News digest 27 February 2014

News digest 27 February 2014

27 February 2014

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

·    Len McCluskey vows to defend NHS against ''private predators'' in Cambridge speech - Mirror

·    19p an hour rise in minimum wage a slap in the face - Mirror

·    The Neet generation: Young Britons hardest hit - Indie

·    IDS loses battle on child poverty – Mail

·    Minister ‘out of touch’ on food banks - Mirror

The top story in all of the papers is the sentencing of Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale for the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in May last year. Adebowale was jailed for minimum of 45 years, while Adebolajo was sentenced to a whole life term for the callous murder of soldier Lee Rigby in south-east London.

  With the economy still stalled and the country still depressed, Britain needs to rediscover optimism about the future – both in terms of policies that can give people a guarantee of jobs and homes, and a vision of a better society. So said Unite general secretary Len McCluskey yesterday as he addressed students at Trinity College, Cambridge. His speech – followed by questions – was broadcast live on the internet and can be seen here: Len challenged the students to use their intelligence and privilege to ‘make the difference’ to Britain’s future by discarding the failed policies of today’s government asking: “What difference do you want to make to the world?” Len went on to say the government must use its power to stimulate the economy – or people will rightly ask what it is for: “Why, in a society of our wealth, is it so hard to offer people a decent job and a roof over their head? These give you a platform for your life, to contribute to wider society, to plan for the future. That’s why I say Britain today needs three things: Jobs – homes – hope.”

Len also used the opportunity to announce a major Unite campaign on saving the NHS: “Bit by bit, the NHS is being turned into just another business, like energy or other utilities, run for private profit by those who see gain in pain ... we cannot just stand aside while this government does its worst. That is why I am announcing that Unite is launching a new leverage campaign in defence of the NHS. It is the predators we will target. It is about telling providers to face up to their corporate and social responsibilities, saying that there is nowhere to hide if you trample over your workforce or the public.” Read the whole of Len’s speech to Trinity College Politics Society - Putting hope back into Britain.

Speaking of hope, the Low Pay Commission tried to offer a glimmer of hope for the lowest paid after it said there should be an above inflation rise in the national minimum wage, however it was not a £1.50 rise as repeatedly demanded by Unite, nor even an increase to £7.00 as the UK chancellor George Osborne supposedly wants, but a grand total of 19p, or three per cent. Len McCluskey is quoted in the Mirror and FT summing up the move simply: “This increase is a slap in the face for low paid workers struggling with a cost of living crisis, especially when George Osborne cynically held out hope that the rate would rise to £7.00. An hourly rise of 19p for adults is an insult when the minimum cost of living has increased by a staggering 25 per cent since the beginning of the economic crisis.” Britain needs a proper pay rise.

And Britain needs more jobs, especially for young people. With National Apprenticeship Week starting on Monday the Mirror reports that the UK needs 300,000 more apprentices to give the economy a £4 billion boost and cut youth unemployment. The Indie also has a good piece on the scandal of the Neet generation, time for government to actively intervene and give our young people hope of a positive future.

It does seem the only intervention is fiddling, work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has had to abandon his plan to change the definition of child poverty after chancellor Osborne became concerned it would look like the government was moving the goalposts, it was, but then the Con-Dems don’t understand.

That could also sum employment minister Esther McVey who yesterday claimed that the growth in food banks was due to big stores making unwanted food easily available, totally out of touch, but then after the government once again backed the bedroom tax yesterday, parliament today will hear from MPs debating the WOW petition, the question is how many Tories will care enough to turn up, don’t expect there to be many…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun   (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Die in jail (p1)
  • Hooray! Three per cent on low pay (p2)
  • Labour’s £1.5 million hit (p2) – Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • £20 million fall for Greggs (p40)



  Times  (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Rigby killers jailed for life (p1)
  • Debt ridden trust to be broken up (p11)
  • Union will target NHS ‘predators’ (p11) – Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • Harman hits back (p18)
  • Want to be a Tory MP? That will be £40K please – Tim Montgomerie (p23)
  • Death of the Co-op (p33)
  • Co-op faces ugly truth (p36)




  FT  (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Private rental surge hits benefits bill (p2)
  • Osborne pressed to rein in RBS bonuses (p3)
  • Minimum wage set to rise by three per cent (p4) – Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • Hester to shore up RSA funds (p17)
  • Greggs’ switch hits profits (p24)

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