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Newslinks for Wednesday 28th November 2012

5.30pm WATCH: William Hague: Britain will abstain from tomorrow's UN vote if the Palestinians don't give assurances about the peace process

4pm Tom Frostick on Comment: Osborne must target wealth in the Autumn Statement

3.45pm ToryDiary: The politics of Leveson are likely to rumble on and on

PMQs2.15pm WATCH: Today's session of PMQs in full

2pm ToryDiary: David Cameron uses PMQs to attack “something for nothing” Miliband

12.30pm ToryDiary: Nick Boles’s proposal for solving Britain’s housing shortage? Build beautiful

10.45am Charlotte Leslie MP on Comment: Keep the EU out of our NHS

ToryDiary: George Osborne should ditch his fiscal rules

BorisAlso on ToryDiary: Boris points in all directions at once

Columnist Jill Kirby: If the Work Programme is to work, the Government should be more realistic — and get cracking with supply-side reform!

Dr Phillip Lee MP on Comment: When it comes to Germany, yesterday should be no guide for tomorrow

MPsETC: 86 parliamentarians (including 42 Tories) write a letter in defence of press freedom

Cllr Katharine Harborne on Local Government: Tesco no longer such a dirty word in Richmond

The Deep End: Rudyard Kipling was a better economist that Gordon Brown

86 MPs and peers warn against state regulation of the press...

"In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, 86 politicians from all three major parties urge David Cameron not to bring in new press laws if Lord Justice Leveson recommends state regulation on Thursday. ... Dozens of senior Conservatives have signed the letter, including Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary, Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee, Lord Howell, George Osborne’s father-in-law, Stephen Dorrell, a former Health Secretary, David Davis, a former Europe minister..." - Daily Telegraph 

  • "Regulation would make editors even more wary of publishing stories which upset the Establishment." - David Davis, Daily Mail
  • "Don’t take a chainsaw to press freedom" - Dominic Raab, Daily Telegraph

> Today on MPsETC: 86 parliamentarians (including 42 Tories) write a letter in defence of press freedom

> Yesterday:

...ahead of a potential Coalition split over Leveson

Cameron Clegg"David Cameron, the Conservative prime minister and Nick Clegg, his Liberal Democrat deputy, have been preparing to make separate statements about the Leveson report on journalistic ethics, due out on Thursday. ... Mr Cameron is considering taking on his Lib Dem coalition partners, the Labour opposition and dozens of his own MPs by giving newspapers one last chance to prove that the sector can be effectively regulated without new legislation." - Financial Times (£)

A YouGov poll suggests that 79% of the public would prefer an independent press regulator established by law - Guardian

Warnings on growth for George Osborne...

Downturn"Hopes for recovery were dealt a fresh blow yesterday after leading economic experts sharply reduced their forecast for next year’s growth to below 1 per cent. ... The influential Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development had predicted in May that GDP would rise by 1.9 per cent in 2013. ... Sir Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, added to fears that Britain is in danger of re-entering recession, saying that the economy was at a ‘tipping point’." - Daily Mail

  • David Cameron and Mr Osborne should stick to the course - Daily Mail editorial

> Today on ToryDiary: George Osborne should ditch his fiscal rules

...a report that ministers are turning on each other over the economy...

"At the cabinet meeting, Mr Osborne gave a growth presentation that pointed to slow progress in providing high-speed internet access across the UK, in spite of the scheme receiving £530m of government cash to match private investment. ... Maria Miller, culture secretary, said Mr Osborne’s information was 'out of date'. ... The chancellor also clashed with Iain Duncan Smith, work and pensions secretary, by highlighting that the Work Programme had found sustained jobs for just 2 per cent of those participating in its first year." - Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: George Osborne's economic narrative is taking shape

...as the Treasury is accused of undermining the independence of the Bank of England

HMT"A former top official told the FT that BoE independence had always been 'an elaborate veneer'. Under this view, giving an outsider a mandate to shake-up the central bank demonstrates just how thin the cloak of independence really is against a determined chancellor." - Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday, by Greg Clark MP on Comment: Mark Carney is the best central banker in the world and we've got him for Britain

David Cameron promises a "tough approach" in negoatiations with insurers, after the floods

"Up to 200,000 high risk properties are at risk of being priced out of affordable cover when a deal struck in 2000 between the then Labour government and insurers ends next summer. The Government has been in talks for two years but as yet an agreement has not been reached. ... 'I'm sure we will do a deal,' Mr Cameron said. 'We are in negotiations at the moment. ... We need to take a tough approach frankly.'" - Daily Mail

And he still wants to get tough on cheap alcohol, too

Beer“Two-for-one deals on cheap booze in supermarkets and off-licences face the axe under plans to introduce a minimum price for alcohol announced today. … The Government plans to impose a minimum price of 45p per unit, slapping an extra 70p on the price of some bottles of wine and an additional £1.30 on a two-litre bottle of cider, in a bid to stamp out binge-drinking. … David Cameron wants to end loss-leader discounting, whereby supermarkets sell alcohol at a loss to entice shoppers into their stores.” - Daily Mail

Have Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg reached agreement on social care funding?

"Senior sources have told The Telegraph that there is a growing belief that the money will be found to reform social care funding, which has been one of the most controversial domestic policies for decades. ... The plan will be modelled on recommendations published in 2011 from the economist, Andrew Dilnot, whose government commission proposed a cap of between £25,000 and £50,000." - Daily Telegraph

  • "At last a Coalition with no great track record of caring for the sick, the old and the infirm appears to be on the verge of completing the Beveridge revolution." - Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph

Yesterday's Work Programme numbers continue to disappoint

"Only three in every hundred people who took part in a “back-to-work” scheme has found a steady job, the Government was forced to admit yesterday. ... The results are a big embarrassment for Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, who faced calls to scrap the scheme, and the former employment minister Chris Grayling, recently promoted to Justice Secretary." - The Times (£)

  • "It’s easy for Labour to knock the Government’s welfare-to-work programme. ... But if the Government didn’t try to stimulate employment, Labour would rightly complain." - Sun editorial
  • Study suggests that over 1 million working households will be £1,248 a year worse-off under Universal Credit - The Sun

> Today, by Columnist Jill Kirby: If the Work Programme is to work, the Government should be more realistic — and get cracking with supply-side reform!

> Yesterday:

Nick Boles says that the Government will protect the Green Belt — but open space may have to make way for housing

Boles"In comments that will alarm conservationists, Nick Boles said the amount of developed land may have to increase by up to a third to tackle the growing housing crisis. ... He told BBC Two’s Newsnight that ministers would protect the Green Belt - but warned that large areas of ‘open land’ may have to be given over for housing." - Daily Mail

Chris Grayling challenged over community orders

"The Justice Minister will be quizzed by the justice committee today about why he ignored the Ministry of Justice's own research findings when drawing up the sentences for the new community orders." - Guardian

Should schools be able to teach pupils about pornography and its dangers? Liz Truss says 'yes', Andrew Rosindell says 'no'

"[Ms Truss] said: ‘The Government wants all young people to have high quality, age appropriate sex and relationships education. ... The current non-statutory programmes of study for Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, which include sex and relationship education, can provide opportunities for schools to teach about pornography.’ ... ‘This is a matter for parents to make a judgement on,’ Mr Rosindell said. ‘I don’t think it is a matter for school teachers.'" - Daily Mail

> Yesterday, byElizabeth Truss MP on Comment: Tackling the toddler achievement gap

Tories cite figures suggesting that two-thirds of Britain's millionaires departed Britain after the 50p rate was introduced

50p"While some 16,000 workers declared an income in excess of £1million in the 2009/10 tax year to HM Revenue and Customs, that number dropped to just 6,000 after then Prime Minister Gordon Brown brought in the new tax rules. ... Many now appear to be returning to the UK, with the number of £1million plus earners rising again to 10,000 since Chancellor George Osborne announced that the top tax rate would be reduced to 45p from next April as part of the Budget earlier this year. ... Tory sources [suggest] that the introduction of the 50p rate was an ‘ideological move’, which had cost the country billions of pounds." - Daily Mail

  • Amazon reveals that it made £3.35 billion of sales in Britain last year, and paid just £1.8 million in tax - Daily Mail

One of the officials supsended after the West Coast Main Line fiasco is suing the Department for Transport - Financial Times (£)

Lord Baker: Convert failing further education colleges into schools for engineers

"The Royal Academy of Engineering has estimated that we are short of 45,000 engineers a year; by 2020 we will be nearly 400,000 short. As the FE colleges will not provide this, urgent action is needed." - Kenneth Baker, The Times (£)

It's "bonkers" to give well-off pensioners Winter Fuel Allowance and free TV licences, says Baron Patten

"The Tory peer, who was education secretary from 1992 to 1994, added: ‘I do think that now is the time for the Chancellor to get rid of these things. ... There won’t be any political backlash at all – people think it’s bonkers, it’s barmy to do it, I certainly do. We shouldn’t be in that position.'" - Daily Mail

  • The average home heating bill has hit £587, a 63 per cent rise since 2008 - Daily Mail

Baroness Warsi rapped by Lords watchdog over undeclared Wembley flat income

"The peer - formerly co-chair of the Conservative Party - has accepted the finding and apologised, and the matter is now regarded as closed, said the House of Lords Privileges and Conduct Committee in a report." - Daily Telegraph

UKIP achieve 11 per cent in the latest YouGov poll - The Sun

Vince Cable expresses his anger over faith schools

Cable"In a brief but irate missive to David Laws, the Lib Dem education minister, copied to the office of party leader Nick Clegg, Cable wrote: 'A serious problem has arisen whereby DfE officials, in evidence to a court case, appear to be acting in contradiction to the coalition agreement in relation to faith schools and contrary to the express intention of the Education Act 2011.' He concluded: 'Can you intervene with the department to rectify this situation?'" - Guardian

The late Liberal MP Cyril Smith should have been charged with sexual abuse, says CPS - The Times (£)

Labour might commit to giving 16- and 17-year-olds the vote

"Labour is preparing to include a commitment to lowering the voting age to 16 in its next general election manifesto as a way of engaging teenagers in the political process, one of Ed Miliband’s key allies has indicated." - Independent

BlairTony Blair to warn against Britain "falling away" to the margins of the EU - Guardian

Alice Thomson: Labour still runs the country

"Just look at the figures. More than 77 per cent of people with political backgrounds who were appointed to public bodies last year were aligned to Labour. Only 14 per cent were Tory and a mere 4 per cent were Liberal Democrats." - Alice Thomson, The Times (£)

The Times has produced a guide to Hollyrood's expenses claims

"Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, sent a member of her staff on a training course to learn how to 'deal with difficult people' weeks after the Scottish Parliament election, while a Labour MSP has been reading up on Public Speaking and Presentation for Dummies, according to expenses claims published at Holyrood yesterday." - The Times (£)

In his first annual report, the new head of Ofsted critices the "postcode lottery" in schooling

"More than two million children attend under-performing schools amid a ‘postcode lottery’, Ofsted’s chief inspector revealed yesterday. ... Sir Michael Wilshaw said there were ‘completely unacceptable’ differences in standards, even within affluent suburbs where youngsters are let down by coasting schools." - Daily Mail

Think-tank warns of "cracks" in the NHS

“‘Cracks’ are starting to appear in the National Health Service with ‘accident and emergency waits rising and more hospitals in financial difficulty’, according to a report by the country’s leading healthcare think-tank.” - Financial Times (£)

Rail commuters face inflation-busting fare rises of 6 per cent in January - Daily Mail

Online dating businesses contributed £170 million to the UK economy last year - Daily Mail

And finally 1)... Daniel Finkestein shares the political lessons he's learnt from ten years of poring over football statistics

Old TraffordIncluding: "In politics most of what you see on the news makes very little impact on voters and doesn’t change how they vote. A simple model — one that looks at party leaders, basic positioning and personal disposable income — will tell you far more about what is likely to happen in an election than adding in lots of irrelevant details about who “won” last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions." - Daniel Finkestein, The Times (£)

And finally 2)... Even the Italian Prime Minister reckons that Britain should have an in/out referendum

"Britain must call a referendum on the 'fundamental question' of whether to stay in the European Union, the Italian Prime Minister said yesterday. Mario Monti, a former EU commissioner, said he was sure that British voters would answer: 'Yes please.'" - The Times (£)

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