Monday at Conservative conference 2012: As it happened

Key Points

  • Chancellor George Osborne said he wanted to find an extra £10bn in benefit cuts
  • The chancellor unveiled a plan for workers to give up a string of employment rights in return for shares in their employer
  • Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Eric Pickles adressed delegates in the afternoon

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  1.  
    0925:

    Hello and welcome to live coverage of Monday at the Conservative Party conference. Topping the bill today is Chancellor George Osborne, who is expected to speak just before noon.

     
  2.  
    0927:

    Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, Chancellor George Osborne said that the government was looking at whether there should be a limit to the number of children in a family that should be supported on benefits.

     
  3.  
    0929:

    The chancellor said the benefit cap would set a limit on how much money a household could receive, and the government wanted to change the incentives so that people would not have a "lifestyle option" of a life on benefits.

     
  4.  
    0931:

    Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Chancellor George Osborne said that £16bn more cuts must be found in the 2015-16 budget. He argued that welfare spending must be cut further because "you can't balance the budget on the wallets of the rich".

     
  5.  
    0934:

    Mayor of London Boris Johnson will be addressing to delegates on Tuesday afternoon, but he's already been out and about on the media circuit. On Pienaar's Politics on BBC Five Live, he refused to say whether or not David Cameron is a better prime minister than he could be. Mr Johnson said the matter was "unverifiable" but also said Mr Cameron was doing "a fantastic job".

     
  6.  
    0936:

    And writing in the Daily Telegraph today, Boris Johnson warned that middle income families are feeling "utterly and understandably ignored".

     
  7.  
    0938:

    New Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has opened this morning's conference session. She told delegates the vote against Scottish independence in any forthcoming referendum must be "emphatic" to provide stability for the UK.

     
  8.  
    0942:

    Tory activist website ConservativeHome has published a provocative article in its conference newspaper today. Editor Tim Montgomerie speculates what a future Boris Johnson cabinet might look like - complete with pictures. Montgomerie says: "My fantasy cabinet is built around the party's greatest two assets, Boris Johnson and the 2010 Tory intake."

     
  9.  
    0946:

    The new Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers is addressing conference, vowing to end so-called "double jobbing" in the Northern Ireland Assembly. A number of assembly members, including First Minister Peter Robinson, are also Westminster MPs which has provoked criticism.

     
  10.  
    0950:

    Ahead of George Osborne's speech, the Sun's Tom Newton-Dunn tweets: Osborne must find a sympathetic tone when talking benefits cuts, no matter how good policy is - he is personification of nasty party.

     
  11.  
    0955:

    BBC Five Live are hosting a live debate at 10:00 from Birmingham where Conservative MPs will face questions from 200 voters.

     
  12.  
    0958: James Landale Deputy Political Editor, BBC News

    Before a tide of Boris mania sweeps through Birmingham, can I commit a small blasphemy? Can I proffer a modest counter-thesis to check the adoration of the mayor, a pause before we lay down palms as the anointed one enters the conference city? My heresy is simple. Is it just possible, to paraphrase Monty Python, that Boris Johnson is not a blond messiah; he is just a very naughty boy? See more on my blog here.

     
  13.  
    1003:

    Scotland Office Minister David Mundell has told conference there is a "democratic deficit" in the House of Commons in the case of matters that affect England only. Mr Mundell was answering a question on the so-called "West Lothian question". At present, Scottish and Welsh MPs can vote in the Commons on matters which affect England only, while England's MPs have no say on matters which are devolved to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.

     
  14.  
    1005:

    Scotland Office Minister David Mundell says he doesn't "sense any support" for a separate English Parliament amongst voters in England.

     
  15.  
    1009:

    Andrew RT Davies, Conservative leader in the Welsh Assembly, has said that Wales was the home of Aneurin Bevan, the Labour minister who founded the NHS, yet it is the only part of the UK which is not protecting its health budget. Wales is "the home of the NHS" and Bevan must be "turning in his grave", he says.

     
  16.  
    1015:

    Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson warns that measures such as free prescriptions in Scotland come at a cost, giving the example of a reduction in the number of nurses and midwives. "Don't look with envy at what we have in Scotland," she tells conference.

     
  17.  
    1018:

    Welsh Secretary David Jones opens his speech by asking delegates to spare a thought for missing five-year-old April Jones, her family and those involved in searching for her. He praises the "tremendous community spirit" of those in her home town of Machynlleth in Powys.

     
  18.  
    1021:

    Welsh Secretary David Jones tells the hall: "No matter where we come from, no matter what our accents, we speak more loudly... when we speak with one voice as part of one strong United Kingdom."

     
  19.  
    1023:

    Wales has become "progressively poorer" under Labour, Welsh Secretary David Jones says. Wales is currently the only part of the UK under Labour control. The party forms a minority administration there.

     
  20.  
    1026:

    Conservative MP Bill Cash tells Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Five Live he believes the actual debt is "much greater" than reported. He says it's actually over three trillion pounds. You can listen to the debate on the BBC's online radio player.

     
  21.  
    1027:

    In the hall, Welsh Secretary David Jones calls for a new nuclear power station on Anglesea. The island's nuclear station Wylfa is due to end production by 2014 and Mr Jones says "we need Wylfa B" arguing that it is important for the local economy.

     
  22.  
    1030:

    That's the end of the "UK in Action" session and conference has adjourned for a short break. Coming up is a session on the economy with a speech by Chancellor George Osborne, following an address by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

     
  23.  
    1035:

    From the BBC's Brian Wheeler in Birmingham: It was standing room only in many fringe meetings on Sunday evening. This was the queue to get into ConservativeHome's Iain Duncan Smith event.

    Tory fringe meeting queue
     
  24.  
    1038:

    There's a first extract from a new biography of George Osborne in the Daily Mail today. Biographer Janan Ganesh writes than in 1988 the then "ferociously ambitious schoolboy" was "desperate" to listen to Nigel Lawson's budget. In just over an hour, he'll be the one delivering today's big speech.

     
  25.  
    1041:

    Asked about the pseudonym he used for his corporate work, Tory Party Chairman Grant Shapps says people shouldn't be "vilified" for having a past outside politics. He says he did it to keep his political and business profiles separate and it's not an unusual thing to do. He's a guest on the BBC Five Live conference debate.

     
  26.  
    1044: Sam Coates, The Times

    tweets: Its funny how speeches by Northern Ireland Secretaries could equally double up as 'save the union', anti Scottish independence SNP speeches

     
  27.  
    1048:

    From the BBC's Gavin Stamp, in Birmingham: Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham, told a Tory conference fringe meeting that local authorities should be "incentivised" to plant more trees in new housing developments. But Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, insisted the Conservatives were the natural party of conservation. See here for more.

     
  28.  
    1050:

    Labour MP Alan Whitehead has been having some fun at the expense of Tory Chairman Grant Shapps over his use of the pseudonym Michael Green for his corporate work. He tweets: Now that Grant Shapps is Tory chairman I finally understand the meaning of the slogan 'vote blue go Green'.

     
  29.  
    1053:

    Meanwhile, Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has responded to George Osborne's comments on the need to find £10bn in extra benefit cuts. He insists: "Nothing in detail has been agreed on further cuts or savings to welfare."

     
  30.  
    1055:

    More on possible tensions with the Conservative's coalition partners ahead of George Osborne's speech - The BBC's Norman Smith tweets: Lib Dem sources stressing no agreement on further £10 billion of welfare savings. "Its a negotiating position by the Chancellor."

     
  31.  
    1101:

    Conference has resumed with a session on the economy. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is due to speak in a few minutes' time, with Chancellor George Osborne taking the stage at around 1150.

     
  32.  
    1104:

    From the BBC's Adam Fleming in Birmingham: It was standing room only at the drinks reception held by the government of Gibraltar on Sunday, and at least six cabinet ministers in attendance, including the Foreign Secretary William Hague. But the ever-stylish backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg lead the fashion stakes. No blue conference lanyard for him, he wore his pass like a pocket watch. The Gibraltarians were keener to talk about how their territory leads the world in online gambling.

     
  33.  
    1110:

    New Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is speaking from the podium. "Standing here is just a little daunting," he says before a tape of his last conference address - in the 1980s in front of Margaret Thatcher - is played. He talks about his background working as a miner and says: "I am a One Nation Tory". This party gives people opportunity "whatever their background," he says.

     
  34.  
    1112:

    From the BBC's Adam Fleming in Birmingham: So there's an MP talking about his youth working in the Co-op against a backdrop of industrial revolution-era Rochdale. Is this the Labour Party conference? No it's a fringe event being hosted by the Co-op, to celebrate the UN's international year of the co-operative. And the MP is the Conservative Graham Evans of Weaver Vale in the North West of England. And for such a modest-sounding cause there was quite a lot of champagne!

     
  35.  
    1113: @Deepvoice80

    tweets: Patrick McLoughlin should speak more often #cpc12

     
  36.  
    1115:

    Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has referred to one of his first major challenges: the collapse of the bidding process to run the West Coast Main Line. "I came straight out and confronted it. We will put things right," he says. He promises "the greatest investment in our railways since the Victorians".

     
  37.  
    1116:
    Patrick McLoughlin Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin takes to the stage saying he's a "One Nation Tory"
     
  38.  
    1118: @_DaveTalbot

    tweets: Patrick McLoughlin truly is a dreadful public speaker. Back to the Whips Office, methinks #cpc12

     
  39.  
    1120:

    Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin tells conference he will be "cracking on with High Speed 2" to applause from party members. He argues: "We cannot afford not to build it."

     
  40.  
    1121: Ann Treneman, The Times

    tweets: It is impossible not to warm to Patrick McLoughlin - he may be quiet but I suspect he can get things done (truly rare in politics)

     
  41.  
    1122:
    Michael Gove applauds Education Secretary Michael Gove enjoys the video of Patrick McLoughlin's 1980s conference appearance
     
  42.  
    1124:

    Planned increases in rail fares will be cut by 2%, for 2014 as well as 2013, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announces. In August it emerged that season tickets in England would go up by 6.2% next January. In Scotland they are due to rise by 4.2%.

     
  43.  
    1125:

    There will be an extra £170m to deal with 57 "pinch points" on the roads including widening the A45 and work on the A120 to improve traffic flow to Stansted airport, Transport Secretary Patick McLoughlin announces.

     
  44.  
    1127:

    Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, speaking about proposals on airport expansion, said: "Everyone I seem to meet has their own individual plans or ideas." The government has asked economist Sir Howard Davies to examine future capacity options. Although he will report interim findings next year, his full report is not due before the next election - due in 2015.

     
  45.  
    1129: @S_eastwood

    tweets: Patrick McLoughlin transport sec says hs2 will benefit everyone as Scotland 2 London in 3 hrs. links to ne 2. What about east anglia?

     
  46.  
    1130:

    Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin praises George Osborne as an "outstanding" chancellor and colleague. "A chancellor who works with the prime minister, not against him. This is a team that is working together," he says.

     
  47.  
    1132:

    Conservative MP Amber Rudd draws applause by describing fellow Tory Michael Fallon - recently appointed as a business minister - as "the real business secretary". A little dig at the department's actual head, Liberal Democrat Vince Cable.

     
  48.  
    1134:

    Business Secretary Vince Cable has also been the butt of a joke by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, who has delivered a warning to Liberal Democrats seeking cheaper alternatives to Trident. He said: "I have heard a rumour about where their thinking is going... threatening to launch Vince Cable at our enemies is not going to be the solution. He may be cheap, but a deterrent has got to be effective as well."

     
  49.  
    1138: @davidtorrance

    tweets: Can't help feeling anyone listening to "The UK in Action" #cpc12 session with an open mind wd have left supporting indy for Scotland & Wales

     
  50.  
    1140:

    Business minister Michael Fallon is chairing a discussion with business leaders. One of them is Waitrose managing director Mark Price, who says he is "cautiously optimistic" about the state of the economy.

     
  51.  
    1142:

    Conservative eurosceptic Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, is not impressed with David Cameron's latest comments on Europe. He tweets: No one believes a word the PM says on Europe anymore. It is always jam tomorrow, posture politics and very cynical.

     
  52.  
    1144: @James_BG, Editor of BusinessGreen.com

    tweets: Good to see National Grid boss urging #cpc12 to get the Energy Bill passed. Biz leaders on panel all calling for greater consistency.

     
  53.  
    1146: @LDTownson

    tweets: Really enjoying this panel from Waitrose, Wates and The National Grid at #CPC12 - I'm nodding along and saying YES! an absurd amount

     
  54.  
    1148:

    The BBC's Vicki Young reports that the £10bn of welfare cuts which Chancellor George Osborne has been talking about would take place over two years from 2015-17. At the Lib Dem conference Nick Clegg said he wouldn't agree to £10bn of welfare cuts in 2015-16, which, she points out, he is not being asked to do. It is more likely that there would be around £6bn in welfare cuts in the first year from 2015.

     
  55.  
    1151:

    Paul Deighton, the former chief executive officer of London 2012, has taken the stage. He describes the Olympics as "a global event, delivered by Britain, that the world is still talking about". As Lord Deighton, he is due to become an unpaid Treasury minister from January.

     
  56.  
    1153:

    Paul Deighton introduces "my new boss" Chancellor George Osborne, who takes the stage to applause as David Cameron takes his seat in the audience.

     
  57.  
    1155:

    George Osborne praises his Treasury team, including Lib Dem Danny Alexander, and thanks them for a "great job".

     
  58.  
    1156:

    The chancellor recalls 1972, saying the Tories in office "buckled" in the face of economic pressures and "powerful unions" which, he said, resulted in inflation and the three day week. In 1981, the Conservatives did not buckle under similar pressure and they would not do so now, he says.

     
  59.  
    1157:
    Paul Deighton and George Osborne Paul Deighton welcomes Chancellor George Osborne to the stage
     
  60.  
    1158:

    On deficit reduction, Chancellor George Osborne tells conference: "We will finish the job that we started."

     
  61.  
    1159:

    Perhaps hoping to claim the term back from Ed Miliband, George Osborne describes the UK as "one nation working hard together". He adds: "We are still in this together."

     
  62.  
    1200: @BCCAdam, Director of Policy and External Affairs at the British Chambers of Commerce

    tweets: Osborne needs to set out a real vision for growth now - not just a justification for austerity. Big moment for him #con12 #cpc12

     
  63.  
    1201:

    George Osborne describes the 50p tax rate as "crippling". Arguing that it raised no money and harmed the economy, he claims that it in fact penalised those looking for work rather than the rich.

     
  64.  
    1202:

    George Osborne asks what is fair about a shift worker getting up in the morning and looking at the closed curtains of a neighbour who is "sleeping off a life on benefits".

     
  65.  
    1203: The BBC's Norman Smith

    tweets: Chancellor says country wd have been "all but ungovernable" if Govt had not warned of the austerity ahead #Cpc12

     
  66.  
    1204:
    George Osborne George Osborne says David Cameron is leading a "silent revolution"
     
  67.  
    1205:

    George Osborne says Labour leader Ed Miliband needs to do more than just repeat the words "one nation over and over again". He says Mr Miliband is trying to appeal to the centre ground but he is really "moving to the left".

     
  68.  
    1206:

    The chancellor describes David Cameron as "an outstanding prime minister of judgement and integrity" to much applause from the hall.

     
  69.  
    1208: Tom Bradby, political editor ITV News

    tweets: George Osborne is certainly taking no prisoners in this speech.

     
  70.  
    1209:

    The chancellor hails "the most radical and reforming period of government" for a generation. It may have been necessary to go into coalition, he says, but the Conservatives "would rather confront the challenges and dilemmas of government than bask in the irrelevance of opposition".

     
  71.  
    1211:

    Chancellor George Osborne says that the deficit is higher today than it was "when a British government went begging to the IMF in the 1970s" but, because of the government's actions, he can go to the IMF representing a country "that is part of the solution not part of the problem".

     
  72.  
    1213:

    George Osborne says he is "cutting the size of government faster than anyone in modern times". Public spending would, he said, reduce from nearly 50% of national income to around 40% over five years.

     
  73.  
    1215:

    George Osborne pours cold water on Liberal Democrat proposals as he rules out "a new tax on people's homes". It might be labelled a "mansion tax" he says, "but once the taxman has his foot in the door" more and more homes could be designated as mansions.

     
  74.  
    1217: The BBC's Hugh Pym

    tweets: Chancellor says problem not that working people pay too little tax, but govt spends too much of their money

     
  75.  
    1219:

    The chancellor reaffirms his belief that 80% of deficit reduction should come from reduced public spending, yet insists that public services have improved at the same time. "We are destroying the left-wing myth that the success of a public service could be judged by how many pounds are spent on it," he says.

     
  76.  
    1220: The BBC's Norman Smith

    tweets: Osborne says party of home ownership will have no truck with a mansion tax cpc12

     
  77.  
    1221:

    George Osborne says the government cannot end up in a position of having to make cuts in areas such as schools "because it couldn't summon the political will to tackle welfare".

     
  78.  
    1222:

    On international development, Chancellor George Osborne argues that "free enterprise is lifting more people out of poverty than all the government aid programmes put together".

     
  79.  
    1224: The BBC's Norman Smith

    tweets: Osborne says western economies being outworked and outsmarted by developing nations. Sink or swim time for the west #cpc12

     
  80.  
    1225:

    George Osborne announces a "radical change in employment law" and thanks venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft who advised the government, to slightly hesitant applause. The chancellor announces "a voluntary, three-way deal" in which employees can take a share in a business in return for giving up some protections such as unfair dismissal rights. The government would ensure no capital gains tax on the "new employee-owners". The chancellor proclaims: "Workers of the world unite!"

     
  81.  
    1227: The Independent's John Rentoul

    tweets: Osborne must have left it to Cameron to announce the new taxes on the rich.

     
  82.  
    1228: Stuart Fox, Nottingham

    emails: It seems a little odd to here Mr Osborne tell us "we're all in this together" once again while preparing to announce another wave of welfare cuts. It looks like the poorest in our society are going to pay the price for the government's failure to keep their promise and balance the books.

     
  83.  
    1229:

    George Osborne says that "it isn't too much to say" that the future of the UK economy, even the future of Europe, is in question like never before. "When we make the hard decisions we do not make them alone because we have the British people at our side. Together we can deliver," he says as the audience rises to its feet to applaud.

     
  84.  
    1231:

    And that's it. George Osborne has finished his speech and David Cameron is first to his feet to applaud him. The rest of the hall follows with a standing ovation.

     
  85.  
    1233:

    With the chancellor's speech over, conference adjourns for lunch. The afternoon session will include speeches from Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

     
  86.  
    1234:
    William Hague and Michael Gove applauding Michael Gove and William Hague show their appreciation as George Osborne concludes his speech
     
  87.  
    1236:

    The Mail's Tim Shipman tweets: George is playing bad cop so Cameron can do good cop on Wednesday. Expect a return to let sunshine win the day

     
  88.  
    1239:

    The BBC's Norman Smith says Mr Osborne was trying to level with the British public about the economic challenges ahead. The chancellor hopes he will gain plaudits and kudos from telling it straight on welfare cuts, and there is also a view that benefit cuts play well with the "striving classes", he adds.

     
  89.  
    1241: Patrick Wintour, The Guardian

    tweets: Workers of the World Unite _ you have nothing to lose but your employment rights

     
  90.  
    1245:

    Speaking to BBC News, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin says the chancellor was "speaking it like it is, not the illusion we heard last week (at the Labour Party conference)".

     
  91.  
    1247: John Baker, Milton Keynes

    emails: All too often, people suggest that those claiming benefits are "poor". The poor are those who struggle in low paid jobs, paying tax on almost everything, to support the millions who don't believe work is for them.

     
  92.  
    1250:

    From the BBC's Paul Rowley: George Osborne has sought to trump Ed Miliband after the Labour leader borrowed a phrase from the Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli at his party conference last week, rebranding his party One Nation Labour. In announcing proposals for employee share ownership, the chancellor told the Tory Party conference: "Workers of the World Unite", a phrase attributed to Karl Marx.

     
  93.  
    1252:

    The chancellor used his speech to make a virtue of "being straight" with people before the election. He said: "We took the risk few political parties anywhere in the world are prepared to take before an election. Quite simply, we told people the truth about the hard road ahead. Some say we paid a price for that. But of this I am sure: Our country would have been all-but ungovernable if we had not been straight with the public before asking them to cast their vote."

     
  94.  
    1254: Huw Margetts, London

    email: Happy to hear of extra cuts to welfare - while I'm hard pressed like significant numbers of others, I don't feel it is the responsibility of those who have already succeeded to prop me up. Support of government should be for those who are in genuine need, who can't help themselves.

     
  95.  
    1258:

    On scrapping the 50p tax rate, Mr Osborne said it was "a completely phoney conception of fairness" to "stick with a tax rate you know raises no money". He said: "Just as we should never balance the budget on the backs of the poor, so it's an economic delusion to think you can balance it only on the wallets of the rich."

     
  96.  
    1301:

    The chancellor was full of praise for David Cameron in his speech: "He is an outstanding prime minister of judgement and integrity. But more than that, he is leading a government of change; of profound, long-lasting change. Beneath the sound and fury of the daily debate a silent revolution is taking place. Some of the biggest issues in British politics, so big people thought them too controversial to fix, we have been prepared to tackle."

     
  97.  
    1304:

    Slapping down the Lib Dem idea of a "mansion tax", Mr Osborne said: "It would be sold as a mansion tax. But once the tax inspector had his foot in the door you'd soon find most homes in the country labelled a "mansion". Homes people have worked hard to afford and already paid taxes on. It's not a mansion tax it's a homes tax and this party of home ownership will have no truck with it."

     
  98.  
    1305: Paul Waugh, Politics Home

    tweets: Treasury source re employee owners forfeiting worker rights: "Vince is totally signed up to this. This is Coalition policy." #sonofbeecroft

     
  99.  
    1306:

    Education Secretary Michael Gove hails Mr Osborne's "brilliant speech". He says: "I thought he was very clear and authoritative and compassionate. I thought he outlined the way in which the decisions we have already taken are laying the foundations for future prosperity, and the challenges which are being felt through Britain that are being met by this government."

     
  100.  
    1308:

    More of the chancellor's cabinet colleagues give their reaction to his speech. Prime Minister David Cameron tells Tory activists: "Great speech, that". Foreign Secretary William Hague says: "It was a fantastic speech. Very, very clear, as always."

     
  101.  
    1311:

    The Institute of Directors praises Mr Osborne's "innovative" plans on employee ownership: "This scheme has the potential to reduce the employment law burden on companies and make employees better off at the same time. The key to the success of the idea will be in encouraging employers and workers to make use of it."

     
  102.  
    1313: Richard, Midlands

    emails: Several have commented supporting the benefits cut, saying they should only be for those in need. With and average of 400,000 vacancies and an average of 2.5 million unemployed, do they really not comprehend that there are simply not enough jobs? How many times do they need telling before that harsh reality sinks in? Or do they just enjoy shouting 'Get a job' out of the window of their Mercedes, failing to understand the irony?

     
  103.  
    1317:

    BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson tells The World at One that although there were few policy announcements in the chancellor's speech, there was a guide to how the next few years of politics will be - with Mr Osborne sticking to his plan to reduce the deficit through a balance of 80% of spending cuts and 20% in tax rises.

     
  104.  
    1318:

    Channel 4 News's economics editor Faisal Islam tweets: All those labour rights given up for as little as £2k in (worthless?) shares. It's backdoor Beecroft. Rather cunning manoeuvre from Osborne.

     
  105.  
    1320:

    Paul Johnson from the Insititute for Fiscal Studies tells the World at One that taking benefits from families with children is a "difficult dilemma". If you target families with children it's the children who suffer, but the benefits can provide an incentive for people to have children. It's an "incredibly tough choice to make", he says.

     
  106.  
    1322:

    Some more detail on the chancellor's "shares for rights" plan. The Treasury says: "Employees will be given between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares that are exempt from capital gains tax. In exchange, they will give up their UK rights on unfair dismissal, redundancy, and the right to request flexible working and time off for training, and will be required to provide 16 weeks' notice of a firm date of return from maternity leave, instead of the usual eight."

     
  107.  
    1323: Ben, London

    emails: I think that it is revolting that it has taken so long to consider making such a cut to benefits. We have already made huge cuts to the NHS, the police and the military. We have exceptional people that have defended our country that are unwillingly joining the masses that are on benefits and therefore making the problem worse. If it carries on with cuts being made to our services and not to benefits, it sounds like the emphasis from the government is you're better off not working, because they would rather look after the jobless for votes, rather than look after the people that look after us.

     
  108.  
    1325:

    MP Stephen Williams, who sits on the Lib Dem Treasury policy committee, tells the World at One he is in favour of welfare reform as long as its starting point is not "bridging the yawning gap" in the public finances. In ruling out a mansion tax, George Osborne has made it hard to see what kind of "effective" wealth taxes he is going to come forward with, Mr Williams says.

     
  109.  
    1327: Tom Lake, Wokingham

    emails: People seem to believe that those subject to the welfare cuts will be 'paying for the rich.' Surely they aren't actually paying a penny themselves - they are simply taking less from hard working taxpayers.

     
  110.  
    1329: @anarchowoody

    tweets: What happened to Tory #makeworkpay policy? I'm worse off with a part time job than on the dole coz I lose housing benefits #cpc12 #nastytory

     
  111.  
    1330:

    Labour's reaction to George Osborne's speech is in. Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves says: "George Osborne's speech shows he is in complete denial about the failure of his plan. His defensive speech didn't once mention that his policies have seen a double-dip recession, 1m young people out of work and, as a result, the deficit going up by 22% so far this year. And he failed to mention growth or set out any policies to deliver the jobs and growth we need to get the deficit down."

     
  112.  
    1331:

    TUC general secretary Brendan Barber isn't impressed by Mr Osborne: "We deplore any attack on maternity provision or protection against unfair dismissal. But these complex proposals do not look as if they will have very much impact, as few small businesses will want to tie themselves up in the tangle of red tape necessary to trigger these exemptions."

     
  113.  
    1337:

    Friends of the Earth respond to the chancellor's speech. They're not happy about "generous shale gas tax breaks". Policy and Campaigns director Craig Bennett says: "The green economy is one of the fastest and only growing parts of the overall economy and with government support it could create thousands of jobs and business opportunities... George Osborne is looking increasingly incapable of dealing with the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century."

     
  114.  
    @Dominic_AJ

    tweets: Has never been one for cutting benefits at the lower end, however I am really liking George Osborne's latest ideas. #cpc12

     
  115.  
    @farahgraph

    tweets: I challenge George Osborne to spend a month living in a poor area on a low income with a family to feed and bills to pay. Live in our world.

     
  116.  
    1340:

    Rhian Beynon, head of policy and campaigns at the charity Family Action says the chancellor is "scraping the barrel for cuts that do not make good economic sense". Taking away housing benefit from the under-25s "will make it even more difficult for hard pressed young people to find employment and move on", she says. "It is not the answer."

     
  117.  
    BBC News website reader, Surrey

    emails: I work and my husband is currently looking for work having re-trained. We spent our savings to do this. I agree that people on benefits should be encouraged to get out to work - it would be nice if there were the jobs to do it!

     
  118.  
    @10anta

    tweets: I think Osborne's got a point - why should the low paid fund privileges, for those benefits, that they cannot afford for themselves? #CPC12

     
  119.  

    The BBC's Vicki Young tweets: Big turnout at Coalition for Marriage rally at Tory Conference. Cheers as speaker calls on Cameron to leave marriage alone.

     
  120.  

    The BBC's Vicki Young tweets from the Coalition for Marriage rally that Conservative MP David Burrowes told the audience that he received death threats because he argued against gay marriage.

     
  121.  
    Jack, London

    emails: Finally, politicians getting tough on benefits. I have a modest salary and work long hours to support my family, and there is nothing worse than seeing families with lots of children, not working and getting handout after handout from the taxpayer.

     
  122.  
    1350:

    BBC Political reporter Brian Wheeler, Birmingham: Feelings running high at coalition for marriage fringe. Carey says "same sex relationships are not the same as heterosexual relationships". This goes down very well with the 1,000 activists in BirminghamTown Hall. He says it is being driven by the desire to make the Tory party look modern. Marriage between a man and a woman is "fundamental" to society, he adds.

     
  123.  
    @BenLyons1

    tweets: In Osborne's speech the word "tax" is used 36 times. Jobs are mentioned four times. Recovery once. Growth not at all. #centreground #cpc12

     
  124.  
    Gary O'Donoghue Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: [Ken] Clarke says some euro sceptics in Tory party are "extreme rightwing nationalists"

     
  125.  
    1400:

    The BBC's Vicki Young tweets: Widdecombe gets standing ovation as she declares this is not an anti gay rally it's about defining marriage.

     
  126.  
    1405:
    Protestors in Birmingham Protestors gathered outside the coalition for marriage event at Birmingham Town Hall
     
  127.  
    Gary O'Donoghue Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: [Ken] Clarke: "I can't ever see Britain joining the euro"

     
  128.  
    1410:

    A detailed response to the proposals in George Osborne's speech from the CBI. Director general John Cridland says allowing workers to give up their rights in exchange for company shares is a "niche idea and not relevant to all businesses". He's just told the BBC News Channel the proposal might suit high-tech start-up companies but is "not something that will appeal" to mainstream businesses.

     
  129.  
    @Chloeingram

    tweets: Glad to hear that George Osborne has said that he would vote in favour of gay marriage.

     
  130.  
    1423:

    Campbell Robb from the housing charity Shelter says the chancellor's plan to curb housing benefits for the under-25s would be a "massive blow to hundreds of thousands of young people across the country". He's told the BBC's Norman Smith that the move would "slash away a housing safety net" for young people who are either between jobs or looking for their first job.

     
  131.  
    1425:

    On George Osborne's "shares for rights" plan The BBC's business editor Robert Peston tweets: If owner-employee contracts become legal, I can't see any City firm hiring on any other basis

     
  132.  
    1430:

    SNP MSP Mark McDonald has described comments made by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson about free prescriptions as " tasteless and inaccurate". Ms Davidson told conference that free prescriptions in Scotland meant money was taken away from other parts of the health budget.

     
  133.  
    1433:

    The lunchtime fringe meetings are over and the afternoon session has begun. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith are due to speak during this session.

     
  134.  
    1436: Alan, BBC News website reader

    emails: Child benefit should be stopped. It is wrong for those who don't have children to subsidise those who have too many. Also bus passes for the elderly would be abolished as we can't afford it and winter fuel allowance put on the state pension so that it can be taxed for those who pay tax. Also there should be a wealth tax so that the wealthy in terms of assets contribute more to tax receipts.

     
  135.  
    1438:

    Staffordshire Moorlands MP, Karen Bradley opens the "Turning Communities Around" session and introduces Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude.

     
  136.  
    1441:

    Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude praises the "dedication, enthusiasm and... simple cheerfulness" of the volunteers who worked during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

     
  137.  
    1443: @kevinWard76

    tweets: Osborne's £1bn investment in #science is a start but it's still not enough. Should be at least ten times that… #cpc12

     
  138.  
    1446:

    Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude suggests that Ed Miliband has been spending time "learning how to do down his brother [and] learning how to talk human" as well as learning about Disraeli.

     
  139.  
    1449:

    Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude attacks the practice of union representatives in the civil service doing full-time union work while being paid by their employer. "In future there will be no full-time trade union representatives at the taxpayers' expense without the specific consent of the minister running the department," he says to applause.

     
  140.  
    1453:

    Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude says that so-called facility time "costs the taxpayer over £30m a year." He adds: "There are 250 people being paid as full time civil servants, even though they do absolutely nothing except trade union work."

     
  141.  
    1456:
    Francis Maude "Sickness". Francis Maude shows his scepticism about the reasons given for employee absences with a quote, unquote hand gesture
     
  142.  
    1459: Gary O'Donoghue Political correspondent, BBC News

    Cabinet minister without portfolio Ken Clarke has told a conference fringe meeting that "referenda are a funny way to run a country". When asked about hints that David Cameron could promise a referendum on Europe, Mr Clarke said people should be "cautious" when predicting such a promise in the next Tory manifesto.

     
  143.  
    1504:

    Conservative leaders of local authorities are addressing conference as part of the "Turning Communities Around" session. At the moment it's the turn of Councillor David Pugh, leader of Isle of Wight Council.

     
  144.  
    1508:

    Karen Bradley MP introduces the "grounded and real" Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who starts by talking about his "yellow chums" in government.

     
  145.  
    1510:

    Communities Secretary Eric Pickles says it still seems strange, after two and a half years, to be working with the Lib Dems in government. He says he sits next to Vince Cable in cabinet and lets conference in on a secret: "He's not as cheerful as he appears on the telly."

     
  146.  
    1514:

    Ahead of Mr Pickles' speech, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the Liberal Democrats at the Local Government Association, described plans for a council tax freeze as "nonsensical" and warned that they would mean deeper cuts in local services. Mr Vernon-Jackson, who leads Portsmouth City Council, said the proposal by the communities secretary "sucks".

     
  147.  
    1516: Gary O'Donoghue Political correspondent, BBC News

    On coalition, Ken Clarke told a fringe meeting the Lib Dems had been "well disciplined" and "remarkably good colleagues". He described Nick Clegg as a "One Nation Conservative" and told the meeting that in return, Mr Clegg referred to him as the "sixth liberal in the cabinet".

     
  148.  
    1518:

    Communities Secretary Eric Pickles tells conference: "Labour have opposed every single saving that we've made. All they propose is more borrowing and more taxes."

     
  149.  
    1519:
    Eric Pickles Eric Pickles tells delegates flying flags should be "a pleasure, not a chore".
     
  150.  
    1522: Stephanie Flanders Economics editor

    There was some politics in George Osborne's speech on Monday - as you would expect, at a party conference. But no policy fireworks. And he gave only the broadest sense of the tough decisions he would be taking in the months ahead. See more on my blog here.

     
  151.  
    1523:

    The communities secretary says that "we Brits are increasingly proud to fly flags" but alleges that Brussels has been trying to make it compulsory to fly the EU flag from public buildings. Mr Pickles, former leader of Bradford Council, adds that "we will fly flags, but of our own choosing" including "the great flag of Yorkshire and its white rose".

     
  152.  
    1525:

    Communities Secretary Eric Pickles may have been born and raised in Yorkshire but he now represents an Essex constituency. He jokes: "I have been transformed from a Yorkshire tyke to an Essex TOWIE."

     
  153.  
    1526: @newnhamlea1

    tweets: I must admit, I do like Eric Pickles, he has always seemed very down to earth.

     
  154.  
    1527:

    "The green belt plays a vital role in stopping urban sprawl and we will protect it," the communities secretary says to applause from the hall.

     
  155.  
    1528:

    Referring to the evictions of travellers at Dale Farm in Essex earlier this year, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles says there will be "new powers for councils to literally stop these caravans in their tracks". Councils would be empowered to issue fines to travellers who don't abide by planning laws.

     
  156.  
    1530:

    Conference rises to its feet to applaud Eric Pickles as he leaves the stage.

     
  157.  
    1533: @vickinash

    tweets: Not sure I understand Eric Pickles distinction between british rights and human rights. Surely Brits are human unless I'm missing something?

     
  158.  
    1534:

    Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is now on stage for this afternoon's final speech. He starts by thanking his ministerial team and all his civil servants.

     
  159.  
    1536: BBC News website reader

    emails: At last the nettle has been grasped. I have worked in Social Security for 30 years and grown sick of the never-ending abuse of the system - permitted by politicians with no backbone. No one on benefit should automatically get more just because they have a bigger family. Wage earners have to manage - claimants should too. It's time people took responsibility for themselves.

     
  160.  
    1538:

    Iain Duncan Smith says that Labour in government presided over not only public sector debt but "£1.5 trillion owed in personal debt - the size of the whole UK economy". He argues that "this culture of irresponsible spending had its roots in our welfare system".

     
  161.  
    1539:

    The work and pensions secretary says that "under Labour income inequality... was the largest in modern times".

     
  162.  
    1541:

    Continuing his attack on Labour, Iain Duncan Smith accuses them of presiding over "almost two million children... living in workless households", adding that too many jobs went to foreign migrants and Labour's benefit policies attacked marriage.

     
  163.  
    1543: The BBC's Norman Smith

    tweets: Most interesting #cpc12 fact so far??? Eric Pickles was given Trotsky's "The Revolution Betrayed" for his 14th birthday #iceaxe 2nd most interesting #cpc fact - Comrade Pickles has a picture of Che Guevara in his office #vladimirillyich

     
  164.  
    1545: @ianjsilvera

    tweets: But IDS, what about our soft justice system? #cpc12

     
  165.  
    1547:

    Iain Duncan Smith tells conference the government's work programme for the unemployed "will support some 3.3m claimants" and will encompass the private and voluntary sector. He insists that providers will be paid "not just to get people into work but paid to keep them in work".

     
  166.  
    1549:

    The work and pensions secretary says Labour and the unions are "out of touch" for opposing the coalition's work experience scheme for unemployed people. He derides critics' description of the scheme as "slave labour".

     
  167.  
    1551:

    Iain Duncan Smith promises fellow Conservatives that "gone are the days when doing nothing was a long-term option". He says: "The message is clear: you must work and if you won't work with us... you will lose your benefit."

     
  168.  
    1552:

    Fact checkers Full Fact tweet: Iain Duncan Smith claims 120,000 'troubled families' cost the taxpayer £9bn. We're not so sure: http://bit.ly/LRLxew

     
  169.  
    1554:

    Reaction is still coming in to George Osborne's announcement on employee ownership. John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, cautiously welcomed the plans: "We believe it will promote share ownership and loyalty to those companies which offer this initiative, with potential benefits following in terms of greater productivity. However, we suggest that the number of businesses who adopt the scheme may be small and we look forward to seeing the details."

     
  170.  
    1556:

    The work and pensions secretary describes the new universal credit as "the most extensive shake-up of the benefits system for years". He argues the system will "save billions" by reducing fraud and incorrect payments.

     
  171.  
    1557: Becky in the UK

    tweets: Its all ok Iain Duncan Smith saying if someone does not work they lose benefits but what if there are no jobs to be had?

     
  172.  
    1559: Ron Suley, Burntwood

    emails: With our current financial status, I cannot understand why no party has mentioned anything about one of the biggest drains on our financial resources: immigration.

     
  173.  
    1601:

    Iain Duncan Smith accuses the European Commission of seeking "to interfere in our welfare arrangements, telling us we will have to pay benefits to anyone from Europe who comes here - from day one". The work and pensions secretary promises to resist this, to applause from the hall: "Nation states run their own welfare and we are not prepared to change that."

     
  174.  
    1603:

    Continuing in the tradition of this year's conference season of recalling Conservatives past, Iain Duncan Smith says his is "the party of Wilberforce, of Shaftesbury and Churchill, oh yes, and Disraeli too" and is "the historic party of social reform".

     
  175.  
    1605:

    Mr Duncan Smith leaves the stage to applause and a standing ovation. And that's the end of Monday's session in the conference hall.

     
  176.  
    1609:

    The Children's Society has voiced concern about George Osborne's proposals for future benefit cuts. Chief executive Matthew Reed said: "The government has previously made a welcome commitment to protecting the most vulnerable in society, so the chancellor needs to level with the British public about what a further drastic cut in welfare payments will mean for children and families and who will be affected."

     
  177.  
    1611:

    The BBC's Norman Smith says Iain Duncan Smith's speech shows that for him welfare reform is not only about saving money - his aim is also to transform attitudes to welfare and end benefit dependency.

     
  178.  
    1612: John Baker in Milton Keynes

    emails: Just imagine how many long-term unemployed would have been helped if IDS's reforms had been exercised in the good times, under the last Labour government.

     
  179.  
    1614:

    The Employee Ownership Association has welcomed George's Osborne's "contribution" to the debate - with his plan for workers to give up a string of employment rights in return for shares in their employer - but adds: "Whilst growing employee ownership should be part of the UK's industrial policy, such growth does not require a dilution of the rights and working conditions of employees - indeed employee ownership often enhances them."

     
  180.  
    1616: Michael Savage, The Times

    tweets: Apparently, chants of "Boris" as he pulled up in Birmingham New St. Game on!

     
  181.  
    1619:
    Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey addresses opponents of gay marriage during a rally at Conservative conference
     
  182.  
    1625:

    Universities and businesses have given a qualified welcome to George Osborne's announcement of £200m of extra government funding for scientific research. The Russell Group of leading universities described it as a "very welcome shot in the arm" but the Royal Society of Chemistry said it "only goes part of the way to making up for" a previous freeze in the budget.

     
  183.  
    1629:

    A media scrum has greeted London Mayor Boris Johnson's arrival in Birmingham. Tonight he is addressing a fringe meeting entitled "Boris Johnson: Re-elected and Olympotastic".

     
  184.  
    1633:

    And from that media scrum, Channel 4 News' Michael Crick tweets: Songs of "There's only one Boris Johnson" and "You're so beautiful" from public as Johnson arrives at New Street.

     
  185.  
    1639: David Singleton, news editor Politics Home

    tweets: Just clocked new minister Simon Burns asking for Fifty Shades of Gray at Tory conference book stall. Gift for the wife? #cpc12

     
  186.  
    1644:

    Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell has hit back at George Osborne's charge that Tony Blair "didn't achieve anything" after a decade in power. On his blog, Mr Campbell lists peace in Northern Ireland, the minimum wage, the smoking ban and bringing the Olympics to London to name but a few.

     
  187.  
    1651:

    Here's a quick roundup of newspaper reaction to the day's events at conference. The Daily Telegraph leads on the chancellor's plan for employees to have the option to own tax-free shares in a business in return for surrendering certain employment protections: "Workers of the world unite... and give up your employment rights" its headline reads. The Guardian leads on the same story: "George Osborne unveils employee 'shares for rights' scheme."

     
  188.  
    1655:

    Over on the Daily Telegraph website Christopher Hope writes up his assessment of the chancellor's speech: "After last week's 'no notes' bravura performance by Ed Miliband, George Osborne's speech was most definitely a throwback to how party conference speeches used to be."

     
  189.  
    1658:

    The Daily Mail also focuses on the chancellor's speech: "George Osborne tries to reclaim One Nation tag for Tories with £10bn crackdown on jobless parents with large families." The Times leads with: "Workers to get shares for rights, says Osborne."

     
  190.  
    1701: Daniel Boffey, policy editor at the Observer

    tweets: Tory members, including John Redwood, started queuing for Boris's event 2 hours before the blond bombshell due to start his fringe.

     
  191.  
    1707:

    And that's a wrap for today. Live coverage will resume tomorrow when Home Secretary Theresa May, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Education Secretary Michael Gove and London Mayor Boris Johnson are all due to speak. In the meantime, all the latest conference news - including Boris Johnson's "rally" tonight - is available on the BBC News website.

     

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