Former Tory leader Michael Howard has been on the PM programme criticising Ken Clarke’s new, more liberal stance on prison populations (which is, of course, driven in part by cost-cutting concerns). His concerns are shared by many Conservative MPs. Read more
This announcement has been in the pipeline (ahem) for over a month, I’m told. Could it have anything to do with the fact that hiring the former chief executive of BP as a government adviser could be unpopular – given the environmental disaster befalling the Gulf of Mexico?
Lord Browne was a somewhat controversial figure even before BP’s current nightmares.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has announced that Lord Browne of Madingley will become the Government’s lead Non-Executive Director. In this important new role, one of his first tasks will be to work with Secretaries of State to appoint Non-Executive Directors to the board of each government department. He will also work closely with the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, on overhauling how departmental boards are run and improving governance across Whitehall.
The Guardian had an eye-catching splash this morning warning that the Budget would “cost 1.3m jobs”. Particularly striking was the premise that more would be lost in the private sector than the public sector over the next five years as a result of cutting the deficit.
Read the story in detail, however, and it also emerges that 2.5m jobs will be created in the private sector in the next five years. The result (even presuming no new public sector jobs): a net increase of 1.2m jobs. This explains how the Office for Budget Responsibility can still predict unemployment to peak this year at 8.1 per cent and then fall to 6.1 per cent in 2015. (You may or may not find this all a little optimistic). Read more
We never resisted the chance to laugh at Gordon Brown for conjuring up schemes which always promised round-number cash figures, usually of £1bn or £10bn or £100bn. It gave him a certain Dr Evil from Austin Powers quality, as we frequently pointed out.
Therefore it would be unfair not to point out that David Cameron appears to be going down the same path; yesterday the coalition promised a £1bn growth fund for regions hit by public spending cuts. Read more