Labour would increase bank levy to fund free childcare

 

Ed Balls: "We will increase for working families free childcare for three and four-year-olds"

Working parents of three and four-year-olds in England would get 25 hours of free childcare a week if Labour wins the next general election.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls plans to raise the banking levy by £800m a year to fund the move.

Three and four-year-olds currently receive 15 hours of free care a week, but Mr Balls wants to increase this.

Meanwhile, he has asked the government's spending watchdog to review his party's economic plans.

Money would be provided for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but it would be up to the governments there to decide whether to spend it in the same way as England.

Extra 10 hours

The extra 10 hours of free childcare proposed by Mr Balls would be made available to households where all parents are in work - whether single parents or couples.

At the Labour Party conference the shadow chancellor claimed families had lost £1,500 a year in childcare support under the current government.

In other Labour conference developments:

Ahead of his speech to the party faithful Mr Balls told the BBC the policy would be "a huge change and really welcome for families getting out to work".

Analysis

Call them what you like. The squeezed middle. The strivers. The politicians have a tricky task. They haven't made them better off. But they desperately want their votes.

These are the people who will decide the next election. And if the parties can't appeal to these increasingly sceptical section of the electorate direct - then they will try to appeal to them through their children.

So, last week, the Lib Dems tried to prove there is such a thing as a free lunch - school meals for infant school kids irrespective of their parents' income. Every little helps.

The Conservatives, too, tried to force down the cost of childcare by changing the adult/child ratio in nurseries - that is until their coalition partners stopped it.

Now Labour has entered the fray by pledging to increase free child care for working parents of three and four-year-olds. Note - working parents.

All the parties have to convince the "strivers" that they are not soft on welfare and that they will spend wisely. Hard pressed parents will also want reassurance that policy pledges aren't just for the conference season but are for real.

Hence Labour's offer to have all its tax and spending plans independently audited.

It's a measure of how far trust in politics has fallen amongst floating voters that it's been felt necessary to suggest this. So the next election won't simply be fought on the doorsteps - or in TV studios - but in the nurseries and school rooms too.

"That's a clear and costed commitment showing that even in tough times, when there's going to be less money around, we will make a difference," he added.

He said that "for the first time" parents would be able to work part-time "without having to worry about the cost of childcare".

"Childcare is a vital part of our economic infrastructure that, alongside family support and flexible working, should give parents the choice to stay at home with their children when they are very small and to balance work and family as they grow older.

"But for many families, high childcare costs mean that it doesn't even add up to go to work. So to make work pay for families, we must act."

Bank levy

In his speech in Brighton Mr Balls also claimed the government's banking levy had raised £1.6bn less than expected.

He said: "At a time when resources are tight and families are under pressure, that cannot be right. So I can announce today the next Labour government will increase the bank levy rate to raise an extra £800m a year."

In June 2010, Chancellor George Osborne announced that banks operating in the UK would be subject to a levy - an annual tax on their balance sheets - in a joint move between the UK, France and Germany.

The idea was to raise more than £8bn for the Treasury over four years, and Mr Osborne it was "fair and right" that banks should contribute to the economic recovery given that the financial crisis began in banking.

Labour's policy pledge comes shortly after the government announced that all pupils at infant schools in England will get free school lunches from next September.

Economic 'stunt'

Labour has already promised all parents of primary school children will be able to get "wraparound" childcare - meaning children can be left at school from 8am to 6pm - if it wins the 2015 election.

On Saturday, Ed Miliband said he would "legislate for a primary school guarantee that every school is an 8am to 6pm school", although party officials said schools could band together to offer the opening hours between them.

They said the scheme would be paid for from existing schools budgets, which Labour said had already been raised for the purpose by the last government.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Balls reiterated his pledge not to increase borrowing to fund day-to-day government spending.

But asked about so-called capital spending - on building and infrastructure projects - he said: "We won't make that decision until we see where we are on the economy in a year and a half's time."

In a separate move, Mr Balls said on Sunday that he had written to the Office for Budget Responsibility to ask it to review his pledges for the economy - although it would have to have its remit changed to be able to do so.

Andrew Tyrie, Conservative chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said such a review could "improve the quality of public debate" but Treasury minister Sajid Javid called Labour's request a "stunt".

 

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  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1421.

    Usual easy answers and giveaways when in opposition why would we let Balls get his hands on the countries checkbook again

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1420.

    I agree that we should all pull together as a society BUT why does the nanny state feel the need to throw cash at couples to have kids and then more money to bring them up. Sorry, bring up your own kids and for the millions like me who have none of the little perishers, send me an allowance for being single and grumpy! Dishing my money out to lazy breeders isn't the best use of tax payers' money.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1419.

    1382.OllyinLondon
    ---
    I am afraid your statistics are incorrect. You are only referring to
    income tax and that usually only makes up around 25% of the tax revenue to the Treasury.

    Please provide a link for your statistics.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1418.

    A promise of free childcare? Paid for how exactly?

    Compared to the Coalition's (well the Lib Dems really) already delivered cuts in tax for everyone by increasing tax thresholds, this just isn't enough to keep me voting Labour. Sorry, but the Lib Dems have done what Labour had 13 years to do and didn't.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1417.

    6 captainswing1 +228
    Also the demographics are bad enough without less children!
    Yes some will not contribute,but the lions share will,if you simply based having children on affordability many very responsible hard working couples could never contemplate having their own,if that's your position think through the short term costs to the state against the longer term gains & social mix!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1416.

    So this is the great Labour strategy for getting my vote and something that will turn the economy around - up the levy on Childcare. Fan-bloody-tastic. A sure winner.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1415.

    So where do you expect the new houses to be built then? more in the overcrowded south of England I suppose ......

    that's why we need HS2 to update the UK Infrastructure rail system that has been neglected for the past 30 years or so.

    Spread the wealth around !!

    jm

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1414.

    How many people would rather stay at home and bring up their own children rather than fob them off in someone else.

    The real problem is high cost of living and low wages meaning both parents have to work, they'll sell this as pro choice but its only pro-choosing to work.

    Treat the problem Ed not the symptom.

    Oh and good idea to finance it from the banking levy - so that's like free money is it?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1413.

    #1382: "The top 10% contribute 57% to the treasury. That is a ONS fact. The top 50% contribute 89% to the treasury."

    There's not much evidence that simple, verifiable facts like these have much impact on the prejudices of the left, is there? Labour & its supporters much prefer the "money grows on trees" approach where "the rich" can provide infinite funds for their social engineering schemes.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1412.

    Tax & Spend; Tax & Spend.

    This is a party making policy to buy votes... nothing more.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1411.

    #1400 - Bubblehead

    "Take from those who work and give to those that won't should be your mantra Mr Balls(up)"

    Which word out of 'working parents' is causing you problems?

    Maybe 'take from those who don't know what they're talking about' would be a more effective mantra?

  • rate this
    +39

    Comment number 1410.

    My parents worked all hours, in all kind of jobs - never claimed a penny.

    They made sure they could afford to feed me, clothe me and provide me with a roof before they had me.

    It's a shame today's young parents can't do the same. That they're only way to get the extra penny is to have the children first, then claim.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1409.

    If you're not going to put psychopaths and sociopaths in jail, by all means: tax them heavily for destroying the lives of the remaining 99%.
    But the rest of it seems a bit like: I'll see your "free school lunches", and raise you "free child care".

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1408.

    Sad to say it is all (Ed) Balls!!
    After the mess he contributed to, can you believe a word he says?

    No, thought not

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1407.

    1396 Aly
    I hope Labour carry on helping the low paid employed as well as the parents.The low paid have been hit the hardest by the conservatives
    Although it was the last labour government that canned the 10p tax rate and made the poorest pay 20%"

    And now they pay 0%. Labour have nothing to do with helping low paid people. Its highly paid people who are directly helping them by paying their taxes.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1406.

    1382. OllyinLondon
    The top 50% contribute 89% to the treasury. No one is stealing from the poor. Those who earn the most subsidise the poor.

    And where do you think this money that they "earn" comes from? Do you think, for example, that the millionaire founders of Wonga.com made those millions by altruism?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1405.

    The rich needs the poor to keep having children. Otherwise who will make them their money? Who will they have left to look down on? When the factory floors are empty are the boardroom members going to get their hands dirty? Not a chance. Most of them wouldn't have a clue how to do even the most basic jobs in their own company.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1404.

    As someone pointed out only children of working parents are eligible, so using the current 7.7% unemployment (not accounting for the fact many children do in fact still have 2 parents and only one need be eligible) that suggests £1.15 per child per hour rather than £1.06 it will actually be between the two. So still doesn't add up.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1403.

    1362.Unimpressed

    "It has nothing to do with being inhumane - it is about the fact that a lot of people who receive nothing"

    So the NHS, Education, Police/Fire service, Road/Railway network, Armed Forces, Libraries, Post Offices, Museums etc etc are according to the right whinge "nothing".

    Okaaaaaaaay.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1402.

    Nick says Ed has something big up his sleeve for his next speech. I hope its another apprentice scheme - like the labour team run a whelk stall for Lord Sugar, but loose a fortune and get fired. They did that one in the last series but there was a lot of back stabbing, anyway I think they should have another go, it would still be good experience. They don't have much else on the CV poor dears.

 

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  45.  
    @Kevin_Maguire Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror associate editor

    tweets: Oooop...Sinn Fein's Pat Doherty says he was approached by Tory MP asking if the party would take its seats. Look forward to new Con poster

     
  46.  
    15:36: Labour "completely out-played" over NHS The Independent

    The Independent on Sunday's chief political commentator John Rentoul says: "If the NHS is Labour's strongest issue in the election campaign, the party will need to do better than this."

    Commenting on the ongoing row over whether or not Ed Miliband spoke of "weaponising" the NHS, Mr Rentoul says the Labour leader "has played politics with the NHS and Cameron has played politics with Miliband's playing politics, and the Labour leader has been completely out-played".

     
  47.  
    15:33: Boris on a 'Brexit'

    London Mayor Boris Johnson continues in his Time magazine article on a theoretical British exit from the European Union: "I must be clear. I think there would be a pretty testy, scratchy period... [but] it wouldn't be disastrous." Mr Johnson also fails to rule out running in a US election (he holds dual citizenship), but he rejects any comparisons with Winston Churchill outright. "My resemblance to Churchill is as great as my resemblance to a three-toed sloth," he says.

     
  48.  
    15:29: Boris on a 'Brexit'
    Boris Johnson at the Conservative party conference

    London Mayor Boris Johnson has given an interview to Time magazine in which he offers a fairly positive prediction on what would happen if Britain left the European Union. "I think Brexit is possible ... [Britain] would very rapidly come to an alternative arrangement that protected our basic trading interests," he says.

     
  49.  
    @daily_politics BBC Daily Politics
    Fracking protesters

    tweets: Shale gas and #fracking plan hold-ups across the UK, reports @EllieJPrice in #bbcdp film from #Lancashire http://bbc.in/1ty7agN

     
  50.  
    15:11: Missing data Dominic Casciani Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

    BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani reports that the government so far thinks there was no "malicious intent" relating to the missing data, but one member of staff has been suspended. Concurrent investigations are being conducted by the Ministry of Justice and the Information Commissioner.

     
  51.  
    15:06: Miliband responds to Milburn's NHS attack
    Ed Miliband

    Ed Miliband has responded to criticism earlier this week of the party's NHS plans by the former Labour health secretary, Alan Milburn. Mr Milburn warned it would be a "fatal mistake" not to promise reform as well as extra funding.

    Mr Miliband said: "We're putting a very clear offer to the people of Britain on the National Health Service. Labour is the only party with a funded and credible plan to raise extra resources for the NHS for more doctors, nurses, midwives and care workers. It's a plan to invest in the NHS and to reform it as well, linking it up from home to hospital."

     
  52.  
    15:01: Missing data Danny Shaw Home affairs correspondent, BBC News
    Ministry of justice

    As we've been reporting, discs containing information from three of the UK's most sensitive inquiries have gone missing after being put in the post. The material relates to inquiries into the role of the police in the deaths of three members of the public - including Mark Duggan and Azelle Rodney. The Metropolitan Police - whose officers were involved in those cases - says it is taking the data breach "very seriously".

    The Met says it has "risk assessed" the material and taken "appropriate" steps, as well as offering its support to the Ministry of Justice investigation. But it is not conducting its own investigation.

     
  53.  
    @BBCDomC Dominic Casciani, BBC Home Affairs Correspondent

    tweets: Missing data story: Ministry of Justice won't say what's missing, where it was sent from and who to. No evidence so far it was malicious

    and

    tweets: Major investigation involving security-vetted lawyers. Officials won't say if missing info includes personal details of protected witnesses

     
  54.  
    14:46: 'Come to terms with failure' in Iraq House of Commons Parliament
    Rory Stewart

    Conservative MP Rory Stewart says a major factor in the continuing debate on the Iraq war is an inability "to come to terms with failure, our inability to come to terms with what went wrong in Iraq".

    The chairman of the Defence Select Committee argues that the debate "can't just be reduced to legality and post-war planning" but is about the UK's role in the world and understanding "our limits".

    In 2003, Rory Stewart, a former army officer, was appointed as the Coalition Provisional Authority's deputy governor of a province in southern Iraq.

     
  55.  
    @GuidoFawkes Guido Fawkes

    tweets: Boris TIME "I think Brexit is possible... [Britain] would very rapidly come to an alternative arrangement that protected our basic interests

     
  56.  
    14:36: Post-election scenarios
    Nick Clegg and David Cameron

    For the New Statesman's May2015.com site, Philip Cowley highlights four issues he feels are being misunderstood - or outright missed - in all the post-election forecasting being done.

     
  57.  
    14:30: 'Demand that report' House of Commons Parliament

    Pete Wishart rises to make his own speech in the Iraq Inquiry debate.

    "If anyone needs to know why this House was duped it is us, the parliamentarians," he argues.

    He says the wording of the backbench motion for debate today "should have demanded that report".

    The SNP MP adds that his vote against the Iraq invasion in 2003 was "the proudest vote of my 14 years in this House".

    Pete Wishart
     
  58.  
    PoliticsHome blog

    tweets: SNP MP Pete Wishart on Iraq: "I do believe this is going to go all the way to The Hague. This was an illegal war."

     
  59.  
    @RebeccaKeating Rebecca Keating, BBC parliamentary reporter

    tweets: . @Ed_Miliband tells the BBC @David_Cameron needs to "man up" and agree to televised election debates #GE2015

     
  60.  
    Labour and immigration The Daily Telegraph
    Ed Miliband and Nigel Farage

    After Labour MP and mayoral hopeful David Lammy attacked his own party's campaign leaflets for trying to "out-UKIP UKIP" on immigration, Telegraph columnist Dan Hodges has joined the debate, describing the leaflets as "an aberration" and accusing Ed Miliband of hypocrisy over immigration.

     
  61.  
    14:20: Tough at the top London Evening Standard Newspaper
    Nick Clegg

    Joseph Watts at the Evening Standard reports that one (unnamed) senior figure in the Liberal Democrats has claimed today that the party must win at least 45 seats in the general election if Nick Clegg is to stay on as leader: "The respected figure argued that fewer would make it impossible to join a governing coalition, predicting that the Lib Dem leader would 'fall on his sword'."

     
  62.  
    14:08: Breaking News

    The Ministry of Justice confirms the missing material - which it says went missing after being sent in the post - relates to three investigations that examined the roles of police in the death of three members of the public. Two inquiries relate to fatal police shootings of crime suspects in London - Mark Duggan and Azelle Rodney. The third relates to the 1997 murder of Robert Hamill in Northern Ireland, which campaigners allege involved the collusion of police officers. In each inquiry there were witnesses, including police officers, who were given anonymity because of possible threats to their safety - but officials have refused to confirm whether any of the missing documents include personal information relating to these witnesses.

     
  63.  
    14:05: Breaking News

    The Ministry of Justice says data from three semi-secret inquiries has gone missing on discs lost in the post.

     
  64.  
    @DArcyTiP Mark D'Arcy, Today In Parliament correspondent

    tweets: Congrats to @Plaid_Cymru Westminster leader Elfyn Llwdd just promoted to the "Hon Member for Wales" in @HouseofCommons debate on #Chilcot

     
  65.  
    14:01: Blair-Bush Iraq notes to be revealed
    George Bush and Tony Blair

    As MPs debate the Iraq inquiry in the Commons, the chair of the inquiry Sir John Chilcot has said former prime minister Tony Blair's notes to former US president George W Bush will be published with only "a very small number of essential redactions". That's a big shift from last year, when only "quotes and gists" were set to be made public.

     
  66.  
    13:58: Migrant voters The Guardian

    Over at The Guardian, Robert Ford and Ruth Grove-White of migrant support group The Migrant's Network write that with immigration set to be a key debate in the election campaign, "remarkably little is known about the millions of migrant voters who will be eligible to cast a vote".

     
  67.  
    13:42: Miliband in Scotland

    Ed Miliband is in Scotland to make a promise: an incoming Labour government will bring forward a home rule bill within the first 100 days. Mr Miliband is campaigning in Glasgow with the Scottish Labour leader, Jim Murphy to win over wavering voters who may be attracted by the SNP. He announced plans to change the party's constitution in Scotland to allow Mr Murphy to make decisions on devolved issues. "It is absolutely for Jim to make those decisions," Mr Miliband said. His visit comes as bookmaker William Hill makes the SNP odds-on to win more seats in Scotland than the Lib Dems will across the whole of the UK.

     
  68.  
    13:35: Iraq inquiry debate House of Commons Parliament
    Elfyn Llwyd in the Commons

    Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd says the big problem with the Iraq inquiry was the questioning. He would have liked a judge-led inquiry with a counsel doing the questioning, as was the case with the Leveson inquiry. "Something must be done urgently, otherwise this parliament will be the laughing stock of the world."

     
  69.  
    Leader effect? Democratic Audit

    tweets: What effect does a leader's visit have on a party's vote in a constituency?

     
  70.  
    13:31: Iraq inquiry debate House of Commons Parliament

    Former attorney-general Dominic Grieve says the delay to the report is "very regrettable" - and the most concerning bit is the delay since mid-2014. "I find it strange we should now be in February 2015, and it seems the Maxwellisation process [providing witnesses with an opportunity to the bits of the report in which they're mentioned] is going so very slowly." He thinks it should only have taken "a few months".

     
  71.  
    13:30: Iraq inquiry protest
    Stop the War protest

    As the debate on the Chilcot report rages inside parliament, Stop the War Coalition protesters are demonstrating outside.

     
  72.  
    Should Labour move Left? YouGov

    tweets: YouGov analysis of what it might mean for Labour to abandon the centre ground.

     
  73.  
    13:22: Iraq inquiry debate House of Commons Parliament
    George Galloway in the Commons

    George Galloway, in one of his rare Commons appearances, is speaking - well, actually shouting - in the Iraq inquiry debate. "The world is hurling to disaster," he tells MPs. "The decisions made in here [the Commons] on the basis of the arguments made by the government at the time has torn Iraq and and its region asunder. It has... incalculably inflated the dangers of extremism and fanaticism." He says the failure of Sir John Chilcot's inquiry to report is akin to "Pontius Pilate" because it is "washing our hands of something that is bleeding us at home and abroad".

     
  74.  
    Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: both barrels from @georgegalloway in debate on #chilcot delay, ultimately blames 'this parliament' for failing to hold lab govt to account

     
  75.  
    Undecided? Vote Match

    Tweets: Launch nears for Vote Match online quiz to help you find the party that best matches your views.

     
  76.  
    @Number10gov Downing Street

    Tweets: PM: I've asked for update on our heavy snow contingency plans. Gritters are out & people should listen to warnings #WeatherAware @MetOffice

     
  77.  
    13:02: Iraq inquiry delay House of Commons Parliament
    David Davis in the Commons

    In the Commons, Conservative backbencher David Davis begins the debate on the Iraq inquiry. MPs are expected to express their frustration that Sir John Chilcot's report hasn't been published yet. Davis says: "No-one in this House knows why this delay has occurred, not even the minister. There's not enough information in the public domain." He doesn't believe the witnesses are foot-dragging, though - instead Davis suspects the clash between Chilcot and Whitehall is at the heart of the problem.

     
  78.  
    12:59: Energy price wars

    Labour, facing criticism from the Tories for sticking to their energy price freeze policy in the face of falling prices, has suggested the government is to blame because it refused to give the regulator the power to cut bills. "They now have nobody else to blame for the failure of the energy companies to pass on the full savings from wholesale cost falls to all consumers," shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint says.

     
  79.  
    12:55: Nigel Farage misses his pint Daily Politics Live on BBC Two
    Nigel Farage in the pub

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who has been steering clear of booze as part of 'Dry January', says his experiment in teetotalism hasn't been a success. "I don't feel any better at all," he declares on the Daily Politics. "I find getting to sleep harder, not easier. I have to say, on Sunday I shall be rejoining the drinking classes - with a pint of bitter."

     
  80.  
    12:49: Labour & the SNP

    Labour leader Ed Miliband has refused to rule out joining a coalition with the Scottish National Party after the general election. Pressed twice to say he would not share power with the nationalists, Mr Miliband said he would not "get into talk of coalitions and deals". Asked on Tuesday whether Labour would consider forming an administration with the SNP, shadow chancellor Ed Balls said: "No. And I don't think anybody is suggesting any suggestion of a deal with the SNP at all."

     
  81.  
    12:45: Nigel Farage on Greece Daily Politics Live on BBC Two
    Nigel Farage on the Daily Politics

    Nigel Farage, interviewed by Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics, predicts Greece will leave the euro by the end of the year. A new anti-austerity government was sworn into office in the country on Tuesday. But the UK Independence Party leader says agreement between EU leaders and new Greek PM Alexis Tspiras on how the country should pay its bills is unlikely. "I don't think he's the kind of guy that's frightened of anything. I don't see him backing down," Mr Farage says. And this poses a problem for the German chancellor, he adds. "How can [Angela] Merkel allow a huge level of debt relief without the same being extended to Spain and Italy?"

     
  82.  
    12:36: Britain & the EU Daily Politics Live on BBC Two
    Carl Bildt, former PM of Sweden

    Former Swedish PM, Carl Bildt, is pushing for Britain to remain part of the European Union. He tells the Daily Politics that the big-picture situation - especially the situation in Greece - is playing into David Cameron's hands, as Britain seeks a change in its relationship with the EU. "I think not only [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel but others want Britain in," Mr Bildt says. "If you look at some of the big issues in Europe at the moment, they're moving very much along UK lines." He singles out free trade, the single market and "anti-bureaucracy" as the top issues.

     
  83.  
    12:31: Joan Bakewell's verdict Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    The veteran broadcaster and Labour peer is on the Daily Politics giving her take on the very public battles between Labour's big beasts. "Their comments are" - she pauses - "intended to be helpful". But she doesn't think the comments from figures including former health secretary Alan Milburn and ex-minister Lord Hutton will really damage leader Ed Miliband's cause.

     
  84.  
    12:27: Now on BBC Two Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    The Daily Politics - just a smidgen delayed by Andy Murray's victory in Melbourne - is now under way on BBC Two. You can watch it live on the iPlayer.

     
  85.  
    12:22: PM on school league tables Carole Walker Political correspondent, BBC News

    Today's league tables showing that more state secondary schools in England are underperforming has prompted reaction from the PM. School heads say government changes to the league table system render this year's results a "nonsense". But according to the prime minister's official spokesman, David Cameron says the changes are part of the government's approach to raising standards, which includes changes to the curriculum, inspections and a toughening up of exam standards. Speaking for the PM, the spokesman adds that "there's no apology whatsoever for this policy on raising standards".

     
  86.  
    Claire Hayhurst, Press Association reporter
    Cameron

    tweets: Prime minister #DavidCameron at Exeter Science Park in #Devon

     
  87.  
    12:08: DNA debate
    Chromosomes

    MPs are set to debate a hugely controversial measure next week: government proposals to permit scientists to use three people's embryos to create a child. The move, which aims to cure diseases resulting from flaws in the power-producing mitochondria within embryos, is being criticised by pro-life campaigners. If MPs give the green light, they say, Britain will become the first country to legalise human genetic modification in the world.

     
  88.  
    12:06: New cash for Gurkha homes
    Gurkha protesters in 2007

    The Ministry of Defence won't have forgotten the anger of Gurkhas who protested against the way they were being treated in 2007, pictured here. Now it's been announced the government will spend nearly £1 million building 32 new homes for Gurkha veterans. The package of support comes after an inquiry into Gurkha welfare and also features a new fund to compensate Gurkhas who were discharged as a result of marrying a non-Nepali. Anna Soubry, the veterans minister, says the move shows "the government is willing to address previous injustices".

     
  89.  
    12:05: Tennis triumph
    Andy Murray

    Tennis fans can relax - the recorded coverage of Scottish First Minister's Questions on BBC Two will now be delayed until 12:15 GMT - when the tennis will switch to BBC One. Follow the match online with live video, radio and text commentary as Britain's Andy Murray takes on Tomas Berdych in the men's semi-final of the Australian Open.

     
  90.  
    Tim Reid, BBC Political Correspondent

    tweets: Did the Scottish party leaders do their prep for FMQs after all-or stick with the #MurrayBerdych game? live shortly bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-s…

     
  91.  
    Nigel Farage, UKIP leader

    tweets: I'll be on @daily_politics in a matter of minutes. Tune in now...

    (Editor's note: The programme is being slightly delayed by the Australian Open Tennis)

     
  92.  
    12:00: Churchill's funeral re-broadcast
    Richard Dimbleby Richard Dimbleby commentating on Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral for the BBC

    Fifty years to the day, BBC Parliament is re-broadcasting the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill. Introduced by Sir Winston's grandson, Sir Nicholas Soames, the historic broadcast runs for a little over four hours. Fourteen reels of film, complete with impeccable commentary by Richard Dimbleby, have been restored, joined and re-mastered. The showing starts at 0915 on Friday 30 January.

     
  93.  
    11:54: Westminster 'trip' continued... Chris Mason Political correspondent, BBC News

    "We heard of a plan to knock over the [BBC] cameraman and cause the House to be suspended, and then they would blame it on us and suggest we shouldn't be there," the documentary's reporter said, adding that parliamentary staff had let them know about the plot and had managed to prevent it from happening. He said there were "very few" opponents to the documentary being filmed at Westminster, but "in Parliament every day there are cunning plans; it is a place made for plotting and conspiracy".

    The first episode is broadcast on Tuesday 3 February on BBC Two at 21:00 GMT.

     
  94.  
    11:49: Westminster 'trip' Chris Mason Political correspondent, BBC News

    MPs plotted to knock over a BBC cameraman in the House of Commons - in the hope of stopping a new documentary on life at Westminster. The documentary maker Michael Cockerill told reporters about the plan at a press screening of his new series Inside the Commons, which starts on BBC Two next week.

    "I'm not fingering anyone by name," Mr Cockerill said, when asked who was involved in the plot. But he did say they were "right wing Tories... what Downing Street know as the berserkers - the naughty bench." He declined to name the cameraman who was the subject of the apparent skulduggery.

     
  95.  
    11:45: Actor quits Labour Party

    In Scotland, actor Brian Cox has quit the Labour Party and joined the Scottish National Party. Cox has attacked the "empty rhetoric of leading members of the [Labour] party" and says they no longer stand for social democracy, the Press Association reports.

     
  96.  
    11:41: Birmingham schools statement House of Commons Parliament
    Tristram Hunt in the Commons

    Nicky Morgan, responding to Tristram Hunt's attack on the government's education reforms, says the shadow education secretary is "absolutely wrong" to blame the coalition. The problem, she says, started "long before" 2010. Hunt, arms folded as he leans back on the frontbench, scoffs in response. Morgan wraps up by saying ministers are "building resilience into the system".

     
  97.  
    11:36: Child abuse inquiry House of Commons Parliament

    Conservative MP Tim Loughton has been pressing the government on delays in finding someone to chair its independent inquiry on child abuse. During questions to Commons Leader William Hague, Mr Loughton, a former children's minister, said there had been no announcement as promised from Home Secretary Theresa May and requested a debate. Mr Hague said Mrs May would be before MPs in the coming weeks and that the government was determined the work of the inquiry would continue while Parliament is dissolved for the general election.

     
  98.  
    11:33: Birmingham schools statement House of Commons Parliament
    Tristram Hunt in the Commons

    Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt says the government "did nothing" in response to warnings emerging from Birmingham before the 'Trojan Horse' story hit the newspapers. Hunt says there is a broader problem for which the coalition is ultimately to blame. "We do hold this government to account for a chaotic and disjointed schools policy which has increased the threat to child safety and attainment. And sadly, the government's response to this has fallen short."

     
  99.  
    PoliticsHome

    tweets: .@NickyMorgan01 says "every school shld be promoting British values, not just as bulwark against extremism but b/c it is right thing to do"

     
  100.  
    Guardian politics
    man shouting

    tweets: Clegg: next Cameron will ask the 'tea lady' to join debates bit.ly/1twXvqS

     

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