Today’s digest opens with a few of the papers focusing on the British Social Attitudes survey. The 2011 findings are published today and present contradictory evidence. The front page of the FT cites the report as sounding an alert over coalition policy as more Britons will support increased spending even at the expense of higher taxes, the proportion of the population wanting the government to spend more has risen from 31 per cent in 2010 to 36 per cent last year. The Indie sums it up as: “Bad news for Osborne, most voters want more spending.” However the survey also reveals a hardening of attitudes towards benefit claimants and even the disabled and retired people. With government benefit changes expected to create more trouble – the Times reports that Duncan Smith is trying to calm fears over his welfare reforms as the jitters even hit Whitehall, the Guardian reports that Labour is arguing for the reforms to be delayed a year, although one aspect that is expected to be shelved according to the Telegraph is forcing cancer sufferers to find work. Evenso the Mail reports that G4S is spying on disabled people in their homes, while 4,000 families are calling B&B home which can hardly be good for their health.
And talking of health the survey also finds that satisfaction with the NHS has fallen sharply from 70 per cent in 2010 to 58 per cent last year. Don’t expect new health secretary Jeremy Hunt to be paying any attention as he is on holiday, conveniently avoiding local marches and demonstrations mentioned in the Morning Star.
From health to education and Gove is reported in many papers as continuing with his plans to effectively reintroduce O-levels, and although he has retreated from two tier exams the Times says the new exams will be ‘longer and tougher’.
And longer and tougher could refer to the current recession we are in. Although the Mail reports on a CEBR report which says we will all have more cash next year; that comes after another fall this year. And the news is seized on by former prime minister Sir John Major who says the worst is over in terms of the economic crisis – he was speaking in a TV interview. As a prime minister who presided over a deep recession – although not as bad as the current one we are in - he may argue he has an idea of what he means, but maybe he needs to look further than his Huntingdon home.
Major also muscles in on the other issue that is hitting the Tories, namely leadership challenges, another issue he has experience of after all he once challenged himself for the leadership. He tells the Tory rebels that ‘regicide’ is not the answer and says Boris is not the answer either noting he is not in parliament and has said he does not want to be prime minister, then again when has Boris stuck to his pledges, we have less police, higher fares etc. And from fares to buses and Boris’ latest pronouncement calling for stricter rules on taking strike action, the London mayor wants a 50 per cent threshold on ballots. The Mail has the most fun running a headline that says: “Boris talks tough on strikers … after giving in for the Olympics.”
And finally a few of the papers report on the mystery of the minister who wanted to resign. Education minister Lord Hill walked into Cameron’s office during the reshuffle to tell him he wanted to resign, however Cameron dashed off to a photocall and left the minister in place, and he remains there, too much claret possibly…
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- New exams will longer and tougher (p8)
- Duncan Smith tries to calm fear over welfare reform (p11)
- The worst is over, says Major (p11)
- Tory guns ready to finds their target – Tim Montgomeie (p19)
- Nuclear option essential for our [energy] future – Vincent de Rivaz (p20)
- Admiral warns of security threat from BAE merger (p31)
- Business losing faith in coalition, says CBI (p31)
- Boots steps into Chinese market (p35)
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Increase in support for more public spending (p1)
- Merged BAE-EADS would need toughened US security ‘firewall’ (p1)
- Hard times sap compassion (p2)
- Business calls for action on plans for infrastructure (p2)
- Major warns party against regicide (p2)
- Gove’s GCSE reforms diluted (p3)
- CBI warns over tax clampdown (p4)
- Diplomats intervene after complaints of graft (p4)
- A third quest for the defence industry’s hold grail – Francois Heisbourg (p11)
- QE3 hit by mortgage backlog (p15)
- Move to stall 40 per cent female quota plan (p15)
- EADS plan puts BAE status in US at risk (p17)
- Railways on track for 20 per cent expansion (p18)
- Tough choices ahead for easyJet (p21)
hopes £1 billion upgrade will bring sea change (p21)
Edited by Mik Sabiers