News digest 3 December 2013

News digest 3 December 2013

03 December 2013

Today’s digest opens with a day of action by higher education workers fighting for a fair pay rise. All in all they’ve suffered a 13 per cent cut in pay and are saying #EnoughIsEnough. Solidarity to today’ strikers and keep updated on the day of action via Twitter on @unitetheunion or with the hashtag #fairpayinHE

Elsewhere there are further trails for the autumn statement later this week, the Mail says he will cut taxes for small firms, but the FT is more scathing saying business is complaining about the slow progress of big projects previously announced by the chancellor, as ever we need deeds not words, but George prefers a soundbite to concrete action. However the most scandalous statement is in the Guardian where the chancellor claims that workers’ overall pay has not fallen despite official figures saying just that…

Then again the Con-Dems don’t seem to be good with figures, not only is the recovery the slowest in a century, but even when they announce cuts that we may welcome – say for energy bills – they are not real cuts. With the government announcing a £50 ‘cut’ in energy bills – due to some supposed rejigging of green subsidies - Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The government’s energy policy puts the con into the Con-Dem government. Rather than acting to end fuel poverty which the government committed to do, it is making the problem worse … energy bills are still due to rise this winter despite government claims to be acting to rein [them] in. There is a cost of living crisis, more households will be pushed into real fuel poverty, but all the government can do is cook the books and tinker at the edges while Britain shivers.” And as an example of penalising those that try to plan, it has also emerged that most people on fixed priced tariffs will not benefit from the supposed £50 off, so much for savings…

And while Osborne thinks pay has not fallen, a number of papers report that self-employed people are facing a low pay crisis, on top of that the Indie reports that the ‘squeezed middle’ is losing out, that may create a greater headache for Osborne and Cameron, except the prime minister is in China seemingly flogging off as much as he can, the latest is that China looks like it can ‘rescue’ HS2, odd that, if it was viable why not invest in it, or is British business more focused on big bonuses and excess profits rather than investment?

Well look no further than Grangemouth. A number of the papers report that the plant could return to profitability, this comes in the teeth of the company demanding cuts to workers’ pay and potential job cuts. Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “The high price Scottish and UK taxpayers, the workforce and the wider community are paying to save Grangemouth is becoming clearer by the day … it is a price that would shame Scrooge and a price which could ultimately be self-defeating.”

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Fuel bills cut but they still go up (p1)
  • Supermarkets set for price battle (p38)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Millions hit by bank card crash (p1)
  • Cameron signs £5 billion deals, as China eyes HS2 (p7)
  • Tax adviser in court over £100 million avoidance scheme (p13)
  • British Gas fought help for coldest homes (p17)
  • Tin man Cameron needs to show his heart – Rachel Sylvester (p31)
  • Lloyds hands reins to Blackwell (p48)
  • Factory jobs jump (p50)



·         George Osborne and Ed Balls' Christmas tale of two constituencies (p1)

·         NatWest and RBS cards declined due to IT meltdown on Mega Monday (p2)

·         Labour aims to reassure trade unions by easing in party funding changes (p2) – Unite cited

·         Simon Hoggart's sketch: MPs sense blood of a dead parrot (p2)

·         Water bills: Thames proposes above-inflation rises for next seven years (p2)

·         Energy firms push for more cuts to green levies (p4)

·         David Cameron protests to Chinese president after UK journalist barred (p6)

·         David Cameron distances himself from Boris Johnson over IQ comments (p6)

·         Minimum wage 'being poorly policed' (p7)

·         Workers' overall pay has not fallen, insists George Osborne (p11)

·         John Lewis warehouse staff sent packing on another manic Monday (p13)

·         German brewers union tries to get Unesco status for beer purity law (p24)

·         Small business lending remains limited, says Bank of England (p26)

·         UK manufacturing recovery in full swing as new orders boom (p26)

·         Lloyds' new chairman Blackwell could hardly be less controversial (p27)

·         The road to recovery? EU motor cities make progress at different speeds (p30)

·         Carmakers' success does not herald British industrial renaissance (p31)

·         Job losses at Grangemouth prompt Unite union to cry betrayal (p32) – Unite cited

·         Saab car brand restarts production in Sweden under new ownership (p32)

·         Self-employed workers' earnings slump by nearly a third (p32)

·         New Lloyds Banking Group chairman is former Downing St adviser (p32)

·         David Cameron's mixed signals to China don't do Britain any favours (p34)

·         How Ed Miliband can continue to make the political weather – Polly Toynbee (p34)


  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Slow progress on big projects piles pressure on Osborne (p1/3)
  • Energy suppliers roll back rises (p4)
  • Stansted protesters lose legal battle (p4)
  • Osborne must shift voters’ focus back to the deficit – Janan Ganesh (p15)
  • French Airbus trial confirmed (p19)
  • Saab batteries recharged (p20)
  • Bonus blues for bankers (p21)
  • Grangemouth set for profit by 2016 (p24) – Unite cited

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