David Cameron, in his original incarnation as Tory leader, was an advocate of the green agenda; cycling everywhere, visiting the Arctic (albeit by plane) and fixing a wind turbine to the roof of his west London home. (No matter that he was forced to take it down due to complex planning issues).
Yet the new prime minister has just axed a major scheme (the “Low Carbon Buildings Programme”) that gave grants for households and companies to put solar panels or wind turbines on their premises. So far it has helped 20,000. Read more
Paul Waugh has an intriguing quote from Diane Abbott, the surprise Labour leadership contender, suggesting that David Miliband is already into three figures in terms of MPs’ support:
“David Miliband is hoovering up nominations. Quite rightly, he’s a very able candidate, he’s got over 100. It’s just it squeezes everybody else. There’s a slight tendency – it’s not a tendency which David Miliband encourages – for people to think ‘well, who’s going to win, let me nominate them because I’ll get a job.’” Read more
“Abuse of staff will not be tolerated“. A familiar sign at railway and underground stations; but not at the Houses of Parliament – until now.
There have been so many ill-tempered and unpleasant verbal altercations between MPs and staff at IPSA, their new expenses body, that the latter had to resort to warning members to behave. Bear in mind that many of those working at the authority are young civil servants in their 20s who are only recently out of university. Some of these have been left “close to tears” by MPs’ behaviour. Read more
Interviewed on the Today programme this morning, Liam Byrne was asked a straightforward question; if he wrote his notorious memo (“there’s no money left”) in April did he expect to lose the general election in May? The answers were brilliantly evasive.
Today: You wrote the letter on the sixth of April when the election was called, you obviously didn’t expect to be returning to your desk? Read more
(Apologies to those who have already read this as an update to the last post)
I first wrote a few months ago that Tory MP Julie Kirkbride was seeking to follow her husband Andrew Mackay into the world of lobbying. I can now reveal that she has taken up a job with Tetra Strategy. Read more
Today’s exercise is only low-hanging fruit. And so there will be no pain; that is the theory.
This last weekend saw a softening-up exercise intended to show that the £6.2bn of cuts would be easy. Did you know Britain has four offices in the Nigerian capital? Or that DFID’s annual newsletter is airmailed around the world at the cost of £500,000? Or that the Department of Education spends £5m teaching children how to play? Read more
From the FT’s Money Supply blog
The first £5.75bn of spending cuts has just been announced by George Osborne, Conservative chancellor and David Laws, his Liberal Democrat chief secretary in the Treasury garden. It is something of a spectator sport for large numbers of Treasury officials, who seem either keen to get the knives out, or who have too little work on, and are ripe for the chop.
But these cuts represent just the starter, “the first steps” as Mr Laws admitted. The main course is coming later. This near £6bn is tiny compared with the £40bn to £50bn that is coming from 2011 onward. So it is worth not getting too excited by today’s cuts. Read more