Daily Archives: March 25, 2009

One more Tory MEP is throwing a hissy-fit over David Cameron’s decision to leave the European Peoples Party, the mainstream group in the European parliament.

This report quotes Caroline Jackson, who has been an MEP since 1984, as saying: 

Jim Pickard

Labour love to talk about the environment and housing – and the ecotown project combines both in a single grandiose project.

Even now, with the property industry in meltdown, no minister will admit that Gordon Brown’s cherished idea is heading for the grave.

I wrote this morning that a report by the DCLG itself admits that several of the projects would need massive public subsidies (tens of millions of pounds) to go ahead. On others, the maths is uncertain. Only three of the last eight (from 57 proposals and a shortlist of 15) are deemed to be definitely viable.

A flak from DCLG rang this morning to point out that I’d ignored another three schemes which weren’t on the shortlist but have been added to the list. Apologies, the relevant sentence was cut from the story by a sub-editor.

In fact the reality could be even worse than the government believes. 

Jim Pickard

Enemies of Harriet Harman – I’m told they exist – will take delight from her slips at PMQs just now.

First there was an Austin Powers moment when she told the House of Commons that the government had helped….wait for it….90 businesses. Amid ripples of laughter, she clarified this to the real figure, 90,000.

Second she referred to UKFI, the arms-length body which controls the nationalised banks, as UKIA.

And was I the only person who picked up on her description of those who will benefit from the Tory inheritance tax cut as the “super-rich“? If this is people whose estate is worth more than £700,000, doesn’t it include lots of Labour MPs?

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More seriously the Tories may want to re-examine their IHT policy (lifting the threshold to £1m). A tax cut which looked wildly popular during the boom times does not look so cunning during a recession. 

Jim Pickard

We predicted in October that the government could suffer an uncovered gilt auction within months because it was trying to raise such a vast amount of money from the bond markets.

From Bloomberg a few minutes ago: 

Jim Pickard

What exactly was George Osborne thinking when he condemned Lord Myners for his past involvement in tax havens?