Britain’s most senior civil servant is to conduct a review of how to help unemployed young people amid concern at the top of government that the coalition is failing the under-25s. Sir Jeremy Heywood, cabinet secretary will examine the coalition strategy to tackle youth unemployment. Last week’s employment figures showed that while the jobless total had fallen slightly, youth unemployment had risen to almost 1 million.
The coalition is calling on schools to stop making parents buy expensive branded uniforms that push costs up by £5 per item. Schools minister David Laws has said the cost of school clothing had become unnecessarily high at a time when family budgets were being squeezed. His comments came after an Office of Fair Trading investigation suggested that three-quarters of schools now placed restrictions on where uniforms could be bought, potentially leaving parents an estimated £52m a year worse off.
A mansion tax on properties worth more than £2million is among a handful of policies for which Nick Clegg would “die in the trench” during negotiations before a second coalition, he signalled yesterday. The Liberal Democrat leader refused to spell out what the parties “red lines” would be in the event of another hung parliament after the 2015 election, but strongly suggested the new property tax was among the party’s priorities.
Pressure is building on the Government to address fears that a debt-fuelled housing bubble is emerging after a leading UK property website tripled its growth forecast for home prices this year. Rightmove started the year forecasting that average national asking prices would rise by 2pc over 2013. The property website, which advertises more than 800,000 properties nationwide now believes prices are set to increase by 6pc.
A growing dispute at the top of the Liberal Democrats emerged yesterday as business secretary, Vince Cable, refused to join Nick Clegg’s attempt to crush a call from the party’s left for government to do more to stimulate the recovery. Left-wing delegates want the party to distance itself from the Conservatives by adopting a more flexible policy on the pace of the deficit reduction. They called for councils with a sustainable business model to be allowed to borrow more to build an extra 300,000 new homes a year, including 50,000 homes for social rent. The row reflects a wider strategic dispute within the party between those who want to embrace the recovery and those who would rather express concern that the chancellor, George Osborne, may be stoking a housing bubble.