5pm Conservative News Links

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The latest borrowing figures and criticism of government work experience schemes lead our teatime newslinks

Strong borrowing figures put Osborne on track to beat deficit forecast

  • Osborne-Headshot"For the first time in months, there's some good news for George Osborne. Today's borrowing figures put him on track to easily undershoot the Office for Budget Responsibility's deficit forecast of £127bn and, after passing the £1 trillion mark last month, public sector net debt (£988.7bn or 63 per cent of GDP) is back below this symbolic threshold." - New Statesman
  • "But if today's public finance figures show anything, it's the capacity for far more savings to be made by the government machine. It is spending £9 billion less, without even meaning to. Imagine how much more savings could be found if the government were to deliberately try to save more — and use the money cut taxes and get the economy growing again." - Fraser Nelson
  • Full pdf report from the Office for National Statistics

Clegg dismisses criticism of government work experience schemes

  • Clegg Thumbs Up"Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has dismissed criticism that a government work experience scheme amounts to "slave labour". The "sector-based work academy scheme" allows people on unemployment benefit to work for firms and charities for a period without losing payments. Critics claim large companies including Tesco are using it for cheap Labour." - BBC
  • "Supermarket giant Tesco offered today to pay youngsters on a  Government work experience scheme amid continuing controversy over the programme." - Independent
  • "As our own Martin Bright has pointed out, these schemes rely on the good will of employers. If that good will isn't maintained, then even the most worthwhile schemes — and this Work Experience scheme is fundamentally worthwhile — can be whittled down to naught." - Peter Hoskin
  • Unpaid 'work experience' is a depressing solution to youth unemployment - Daniel Knowles
  • In 1997 Polly Toynbee backed the workfare schemes she now vehemently opposes - Guido Fakes

2012 London mayoral candidates debate for the first time

  • Johnson Boris Pointing"Boris said: "I thought it was good and a lot of central points came out. We simply do not have any explanation of how Livingstone will fund his promises." So was it round one to Boris, Ken or Paddick? I asked. He said: "It was good from my point of view in the sense that we didn't hear anything from Ken on how he would fund his promises. I thought it was a good outcome."" - Full report from the Guardian
  • Lib Dems fight reduction of their party political broadcasts in London - Guardian
  • Ken Livingstone's fares cut will save Londoners little more than a tenth of what he claims - Andrew Gilligan
  • Local government: Evening Standard exposes massive fraud in Mayoral vote

Liberal Democrats trail Ukip by 3 per cent in YouGov poll of Northern voters - Political Scrapbook

Michael Gove condemns "chilling atmosphere towards freedom of expression"

  • Gove on Marr"Mr Gove warned that “judges, celebrities, and the establishment” are danger of “taking over from the press as arbiters of what a free press should be, imposing either soft or hard regulation”. He called for “the maximum amount of freedom of expression and the maximum amount of freedom of speech”." - More at PoliticsHome
  • "He also made an impassioned defence of the union between Scotland and the rest of the UK, saying that arguments for greater English representation, including the West Lothian question, was "entirely the wrong attitude."" - Huffington Post

Europe news

  • Eurozone
  • ToryDiary: Cameron hopeful that deepening relationship with Italy, Poland and Spain can accelerate EU economic reform
  • "George Osborne has welcomed the £100bn deal thrashed out by eurozone finance ministers to bail out Greece, saying it would allow Europe to move on." - George Osborne
  • "The Greek cabinet is to meet for talks on launching the painful reform process stipulated by creditors in return for a massive bailout and debt write-down." - BBC
  • "The deal includes a list of requirements which Greece must meet next week to get final approval for the bailout, including passing a supplementary budget with €3.3bn in cuts this year, cuts to minimum wage and further liberalisaiton. Parts of this package may still have to go through the deeply divided Greek parliament, so expect more riots in the streets." - Mats Persson
  • "Greece is now officially a ward of the international community. It has no real independence when it comes to fiscal policy any more, and if everything goes according to plan, it’s not going to have any independence for many, many years to come." - Felix Salmon