PMQs podcast now online

If you missed the fiery exchanges at Prime Minister’s Questions today, don’t worry, just click the play button above.

PMQs podcast coming soon

Did you miss PMQs? Quite a fiery one today! The latest PMQs podcast will be online from 5:00pm.

Unions cashing in on Labour party funding?

Do have the millions that the CWU pump into the Labour party finally paid off? If this story of a 6.9% rise over 3 years is to believed then the answer is yes. An end to beer and sandwiches at Number 10? Maybe everyone should start to worry about what other deals have been done in return for the Unions bankrolling the Labour party.

Latest Seven Days Show podcast with Iain Dale online

The latest Seven Days Show podcast (episode 15) is now online.

In the latest episode we discussed the issue of Lord Ashcroft and whether it will be an issue come election time; Brown’s appearance in front of the Chilcot inquiry and why he can be pleased with his performance (though others may not be); Peter Bingle and his comments on the Tory Campaign; the Leaders debates and whether they are a positive thing; and finally MP’s and their wives/husbands/partners.

Subscribe to Tory Radio on Itunes here

PMQs podcast now online

Did you miss William Hague standing in for David Cameron – because Brown was too busy for Prime Minister’s Questions? Not to worry. Click the play button above to listen to the full podcast of all the action.

Huge black hole in Council Pensions

The Taxpayers Alliance has conducted some research published today which highlights the awful state that council pensions schemes are in – with a headline deficit figure of £53 billion.

The full report  features specific data for each local authority in England, Wales and Scotland, and warns of the severe costs which will be incurred if the Scheme continues unreformed.

In February 2009, the TPA revealed that LGPS employer pension contributions alone were costing the equivalent of £1 in every £5 of council tax. One year on, this new report demonstrates that on top of that huge cost now, the Scheme is storing up large costs for the future, too.

The full report can be read online here.

Key findings include:

* Councils across the UK had a combined pension deficit of £53 billion in 2008-09. This is up from nearly £42 billion in 2007-08 – an increase of 27 per cent.

* According to council’s own actuarial estimates, the value of council pension assets fell by more than £21 billion during 2008-09 – a loss of 20 per cent on the previous year.

* Birmingham City Council had the largest deficit in 2008-09 – £1.05 billion.

* 15 councils had a deficit of over £500 million in 2008-09, up from 10 councils in 2007-08.

Tory Radio took the opportunity to talk to John O’Connell the author of the report, and you can listen to the podcast by clicking the play button at the top of this post.

No Salmond in the leaders debate?

Much dismay was expressed when I suggested Alex Salmond should not appear as part of the leaders debate on this blog. Apparently broadcasters have agreed the rules – yet no mention of Salmond? Is it because they will be labelled Prime Ministerial debates as suggested in some quarters – and as Salmond has no chance of being PM he can be excluded?

Oh dear. Expect further annoyance on this from the SNP camp.

Exclusive analysis of latest ComRes Poll

Andrew Hawkins, CEO of ComRes has just recorded a podcast on the latest ComRes poll for the Independent which shows the Conservative Party’s lead has dropped from seven to five points in the past month. It suggests Labour would have 17 more seats than the Conservatives in a hung parliament.

To listen to the podcast click the play button above.

The survey puts the Tories on 37 per cent (down one point since last month), Labour on 32 per cent (up one point), the Liberal Democrats on 19 per cent (unchanged) and other parties on 12 per cent (unchanged).
If repeated at a general election, these figures would leave Gordon Brown 32 seats short of an overall majority in a hung parliament. According to John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, Labour would have 294 seats, the Tories 277, the Liberal Democrats 46 and others 33.

ComRes also tested voters’ perceptions of Gordon Brown and David Cameron.  It found they were neck and neck on the economy, with 43 per cent of people believing Mr Cameron has the right skills to lead Britain back to economic health and 42 per cent saying the same of Mr Brown.  Some 45 per cent believe the Tory leader would reduce Britain’s debt if he wins the election, while fewer people (37 per cent) think Mr Brown would.

Mr Cameron (48 per cent) is seen as a strong leader by more voters than Mr Brown (43 per cent).

Allegations of bullying at Downing Street do not appear to have damaged the Prime Minister. One in five (20 per cent) of people say he is “an unpleasant bully” but 69 per cent do not, while 12 per cent think Mr Cameron is (and 78 per cent do not).

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