Friday News Review

Letwin admits country facing growth crisis

Oliver Letwin, the Prime Minister’s key policy adviser, revealed that last week’s Budget was thrashed out in reaction to the problem with growth and jobs. Labour seized on the comments and claimed Mr Letwin had “let the cat out of the bag.” Mr Letwin told the environmental audit select committee: “Leading up to the recent Budget, we took the view collectively in Cabinet that we faced an immediate national crisis in the form of less growth and jobs than we needed. And we were determined collectively to try to increase that growth and those jobs.” He said that realization “set in train” a process in which all departments tried to come up with plans to help boost growth – the results of which were seen in last week’s Budget. Angela Eagle, a shadow Treasury spokesman said: “With unemployment at a 17 year high and the economy contracting at the end of last year, there is a jobs and growth crisis in Britain. “But it’s a crisis of George Osborne’s own making and the government still seems to be in denial. “Recognising that there’s a problem is a good start. But there’s no point having crisis talks if you then decide to carry on regardless with a reckless plan that is hurting but isn’t working.” – the Telegraph

Pressure mounts on Cameron to cut Lansley loose

TORY bruiser Norman Tebbit has launched an amazing attack on the Government’s health reforms. The ex-Cabinet minister and Margaret Thatcher’s former hatchet man admitted grave concerns they could do “considerable” damage to NHS hospitals. His comments are the latest blow to David Cameron, following criticism from doctors, nurses and midwives. Lord Tebbit said Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s plans could bring “unfair” competition, enabling private firms to cherry pick.. He said: “It’s fine for the private sector, which doesn’t have responsibility for teaching and bringing on young surgeons, to take the straightforward and easy stuff. “But that means the public sector is then left without the base of work to subsidise the more difficult surgery and the teaching of surgeons.” – the Mirror
Protests, marches and lobbies will be held across the UK in opposition to the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill which unions believe will lead to health services being privatised. MPs will be lobbied and protests held in cities including Rotherham, Sheffield, Nottingham, Bolton, Sunderland and Winchester. Dave Prentis, general secretary of the Unison union, said: “The Government cannot afford to keep ignoring the anger of voters. We saw nearly half a million people march through London on Saturday to protest against public service cuts. “April 1 will see our members again taking action to challenge their MPs and to defend the NHS against Andrew Lansley’s privatisation plans. The Government is a lone voice for NHS privatisation and, by turning their back on the electorate, they are turning the clocks back on healthcare across the UK.” – PA

Does Ed need to change?

I am worried about Ed Miliband. I backed him to be leader of the Labour Party. I badly want him to beat David Cameron at the next general election. But here’s my problem. He has been leader of the Labour Party for six months now, and my mother, my father, my brother and my sister – all normal British people on average or lower incomes who swing between parties – haven’t noticed him yet. He hasn’t said or done anything that has jutted into their stressed and busy lives. They have no thoughts about him at all. And there’s a more worrying postscript still. There isn’t yet a single five-minute clip I could send them of Miliband where they would consistently understand what he was saying, or identify with it. My family isn’t unusual in this respect. According to the latest YouGov polling, 33 per cent of us approve of Cameron’s Government and 52 per cent disapprove – a startling net approval of – 19 per cent, and that’s before the most drastic cuts in generations hit. Yet in a choice between the parties, Labour is only ahead by six points – and that is largely by default. Anybody who thinks Labour simply needs to sit back, while the Tories produce a social and economic disaster, and wait for the population to defect, is historically illiterate. Throughout the 20th century, Tory governments often lost the public argument – but won the election because people thought the alternative was even worse. If Labour doesn’t make itself a powerful alternative, it will lose again. – the Independent

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