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News digest 7 April 2014

News digest 7 April 2014

07 April 2014

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

·                Miller faces questions over tax on home sale - Telegraph

·                Higher fines for dole cheats – Mail

·                Can collective consumerism help cut energy bills? - Guardian

·                Microsoft strikes deal over tax bill - Mail

·                Weetabix staff face pay cuts to bring down costs – Telegraph

·                Miliband to the rescue of the middle classes over cost of living crisis – Indie

The top story across the papers remains the fate of culture secretary Maria Miller. After a weekend which saw more questions emerge about excess profits on the sale of one property, the government wheeled out supposed big guns to shore up her position, sadly party chairman Grant Shapps and welfare secretary Ian Duncan Smith were outgunned by one of their own after former party chair Norman Tebbit called on Miller to go. Sadly she’s still there, but the Telegraph goes hard and even Trevor Kavanagh in the Sun says prime minister David Cameron will be sorry that he backed the embattled culture secretary. She should go, and now.

The revelations over Miller also come at the time that the Sun and Mail push the next wave of the government’s attack on welfare claimants, namely arguing that benefits cheats may be forced to sell their homes to pay back debts. Notwithstanding the fact that many probably don’t own their own homes the small print shows they will be forced to see what little goods they may have left. As ever it is headline-grabbing not policy-making that drives this shambles of a government.

And for proof of that shambles, after Cameron trumpeted that he was taking on the energy companies what has been the result? The Mirror reports that fuel bill fury is at record levels with a 224 per cent rise in people complaining about their bills. And the Guardian quotes Unite’s Liane Groves in taking on the energy giants arguing: “Can collective consumerism help cut energy bills?” The answer is yes.

And there should be more fury over the government being lenient on the corporates that don’t want to pay too much tax. The Mail reports that Microsoft has struck a deal with the tax office to minimise its bills, and also reports on the fact that despite some £1 billion in sales Caffe Nero has not paid a penny of tax since 2007. Will the government do anything, don’t bank on it.

And as the Guardian also reports on five signs that may show the global economic recovery is an illusion – well definitely for most people apart from those at the top – the Telegraph reports that workers at the Weetabix cereal firm are being asked to take a pay cut in a bid to bring down costs due to the supermarket price war. The firm, 40 per cent owned by a private equity firm, made £69 million profit on sales of £457 million, that’s a 15 per cent profit margin, something does not sound right there, but hey we’re all in this together, after all even though data is not published Weetabix CEO Giles Turrell will obviously not be taking his bonus which would see his salary top the £1 million mark, or will he, one rule for the rich and one for the rest of us, at least Ed Miliband in the Indie is arguing for further action on the cost of living crisis…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star (web not up to date)

  • East Coast sell off faces legal derail (p1)
  • Pressure mounts on Miller (p2)
  • Britain unites to say ‘no’ top the bedroom tax (p3) – Unite cited
  • MPs demand safeguards over HS2 (p5)

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Benefit payback by selling homes (p2)
  • Miller a ‘witch-hunt’ victim (p4)
  • You’ll be sorry you backed bully [Miller], Cameron – Trevor Kavanagh (p8)

  Express

  Mail

  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Tories resist demands for expenses overhaul (p1)
  • House price boom spreads across Britain (p23)
  • We’re ready to spend again, reveal bullish finance chiefs (p37)
  • Unilever boss urges peers to go green (p38)

  Indie

  Guardian

  Telegraph

  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Cement groups to merge (p1)
  • Osborne to hit back at IMF criticism (p2)
  • Miller looks set to survive (p2)
  • Lords report criticises NHS tax avoiders (p4)
  • BMW revs up Mini models (p20)
  • Geely to modernise Volvo car design (p22)

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