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HomePoliticsNewslinks for Friday 7th June 2024 | Conservative Home

Newslinks for Friday 7th June 2024 | Conservative Home


Sunak ‘will extend child benefit to wealthier families’

“The Conservatives have pledged to extend child benefit to 700,000 households with higher earners in an attempt to narrow the gap in the polls with Labour. Child benefit, which is worth over £2,000 a year for two children, is presently withdrawn when one member of a household earns more than £60,000 a year. It is withdrawn entirely if someone earns £80,000. The thresholds have been criticised for their arbitrary nature. A household with one person working on a salary of £80,000 does not receive a penny in child benefit. However, a household where two people are working, each of whom earn £60,000, would receive the full amount.
The Tories have pledged to overhaul the system so that the threshold is £120,000 for a household, rather than for an individual.” – The Times

  • Hunt says it will leave 700,000 households on average £1,500 a year better off – Daily Telegraph

More:

  • IFS attacks Tory pledge not to reform ‘absurd’ council tax system – The Guardian
  • English councils face £6.2bn funding ‘chasm’, sector warns – FT

Comment:

  • There are many ways to make tax fairer – Emma Duncan, The Times

>Today: Phoebe Arslanagić-Little in Comment: The Conservative manifesto should make a generous offer to parents

>Yesterday:

Reform UK overtakes Tories among voters over-55

“Reform UK has overtaken the Tories among over-55s, a new poll has found. Nigel Farage’s party is on 19 per cent of the vote among those between 55 and 64 and those over 65, according to a survey from Redfield & Wilton. This is up by a third on polling done by the company last week, conducted before Mr Farage became leader and announced he would stand as a Reform MP. The Conservatives are on just 14 per cent among those between 55 and 64, and on 17 per cent among the over 65s. The poll is the second to be released within a day that shows Reform within two points of the Tories overall. The survey, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, put Mr Farage’s party at 17 per cent and the Tories on 19 per cent, the same returns as a YouGov poll on Wednesday.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Farage heaps on pressure with ‘bombshell’ inheritance tax pledge – Daily Express
  • He will take on Angela Rayner in BBC election debate tonight – The Times

Comment:

  • The Tories are teetering on the edge of the abyss – Lord Frost, Daily Telegraph
  • Pendulum could now swing a long way from Tories – Harry Cole, The Sun
  • Farage will do more to hand Labour power than anyone since Blair – Daily Telegraph
  • Reform have outclassed Labour on defence – Lt Col Stuart Crawford, Daily Express

Tory campaign mood ‘sapped by candidate row’

“The Conservative party risks losing swaths of northern England at the general election, officials have warned, after its chair became the fifth Tory MP to migrate south to contest a safer seat. Richard Holden was confirmed on Wednesday as the new Conservative candidate for Basildon and Billericay in Essex, which the party won with a 20,412 majority in 2019, compared with the 1,144 majority he previously achieved in North West Durham. In addition to claims he had performed a “chicken run” by moving south, Tory critics complained he had been imposed on the local party, after he was the only name presented on the shortlist. The move has damaged already-poor morale inside the Conservative campaign, and risks alienating activists whom the party will rely on to stem the scale of the defeat currently predicted by polls at the July 4 election.” – FT

  • Labour accuses Sunak of ‘dereliction of duty’ after he left D-Day service early for TV interview – Daily Telegraph

More:

  • Conservatives accepted £150,000 from millionaire donor after he made ‘racist’ comments – The Sun
  • New Hester claims pile pressure on Tories – The Guardian

Sketch:

  • There’s no distance these Conservative heroes won’t travel to serve… themselves – John Crace, The Guardian

>Today: Johno Lee in Local Government: My vision for Nottingham East

Locals should get ‘first dibs’ on new homes, says Rayner

“Locals should get “first dibs” on new homes to help young couples on to the housing ladder and have children, Angela Rayner has said. Writing for The Telegraph, Labour’s deputy leader and the shadow communities secretary, sounds the alarm on the lack of affordable housing. She says too often people in their twenties and thirties are stuck at home with their parents, putting them off starting families. Labour is announcing it will require developers to first advertise new properties to people who live nearby, in an attempt to curb mass purchases by foreign businesses. The party is also committing to make permanent the Government’s mortgage guarantee scheme, which helps people buy with a deposit of just five per cent of the property value.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour plans new towns ‘with Edwardian mansion blocks and tree-lined streets’… – The Times
  • …and vows to hoist over 80,000 youngsters onto housing ladder by 2029 with mortgage scheme – The Sun
  • Communities will be given right to turn eyesores into parks, says Labour – The Guardian
  • Rental growth drops back in spite of strong demand from tenants – FT

Comment:

  • It’s time to fix our broken housing market – Angela Rayner, Daily Telegraph
  • Aspiration isn’t just for Tories – Simon Kuper, FT
  • Tories have given Labour room to levy more property taxes – Matthew Lynn, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Rayner says Labour will deliver beautiful homes – but is it even prepared to make them legal?

Reeves under pressure to raise capital gains tax if Labour wins election

“Rachel Reeves is being pressed by shadow ministers to increase capital gains tax in her autumn budget to fund public services if Labour wins the general election. Colleagues want the shadow chancellor to increase the rate of capital gains tax, which is paid on profits from selling an asset such as a home or shares. It is paid at far lower levels than income tax. For high earners, capital gains is 24 per cent from profits on the sale of second homes and 20 per cent on gains from other assets. The higher rate of income tax is 40 per cent while the top rate of income tax is 45 per cent. The Guardian said that Labour was considering a major package of measures in the autumn as part of a “doctor’s mandate”, arguing that the state of public finances is so bad that it needs surgery to correct.” – The Times

  • Party plotting secret ‘dirty dozen’ round of tax hikes hurting savers, damaging leak reveals – The Sun
  • Shadow Chancellor claimed to be assembling a package of measures to raise revenue – Daily Mail
  • Labour exempts thousands of boarding school pupils from tax raid – Daily Telegraph
  • No one is being honest about perilous state of public finances – The Times

Comment:

  • Starmer keeps manifesto free of taxing detail – Patrick Maguire, The Times
  • Nobody can afford Labour’s secret tax bill – Sir John Redwood, Daily Telegraph
  • Why the £2,000 tax claim aimed at ensnaring Labour proves costlier for the Tories – Stephen Bush, FT
  • It’s time to sort out Britain’s tax mess – Simon Lambert, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Conservatives cannot just trot out ‘Labour’s Tax Bombshell’ irrespective of their own tax-hiking record

Labour manifesto will avoid scrapping two-child benefit limit

“Labour will fight the election refusing to reverse the Conservative government’s contentious two-child limit on benefits, despite calls from many campaign groups and MPs to scrap the policy, according to people familiar with the party’s draft manifesto. The decision is the latest sign of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s determination to maintain financial caution as he seeks to hold on to a sizeable polling lead over the Conservatives ahead of the July 4 ballot. The limit, introduced by former prime minister David Cameron a decade ago, restricts child tax credit and universal credit to the first two children in most households. It has been the subject of criticism in recent years from figures including members of the shadow cabinet.” – FT

  • Two-child benefit cap is ‘key driver of child poverty’ in UK, research suggests – The Guardian

More:

Fly-tipping scandal that ‘brought down’ Gething

“They say a picture tells a thousand stories. If so, one must wonder about the sorry image of the First Minister of Wales shaken and sobbing in the Senedd this week. On Wednesday, Labour’s new incumbent Vaughan Gething, 50, lost a no-confidence motion just 78 days into the job after his contested appointment in March. It caused him to weep in front of colleagues, and offer – some would say – extremely rare words of contrition. The reason? In February, during his leadership campaign, it emerged Gething had received two £100,000 donations from a large environmental company convicted of polluting. Dauson Environmental Group, whose director is Welsh businessman David John Neal, 63, has been convicted of environmental crimes on several occasions, with his companies fined and ordered to pay costs totalling more than £400,000.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Sunak says Labour has ruined Wales, but what are the facts? – The Times

Comment:

  • Inside the foetid scandal that’s bringing down Labour’s Welsh leader – Guy Adams, Daily Mail
  • Gething’s leadership crisis is a disaster for Wales, for Labour, and maybe even for devolution – Richard Wyn Jones, The Guardian

Editorial:

One Labour MP ‘facing humiliation’ as she’s set to be the only one to lose her seat

“There is just one Labour MP expected to lose her seat in the upcoming General Election despite the party’s expected landslide victory. Thangam Debbonaire, MP for Bristol West, is predicted to lose to the Green Party, represented by Darren Hall, according to the website Electoral Calculus’ vulnerable seat predictor. Debbonaire has been an MP since 2015 and is also the Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. She was previously Shadow Secretary of State for Housing from 2020 to 2021, and Shadow Leader of the House of Commons from 2021 to 2023. The MP says she has five key priorities: tackling the climate and environment emergency, leading on the brief of culture, media and sport for Labour, decent homes for everyone, fair treatment for refugees, and ending domestic violence and abuse.” – Daily Express

  • Green Party candidates ‘shared antisemitic slurs and conspiracy theories’ – The Times
  • Some social media posts appeared to voice conspiracy theories about the October 7 – Daily Telegraph

Labour drops legal case against former Corbyn aides

“Britain’s Labour party has dropped a bitter legal dispute with five former staff who worked for Jeremy Corbyn and were accused of leaking an embarrassing internal report.  The staff, including former communications director Seumas Milne, had been accused of covertly releasing a report in 2020 into the party’s handling of antisemitism and Islamophobia complaints. Labour had claimed in its legal documents that the five had “entered into a conspiracy” against the party under Sir Keir Starmer “with the intention of disrupting or embarrassing the then-new leadership”. On Thursday, Carter-Ruck, the law firm representing the five, said: “The party is discontinuing its legal claims against Karie Murphy, Seumas Milne, Georgie Robertson, Harry Hayball and Laura Murray on a ‘no order as to costs’ basis. The five welcome the resolution of the claims.”” – FT

  • It has already cost the party £1.5m but bills could now stack up even more – The Sun

Liberal Democrats pledge new ‘dad month’ to encourage men to take paternity leave

“The Liberal Democrats have pledged to create a “dad month” to encourage more men to take paternity leave. The party has said it would increase parental pay for fathers and extend their entitled leave by four weeks in the event of an election win. Statutory maternity pay would also be doubled to a total of £350 per month under the plans. Fathers are currently entitled to two weeks of leave after the birth of their child, which can be taken together or separately. The Liberal Democrats would extend this by a “use-it-or-lose-it” month. Sir Ed Davey has said the proposal would allow fathers to be “with their new baby” while “giving mums a better career boost”. The statutory weekly rate of paternity pay is whichever is lower out of £184.03 or 90 per cent of average weekly earnings.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Ministers discussed plot to sack Paula Vennells as Post Office boss in 2014 – The Times

>Today: Sarah Ingham’s column: Only one women-related policy issue has arisen so far in the campaign – and it’s about men

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Andrew Gimson’s Vox pub: The Liberal Democrats take the lead in Berkhamsted

SNP blasted for ‘unforgivable waste’ after failing to spend staggering £134m of EU cash

“The SNP has been accused of “unforgivable waste” after experts confirmed the loss of at least £134million of funding because ministers failed to spend it. The SNP had denied reports the Scottish Government was set to hand back £450million to Brussels, allocated before Brexit to boost the economy or reduce inequality. It was claimed that Scotland would lose a far higher proportion than England, Wales and Northern Ireland would forfeit from the same pot… The impartial Scottish Parliament Information Centre found that £134.2million had already been wiped from the value of Scotland’s EU structural funds because spending targets set by the European Commission were missed.” – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Craig Hoy MSP’s column: In Scotland, it’s the Conservatives leading the charge against the Nationalists’ disastrous rule

Former top British judges resign from Hong Kong court amid China crackdown

“Two of Britain’s most high-profile former judges have resigned from Hong Kong’s top court as China continues its years-long crackdown on political dissent in the territory. Lord Jonathan Sumption and Lord Lawrence Collins, both former UK Supreme Court judges, told the Financial Times they had resigned as non-permanent judges on the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal this week. Sumption, who was appointed to the court in 2019, said he would make a statement “in due course” about the reasons for his resignation, while Collins cited the “political situation”. “I have resigned from the Court of Final Appeal because of the political situation in Hong Kong, but I continue to have the fullest confidence in the Court and the total independence of its members,” Collins, who was first appointed to the court in 2011, said.” – FT

>Yesterday: Chloe Lo in Comment: Whoever wins the election, our next government must take a tougher line on China

News in Brief:

  • Gething is the new Yousaf – Henry Hill, UnHerd
  • The end of the Tory safe seat – Will Dunn, New Statesman
  • On Sunak’s maths, Tories will lift taxes by £3,000 per household – Fraser Nelson, The Spectator
  • Keir has much to fear – Fred de Fossard, The Critic
  • Political violence is no laughing matter – Theo Zenou and Sam Bidwell, CapX



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