The government finally reveals details of its controversial education reforms and the debate over pensions reform comes to a head.
There are few government statistical releases of note this week but, as usual, there is no shortage of information on the housing market.
Hometrack publishes its monthly report on Monday, followed by the closely-watched Nationwide survey on Tuesday morning - FT.com will have the details.
Also on Tuesday, GfK publishes its regular consumer confidence survey and the CBI issues its distributive trades report.
The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply publishes PMI data for manufacturing on Wednesday and services on Friday.
The government publishes its long-awaited education white paper on Tuesday. Tony Blair has now just two weeks to persuade the remaining rebels to support the amended plans ahead of the crucial Commons vote on March 15, starting with a speech to Labour MPs on Monday.
David Cameron, the Tory leader, returns from paternity leave to take on Tony Blair at question time on Wednesday and the Lib Dems crown their new leader on Thursday - just in time to make a first appearance the following day at the party’s spring conference.
Legislation under discussion this week includes the Lords response to Commons’ amendments to the Terrorism Bill on Tuesday. On Friday peers give a second reading to the Constitutional Reform Bill.
Subjects in committee include the proposed reforms to the welfare system (Monday); company law reform (Monday); Crossrail (Tuesday); financial inclusion (Tuesday); detention of terrorist suspects (Tuesday); trade and investment with India (Tuesday), defence planning (Tuesday) and The Armed Forces Bill (Thursday).
On Thursday the Northern Ireland political parties resume their talks on a return to power-sharing in the province
Spotlight on pensions
Pensions reform comes back into focus this week. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development/KPMG Labour Market Outlook on Monday will include employers’ verdicts on proposals from Adair Turner’s Pensions Commission. John Hutton, the Work and Pensions Secretary, appears at a special pensions summit on Tuesday alongside Lord Turner to discuss plans for the proposed National Pensions Savings Scheme.
This is a bumper week for reports of one kind or another, starting with Monday’s study from the government-backed Women and Work Commission on narrowing the pay gap between men and women. It is expected to reject demands from trade unions and equal pay campaigners for companies to carry out mandatory pay audits.
The Power inquiry’s report on democratic participation is also out on Monday.
On Tuesday The Audit Commission and The Healthcare Commission publish a report on the government’s plans to reduce child obesity.
Ministers get out and about at a range of conferences this week. On Monday, John Reid, defence secretary, speaks on transatlantic defence partnerships at Chatham House, while Margaret Beckett speaks at the NFU conference alongside Peter Mandelson, EU Trade Commissioner. The event will no doubt be dominated by the issue of bird flu.
On Tuesday Gordon Brown gives a keynote speech at a bonds conference and Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, speaks on sustainable energy at a conference organised by the CBI, TUC and Carbon Trust.
“Innovating for success” on Tuesday sees Lord Sainsbury, Science and Innovation Minister, discussing intellectual property rights and the knowledge economy, focusing on a government-ordered study from Andrew Gowers, former Financial Times editor.
High profile legal cases this week include a copyright claim in The High Court centred on the novel The Da Vinci Code, starting on Monday. Two authors claim Dan Brown’s bestseller plagiarises their own book from 1982. If the case is successful it could postpone the release of Sony Pictures’ planned blockbuster movie of the book.
And on Friday The League Against Cruel Sports brings a private prosecution against a hunstman with Exmoor Foxhounds, whom the organisation accuses of breaching the ban on hunting with dogs.
The Olympic Delivery Authority on Monday unveils details of the first big contract to be tendered for the 2012 London games. VisitBritain holds a business breakfast the next day on how the event will benefit the capital’s tourist economy .
Full guide to this week’s events at www.ft.com/weekahead
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