News digest 14 March 2014

News digest 14 March 2014

14 March 2014

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

·         Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 – Guardian

·         Len me your ears – Len McCluskey interviewed in House Magazine

·          McCluskey’s a died in the wool Union man – Soviet, that is – Andy McSmith - Indie

·          600,000 staff denied 1% pay rise - Mail

·          Betrayal of NHS nurses - Mirror

Today’s digest opens with a short and simple tribute to a great socialist after the news this morning that Tony Benn has died at the age of 88. Unite said simply that this is sad day and his friends at Unite are holding him and his family in our thoughts. RIP comrade, you made the world a better place and always stuck to your principles and to promoting socialist values…

And talking of socialist values there is also coverage across the papers of Unite general secretary Len McCluskey’s interview with the House magazine which trails the piece as football-loving Len McCluskey wants Labour to get back on the pitch, although he warns if the Labour party fails to be radical, it could be Ukip and the SNP scoring the goals. Len stressed next week’s budget urging chancellor George Osborne to ‘stop the cuts’ and saying Britain needs a new British Investment Bank, a big expansion of housebuilding, a new general anti-avoidance rule on tax and an increase of the minimum wage of £1.50 an hour, taking it close to the living wage. Just as importantly, he wants British workers’ rights to be restored to match those of the rest of Europe. Good. That sounds like the start of a key manifesto that should be on the agenda of any future Labour government.

And also on the agenda should be proper pay rises for all public sector workers. There is widespread coverage of the latest slap in the face for public sector workers with health secretary Jeremy Hunt in the firing line as he refused independent advice to raise nurses’ pay. Thanks to Jeremey Hunt hundreds of thousands of nurses and midwives were denied any pay rise, there is widespread coverage and Unite’s Rachel Maskell is quoted in many papers and in a two page spread in the Mirror: “Jeremy Hunt has adopted a divide and rule tactic which calls into serious question the relevance of the so-called independent Pay Review Board. He is deliberately muddying the waters by trying to imply that the annual increments that staff receive, as they gain more skills to benefit patients throughout their careers, is part of the annual pay increase – it is not. It is despicable that Hunt has adopted such an underhand tactic.” Then again that is Hunt all over, and it is clear that this government has no idea of the real damage it is doing to the NHS, the only way to save the NHS is to get rid of the Con-Dem coalition and end the addiction to austerity, cuts and privatisation of our public services. That’s the challenge to the generation taking over from Tony Benn and co, get to it…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  • Exposed: Cost of Tory schools sell off (p1)
  • Unite unveils internship pay tool (p2)
  • Tribunal numbers plummet 79% (2)(p)
  • Unions hit out at failure to boost health staff pay (p3) – Unite/Rachael Maskell cited
  • TUC women’s conference coverage (p4)
  • Fatal chopper crash possibly ‘avoidable’ (p5)

  Daily Mirror

  Sun  (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Union hit (p2) – Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • Balls 10p tax battle (p2)
  • Nurse strike looms (p4) – Unite cited
  • Morrisons meltdown (p8)
  • Farage accuser makes new claims (p12-13)(p)
  • Argos catalogue of success (p45)
  • Bonuses grab bid (p45)
  • Oil boss in £8 million pay cut (p45)



  Times  (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • We made mistakes, admits Balls (p1)
  • NHS strike warning (p2) – Unite/Rachel Maskell cited
  • Uni heads roll in drive to justify salaries (p4)
  • Immigration must be tackled (p8) – Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • Green energy cuts will hit 440,000 hospitals (p25)
  • Labour and Lib Dems are natural allies again – George Eaton (p28)
  • Morrisons profits slump (p39)
  • Reckless bankers may have bonuses clawed back (p41)
  • Bupa’s profits dip (p41)




  FT  (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • New Barclays cull (p1)
  • Union ire rises over pay deal for public sector workers (p2) (p)
  • MPs demand tighter outsourcing controls (p3)
  • Alexander finds £1 billion for tax cuts (p4)
  • Fiscal challenges in Britain’s impoverished future – Martin Wolf (p11)
  • Payment protection woes hit high street (p16)
  • Strong ISS debut (p19)
  • BMW’s China focus (p19)

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