Lib Dems 'ignored chance to soften bedroom benefits cut impact'
The Lib Dems were given the chance in March to soften the impact of benefit cuts for people judged to have too many bedrooms, BBC Newsnight has been told.
As Nick Clegg's party announces it will seek to change the policy in this coalition, or pledge to do so in its next manifesto, Newsnight understands there was an opportunity within government for the Lib Dems to amend the policy four months ago.
Options were drawn up by civil servants and presented to both coalition parties that would have allowed councils to cushion the impact of cuts under the policy - what supporters refer to as the "spare room subsidy", but which critics have dubbed the "bedroom tax".
The civil service proposed the lifting of a cap on something called discretionary housing payments (DHPs), which would have allowed councils greater flexibility to help people struggling because of the penalty.
The Lib Dems are accused by government officials of ignoring this suggestion.
Lib Dems accused of 'hypocrisy' over bedroom benefit rules
The Lib Dems were given the chance in March to soften the impact of benefit cuts for people judged to have too many bedrooms, BBC Newsnight has been told. As Nick Clegg's party announces it will seek to change the policy in this coalition, or pledge to do so in its next manifesto, Newsnight understands there was an opportunity within government for the Lib Dems to amend the policy four months ago.
Francis Maude attacks civil service over job document
The Cabinet Office minister has accused the civil service of drafting a job description for permanent secretaries without "constitutional propriety".
The document sets out the qualities for permanent secretaries, who are the UK's most powerful government officials.
Ministers warned of decrease in house building
The government is exploring emergency measures to kick-start house-building, amid an expected decrease in new build this year, BBC Newsnight has learned.
In leaked documents, officials warn the last set of figures before the 2015 general election will reveal house building to have decreased by 4%.
A pregnant pause
Newsnight's political editor is currently on maternity leave and this blog will not be updated for a while.
Plan to divert benefits of troubled families scrapped
A plan to put benefits paid to some of Britain's most troubled families under their caseworker's control has been shelved, BBC Newsnight has learned.
The Downing Street Conservative Policy Unit wanted to give managers of the Troubled Families Programme more power to prevent the misuse of payments.
Conservatives 'considering ways to raise minimum wage'
The Conservative party is examining ways to raise the national minimum wage, BBC Newsnight has learned.
Measures being considered include offering tax breaks to companies paying a wage level higher than the current national minimum of £6.19 an hour.
Tories hire Obama campaign chief Jim Messina
The Conservative Party has hired Barack Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina for its general election campaign team, BBC Newsnight has learned.
Sources confirmed that he would act as a campaign strategy adviser to the Conservative party.
Senior politicians unite to issue call for data bill
Senior politicians from across the political divide have united to call for UK security services to be given greater internet monitoring powers.
In a letter to The Times newspaper three former Labour home secretaries, three senior Tories and one Liberal Democrat urge changes.
Nick Clegg 'to block childcare ratio reforms'
Nick Clegg has told Conservatives he will block government reforms to adult-child ratio limits for childcarers, BBC Newsnight has learned.
In meetings over recent days he said he could no longer back the plan to increase the number of children nursery staff and child-minders can look after.