Politics Summary: Wednesday, July 21st

The Conservative-led Treasury Select Committee expressed fear that the austerity set out in the Budget could hurt the poor disproportionately, according to the Financial Times. Although the findings stopped short of challenging the government’s plans for more rapid deficit reduction, it raised concerns that Budget was less “progressive” than the chancellor had claimed. The report also reiterated concern over the newly created Office of Budget Responsibility: “It is unfortunate that the independence of the OBR has been called into question”.

The Guardian focuses on the reports finding that, “George Osborne’s austerity budget has increased the risk of Britain sliding back into recession and is unfair on the least well-off”. The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail both focus on the increased risk of a “double-dip” recession. The latter says, “The findings from the Tory-dominated committee are embarrassing for the Chancellor, who brushed aside warnings from Labour that the Budget would send us back into recession and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

The Guardian reports that that “Conservatives accused of U-turn on ‘death tax’ to care for elderly”. The paper outlines that, “Only months after waging a Tory poster campaign against the Labour plan, [Health Secretary, Andrew] Lansley established a new independent commission that will be free to examine compulsory funding of long-term care.” Lansley announced that the economist Andrew Dilnot would chair a commission on the funding of care and support that will report within a year. A Department of Health spokesman confirmed that the commission would be free to examine a variety of funding options: “We do not wish to constrain the commission from considering other options, such as compulsory schemes. It is important that the commission has the space to rigorously consider this complex social policy issue in full.” The Daily Telegraph‘s front page reports that “Elderly could still face ‘death tax’ to pay for care” while the Daily Mirror calls the move a “major U-turn”. Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, said: “Today’s announcement is yet another example of the Tories changing their tune only weeks after the election.”

The Independent’s front page focuses on former MI5 chief, Eliza Manningham-Buller’s evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry into Iraq. She revealed that there was such a surge of warnings of home-grown terrorist threats after the invasion of Iraq that MI5 asked for – and got – a 100 per cent increase in its budget. She told the inquiry: “Our involvement in Iraq radicalised, for want of a better word, a whole generation of young people – a few among a generation – who saw our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as being an attack on Islam.” The paper says her words are in “stark contrast” to the claim that Tony Blair made in front of the same inquiry on 29 January: “If I am asked whether I believe we are safer, more secure, that Iraq is better, that our own security is better, with Saddam and his two sons out of office and out of power, I believe indeed we are.” The Guardian calls her testimony “devastating”.

The FT‘s front page reports that the Ministry of Defence “looks at cutting 30,000 troops”. The paper reports that military planners are examining cutting Britain’s land forces from eight to five brigades, in a radical restructuring option that would hand the army operational command of the Royal Marines. The paper calls the proposal “an extreme scenario that underlines how a fierce budget squeeze is shaping the defence review.” The review is said to “already [be] raising tensions between the services.” A senior army figure told the paper, “We’re all quite clear that Afghanistan makes early reductions in numbers impossible”. Malcolm Chalmers of the Royal United Services Institute said that under a 20 per cent budget reduction, the “cuts in capability have to be very serious indeed and they would have to include sharp reductions in total service personnel, including in the army.” Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that, “Up to one in two of the staff at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are to be made redundant as part of the cuts programme submitted to the Treasury by the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt.”

All the papers cover David Cameron’s meetings and press conference with President Barack Obama. The FT’s front page says “Cameron shields BP over Lockerbie” while the Guardian says, “Cameron tells Obama he will release Lockerbie files”. But Mr Cameron rejected calls made by many US senators for a fresh public inquiry. He argued an inquiry had already been held by the Scottish parliament, and there was no point holding an inquiry when he said it was known the decision was wrong. “I don’t currently think that another government inquiry is the right way to go, frankly. I don’t need an inquiry to tell me what I already know, which is that it was a bad decision.” The Prime Minister said he was in “violent agreement” with President Obama over the wrongfulness of granting any compassion to a man who had shown none to his victims, a phrase picked up on The Times’ front page. The Daily Telegraph covers the same story but asks, “On first name terms, but will it be a special relationship?” The Daily Mail takes a different angle outlining “Obama’s ray of hope for Gary” – a reference to the plight of Gary McKinnon, the British Asperger’s sufferer who the US want extradited on hacking charges.

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10 Responses to “Politics Summary: Wednesday, July 21st”

  1. yorkierosie

    RT @leftfootfwd: Politics Summary – Tory-led Treasury Cttee: Budget risks "double-dip" & hits poor hardest; Tory u-turn on 'death tax' http://bit.ly/9h2yzO

  2. Andy Sutherland

    RT @leftfootfwd: Politics Summary – Tory-led Treasury Cttee: Budget risks "double-dip" & hits poor hardest; Tory u-turn on 'death tax' http://bit.ly/9h2yzO

  3. Simon

    Equating self-confessed hacker McKinnon with the framed Libyan Magrahi is shocking. Magrahi was released to prevent him from testifying about Lockerbie. His release bought his silence, as required by the CIA. How Obama and Cameron can blather on about them as they do, with straight faces, is telling.

  4. Trakgalvis

    Politics Summary – Tory-led Treasury Cttee: Budget risks "double-dip" & hits poor hardest; Tory u-turn on 'death tax' http://bit.ly/9h2yzO v


    Politics Summary: Wednesday, July 21st | Left Foot Forward: The Conservative-led Treasury Select Committee express… http://bit.ly/cwhUnt


    Politics Summary: Wednesday, July 21st | Left Foot Forward: The Conservative-led Treasury Select Committee express… http://bit.ly/cwhUnt

  7. Mr. Sensible

    The fact that the Treasury Select Committee is saying what all of us have been saying should leave Osborne riggling with embarrasment.

    Elsewhere, it is reported in the Guardian that BP’s chief exec is to stand down, frankly, not a moment too soon given his mishandling of what has happened with the oil slick:

    It is clear I think that the decision to release the Lockerbie Bomber was the wrong one, however, I still think we need an inquiry to find out just what happened and how that decision was taken.

    The case of Garry Mckinnon is interesting. Something clearly needs to be investigated, but I hope that something can be sorted between the British and US Governments.

    And, Will, what do you make of the government confirming my worst fears and proposing to cut the list of the so called ‘Crown Juels?’

    What does this say about Jeremy Hunt’s commitment to the olimpic legacy? First they cut free swimming, then they cut the improvement of sports facilities under BSF, and now this. It is OK the Sports’ Governing Bodies saying they need to invest in the Grass Routes, but if you’re not getting people watching it, there’s a risk you don’t get the participation, and that therefore becomes pointless. Do you agree with me that this is another example of Hunt dancing to Newscorp’s Tune?

    Elsewhere, the Guardian asks whether in fact councils could be the winners from the reform of the NHS.

    I am in favour of a bigger role for councils, but this NHS shakeup is not something I support.

    And, the Guardian’s Editorial seems to say why we should keep the Sensus, presumably after the government looked at scrapping it:

  8. winston k moss

    RT @leftfootfwd: Politics Summary – Tory-led Treasury Cttee: Budget risks "double-dip" & hits poor hardest; Tory u-turn on 'death tax' http://bit.ly/9h2yzO

  9. Robert

    The world is changing, mainly from two of New labours top men Blair who’s only aim was the making of money, and brown who just wanted to be a leader of a party, even though he knew he was rubbish, now we have a Tory government in power who even I will vote to keep in, and I’m the poor that will be affected, I would never ever vote Labour after this shower.

  10. Malcolm Evison

    Politics Summary: Wednesday, July 21st | Left Foot Forward: http://bit.ly/bPpDve via @addthis

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