Monday News Review

School sports U-turn

Education Secretary Michael Gove will today confirm a £70m funding reprieve from cuts to School Sports Partnerships, saving the jobs of 2,000 school sports coordinators and support staff. The move follows a high profile campaign supported by Olympic athletes, sports personalities and Shadow Education Secretary, Andy Burnham. David Cameron stepped in after Conservative MPs warned cuts to sport would be detrimental to the Government’s image ahead of the 2012 Olympics. – PoliticsHome

Cameron & Osborne are wrong. The IFS is right

Cameron and Osborne have contemptuously dismissed the just-published predictions by the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies. Based on complex modelling and government policies, the IFS forecasts that over the next four years both relative and absolute poverty will rise for children and work-age adults – between 800,000 to 900,000 are expected to be affected. A designer who makes stupidly expensive handbags, Anya Hindmarch, now a government business champion, said recently that she quite liked recessions – or “clean-up times. That is how this lot think. The Chancellor says airily that their cuts and “reforms” will have “… no measurable impact on child poverty over the next two years”. Believe that and you really believe in a white-haired, beardy bloke comes down chimneys bringing sackfuls of pressies. The real plan was revealed by insider MP Nicholas Boles this week. It is to create a “chaotic” environment where, presumably, the fittest make it. – Independent

Strike warning

The UK faces the prospect of widespread and co-ordinated industrial action in the new year, with the leader of the largest trade union today warning that it is “preparing for battle” with the government over its “unprecedented assault” on the welfare state. Len McCluskey, the newly elected leader of Unite, says union leaders will be holding a special meeting in January to discuss a “broad strike movement” to stop what he described as the coalition’s “explicitly ideological” programme of cuts. Writing in the Guardian, McCluskey praises the “magnificent student movement” that has seen tens of thousands of young people take to the streets to protest at the government’s plans for post-16 education, saying it has put trade unions“on the spot”. “Their mass protests against the tuition fees increase have refreshed the political parts a hundred debates, conferences and resolutions could not reach,” he said. – The Guardian

White out

Labour spokesmen, such as shadow chancellor Alan Johnson, have been accused of political opportunism because they are asking if the government is doing enough to deal with the snow. Johnson’s critics are missing the point — of course there is opportunism involved. The  Tories know this, and used to do the same themselves during snow, floods etc. There isn’t all that much fun to be had in opposition, but after 13 years of being the party that had to produce spokesmen to go on TV to look out of touch Labour is currently enjoying playing “I blame the government”. There aren’t all that many votes in it when something like the weather is involved (unless there is obvious incompetence, as there was with the SNP’s  transport minister who had to resign). But apply the right kind of pressure — as the street-wise Johnson is — and all kinds of temporary havoc can be created in a government. – Wall Street Journal

A POLITICAL storm erupted last night as UK grit supplies ran dangerously low. Councils warned of severe shortages, with many appealing for supplies from emergency government stockpiles. But with doubts there is enough to go around, Shadow Chancellor Alan Johnson called on the Transport Secretary to consider RESIGNING. Mr Johnson slammed Philip Hammond for “ignoring” last year’s Labour-commissioned report on snow disruption. He warned grit would reach councils in “dribs and drabs” and said: “On this area, don’t forget Scotland’s Transport Secretary resigned.” –The Sun

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