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News digest 13 March 2014

News digest 13 March 2014

13 March 2014

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

·                Business supports Miliband’s EU stance - Indie

·                Brother Dave backs ED over EU row - Mirror

·                We’re rock solid with you, Cameron tells Israel - Telegraph

·                Man behind minimum wage wants it to go further – Indie

·                Hunt set to reject 1% pay rise for NHS workers - Telegraph

·                NHS fat cat quits but will still be paid £300K - Mail

·                Farage employs wife and ‘ex-mistress’ with public cash, says MEP - Telegraph

  Both prime minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband gave keynote speeches yesterday, but Miliband gets more coverage in the press. With Cameron away Ed Miliband decided to focus on the European question, his main message was a future Labour government will not call an in/out referendum on the UK's membership of the EU unless it is asked to transfer more powers to Brussels. While Cameron argued that Labour's position makes "no sense whatsoever" the reality is that Miliband is appealing to one side of the business market concerned about the talk of UK exit from the EU and seems to have soothed a possible headache, even Dan Hodges in the Telegraph reports favourably saying ‘everyone goes away happy…’

Not so much for the case for Cameron. Avoiding PMQs yet again, Cameron toodled off to the Knesset in Israel where he spoke of the need for a Middle East peace deal as he visited Israel for the first time since becoming prime minister. Expect Cameron to come under pressure In the West Bank, with Palestinians calling on him to ban settlement products and to play a more active role in peace talks. And Cameron does likes his foreign trips, not sure about him and active roles…

And we could do with a bit more action is needed on pay. The government yesterday announced that it will accept the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation for an increase in the national minimum wage of 19p an hour to £6.50, with the new rate to be implemented in October. Many papers report on minimum wage architect Sir George Bain’s call for the Low Pay Commission to have greater powers, and for companies that can afford to pay more. Unite accused the government of ‘cowering at the feet of big business in the midst of a cost of living crisis’ with general secretary Len McCluskey arguing: “This timid rise in the minimum wage is proof that this government cowers at the feet of big business in the midst of a cost of living crisis. The government claims it is on the side of working people but companies are sitting on a cash mountain of £500 billion and they should be forced to share more of it with the lowest paid. Low paid workers needed a real boost in pay to help lift them out of poverty. To make matters even worse George Osborne cruelly held out hope that the rate would rise to £7.00. The government should have raised the national minimum wage by £1.50 to reverse the growth in inequality.”

This morning we have heard that public sector workers are to get a paltry one per cent pay rise, which in real terms is a pay cut, but even with all the battering the NHS is taking the government decided to bash the nation’s health workers by announcing a mix of freezes and rises, and effectively doing away with pay progression, they really do want to destroy the NHS. On top of that the Treasury is making noises about pensions reform announcing that there will be changes to employer contributions which will put even more pressure on budgets in the teachers’, civil service and NHS schemes.

And while there was an announcement that the top 400 managers in the NHS would get a freeze, one example of the extremes of pay is featured in many papers which is that one NHS chief has quit her job, but has negotiated a deal that will mean she will still get paid over £300,000 for the two years after she leaves her job. You couldn’t make it up really, as ever those at the top get away with everything…

And that could be why Ukip leader Nigel Farage features in many papers today after MEP Nikki Sinclaire accused the Ukip leader of ‘employing his wife and his ex-mistress on his EU expenses’. Farage has described the claims as being beneath contempt, a bit like his policies then…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  • Police ‘responsible’ for Orgreave insult (p2)
  • Unions call for more as minimum wage raised by ‘timid’ 3% (p2) – Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • Exploitation curbs ‘will fail’ say unions (p3)
  • TUC women’s conference plans austerity fightback (p4) – Unite/Diana Holland cited
  • Labour Euro MPs pass blacklist ban (p4)
  • Anti-EU camp will fight for ‘referendum’ (p5)

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Affair claim rocks Farage (p1)
  • Poll on Miliband proposals finds:  Eur being a coward, Ed (p2)
  • Cameron stoles up row over 40p tax (p2)
  • Cameron backs ‘Scarlett in no boycott’ row (p6)
  • Plan debris In sea (p12)
  • Coal chiefs warn Osborne (p38)
  • Payday new rule (p38)
  • Soros: banks are ‘parasites’ (p38)

  Express

  Mail

  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Airlines warned of cracks in missing plane (p1)
  • Boris camp accused of plotting against Gove (p1)
  • Cameron rejects plea to cut middle class tax burden (p3)
  • Farage accused of affair (p5)
  • NHS chief quits, but gets £310K for next two years (p11)
  • Cautious welcome from business for Miliband’s EU pledge (p14)
  • Tesco cuts fuel prices (p19)
  • Investors demand scalp of Barclays bonus-setting chief (p37)
  • G4S hands back £109 million (p38)
  • Demand for low pay reform (p43)

  Indie

  Guardian

  Telegraph

  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Boom in higher rate tax fuels relief calls (p1)
  • Low pay reformer calls for stronger watchdog (p2)
  • New airport terminal risks bumpy ride (p2)
  • G4S to pay £109 million (p)
  • Pru chief plans fresh push (p16)
  • Aerospace and cars reposition UK (p20)

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