I wrote this afternoon about concerns over the Tory amendment designed to force all peers and MPs to pay tax in the UK. Labour had spotted that the phrasing of the amendment – any UK legislator had to be “domiciled and ordinarily resident in the UK” – could be used as a loophole (something the Tories denied vehemently).
How come the wording stopped short of Philip Hammond’s claim yesterday that all legislators “would have to be resident, ordinarily resident and domiciled”? Read more
Today’s NAO report is yet another reminder of the dismal state of the defence equipment budget. The graph below sets out how bad the situation is until 2020. The best case scenario is a £6bn budget shortfall — and that is based on some quite rosy assumptions.
The MoD buys kit, which often takes a decade or more to deliver, on the basis that their cash budget will rise by 2.7 per cent a year. In good times that would be acceptable (although you have to wonder why they think the Bank of England will overshoot its inflation target by 0.2 per cent). But in these straightened times, that seems dangerously optimistic. If the budget is frozen (the blue line in the graph) the gap in the 10 year budget rises to an eye-watering £36bn. Read more