News digest 26 November 2013

News digest 26 November 2013

26 November 2013

After years of action by activists the government finally gave in to the pressure to deal with the scourge of payday lenders announcing that it plans to cap the cost of payday loans, odd that it comes as the Autumn statement looms next week. Does the ‘surprise’ announcement mean the government has finally started to cotton on to the impact of austerity across the country, if so why did he not announce the level of the cap? No, in reality it is just an admission that chancellor George Osborne has got regulation of the industry wrong for years. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “This belated U-turn is welcome but will be cold comfort for those struggling to make ends meet who have been forced into a spiral of debt and fallen prey to the sharp practices of payday lenders. Questions still remain about what level interest rates will be capped at and when ... urgent action is needed to not just tackle payday lenders but the cost of living crisis that had fuelled their rise.” Also don’t forget the Unite Credit Union Service designed to offer finance without fear, and challenge the payday lenders and others trying to make profits out of ordinary people’s financial hardship. More from:

And talking of profiting from hardship, there’s more bad press for sections of the banking sector with the Co-op still being taken to task and RBS slammed for missing its lending targets to small businesses as well as from trying to ‘cash in on small-firm failures’ and Lloyds is also dragged into the mire for concentrating on ‘short term gain’. The Sun sums it up as [RBS] ‘bank acts like Godfather towards ailing small firms’ although Max Hastings in the Mail looks to target state ownership rather than the rogue practices, quelle surprise.

And from acting like the Mafia to outright profiteering as many of the papers report on the latest results from the ‘Big Six’ energy firms which show that they have risen by 77 per cent in one year, and that they are now making £53 in profit from every customer, perhaps the chancellor could cap their profits?

And if you are looking for further examples of what is happening in the workplace a number of papers follow up on the Amazon story featured in BBC1’s Panorama. As the seasonal rush approaches the online retail giant’s practices at its warehouses are under closer inspection. It seems Amazon has learned nothing from previous years and continues to work staff to the bone forcing them to walk 11 miles every night and pick up an order every 33 seconds. Staff earn just £6.50 an hour on dayshifts and fear they can’t complain because they are on zero hours contracts.

And zero hours contracts feature in many of the papers as a new report by the CIPD backing zero hours is published, the report was branded as being ‘divorced from reality’ by Unite. Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “The independent evidence exposes this latest CIPD report as being divorced from the realities of daily exploitation of those on these obscene contracts. Even the CIPD admits that there are areas of poor practice in its report, yet still peddles the line that these contracts have a place in the UK workplace … companies can well afford to employ people with dignity on proper contracts, with decent pay and guaranteed hours. Employers use zero hours contracts to cut wages, avoid holiday pay, pensions, and other benefits enjoyed by employees and agency staff. They should be scrapped and we will be strongly campaigning to see that they are in the months ahead.”

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

Morning Star

  • New campaign to keep HS2 in public hands (p1)
  • Student sit-in swells (p2)
  • Big six energy firm profits top £1 billion (p3)
  • Payday loan interest and fees capped (p3) - Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • MPs given ability to pay directly to credit unions (p4)
  • Poll says workers ‘happy with casual’ (p5)

 Daily Mirror

 Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • RBS ‘acts like Godfather’ (p2)
  • Paydays cap row (p2)
  • Tories blast Ed (p12)
  • Energy profits rise by 77 per cent per customer (p42)
  • Premier Inn hires 8,000 (p42)
  • Diageo to sell Whyte & Mackay (p42)



 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Tory backbenchers warn Cameron he risks split (p1)
  • HS2 report reveals toll on countryside (p9)
  • Scandal of ‘health risk’ at Amazon warehouse (p15)
  • Labour to overhaul ‘flawed’ PCC system (p26)
  • Coalition ‘backed the Co-op bid for Lloyds branches’ (p28)
  • Lib Dems claim credit for payday loan cap (p28)
  • RBS faces fresh demands for break-up (p45)
  • Zero hours work ‘equals a happy work-life balance’ (p46)




 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Osborne pressed to toughen ‘inadequate’ banking rules (p1)
  • Osborne orders payday loan cap (p2)
  • Labour winning argument over ‘predatory’ companies (p2)
  • Zero hours contracts ‘unfairly demonised’ (p5)
  • Cameron must reclaims his party from the rationalists – Janan Ganesh (p13)
  • Why the ‘friendly’ co-operative bank holds hidden risk – David Lascelles (p13)
  • Brussels to crack down on corporate tax schemes (p17)
  • Fiat dumps speculation of Chrysler flotation this year (p17)
  • Hybrid tax schemes face day of reckoning (p19)
  • Peugeot hires ex-Renault executive (p20)

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