MPs approve annual welfare cap in Commons vote

 
Empty houses The welfare cap will include spending on housing benefit

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MPs have overwhelmingly backed plans to introduce an overall cap on the amount the UK spends on welfare each year.

Welfare spending, excluding the state pension and some unemployment benefits, will be capped next year at £119.5bn.

The idea, put forward by Chancellor George Osborne in last week's Budget, would in future see limits set at the beginning of each Parliament.

With Labour supporting the idea, the measure was approved in the House of Commons by 520 to 22 votes.

However, eleven Labour backbenchers defied their leadership by voting against the plan.

The rebels included former shadow ministers Diane Abbott and Tom Watson.

The cap will include spending on the vast majority of benefits, including pension credits, severe disablement allowance, incapacity benefits, child benefit, both maternity and paternity pay, universal credit and housing benefit.

However, Jobseeker's allowance and the state pension will be excluded.

Under the proposed system, if a government wanted to spend more on one area of the welfare state it would have to compensate by making cuts elsewhere, to stay within the overall cap.

If the limit is breached - or going to be breached - ministers would have to explain why to Parliament and get the approval of MPs in a vote.

Mr Osborne told Parliament that welfare could be "both fair and affordable".

"Some of these benefits help some of the most vulnerable citizens, like Disability Living Allowance, but that is not an excuse for the failure to manage its budget," he said.

Earlier, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith told the BBC that the cap would stop politicians in the future from saying welfare spending "was under control when it was rising".

George Osborne George Osborne says governments in future must be honest about the cost of welfare spending

Labour has said it would introduce a three-year cap on structural spending, covering all the benefits included in the government's proposal.

But Mr Duncan Smith said Labour needed to explain how it would pay for its £460m pledge to reverse changes to cuts to housing benefit for additional rooms in council and social housing.

'Arbitrary cuts'

The shadow work and pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves, said Labour had plans in place to pay for its pledge to reverse what it calls the "bedroom tax" - the housing benefit changes that ministers say ended the "spare room subsidy".

Diane Abbott Labour's Diane Abbott was one of those who voted against the plan

Asked whether Labour was prepared to cut aspects of the welfare bill to stay within the cap, she said she was "confident" it would not need to because it would tackle the "root causes" of rising costs - such as low wages, youth unemployment and the increase in part-time workers.

"We would do it in different ways to the way the government is proposing to do it but we are confident that our way will control the cost of social security."

'Safety net'

Diane Abbott, one of the Labour rebels, said the cap was a blunt mechanism that would not take into account changes in people's circumstances and economic factors such as rising rents.

"Social security, people's lives, should not be made a matter of short-term political positioning," she said.

But Conservative MP Ben Gummer said it was "astounding" more was being spent on benefits, tax credits and state pensions than other departmental budgets put together.

He said the cap would force governments to address the underlying causes of welfare dependency rather than just "jacking up the bill every time they are faced with a difficult problem".

Lib Dem MP John Hemming said the welfare state should provide a "solid safety net" but it was "nonsense" to suggest that total costs should not be managed.

BBC political correspondent Chris Mason said the proposed government cap for next year was, in broad terms, what the UK was already spending on those benefits and would rise in line with inflation in following years.

 

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  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 773.

    crossalways
    "the poorest and most vulnerable in society"

    Ugh, that's one of the most odious soundbytes that has emerged in the last 6 years or so.

    And why are you so determined to ensure that people should remain poor & rely on handouts instead of being encouraged to stand up & take their place in a society that has evolved thanks to generations of hard working people?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 772.

    The outrageous lie that this government are spreading is that the benefits bill is going to fund the feckless, workshy, scroungers.
    It isn't, by far the largest % of the bill goes to pensions and after that to disability, but the tories would like you to think it's the scroungers they are hitting.
    It isn't!
    They are attacking the old, the sick, and those too weak to defend themselves.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 771.

    #762 lolololololol

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 770.

    Maybe we should have a referendum on paying MP's the minimum wage? They could earn bonus' by proving constituency success and social advancement in their ward. About as possible to happen as an MP actually knowing his derrière from his elbow.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 769.

    @743 "Lots of pensioners have never worked a day in their life."

    It's true because you say so, right?
    I mean don't let facts or reality get in the way of you whining that Grandpa and Grandma are scroungers
    Of course a world back then, what with rations and recessions and no TV or internet or dishwashers or washing machines or any of the mod cons was an easy life compared to your selfish existence

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 768.

    @739. England is Ruined
    I am a pensioner and to qualify for a full State pension I had to have an NI payment record for Class 1 NIC's for 44 years.

    So, my pension is not a "benefit"! It is a well earned entitlement.

    A large number of benefits are available to people who have never paid into our system.

    The difference is chalk and cheese.
    ---
    Yes, you are entitled to the pension benefit.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 767.

    Does this mean that the 'Leaders' say everyone will have the same 'cut'?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 766.

    @748.FreedomBell
    'Engineering can be one of the most lucrative professions. Student loans are not "financial servitude", they are paid back in proportion to earnings. '
    Take it you are not an engineer or a recent graduate then? Considering how much we are told this country needs engineers it isn't payed well at all in the UK, if you want to do well you have to move abroad.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 765.

    Another Poor Law Amendment Act. Will the benefits the Queen and all those hangers on see their money curtailed - I doubt it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 764.

    its all well and good capping those on welfare who can not fight back but are in the greatest need, why not cap those who do not need help in the first place.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 763.

    for all you morons out there - the state pension is not a benefit and is excluded from the benefits cap the MPs are voting on - do try and understand what you're on about. there also seems to be a correlation between the shocking english skills on here and those in favour of high benefits and a something for nothing culture.

  • rate this
    -10

    Comment number 762.

    I am lazy and claiming benefits,so I am hoping Labour win the next election.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 761.

    This is a rotten idea, rents go up I am low paid and keep falling into needing housing benefit put a cal on rents... That would reduce housing benefit considerably...

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 760.

    The benefit donkey has been offered carrots,sugar lumps which didn't work ! then Labour threw caviar and fois gras still nothing now the Donkey is due for the big stick ! get used to it !

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 759.

    You are missing the point, all those on pensions and benefits spend the money they get in the wider economy keeping services and business going. Would reductions in pensions or benefits result in lower taxes, I doubt it Anyway my state pension is taxed in exactly the same way as earnings. I spend my pension in shops and with local businesses recycling your taxes for the benefit of all.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 758.

    726 - Doolittle "...labour exchanges...60's/70's..."

    Well my friend, I would guess that you will recognise a stark contrast between then & now. They were proactive & helpful, arrange meetings with potential employers & generally the people who worked within the regime were polite & helpful to those seeking work.

    Now? The opposite is true. Only a token gesture towards those they look down on!

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 757.

    737. andyd

    I'll keep repeating this, even though I doubt anyone notices.

    Around 43% of all central government spending is on the old age pension and Health, these 2 are the only departments where funding is guaranteed to increase above inflation as no MP has the guts to speak out about them.
    --
    Eh ?
    Everybody knows that.
    And youe point ? Shall we cull old people or close down hospitals ?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 756.

    Money, or the lack of it, certainly causes a lot of problems and stirs things up by the looks of comments. Amazing too, and somewhat disappointing, is the number of you who know for certain how others should live, what their lives are like, their backgrounds, their health etc which brought them to needing welfare....seems to me you would do very well in politics. Arrogance a requirement.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 755.

    So yet another "divide and rule" HYS, as an electorate we deserve the government we get. We are made to fight amongst ourselves whilst our politicians, of all persuasions, laugh all the way to the bank. I would like to bet that no MP who lost their seat in the last ten years has had to claim benefits since. This is a smokescreen to hide incompetence and "theft" by the supposed elite

  • rate this
    +26

    Comment number 754.

    The benefit cap on individual cases was not a bad idea, but a national limit is barbaric. It puts people with vastly different problems into a bucket demographic of "claimants" that effectively denies any notion of individual circumstances.This is the nasty end of government by numbers, where real adversity faced by citizens reduces to a bean-counter's balance sheet problem. They won't feel shame.

 

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    David Cameron and Nick Clegg
     
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  48.  
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  49.  
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  50.  
    11:00: NHS 'stolen' by establishment parties
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  51.  
    @andybell5news 10:56: Andy Bell, 5 News political editor

    tweets: Ed Balls on my train to Leeds for fees announcement "you won't have wasted your journey" he says #GE2015

     
  52.  
    @VickiYoung01 10:56: Vicki Young, BBC chief political correspondent

    tweets: Lots of platform audience interaction at #UKIP conf. Risks sounding a bit like a pantomime.

     
  53.  
    10:55: Farages in Margate
    Kirsten Farage arrives at the UKIP spring conference

    Nigel Farage's wife, Kirsten, has arrived for the UKIP spring conference in Margate. There has been some doubt as to whether the UKIP leader will be speaking today given that he has just flown back from a gathering of conservative politicians in the United States. But as we speak, he is billed to appear at just after 16:00 GMT.

     
  54.  
    10:43: EU 'decaying and deluded'
    UKIP badges on sale at its spring conference

    Turning to Europe, Suzanne Evans says the UK is "more than just a star on someone else's flag" - she says she wants to see the country "freed from the demands of a decaying and deluded EU". She recites a list of prime ministers since Ted Heath, and says: "By one treacherous treaty after treacherous treaty they handed power that should still be vested in parliament, in Westminster, in the people of Britain, over to Brussels." And she adds that Labour and the Conservatives are the true parties of "little Englanders" - UKIP "aren't the ones who want to stay in the shadows jumping at Frau Merkel's every command".

     
  55.  
    10:35: Cast-iron guarantees?

    Suzanne Evans, who only took over responsibility for UKIP's manifesto last month, says successive promises by party leaders have been broken, such as Nick Clegg vowing not to raise tuition fees, and David Cameron promising a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. She says: "That's the trouble with cast-iron guarantees - they can be a bit brittle."

     
  56.  
    10:32: Manifesto 'quality, not quantity'
    UKIP deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans

    UKIP's Deputy Chairman Suzanne Evans is next up. She opens her speech with a joke referencing her party's oft-mocked 2010 manifesto, which was 427 pages long. The 2015 version, she insists, won't be calling for taxi drivers to wear uniforms, people to wear formal-dress to the theatre, or for the Circle Line on the London Underground to be actually shaped like a circle again. She says in 2015, the party's manifesto will focus on "quality, not quantity" and potential "bear traps" will be spotted and avoided.

     
  57.  
    10:29: UKIP 'party of the NHS'

    Mark Reckless tells the audience at the UKIP spring conference his party is "the party of the NHS": promising to back local health boards, spend £3bn more on the NHS, transform dementia care, and abolish what he calls a "tax on illness" - hospital car parking charges.

     
  58.  
    10:29: Going beyond 'UKIP's base'

    Mark Reckless, who was re-elected to Parliament as a UKIP MP in November, is talking about issues which he says can help the party "reach beyond its base" - including planning, the NHS and energy. On the EU, he says UKIP wants to leave "not because we are nationalists but because we are democrats".

     
  59.  
    10:29: Reckless speech to UKIP
    Mark Reckless

    UKIP MP Mark Reckless is formally opening its spring conference in Margate. He starts by joking that his appearance is set to be less newsworthy than that at UKIP's autumn conference in September, when his dramatic arrival in Doncaster confirmed that he had defected from the Conservatives.

     
  60.  
    10:22: Tuition fees 'politically toxic' Alex Forsyth BBC News Education Correspondent

    The BBC's Alex Forsyth says Labour "will hope after all these years of deliberation, they've come up with a policy that's going to appeal to voters and makes financial sense - but the critics so far aren't convinced". She adds that tuition fees are "politically toxic territory", having burned both the last Labour government and - of course - the Lib Dems under Nick Clegg.

     
  61.  
    @robindbrant 10:19: Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Local #UKIP man Tim Scott tells Margate audience "we're on the march...they're scared of us...let's not give them any more ammunition"

     
  62.  
    @robindbrant 10:14: Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: .@UKIP chairman 'have we peaked?' Margate audience 'nooooo' #ge2015

     
  63.  
    10:06: Daily Politics line-up Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    A veritable bonanza on the Daily Politics today - join Andrew Neil and the following guests at 12:00 GMT: journalist Harry Cole; Atul Hatwal of Labour Uncut; the American pollster Frank Luntz; UKIP Deputy Chairman Suzanne Evans; Conservative MP David Willetts; House of Cards creator Lord Dobbs; and the Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate in Hampstead and Kilburn, Maajid Nawaz.

    Daily Politics guests
     
  64.  
    @robindbrant 10:04: Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: What is it about tea towels in #ge2015 ? @IsabelHardman @IainMcNicol

    Nigel Farage tea towel
     
  65.  
    09:50: Woe for Ed Balls?
    Ed Miliband and Ed Balls

    The website Labour Uncut reports that "senior members" of Ed Miliband's inner circle are planning to encourage the Labour leader to sack Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls in the event the party has to secure a post-election coalition deal with the SNP: "Insiders familiar with these discussions over the past few weeks describe a scenario where Labour would have to 'reset its economic standing with the public' and demonstrate to the SNP that it would not be 'wedded to austerity-lite'. For some of Ed Miliband's closest and oldest advisers, removing Ed Balls would achieve both objectives as well as ridding them of a potentially truculent and obstructive Chancellor."

     
  66.  
    09:34: UKIP are 'picked on'
    Suzanne Evans

    UKIP Deputy Chairman Suzanne Evans tells the BBC's Vicki Young that UKIP are being "singled out" over offensive comments made by members and supporters of the party. She says among candidates from other parties across the country there is "an amazing amount of racism, sexism, and fraud", but UKIP are being "picked on". She adds that as UKIP's spring conference gets under way, the party has taken comfort from the fact that a local poll in Thanet South, where Nigel Farage is bidding to be an MP, puts the UKIP leader 11% ahead of his nearest opponent.

     
  67.  
    09:23: Clarkson vs Dugher
    Jeremy Clarkson, in a promotional picture for BBC series Top Gear

    Shadow Transport Secretary Michael Dugher - sometimes described as Labour's "attack dog" - has sunk his teeth into Jeremy Clarkson, scourge of the hybrid-driving, muesli-eating classes. Dugher described the Top Gear presenter as "bit of an idiot" in an interview with the House magazine, saying he was "not remotely representative of motorists" and just "represents himself". Clarkson snapped back on Twitter: "Labour's transport spokesman says he doesn't like Top Gear. Good. We don't make it for people who wear pink ties."

     
  68.  
    09:09: Questions for Labour Robert Peston Economics editor
    Ed Miliband

    The BBC's economics editor Robert Peston looks at some questions Ed Miliband needs to answer about his plans to reduce tuition fees, as well as examining just how Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls might pay for the measure.

     
  69.  
    08:58: Labour tuition fee pledge Nick Robinson Political editor

    BBC political editor Nick Robinson says Labour's plan to cut tuition fees from £9000 to £6000 is "one of the biggest spending pledges Ed Miliband has made", and adds that it is interesting to note the Labour leader's priorities at a time when government cuts more generally have to be made. With the debate over the policy having barely begun, why has he chosen to spend so much on university students rather than schools, the NHS, or more Sure Start centres?

     
  70.  
    08:52: Cable on coalition

    Pressed as to whether the Labour plans to reduce fees would constitute a "red line" in any potential coalition negotiations between the Lib Dems and Ed Miliband's party, Vince Cable says simply: "It would certainly make it more difficult to work with them." The business secretary says the Lib Dems would insist on fees remaining the same, but says they're not talking about "red lines".

     
  71.  
    08:43: Cable on tuition fees
    Vince Cable

    Business Secretary Vince Cable tells BBC Breakfast that the current tuition fee system is "fair, sustainable, been praised by international bodies, and making sure we have a high standard of university education". He says Labour plans to curb pension tax reliefs in order to pay for a cut in fees is a "completely bogus, fictional system of funding". Mr Cable adds that Ed Miliband is making promises for short-term political gain that "they would find it very hard to deliver, and if they did deliver it it would do a lot of harm".

     
  72.  
    @paulwaugh 08:35: Paul Waugh, editor of PoliticsHome

    tweets: Greg Clark 1st reaction to EdM tuition fees plan: savers + "taxpayers will pay the price for a policy that will cause chaos"

     
  73.  
    @RebeccaKeating 08:12: Rebecca Keating, BBC parliamentary reporter

    tweets: #UKIP getting more media savvy - yesterday this poster at Margate conf venue said 'Circus of Horrors'

    Poster
     
  74.  
    08:11: The Westminster House of Cards... The Spectator
    Parliament at night

    Today marks the return of scheming American politico Frank Underwood - played by Kevin Spacey - on the Netflix drama House of Cards. Originally based on a classic British series, the re-make spawned its own British parody organised by The Spectator. See the Machiavellian tendencies of some familiar faces from the green benches on full display here (YouTube link).

     
  75.  
    @michaelsavage 08:10: Michael Savage, Times chief political correspondent

    tweets: Many Labour insiders believe helping students with maintenance costs would have been better way to help those from poorer backgrounds.

     
  76.  
    08:06: Student finance 'imploding' BBC Radio 4 Today
    Graduates

    Questioned about Labour's planned tuition fee cut, shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie declines to elaborate on how it will be paid for, saying Ed Miliband will set out the details later. He tells the BBC the current system is "imploding" and the UK cannot afford the "next generation" to be saddled with ever-increasing debt. He suggests that universities, as well as students, will be "very satisfied" with what his party is proposing.

     
  77.  
    07:57: Welsh devolution BBC Radio 4 Today
    Chamber of the National Assembly of Wales

    Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb has been defending the government's devolution plans, saying they will give the Welsh people a "stronger voice in their own affairs". He tells the BBC that it is "not healthy" that the Welsh Government currently raises almost none of the £15bn it spends every year, describing it as "one great big spending department". The devolution package will make the Welsh Assembly more accountable while strengthening Wales' position within the UK, he adds.

     
  78.  
    07:56: 'Third-rate devolution' BBC Radio 4 Today
    Leanne Wood

    Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has told Radio 4 that plans to be set out later by David Cameron and Nick Clegg to transfer more powers to Wales from Westminster don't go far enough. She says Wales needs to have "decades of funding disadvantage rectified", with more tax-raising powers than have been promised so Wales "can stand on our own two feet". Ms Wood adds that there is a "stark contrast" between the cross-party consensus on devolution with regard to Scotland and the situation in Wales, adding that "there is no good reason why Wales should have third-rate devolution".

     
  79.  
    07:37: Any Questions? 20:00 GMT BBC Radio 4
    Jonathan Dimbleby

    On Any Questions? with Jonathan Dimbleby tonight: Green leader Natalie Bennett, UKIP's only Scottish MEP David Coburn, the columnist and broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer, and the Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

     
  80.  
    07:34: Another day at the office
    Palace of Westminster

    The perennial accusation that MPs have it easy has flared up in the dog days of this parliament with the recent controversy over second jobs. Most people's idea of Commons debate is the finger-pointing and heckling of PMQs - but here's just some of the topics being discussed or legislated upon today in the Commons, in a rather more sedate fashion: tyre safety; funeral services; firearm and shotgun licensing; e-cigarettes; sugar in food and drinks; wild animals in circuses; and investigations into deaths in mental health settings.

     
  81.  
    07:33: Cable on tuition fees
    Vince Cable

    Business Secretary Vince Cable has attacked Labour's plan to cut the highest tuition fees by a third as "financially illiterate". Mr Cable, who helped design the current system of student finance, said existing arrangements were "fair and sustainable" and Labour's plans would "reduce the support for disadvantaged students and benefit only the richest". He added: "It will do great harm to universities and create a costly black hole in the national budget."

     
  82.  
    @bbckamal 07:17: Kamal Ahmed, BBC business editor

    tweets: Breaking: Lloyds to pay first dividend since 2008, 0.75p per share, valued at £535m

    and

    tweets: Breaking: Lloyds CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio remuneration package will total £11m after shares rise by 193% since 2012

     
  83.  
    07:15: UKIP and the Barnett formula
    UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

    We just heard from Robin Brant that UKIP will announce it supports George Osborne's strategy for eliminating the deficit by 2018. But the Financial Times reports that as part of that strategy, Nigel Farage's party would back ending the use of the Barnett formula - which currently dictates how much money for public spending is given to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by Westminster. UKIP, says the FT, wants "heavy cuts" to that block grant.

     
  84.  
    @BBCNormanS 07:13: Norman Smith, BBC assistant political editor

    tweets: Understood Labour tuition fee cut to be paid for by "better off mums and dads"

     
  85.  
    07:03: Cameron in Wales
    David Cameron

    David Cameron is also on the campaign trail today, addressing the Welsh Conservatives' annual conference. He is expected to spell out details of fresh powers for the Welsh Assembly, including minimum funding for the Welsh government and allowing Cardiff to raise cash from the money markets for major projects. The prime minister is also likely to talk about the economy and address Labour accusations that his attacks on the performance of the Welsh health service amount to a "war on Wales".

     
  86.  
    07:00: Farage 'backs' Tory deficit plans Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    Robin Brant says that at today's conference session UKIP's economic spokesman Patrick O'Flynn will tell delegates that his party supports Chancellor George Osborne's strategy to wipe out the deficit by 2018. Aside from that, though, there are likely to be few policy announcements, as the party's manifesto is still being tinkered with.

     
  87.  
    06:59: Question Time re-cap: MPs' second jobs
    Rachel Reeves

    Labour's Rachel Reeves followed her leader's line on Question Time last night, saying that being an MP was a "full-time job" and that second jobs for MPs were "plain wrong". She said she already earned about three times the salary of some of her constituents in Leeds West. The Lib Dems' Tessa Munt agreed with the general point, saying it was disgraceful that 281 out of 650 MPs currently hold second jobs. But the Conservatives' Grant Shapps echoed David Cameron by arguing that the Commons would be worse off if filled with people who had "only ever worked in politics".

     
  88.  
    06:50: Bodyguards for Farage?
    Police escort Nigel Farage out of a venue in Rotherham earlier this month

    Nigel Farage will be among friends when he addresses the UKIP party faithful in Margate later. But his trips round the country in recent times haven't been without incident. He was hit by a placard on one campaign visit last year and found himself barricaded in a building in Rotherham last month by a protest outside. The BBC now understands that UKIP has requested bodyguards for Mr Farage as he tours the country ahead of the 7 May election, making an application to the Home Office.

     
  89.  
    06:49: Tuition fees: 'Labour's biggest ticket' Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor
    Radcliffe Camera

    More from Norman Smith on Ed Miliband's decision to curb pension tax reliefs to pay for reduced university tuition fees. Norman Smith says it is significant that "at a time when the Tories are straining every sinew to appeal to the grey vote, Mr Miliband is asking those of us of a certain age to prepare to have our pensions hit to pay for our children". The universities themselves are "deeply wary" of the policy, he suggests, fearing it will make them more dependent on state funding. At "north of £2bn", the policy will be "Labour's biggest ticket" going into the May election - but there's "no disguising [there is] opposition to it both inside and outside the Labour Party".

     
  90.  
    06:41: Tuition fees: 'British promise' Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    Norman Smith tells BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the drive to reduce tuition fees is something "very personal" for Ed Miliband, who has been pushing this policy for "a long, long time now". It's to be paid for by curbing pension tax reliefs - and indeed, "the manner in which he's going to pay for this is almost as interesting as the policy itself". The Labour leader will try to sell the policy on grounds of "inter-generational fairness", which in reality means he will be asking "tomorrow's pensioners to dip into their pockets to pay for their children". Ed Miliband's "British promise" is that every generation should be able to prosper more than the preceding one.

     
  91.  
    06:40: Question Time re-cap
    Panellists on Thursday's Question Time

    It was a lively Question Time last night, with top billing given to the revelations that UK net migration reached 298,000 in the year ending September 2014. UKIP's Mark Reckless was scathing, while Conservative chairman Grant Shapps conceded the figures were "disappointing". Labour's shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves argued that more needs to be done for migrants earning less than the minimum wage, while Lib Dem Tessa Munt joined her party leader Nick Clegg in saying David Cameron's initial vow to reduce immigration was "a silly promise to have made".

     
  92.  
    06:27: UKIP conference
    Nigel Farage speaking in the United States

    UKIP's two-day gathering in Margate comes at a crucial time for the party, will polls suggesting it could win a number of seats - including several in Kent - on 7 May. Among those speaking on Friday include deputy leader Paul Nuttall and health spokeswoman Louise Bours. Party leader Nigel Farage will also address activists at about 16.00 GMT. He has had a busy few hours. On Thursday, he addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference in the US state of Maryland, sharing a stage with Tea Party movement star Sarah Palin.

     
  93.  
    06:26: Farage's fortunes Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News
    Nigel Farage

    The BBC's Robin Brant says UKIP's spring conference in Margate is a "rallying cry" for Nigel Farage, with the UKIP leader contesting neighbouring Thanet South in the general election. A win there is "essential for his survival".

     
  94.  
    06:25: Miliband's tuition fees pledge
    Ed Miliband

    Ed Miliband is to set out Labour's plans to cut £9,000 university tuition fees by a third. In a speech in Leeds, he will reveal how a Labour government - which originally introduced fees in 2006 - would find the money to pay for such a reduction. The rising level of student debt has been a "disaster for the future of Britain", he will say. After warnings from some quarters that a reduction in fees would lead to a funding gap for universities, the Labour leader will reveal today how he would cover the costs.

     
  95.  
    06:14: Good morning

    Hello and welcome to the BBC's Live Page coverage for Friday 27 February. The business in the Commons today is almost entirely focused on the official reading of legislation - but don't think that means it'll be a quiet day in the political world. We're coming in to spring conference season: UKIP's kicks off in Margate today, and the Lib Dems gather in Cardiff for the last meeting of party activists before the general election. Labour leader Ed Miliband will set out his party's plans to cut tuition fees to £6,000 if it is elected. Chancellor George Osborne will be in Manchester to talk devolution of NHS services but is also likely to face questions about a report from MPs that says his claim last year to have halved the UK's £1.7bn EU budget surcharge is "not supported by the facts". We'll bring you all the latest news, views and analysis during the day - from the BBC and beyond.

     

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