News digest 20 January 2015

News digest 20 January 2015

20 January 2015

Today’s digest opens with back to business as usual in the banking and finance sector. After last week’s bumper bonuses for Goldman Sachs staff, yesterday Aviva announced its planned takeover of Friends Life which could result in over 1,5000 workers facing the sack as part of a £225 million ‘cost savings’ plan. Unite’s Dominic Hook said: “Unite will be seeking assurances from Aviva that the takeover of Friends Life will not be used as an excuse to slash jobs and erode terms and conditions of staff … both Aviva and Friends Life need to give their staff clarity and assurances about the future of the combined workforce in the new company.”

And from possible job cuts to gas price cuts, and for once there is argument that the cuts do not go far enough. That’s because British Gas yesterday announced it would cuts its bills by five per cent (despite a 20 per cent fall in wholesale prices) and only in six weeks’ time [namely after the latest cold snap]. Many of the right-wing papers say that it is the fault of Labour leader Ed Miliband [who knew the leader of the opposition had so much power?], but the reality is that the cuts don’t go far enough, so much for the government dealing with the cost of living crisis.

Bu then the government is dealing with various crises. Not content with alienating religious leaders (the CofE over poverty and Imams over a letter on extremism], the pressures on A&Es continues, but prime minister David Cameron was delayed for 30 minutes yesterday. What was the reason? Sadly not dealing with any of the above, but rather running scared from a chicken or as the Morning Star so kindly puts it: “‘Chicken’ Cameron chased by feathered loon over TV debates” [and no, that was not a reference to Boris Johnson].

The mystery of who is the Mirror’s chicken continues, but in many cases it is take what job you can get. The FT splashes with the rise of the UK’s hourglass economy arguing the rise of low skill jobs in the UK has made the workforce bottom heavy, with analysis that shows for every 10 middle-skilled posts lost, 5.5 replacement posts were low skilled, so much for the recovery, while Ben Chu in the Indie says the trickle down economy failed to let anything trickle down. And if you want the reality of working life in the UK, then look no further than Aditja Chakrabortty’s piece: “Ghost jobs, half lives: How agency workers ‘get by’ in Britain’s shadow economy”. The answer is that people don’t really get by, so much for Cameron’s jobs factory, more like a jobs sweatshop…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Heat on Miliband again (p2)
  • Blunt blasts Labour’s Bryant (p5)
  • Cameron slams Imams (p9)
  • First NHS doc in court over FGM (p12)
  • Aviva not the best of friends (p43) – Unite/Dominic Hook cited
  • Uber’s drive in to Europe (p43)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Dangerous inmates to be stripped of human rights (p1)
  • Ukip sacks policy chief (p2)
  • The NHS cannot survive says Farage (p2)
  • BG cuts gas bills (p6)
  • Scots voters want SNP to help Labour govern (p12)
  • Danes slash rates (p37)
  • Kraft and Cadbury: Bitter feud gives way to sweet talk (p39)
  • UK in IMF’s god books (p39)
  • Aviva to axe 1,500 (p41) – Unite/Dominic Hook cited
  • Pressure grows on banks over loans (p47)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Swiss franc storm claims scalp of top banker (p1)
  • Growth in low skills jobs makes workforce bottom heavy (p1/3)
  • Jim Murphy in Dundee (p2)
  • Price cut from BG gets mixed response (p4)
  • Tories can bore their way to victory – Janan Ganesh (p13)
  • As oil prices p[lunge the politics are pivotal – Michael Levi (p13)
  • Airbus tackles helicopter unit (p19)
  • Aviva fees bonanza (p2/22)

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