Labour previews its manifesto launch, promising no "additional borrowing" to fund pledges
The Conservatives unveil plans to cut inheritance tax on family homes
The Lib Dems set out plans to eliminate the deficit by 2017/18, while the Greens say they would introduce a top tax rate of 60%
Earlier, Labour had promised to impose bigger fines on people found to be avoiding tax
Despite Labour's pledge not to borrow to fund policy pledges, Conservative Treasury Minister David Gauke insists his rivals have "no plan to clear the deficit" and would have to borrow more.
Quote Message: Even Ed Miliband's own campaign chief admits Labour will borrow more to pay for their unfunded spending promises."
Even Ed Miliband's own campaign chief admits Labour will borrow more to pay for their unfunded spending promises."
Independent front page
Labour's manifesto launch comes as the party opens up a three-point lead over the Conservatives, according to the latest YouGov poll for the Sun. It puts Ed Miliband's party on 36%. The poll has UKIP on 13% and the Liberal Democrats on 7%.
Daily Telegraph front page
Daily TelegraphCopyright: Daily Telegraph
Sun front page
The SunCopyright: The Sun
Times front page
The TimesCopyright: The Times
Daily Mirror front page
Guardian front page
Labour's 'vow' on the nation's finances
Page one of Labour's manifesto, says Ed Miliband, contains a "vow" to protect the nation's finances. Launching the document on Monday he will say Labour is making a "clear commitment" that every policy will be paid for "without a single penny of extra borrowing".
And he will accuse the Conservatives of "throwing spending promises around" with no idea where the money is coming from. He will call the promises "unfunded, unfair and unbelievable".
Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty Images
Labour's big pledge at tomorrow's manifesto launch will be a guarantee that every one of its policies will be funded without "additional borrowing".
The party is also pledging to cut the fiscal deficit in every year of the next parliament, if it's elected in May.
But if there are to be any pre-election sweeteners, the party isn't revealing them yet.
"It isn’t a shopping list of spending policies," according to leader Ed Miliband's script.
A top adviser to the former secretary of state confirmed her plans in an email to supporters. News agencies report that she will "soon" hit the campaign trail in early voting states such as Iowa.
And you thought the campaign here had been going on forever...
Commitment to a cause
A Press Association photographer spotted this member of the public wearing her politics on - or, rather under - her sleeve as SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon campaigned in Paisley. Her tattoo reads "The dream shall never die."
That was also the phrase chosen by former First Minister Alex Salmond as the title for his diaries of the Scottish independence campaign.
Quote Message: One explanation for Osborne's unfunded pledges: he knows Lib Dems will force him to introduce tax rises as Tories won't win a majority."
One explanation for Osborne's unfunded pledges: he knows Lib Dems will force him to introduce tax rises as Tories won't win a majority."
Support one party, vote another?
There has also been much talk of
tactical voting in Scotland
, where a group of former "No" to independence campaigners are urging voters whose favoured party is an outsider in their constituency to back whichever candidate is most likely to defeat the SNP.
Now the SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is pushing voters in the opposite direction. She wants Labour supporters seeking an earlier end to spending cuts to back her party.
"A strong team of SNP MPs holding the balance of power will lock the Tories out of Downing Street, put an end to austerity and ensure the progressive politics Labour supporters hold dear are firmly on Westminster's agenda," she says.
Former Labour MP Dame Anne McGuire retorts: "A vote for any other candidate than the Labour candidate could help the Tories back into government and give Scotland and the UK another five years of austerity."
The paper quotes him dismissing David Cameron's suggestion that UKIP voters should "come home" to the Conservatives but adding: "It's a complex electoral system and people have to use their votes as wisely as they can."
Given Mr Farage's comments that it would be an "infinitely better position" to have an EU in-out referendum under the Tories than a Labour-led government, the Telegraph interprets his stance as urging people to vote Conservative in seats UKIP has no chance of winning.
How will they fund this tax cut? By increasing the tax paid by people with big pension pots. The Conservatives plan to reduce tax relief on pension contributions on incomes between £150,000 and £210,000. The idea is to cut relief from £40,000 to £10,000.
The director of the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson, says the change will take "really quite large sums away from people earning more than about £150,000 a year".
And he warned it will "probably either reduce the amount of savings in the economy or create a lot of complexity in the savings landscape".
Quote Message: Miliband's gone from Wallace to Poldark so don't understand why so many Labourites are moaning. Better a stud than a dud"
Miliband's gone from Wallace to Poldark so don't understand why so many Labourites are moaning. Better a stud than a dud"
They’ve already got Hobbit Martin Freeman on board and now Labour has got the backing of another actor. Robson Green, the former Soldier Soldier star and one half of 90s novelty pop act, Robson & Jerome, tells PA news he doesn’t believe the party’s policies represent the socialism he grew up with in a “true sense”. But, all the same, he adds: “They believe in something I’m passionate about, which is education, the National Health Service and defence. I’ll vote Labour all the time.”
Clegg avoids Lib Dem bowling gaffe repeat
Nick Clegg, pictured earlier today, looked a bit of a natural at tenpin bowling. Maybe he's been practising - to avoid the embarrassment faced by his predecessor Charles Kennedy when he tried his hand at bowling...
Sophie LongCopyright: Sophie Long
Recap - 17:30
After a relatively sleepy Easter break, the parties kicked their campaigns into a higher gear this past week, and today was no exception. Here's some of the things we've covered so far today:
Nigel Dodds of the DUP said his party would not take part in any coalition or formal arrangement to support a party if the SNP was also involved, because Nicola Sturgeon's party want to "break up the United Kingdom"
This is Tom Espiner and Adam Donald signing off, leaving you in the capable hands of Kristiina Cooper and Andrew McFarlane for the rest of the evening.
Quote Message: Daily Politics mug for first Tory/Lab/Lib Dem canvassing politician who tweets truth: "reception on doorstep cr*p". Or words thereof #bbcdp
Daily Politics mug for first Tory/Lab/Lib Dem canvassing politician who tweets truth: "reception on doorstep cr*p". Or words thereof #bbcdp
'They tell lies, even when they don't have to'
Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty Images
That's what the late Gore Vidal said about politicians. Over at the Telegraph, they've compiled some of the best political insults - all the way back to Benjamin Disraeli, who said of his great rival William Ewart Gladstone: "If Gladstone fell into the Thames, that would be a misfortune, and if anybody pulled him out that, I suppose, would be a calamity." But Disraeli wasn't left unscathed - the great radical John Bright called him "a self-made man who worships his creator".
We'll get the bad news - after the election
Paul Johnson, the director of the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies, gives the BBC News Channel a withering verdict on the parties' tax and spending plans.
On tax avoidance, he thinks all the parties are "just making up numbers". The Tories had "made up a £5bn number, the Liberal Democrats a £7bn number and the Labour Party a £7.5bn number". Whether we would get anywhere near to those kind of savings was "anybody's guess", he claimed.
When it was put to him that he didn't sound impressed, he laughed, saying: "I'm not terribly impressed, particularly with some of the things on the tax side. There is this kind of illusion or delusion that there some magic money tree there called tax avoidance which will provide you with lots of easy money to spend on other things."
He wasn't impressed with spending promises either, complaining that the parties had not provided enough detail on the cuts required. He said he wasn't surprised but warned: "I think it's important for everyone to bear in mind that there is some bad news hiding there which we'll no doubt be told about in the spending review from whoever wins the election, which will come towards the end of this year."
Welsh UKIP leader: climate change 'not man-made'
Press AssociationCopyright: Press Association
The leader of UKIP in Wales has claimed climate change is not man-made. Speaking on BBC Wales' Sunday Supplement, Nathan Gill also said it was "complete stupidity to think by sticking a bunch of wind turbines all over Wales that we are somehow going to stop the weather from changing". Mr Gill's comments were criticised by Labour, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, who all say the climate is affected by human activity.
Quote Message: What happens to Tory £8bn for the NHS if there is not, for whatever reason, much economic growth in years to come. ie another global crash?
What happens to Tory £8bn for the NHS if there is not, for whatever reason, much economic growth in years to come. ie another global crash?
A history of personal attacks
Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty Images
On Radio 4's Broadcasting House this morning, (from 12:09 minutes in), the constitutional historian Lord Hennessy and the broadcaster John Sergeant took a trip through the radio archives to look at some of the harsh ways politicians have spoken about one another in the past. They start in 1945, when - in the aftermath of a wartime coalition - Winston Churchill said that a socialist Labour government would require "a kind of Gestapo" to police the society it wanted to make.
Jason Beattie, Daily Mirror
A historical view from Jason Beattie, who reminds us that manifesto commitments could, eventually, be met! He says we should remember that large parts of Labour's 1983 manifesto were enacted by Tony Blair's government (apart from nuclear disarmament and withdrawal from the EU).
Quote Message: 1983 pledges enacted by Blair: devolution, minimum wage, fox hunt ban, increased spending on NHS, care for under 5s and setting up DFID
1983 pledges enacted by Blair: devolution, minimum wage, fox hunt ban, increased spending on NHS, care for under 5s and setting up DFID
Quote Message: The choice is clear. Do you want a better plan or a clear plan? A better future, or a brighter future? #Inspirational
The choice is clear. Do you want a better plan or a clear plan? A better future, or a brighter future? #Inspirational
Matt ChorleyCopyright: Matt Chorley
Spectator political editor James Forsyth, writing in his Mail on Sunday column, has the scoop on Conservative tactics going into the week when manifestos are published: "The Tories have delayed the launch of their manifesto by a day so as not to clash with Labour (on Monday 12 April). They believe that, given time, they can 'unpick' Miliband’s proposals. As one member of the Tory war room puts it: 'Our big job on Monday is to find the flaw and absolutely hammer it."'
SNP photo opp
With the SNP today launching a charm offensive trying to woo Scottish Labour supporters, Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon (second from left) went to a cafe in Glasgow to talk to SNP converts who were former Labour supporters.
Quote Message: No pressure then for the political leader who promises to stop a veer to the left or to the right #GE2015
No pressure then for the political leader who promises to stop a veer to the left or to the right #GE2015
Sophie LongCopyright: Sophie Long
Who's going to benefit from an inheritance tax cut?
Robert Peston, BBC economics editor
Press AssociationCopyright: Press Association
Answers to questions of funding and taxation can often get lost in all the numbers used during party political blustering. Luckily, the BBC's correspondents sift through the data to get to the bottom line. Economics editor Robert Peston has been asking: who's going to win from today's inheritance tax giveaway announced by the Conservatives?
'Most hated tax in Britain'?
The TaxPayers' Alliance, a pressure group that campaigns for lower taxes and cuts in government spending, says that Conservative plans to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million is a first step towards "abolishing Britain's most hated tax altogether".
Quote Message: For too long, successive chancellors have allowed more and more people to be dragged into the top band by refusing to move the thresholds, and correcting for that is well overdue. This is a welcome first step towards the abolition of the most hated tax in Britain, one that penalises people for working hard and trying to pass on a better life to their children and grandchildren." from Jonathan Isaby TPA chief executive
For too long, successive chancellors have allowed more and more people to be dragged into the top band by refusing to move the thresholds, and correcting for that is well overdue. This is a welcome first step towards the abolition of the most hated tax in Britain, one that penalises people for working hard and trying to pass on a better life to their children and grandchildren."
SNP pitches for Labour votes
The Scottish National Party has made a direct approach to Scottish Labour voters, urging them to vote SNP. The
'Guarantee to Labour'
is part of SNP efforts to woo Labour voters with a promise to "lock the Tories out of Downing Street" and to "stand up for progressive politics at Westminster".
Bookies on UKIP: Surge or crash?
UKIP are either poised for an election breakthrough, or are "on the brink of disaster", according to Graham Sharpe, a spokesman for bookmaker William Hill. "No-one seems to know for sure which it will be," he says. "We see polls saying Nigel Farage won't be elected, yet he is favourite to take South Thanet with political punters."
Next job: house-husband?
Press AssociationCopyright: Press Association
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has been talking to the Mirror. He tells the paper that if he fails to win Thanet South he might quit politics altogether and become a house-husband. Other tidbits: he enjoys cooking; his political heroes are Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama; and he appears to bristle slightly at physical comparisons between himself and the actor Brad Pitt - who is older than Mr Farage.
In The Observer, Andrew Rawnsley looks ahead to this week's party election manifesto launches, and ponders the utility of such a document in the modern day. He writes: "They eat trees, drink ink and burn airtime. They come loaded with dangerous hostages to fortune and yet they are regarded as indispensable. They cause no end of angst for party leaders during the build-up to elections and massive trouble after them."
Labour sex offence review
BBC home affairs correspondent June Kelly tells BBC News that Labour's pledge to let alleged victims of sexual offences challenge police would apply to complaints to the police that weren't passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Labour has said there were 16,300 rapes reported to the police in 2012-13, and 6,400 were passed to the CPS. "Labour have made much of the fact that, they say, that victims need to have a stronger voice," she says.
Quote Message: Tory IHT cut cannily designed. By paying for it with cut to pension tax relief for the richest, they’ve made it much more politically sellable
Tory IHT cut cannily designed. By paying for it with cut to pension tax relief for the richest, they’ve made it much more politically sellable
Tax policies 'deeply depressing'
BBC Radio 4
"The debate around tax this election has been really deeply depressing," says Paul Johnson, director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies. He says the Conservatives and Labour are "ruling out whole hosts of relatively straightforward ways of increasing tax, talking about raising tax from some other group, be they the rich, or the non-doms, or the tax avoiders, but this is all real money and has real effects on the economy, and no sense from anybody about a serious way forward for the tax system".
'Making up tax numbers'
BBC Radio 4
Both the Conservatives and Labour are "making up numbers" as to how much they could recoup from tax evasion and avoidance, Institute of Fiscal Studies director Paul Johnson says. The Conservatives are committed to getting £5bn, Labour £7.5bn. "It's almost impossible to know up front actually what you can achieve from cracking down on avoidance and evasion, and indeed, it's almost impossible to know ex post how much you've got," he says.
Inheritance tax cut 'will drive house prices up'
The Conservative inheritance tax cut proposal would increase the attractiveness for those who can afford it to make an investment in property without dealing with the lack of housing that is pushing house prices up to begin with, Institute of Fiscal Studies director Paul Johnson says. "Anything... which increases the tax privilege associated with an asset like housing will drive the price up in the long run," he says.
Tory inheritance tax change 'small'
BBC Radio 4
Tory plans to cut inheritance tax for some will only affect "a very small proportion of all estates", Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, tells the World This Weekend: "Less than 10% [of estates] pay inheritance tax at all at the moment. This particular change will probably reduce the inheritance tax liabilities of between 20,000 and 30,000 estates each year. That's out of something like half a million people who die each year."
Danny Alexander faces 'tough' fight
BBC Radio 4
Speaking to the World This Weekend, Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander says he acknowledges it will be a "tough" fight for him to hold on to his constituency seat, but that people faced a choice between Scottish nationalists who wanted to go to Westminster to be "disruptive", or Lib Dems, who had "battled hard for their constituents". "Clearly I want everyone in my constituency to vote for me," he says.
Burnham on Tory NHS pledge
From BBC North West reporter Stuart Flinders - Labour is refusing to match the Conservatives' promise to increase spending on the NHS by £8bn by 2020.
Speaking on the Sunday Politics North West, Labour's health spokesman, Andy Burnham, said his party was sticking to its commitment to spend an extra £2.5bn right after the General Election.
But he dismissed the Tory promise as a cheque that will probably bounce.The Liberal Democrats have already pledged an extra £8bn.
Farron: Cable 'stonking good'
Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty Images
The former president of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron - who is seen as a potential successor to Nick Clegg - has praised Business Secretary Vince Cable as a "stonking good leader" on the Sunday Politics North West, even though Mr Cable recently dismissed Mr Farron's own chances of leading the Lib Dems. Last month, he questioned Tim Farron's credibility and competence. Mr Farron insists that currently he's concentrating only on his party's election campaign.
Quote Message: Farage tells @SkyNews 'stakes very high' in Thanet: 'In some ways that's my fault for saying if I don't win I will quit as leader of Ukip'
Farage tells @SkyNews 'stakes very high' in Thanet: 'In some ways that's my fault for saying if I don't win I will quit as leader of Ukip'
Analysis from Carole Walker (part 2 of 2)
Conservative campaign correspondent
The announcement [on inheritance tax] is likely to appeal to middle class voters,
particularly in London and the South East. But it also opens the Conservatives
to the charge they are helping the wealthy. David Cameron’s team deny
this – pointing out that it will be paid for by reducing pension tax relief for
high earners and that many ordinary families now have to pay the tax. It is however a marked contrast to the promises from Labour
and the Liberal Democrats to impose a “mansion tax” on expensive properties.
Analysis from Carole Walker (part 1 of 2)
Conservative campaign correspondent
David Cameron will be hoping his pledge to take the family home out of inheritance tax will galvanise his campaign in a week which will be critical for his prospects of staying in power. When George Osborne promised to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1m at his party conference back in 2007, he delivered a huge boost to Tory morale and put Gordon Brown off holding a snap election. Subsequent promises to take more people out of the tax have not been delivered. The threshold has been frozen since 2009 and rising property prices have dragged tens of thousands more families into the inheritance tax net. His opponents are already questioning whether voters will believe this latest promise.
Quote Message: David Cameron has brief chat with voters not vetted by party - a rare occurrence on campaign
David Cameron has brief chat with voters not vetted by party - a rare occurrence on campaign
Carole WalkerCopyright: Carole Walker
The benefit cap
Nicola Sturgeon says removing the benefits cap is “not a priority for change”. Jim Murphy says his party has accepted it should stay at the current level. Ruth Davidson said her party would lower it to £23k. Willie Rennie says the Lib Dems will keep the benefit cap as it is.
The last five years
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson defends her government's record on the economy, pointing to economic growth and more employment. But Jim Murphy (pictured above) says for so many people it's been "a bloody awful five years".
Quote Message: 'As often is the case, Nicola makes a dreadful point in a reasonable way'. Zinger from Jim Murphy
'As often is the case, Nicola makes a dreadful point in a reasonable way'. Zinger from Jim Murphy
The battle north of the border
The Sunday Politics Scotland studio is seeing what commentators call "robust debate": lots of people talking over one another trying to make their point.
'Sums don't add up'
The Conservatives' Scottish leader Ruth Davidson says the SNP are trying to blame the Conservative Party because Nicola Sturgeon's "sums don't add up". Jim Murphy, Labour's leader in Scotland, says the first minister is "entitled to her own opinion but not her own facts". He says for Nicola Sturgeon's plans to work, Scotland would have to grow at twice the projected rate of the rest of the "advanced world".
"This is about fairness. The fact is there are thousands and thousands of people who have been dragged into the tax who were never meant to pay it."
Inheritance tax is right for the highest earners but not for people on modest or middle incomes, he argues.
Sturgeon: 'Project fear' revived
In a leaders' debate on the Sunday Politics Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon says this week saw the "Project Fear" of the Westminster parties - that she alleges debuted during the independence referendum -being "revived". Asked how she would cover a budget shortfall of £7.6bn in the event Scotland was given full fiscal autonomy, as she desires, she says such autonomy would come over the course of a parliament and new powers would give the Scottish government different ways of growing the country's economy to raise more money - she says borrowing is one method.
Quote Message: The UKIP leader @Nigel_Farage out talking to people around Ramsgate harbour this morning.
The UKIP leader @Nigel_Farage out talking to people around Ramsgate harbour this morning.
Rick Nye of the polling organisation Populus says the parties are locked neck-and-neck in the overall polling picture, despite attempts by parties to notice and promote an improvement in the polls. Speaking about Labour, he says Ed Miliband's party has an "extremely bad" forecast in Scotland - a situation which will have a profound impact on the overall UK result.
Alexander on inheritance tax
When asked by Andrew Neil whether the Lib
Dems would block George Osborne's inheritance tax proposals if they ended up
back in coalition together, Danny Alexander responded: "I think it's just the wrong priority Andrew.
Our focus at the moment has to be cutting taxes for working people". When pushed on whether the Lib Dems would
block it, Mr Alexander said: "I'm saying I strongly disagree with
it." The Lib Dems' priority "is further increases in the income tax personal allowance". He adds: "We've stopped things in this parliament including cuts to inheritance tax for
Jack Blanchard, Deputy Political Editor, Daily Mirror
Quote Message: Andrew Neil to Tory Treasury Minister David Gauke: "So tell me. Where is this magic money tree you've just found?"
Andrew Neil to Tory Treasury Minister David Gauke: "So tell me. Where is this magic money tree you've just found?"
'One of the dirtiest campaigns'
BBC Radio 5 Live
UKIP's Neil Hamilton claims that no-one in politics has endured much more abuse than him.
He said his party leader, Nigel Farage, announced ahead of the general election campaign that he "feared it was going to be one of the dirtiest".
Andrew Neil asks David Gauke if the Conservatives would junk many of their policies if the UK entered another recession, as the plans are contingent on continued growth. Mr Gauke says the government is working on the basis of independent growth forecasts.
Personal... but 'factual'
BBC Radio 5 Live
Conservative Treasury Minister Priti Patel tells 5Live's Pienaar's Politics that she doesn't like personal attacks in political campaigns.
Ms Patel argues that "it's factual as well", given Ed Miliband's leadership contest with his brother.
She concedes that campaigns can get "divisive and hostile" which can put people off.
Action on inheritance tax needed
Conservative Financial Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke says the next few years will see a doubling of the proportion of households "dragged into inheritance tax" unless the government takes action. He doesn't accept that the policy announcement implies the Conservatives are the party of the rich - he says his party believes inheritance tax has become much broader than it was ever supposed to be.
Quote Message: On #bbcsp now - Danny Alexander doesn't say concretely he would block IHT [inheritance tax] plan from Osborne. Can only imagine Lib Dem sighs
On #bbcsp now - Danny Alexander doesn't say concretely he would block IHT [inheritance tax] plan from Osborne. Can only imagine Lib Dem sighs
Greater government efficiencies
Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander tells the Sunday Politics that £10bn of the further £12bn in government cuts his party would need to make in order to eliminate the deficit by 2017/18 would mostly fall from lowering the running costs of government, rather than more trimming of specific departmental budgets.
Joey Essex 'not to meet David Cameron'
BBC Radio 5 Live
Reality TV star Joey Essex, who has been filming a documentary series for ITV where he meets various politicians, has said he won't get to meet the prime minister. "It's a shame - I'm not meeting David Cameron. I've met everyone else, out of the MPs. I did really want to meet him, but it's not happening... I am a bit gutted." However, he adds: "I can't say he's not reem." Earlier in the interview he had explained: "'Reem' just means nice, beautiful, everything good in one word."
Where will the knife fall?
Nick Clegg is asked from where the departmental cuts of £12bn over the next two years under his party's plans would come. He says this is actually less drastic than that which has already happened, as it is doing over two years what has already been done in one. Asked also why voters should trust him given that he broke his previous promise on tuition fees, he says that voters should look at the balance of Lib Dem 2010 manifesto policies that have been enacted under this coalition.
Is one party 'less wrong'?
Nick Clegg is asked whether recent promises from Labour and the Conservatives - which he has criticised - make him believe one is more economically literate and a better coalition partner. But he sidesteps it by saying "just because both of them are wrong on the economy doesn't mean that one of them is less wrong that the other." Does he support the Conservatives' plan to cut inheritance tax? No - and according to him it shows that the Tories are a party in panic, having realised "they're not going to win".
Quote Message: @JoeyEssex_ reveals David Cameron is only party leader to have turned down interview. "I’ve only just found out today… I’m a bit gutted"
@JoeyEssex_ reveals David Cameron is only party leader to have turned down interview. "I’ve only just found out today… I’m a bit gutted"
Tory: £8bn for NHS 'can be done'
There is a perceived problem with pledging to pour money into the NHS while continuing to slash public sector spending elsewhere, Conservative transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin is challenged. "We've done it over the past five years, that's what I would point out," Mr McLoughlin tells John Pienaar. "We've also cut departmental spending over the past five years, apart from the protected departments... being the health, being education schools budgets. So yes, it can be done."
The deficit has been such a familiar topic of political discussion in the last five years - but David Laws has a promise for that period: "Once the deficit has been cleared, we will allow public spending to grow in line with the economy."
'Demonstrably fair' spending plans
For the £27bn of additional "fiscal tightening" needed to eliminate the deficit by 2017/18 after taking into account Lib Dem spending plans, David Laws outlines the following:
Changes to the tax system leading to £5bn in additional revenue and £7bn in money gained from cracking down on tax avoidance
Changes to the welfare system lead to £3bn in savings
Reductions in departmental expenditure of £12bn by 2017/18 - a target he says they can meet while still protecting health, education, and foreign aid
Quote Message: I've never done a selfie before but I'm making an exception for @JoeyEssex_ who is joining me now on @bbc5live
I've never done a selfie before but I'm making an exception for @JoeyEssex_ who is joining me now on @bbc5live
'Top tax rate was lower under Labour'
The Conservative Party is portrayed by Labour as just catering to the needs of the rich, Conservative transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin tells John Pienaar on Radio 5 live, but: "the simple fact is, they [Labour] were in government for 156 months, thirteen years... In that 156 months, the top rate of tax was 40%. It went up for one month to 50%.We've had a higher [top] rate of tax over our period of government."
Clegg: Next two years 'won't be easy'
Nick Clegg says: "I can't promise you that the next two years will be easy. I wish I could." But, he adds, there is still a job to finish. You've heard the next part before: "The only way to continue the balanced approach that the coalition has taken is to put the Liberal Democrats back into government." The Lib Dems would cut less than the Tories, and borrow less than Labour. Up next: David Laws will spell out more of the detail on the party's plans.
Quote Message: Nick Clegg says there is no way the Tories can cut further £12 billion from benefits without hurting children and the disabled
Nick Clegg says there is no way the Tories can cut further £12 billion from benefits without hurting children and the disabled
Tory promises 'would make Gordon Brown shudder'
In what many Conservatives must think of as the ultimate insult, Nick Clegg says his coalition partner's pledges on public spending are unfunded to such a degree that they would "make Gordon Brown shudder". The Lib Dem leader then turns his attention to Labour, who he says have been vague on their financial plans, and have refused to take responsibility for what he alleges were the previous government's failures in economic policy. He has a line for them too: Labour would "play Russian roulette your family's future".
'UK can afford inheritance tax cut'
Quote Message: What we are laying out is we can do this, we have a growing economy, and that we can afford to do this. We've been very specific about where this is coming from. This is being done by stopping people who are earning over £150,000 relieving the tax relief as to what they can pay into their pension." from Patrick McLoughlin Transport Secretary
What we are laying out is we can do this, we have a growing economy, and that we can afford to do this. We've been very specific about where this is coming from. This is being done by stopping people who are earning over £150,000 relieving the tax relief as to what they can pay into their pension."
Clegg: New spending commitments
Nick Clegg says that "because money is tight", his party will announce only three new public spending commitments before the deficit is cleared in 2017/18 (on current plans). These are:
To continue to raise the personal allowance for income tax
To increase NHS spending
To reform the spare bedroom subsidy (a.k.a. the bedroom tax) so existing social tenants will not lose any housing benefit unless they've been offered reasonable alternative accommodation and refused to take it.
Lib Dem economic pledges
Nick Clegg is currently setting out his party's policy on the deficit and public spending. He kicks off by accusing the other parties of silence on the issue, saying they lack courage.
UKIP's 2020 vision
Sky NewsCopyright: Sky News
UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall denies the wind has been taken out of UKIP's sails. He says what really matters is how UKIP is polling in its target seats, and in those areas he claims his party is actually doing better since the general election campaign proper started. He talks about UKIP's "2020 vision" - planting seeds in constituencies with second-place finishes now, and building toward a much broader campaign in five years' time.
'Storm in a coffee cup'
Dermot Murnaghan suggests to Yvette Cooper that a mug which features Labour's vow to introduce "controls on immigration" has raised the eyebrows of a few senior figures, including Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna. But she refuses to be drawn on a potential divide at the top of the party - this is a "storm in a coffee cup". She then moves on to setting out the Labour pledges on immigration.
Cooper: £7.5bn haul what we expect
Sky NewsCopyright: Sky News
On Sky News' Murnaghan programme, Yvette Cooper denies Labour is making unreliable predictions about the £7.5bn their plans to crack down on tax avoidance would raise. She says this will be the party's expectations of the Treasury.
Postscript. On the sofa
Harriet Harman says accusing Ed Miliband of being someone who would "stab the country in the back" turns people off politics, at a time when many are already disengaged. But, says Andrew Marr, why is this worse than referring to George Osborne and David Cameron as "posh boys"? Mr Osborne says he personally thinks the campaign is "energising", and is showing that the only real choice is between Labour and the Conservatives.
House of Cards
Kevin Spacey, who plays fictional US president Frank Underwood in TV programme House of Cards, is challenged by BBC presenter Andrew Marr that the show could put people off politics and voting. He rejects that idea.
Frank Underwood is a murderer, an adulterer, and a blackmailer. "It's making them [the audience] really understand politics in ways that they perhaps never have before," Mr Spacey says. "We have clearly tapped into something... we want to feel that it's an accurate depiction of the things and the processes that people go through."
Michael Savage, Chief Political Correspondent, The Times
Quote Message: Andrew Marr had three Shredded Wheat this morning
Andrew Marr had three Shredded Wheat this morning
George Osborne has just referred to "an Ed Miliband-Scottish nationalist government". That sounds like an awfully similar rhetorical strategy to Labour earlier in this parliament trying to convince commentators and media figures to refer to this coalition as a "Tory-led government". The Chancellor tells Andrew Marr that questions about whether or not Ed Miliband "stabbed his brother in the back" are relevant, because it goes directly to the character of the man who would be prime minister.
Quote Message: #Marr asking again and again how George_Osborne will find extra £8bn for NHS. Not getting any answers.
#Marr asking again and again how George_Osborne will find extra £8bn for NHS. Not getting any answers.
£8bn NHS pledge - where's the money?
You've found an extra £8bn for the NHS in the middle of an election campaign, Andrew Marr tells George Osborne. Is this actually funded? The Chancellor says yes - it comes from the "balanced proposal to make savings in government". This government, he says, has already shown the capacity to make efficiencies: "We have to make similar savings for two years as we have for the last five years." Only the Conservatives, the chancellor claims, will provide economic security - and even in this parliament the government has found extra money for the NHS. Andrew Marr doesn't think that quite answers the specifics of his question.
Quote Message: That @HarrietHarman interview with #Marr makes you wonder where Lab would be with a front bench that were similarly fluent/assured
That @HarrietHarman interview with #Marr makes you wonder where Lab would be with a front bench that were similarly fluent/assured
Deputy Prime Minister Harriet Harman?
Andrew Marr asks Harriet Harman if she's been sidelined thus far in the Labour campaign, with "the two Eds" most prominent. Does she expect to be deputy prime minister if Labour win the election? Well, she says, she's shadow deputy prime minister now.
Tory NHS promise 'illusory'
Harriet Harman is predictably scathing about the Conservative announcement yesterday that they would put £8bn more into the NHS. She says this pledge is "illusory", because the Tories are on "a trajectory of extreme spending cuts". She says that these plans, combined with tax cuts in various areas, constitute a "major threat to the NHS".
Farage: 'Drunks should pay for A&E'
People who persistently turn up at A&E after injuring themselves while drunk should be made to pay for treatment, UKIP leader Nigel Farage has
told the Mirror
. It points out that Mr Farage is well known for posing with a pint.
'Not talking to the Liberal Democrats'
After again promising no SNP ministers would serve in a Labour government, Harriet Harman refuses to rule out the prospect of Lib Dems sitting around the Cabinet table. She says: "If we form a government it is open for MPs from other parties to support our programme - that's up to them." And she adds that with weeks to go "you'll forgive me if I make it absolutely clear beyond peradventure we are not talking to Liberal Democrats, we are not doing deals with Liberal Democrats". She wants a majority, of course.
The Scottish forecast
You'll recall Andrew Marr was the BBC's political editor before he occupied his current spot on the Sunday sofa, and says making a prediction about a closely-fought general election is folly. However, he adds, he can see no circumstance in which the SNP will not do "spectacularly well".
Quote Message: Greens' Natalie Bennett getting a little tied in knots on #marr about banning the Grand National. Or not.
Greens' Natalie Bennett getting a little tied in knots on #marr about banning the Grand National. Or not.
Coalition red (or Green) lines
Andrew Marr asks Natalie Bennett what her non-negotiable conditions would be to lend Green support to any larger party in a potential coalition. She mentions no policy specifically, but reiterates that her party is "anti-austerity", and wants to ensure the best deal for the "poor and disadvantaged".
'Complete review' of animal sports
Would Natalie Bennett ban the Grand National? She says her party wants a "complete review" of animal protection issues - including in horse racing.
'Undue focus on deficit'
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett tells Andrew Marr there has been an "undue focus on the deficit, and less of a thought out consideration of the kind of society we need to have". Their manifesto - to be released next week - will, she says, spell out how the deficit would be reduced over the term of the next parliament. Her party today has announced they would introduce a 60p rate of income tax for people earning more than £150,000.
Quote Message: On Sunday politics East at 1130 we are live in Clacton with all the main candidates. What's happened since the by-election?
On Sunday politics East at 1130 we are live in Clacton with all the main candidates. What's happened since the by-election?
The Mail on Sunday's Peter Hitchens says that by raising the question of an SNP tail wagging a UK dog - and also the fate of Trident - the Conservatives have made it quite plain that the only operating majority they could really rely on is a "grand coalition" with Labour. Something, he says, that people should be asked about.
The Andrew Marr Show
And we're off. Andrew Marr will shortly be hearing from Harriet Harman and George Osborne, as well as Green leader leader Natalie Bennett - plus reviewing the papers with Lesley Riddoch and Peter Hitchens.
Quote Message: YouGov has two parties tied, Miliband way behind Cameron and Fallon remarks regarded as not cricket. https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/04/12/conservatives-and-labour-tied/ …
YouGov has two parties tied, Miliband way behind Cameron and Fallon remarks regarded as not cricket. https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/04/12/conservatives-and-labour-tied/ …
Ed Davey: Policy funding 'about values'
How policies are paid for shows the values of political parties, Lib Dem energy secretary Ed Davey tells BBC News. "The Conservatives want to pay for their policies, tax breaks for the better-off, on the backs of the working poor, people on low and middle incomes, and the disabled. We don't think that's a very good value for our society. And the Labour Party want to borrow so much, they're actually asking future generations to pay."
Lib Dem 'huge detail' on balancing the books
The Liberal Democrats will be publishing "in huge detail" how they will fund their manifesto policies later this morning, Lib Dem energy secretary Ed Davey told BBC News. "How we're going fund our investment in NHS and in the schools, how we're going to fund our tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes, and how we're going to balance the books as well. I think we're the only party coming out with the detail that the public need. The challenge today will be to the Conservatives and Labour to come clean on how they're going to fund their policies."
BCC Radio 5 Live, 10:00 - 12:00 GMT
Press AssociationCopyright: Press Association
Reality TV star Joey Essex has been travelling in the unfamiliar pastures of political news this past week, as he met different party leaders in a bid to learn more about politics. He joins the BBC's John Pienaar this morning - alongside campaigning politicians, including:Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin; Shadow Leader of the House Angela Eagle; Treasury minister Priti Patel; Labour's Gareth Thomas; Simon Hughes of the Lib Dems; the Green Party's Caroline Lucas; and former Tory MP turned UKIP supporter Neil Hamilton.
Greens announce 60% tax on high earners
The Greens have announced plans to raise the top rate of income tax to 60% for the top 1% of earners. The tax rate for high earners stands at 45%. "For too long now the economy in this country has worked for those at the top, while failing everyone else," says Green leader Natalie Bennett.
11:00 GMT, BBC One
European Photopress AgencyCopyright: European Photopress Agency
Stepping into the ring with Andrew Neil this morning will be Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury, who's facing a tough battle to retain his own seat. He'll be joined by his departmental colleague David Gauke, the Conservative financial secretary to the Treasury, and Rick Nye of the polling organisation Populus.
The Andrew Marr Show
09:00 GMT, BBC One
Political junkies will want to stay glued to the telly today - the wealth of interviews begins at 9am with Andrew Marr talking to George Osborne, Harriet Harman, and Natalie Bennett. Kevin Spacey, who plays the cynical political operator Frank Underwood on Netflix's House of Cards, will also be appearing - perhaps he can give the others some tips on how to turn this closely-fought campaign on its head...
Tory inheritance pledge
BBC Radio 4
Political correspondent Carole Walker says that David Cameron had wanted to act on inheritance tax "for a long, long time". "Today, he'll claim that a future Conservative government would take the family home out of inheritance tax. The current threshold for the tax is £325,000 per person. The Conservatives' plan is to introduce a new family home allowance for those who pass on their property to their children, which would increase that threshold to £500,000, or £1m per couple."
Later on this morning, party leader Nick Clegg is to spell out how the Lib Dems would balance the books when in government, by cutting spending and raising taxes, political correspondent Adam Fleming tells Radio 5 live. "Their plan, as they put it, is to borrow less than Labour, and cut less than the Tories."
Premier League TV rights
Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty Images
Labour has promised to "get tough" on how much TV rights money the Premier League must share with grassroots football. The Premier League is supposed to give 5% of its TV rights cash to local sports clubs and facilities, but out of £5bn raised from TV rights in 2013 -16, only £168m has gone to communities, Labour says. "If the Tory government had made sure they kept to this [5%] promise the Premier League would have invested £423m in grassroots sport during the last five years," says Clive Efford, Labour's shadow sports minister.
The Sunday Times is leading with the Conservative pledge to raise the threshold of inheritance tax to £1m, and in another article, points out that Bank of England governor Mark Carney has non-dom tax status so would be affected by a Labour plan to abolish the status. The Sunday Telegraph also leads on the Tory plan to cut inheritance tax, and has a story that 'stealth' grey speed cameras would be scrapped by the Tories or painted yellow by Labour. The Daily Mail leads on inheritance tax, while The Observer looks at Labour's pledge to crack down on tax avoidance.
Hello there. It should be an interesting and busy day today. The Conservatives are to announce a cut in inheritance tax, while Labour has promised a crackdown on tax avoidance with a target of recovering at least £7.5bn per year. It also wants to give people who've suffered rape and other sexual offences the right to challenge decisions by the police not to prosecute suspects.