News digest 1 May 2014

News digest 1 May 2014

01 May 2014

Today’s top reads: Stories to keep an eye out for:

·                Great Mail robbery - Indie

·                Lazard advised on Royal Mail shares then profited by £8m in flotation – Guardian

·                Welcome to zero hours, the new norm - Telegraph

·                800,000 more on zero hours in last five months - Mirror

·                Robin Hood Tax activists celebrate victory – Morning Star

·                Ed Miliband to unveil far-reaching rental market reforms – Guardian

The Royal Mail sale remains in the headlines with a strong lead on the front page of the Indie summing up the mood of the public: “The Great Mail robbery.” The paper argues that Cable is on the run as MPs from all sides attacked the carve up and sale of the service on the cheap. The front of the FT highlights how the investment arm of the government’s adviser to the Royal Mail sale made £8 million in profit out of the shares, while Political Scrapbook also highlighted how donors to the Tory party also benefited after the priority investors were revealed. Summing it up the simple fact is the usual suspects (City bankers) got the mates' rates and reaped massive profits while the sale failed miserably for the taxpayer, how predictable.

And also getting more typical is the rise of zero hours contracts as the papers report 800,000 more people have joined the millions stuck on the low pay contracts. The Telegraph calls zero hours “the new norm” while the Guardian highlights how trying to live when stuck with a zero hours contract is increasingly difficult. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey is quoted in the Mirror: “Zero hours contracts are trapping at least 1.4 million people in a world of insecure, low paid work, where your future income is dependent on the whim of your boss. “It is clear that that workers in the UK need stronger legal protection – not less as the government claims – to protect them against abuses. They need legal rights to challenge abuses … It is time for ministers to take action and ensure all goods and services government departments procure should be from outside organisations and companies that don’t use zero hours contracts.”

Sadly rather than listen to what workers want, chancellor George Osborne seems to be supporting his chums in the City. But fortunately there’s some bad news for George as the European Court of Justice  threw out his challenge to the proposed Robin Hood Tax saying he had jumped the gun as it was not even in place yet, what a waste of taxpayers’ money. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “George Osborne is forcing austerity on the British people so his friends in the City don’t have to clean up the financial wreckage they caused. It’s no surprise that the government has confirmed that it will challenge the ECJ decision just as the government is opposing the EU cap on bankers’ bonuses in the courts. It’s clear proof that this government will back spivs and speculators at the expense of our schools and hospitals.” If anything that shows which side the Tories are on…

And there is also widespread coverage of Labour leader Ed Miliband’s planned speech where he will outline pans to crack down on greedy landlords, cap rents and improve security of tenure. Commenting, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “We are pleased that the Labour party is making further moves to address housing failure in the country. People need to know that the house they rent is their home and that they will have the peace of mind that comes with three year security of tenure. This progressive programme will make a real difference to ordinary people and help soften the dysfunctional nature of the UK housing market.”

Edited by Mik Sabiers

In London and looking for something to do? Go to the
London Labour Film Festival at the Odeon Cinema at 135 Shaftesbury Avenue, Covent
Garden. Check out the full programme here:

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Ukip MEP Helmer: Being gay is abnormal (p2)
  • ‘Bottler’ Nigel (p2)
  • Sun says: Rent asunder (p6) - Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • Miliband pledge to cap rents (p14)
  • Bookies tax ‘a job gamble’ (p44)
  • Co-op cowboys blasted (p44)(p)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • GPs face forced shutdown (p1)
  • Labour to bring back rent control (p4)
  • Serco on brink (p39)
  • Adviser on Royal Mail IPO made millions from selling shares (p41)
  • How Co-op paid price for loss of control (p45)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Mail adviser’s £8 million share profit (p1)
  • Rise in zero hours fuels reform calls (p2)
  • Miliband takes on landlords (p4)
  • Shareholder value means more than  tax break (p11)
  • Renault forecasts end to UK car sales boom (p15)
  • AZ weighs options (p19)
  • Review raps Co-op bank execs (p21)

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