Today’s digest opens with the travesty of government policy on jobs as employment minister Mark Hoban tried to claim that official figures showed “some successes” in the government’s Work Programme which forces unemployed people to do six weeks unpaid work or lose their jobseeker’s allowance. Data from the Department for Work and Pensions showed that of the 800,000 people forced into the Work Programme, just 31,000 found any work that lasted at least six months. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The dismal failure of the Work Programme in its first year is highlighted by the fact that only 3.5 per cent of those placed in work were still in employment after six months … George Osborne's disastrous handling of the economy, combined with the failing Work Programme is seeing long-term unemployment rising to levels not seen since the 1990s. Scandal-hit companies, such as A4e, will not solve Britain's long-term unemployment crisis. We need an economy based on jobs and growth which gives people sustainable and secure employment." Or take Remploy, of 1,021 workers made redundant just 35 have found jobs. Shocking. Sadly it looks like the government isn’t listening.
But then that is the case world-wide. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which represents the world's richest nations, lowered its growth forecasts yesterday and called for decisive policy action to ensure the world is not plunged back into recession. The OECD cut its growth forecast across its 34 members for this year and next and revised down sharply its estimate for the eurozone economy, which it now believes will contract by 0.1 per cent in 2013, the forecast for growth in the UK next year was cut to 0.9 per cent, down from 1.9 per cent previously. Looking at the UK government policy that is rather optimistic.
And poor growth has led to cabinet bust ups with the front page of the FT reporting ministers blaming each other for the lack of growth. Prime minister David Cameron is obviously worried that more than two years into his premiership the economy is still stuttering. Perhaps he should get out to the real world as a poll in the Indie shows that 61 per cent think the government is not following through on its “we’re all in this together” statement and 64 per cent think the rich should be taxed more. Labour leader Ed Miliband however argues in the Telegraph that the richest are in line for £107,000 tax cuts. Welcome to Con-Dem Britain.
The again it may not be Con-Dem Britain for much longer, it could be Con-Kip as a poll in the Sun shows a surge for Ukip at the expense of the Lib Dems. Labour still remains firmly at the top of the polls with 43 per cent but the combined Tory (31 per cent) and Ukip (11 per cent) polls would be just one point behind. With a rack of by-elections coming up expect things to get shaky for all the mainstream parties.
And also getting shaky is the NHS after the King’s Fund survey of NHS professionals has reported that the cracks have started to appear and the efficiency savings are not working. The NHS is crumbling around us and Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham is quoted in the Mirror as saying 52,000 people were denied NHS operations in the last year. Safe in Cameron’s hands? I don’t think so.
Cameron however has other things on his mind as at lunchtime today he receives an advance copy of the Leveson report. Across the papers there are calls to ensure the UK press remains free, tomorrow will tell what is really happening, but if you want to see the media greed at its worst then look no further than the ex director general George Entwistle who actually asked for a larger payout than the £450,000 he got. Giving evidence to MPs yesterday the chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, said he had no choice but to agree the £450,000 pay-off to Entwistle, even though he had only been in the job for 54 days. I suppose it pales into insignificance when compared to what ex-Chelsea managers get, but what about ordinary workers? A few of the papers cover the scandal of blacklisting in the construction industry as the government continues to hack away at workers’ rights it will get ever harder to get justice for unfair dismissal and other breaches. Remember the old adage, if you don’t fight for your rights, no one will – send a letter to Cameron and Osborne and say workers’ rights are not for sale.
Morning Star (web not updated)
- Work Programme ‘a total failure’ (p1)
- MPs demand miners’ strike violence probe (p2)
- Cleaner take coordinated strike action across Britain (p2)
- RMT ballots for strikes over CrossCounty ‘breakdown’ (p3)
- Blacklister squirms before MP probe (p3)
- Osborne’s cuts to rob £9,000 from single parents every year (p4)
- Workers kick off campaign for public rail (p5)
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Last orders: Time called on cheap booze (p1)
- Governor only took job after hopes of being PM were scuppered (p8-9)
- Jobs scheme waste of time (p14)
- We have the best man for the job, says King (p43)
- E.ON pays penalty (p48)
- Bombardier cashes in [in Belfast] (p49)
- National Express turns to trains (p49)
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Ministers blame each other over low growth (p1)
- King under fire for misleading public (p2)
- Coalition faces split on Leveson (p4)
- E.ON to refund £1.4 million (p4)
- Patten defends BBC Trust (p4)
- Building group allegedly linked to ‘troublemakers’ blacklist (p4)
aid deal (p7)
- OECD slashes growth forecast (p8)
- Corporate tax should be fair and shared – John Kay (p13)
- Bombardier lands $7.8 million order (p18)
- Ericsson files suit against Samsung (p21)
- Dining out cushions M&B write down (p22)
cashes in at bad time for Barclays (p23)
- De La Rue faces delays [to orders] (p23)
Edited by Mik Sabiers