News digest 20 May 2014

News digest 20 May 2014

20 May 2014

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

·                Pfizer pulls out of fight for AstraZeneca - Guardian

·                Astra’s value plummets - Indie

·                Firms in £40 billion tax cheat – Mirror

·                VAT tax evaders cost country £50 billion a year – Morning Star

·                Miliband’s pay pledge: Ending the heat or eat quandary - Mirror

The top story in today’s digest is the end of the manoeuvring over Pfizer’s now aborted bid for AstraZeneca. A ‘final’ £69.4 billion bid for the company was rejected by the board with the result that the company’s shares crashed by some 11 per cent (although the share price is still some 10 per cent ahead of where it was at the start of April). The Telegraph reports that shareholders are divided over the bid, while the FT reports that recriminations are flying. Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “AstraZeneca’s shareholders should avoid the temptation to make a quick buck. The company has a long term plan and we would urge shareholders to back the workforce and the board. The latest offer from Pfizer still raises more questions than it answers. It would not only destabilise AstraZeneca, but undermine the UK’s science and research base and put a jewel in the Britain’s manufacturing crown at risk. Shareholders should stand firm and look to the long term.” With billions at stake, and share options and possibly lots of money for bosses the question is whether it will all kick off again in six months, don’t say that you weren’t warned…

And talking of billions, the Mirror and Morning Star both report on the report by veteran tax campaigner Richard Murphy which has found that one pound in every 10 spent in the UK disappears into the ‘shadow economy’ where more than three million companies are registered in the UK, but just 1.1 million disclose an income. Around a fifth of the remaining 1.9 million forms are believed to be trading but not file returns or declare their accounts, leaving up to an estimated £40 billion loss to the exchequer or four times current estimates. Time for them to pay up, although don’t bank on it.

And also talking of raising pay, Labour leader Ed Miliband yesterday launched his latest push to share the wealth rather than concentrate in the hands of the rich with a pledge to raise the minimum wage by linking it to higher earnings. The Mail reports that bosses have said the plan is “simplistic and political” which surely means that it is driven by a desire for more equality and will be easy to implement. No wonder the bosses don’t like it, seems they prefer to pay themselves loads, but not their staff, time to raise the living wage and let workers see some wage growth as inflation again heads upwards (it hit 1.8 per cent today while pay rises remain at 1.7 per cent, and even lower if you strip out bonuses), if the bosses are moaning then something is being done right…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Ed’s low pay plan trashed [by Vince Cable] (p4)
  • Pfizer bid fizzles out (p20)
  • Ryanair slips (p40)
  • Bentley’s staff drives (p40)
  • Cheer for pub jobs (p40)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Rate rise will spell ruin for ‘mortgage prisoners’ (p4)
  • Ukip candidate in scuffle with disabled protester (p16)
  • Ed under pressure from left and right – Rachel Sylvester (p25) – Unite cited
  • Shareholders attack Astra for killing bid (p37)
  • Eurozone rates to drop? (p40)
  • Pfizer’s chill of defeat (p42-43)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Recrimination fly as Pfizer bid rejected (p1/16)
  • Lib Dems prepare for losses (p2)
  • Business unhappy with minimum wage plan (p4)
  • Acas hold talks to avert Tube strike (p4) – Unite cited
  • Editorial: Leave politics out of minimum wage (p10)
  • Cheaper fares dent Ryanair (p16)
  • Mitie wins immigrant centres deal (p21)

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