News digest 7 January 2015

News digest 7 January 2015

07 January 2015

Today’s digest opens with a focus on the NHS after almost all front pages of the papers focus on the health service and in particular the crisis in A&Es. It is grim reading for the government with the usually supportive Sun picturing an emergency tent that has been erected in a Swindon hospital car park and calling the crisis a “Third world A&E”, the Express says “Hospitals just can’t cope” and the Mail says the “A&E crisis is the worst for 10 years”. The Times pins the blame on blunders by the 111 helpline introduced in 2010, but the chronic change caused by a costly reorganisation is finally coming how to roost for the Tories that never cared for the NHS. The Mirror sums it up best with a quote on the front page saying “Nurses are crying, doctors are quitting and we don’t have beds for patients” and that sums up the situation. Labour’s Andy Burnham has called for a summit to sort out the crisis, although the question is not just the reorganisation but also the funding, what needs to happen is more funds invested in facilities, the end of PFI and the push towards privatisation and a proper pay rise for health staff so that the service retains its skilled workforce…

Elsewhere on the industrial front, there was a call for transport bosses to get their heads out of the sand after London’s bus drivers yesterday announced their intention to take action to drive up pay in the capital. Unite’s Wayne King said: “Passengers pay one fare to travel on London’s iconic red buses, yet there are over 80 different pay rates covering bus workers, many doing the same job or driving the same route but for different rates of pay. Bus workers who keep London moving 24 hours a day, seven days a week, have had enough of pay inequality and unfair pay disparities.” A 24 hour stoppage will go ahead on Tuesday 13 January following the continued refusal by London’s 18 bus operators to enter into talks about a single London-wide- agreement covering bus workers’ pay, terms and conditions. Sonia Morgan – who has been a bus driver for 18 years - said: “It is not fair to be paid differently because you started at a different time. We all do the same job. We should all get the same pay.” Spot on.

And there’s also further coverage of the continuing Barbour workers’ strike with the Indie and the FT reporting on the repeated walk outs by staff who have been told to sign new [for that read worse] contracts. Fazia Husain-Brown is quoted in the FT: “The company should not underestimate the resolve of the workforce.” As the company made profits of some £21.5 million on sales of £152 million last year it seems there is no need to cut pay and conditions, but then all the power is in the hands of employers as workers are denied justice, and that’s also the case regarding employment tribunals and government fees as a letter in today’s Guardian outlines the need for a proper assessment of the impact of fees…  

Edited by Mik Sabiers

Evening Standard

·         London bus strike: Thousands of bus workers to walk out in pay row – Unite/Wayne King cited

  BBC London

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • NHS at breaking point: Third world A&E (p1/6-7)
  • Osborne energy price probe (p4) [how many years too late?]
  • Cleared MP: Don’t name rape accused (p23)
  • Oil fuels market fears (p43)
  • Rolls moves into SUV (p43)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Helpline blunders led to NHS meltdown (p1/6-7)
  • Credit card spending boom (p2)
  • A better NHS is about attitudes. Not money – Alice Thomson (p25)
  • Bank chaos as financial crisis hot (p35)
  • Supermarkets in £450m fight back (p37)
  • Cheap credit helps car sales accelerate (p43)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Greek hard left pledges to loosen economic grip of ‘oligarchs’ (p1)
  • Osborne crushes May’s bid on tougher migration (p1)
  • Sterling falls (p2)
  • Pension deficits nearly double (p2)
  • Profile of Ed Miliband (p3)
  • A&E units record worst performance against targets (p3)
  • A world of debt – public finances (p7)
  • Barbour storm (p13) – Unite/Fazia Hussein-Brown cited
  • Private equity trawls for energy bargains (p14)
  • Tesco to intensify grocery price war (p16)

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