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Horses and other ceremonial trappings for the military are “money well spent” in a time of austerity, the Defence Secretary has said. Philip Hammond was defending the Ministry of Defence against an attack from the Chief Secretary to the ... Continue to article
Danny Alexander said that it was companies' responsibility to know who owned them when it came to tax. "I think that the progress we’re announcing today domestically about having our own register of beneficial ownership, so that companie... Continue to article
Lord Reid said if he was Prime Minister he would be "very cautious indeed" about arming any faction involved in the conflict in Syria. I think...that probably you assume, and some of your viewers do, that I would be a robust supporter of... Continue to article
David Cameron has said British intelligence agencies have “credible evidence” that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict. Speaking from the Downing Street Rose Garden, the Prime Minister welcomed the American... Continue to article
PM: "We believe that the scale of use(of chemical weapons) is sanctioned by the Assad regime..." #syria
Nick Clegg said the international community would leave president Assad in "absolutely no doubt" that he has no alternative but to enter into a political peace process. "We of course will work with president Obama and it will be the... Continue to article
Lord Williams said a Syrian peace deal centred around conference in Geneva looks less likely after the White House confirmed the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. “I think frankly it makes it more difficult. That may be one of... Continue to article
Danny Alexander said the Treasury had agreed a third of the planned £11.5bn savings for the 2015/16 financial year. “We’re well over a third, we’re around a third of the way there to the total, but of course discussions are continuing wi... Continue to article
Brooks Newmark said rebel fighters from moderate groups in Syria were "flaking away" to better-armed Islamist militias. “It’s pretty much an asymmetrical war, with huge amount of the heavy weaponry on one side, with both the Russians and... Continue to article
John Baron said that the UK did not have to follow the US in engaging in military intervention in Syria. “This is why we need to get everybody round the table and this is why we shouldn’t be excluding key regional powers like Iran from t... Continue to article
Jack Straw said that Iranian presidential candidate Dr Hassan Rouhani was someone Britain could do business with. “I think we should wait for the results of the election. Mr Rouhani, Dr Rouhani is someone we can do business with. I got t... Continue to article
WORDS: JESS BOWIE 1 The Dark Lord One of Britain’s original ‘spin doctors’, Peter Mandelson soon became known as Labour’s Prince of Darkness. Appropriately, after his ennoblement in 2008, the moniker changed to the Dark Lord. Mandy... Continue to article
George Osborne and Danny Alexander this morning warned cabinet colleagues who have yet to agree their Spending Review settlement that they do not have long to come to a settlement. No 10 have said. "What this was was an opportunity for t... Continue to article
Danny Alexander said the Government had “got the balance right” on the deficit reduction plan, after the IMF warned austerity could be a “drag on growth” in the short term. “We’ve got the balance right in our overall approach to the econ... Continue to article
Danny Alexander said that the Coalition should use its influence in Europe to tackle tax avoidance rather than trying to repatriate powers. “We need to use our influence in Europe at the moment to deliver important priorities for the UK ... Continue to article
Prime minister David Cameron and French president Francois Hollande are expected to hold a joint press conference in Brussels (20.00) Labour party leader Ed Miliband speaks at the Google Big Tent event in Rickmansworth (09.00) Deputy ... Continue to article
Danny Alexander said he believed the Coalition would survive until the next general election. Asked if his expectation was that the Coalition would remain intact until 2015, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury replied: "Yes absolutely it... Continue to article
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury has doused claims an independent Scotland could remain in a currency union with the United Kingdom. Danny Alexander told the Scottish Affairs Committee that lessons from the eurozone suggested a curren... Continue to article
Foreign Office press release HRH Prince Harry and UK Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday kicked off a global tour promoting Britain as a world class destination for trade, tourism, investment and education as part of the GREAT Britain... Continue to article
Downing Street has defended David Cameron’s trip to the US, despite criticism that he will be missing Prime Minister’s Questions. The Prime Minister’s spokesman denied that Mr Cameron was deliberately trying to avoid Prime Minister’s Que... Continue to article
Danny Alexander has warned that all government departments have to take their “fair share” of the £11.5bn savings to be set out in the next spending review. The allocations are expected to be revealed in June, and ministers have been arg... Continue to article
A curious missive has been issued by the Lib Dems to their supporters which portrays the party’s top MPs as a boy band. No doubt aware that popular 90s popsters Five are in the middle of a nostalgia tour of the UK, the party's youth wing Li...
U.S. Economy Accelerates at 2.5% Rate in 1st Quarter Continue to article
Why the GOP needs to stop navel-gazing and embrace internationalism all over again. Continue to article
Labour press release Ed Balls MP, Labour's Shadow Chancellor, responding to US growth figures for the first quarter of 2013, said: "The USA and Britain have taken different economic approaches over the last three years. While President... Continue to article
US economy grows by 2.5% in first quarter of 2013, boosted by consumer spending, says Commerce Department
CIA Put Dead Bomber in Terrorist Database in 2011 Continue to article
Danny Alexander said the continuing sluggish growth in the economy proved the difficult environment which the UK was dealing with, and warned there was no “magic wand” to boost the economy. “We’re operating in a very tough environment, o... Continue to article
Downing Street has backed Danny Alexander over his comments on Britain's credit rating, saying what matters most for the Government is "having the right policies in place".
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury this morning hinted at the possibility of Britain losing its AAA status, claiming the credit rating was not the "be-all and end-all".
"What matters is have we got the right policy mix for the country to get people back into work, to support economic growth, to deal with the huge problems in our public finances?" he told the Today programme.
"The credit agencies reflect on those things and the ratings they give are a reflection of the credibility of that mix."
The Prime Minister’s spokesman supported Mr Alexander’s comments, insisting what mattered was that the Government was tackling the deficit.
“I think the point the Chief Secretary was making is that credit ratings agencies have a role to play, but what they do is that they make judgements on credit ratings," he said.
"What matters for the Government is having the right policies in place. Clearly, an important part of that is having a credible policy for reducing the deficit."
Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Rachel Reeves, said Mr Alexander's comments "suggest Ministers are worried about more bad news from the rating agencies".
"Instead of a change in rhetoric the country needs a change of course and a plan for jobs and growth," she added.
Danny Alexander is to clamp down on loopholes that allow civil servants to avoid paying the full rate of income tax.
An official investigation found that 2,000 senior civil servants earning more than £58,200 avoided paying the full rate of tax by being employed ‘off payroll’, though service companies or employment agencies rather than directly.
Details were revealed in a letter from Mr Alexander to the Chancellor George Osborne, seen by BBC Newsnight. Mr Alexander said: “The sheer scale of off-payroll engagements across government, and the length and size of these contracts, suggests that the scope for artificial tax minimisation may be greater than previously understood.
Mr Alexander is to force any official who has been employed for more than six months on more than £220 a day to become full staff members.
Ed Balls has blasted Wednesday's Budget as being "one of the most unpopular, unfair and flawed Budgets in decades".
The Shadow Chancellor added that the Budget was not just "bad politics but bad economics" but also a "missed opportunity".
His remarks come as Danny Alexander defended the Budget as one for "people who work hard, play by the rules and are under pressure".
In an interview with The Times, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury said he was "happy" with the decision to lower the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p, and added he he "absolutely no idea" how many Cabinet ministers would benefit from the change.
Mr Alexander said he was are some people "might react against" the move to freeze tax allowances for pensioners, but insisted the move was part of an overall "positive change" for the elderly in the UK.
Danny Alexander has unveiled tough new rules for Whitehall departments that break off-payroll rules.
As many as 3,000 civil servants are thought to minimise their tax bills by being employed via contracts with private firms.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury announced measures to curb the practice, which it is believed loses the country millions of pounds in revenue each year.
There will be heavy fines for those who do not comply with the new rules. Mr Alexander said it was important that "senior public sector staff pay and are seen to pay their full share of income tax".
Head of the Civil Service Sir Bob Kerslake said: "I believe it is completely inappropriate for any senior permanent position in the civil service to be held by a contractor instead of a civil servant paying tax in the ordinary way.
"These new measures are an important step in addressing the relatively small number of cases that breach this principle."
Government departments will have to find a further £16bn in cuts as the Treasury tries to keep spending down. In a speech to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander will warn of the need for greater austerity measures. He will say the cuts are: "another signal of our unwavering determination to deliver the fiscal consolidation we promised”.
The Health and Safety Executive has ruled to terminate contracts of two executives from the Office for Nuclear Regulation after it was discovered they were receiving payments through private companies rather than the staff payroll. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has written to his Cabinet colleagues to order a Whitehall-wide review to find out how many public officials were not paying tax at source.
15/06/2013 on Today, BBC Radio 4
14/06/2013 on BBC News
22/05/2013 on World at One, BBC Radio 4
22/05/2013 on BBC Radio 5Live
19/05/2013 on The Sunday Politics, BBC One
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