Politics Summary: Thursday, January 21st

Tory cuts, Haiti earthquake survivors, the Government's anti-terrorism strategy, climate change and public and private sector pay.

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A key adviser to David Cameron has called for a £75 billion cut in public spending, reports today’s Independent. Former Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth, chair of Cameron’s policy commission on tax, told the Conservative Intelligence Conference: “It seems to me that we need to be able to reduce the overall level of public expenditure over a parliament by about £75bn [a year]. This is not going to be easy stuff.” Harriet Harman, meanwhile, will today pledge to make inequality a key dividing line with the Tories, reports the Guardian. Ahead of a report into inequality next week, the Labour Deputy Leader, in a speech to Compass, is to say the report will “clearly document for the first time how inequality is cumulative over an individual’s lifetime and is carried from one generation to the next”, adding that “persistent inequality of socio-economic status – of class – overarches the discrimination or disadvantage that can come from your gender, race or disability”.

The Times, Telegraph and Independent report the amazing story of three survivors pulled from the rubble eight days after the Haiti earthquake. The Indy reports that they were “covered in dust and bits of masonry, desperately thirsty but defiantly alive”. The Guardian reports another aftershock hitting the area – of magnitude 5.9 – and the dispatch of another 4,000 US troops to the region. According to the EU, “the quake killed an estimated 200,000 people, injured 250,000 and left 1.5 million homeless” adds the paper. And the Standard reports that British aid teams “won’t give up” in the hunt for survivors, adding that the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal had passed £31.5 million. To donate call 0370 6060 900 or visit tinyurl.com/haiti-appeal

Muslim police have attacked the Government’s anti-terrorism strategy, report the Telegraph and Standard. The National Association for Muslim Police claim Ministers are wrong to blame Islam for driving recent terror attacks, saying far-Right extremists were a more dangerous threat to national security. They say:

“Never before has a community been mapped in [such] a manner … it is frustrating to see this in a country that is a real pillar and example of freedom of expression and choice … our British system is a model for the world to follow, yet we have embarked on a journey that has put this very core of British values under real threat.”

The Guardian and Times report the admission by a leading UN scientist that claims the Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035 were false. Rajendra Pachauri said he “regrets the poor application of well-established IPCC procedures in this instance”, reports the Guardian, with the Times saying his admission is being exploited by climate deniers:

“The error is also now being exploited by climate sceptics, many of whom are convinced that stolen e-mail exchanges last year revealed a conspiracy to exaggerate the evidence supporting global warming.”

And the Telegraph reports a “record gap” between public and private sector pay. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that in the three months to November the average public sector worker was paid £23,660 a year – £2,132 more than the average pay of a private sector worker. This was a result of “nurses, teachers, civil servants and other public workers enjoying an average annual pay rise of 3.8 per cent in the three months to the end of November” said the Telegraph, adding that “private sector employees saw their salaries rise by just 0.2 per cent, as thousands of firms froze their workers’ pay as part of a desperate bid to cut costs in the recession”.

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