News digest 16 April 2014

News digest 16 April 2014

16 April 2014

The top story in today’s papers with front page splashes in the Mirror, Independent and Guardian is the rise of food banks users in the UK. As the Trussell Trust released figures showing 913,138 people (including 330,205 children) received three days emergency food aid last year. Benefit ‘reforms’ also look to be behind the rise as the explosion in demand has coincided with an increase in those seeking help following a benefit sanction. Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “These shocking figures show that the government is in denial about its food bank shame. It’s a national scandal that in the seventh richest country in the world nearly one million people were forced to turn to food banks in the last year. These aren’t people who are turning to food aid out of choice. They are people being plunged into food poverty because of this government’s draconian polices which are hitting some of the most vulnerable while a cost of living crisis grips ordinary families struggling to make ends meet. Food poverty is becoming a growing stain on this out of touch government’s record as the so called recovery passes ordinary people by. We need to give people dignity and put money their people’s pockets with decent jobs that pay decent wages.” The government is denying the reality of what is happening across the country, the rise in food banks shames the Con-Dem coalition, but the coalition doesn’t seem to care.

And while the Sun shows how Cameron is sunning himself on holiday, the government is trying to push the benefits of the so-called recovery. However, while the statistics may seem to show there is a rise in employment, a drop in inflation and increased wages, the reality is not being felt across the country.

Many of the papers report on the latest dip in inflation, but that ignores the rise in rents and house prices, this morning also saw another fall in unemployment, but the number of people underemployed remains high and many papers report on the rise in self-employed workers, the FT notes that a quarter of self-employed workers want jobs. And will those jobs pay proper wages, if you strip out bonuses pay is still lagging inflation. If there’s a recovery, it’s only for the rich so far, as Larry Elliott in the Guardian says “don’t spend it all at once”

There is one person that seems to like to spend it all at once as Ukip leader Nigel Farage continues to be taken to task over his EU expenses, he’s trying to fight the claims, but may need to retire with a pint and a cigarette if the scandal keeps going on. He won’t however get a UK-made cigarette after Imperial Tobacco yesterday announced it was closing its last UK plant. Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy is quoted in many papers: “This is shocking news … we were not expecting the wholesale closure of the Nottingham site and an end to Imperial Tobacco manufacturing cigarettes in the UK and moving production to eastern Europe. We believe that Imperial Tobacco is cynically using the EU directive as cover to dump on UK workers and ship production to low cost workers in eastern Europe.”

And from low cost to low pay as pay for NHS workers doesn’t keep pace with price rises, the result has been a push by NHS unions – including Unite with 100,000 members in the health service – to consult over possible strike action over the ‘divide and rule’ pay offer by health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “Unite will be consulting its membership on whether they wish to proceed to an industrial action ballot, including strike action, over the insulting pay offer … health service staff have had their fill of being treated with contempt by health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Enough is enough.” Too right.

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Ukraine hits back (p2)
  • One million Brits rely on food banks (p4)
  • Wages to outstrip prices (p6)
  • Hillsborough: 25 years on (p12-13)
  • 582 per cent credit shark (p32)
  • Fuming at ciggie job cuts (p46) – Unite/Rhys McCarthy cited



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Ukip blocked questions over party’s EU funding (p1/6)
  • Pressure grows on Clegg over adviser (p16)
  • Aide tells of impossible fight against MP bullies (p20) – Unite cited
  • The great NHS showdown is coming. Soon – Paul Goodman (p25)
  • We’ll pat more tax in UK, says Starbucks (p39)
  • Tobacco fails to make the final cut (p)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Co-op pushed for softer reforms (p1)
  • Osborne cheered by fall in inflation (p2)
  • (Quarter of self employed want secure jobs (p2)
  • Farage brushes off allegations over expenses (p4)p)
  • Imperial Tobacco shuts plant (p15) Unite/Rhys McCarthy cited
  • Coca-Cola at 15 year sales low (p19)
  • SABMiller eyes sale of Tsogo Sun stake (p19)

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