Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

1. Bombing Iran is the way to make sure it gets the bomb (Financial Times)

There has never been a better time for the US to properly test Tehran’s intentions by suggesting everything-on-the-table bilateral negotiations, writes Philip Stephens.

2. Jeremy Hunt's in-tray will wipe that smile off his face (Guardian)

His job is to schmooze the public into accepting NHS changes, but the turmoil he inherits will make that nearly impossible, says Polly Toynbee.

3. Eds won't split – they know there's too much at stake (Independent)

There will be no repeat of the Blair/Brown rivalry that still traumatises Labour, says Steve Richards.

4. Shale - the hidden treasure that could transform our economy (Daily Telegraph)

Cameron’s U-turn on the environment has the greens howling, but should delight voters, says Fraser Nelson.

5. Draghi’s plan is a bold one, but who will bite? (Times) (£)

Spain may look at the European Central Bank’s plans, look at Greece and say "no thank you", writes Stephen King.

6. Don't blame the countryside for our lack of housing (Guardian)

Britain is desperately inefficient in its land use, and there are still no measures to bring empty property back on the market, writes Simon Jenkins.

7. An extensions free-for-all? It’ll be war (Daily Telegraph)

The coalition’s looser planning rules will spark chaos in the nation’s back yards and won't get building going, writes Clive Aslet.

8. Castro v Rubio – fight for the Latino vote (Financial Times)

Hispanics could determine the election and will only become more vital, says Jacob Weisberg.

9. Flirting Labour party is bankrupt of ideas (Daily Mail)

There was no acknowledgement of the need to shrink the bloated state, says a Daily Mail editorial.

10. More can still be done to get Britain growing (Daily Telegraph)

The government's response is a pragmatic one, but it's only the beginning, says a Telegraph leader.

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The 5 things the Tories aren't telling you about their manifesto

Turns out the NHS is something you really have to pay for after all. 

When Theresa May launched the Conservative 2017 manifesto, she borrowed the most popular policies from across the political spectrum. Some anti-immigrant rhetoric? Some strong action on rip-off energy firms? The message is clear - you can have it all if you vote Tory.

But can you? The respected thinktank the Institute for Fiscal Studies has now been through the manifesto with a fine tooth comb, and it turns out there are some things the Tory manifesto just doesn't mention...

1. How budgeting works

They say: "a balanced budget by the middle of the next decade"

What they don't say: The Conservatives don't talk very much about new taxes or spending commitments in the manifesto. But the IFS argues that balancing the budget "would likely require more spending cuts or tax rises even beyond the end of the next parliament."

2. How this isn't the end of austerity

They say: "We will always be guided by what matters to the ordinary, working families of this nation."

What they don't say: The manifesto does not backtrack on existing planned cuts to working-age welfare benefits. According to the IFS, these cuts will "reduce the incomes of the lowest income working age households significantly – and by more than the cuts seen since 2010".

3. Why some policies don't make a difference

They say: "The Triple Lock has worked: it is now time to set pensions on an even course."

What they don't say: The argument behind scrapping the "triple lock" on pensions is that it provides an unneccessarily generous subsidy to pensioners (including superbly wealthy ones) at the expense of the taxpayer.

However, the IFS found that the Conservatives' proposed solution - a "double lock" which rises with earnings or inflation - will cost the taxpayer just as much over the coming Parliament. After all, Brexit has caused a drop in the value of sterling, which is now causing price inflation...

4. That healthcare can't be done cheap

They say: "The next Conservative government will give the NHS the resources it needs."

What they don't say: The £8bn more promised for the NHS over the next five years is a continuation of underinvestment in the NHS. The IFS says: "Conservative plans for NHS spending look very tight indeed and may well be undeliverable."

5. Cutting immigration costs us

They say: "We will therefore establish an immigration policy that allows us to reduce and control the number of people who come to Britain from the European Union, while still allowing us to attract the skilled workers our economy needs." 

What they don't say: The Office for Budget Responsibility has already calculated that lower immigration as a result of the Brexit vote could reduce tax revenues by £6bn a year in four years' time. The IFS calculates that getting net immigration down to the tens of thousands, as the Tories pledge, could double that loss.

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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