News digest 21 October 2013

News digest 21 October 2013

21 October 2013

Industry, and chemicals and energy in particular, continue to dominate the headlines today. The ongoing Grangemouth dispute features in many of the papers, today is the day of billionaire boss Jim Ratcliffe’s ultimatum where he has threatened to close the plant unless workers accept cuts to pay, pensions and conditions and is best summed up in the headline tweet from today’s Daily Record: Grangemouth billionaire Ineos boss lapped up sun on £130 million yacht as he drew up plans to dump 1,400 Scots on the dole (@Daily_Record). As the workers at the Grangemouth refinery have until 18:00 to sign up to the new terms and conditions, Ineos boss Ratcliffe is on his floating palace in the French port of La Ciotat, was there ever an example of being so out of touch…

And from chemicals and Ineos to energy and many of the papers report on the deal being struck for Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation; Hinkley Point in Somerset. The coverage is mixed with some concerns raised over the rise in energy bills due to the subsidy needed and also to the fact that the plant will be built by foreign owned EDF - along with its two Chinese partners. If all goes to plan two new Somerset reactors will begin operation in 2023, but the Sun is one of many noting caution over fears that it will send energy bills soaring, then again they seem to be doing that already, especially as energy firm Npower became the latest supplier to announce price rises, this morning it confirmed its dual-fuel bill were to go up 10.4 per cent. The government is continuing its call to switch suppliers, but isn’t it odd that they are all raising prices at the same time, time to regulate the sector properly, stop the executive bonuses and freeze the prices…

And still on the energy sector, and ex oil executive – and now Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is interviewed in the Telegraph where he says growth is not enough and instead Britain needs to be a more caring society. Noting that GDP growth is expected to be stronger later this week, Welby cautioned over the reality of who is benefiting from the recovery, and that more should be done to ensure the poorest share in prosperity. Now let’s see what the Con-Dems have done, they’ve cut taxes for top rate payers while pushing through the bedroom tax, cutting benefits and letting Atos loose on the most vulnerable…

And talking of vulnerable, as the Times runs another attack piece saying NHS errors are killing 300 people a month, and Leo McKinstry in the Express bemoans fire brigades for not easing pressure on the ambulance service – why not put more money into ambulances? – the front page of the Indie sees the start of a series into tax loopholes and says that companies running care services are among the many avoiding millions in taxes through a legal loophole even though they receive millions from the government in lucrative contracts, yet another example of a broken system that penalises the poor and needy and benefits the bosses…

 Morning Star

  • Grangemouth workers stay strong (p1/3) – Unite cited
  • Labour urged to reverse police-ambulance chaos (p2)
  • Nuclear deal set for first airing (p3)
  • Trade unions slam Reeves (p4)

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Nuclear plant set to send fuel bills soaring (p1/8-9)
  • Clegg: Class war (p2)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • French will cash in on nuclear power deal (p1)
  • London house prices jump (p1)
  • NHS errors killing 300 a month (p19)
  • With nuclear power, small is beautiful – Matt Ridley (p25)
  • JP Morgan in record $13 billion settlement (p37)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Cameron to build on Royal mail sale (p1)
  • Hinkley deal details to be unveiled (p2)
  • Freeze on landing fees will hit investment, Heathrow warns (p4)
  • HTC hints at striking out with new products (p19)

  Edited by Mik Sabiers

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