preparing an appeal in the Supreme Court, in a bid to push ahead with Brexit talks without Parliament’s approval. Former Belgian prime minister Mr Verhofstadt also said Brexit talks should be concluded quickly so that the UK can leave the EU before mid-2019.’ Independent 

Brexit 2) Top European judge indicates ECJ could ‘step in’ over exit terms

‘The EU’s top court could rule over the content of any Brexit deal, Europe’s most senior judge has warned. Koen Lenaerts indicated that the European Court of Justice, long considered by Eurosceptics as a bastion of European interference, could preside over Britain’s exit terms. It came as European politicians warned that there could be no “cherry picking” of the benefits of the EU such as retaining membership of the single market without accepting free movement of people. In an interview with the Financial Times Mr Lenaerts said that the ECJ may be called to step into any dispute that arises from Britain’s negotiated exit from the bloc.’ – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 3) May ‘close’ to reciprocal arrangement for expats

mayHundreds of thousands of British expats are set to be granted the right to carry on living on the Continent after Brexit after the majority of European Union countries signalled they were ready to do a “reciprocal rights” deal with the UK. Senior Government figures have told business leaders that only “a few” of the 27 EU member states are left to agree the outline of a reciprocal rights agreement for Britons in the EU, and EU nationals living in this country for when Britain leaves the EU. The Government said no deals had yet been struck, but the closeness of an informal understanding is leading to speculation that any deal will be announced at a key EU summit in Brussels next month.’ – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 4) Henry Hill: We mustn’t forget four in ten Scots voted Leave

‘Four Scots in ten voted Leave. That simple fact is easy to forget, given the practically universal pro-Remain stance of Scotland’s political class and the deceptively overwhelming results map. Not a single one of the parties in the Scottish Parliament advocated a Leave vote, and whilst the same is true of Westminster’s major parties at least the Conservatives, and to a much smaller degree Labour, played host to dissentient blocs of MPs who represented what turned out to be the majority view. On the other hand, only a bare handful of MSPs campaigned for Brexit, and Scotland’s journalists and commentators seemed likewise to be overwhelmingly Europhile. Yet despite this, almost 40 per cent of Scottish voters – more than a million people – voted to break with Brussels, and it isn’t hard to imagine that number being higher had ‘civic Scotland’ more accurately reflected the balance of Scottish opinion.’ – Brexit Central

More Brexit

  • Civil service too small for Brexit says former head – Guardian
  • Transitional deal divides business and Tories – FT
  • Goldsmith backs calls for Brexit vote – The Times (£)
  • Five reasons we might not need Brexit – Sean O’Grady, Independent

Rudd ‘to compromise’ with universities over work visas

Amber Rudd‘Amber Rudd is set to back away from plans to allow only those foreign students who are at Britain’s top universities to work in the UK after they graduate. A consultation on the student visa regime promised at the Conservative conference will now not be published until the new year. Whitehall sources say the home secretary, scarred by the reaction to her proposal to force companies to record their foreign workers, is determined to avoid another immigration row. In October Ms Rudd suggested that only the “best universities” would be allowed to offer students the chance to stay on and work in Britain, as well as those with the best records of ensuring that their graduates didn’t overstay their visas.’ – The Times (£)

More Government

  • Grayling’s fear of drones – Daily Mail
  • Hunt praises hospital ID scheme – The Sun
  • Billions of aid budget ‘could be privatised’ – The Times (£)
  • Borrowing down for October, but will probably overshoot overall – FT

Owen Jones: Blair has regressed to ‘bystander’ status

‘If Tony Blair is the answer, then the question is high on illicit substances. He is reported to be launching an organisation to examine why the “centre left” has been overwhelmed by the forces of populism. It’s as though he’s a spectator, a passive commentator, a bystander, rather than a leading contributor to this age of political calamity. Someone who should be in the dock is electing himself chief prosecutor.’Guardian 

Trump signals he won’t try to put Clinton in jail

TRUMP victory speech’Donald Trump risked angering his most fervent followers today when he signalled that he would not, after all, pursue a criminal investigation of his vanquished rival Hillary Clinton. On the campaign trail he told her to her face that he would put her in jail, called her “Crooked Hillary” and beamed as supporters at his rallies chanted “Lock her up!” over and over again. However, the president-elect’s governing priorities have come into sharper focus in a flurry of pre-Thanksgiving announcements in recent days, and hounding Mrs Clinton is no longer among them.’ – The Times (£)

More Trump

  • Johnson criticised for ‘appeasing’ Trump’s climate change stance – Independent
  • Trump can’t ‘recalibrate’ presidential standards – The Times (£)



  • Putin is forgetting how much better America’s military is than his – Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph
  • What will Trump do with China? – Martin Wolf, FT

>Today: Rebecca Coulson’s column: Does voting Trump mean that you must be racist and sexist?

News in Brief

  • Mair opts not to give evidence at Cox trial – The Times (£)
  • Creasy blames private schools for football failure – Daily Mail
  • NASA’s light-fueled rocket set for Mars – Daily Express
  • China expands peacekeeping operations – FT
  • New addition to Downing Street menagerie – Daily Telegraph