News digest 4 February 2014

News digest 4 February 2014

04 February 2014

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

·                Britain’s carers facing a life of poverty - Express

·                UN report on bedroom tax: ‘A Marxist diatribe!’ – Mail

·                IDS plots to mug pensioners – Mirror

·                Bed tax Tory McVey has no clue - Mirror

·                Union boss defends luxury Mail cruise - Mail

The digest opens with workers challenging changes to terms and cuts to pay. After a successful weekend walk out, paramedics from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service took a further four hours of action yesterday in their dispute over changes to shifts and working hours. And the anger of the ambulance and other workers was heightened by a report in the Hull Daily Mail that the bosses that are cutting back workers’ terms and conditions are in line for fancy new Mercedes and BMW cars after the board agreed to award senior staff the perk. One source said: "I can't believe they voted for themselves to have Mercedes and BMWs when they're putting lives at risk." Yet another example of bosses enjoying ever better benefits while the workers are squeezed to breaking point.

And talking of breaking point, low paid local government workers are demanding an end to poverty pay rises they take part in a joint union day of protest. Over one million workers, from street cleaners and refuse and waste collectors and more, have lost up to £3,844 since 2010, as the government’s miserly pay increases have languished well below inflation.  More than half a million workers earn less than the living wage of £7.65 or £8.80 in London. Unite’s Fiona Farmer said: “Years of below inflation pay rises, on top of pay freezes, and job cuts have taken its toll on a battle scarred local government workforce. George Osborne needs to pay up and spread some of the feelgood factor of his so-called economic recovery.” Like Osborne’s words on the minimum wage, believe it when you see it…

And talking of poverty the Express features a story on how Britain’s 6.5 million carers are facing alarming levels of hardship as cuts to care budgets hit hard. 44 per cent of carers are in debt due to care costs and almost half admit cutting back on essentials like food or heating. The division in society is getting ever wider.

And the front page of the Mirror reports on the latest ruse from work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith which it says now plans “to mug pensioners” with the axe hanging over free TV licences, bus passes and the winter fuel allowance. The more worrying factor is his claim that “all existing ringfences will have to go”, that shows the next stage of the Tory project to destroy the welfare state is in hand…

And from benefits to the pernicious bedroom tax and the government’s response to the report by UN inspector Raquel Rolnik. The Mail headline wrongly sums it up as: “A Marxist diatribe!” while the government claims the report is “utterly ridiculous”. The Mirror picks up on the fact that Tory employment minister Esther McVey, when asked how many disabled people were hit by the bedroom tax, she said she didn’t know. Labour MP Frank Field labelled her as “utterly clueless”, I can think of some more choice words…

And from utterly clueless to bumbling Boris as strike action over the closure of all Tube ticket offices looms tonight the right wing papers tend to focus on RMT general secretary Bob Crow’s holiday to Rio with the Mail even claiming he booked his holiday through a special offer in the paper, but the FT hits the nail on the head with “London mayor snubs strike talks” especially as Boris made a pledge that he would not close ticket offices, still think the bumbling mayor is backing ordinary Londoners, in six years Boris has snubbed meeting the rail unions and in case you wondered over 100,000 people use the ticket offices every day. Solidarity to the strikers…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Report ‘proof’ of vote rig (p2) – Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • Yeo must go (p2)
  • Boris rap for strike (p2)
  • Wonga boosted by axing of crisis fund (p2)
  • Scotland vote: Sun poll (p8-9)
  • Lloyds blank (p38) [£2 million bonus for boss]
  • Ryanair loses £38 million (p38)
  • Barclays boss to waive bonus (p38)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Another Top Tory [Yeo] is ousted (p2)
  • Union boss defends luxury cruise (p2)
  • Falkirk row activist attacks Miliband (p2) – Unite cited
  • Coalition selects more women and Tories for top public sector jobs (p9)
  • Lloyds plan for share sale (p35)
  • Ryanair fights back (p37)
  • Barclays chief says no to his bonus (p37)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Scottish funds warn on break up (p1)
  • Multiple questions remain over bank stakes (p2)
  • London mayor snubs strike talks (p4)
  • Lloyds PPI hit nears £10 billion (p15)
  • GM and Ford suffer sales chill in US (p15)
  • Dassault suffers hangover (p19)
  • Lloyds dashes hopes on dividends (p21)

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