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Danny Alexander MP

Chief Secretary to the Treasury

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Stories involving Danny Alexander

Alexander outlines infrastructure plans

The Government has unveiled details of its plans for infrastructure spending, including giving the state a direct role in building new homes for the first time in a generation.

Danny Alexander this morning revealed plans for a new garden city and 1,400 flood defence schemes to be be announced in the Autumn Statement.

But most eye-catching was the announcement that a pilot scheme is being launched that will see 10,000 new houses built at a former RAF base in Northstowe under the direction of the Homes and Communities Agency.

"This is the first time in a generation that the government has owned land, led a development on it of this scale and considered commissioning homes directly," the Chief Secretary to the Treasury said.

"Using the government's balance sheet will ensure that the scheme is delivered up to twice as fast and we will be able to ensure that developers build the right type of housing. This is the first time in a generation the government has acted as a developer on its own land in this way."

Mr Alexander stressed that government commissioning would be “examined as a solution for the country as a whole” if the pilot proves successful. He also confirmed plans for 13,000 homes to be built in Bicester, the site of the Government’s second proposed garden city.

David Cameron has also hailed an announcement of £2.3bn towards a six-year fund to bolster the country's flood defences. The Government claims the fund will benefit more than 1,400 projects.

"The first thing that we are doing is that we have made sure that all the flood defences that were damaged last year have been repaired and replaced, and that’s very good news," the Prime Minister said on a visit to Oxfordshire.

"Today we are setting out £2.3bn to be spent on capital projects, i.e. flood prevention projects, over the next parliament… That is going to protect over 300,000 homes, including here obviously in Oxford. £300m spent across the Thames Valley but a lot of money spent in other parts of the country too."

Labour said the funding was targeted at key marginal seats, accusing the Government of “pork barrel politics”. 


Whitehall tax rules unveiled

Danny Alexander has unveiled tough new rules for Whitehall departments that break off-payroll rules.

As many as 3,000 civil servants are thought to minimise their tax bills by being employed via contracts with private firms.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury announced measures to curb the practice, which it is believed loses the country millions of pounds in revenue each year.

There will be heavy fines for those who do not comply with the new rules. Mr Alexander said it was important that "senior public sector staff pay and are seen to pay their full share of income tax".

Head of the Civil Service Sir Bob Kerslake said: "I believe it is completely inappropriate for any senior permanent position in the civil service to be held by a contractor instead of a civil servant paying tax in the ordinary way.

"These new measures are an important step in addressing the relatively small number of cases that breach this principle."


£16bn more in cuts

Government departments will have to find a further £16bn in cuts as the Treasury tries to keep spending down. In a speech to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander will warn of the need for greater austerity measures. He will say the cuts are: "another signal of our unwavering determination to deliver the fiscal consolidation we promised”.


No 10 backs Danny on AAA rating

Downing Street has backed Danny Alexander over his comments on Britain's credit rating, saying what matters most for the Government is "having the right policies in place".

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury this morning hinted at the possibility of Britain losing its AAA status, claiming the credit rating was not the "be-all and end-all".

"What matters is have we got the right policy mix for the country to get people back into work, to support economic growth, to deal with the huge problems in our public finances?" he told the Today programme.

"The credit agencies reflect on those things and the ratings they give are a reflection of the credibility of that mix."

The Prime Minister’s spokesman supported Mr Alexander’s comments, insisting what mattered was that the Government was tackling the deficit.

“I think the point the Chief Secretary was making is that credit ratings agencies have a role to play, but what they do is that they make judgements on credit ratings," he said.

"What matters for the Government is having the right policies in place. Clearly, an important part of that is having a credible policy for reducing the deficit."

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Rachel Reeves, said Mr Alexander's comments "suggest Ministers are worried about more bad news from the rating agencies".

"Instead of a change in rhetoric the country needs a change of course and a plan for jobs and growth," she added.


Danny Alexander is to clamp down on loopholes that allow civil servants to avoid paying the full rate of income tax.

An official investigation found that 2,000 senior civil servants earning more than £58,200 avoided paying the full rate of tax by being employed ‘off payroll’, though service companies or employment agencies rather than directly.

Details were revealed in a letter from Mr Alexander to the Chancellor George Osborne, seen by BBC Newsnight. Mr Alexander said: “The sheer scale of off-payroll engagements across government, and the length and size of these contracts, suggests that the scope for artificial tax minimisation may be greater than previously understood.

Mr Alexander is to force any official who has been employed for more than six months on more than £220 a day to become full staff members.


Balls blasts 'unpopular' Budget

Ed Balls has blasted Wednesday's Budget as being "one of the most unpopular, unfair and flawed Budgets in decades".

The Shadow Chancellor added that the Budget was not just "bad politics but bad economics" but also a "missed opportunity".

His remarks come as Danny Alexander defended the Budget as one for "people who work hard, play by the rules and are under pressure".

In an interview with The Times, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury said he was "happy" with the decision to lower the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p, and added he he "absolutely no idea" how many Cabinet ministers would benefit from the change.

Mr Alexander said he was are some people "might react against" the move to freeze tax allowances for pensioners, but insisted the move was part of an overall "positive change" for the elderly in the UK.