News digest 10 March 2014

News digest 10 March 2014

10 March 2014

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

·                Crash exposes flaw in airline security – Indie

·                Economy to surge past pre-crisis growth peak - Telegraph

·                Coalition leaders warned north must feel benefits of recovery - Indie

·                Figures show huge rise in zero-hours contracts - Guardian

·                Labour’s tax raid on pensions to help jobless - Telegraph

·                Bungling Clegg sparks leadership race - Mail

·                Are the Tories on course to win the election? – Leo McKinstry – Express

·                Faceberk PM splashes out £7K for more likes - Mirror

International stories continue to dominate the papers. Most report on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane that vanished over the South China Sea with 239 people on board over the weekend, the Times headline is the most stark: ‘FBI fears terrorists destroyed airliner’ although there is no concrete evidence apart from the fact that two people on board were travelling on stolen passports, the question is whether they were terrorists, criminals or just asylum seekers, until the black box is found it’s all speculation. Ukraine also continues to exercise many headlines, although the focus is on the impact on the UK, the Times reports that UK energy prices may rise if the turbulence continues in the country, better hope this warm spell lasts a bit longer…

Back on domestic issues and ahead of next week’s budget the economy and jobs are coming more into focus. As the British Chambers of Commerce says the UK economy is poised to exceed its 2008 level, does that mean we finally have an economic recovery? The question is what sort of recovery and for whom is happening? The Indie reports that the coalition needs to be careful that the north of the country enjoys the ‘fruits’ of recovery, but the Guardian is more grounded in reality reporting on the huge rise in job insecurity with a front page splash citing that the figures for people employed on zero hours contracts have doubled in the past year. The Guardian quotes ONS statistics that found 582,935 people were on such contracts last year, but the real figure is more likely double that, with Unite quoted as saying: “Zero hours contracts are unfair, creating insecurity and exploitation for many ordinary people struggling to get by.”

And the Labour party is also pushing a move out on jobs, and in particular youth unemployment. With almost one million young people out of work, Labour has said it will offer a job for every young person who has been out of work for 12 months or more. Shadow chancellor Ed Balls is expected to announce the proposal will last for the whole term of the parliament, rather than just one year, although the right wing focuses on how it will be funded; for the first year it will be from a tax on bankers’ bonus -  about time - while in later years Labour would cut tax relief on pensions for the highest earners. Sounds fair to me.

From Labour to the Lib Dems and there’s also coverage of the Lib Dem spring conference over the weekend, where Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg set out his stall to challenge Ukip and maintain his position in government. Amid all the talk of both major parties saying they would prefer to govern in a minority, Clegg outlined the circumstances in how he would quit, the Mail headline sums it up as: “Bungling Clegg sparks Lib Dem leadership race.” It looks like both chief treasury secretary Danny Alexander and business secretary Vince Cable are on manoeuvres to replace what is increasingly the calamity of Clegg’s leadership. Oh dear.

Even worse is prime minister David Cameron, notwithstanding his failed ‘serious’ Twitpic last week, and the response over the weekend where he was slapped down by Patrick Stewart, again, today the Mirror calls Cameron a ‘Faceberk’ after it emerges he has been advertising to get more friends on Facebook, apparently after spending some £7,000 the PM’s page has seen a jump in likes to 128,000. Labour MP Sheila Gilmore sums it up well: “Mr Cameron is buying popularity. There is no end to his ego, paying for fake Facebook friends.” It also shows what he considers more important, governing the country with the people’s best interests at heart or a shallow wish to be liked, no wonder he couldn’t win the last election…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  • Cuts leave fire service unable to cope (p1)
  • Miners’ strike anniversary (p2)
  • Free the Miami 5, inquiry tells Obama (p3)
  • Falling living standards spark call for living wage (p3)
  • Workers turn to MPs over zero-hours contracts (p40)
  • Boot privateers out of public services – Michael Meacher (p8)

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Ukraine crisis (p2)
  • Labour full term jobs vow (p2)
  • Missing jet broke up at 35,000 feet (p60)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • FBI fears terrorists destroyed airliner (p1)
  • Energy bills may rise due to Ukraine turbulence (p2)
  • Co-op chief gets £3.7 million for eight months work (p2)(p)
  • Heathrow expansion would reduce flights (p4)
  • Ukip asks MEPs for £10K (p8-9)
  • Bank shake up sparks surge of new lenders (p37)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • BIS warns of dangers over rates guidance (p1)
  • Clegg goes on attack on Ukip threat (p2)
  • NHS prepares £1.2 billion outsourcing deals (p3)
  • Budget help for exports urged (p4)
  • Co-op defends pay packages (p16)

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