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Alexander defends Government's fracking incentives

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has defended the Government's plan to allow councils which give fracking the go-ahead to keep 100 per cent of the business rates they collect.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has defended the Government's fracking incentives for councils. Credit: Press Association

Asked if that amounted to a bribe, he told ITV News: "Fracking offers a significant opportunity for the UK economy. It's a potential source of considerable amounts of energy for our country.

"In common with other areas of energy development where local authorities are allowed to keep business rates, and where there are other incentives for communities - it's important and fair we should treat fracking in the same way."

Treasury's Scottish debt pledge ahead of referendum

The Treasury has pledged to honour all UK Government debt up to the date of potential Scottish independence, if Scots vote in favour in September's referendum.

ITV News Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg explains:


UK pays child benefit to 25,659 children in Poland

The Polish prime minister has criticised David Cameron for singling out Poland in his vow to ban British child benefit payments to children of EU migrants.

According to Treasury figures, over half the children in EU nations who receive child benefit are in Poland.

Government to announce 1% cut to departmental budgets

The Treasury has confirmed that the government will announce budget cuts of 1% to departments over the next two years.

Making the announcement on Twitter the Treasury said:

In another message the Treasury said: "Chancellor & Chief Sec have written to cabinet to inform them an extra £1bn a year savings will be made over next 3yrs."

Treasury: Independence 'could cost Scots £1,000 a year'

The Treasury has claimed an independent Scotland could cost Scottish taxpayers £1,000 a year.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said the calculation was based on the "most optimistic independent assessment of Scotland's finances" by the Institute of Fiscal Studies think tank, which published its report last week.

Scotland will publish its 'blueprint' for independence tomorrow. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Archive

In a letter to Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, Mr Alexander cited the IFS' statement that independence would require policy action "equivalent to around an eight percentage point increase in the basic rate of tax".

He said Treasury officials calculated this would mean an average increase for basic rate tax payers in Scotland of around £1,000 per year.


Treasury insists it was 'right time' to sell Lloyds stake

Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander has said it was the "right time" for the Government to sell a six per cent share stake in Lloyds Banking Group.

The Liberal Democrat told BBC Radio 5 Live that he and the Chancellor, George Osborne, had been given advice by Treasury officials to start the process of selling.

I think that what it shows is that our economy is turning a corner, that we are now in a position where overseas investors and others are looking to invest in British banks.

Given the massive commitment that the British taxpayer made to rescuing these banks when things went wrong back at the time of the financial crisis, I think that it is a welcome sign that we are starting the process, and of course it will be a long process, of getting the taxpayers' money back.

– Treasury Chief Secretary, Danny Alexander
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