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Teatime newslinks for Wednesday 2nd November 2011


  • ToryDiary: David Cameron equal to Ed Miliband's economic attacks at PMQs
  • David Cameron: "There is a global storm in the world economy today"
  • David Cameron warns a Robin Hood Tax would allow European countries to escape their aid pledges
  • Peter Hoskin: "The real clash at PMQs today was between Ed Balls’ heckling and David Cameron’s temper."
  • The Telegraph's Daniel Knowles: "What is the point exactly of Prime Minister's Questions? Is it to provide ten minutes of political theatre for us, or is it for backbenchers to ask questions of the Prime Minister? Today, it failed at both. For half an hour, MPs, including the leader of the opposition, asked irrelevant or uninteresting party political questions and the Prime Minister answered them with slogans. The most important issue of the decade – the European debt crisis – produced no more than twenty seconds of comment."
  • The New Statesman's George Eaton: "As the economy continues to struggle, David Cameron is sounding ever more like his predecessor. Asked by Ed Miliband at today's PMQs to respond to growth of just 0.5 per cent in the last 12 months, Cameron replied that any growth should be welcomed amid the "global storm in the world economy". The man who once mocked Gordon Brown for blaming "global conditions" for weak growth now steals his lines."


  • The Guardian's Andrew Sparrow lists the key elements of today's announcement:
  • Ministers have improved their pension offer to public sector workers. 
  • Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said more low and middle earners working a full career would receive pension benefits at least as good, if not better, than they get now. 
  • The government is making the "accrual rate" - the rate at which annual benefits are earned - more generous.
  • Workers near retirement will be protected under the new plans. 
  • The reforms are due to come in from 2015.
  • A TUC press release signals union intent to strike as planned: "But unless and until further real progress is made and acceptable offers are made within those negotiations, unions remain firmly committed to continuing their preparations for the planned day of action on November 30." 
  • The Institute of Economic Affairs' Prof. Philip Booth condemns the new deal: "The government has improved its offer to trades unions in such a way that all the increase in costs are deferred until after the coalition has left office. The government should not be adding to implicit public sector debt, it should be trying to deal with the problem."


  • Greece's referendum will be held in mid-December and... "Greek voters would be asked not to approve or reject the terms for Greece’s next financial rescue, which European leaders set at a Brussels summit last week, but a broader question centred on support for Greece’s membership of the European Union and 17-nation eurozone." - The FT's excellent Eurozone crisis liveblog
  • Silvio Berlusconi puts latest album on hold - Daily Telegraph