News digest 16 May 2014

News digest 16 May 2014

16 May 2014

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

·                Tories use secret club as front for donations - Indie

·                Labour alleges 'cash-for-access' as City financiers put £3m in Conservative pot – Guardian

·                Britain's richest 1% own as much as poorest 55% of population - Guardian

·                Pfizer chiefs sold £15 million of own shares weeks before bid - Indie

·                Alliance Boots says it’s a top taxpayer - Telegraph

·                MPs employ 151 on zero hours – Mirror

·                The Tories said coalition wouldn’t work – and they were right – Fraser Nelson - Telegraph

Today’s digest opens with the subject of donations. The Mail runs with the line that Unite has handed Labour leader Ed Miliband £1.8 million which saw Tory chair Grant Shapps try to claim that Unite is in the driving seat of Labour policy. Oddly it gives much less space to the fact that the Tories got £1.5 million from a controversial hedge fund donor who was conveniently granted a knighthood by the Con-Dem coalition last year. In fact the top five Tory donors were all City hedge fund managers, but Sir Michael Hintze tops the list with his £1.5 million, which is 50 times more than the tax bill for his company in 2011. The Indie has a damning headline outlining that there could be even more money rolling in as the party is using a ‘secret club as a front for donations’, as ever you can never trust the Tories, but the Guardian probably has the most salient headline: ”Labour alleges 'cash-for-access' as City financiers put £3 million in Conservative pot.” Nuff said…

And talking of riches, the latest data from the ONS has shown the increased divide in the country as the richest one per cent of the UK population now own as much as the poorest 55 per cent. A few papers report ion the share options cashed in by Pfizer bosses just weeks before the AstraZeneca bid burst into the open (depressing Pfizer shares), while ordinary workers at Boots will not get any bonuses this year as the company has decided to slash staff bonuses for the first time in years. Staff that had expected up to a 20 per cent bonuses will now get just one per cent if they are lucky. Oddly revenues rose by 4.3 per cent to £22.4 billion, with profits up 31 per cent.  Does that sound fair? I don’t think so.

The FT reports that the wealth gap has not changed. What that means is that the rich have retained their wealth while the rest of us have got poorer and more insecure, after all the Indie reports that four million people are now working from home, and the Mirror has come up with a shocking survey of parliament which has found that 151 MPs (77 Tories, 62 Labour, 5 Lib Dem and 7 others) are employing staff on zero hours contracts. Unite’s Steve Turner said: “It will appal ordinary people to discover that the country’s lawmakers are using ‘hire and fire’ contracts. Parliament passed the laws that are supposed to protect pay and conditions – our MPs ought to be upholding them, setting a high standard for employers. We are calling on those MPs using zero-hours contracts to move their staff on to secure contracts immediately.” Agreed.

But then parliament has also gone quiet as it was prorogued on Wednesday and that has led to claims of a ‘zombie government’ as MPs clear out of the Commons and return to their constituencies. So much for running out of ideas, it seems the Con-Dems no longer get on, the Mail reports how Lib Dems tried to get a Gove ally arrested and Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph is damning on the coalition writing: “The Tories said coalition wouldn’t work – and they were right.” Exactly and the sooner we’re rid of them the better…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Ed Miliband interviewed (p23)
  • Dixons Carphone merger (p44)
  • Jobs fear for Asda bosses (p44)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Ukip officials gave jobs to illegal immigrants (p1)
  • Labour trails Tories on donations (p6)
  • Employers urged to chill out over rise of remote working (p26)(p)
  • PM’s aide beats up grieving protester (p34)
  • Asda sweeps away middle managers (p44)
  • Shareholders rebel at BG (p49)
  • Pfizer buyout threatens science, say MPs (p51)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Wealth gap unchanged, says report (p1)
  • Coalition fights ‘zombie government’ claims (p2)(p)
  • Housebuilding soars (p4)
  • Welfare to work groups seek scale (p4)
  • Energy companies have investors fired up (p17)
  • Thomas Cook targets costs cuts (p20)

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