Firstly apologies I didn’t do this last night. It won’t happen again. Anyway today’s papers are mostly still following the fall-out from the CSR, with the majority focussing on the IFS report criticising the fairness of the budget.
The Guardian and The Telegraph lead with the IFS’ criticism of the fairness of the Comprehensive Spending Review. The Guardian says the IFS ‘flatly contradicts ’ Osborne’s claims that the budget is fair to the poor. For me, this is a little weak as a story. The ISF is a strong source but both stories are basically like a re-written press release of their findings. The Gurdian has a rather laborious quote from the IFS’ acting director Carl Emmerson (“the tax and benefit consolidation are, overall, being implemented in a regressive way”) and from Angela Eagle speaking in parliament, but there is no comment from the government and little real analysis. The Telegraph has even less that wasn’t in the IFS report.
The Times has an interesting interview with the chief executive of BAE systems which explains why the government couldn’t cut the aircraft carrier deal. The paper lays the majority of the blame at the door of Gordon Brown, suggesting that he signed an “unbreakable” deal, despite knowledge of the coming cuts. The in-depth knowledge of the contract between BAE and the previous government seems like a tip-off job, quite possibly by someone in No 10 trying to explain why they have announced such a seemingly ridiculous policy.
The Financial Times – “Cost of UK Debt Tumbles” – reports that the UK’s debt levels have dropped to the lowest rate in a generation. The story is a good news one for the government, as it suggests that the policy to increase private sector confidence by creating favourable conditions may just be working. While I have a slight problem with Merrill Lynch Global Research talking about economic confidence only 18 months after they nearly collapsed, the report is interesting.
The Independent – “Jobs for the boys” – also reports on the IFS report with the angle that Cameron and Clegg are setting out to defend the cuts.
If you only read one: The Times today