News digest 12 June 2014

News digest 12 June 2014

12 June 2014

Today’s digest opens with prime minister David Cameron’s response to the chaos in  the Passport Office which saw Cameron stand up in the Commons and state that there was no crisis and everything was fine. Except it’s not. The Mail is particularly scathing asking: “As angry families face ruined summers the PM’s response is: What passport crisis?” but all the papers take the government to task for its inadequate response to the massive backlog in passports being issued. While Cameron quickly had to U-turn about saying there were no delays (the backlog was 30,000 and counting), a second U-turn came this morning after a briefing note that suggested checks should be relaxed was leaked to the Guardian. The simple fact is that the delays are the result of government cuts and a failure by ministers to keep on top of their brief, the government is now recruiting extra staff – some believed to be being paid £70-an-hour or more – to help ease the backlog, but if the jobs had not been cut in the first place people would not have had to cancel their holidays. So if you don’t get away this summer you know where the blame lies…

And could the pool for jobseekers be getting more limited after yet another record drop in unemployment? Unemployment fell by 161,000 to 2.16 million with employment up a record 345,000, but Unite general secretary Len McCluskey warned the fall in unemployment is masking a rise in precarious working and stagnating wages which are leaving family finances on a knife edge. Said Len: “The continued fall in unemployment is welcome, but we should not be fooled by George Osborne’s spin that all is well with the economy. Precarious self-employment is soaring, while the continuing wage siege feeds a fall in living standards not seen since the Victorian era leaving the finances of ordinary families on a knife edge. Under this Tory-led government we have seen the rise of low paid insecure work and in work poverty, while the proceeds of growth are being funnelled into the pockets of wealthy.”

And talking of wealth the figures yesterday masked a sharp drop in wage growth, with the rise at just 0.7 per cent, and well below inflation running at 1.8 per cent. Even though the Telegraph tries to highlight how public sector pay is rising at a faster rate, the truth of the matter is that while there seem to be lots of new jobs they are all quite precarious with the rise of zero hours and self-employment and workers cannot ask for better wages for fear of being undercut.

And that is why taxi drivers were demonstrating across much of Europe. The rise of the Uber app saw several cities come to a standstill in the fight against an ‘unregulated’ taxi app which some claims could offer cheaper trips, but definitely offers ones that are not safer. The app seems to be operating outside the law, and there is also a serious question mark about what taxes Uber pays, if any? Undercutting and avoiding tax, welcome to the modern way of doing business in Britain.

But across the EU there may be more of a challenge. As doctors protested at Boots for avoiding paying its taxes while benefiting from public contracts, Len McCluskey is quoted in the Morning Star, the news also comes through that Brussels is to open a probe into tax avoidance by Apple and Starbucks, let’s hope that’s the start of a long list that sees companies finally paying their fair share, although it will probably end with them paying even less to their workers, it’s time for a proper international crackdown on corporate tax avoidance…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Fabian Society predicts hung parliament (p2)
  • Pay gap row (p2)
  • Jobs rate soars (p2)
  • Trolls attack JK over ‘No’ vote cash (p4)
  • Cab protest (p23)
  • Millions in line for jet delay pay (p29)
  • Don’t panic over passport delays, says PM (p34)
  • Blow for pay day lender Wonga (p53)
  • Apple in tax fix (p53)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Rowling’s £1m draws insults (p4)
  • Record numbers in work but salaries falling behind (p8)
  • Black cabs protest (p18)
  • Passport fiasco grounds 30,000 (p20)
  • Kenny attack on Balls (p21)
  • Sainsbury’s tastes the difference as sales drop (p43)
  • Pressure over corporate tax rates (p44)
  • Payday loans cost too much because of ‘lack of competition’ (p44)
  • Emirates cancels A350 order (p47)
  • Jaguar powers ahead (p49)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • IMF sounds housing alarm (p1)
  • Employment surges (p2)
  • Taxi drivers protest over Uber app (p1/2/20)
  • More staff pledged to deal with delayed passports (p2)
  • Payday lender not ‘competitive’ (p3)
  • Housing market cooling (p4)
  • Letters: Taxation (p14) – Len McCluskey cited
  • Emirates scraps Airbus order (p19)
  • Siemens and Mitsubishi link up to challenge GE on Alstom assets (p19)

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