Has Cameron made up his mind on Leveson?

No 10 denies Mail on Sunday story.

Today's Mail on Sunday reports that David Cameron is "set to defy" Lord Justice Leveson if, as expected, his imminent report on press ethics calls for statutory regulation. According to the newspaper, Cameron intends to "resist" any demand for new laws, but will instead order newspaper owners "to 'clean up their act' immediately with a tough new watchdog - using the threat of sweeping legal action if they fail to do so."

Downing Street was swift to deny the story. A spokesman for No. 10 told PoliticsHome that "the Prime Minister has not made any decision about his response to the Leveson report and will consider it in due course."

Lord Justice Leveson's report, which comes after months of public hearing, will be published on Thursday. Its contents remain secret until then - and Cameron himself will only receive a copy 24 hours before it is published.

David Cameron after giving evidence at the Leveson Inquiry in June 2012. (Getty.)
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Budget 2017: What announcements will Philip Hammond make?

What will the first budget after Brexit hold for the economy?

This spring’s Budget - set to be announced on Wednesday 8 March 2017 - will be forced to confront the implications of last June's Brexit vote, along with dealing with issues of reliance on consumer spending, business rates and government borrowing. The government also (quietly) announced on Monday night that it will be asking ministerial departments to outline cuts up to 6 per cent, a potential nod for what’s to come next week.

All these things, along with the fact the Chancellor Philip Hammond is scrapping the spring Budget, meaning this announcement should be an interesting one.

The big story at the moment focuses on borrowing. The Resolution Foundation has predicted that healthier-than-expected tax revenues and the lack of a Brexit effect so far will lower Budget borrowing forecasts by £29bn between 2015-16 and 2020-21. 

The FT reports a possible £3bn reduction in borrowing, to £67bn. They also pin this optimistic prediction to higher-than-average self-assessment tax receipts, after changes in the taxation of dividends.

The Chancellor will potentially stick to the three key changes he made from George Osborne’s former financial commitments, according to The Sun. These consist of not predicting a surplus in 2019/20, slightly relieving the cap on welfare spending and no longer committing to reducing debt. The paper also predicts he’ll announce a change to the controversial business rates that were recently released, that could leave “shopkeepers and publicans clobbered with tax hikes of up to 400 per cent".

What do we know for sure?

The government has announced a few key changes in in advance of the Budget.

  1. The Spring Budget 2017 will be the final Budget held during springtime
  2. Finance Bill will follow the Budget, as it does now
  3. From 2018 "Legislation day" will move to the summer
  4. An Autumn Budget means tax changes will be announced well in advance of the start of the tax year
  5. 2018 will see the first Spring Statement