News digest 15 May 2014

News digest 15 May 2014

15 May 2014

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

·         UK unemployment at five-year low amid jobs boom - Guardian

·         Osborne’s tax avoidance boast based on ‘dodgy statistics’ - Indie

·         Publish true level of benefit fraud, MPs urge ministers – Indie

·         Judges criticise impact of legal aid cuts – Guardian

·         Pfizer row rumbles on - Express

·         Turkey mine disaster: Grief turns to rage as hopes of finding survivors fade - Guardian

·         More people may have died building Qatar 2022 than will play in the 2014 World Cup – Ampp3d

·         Stephen Sutton dies - Mirror

Today’s digest starts with the economy in the frame. While the Tories seem to be claiming that the recovery is here and all is wonderful, there is some caution in the papers and even the Sun challenges Cameron’s optimism. The latest unemployment figures exercise a number of the papers. The official unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 6.8 per cent while the number of people in work rose to a record high, but as ever the facts behind the figures reveal a different story of thousands of people wanting to work longer hours and the rise in what is effectively bogus self-employment. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “This month’s fall in the unemployment figures is to be welcomed, however the myth that those taking up self-employment are all 'budding Richard Bransons’ needs to be exposed. Many people are being forced to take up ‘self-employment’ as the permanent, full-time jobs they are qualified to do are simply not there ... this is not an economy where all our citizens are sharing the fruits of prosperity that the world’s seventh largest economy can generate.” The one sided recovery continues…

And talking of the economy and Osborne is taken to task by the Indie which claims that his boasts about cracking down on tax avoidance were actually not based in fact (what a surprise), work and pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith has been challenged to publish the true level of benefit fraud (he won’t because it is just 0.7 per cent of claims and does not fit the Con-Dem narrative) and the Guardian reports on criticism by leading judges of the cuts to legal aid imposed by justice secretary Chris Grayling which are actually having the opposite effect of increasing costs in the courts. Shows how joined up the Con-Dem coalition really is…

On the company front the AstraZeneca/Pfizer row rumbles on, the Mail reiterates the fact that the top bosses at AstraZeneca stand to gain some £60 million if the deal goes ahead and the Guardian reports that the company has admitted that a higher bid could succeed. The Telegraph says Pfizer is now on a charm offensive (judging by the evidence at the BIS committee on Tuesday it has the offensive side of that equation sewn up) but the FT says shareholders have signalled they may accept an offer from Pfizer, we really need those safeguards in place, sadly the government is still cheerleading rather than securing jobs…

And that takes us to a sombre end to today’s digest, many of the papers report on the death of 274 miners in the Turkish mining accident in Soma on Tuesday, hundreds more are missing. Families fear a government cover-up over safety at the mine, after the government voted down a proposal for an inquiry into a series of accidents at mines around Soma, so much for safety at work. And safety at work, or the distinct lack of, is also featured in the Telegraph which reports that Fifa’s decision to allow Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup must be investigated, sadly this is solely a call on governance and not on the travesty of the workers exploited and dying to build the stadia, to find out more on that just look at the haunting stats from Ampp3d which shows that not only have more people died building the stadiums than will play at the 2014 World Cup (1,200 deaths versus 736 players), but that up to 4,000 workers could die, that’s truly shocking. And finally there is also widespread coverage of Stephen Sutton, the teenager who yesterday lost his fight against cancer but in doing so managed to raise over £3.5 million for charity. His final words: “You only get one shot at life, make it count.” Never a truer word said, RIP…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Stephen Sutton dies (p1)
  • Recovery brings mixed fortunes (p12-13)
  • Mitchell told to apologise (p16)
  • M&S to take on high street banks  (p42)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Clegg orders Gove to make up with minister (p4)
  • Feelgood factor at 36-year high (p6)
  • Makeover starts for Miliband (p21)
  • Tories told to burst Ukip’s Newark bubble (p26)
  • Farage defends ‘cash for seats’ policy (p26)
  • New revolt on exec pay (p41)
  • Pfizer’s five year safeguard not enough (p43)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Turkey grieves (p1)
  • AstraZeneca investors signal acceptance of better offer (p2)
  • Military on course to outdo GPS (p4)
  • Investors mist have the final word on AstraZeneca (p11)
  • HSBC cuts bonus (p20)

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