Are the Tory work schemes all that they seem? One pledge worth proper scrutiny is the “Work Pairing” programme “to create up to 100,000 places over two years”. This would match-up teenagers with wily old sole traders for “extended one-to-one work mentoring of six months”. Brilliant idea. But who pays?
The Tories have set aside £300m as an incentive to take on these youngsters. But this covers “additional costs”, things like employer liability insurance, basic equipment, “clothing” and some bursaries for training certificates. The sole traders are still expected to pay their wages. Read more
I’m not sure if this is Carpetright’s idea of a joke (I don’t think so) but one of their handful of carpet samples on display in the Manchester conference hall is called SuperMansion House.
Perhaps a little insensitive the day after David Cameron faced questions from Andrew Marr about his wealth (he denied as ‘ridiculous’ the idea he was worth £30m). Read more
WIth the controversial Lisbon Treaty hovering over the Tory conference like a black cloud the party’s policy announcements have been scheduled to keep the subject of Europe at bay – or so I’m told. The leadership seems to hope that incessant talk of welfare, traffic cameras, NHS bureaucracy and so on will avert the unpleasant debate.
They are struggling to hold the line. The eurosceptic Tory Bruges group has said Mr Cameron’s failure to promise a plebiscite was “a hole at the heart of the Conservative party’s European policy”. But pro-European Malcolm Rifkind has warned that attempts to hold a referendum would be “absurd”. Read more