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News digest 25 February 2014

News digest 25 February 2014

25 February 2014

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

·                Fugitive Viktor Yanukovich out of sight but running out of options -- Guardian

·                Let’s stick together PM urges Scotland - Express

·                HSBC attacks bonus cap - Telegraph

·                Boss banks 140% pay rise - Mirror

·                Tory MP on £100K benefits fraud probe – Mail

·                Queen and Charles cash in on benefits - Mirror

·                Tories block £3 million fund to feed the poor - Mirror

·                We need a budget to end the scandal of hunger – Jack Monroe - Mirror

Today’s digest continues the key themes of yesterday as the top stories remain the same, albeit having moved on. The crisis in Kiev and Ukraine continues with Russia stepping up the rhetoric after the new Western-leaning leadership issued an arrest warrant for ex-president Viktor Yanukovich. After ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s release at the weekend, it looks like  part of the deal for gaining high office in the country is to spend some time in prison, let the new leaders beware, and as developments shift across the country there is talk of a possible split between east and west, the question is whether that would be acrimonious or not, probably the former....

And back in Britain and rival views over North Sea oil and the possible England-Scotland split continued. Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond said an independent Scotland should have a separate oil and gas fund while the UK prime minister David Cameron – who reportedly ‘cried with joy’ over David Bowie’s intervention at last week’s Brits awards - said reserves could be better managed with Scotland as part of the union. Both men were in Aberdeen, both unveiled plans to ensure that North Sea oil and gas continues to pump billions into the economy, but will the dispute end up as heated as that between east and west Ukraine, we shall see.

Back down in London and in the City it was all business as usual as yet more bankers’ bonuses were awarded at HSBC. What’s worse is that despite the new EU bonus cap, the bank decided it still wants to pay its top staff millions so have come up with a new ruse, giving allowances of £32,000 a week to its chief executive on top of his £1.2 million annual salary. Is it time for a windfall tax on elite bankers’ bonuses? No, just raise the top tax rate to a fair and proper level and follow through on the idea of progressive taxation, rather than penalising the poor.

Speaking of which Tory MP Peter Bone is reportedly in a bit of bother having been quizzed over a possible £100,000 benefits fraud linked to his mother-in-law’s finances. A file has been sent to the CPS. Coming after yesterday’s expose in the Mirror of MPs raking in hundreds of thousands from housing benefit payments, today we also find out that the Queen and Prince Charles are receiving thousands of pounds of housing benefit because hard up tenants in Crown estate properties can’t afford to pay the rents the royals charge.

And the Mirror also reports on how the government today plans to hit the most needy with plans to block a fund which could pump millions of pounds towards food banks for people struggling to heat and eat. Tory MEPs are expected to vote against the European Aid fund today, remember almost one million people are expected to have to rely on food banks to feed their families this year.

That takes the digest to Jack’s petition. Again in the Mirror, food blogger and hunger campaigner Jack Monroe outlines her petition calling on the government to end the scandal of UK hunger. There are key pledges called for in next month’s budget, calling ion the government to acknowledge the huge rise in food banks the budget should bring in a living wage, axe the bedroom tax and tackle rising food and energy costs. You can sign the petition at www.change.org/endhungerbudget, sign it now…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Major: Tories are the people’s party (p2)
  • Creasy joins revolt over ‘One nation’ Ed motto (p2)
  • Harman blast at paedo link (p4)
  • Cameron vs. Salmond: It’s getting dirty (p6)
  • Dixons and Carphone Warehouse to merge? (p40)
  • £1 million pay for top HSBC team (p40)
  • Bovis building up profit (p40)

  Express

  Mail

  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Tory MP quizzed over benefits fraud (p1)
  • Carey hits out at ‘naïve’ bishops (p1)
  • Councils and police to merge in Labour plan to cut spending (p2)
  • Miliband backs Harman over smears (p2)
  • Bowie support for union was music to PM’s ears (p4)(p)
  • Eton cabal picking our policies, say Tories (p8)
  • Hunt for Yanukovich (p26)
  • Hundreds of shops face axe in £3.4 billion Dixons merger (p35)
  • HSBC’s stars to bypass bonus crackdown (p37)
  • Cost of jobs created by growth fund soars to £52,000 each (p39)
  • Heathrow cutting 200 jobs (p41)

  Indie

  Guardian

  Telegraph

  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Salmond under fire (p1)
  • Power station’s £75 million loan faces state aid scrutiny (p2)
  • Longbridge project proves new towns are no quick fix (p4)
  • Labour vows to ‘declutter’ provision of public services (p4)
  • HSBC plans to sidestep bonus cap (p17)
  • Volkswagen investors flinch at Scania plan (p21)

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