Monday News Review

Cameron attacks “enemies of growth”

David Cameron has pledged to confront the “enemies of enterprise” in Whitehall and town halls across the country, attacking what he called the “mad” bureaucracy that holds back entrepreneurs. The prime minister, who was criticised for failing to outline economic growth plans after last year’s autumn spending review, moved to recover ground by promising to place the promotion of enterprise at the heart of the budget on 23 March. In one of the strongest attacks by a prime minister on the civil service, Cameron yesterday made clear he shared the frustration of Tony Blair, who famously claimed in 1999 that he bore “scars on my back” from those opposed to his reforms. – the Guardian

When we urgently need a plan for jobs and growth to get the economy moving again and help hard-pressed families all David Cameron and George Osborne can offer is empty words but precious little action. All we’ve heard from this Conference is the reheated rhetoric and warmed up policies of 30 years ago – a VAT rise, deep spending cuts, knee-jerk deregulation and enterprise zones which didn’t work when they were tried in the 1980s. If David Cameron wants to know who is the real enemy of enterprise and growth in Britain today he only needs to look next door at his own Chancellor. It is George Osborne’s reckless plan to cut too deep and too fast, which has seen the economy go into reverse. David Cameron and George Osborne appear to be in denial that in the real world families and businesses are facing the squeeze, petrol prices are at a record high, unemployment is going up again and the recovery has stalled. And they don’t seem to understand that without strong growth and more jobs we can’t get the deficit down. – Ed Balls blog

Tories “gutter politics” an act of desperation

Labour has accused the Conservatives of “gutter politics” after Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper were referred to the Parliamentary watchdog over travel claims for their children. The party hit back following a Sunday Times story that the couple have been reported for £14,000 in travel claims between 2007 and 2010. Tory MP Andrew Bridgen has referred the couple to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards over the allegations. But Sharon Hodgson MP, the shadow children’s minister, said today: “The thing I’ve always respected about Ed and Yvette is that while they have been in the public eye they’ve always protected their children and kept them out of politics.  “So this is a desperate new low from the Tories to try to drag their children into a political fight. Andrew Bridgen was described this week as one of David Cameron’s ‘new generation of attack dogs’ and now we see the gutter politics this will mean.” – Politics Home

The latest attack from the Tories on Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper has been covered in the Sunday Times today (£), as Andrew Bridgen MP (named on Wednesday by ConservativeHome as a “trainee attack dog“) railed against the costs associated with taking their children to and from their constituencies. There’s only one problem though – this desperate attack is both unclear, and leaves government ministers open to attack. Caroline Spelman and Danny Alexander have, over the three years that the Sunday Times have highlighted, claimed more on their own in family travel (children and spouses) than Ed and Yvette combined (£14,117). – Danny Alexander – £3762 + £8457 + £10,829 = £23,048
– Caroline Spelman – £6960 + £5616 + £2034 = £14,610
This isn’t the first time that Tory MPs have tried complaining about Ed and Yvette before for political reasons. Last time the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards rejected the complaint and said they had acted “fully in accordance with the letter and spirit of the rules of the House”. – Labour List

Cost of living to be the issue of 2011

George Osborne’s budget, due in two weeks’ time, will be billed as an agenda for growth. This is welcome, but a year late. The burning agenda now is the cost of living. It was our cover story for The Spectator last October: why fret about mild 1 percent-a-year cuts, we asked, when the real killer will be prices? Petrol at 130p a litre is only the most visible sign of this. Other horrors confront shoppers in the supermarket – salmon fillets up by a third, potatoes and butter by a quarter. When Alan Duncan speculated that petrol could hit 200p, he was on the right scent. While the BBC is talking about cuts and Osborne is talking about jobs, Ed Miliband is now talking about the cost of living – even helping to launch aCommission on the Cost of Living. He has, I hate to say, chosen his campaign theme well. The cost of living will be the story of 2011. – Spectator, Coffee House

One Response to “Monday News Review”

  1. Sunder Katwala says:

    There is also quite a bit on crime and justice, ahead of Sadiq Khan’s first major speech as shadow justice secretary

    Labour admits tough penal policy failed to stem reoffending

    Sadiq Khan: Doing real justice

    Next Left: We should support a lower prison population, says Sadiq Khan

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