David Cameron pledges to create 50,000 apprenticeships using fines imposed on Deutsche Bank for its involvement in the rate-fixing scandal.
The prime minister will announce on Tuesday that he wants to spend the revenue from new interest-rate manipulation penalties on training young people over the next three years.
The £200m cost of the scheme will come from the Deutsche Bank fine.
Earlier this month, the bank was fined $2.5bn (£1.66bn) by US and UK regulators for trying to manipulate Libor and Euribor inter-bank rates.
Under existing Conservative policy, 18-21-year-olds who have been unemployed for six months will have to choose between an apprenticeship or doing daily community work.
The latest scheme will create an extra 50,000 apprenticeships – on top of the three million the Tories are already committed to generating – over the next three years.
An emergency “stability budget” within the first 50 days of the next parliament will be a Liberal Democrat red line in any post-election deal.
Nick Clegg‘s demand would effectively veto the Tory plan to cut £12bn from the welfare budget to balance the books if the Lib Dems teamed up with the Conservatives again.
If the Lib Dems were in coalition with Labour, the demand would impose a timetable on Ed Miliband and Ed Balls to deal with the deficit.
The move follows Mr Clegg’s decision to start explicitly setting out the terms the Lib Dems would demand in any deal after 7 May.
He has already declared that a commitment to increase the education budget to keep pace with rising prices and the growth in pupil numbers will be a “no ifs, no buts” red line.
Figure of 0.3 per cent growth is the lowest since 2012 and reflects a big dip in construction.
The figures show that construction sector fell by 1.6%, production by 0.1 per cent and agriculture by 0.2 per cent.
The service sector, a traditionally strong sector for Britain, grew by 0.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2015.
Overall the economy grew by 0.3 per cent, according to the latest official figures, half the rate of the previous quarter representing a sharp drop.
George Osborne has said that the figures show that Britain’s economy is at a critical moment and that it’s future sucess is “on the ballot paper” next week.
However the downturn less than two weeks before an election will be a concern for the Chancellor who has been campaigning hard on his own economic record in the belief that Labour are weak on the issue.
Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander said that the change was due to “volatile construction data” showing a “big dip” but that the underlying figures show “solid progress across the wider economy”.
And Dr Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight said that both David Cameron and Nick Clegg will be concerned about the impact the results could have on their election campaigns.
He said: “Given that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are hoping that many undecided voters will ultimately decide to vote for them due to their management of the economy, this marked slowdown in growth is particularly unwelcome news coming just over a week before the general election.”
The TUC is unimpressed saying the figures show that the “slowest recovery in modern history just slowed down again”. They say the results will be reflected in “jobs and living standards”.
Siobhan is about to interview the Chancellor, George Osborne, minutes after this morning’s disappointing GDP figures have been announced.
She points out that these figures are lower than expected and also reveal that business services and finance which has been averaging steady growth of 1 per cent over the past four quarters is now down to just 0.1 per cent.
We’ll bring you breaking news of her chat when they wrap up.
Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, has said that the Conservatives have spent months “patting themselves on the back” but that the figures show that the economy is “not fixed”.
He said: “Tory economic policy may be helping a few at the top but for most people bills have gone up faster than wages, which are down £1600 a year since 2010.
“And now these disappointing figures show economic growth slowing down too. The Tories just don’t understand that Britain only succeeds when working people succeed.
“Working families can’t afford another five years of the Tories. Labour’s better plan will put working people first, make our economy stronger and ensure the recovery reaches everyone in every part of the country.”
He says Labour’s plan will create higher living standards, raise the minimum wafe, cut business rates and expand free childcare.
David Cameron has confirmed that he does not own a pair of red trousers or a pair of “chunky corduroys” and makes sure he doesn’t change the way he speaks.
The Conservative leader was quizzed on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour about whether he suffers “inverted snobbery” from people who think he went to inaccessible schools and spends time with an elite group of people.
Mr Cameron, who went to Eton and then Oxford, said that he “wouldn’t say I suffer” and that he was “proud” of his “loving parents” who sent him to the best schools they knew.
However, he admitted, he did wonder if his full name was “the Old Etonian David Cameron” for a while.
Pushed on the negative image that his “Chipping Norton set”, a group of influential people in the media and politics who live in Mr Cameron’s constinuency of Whitney, creates for his public persona Mr Cameron said that he did not think voters “obsess” about his image.
However he was quick to establish that he does not own the “raspberry” coloured trousers that are assocated with a certain social class in Britain.
So much so that a popular blog was launched to track the regularity of their appearances in certain circles. A blog Mr Cameron won’t be appearing on
Today’s GDP figures are obviously disappointing for the Coalition parties, but don’t assume that he political effect is good news for Labour.
Gross Domestic Product grew by just 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of this year, compared with 0.6 per cent for the final qurter of 2014. This is the slowest rate of growth in more than two years. Experts had predicted 0.5 or 0.6 per cent.
In one way, of course, the new figure undermines David Cameron and George Osborne’s claims to have achieved economic recovery. But I’m not sure Labour might benefit that much in extra votes, if at all.
On the contrary, voters may conclude that amid greater uncertainty, it’s even more important to stick with the devil they know.
On the day disappointing GDP figures indicate that the recovery could be slowing George Osborne says that Britain is operating in an “unstable world”.
Siobhan Kennedy interviews the chancellor.
In 2011, Ed was in an Asda in Castleford when an aide urged him to search Twitter for an article mentioning him. The result was that the shadow chancellor, a novice twitter user at the time, tweeted out his own name.
Since then April 28 has been Ed Balls Day.
And each year since that day Ed Balls has marked the day by tweeting “Ed Balls”.
However, it seems, Ed Balls is a stickler for procedure, it seems. He says that he is not planning of officially making the day until 4.20pm, when the original Tweet was sent.
We’re told that many voters in England have been so impressed by Nicola Sturgeon’s performances that they keep asking whether they can vote for the SNP.
No is the usual answer, as the SNP isn’t standing in any English seats. But it need not necessarily be so.
Indeed, one of the longest serving MPs in Parliamentary history was TP O’Connor who was Father of the House, having sat from 1885 to 1929 as MP for (with double irony) the Liverpool Scotland constituency. Having previous sat as MP for Galway in Ireland, he ended up as Father of the House, having been an MP for very nearly 50 years. (There’s a bust of O’Connor in Fleet Street, honouring his other distinguished career as a journalist).
Needless to say, Liverpool Scotland was a seat with thousands of Irish immigrants. I’m not sure there are any seats nowadays which quite so strongly Scottish. The best cases might be Corby and one or two seats in the old Nottinghamshire coalfield, such as Sherwood. In the post-war years Scottish steelworkers and miners were encouraged to come and work in the steelworks and coal-mines of the East Midlands.
Nonetheless, in this election, voters in some Yorkshire seats will be allowed to vote for a party which is at least allied to the SNP. The Yorkshire First party is led by Diana Wallis, a former leader of the Liberal Democrat MEPs in the European Parliament.
In an idle moment last night I wonder what might happen if the SNP did actually stand in the rest of the UK. And supposing the very unlikely happened and the SNP won a majority of seats in England, Wales and Northern Ireland? Might that not that be the best way to preserve the union? All four countries could then leave the UK together.
Earlier today a YouGov poll also put the Conservatives one point ahead.
This is not a final judgement. Tweet me with better ones,
Ed Balls will be with us tonight on Channel 4 News at 7pm to celebrate Ed Balls Day… and talk about GDP figures.
Channel 4 News economics producer Neil Macdonald explains why there is no avoiding the fact that today’s growth figures are a disappointment.
City forecasters were expecting the economy to expand by 0.5 per cent in the first three months of the year. Pessimists thought it might be just 0.4 per cent. In fact, the economy couldn’t manage even that – growing by just 0.3 per cent.
The government might say that at least there’s still some growth – but the problem for the chancellor is that he has a bit of form when it comes to GDP disappointments.
The coalition had been hoping these disappointments were behind it, read why this might not be the case here.
On the fine cobbled streets of South Queensferry the scaffolders have stopped work. Two studenty types are running, smartphones at the ready.
For has descended :
“D’you want a wee selfie?”
asks the SNP leader and before the woman has the chance to answer her, her camera roll contains The Most Dangerous Woman In Britain (copyright D Mail) and her smiling away in selfiedom.
“These photographers know the one real aversion have is to dogs,” she smiles at two Dalmatians.
Then for several minutes TMDWIB, Dalmatians, their owners and Forth Bridge smile and point for the snappers, TV and yes – yes I say – voters amazed to see her here.
In a UK election where Cameron, Clegg and Miliband appear terrified of actually meeting a voter, in Scotland they best her gifts and want selfies from the second her red stilettos hit the cobbles.
It really is that different.
This is celebrity politics with ultra-access because TMDWIB clearly wants to selfie The Entire Scottish Electorate And Their Babies.
She does not miss a trick.
I notice she is talking to a journalist with a cup of tea.
“Is that all you’re getting for lunch?” I ask TMDWIB.
She finishes the tea:
“It is Alex, but you know what, it’s a lovely cup – hot for once. And there – look – you can have the biscuit even though I’m starving.”
She hands it to me and she’s away off.
The Labour leader has told ITV Wales why he has recorded an interview with Mr Brand who has recommended that young people shouldn’t bother to vote.
Mr Miliband says that there are millions of people who “aren’t watching or engaging with this election” and this was a chance to meet these people.
Although he won’t tell us whether Mr Brand is endorsing him for PM – he wants us to watch the interview at 4pm for that.
He said: “He asked me for an interview, and I’ve given him an interview. And the reason I did it is because there are millions of people who I think aren’t watching or engaging with this election, millions of people who may not vote, and Russell Brand is one of the people who’s said in the past that he doesn’t think voting makes a difference.
“And I’m going to take the argument to anyone, anywhere, to show that we can make a difference, that voting does make a difference.”
Meanwhile Nigel Farage has also waded into the row now, describing him as “shameful” and a “negative influence on British politics”: “I had the delight of meeting Russell Brand and sharing a platform with him on Question Time. We were slightly delayed getting the programme started as the make-up artist combed his chest hair.
“That suggested he had a slightly different set of priorities than I do. I think Russell Brand is an entirely negative influence on British politics. I think to say to young people ‘you should not vote’ is shameful.
“He has a lot of followers [on social media], he is a big celeb and he has been very successful in his own field but to say to young people don’t engage in the political process, it is all waste of time?
“Goodness me, people fought and died so we could be a democratic country, women chained themselves to railings so they could get the vote and here comes a celeb saying to impressionable youth it is not worth engaging with this process. I really think that is wrong.”
Jon and his team have taken to the streets of Glasgow to hear what the locals have to say about David Cameron’s comments that there are now ten days to save the Union.
He said Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, wants the “best for Scotland and the rest of the UK can go hang”, what do voters think?
They spend their time folding leaflets, knocking on doorsteps and some even take to real life trolling of their opponents events. So I couldn’t resist asking the youth party leaders – “aren’t you just a little bit weird…?” “We’re probably seen as geeks, I’m not going to lie” says Alex Harding, Chair of Liberal Democrat Youth.
All seven of the youth party leaders are deeply passionate and clearly very committed to their respective parties – Chris Glendinning from SNP youth told me he’s sitting exams in the next five days, Alexandra Paterson from the Conservatives almost cheerily said she’d be spending more time with party activists than her family during the campaign period.
But contrast that to most people of their age, few now join political parties and in fact at the last election in 2010, nearly 6 out of 10 young people (aged 18-24) didn’t even vote at all. That doesn’t mean they’re not interested in politics at all. I’ve met so many younger voters who are politically engaged, opinionated and yet frustrated that the ‘mainstream’ doesn’t seem to be offering the kinds of policies they seek.
No doubt, some of the young leaders will end up as MPs, cabinet ministers and perhaps one even might make it to the very top job. But can a new generation of political leaders offer something different? Or are they in danger of just repeating the same party political messaging, which turns off so many young voters? I’ll let you decide – watch the full debate tonight on All4 – at 8pm and tweet along with #youthleaders
Russell Brand has released a teaser of his interview with Ed Miliband. If he is about to endorse, as Mr Miliband has refused to rule out, Mr Brand is keeping schtum about it for now
Instead, in the short clip, the pair discuss the tax affairs of large corporations. Ed Miliband says that people “share you outrage” over it, and that it is isn’t easy.
The only other thing of not is that the pair appear very close and very animated on Russell Brand’s sofa. We await the full interview.
It’s the dog that hasn’t yet barked. The decision to hold an in/out EU referendum has split British business down the middle, but so far the issue is yet to make its mark in the general election campaign.
Tonight we hear from two British bosses, the man who runs Dulux in the UK and the owner of SilverCross, pram-maker to the royal family.
Matt Pullen of Dulux says Brexit will cause it untold pain: higher tariffs, less skilled labour and changes to already complex regulation.
But SilverCross’s Alan Halsall is urging British business to be bold. Snatch back powers from Brussels and secure the real free trade that was promised when Britain joined Europe in 1975. And if that can’t be done, step proudly towards to the door marked exit.
Both sides are using exactly the same facts to make the opposite argument. Can they both be right?
But is he Labour’s new secret weapon? Michael Crick finds out:
The prime minister says he has 10 days to save the United Kingdom from the clutches of Nicola Sturgeon.
If the Tories don’t win an outright majority next week, Britain will end up with a weak Labour government propped up by the SNP, David Cameron says.
But is Britain really on course for another power-sharing government dominated by the SNP?
Jon Snow finds out what people on the streets of Glasgow think:
Children’s author Katie Grant, a firm believer of the union, tells Jon Snow that David Cameron is in danger of alienating Scotland by equating it to the SNP.
Musician Pat Kane – one half of the pop duo Hue and Cry, and a campaigner for independence, says that Westminster are using apocalyptic rhetoric to demonise independence.
But what does the future of Scotland hold?
In an online exclusive, seven youth party leaders went up against each other as they tackle the key issues for young voters in the Youth Leaders’ Debate.
But what did young people think of the debate?
However, it was not all positive…