Category Archives: Cabinet

One in three town halls to defy Eric Pickles and hike council tax in April – Telegraph

One in three local authorities is planning is proposing to increase council tax next year, despite a Government offer of funding if they freeze the charge, according to a survey of nearly 200 councils.

A survey found 65 councils out of 193 councils who replied were planning an increase – double the number who rejected the Government’s freeze funding last year.

According to the Local Government Chronicle, the 65 councils were proposing increases ranging from 1.5 per cent to 7.8 per cent.

One in three town halls to defy Eric Pickles and hike council tax in April – Telegraph.

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Filed under Council Tax Benefit, Eric Pickles

George Osborne accused by Tory MP of running the UK ‘just like’ Gordon Brown – Telegraph

Douglas Carswell, the MP for Clacton, has written an article for The Daily Telegraph’s website in which he demands that the Chancellor gets the economy “back on track” by making major tax cuts, liberalising planning laws and scrapping five Whitehall departments.

It will pile pressure on Mr Osborne, who has recently faced rumours of a parliamentary plot to oust him.

Mr Carswell said he does not think that the country needs a new Chancellor, but that Mr Osborne needs to dramatically change course in order to turn around the flagging economy.

George Osborne accused by Tory MP of running the UK ‘just like’ Gordon Brown – Telegraph.

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Michael Gove forced into humiliating U-turn over EBacc – Education News – Education – The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/michael-gove-forced-into-humiliating-uturn-over-ebacc-8484074.html

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UK deficit reduction will need big tax rises after next election, experts warn | Business | The Guardian

Britain’s leading experts on public finances have warned of hefty tax increases in the first budget after the 2015 election as the next government seeks to repair a £64bn deficit caused by a stuttering economy.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said tax rises of £10bn-12bn might be needed in the next parliament to put deficit reduction back on track and to avoid “eye-watering” cuts in some Whitehall departments that would reduce spending by a third in inflation-adjusted terms between 2010 and 2018.

Paul Johnson, the thinktank’s director, said it was not impossible for the government to achieve its deficit reduction target entirely by cutting departmental spending but it would be “very, very difficult indeed”.

UK deficit reduction will need big tax rises after next election, experts warn | Business | The Guardian.

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David Cameron suffers Leveson defeat as Lords votes for new press laws – Telegraph

In a surprise move, peers passed an amendment to the Defamation Bill to introduce a cheap arbitration service between newspapers and people who feel wronged by the press – one of Lord Justice Leveson’s key recommendations.

The amendment raises the possibility that some of Lord Justice Leveson’s most controversial proposals could become law by the backdoor.

It means the Prime Minister will now have to persuade MPs to overturn the planned legislation in the House of Commons or accept the Lords amendment.

David Cameron suffers Leveson defeat as Lords votes for new press laws – Telegraph.

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Labour calls for investigation into Michael Gove’s special advisers – Guardian

Labour has called for an official investigation into claims that special advisers to the education secretary, Michael Gove, have used the social networking site Twitter to make anonymous attacks on journalists.

Stephen Twigg, the shadow education secretary, has written to the cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, asking for a formal investigation into the claims in the Observer on Sunday, and previous allegations that education department staff were behind an attack on the former children’s minister Tim Loughton in which he was called “a lazy, incompetent narcissist”.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/feb/03/labour-investigation-michael-gove-advisers

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David Cameron given a lecture on ‘debt’ and ‘deficit’ by top statistics official – Telegraph

The Prime Minister was issued with the explanation by the UK Statistics Authority, after he claimed in a Conservative Party political broadcast that “we are paying down Britain’s debts.”

Labour wrote to the statistics body objecting to Mr Cameron’s use of the phrase, as the Treasury has only been reducing the country’s deficit. The national debt is still rising and will continue to do so until 2016 at the earliest, although the deficit has been cut by around a quarter.

Andrew Dilnot, chairman of the Authority, wrote back confirming that national debt has risen from £811 billion to £1,111 billion at the end of 2012. He copied the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff in Downing Street into his letter.

“It is clearly important for all parties to public debate in this area to understand the relevant statistical definitions and to distinguish changes in the level of debt outstanding from changes in borrowing per period, and to reflect these in their communication of the statistical trends involved,” he wrote.

David Cameron given a lecture on ‘debt’ and ‘deficit’ by top statistics official – Telegraph.

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Promise to end defence cuts leaves PM red-faced as Downing Street admits spending will only rise after 2016 | Mail Online

A surprise promise by David Cameron to rule out further defence cuts unravelled today, with Downing Street forced to admit spending will not rise until after 2016.

Travelling in Algeria, the Prime Minister told reporters military spending would rise in real terms after 2015.

But Defence Secretary Philip Hammond today insisted the promise was only that equipment spending would rise by one per cent a year, but other areas would be cut.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2270989/Promise-end-defence-cuts-leaves-PM-red-faced-Downing-Street-admits-spending-rise-2016.html

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Ebacc condemned as MPs take issue with whole Gove reform programme | Education | The Guardian

The government risks destabilising the entire school exam system by rushing through plans to replace GCSEs with the Ebacc, a change that may be unnecessary, a committee of MPs has warned in a damning report.

The investigation, by the education select committee, challenges almost every justification the education secretary, Michael Gove, has given for phasing out GCSEs in favour of the new qualification, saying there is particular worry the change could disadvantage less academic pupils.

It calls into question Gove’s wider programme of rapid change, warning of a “lack of overall coherence” in how the government is approaching several key elements of education.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2013/jan/31/ebacc-gove-reform-exam-education

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Childcare reform plans reveal coalition splits over public spending | Money | The Guardian

Reforms designed to make childcare less expensive are being delayed by arguments that spilled out in public on Tuesday over how much the government can afford to extend help to middle-class families.

Changes that would allow childminders and nurseries to increase the number of babies and young children in their care if they improve qualifications, and toughen up inspections were confirmed by the early years minister, Elizabeth Truss.

However, there was confusion over a linked announcement about funding to help families pay for childcare, which has now been delayed and which previous reports suggested would replace the current mixture of incentives with a universal tax-break for parents with children aged under five.

Childcare reform plans reveal coalition splits over public spending | Money | The Guardian.

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