News digest 3 September 2013

News digest 3 September 2013

03 September 2013

There are three main stories dominating the papers today. As ever the situation in Syria continues to command many column inches with Cameron under pressure to try and engineer a second vote and while the Telegraph says MPs may vote again, and the Times in its leader argues for Cameron to go back to the Commons, the Mirror headline sums it up: PM says no new Syria vote. Perhaps more worrying for Cameron is the Times headline which reports that the US military chiefs are ejecting their UK equivalents from planning meetings on possible action, so much for the special relationship, but then all’s fair in love and war.

Then there is the lobbying bill or the gagging bill – or the Let Lynton lobby bill. Many of the papers speak out ahead of today’s debate that put simply looks like it will gag free speech. Campaigns like Make Poverty History would not be able to get off the ground, bodies that wanted to lobby on issues from the Royal British Legion to the Girl Guides or even the National Trust would be struck dumb, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian sums it up well – ‘This bill will save the PRs but silence the protesters’.

The third main story is Vodafone selling its stake in Verizon for $130 billion. The deal is the third largest in corporate history and many of the papers comment on the fact that Vodafone seems to be able to avoid tax yet again. The Sun says who benefits, namely Vodafone shareholders (including the top management team) get to share £40 billion, the US taxman gets £3 billion, bankers working on the deal get £200 million in fees and the UK exchequer gets nothing, yes nothing. UKUncut summed up the situation in a simple tweet: “Vodafone gets out of paying billions in tax in the UK … again.” Is it time for a windfall tax on telecoms?

And from business to manufacturing and many papers report that UK manufacturing is at a 19 year high as strengthening demand from the US and Europe has helped raise sales. However, there was caution behind the figures as manufacturers are boosting output but are not hiring more workers.

And there was also a good rise in high street sales – up 3.6 per cent in August – although the state of the high street is still mixed with out of town shopping centres hitting the high street which is becoming swamped with betting, pawn and pound shops. The Guardian reports that large retail chains should pay a levy to help revive the high street, and the FT reports on the continued pressure of online sales.

But there could be a question of online delivery as most of the papers talk about the potential for a strike by posties at Christmas as the opposition to privatising the profitable Royal Mail builds up. The CWU will ballot 125,000 members over the impact of any sell off on pay, jobs and their pensions.

And from posties to pupils and many of the papers talk about he start of the new school term, this time with a focus on the fact that many schools are squeezed to breaking point as more bulge classes come to deal with the rise in births and immigration that is putting pressure on places, particularly at primary level.

And finally on to an entry level mistake. As the TUC reports that the cost of the recession has been some £60 billion in lost output, one additional cost has been put down to a ‘schoolboy’ error after MoD officials confirmed that they had forgotten to factor in the cost of VAT on a deal to refit two new aircraft carriers to take different jets. The cost to the taxpayer, some £74 million, how many extra school places could that fund…

 Morning Star

  • ‘Napoleons’ bang drum for fresh war vote (p1)
  • TUC: Economic mess ‘cost us £60 billion’ (p2)
  • Osborne to make ‘inappropriate’ Super Puma speech (p2)
  • Payday victory for builders (p2)
  • Royal Mail workers to vote on strikes (p3)
  • Steelworkers’ families could sue Ravenscraig owners (p3)
  • Vodafone sells stake in US arm (p4)
  • TUC temp staff equality fight goes to Europe (p5)

 Daily Mirror

 Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Assad terror toll hits two million (p2)
  • Voda rings up £85 billion tax free (p4)
  • MoD missed VAT on jet deal, costing an extra £74 million (p10)
  • Vodafone deal to boost economy (p40)
  • Posties vote to go on strike (p40)



 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • US leaves ‘unreliable’ British out ion the cold (p1)
  • Doctors could become as mistrusted as bankers (p1)
  • Vulnerable Tories need to tackle Ukip (p2)
  • Vodafone’s huge deal prompts tax questions (p2)
  • Voters split over Cameron’s next [Syria] move (p6)
  • Exposing the Ukip sham will not be enough – Tim Montgomerie (p24) – Len McCluskey cited
  • Britain’s factories ‘booming’ (p37)
  • Royal Mail strike threat (p39)




 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Vodafone shareholders in line for $84 billion after Verizon deal (p1)
  • Factories build on growing signs of recovery (p2)
  • High street struggles to adapt in retail race (p3)
  • Postal staff will vote on strikes (p4)
  • US hedge funds hit out at Cp-op (p16)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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