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Newslinks for Wednesday 28th March 2012

4.30pm MPsETC: Tory MPs debate assisted suicide

4pm Alex Morton of Policy Exchange on ThinkTankCentral: The National Planning Policy Framework changes nothing

2.30pm WATCH: David Cameron isn't great at badminton

1.15pm WATCH: “I love a hot pasty" says David Cameron as he tries to defuse pie tax row

12.30pm Alec Shelbrooke MP on Comment: Union members should opt in to the political fund on an annual basis

12.15pm ConHomeUSA: Speculation that ObamaCare will be declared unconstitutional

11am ToryDiary: Osborne has ordered the Treasury to do new work into the dynamic effects of tax cuts...

Miliband Ed Purple9.30am LeftWatch: Ed Miliband launches five point pledge card to help families pay their bills

ToryDiary: Which of the following factors are the biggest threat to Tory chances at the next election?

Columnist Jill Kirby: George Osborne's crazy cap on big donors to charities must be reversed

Greg Clark MP and John Howell MP on Comment: The Coalition's blueprint for sustainable development

Local government: Will elected Mayors be able to scrap council chief executives?


Downing Street says motorists should consider stockpiling petrol to dodge tanker drivers' strike - Telegraph

"With the AA warning against filling up tanks in case it caused a shortage, Labour accused Downing Street of stoking the risk of a mass rush to the pumps. ‘It’s the height of irresponsibility for Downing Street to give the impression that people should be panic-buying. They should be using all their efforts to get a settlement,’ a spokesman said. Labour leader Ed Miliband has so far refused to condemn the strike threat, with the Unite union behind the ballot being the party’s largest paymaster." - Daily Mail

  • The Express condemns Government's "half-baked advice"
  • Ross Clark urges Ed Miliband to condemn threatened strike - Express

Ken Clarke: Convicted criminals will face tougher community sentences which could include strict curfews, travel bans and ankle tags armed with “sat nav” - Telegraph

  • "Sadiq Khan, shadow justice secretary, said: “This Tory led-Government’s whole criminal justice strategy is built on an overriding objective to reduce prison numbers in order to fill the black hole in the budget, and these proposals appear part of this obsession."" - Times (£)

“My cheque book has been put away... there is no possibility of privacy” - The FT says Tory donors are unhappy at public gaze

  • Miliband to attack Cameron for "betraying" ordinary people to please his millionaire Tory paymasters - PA
  • "The Conservatives have received more than £100,000 in donations from companies and individuals connected to the lobbying industry since the party has been in government" - Independent
  • Lord Fink one of three donors omitted from list of Chequers guests, alongside GlaxoSmithKline chair and Diageo CEO - Guardian
  • Hague wined and dined three multi-millionaire Tory donors at his country mansion - Sun
  • "If there is a cap on donations of £50,000 or £10,000, the parties will have no money. Whatever they say, everyone in politics knows this. The parties might be able to make a bit by broadening their donor base, but it won’t bring in all that much" - Daniel Finkelstein in The Times (£)

16197575Campaigners have welcomed the Government’s decision to "water down" planning reforms - Telegraph

  • The Telegraph lists six major changes since the draft planning bill was published...
  • ...but The Mail is unconvinced: "Two points can be made with certainty about the Government’s plans to simplify and relax planning laws. One is that those who stand to gain most are get-rich-quick developers, who include some of the Conservative Party’s most generous donors. The other is that the biggest losers will be lovers of England’s countryside, among whom are numbered many of the Tories’ most loyal traditional supporters."
  • The Express says business remains happy - "John Cridland, director general of the CBI, said the Government had “kept its nerve”."
  • Allister Heath at City AM thinks the reforms are far too cautious.

At last the government has reined in the cowboy lobbyists and allowed urban renewal to trump rural development - Simon Jenkins in The Guardian

The Sun launches "Who VAT all the pies?" campaign saying "Hot takeaway food from bakery shops is a staple of ordinary Brits"

PastyGeorge Osborne has been mocked by MPs over his “pasty tax” after it emerged people could avoid paying VAT on hot baked goods if they wait for them to cool in the shop - Telegraph

"Under the rules released by the Treasury, a lukewarm pasty would not attract the sales tax in warm weather, because it would be the same temperature as the shop. But the same pasty could be hit with a VAT charge in winter when it would be warmer than the ‘ambient’ temperature." - Daily Mail

The Sun Says: "It's fun to imagine Mr Osborne as a modern Marie Antoinette. But there are serious parallels. She had no concept of starvation. Likewise the Chancellor and his rich Cabinet colleagues cannot begin to understand what it's like to be so hard-up that a sharp rise in the price of a pasty will hurt."

How bad has the last week been for the Conservatives?

  • Tory "attempts to convince people that 'we are all in it together' now look a busted flush. They are unequivocally viewed at the moment as the party of the rich." - Tom Bradby for ITN
  • "It is possible to argue that whatever the flashes of incompetence at the top, the Government is pursuing a programme of reform across the public services that is necessary, thought-out, and will, over time, drag the country out of the structural mess left by Labour" - Benedict Brogan in The Telegraph
  • The pendulum’s swung towards Labour in what Harold Wilson would’ve recognised as a long week in politics - Kevin Maguire in The Mirror
  • UKIP's support has been 7%, 6% and 6% in last three YouGov opinion surveys - The latest daily Sun/YouGov tracker gives Labour a 43% to 33% lead over the Conservatives

Osborne on AMGeorge Osborne opens door to unfunded tax cuts by inviting Treasury to consider dynamic effects of tax cuts

"Sources say that lowering the top rate of income tax could, for example, boost VAT receipts by incentivising people to spend their additional disposable pay. This is not at present taken into account. A cut in corporation tax, they add, could attract more businesses to Britain. Introducing that information would make lower tax rates more appealing." - Times (£)

"An aide to Mr Osborne criticised the Office for Budget Responsibility for taking insufficient account of the effect of corporation tax cuts on attracting companies to locate in Britain" - FT (£)

  • In his final column for The Times (£) Anatole Kaletsky urges George Osborne to abandon his austerity programme: "The rating agencies may downgrade Britain and the pound may fall briefly, but the economy will quickly rebound."

In her Express column Ann Widdecombe backs George Osborne on Granny Tax: "I can see no good reason why a pensioner who yesterday was working and economically active should have his retirement income assessed more favourably for tax than anyone else."

David Cameron has "forgotten" about dementia patients in care homes because "not a single penny" of the extra money he has just pledged will help them - Telegraph

More than one-third of schools in the government’s academy converter programme have cited additional money as their primary reason for taking part - FT (£)

Citing US pre-9/11 experience, David Davis warns of dangers of secret courts plan - Daily Mail

Panel concludes that riots were fuelled by a lack of opportunities for young people, poor parenting and suspicion of the police - Guardian

  • The FT (£) focuses on claims that the number of troubled families may equal 500,000, not 120,000 as Coalition has suggested
  • Poor parenting gets the blame for riots - Daily Mail

Joint Committee on House of Lord Reform says Bishops should stay - BBC

  • Peers say targets may be needed to recruit more ethnic minority and female judges if the judiciary did not better reflect society within five years - BBC

London 2012's legacy plans praised by International Olympic Committee (IOC) - Evening Standard 


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