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News digest 20 March 2014

News digest 20 March 2014

20 March 2014

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

·                A budget for business and older people – Robert Peston – BBC News

·                'Strap on your clogs and grab your whippets': Spoof ads mock Tories' – Mail

·                The budget we’ve been waiting for – Leo McKinstry – Express

·                Chancellor lost in space – Brian Reade – Mirror

·                George Osborne's record is a dismal failure even in his own terms –Seumas Milne - Guardian

Today’s digest is all about chancellor George Osborne’s fifth budget. Despite the Tories trying to spin it as a boon for beer drinkers and bingo players with a totally crass poster which talked of letting “hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy”, note the word ‘they’ in particular, the reality was different. The right wing press have hailed the budget as good for savers, but in summation after addressing the Commons on his tax and spending plans (or more cuts plus a shift in personal allowances that will benefit the richest most), pensions (spend them now/goodbye annuities), growth forecasts (revised yet again), benefit changes (setting a welfare cap trap for Labour) and tackling tax avoidance (not really) for over an hour Osborne tried to end his speech on a high note declaring: "With the help of the British people, we're turning this country around" sadly it is in completely the wrong direction. The reality is it was a rather dull political budget targeted at the Tory’s core vote. Two BBC reporters summed it up as follows; political editor Nick Robinson said it was a budget where the measures were carefully chosen and calibrated by chancellor George Osborne with the next general election in mind, while business editor Robert Peston summed it up as ‘a budget for business or older people’, in other words traditional Tory voters, predictable as ever…

Commenting, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Ordinary people will be asking themselves are they better off? The simple answer is no. This was a blue rinse budget for the stockbroker belt who will celebrate their tax reductions and help with their savings … for real Britain, this is devoid of hope and genuine effort to tackle the crisis in living standards.” Outlining the paltry prospects on offer for Britain’s working people, Len continued: “The £56 a year that basic rate taxpayers will get through changes to allowances is a pittance. It will do nothing to help low paid workers in the grip of a wage siege, nor will it help the 4.6 million people whose pay is so low they don’t pay tax. Where we needed action to boost wages to stop the biggest fall in living standards since the Victorian era, we got the promise of endless austerity and more cuts to the services our communities rely on.” Concluding, Len slammed the chancellor for ignoring the crying need for action on wages, homes and jobs for the young: “Ordinary people will be underwhelmed by this budget but worse than that, they will be no better off” and took less than 30 minutes for people to be told they will be worse off after the OBR released updated figures saying real wages will return to their pre-crisis peak in the third quarter of 2017, three months later than last expected, that’s a whole decade after the credit crunch hit,. Feeling the recovery yet, you’?

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  • Budget 2014: A massive handout to the rich (p1-3) – Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • Johnson ‘forcing water cannon on Londoners’ (p4)
  • Employment levels fall (p4) - – Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • Health staff protest over 1 per cent rise denial (p5) – Unite/Ken Fish cited
  • Care striker picket greedy firm’s office (p5)

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Budget 2014: Win-Go(p1/4-9)
  • Mystery jet coverage (p11)
  • National Express signs £100 million bus deal (p41)
  • Co-op in delay on £2 billion loss (p41)

  Express

  Mail

  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Budget 2014: The savings revolution (p1/8-12 + pullout)
  • Hospital left my husband to die like battery hen, says MP (p4)
  • Osborne will never gain the keys to No 10 – Tim Montgomerie (p29)
  • Ukraine troops pull out of Ukraine (p33)
  • Cheers George: Business hails ‘big-ticket’ budget for growth (p39)
  • Bentley leads British revival (p40)
  • Private sector pay outpaces inflation (p43)

  Indie

  Guardian

  Telegraph

  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Budget 2014: Pensions revolution as Osborne woos silver-haired and savers (p1-24)
  • Jobless rate holds steady (p26)
  • Labour weighs pledge to freeze rail fares (p26) - Unite cited
  • Toyota fined (p34)
  • Co-op results delayed (p36)