Politics Summary: Tuesday, November 10th

Gordon Brown is secretly attempting to persuade some of the City’s leading figures to speak out in support of his plan for a new international tax on banking. A micro tax of 0.005% on financial transactions could raise $30 billion on foreign exchange trades alone. Global revenues on all financial transactions could raise £420 billion including £45 billion for the UK. Hector Sants, the chief executive of the Financial Services Authority, says,”I personally remain unconvinced that all senior management have taken on board the need to change and operate in a genuinely different manner.” He also criticised Conservative regulatory restructuring plans. Meanwhile, a Populus poll for The Times finds that people are more optimistic about the economy than at any time for the past 18 month while October saw the best high street sales for seven years.

Lord Mandelson set out a broad remit for the review into higher education funding and student finance, to be led by Lord Browne of Madingley, the former BP chief executive. The review is “expected to take into account … affordability for students and their families during their studies and afterwards”, the “impact on public finances” and “value for money for the taxpayer”. The National Union of Students said at the weekend that the review risked becoming a “cosy stitch-up”, but welcomed the appointment of Rajay Naik, former chairman of the British Youth Council, to the inquiry. Wes Streeting, NUS president, said: “It is vitally important that this member is not sidetracked by business and university interests.”

There is an average salary gap of £15,245 between men and women among the UK’s 135,000 medics, according to a report by the British Medical Association. While part of the pay gap is due to age and experience, between 40% and 50% of the difference is caused by discrimination. After excluding these differences, female consultants typically earn £5,500 less than their male peers and female junior doctors’ pay is around £2,000 below that of their male counterparts.

Ten nuclear power stations are to be built in Britain at a cost of up to £50 billion. The Government wants to raise the proportion of Britain’s electricity generated from nuclear power from 13 per cent to 25 per cent by 2025. Ed Miliband, said nuclear power was essential to combat climate change and to ensure energy security for Britain in the decades ahead, describing it as a “proven, reliable source of low carbon energy”. He said the first new plants could be up and running by 2018. The Mail take a cost angle and suggest it will add £60 a year to energy bills. Ben Aycliffe at Greenpeace said: “You can’t justify building more nuclear power stations when there is no solution to radioactive waste and when international regulators are saying there are huge uncertainties surrounding the safety of designs.”

The Times are confused over David Miliband’s future. They alone suggest that a trip to Berlin signalled his interest in becoming EU foreign minister. But the BBC, FT, Guardian and Telegraph report that he will not take the job. Martin Schulz, head of the Social Democrats in the European Parliament, says, “Mr Miliband already told me some time ago he would not be standing.” Chris Bryant, the Europe minister, tells the FT: “We have a plan A and a plan A only, which is to bat for Tony Blair.”

And the rest:

  • The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency.
  • Fears BNP could come third in Glasgow North East byelection.
  • British forces will be able to hold suspected Afghan insurgents for longer than official Nato guidelines permit.
  • Plans to store information about every phone call, email and internet visit in the United Kingdom have in effect been abandoned by the Government.
  • Secret inquests which will bar bereaved families and the public from attending hearings into controversial deaths passed the Commons by eight votes last night.
  • Labour attacks The Sun in row over Brown misspelling name of dead soldier.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.