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News digest 19 February 2014

News digest 19 February 2014

19 February 2014

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

·                750,000 surge in cost of living trap - Mirror

·                Why the Archbishop is wrong about welfare – David Cameron - Telegraph

·                One in six doctors asked for food bank referral - Indie

·                Atos; Carrying out the DWP’s orders – Real Britain Ros - Mirror

·                Jack Monroe: Poverty can happen to anyone - Guardian

·                British firms feel benefits of recovery - Mail

·                Business told to give us a pay rise – Morning Star

This morning’s main story is yet another dip in unemployment with the government trailing it as yet more evidence of the economic recovery hitting home. Although the jobless total actually fell by 125,000 to 2.34 million the unemployment rate rose to 7.2 per cent (up from last month’s 7.1 per cent), and in looking at the data one in five workers is now in part time employment while just under 10 per cent of workers are believed to be underemployed. The benefit claimant count figure also dropped by 27,600, but it is worth noting that the figures may not be all they seem after the report earlier this week that with people shifted on to universal credit are no longer included in the unemployment statistics.

The unemployment figures follow yesterday’s inflation figures which showed a further dip, finally dropping below the Bank of England’s 2.0 per cent target after more than four years. The CPI rate dropped to 1.9 per cent, but worryingly the retail prices index actually rose to 2.8 per cent from 2.7 per cent in December implying that the true change in prices is actually rising rather than falling. However the key question that remains is when will wage rises overtake inflation? Sadly, not anytime soon seems the reality. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey argued Britain’s hard-pressed workforce needs a big pay rise as wages continue to lag behind the rate of inflation, said Len: “The plain fact is that millions of people in the UK are struggling to make ends meet because of the escalating cost of living crisis. Wage costs are being held down by employers who are imposing pay freezes and pay cuts, using zero hours contracts and relying on part-time workers who want full-time jobs. Britain’s hard pressed workforce needs a big pay rise to put money into people’s pockets.” As ever, look behind the figures and see the reality of a recovery solely for the rich while the rest struggle…

And talking of struggle, it seems it is the stated aim of the Con-Dem coalition is to grind people down. After yesterday’s intervention from Archbishop Nichols of Westminster on the scandal of growing numbers forced to use food banks, prime minister David Cameron has attacked that criticism arguing that the ‘benefits cuts give people hope’, yes really. It may be a cliché but how out of touch are the Tories? Just look at the demonstrations against Atos across the country today, and read the Real Britain Ros column in the Mirror, perhaps Cameron should also look at the Indie or Sun which both report that one in six GPs have been asked by patients if they can be referred to a food bank. While Jack Monroe writes in the Guardian that poverty can happen to anyone, it looks like Cameron wants it to happen to everyone but his rich mates, don’t believe it, then just look at the Mail which reports that Britain’s firms are feeling the benefits of the recovery in increased revenues and profits, sadly the workers are not, Britain still needs a pay rise …

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Crow blows union dough (p2)
  • Welfare row bishop is ‘so out of touch’ (p9)
  • Floods, rain, then sinkhole hell (p19)
  • One in six GPs been asked to refer someone to a food bank (p20)
  • Poundshop in £750 million float (p41)
  • Pay rise may top inflation (p41)

  Express

  Mail

  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • NHS chiefs abandon plans for sharing patient data (p1)
  • Inflation down (p4)
  • Immigrants keep cities working, says archbishop (p4)
  • Miliband wades into clash with insurers (p7)
  • Students more worried about jobs than debt (p17)
  • Public appointments should be more political – Daniel Finkelstein (p23)
  • Float fever returns to City (p35)
  • Heathrow to get first all business service (p37)
  • Nuclear deal to create 1,000 jobs (p38)

  Indie

  Guardian

  Telegraph

  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • $8 billion IPO flurry expected (p1)
  • Darker side of jobs market in focus (p2)
  • Inflation falls (p2)
  • UK economy most at risk from storms (p3)
  • Companies hit by high energy costs (p3)
  • Welfare reform crunch looms (p4) [universal credit problems]
  • Peugeot approves Dongfeng’s 14 per cent stake (p17)
  • Coca-Cola eyes £1 billion cuts (p21)fs

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