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The weekly WHIP: 22 March 2012

George_Osborne

Photo Credit: M.Holland

Budget

Most of the week has been dominated by the staggered publication, sorry that should have been “shameless spinning”, of the 2012 budget. George Osborne shunned the whiskey or G&T of his predecessors, opting instead for a diet of tax thresholds and structural investment programmes.

The blue team may lose the blue rinse brigade if they push ahead with their plans to cut the tax free allowance those retiring in the next few years receive. But with it funnelling £3.3billion to the treasury coffers you can understand why the chancellor might risk their wrath.

Churches may be interested to know that from next year people can pop up to £20 in the offering bucket and it’s eligible for Gift Aid even if they don’t fill in a form.

NHS: Dead or Alive?

The Health and Social Care Bill became an Act this week as the last minute attempts to alter or delay the legislation failed. The Daily Mirror greeted the news with characteristic understatement. Only time will tell if their front page is prophetic or not.

The Daily Telegraph said that now was the time to make the NHS work.

And something is working, whether on heaven or earth, as Fabrice Muamba stuns doctors with his ‘miraculous’ recovery. One wonders if the Advertising Standards Authority will prevent him suggesting God might have had a hand in his recovery, especially following the tweets from his fiancé and the many others tweeting #pray4muamba.

Jamie Reed MP

Labour MP Jamie Reed created a bit of a stir last weekend when he tweeted that after seven years he was still waiting for a Christian to write to him about child poverty.

He was shocked by the response as Christians responded to his criticism, mostly noting some level of agreement. Several other thoughts followed, and Gareth Davies from Care took up the baton and responded to one of his charges.

Diamond Jubilee

For The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, parliament clubbed together and bought her a window. You would have thought Buckingham Palace already had plenty of them.

In celebration of the occasion The Queen gave a speech to both Houses of Parliament, returning to the spot where she had celebrated her silver and gold jubilees, and also just feet from where Charles I was tried.