From the FT’s Tech Hub:
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From the FT’s Business blog:
Some have attributed Nick Clegg’s proposal to give every British voter a share in the UK’s state-owned banks (floated during a trade visit to Rio de Janeiro) to a combination of jet lag, domestic political calculation and Copacabana sunstroke. But the UK deputy prime minister’s suggestion has a long pedigree – longer than perhaps even he recognises. Read more
Britain went to the polls on Thursday in a mix of local elections in England and national polls for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Voters also have their say in a referendum on changing the electoral system to the alternative vote. Read more
Two tests await Ed Miliband, Labour leader, and his party: polls across the country, and a referendum on the alternative voting system for which he is a principal campaigner. George Parker, political editor, talks to the leader of the UK opposition about the upcoming ballots, his call for a cultural change in the City o f London, and the coalition government’s deficit reduction strategy. Read more
Nick Clegg has been warned by senior Conservative MPs that they will wreak revenge on him for the Liberal Democrats’ “Easter uprising”, including frustrating his plans for elections to the House of Lords. Read more
Here the FT’s South Asia bureau chief discusses the UK’s aid policy in India. What do you think David Cameron’s government should do? Join the debate in the comments section. Read more
From the FT’s Money Supply blog:
As far as Britain’s economy is concerned the spending review, just published, changes little. There was the “reprofiling” predicted first in the Financial Times, but it amounted to only £2bn a year of additional gross capital expenditure. This will not make the difference between stagnation and recovery. The Treasury is right: there is no Plan B. Read more
Commentary led by Jim Pickard and Alex Barker of the FT’s political team, Michael Hunter, markets reporter, Gordon Smith, FT.com’s deputy news editor, Martin Sandbu, editorial writer and co-ordinated by Darren Dodd, of the UK newsdesk.
The chancellor sat down in the House of Commons at 1.33pm
JP: Osborne’s stroke of genius is to announce departmental cuts of 19 per cent – just lower than the 20 announced by Labour in March. Let’s wait to find if he is comparing apples with pears.
Average savings in departmental budget to be lower than the average implied in Labour’s March budget. Instead of average cuts of 20 per cent, there will be cuts of 19 per cent per department
Osborne says: “The measures set out today bring sanity to our public finances”
£15.8bn to refurbish schools
Schools budget to rise from £35bn a year to £39bn
More on education: Early years education budget for schools to rise over each of the next four years. New £2.5bn pupil premium for disadvantaged children. And Sure Start services budgets will be protected in cash terms
Now for transport: The cap on rail fares will rise to retail price index plus 3 per cent for 3 years from 2012. £30bn to be invested in various transport projects over the next 4 years. M25 will be widened between 10 junctions. Crossrail will go ahead among other investments in Britain’s transport infrastructure
The BBC’s online budget will fall and it will not expand its activities competing with local media
Pilots of super-fast broadband to be started in the coming months
Now for the BBC: The BBC will take from the government the responsibility for the World Service. The licence fee will be frozen for the next six years
Osborne says there will be £1bn to set up a “green investment bank”
JP: There is a 50 per cent increase in funding for apprentices. But the chancellor isn’t spelling out which schemes will suffer to pay for this – my bet would be the £1bn ‘train to gain’ fund (used to help companies send staff on training).
£220m invested in the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation at St Pancras. £200m to be invested in developing wind technology
Now for science: The science budget is protected at £4.6bn a year Read more
Jim and Alex will write a live blog of Ed Miliband’s keynote speech to the Labour party conference this afternoon. Come back here at about 2.15pm UK time to follow their coverage of the address by Labour’s new leader. Read more
George Parker, political editor, reviews the long-awaited autobiography of Tony Blair, commenting on its lack of contrition and the ex-premier’s attack on his former friend and colleage, Gordon Brown. Read more
The FT’s Westminster team live blogs the launch of Tony Blair’s memoirs. Read more
By George Parker, political editor
David Cameron was still glowing last night after his three-hour bonding session with President Obama, who took him on a tour of his personal apartments in the White House as well as the garden: a far cry from the short “brush by” offered to him when he was still leader of the opposition.
In spite of all the pre-meeting efforts to dampen expectations – Cameron wrote that he was not bothered by the “baubles” of the “special relationship” – his team were immediately anxious to tell journalists how well the meeting had gone.
In spite of the little local difficulty over BP, the two leaders joshed about the state of their children’s bedrooms and exchanged gifts: Sam Cameron bought a natty pair of pink and purple Hunter wellies for the Obama children. Read more
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