News digest 19 May 2014

News digest 19 May 2014

19 May 2014

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

·                Pfizer raises stakes with final AstraZeneca takeover approach - Guardian

·                Unions look overseas for help to scupper AZ bid - Indie

·                How 1,000 richest Britons got much richer in one year - Express

·                Carney to clamp down on mega-mortgages – Mail

·                Labour: We will link minimum pay to earnings – Guardian

·                Fears grow government will cash in on health and safety ‘police’ - Indie

Today’s digest opens with the latest on Pfizer’s plans to take over Astra Zeneca, with a renewed and higher bid tabled this morning. The UK drugs company AstraZeneca has rejected the improved "final" £69 billion takeover offer from the US firm Pfizer which is bitterly opposed by the workers and being challenged as not being in the public interest. Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke is quoted in the Indie over the union’s plans to build international opposition to any deal: “We’ve briefed US Steelworkers, our partner union, and they’ve got all our briefing papers. They’re now feeding this to Democratic senators.” This comes on top of talks with Swedish unions in Stockholm this weekend as the pressure to stop the bid continues, quite a lot of coverage is concerned about what the deal would mean with only Tony Jackson in the FT arguing in its favour, even John Logworth in the Mail is scathing with a piece saying the takeover could “poison” the UK economy. Not often you can agree with what is said in the Mail, but for once the Tory cheerleaders backing the deal should pay some attention…

Sadly they are more likely to be poring over the Sunday Times Rich List which is followed up by many papers and summed up best by the Express as: “How Britain’s richest got much richer in one year” with the combined wealth of Britain’s 1,000 richest people now totalling £519 billion, yes, £519 billion, they definitely needed that top rate tax cut didn’t they?

Sadly that wealth does not seem to be being shared. While Bank of England governor Mark Carney says the cost of living crisis is over, he may need to look at the figures as ordinary people aren’t feeling the recovery. In fact Carney warns of a triple threat to the recovery of rocketing house prices (for the very rich as everyone else is priced out), poor eurozone growth and a rise in interest rates, he forgets to talk about pay…

And pay and raising the minimum wage is the front page of the Indie, and a number of papers as Labour leader Ed Miliband looks to challenge the UK’s race to the bottom and instead end the low pay economy and instead make work pay. If Labour win the next election Miliband will pledge five years of increases to close the gap on average earnings and end the rising inequality in the country. Good.

And from good to bad, and the digest ends with another story in the Indie which says that there are fears that the Health & Safety Executive may be next for privatisation, the government is apparently looking at increasing the commercial work the body does, why not just let it get on with making sure workplaces are safe…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Euro vote countdown (p2)
  • Farage profiled (p6-7)
  • Nick Clegg interviewed (p22)
  • House price boom ‘risks new slump’ (p26)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Help to Buy threat to recovery (p1)
  • Fruit growers prepare for bumper harvest (p11)
  • Pfizer set to raise bid (p37)
  • Heathrow should open round the clock, says airport chief (p40)
  • Chuka Umunna interview (p43)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Labour pay row (p1)
  • Carney warns on housing market (p2)
  • Outsourcers win high value deals (p4)
  • The public interest argument on AZ is overdone – Tony Jackson (p11)
  • Pfizer eyes next move (p17)
  • Carmakers’ suppliers holding whip hand (p19)
  • O’Leary rings Ryanair changes (p20)

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