News digest 29 August 2013

News digest 29 August 2013

29 August 2013

Syria again dominates all the papers, but today it is prime minister David Cameron that has had to row back after MPs on his own side raised their concerns and Labour leader Ed Miliband said his party would not be rushed into support for an immediate military strike on Syria. So that means MPs will not vote on taking immediate military action in today’s recall of parliament (begging the question why recall parliament?), instead a further vote in the Commons will take place before any action happens. There are two real questions, where’s the evidence and why the rush? Neither of them have been properly answered by Cameron, and with the eyes of the world looking on the West is being warned about the consequences of any attacks. With Peter Oborne in the Telegraph arguing that to rush judgement on Syria would be a catastrophic and deadly error, Leo McKinstry in the Express asks why Cameron is ‘hell-bent on war, but what about problems at home’…

And talking of issues at home, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is rightly taken to task over his comments about ‘workshy’ Britons, although a number of the papers do talk about Britain’s ‘workless’ households with the Mirror noting that one in seven people are growing up in a workless household, although the Mail’s spin is that ‘workless families are at a record low’, The Guardian notes that the figure is at a 17-year low and that the number of homes where no one has ever worked has dropped from its 2011 peak of 350,000 to 297,000, but behind the figures is the fact that only 10 per cent had never worked because of unemployment, there are a lot of student homes out there. So much for the red top rage over ‘Shameless’ Britain…

A more startling example of ‘shameless’ Britain could be seen at outsourcing firm Serco which is under investigation over fraud allegations related to prisoner transfers, rival firm G4S is also facing some troubles as it looks to refocus the group and deal with its debts under its new chief executive Ashley Almanza. What it probably won’t do is raise workers’ wages, and on that note the travesty of zero hours contracts continues as the Times report that workers at Hovis are taking action today over the use of agency staff and reduced hours, while the Morning Star reports on the proposed cuts to ambulance workers’ wages after an attack on their sick pay and mounting workloads.

And from cuts in pay to job cuts – and one year on from the Paralympics - three of the last remaining Remploy factories  - in Blackburn, Neath and Sheffield - are to close, threatening the jobs of 160 disabled workers and more than 200 people overall. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Iain Duncan Smith and the company need to stop hiding behind a veil of secrecy and explain why in this final act of callousness no bids were deemed viable. The workforce has been kept in the dark and face a future of fear and insecurity as this cruel government consigns them to a life on the dole. Remploy has provided employment and dignity in a safe and secure environment for thousands of disabled people. The closure of all Remploy factories by the end of year is a shameful act, by a shameful government.”

 Morning Star

  • Britons say no to PM’s Syria plot (p1)
  • Ambulance staff vote on 25 per cent pay cut (p2) – Unite cited
  • Affordable home pledge ‘too little’ (p2)
  • 200 lose jobs as three more Remploy factories close (p3)
  • Families vow: Crash will not be forgotten (p3)
  • G4S stuck with £2 billion debts (p4)
  • Disabled Scots hit hard by closures (p4)
  • Britain faces lost decade of low growth and wages (p4)
  • Private healthcare monopolies squeeze patients (p5)
  • Syria: Danger zone for Miliband – Mark Seddon (p8)
  • A grave threat to political freedom – Keith Ewing [on the lobbying bill] (p9)

 Daily Mirror

 Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Less shameless (p2) [drop in workless households]
  • Miliband forces PM to halt attack (p9)
  • Paddy Power plans to save high street (p43)
  • Oil price soars (p43)
  • Ryanair chief in Aer rage (p43)



 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Cameron forced to retreat (p1/6-7)
  • Police investigate Serco over ‘fraud’ to hit targets (p2)
  • Councillor calls for ,local mansion tax (p14)
  • Jobless households at new low (p21)
  • Private hospital chains face break-up as owners are accused of profiteering (p37)
  • Ryanair goes on attack (p37)
  • Hovis workers strike (p41)


  • Syria: Back from the brink (p1/4-6)
  • Disabled still face prejudice despite the Paralympics (p1/8)
  • Number of workless households falls (p9)
  • Private healthcare providers overcharged customers £200 million (p10)
  • Rivals clash over ‘bad pub’ closures (p23)
  • Fraud alleged in Serco escort contracts (p26)
  • Carney tells City he will stick by vow to keep rates rock bottom (p53)
  • G4S writes down £180 million (p55)
  • Ryanair’s O’Leary launches tirade over ruling Aer Lingus stake (p57)
  • Retailers in hiring mood (p57)



 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Cameron forced to retreat on Syria push (p1)
  • Carnet reaffirms low rates message (p1)
  • Private healthcare fails to cash in on NHS sickness (p2)
  • Hovis workers strike over use of zero-hours temps (p2)
  • G4S placing raises £348 million (p13)
  • Ryanair told to cut Aer Lingus stake (p14)
  • Disruption fears after Super Pumas’ grounding (p15) – Unite/Peter Welsh quoted

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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