Daily Archives: December 9, 2008

The Westminster village should remember Mapeley. The property company is linked inexorably with the purchase of 600 Inland Revenue offices several years ago – controversially, after it emerged that the group was based offshore.

Since then it has floated on the stock market – although US investment group Fortress remains the biggest shareholder. Read more

I am starting to wish I’d spent yesterday afternoon in the Lords rather than following the navel-gazing Commons debate over the structure of the committee looking into the Damian Green affair. (Why do MPs always turn up en masse when talking about themselves?)

Some real gems in the Lords’ Hansard. Read more

Still waiting for Margaret Beckett, housing minister, to drop the ludicrous target of 3m new homes by 2020. The policy was always based on false assumptions and is now impossible to achieve because of the credit crunch/housing crash. The number of new homes built this year will be far below 100,000 – compared to the annual target of 240,000.

DCLG insists that it will press ahead despite the setbacks. One Whitehall source tells me that - in doing so - the government is reminiscent of Hitler in the bunker in 1945, “still ordering the movement of battalions of tanks which no longer exist”.

Lord Jones, former Berr minister, didn’t exactly praise the PBR when he spoke in the Lords debate yesterday: “The accent in the pre-budget report was on stimulation of the consumer. However, regardless of a VAT reduction, people will not go shopping for big-ticket items when they are out of work.”

Couldn’t have put it better myself. Read more

We spotted the rapidly rising cost of insuring UK gilts against default in this blog on November 24.

Today the Tories pointed out that the relevant figure (credit default swaps) is now twice the cost of insuring the debt of McDonald’s, the fast food chain. Read more

Lots of interest in the decision by the Public Administration select committee today to open an inquiry into leaks and whistleblowing in Whitehall. This is obviously a hot topic given the Damian Green affair.

Separately, there should be plenty of interest in Sir Gus O’Donnell when the cabinet secretary appears in front of the PAC on Thursday morning at 10am. He is appearing for a routine inquiry into the civil service. Read more