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Newslinks for Tuesday 8th January 2013

7.30pm Local government: A 3.5% Council Tax rise? Let the people of Rochdale decide

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6pm MPsETC: 2020 Group of Conservative MPs offer radical policy agenda

4pm Andrew Lilico on Comment: With the Met Office now predicting no rise in global temperatures for 20 years, isn't it time to give up trying to prevent climate change?

2pm LeftWatch: A dozen Labour politicians who should defect to the Conservatives

12.30pm Comment: Greg Clark says Ed Balls's policies are designed wholly and entirely for the purposes of opposition, not government

11.15am ToryDiary: To make his family policy fair, the Chancellor should introduce transferable tax allowances in the coming budget

ToryDiary: The Government must get the rhetoric right on welfare reform

Truss LizLiz Truss MP continues our 'Conservatives and Women': We're looking at childcare French style. More child minders. Fewer but better paid staff

Lord Ashcroft on Comment says Don't bet on a Tory victory but don't rule it out

New Columnist Garvan Walshe: Beware a pragmatic foreign policy

LeftWatch: New Tory poster - Labour are voting to increase benefits by more than workers wages

MPsETC: "To imagine the House of Lords without Lord Strathclyde at the helm is a bit like imagining Manchester United without Sir Alex Ferguson" - Members of the Upper House offer tributes to Lord Strathclyde
 
Local government: Investigaton under way into Labour police commissioner's expenses

The Deep End: Never mind the Middle East, it’s time to start worrying
about the Far East

CoalitiontogetherPapers give mid-term verdicts as Coalition vows renewed

"Half-time’s over and the Coalition are back on the pitch, refreshed. Or so Cameron and Clegg would have us believe. The Sun still backs them, particularly on deficit reduction, schools and welfare reform. But Europe remains the elephant in the room. It is the subject on which the Tories and Lib Dems cannot agree, and which could yet prove their undoing." - The Sun Says

"In fairness to the Prime Minister, he was able to highlight some significant progress since the heady days of the Rose Garden double act with Nick Clegg. The terrifying deficit inherited from Labour has been cut by 25 per cent, Michael Gove is restoring standards in schools and Iain Duncan Smith is grappling manfully to break this country’s insidious culture of welfarism." - Daily Mail leader

  • "David Cameron and Nick Clegg have said their coalition will last a full five years, giving Britain "strong, stable and determined leadership". Mr Cameron promised help on childcare costs, care costs for the elderly and investment in roads as they marked the halfway point of their government." - BBC
  • "It has certainly got harder for Messrs Cameron and Clegg. Back in May 2010, their parties rated a combined total of 60% in the Guardian's monthly ICM polling series. Today they stand at a combined 45%, a loss of one vote in every four." - The Guardian
  • "The real prime minister's look was quite different as, when Clegg spoke, he stared to his right. Baffled, even querulous, the expression seemed to say "who is this possibly crazed person? And why is he standing next to me in the bus queue?" - Simon Hoggart in The Guardian
  • "There were, however, some things that could be learnt even from this otherwise largely redundant event. And the most important is that Mr Clegg participated in it. Some observers noted the gulf between the sombre press conference in the public rooms of 10 Downing Street and that which once took place in the Rose Garden. But the correct observation is the similarity between the two events." The Times (£) leader
  • "This always happens in politics. Frightened and bewildered rulers cling to what they know from the recent past even when that past is slipping away, challenged by apocalyptic events." Steve Richards The Independent
  • The Coalition Mid Term Review - full text
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Ten observations about Cameron and Clegg's Mid-Term relaunch

GeorgeyoungnewBoundary Review vote "could be very close"

"The boundary review, which would give Mr Cameron about 20 extra safe seats and which some Tories regard as the key to victory in 2015, emerged as one of the sores likely to run through the second half of the coalition. Senior Conservatives are reaching out to the minor parties in the Commons to try to muster enough votes to trump a Lib-Lab alliance. Sir George Young, the Chief Whip, has told MPs that such a vote could be very close." - The Times

The Daily Mail thinks married couples will get a tax break...

A long-promised tax break for married couples could be unveiled later this year....allies of senior members of the Cabinet, including Iain Duncan Smith, Owen Paterson and Chris Grayling, have indicated that they want the tax break to be introduced in the Budget this spring. one member of a married couple or those in civil partnerships would be allowed to transfer £750 of their tax-free personal allowance to their partner, reducing their partner’s tax bill. This would be worth £150 a year to basic-rate taxpayers. - Daily Mail

...but The Daily Telegraph is sceptical

Unfortunately, the Coalition is not just failing to help the family: it is engaged in a clumsy (if inadvertent) attempt to reshape it. On the first score, Britain remains the only major economy not to recognise marriage in the tax system. Transferable tax allowances between husband and wife remain on the back-burner; the Mid-Term Review promises that Mr Clegg’s party will be allowed to abstain on the issue, but not that there will be a vote on it. - Daily Telegraph leader

6a00d83451b31c69e2017c356eace9970b-320wiStrathclyde resignation presented as blow to the Government

"The relaunch was marred by the surprise resignation of Lord Strathclyde, the Leader of the Lords." - The Independent

  • "The BBC's James Landale says his friends insist there is absolutely no political reason for his departure. It is just, they say, that he feels he has done his time. The peer has been the Tory leader in the Lords for 14 years since his predecessor Lord Cranborne was sacked by William Hague in 1998 for "running in like an ill-trained spaniel" and negotiating secretly with Tony Blair over Lords' reform." - BBC
  • "He was celebrated for having the Cabinet’s longest name: Thomas Galloway Dunlop du Roy de Blicquy Galbraith." - The Sun

Lord Hill attacked for being a former lobbyist

"He is a former lobbyist who still holds a significant shareholding in one of Britain’s largest public affairs firms – and today he was appointed to the cabinet as Leader of the House of Lords. Lord Hill of Oareford is a founding director of the PR and lobbying firm Quiller Consultants, whose clients include the controversial outsourcing company Capita and the right-wing think-tank MigrationWatch." - The Independent

Labour's YouGov lead is 9%, lowest of the year - YouGov

Government crackdown on truancy

"Record numbers of parents are gaining criminal records for allowing their children to play truant...Since September, head teachers have been allowed to impose a £60 spot fine on parents, rising to £120 if they go unpaid. This compares to £50 under the last government. Ministers are also considering plans to dock parents’ benefits as an additional punishment." - Daily Mail

Benefit cap will reward work

Poster
"Strivers in work will be hit less hard than the workless by plans to cap state benefits, figures suggest. Labour will today vote against plans to cap increases in welfare handouts at one per cent for the next three years, saying six out of ten people hit by the changes will be in work. But the Institute for Fiscal Studies yesterday released figures showing that workers will lose less than those who live entirely on benefits." - Daily Mail

  • "9 in 10 jobless will bear the brunt of benefits freeze" - The Sun

Sarah Teather attacks "scounger v strivers" rhetoric

"I hate the scroungers versus strivers rhetoric that drives this stuff, and the use of legislation to try and force artificial dividing lines. We were elected to serve the common good, not to use parliament and the vulnerable we serve as a playground for petty games." - The Guardian

IdsbombWelfare reform is "ticking bomb"

"Much is made of the purported lack of faith that George Osborne, the chancellor, has in Mr Duncan Smith, as if concerns are confined to the traditionally snooty Treasury. The truth is that it is hard to find any senior minister or mandarin who does not name welfare reform – along with a winter hospital crisis – as one of the biggest bombs ticking away beneath the government." Janan Ganesh Financial Times

Rochdale Council planning 3.5% Council Tax rise without a referendum - Daily Mail

Farage says UKIP could take part in a 2015 Coalition Government - Daily Mail

  • UKIP leader: "Yes, I am odd." - The Sun
  • "They have no MPs — unless Nadine Dorries jumps ship as widely expected. But they are mopping up Tory votes where they are doing the most damage. The wisest thing Mr Cameron can do right now is to avoid driving even more of his own supporters into Mr Farage’s camp." - Trevor Kavanagh The Sun

Gove "is careering towards omnifiasco over baccalaureate"- Fiona Millar, The Guardian 

Thousands face repaying Child Benefit as tax - Financial Times

Theresa May to assess Border Agency errors - Financial Times

And finally... Nick Clegg to host LBC phone-in - BBC

"The show will start at 9am on Thursday and will be called Call Clegg." - The Times (£)

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