Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

Mr David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said in a speech that 'in five years' time the interest we are paying on our debt is predicted to be 'around £70 billion'; this meant that of 'every single pound you pay in tax, ten pence would be spent on interest'. Decisions on how to reduce the deficit 'will affect every single person in our country', he said.

Mr George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, asked the public for ideas on public-spending cuts. Mr Osborne is to establish a so-called 'star chamber' before which departmental ministers will be required to justify their budgets. The new Office for Budgetary Responsibility is to produce its first independent assessment of financial forecasts on Monday. Fitch, the ratings agency, said that Britain needed to cut its deficit more quickly than the previous government set out in the Budget this April. The pound fell. Lord Myners, the City minister in the last government, said in the Lords: 'There is nothing progressive about a government that consistently spends more than it can raise in taxation.' Sir Terry Leahy, the chief executive of Tesco for 13 years, announced he would stand down in 2011. Tesco shares fell ninepence. BA cabin crew held their third five-day strike. Mr Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, said the government rejected 'pay as you throw' charges on dustbins, favouring the implanting of chips in dustbins to allocate vouchers to their owners according to the amount they recycled. Lady Thatcher visited Mr Cameron at 10 Downing Street.

Inquests began into the deaths of 12 people, including his twin brother, shot dead in west Cumbria by Derrick Bird, aged 52, who then shot himself. During hustings for the Labour party leadership contest, at the GMB union's annual conference, Miss Diane Abbott, who received enough nomintions to enter the next round, attacked the 'phoney populism' of blaming immigrants for driving down pay; Mr David Miliband, Mr Ed Miliband, Mr John McDonnell and Mr Andy Burnham were there too. Mr McDonnell failed to receive enough nominations. Mr Ed Balls, the other candidate, had blamed Mr Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister, whom he had told to start 'talking about immigration, in the last year and a half '. Foreign spouses unable to speak English would no longer be admitted to Britain, Mrs Theresa May, the Home Secretary, announced. Two Algerians died when a police car left the road in St Albans. …

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