News digest 21 February 2014

News digest 21 February 2014

21 February 2014

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

·                Ukraine's bloodiest day: dozens dead as Kiev protesters regain territory from police - Guardian

·                Suppressed government report reveals truth about food banks - Indie

·                Demand for food banks 'fuelled by poverty and benefit delays' – Guardian

·                Clegg hits back at bishops: We spend billions and billions on welfare - Telegraph

·                Food bank users are not scroungers – Rowan Williams - Mirror

·                RBS to cut 20,000 jobs – Telegraph

·                Tory sports minister urges women to become cheerleaders - Mirror

·                When learning becomes a weapon for all – Bernadette Horton – Morning Star

The top story in all the papers is the chaos in Kiev, with reports of more than 75 people killed, hundreds injured and the city’s central square reduced to rubble. Protesters and police fought for much of yesterday and a real solution to the stand-off looks no nearer even with talk of a ‘peace deal’ today. The EU has agreed to impose sanctions, although Moscow advised the Ukrainian government to assert itself. It’s not looking good.

On the domestic front the row over the government’s response to criticism from over 40 religious leaders over the coalition’s attack on benefits and the rise in the use of food banks continues to feature in the papers. The right is obviously rattled as both the Mail and Telegraph try to take the Church to task. Nick Clegg responded by saying that the Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nicholls was exaggerating the impact of welfare reforms, conveniently ignoring the fact that 500,000 people have visited a food bank in the past year; 5,500 people were admitted to hospital with malnutrition, and one in five mothers have had to skip meals to better feed their children. Confronted with the figures Clegg retorted that 'incompetent' officials were responsible for the rise in the use of food banks. That response came as Defra sneaked out its ‘suppressed’ report on food banks, leading Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner to say: “This is a ‘Whitehall whitewash’. The government has sat on this report for nearly a year, refusing to publish it, refusing to meet with food bank providers, hoping the growing scandal of food poverty will go away ... nearly a year into the government’s so-called welfare reforms David Cameron’s moral mission really has lost its way when mums go hungry to feed their kids and people return food to food banks because they cannot afford the fuel to cook it. This report takes us no further forward.” An all-party group of MPs yesterday said they would launch an inquiry into the causes of UK food poverty and food bank use to be headed by the Bishop of Truro, Tim Thornton, who was one of those that signed the Mirror letter condemning the coalition, calling for a national approach Steve Turner added: “We need an urgent national inquiry to expose why so many ordinary people are relying on food hand-outs and what the government of the seventh richest nation in the world can do to eradicate growing food poverty in this country. “Too right.

From poverty to job cuts and the FT reports that there may be more turmoil in the financial sector as RBS says up to 30,000 staff may lose their jobs. The paper says the bank – 81 per cent owned by the state - is expected to withdraw from its riskier investment banking businesses. The FT quotes one analyst as saying: “It will be a monster restructuring”. Monstrous for the staff as well I imagine.

And finally there’s some advice for women wanting to get more involved in sports, Tory sports minister Helen Grant yesterday suggested that some girls may not like traditional sports “so how about considering … cheerleading” she said, yes really. Sums up the antiquated and out of touch Tories to a T and perhaps she should read the piece by Bernadette Horton on how Unite’s Community project has opened minds and empowered people to challenge the cuts…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Strike it rich (p2) [Bob Crow attack job]
  • Blears to quit (p2)
  • Clegg and bishop split (p2)
  • 462,000 dump British Gas (p6)
  • Anarchy in the Ukraine (p12-13)
  • BAE Systems shares drop (p44)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Carnage in Kiev (p1-10-11)
  • Prepare for interest rate rises in 2015 (p1)
  • Britain falling behind in productivity stakes (p2)
  • Cuts driving people to food banks, says Welby (p4)
  • Try cheerleading, sports minister tells girls (p9)
  • Somerset council chief quits (p22)
  • Centrica boss could quit over political attacks (p41)
  • BAE sounds alarm (p43)
  • FlyBe back on front foot (p49)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • RBS to cut 30,000 jobs (p1)
  • Senior clergy deliver sermon to Cameron on benefit cuts (p2)
  • National minimum wage system has ‘run its course’ says founding chair (p2)
  • The City and the European parliament (p3)
  • Atos eyes exit after death threats (p4)
  • Centrica signals big fall in bills (p17)
  • Walmart to double smaller outlets (p20)
  • Go-Ahead profits pick up (p22)

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