News digest 15 October 2013

News digest 15 October 2013

15 October 2013

Today’s top story featuring in most of the papers is another tax scandal. This time the papers report on the news uncovered by Unite - working in concert with War on Want and Change to Win – that Alliance Boots has “avoided paying more than £1 billion in taxes” since the firm moved its headquarters to Zug in Switzerland in 2008. According to the report – Alliance Boots: The Case for corporate tax reform - the company went into massive debt to fund its 2007 buyout and is likely to have apportioned this liability to reduce its corporation tax by about 95 per cent over six years. In total the tax not paid could have paid for 78,000 nurses, two years’ worth of prescription charges or 5.2 million ambulance calls. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, quoted in almost all the papers, said: "The revelation that yet another high street name is fleecing Britain, taking work from our NHS while avoiding its tax responsibilities, will leave taxpayers furious. Boots has deliberately woven a web to support its tax avoidance habit, the scale of which is so big it could have paid for two years' worth of prescription charges for everyone in England. Tax avoidance is now part of the DNA of a corporate British culture that is rotten to the core. While this government pursues the needy with a single-minded cruelty, George Osborne does little to stop corporate Britain from stripping earnings in the UK and sending profits to tax havens. Boots has abused the trust of the British public and must immediately come clean on its tax affairs, and act more responsibly towards this country.” Time to #PayUpBoots

Elsewhere the Ineos dispute continues. There were  talks under the auspices of Acas, although the company left the meeting early seemingly to continue with the cold shutdown of Grangemouth, so this could go to the wire. Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “Further talks are scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, but we are approaching them more in hope than any great expectation."

And talking of great expectations a number of papers report on the pressure on the government over the botched sell off of Royal Mail shares, even though the sale went smoothly, shares in the postal giant hit 475p yesterday, that is 44 per cent above the government’s valuation, if the Con-Dems had priced the business at its ‘proper price’ [notwithstanding it should never have been sold in the first place] then the Treasury would be sitting on an extra £760 million, instead its filled the boots of institutions and others able to make a quick buck. The CWU will announce the results of its strike ballot over pay, pensions and-jobs tomorrow, solidarity…


 Morning Star (web updated at lunchtime)

  • Mark Thomas : Blacklisting must stop now (p1)
  • IDS dismisses cuts victims’ suffering (p3)
  • Loss of undervalued Royal Mail sell off (p3)
  • Lecturers call for crackdown on zero hours contracts (p4)
  • London NHS bosses ‘scare’ public to justify closures (p4)(p)
  • Uni workers back strike (p4) – Unite cited
  • Judges set to rule on disability cash (p5)

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Energy crisis latest: Queen has to pay more (p1)
  • Rise in benefit tourists (p2)
  • Lollipop man quits (p23)
  • Wonga the movie (p28) [payday loan firm to make film to promote itself]
  • Boots in row over ‘fleecing’ £1 billion tax (p40) - Unite/Len McCluskey cited


  • Osborne urged to raise tax threshold (p2)
  • Fury at palace staff pay hikes (p2)
  • ‘Snoops’ to check on care homes (p21)
  • Argos takes on Apple in tablet sales (p50)
  • Royal Mail shares up (p50)


  Times (not delivered)



·         Conservative peer Lord Blencathra hits out at online spying by GCHQ (p1)

·         Huge GCSE table shakeup to end 'perverse incentive', coalition says (p1)

·         Conference season produces bounce for Labour and Tories but not Lib Dems (p2)

·         Welfare party? Well, the Queen won't want to pay the bedroom tax (p2)

·         Lollipop man quits after council tells him to stop giving children high fives (p4)

·         David Cameron and Europe at odds over benefit tourism issue (p6)

·         Jon Cruddas: Labour 'got things wrong' under last government (p6)

·         Foreign police chiefs could run forces after government reforms (p8)

·         British firms could miss out on Hinkley nuclear plant contracts, EDF suggests (p10)

·         Plan to use hidden cameras in care homes (p11)

·         Social care reform: community group aims to break political deadlock (p11)

·         Young mothers evicted from London hostel may be rehoused 200 miles away (p13)

·         MPs criticise Queen's household over pay rises (p13)

·         Labour demand inquiry into racial discrimination in lettings market (p19)

·         Argos launches £99 no-frills 7" MyTablet (p25)

·         Royal Mail share investors set to make £300 profit with new price surge (p25)

·         Royal Mail profits expected to result in 'halo effect' in run up to Christmas (p25)

·         New Bank of England deputy warns banks over Help to Buy scheme (p25)

·         Alliance Boots targeted by campaigners over 'aggressive' tax regime (p28) - Unite/Len McCluskey cited

·         Help to Buy: no evidence of housing bubble, says Bank's new deputy (p30)

  From Obamacare to trade, superversion not subversion is the new and very real threat to the state – Geroge Monbiot (p33).



FT (no links all stories behind paywall)


Edited by Mik Sabiers


Comment on this story