News digest 21 November 2013

News digest 21 November 2013

21 November 2013

The digest opens with more trouble on the banking front. Chancellor George Osborne yesterday ordered an independent inquiry into the appointment of the Reverend Paul Flowers - or as the Telegraph puts it a ‘drug-taking Methodist’ – as Co-op chairman while prime minister David Cameron threw allegations of a ‘cover-up’ at Labour leader Ed Miliband of failing to disclose doubts about the appointment of Flowers. The Mail also goes on the attack, trying to link the scandal to trade unions, but there’s a warning for Osborne in the FT which notes that he leant on the EU to spare the Co-op from tougher capital rules. Yet again the industry is not looking good as those at the top of whatever bank ignore the reality on the front line or in the bank branches.

A good example of that is the blatant bonus for Lloyds boss Antonio Horta-Osario, he was given £2.3 million as the bank’s share remains above the sale price for over a month following the government offloading of a tranche, shame that the shares were undervalued and remember that the bank is still 33 per cent owned by the government, so much for controlling excessive pay in the banking sector, especially as only a few weeks ago Lloyds posted a third quarter loss, rewarding value, I don’t think so…

And talking of value most of the papers also feature coverage of yesterday’s grilling of the banks that advised on the sale of the Royal Mail. Most interesting is that three of the banks that were not directly involved in the sale all valued the business as significantly more than the £3.3 billion it was sold at, and they have been proved right as the sharers continue to remain above 550p compared to the 330p sale price. Yet another asset sold on the cheap by the Con-Dems, time for advisers to apologise and hand back their fees. Check out the infographic highlighting how the Royal Mail was sold on the cheap:

It was also not a good day for construction companies, and more specifically those involved in blacklisting, as events across the country and lobbies in Westminster, Holyrood and Cardiff brought the issue to the forefront of politicians’ minds. Thousands of activists took part in events across the country calling on construction companies to own up, pay up and clean up. Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: "Unite has launched a major legal offensive in the High Court on behalf of blacklisted workers. The union is preparing to issue a total of 50 cases in the High Court against construction employers … but this is just the tip of the iceberg now that a further 1,200 people will receive the shocking revelation that they are on the blacklist. A lot more legal cases will follow.” Watch a video of the #N20 day of action and #blacklisting lobby here:

And also in parliament paramedics piled up the pressure on the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust as they outlined the impact of large scale funding cuts on patient safety. One paramedic said simply: “It's like having an ambulance with three wheels instead of four. We are being pushed to the limit and patient safety is being put at risk.” The paramedics called on all MPs to write to the head of the trust and call for an end to the downgrading and the re-recognition of the paramedics’ union, Unite. You can check out the board of governors here: and contact the trust here:

And speaking of the north, the Mirror and Indie follow up on comments by Margaret Thatcher’s former press secretary saying that northerners who refuse to vote Conservative are stupid following poll that said 40 per cent would never consider backing the nasty party. Owen Jones sums it up simply: How Tories lost the north...

Edited by Mik Sabiers

 Morning Star

 Daily Mirror

 Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • PM: get rid of the green crap (p1)
  • Co-op scandal probe (p2)
  • Fury at £2 million bonus of bailed-out bank boss (p4)
  • Bankers failed to deliver £2 billion as Royal Mail shares underpriced (p52)
  • BoE deputy Charlie Bean: Workers deserve a pay rise now (p53)



 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Hammond concession sees off revolt over reservists (p2)
  • Osborne orders inquiry into Co-op’s meltdown (p8)
  • Lending scheme to helps SMEs not working, warns Cable (p49)
  • Lloyds chief lands £2.3 million bonus (p51)
  • Flybe flight cuts (p54)




 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Osborne leant on EU to ease rules for Co-op (p1)
  • Bankers grilled on Royal Mail (p3)
  • Co-op bank probe poses poll challenge for Labour (p4)
  • Outlawing high pay will cost Switzerland dear – James Breiding (p15)
  • Big banks under fire for failure to cut costs (p20)
  • ThyssenKrupp in mill sale talks (p22)
  • NPower sells off subsidiaries (p24)