News digest 23 January 2014

News digest 23 January 2014

23 January 2014

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

·                Unemployment drops but seven million workers on poverty pay – Daily Mirror

·                A transatlantic tale of two recoveries – Hamish McRae - Independent

·                Benefits Street proves my welfare reforms are right, says IDS – Daily Mail

·                Revealed: The £43 million paid by donors to access top Tories – Daily Mail

·                Lucky Aidan Burley. The MP in the 'Nazi stag party' row can depend on his friends - Guardian

  Many of the papers focus on the sharp drop in unemployment after the Office for National Statistics reported the number of people out of work fell by 167,000 to stand at 2.32 million in the three months to November 2013. That makes the official unemployment rate 7.1 per cent, a shade above the rate at which the Bank of England could start to increase interest rates. Coverage in the papers ranges from an over the top ‘Hooray! Britain booms again’ in the Express (yes, really) to the FT’s cautious note of ‘Jobless fall shortens odds of rate rise’. It looks like the battle lines of the recovery are being drawn and the Mirror sums up the reality with highlighting the fact that while unemployment has dropped there are still seven million workers on poverty pay. Stephen King in the Times ins blunter saying “The IMF is wrong: The recovery is built on sand.”

While welcoming the drop in the jobless figures, Unite said that the increase in wages, presently languishing at 0.9 per cent, was lagging far behind the current rate of inflation. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “While the fall in the number of jobless is to be welcomed, there is need for some caution. Millions of people are struggling to pay household bills because wages are so low. Any suggestion that interest rates should rise must be resisted, while so many people sit on the verge of financial meltdown. Britain’s workers need a decent pay rise so that wages are not continually eroded by inflation. Companies can well afford to be more generous when it comes to paying more to their workers.” With all the money floating about in corporate bank accounts surely it’s time to spread the wealth…

And from wealth to poverty, and work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith continues his attack on Benefits Street with many of the papers featuring him arguing that the show proves that his actions in cutting benefits were correct. Not sure basing your evidence on a sensationalist show is good for policy making, then again the Times notes that the cuts are ideological with the headline quoting IDS as saying: “I would cut benefits even with no deficit.” The Tories truly are the nasty party…

Then again they could be the ‘dodgy’ party after the Mail reports that £43 million has been paid by donors to access the Tories, this comes the day after the Con-Dem coalition got together to scrap the Lords perfectly reasonable amendments to the so-called gagging bill, one rule for them and one for the rest of us…

And talking of parliament, Unite has joined forces with actor Ricky Tomlinson and the Shrewsbury 24 campaign to call on MPs to demand an end to the conspiracy of silence and release papers suppressed for 40 years. Today sees what should really be considered a ‘miscarriage of justice’ debated in the Commons, Said Ricky Tomlinson: “The prison sentences and fines we received for picketing completely wrecked our lives … unless there is action now the ban on releasing these papers won’t be reviewed until 2021. It feels like the Tories are waiting for us to die before they reveal the truth.” Speaking ahead of the debate which kicks off just after 11:00 today, Len McCluskey added: “It is time to end this 40-year conspiracy of silence and release all the government documents relating to the Shrewsbury 24.” Too right.

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • IDS: We’ve got Benefits Street working (p2)
  • Lib Dem rat #2 (p11)
  • Nissan Cash-Qai (p40)
  • Sterling soars (p40)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Miliband is threat to recovery, says FTSE chiefs (p1)
  • Jobless rate falls (p2)
  • Death threats for British banker who joked about smell of Singapore’s poor (p3)
  • New Lib Dem sex row (p7)
  • I would cut benefits even with no deficit, says IDS (p18)
  • The IMF is wrong: The recovery is built on sand – Stephen King (p24)
  • Electric cars put brakes on hopes for second year (p36)
  • Unilever to sell Slim-Fast (p38)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Jobless fall shortens odds of rate rise (p1)
  • Car production at six year high (p2)
  • Ministries’ R&D spending at lowest rate in 10 years (p4)
  • US aerospace groups cite mixed demand (p20)

Comment on this story