News digest 8 April 2014

News digest 8 April 2014

08 April 2014

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

·                RBS advising clients to use zero hours contracts - Indie

·                Tory MPs call for Miller to be sacked – Telegraph

·                David Cameron 'delighted' with Asda plans to create 12,000 new jobs - Guardian

·                Lafarge and Holcim make solid partners - Express

·                Cable faces further Royal Mail grilling – Telegraph

Today’s digest opens with a front page splash in the Indie castigating state-backed bank RBS over its attitude to business and workers in particular. However, rather than being taken to task for the usual line of not lending enough at good enough rates, the bank has gone even further by advising firms on how it can draw up zero hours contracts for their employees, effectively making thousands of people’s jobs totally insecure. The scandalous action was castigated by Unite which called on the government to launch an investigation into the bank’s role in drawing up the contracts which simply produce “social exclusion” and pushed up the welfare bill. Unite national officer Rob MacGregor is quoted: “If RBS is advising employers to employ workers on such precarious contracts then the bank has serious questions to answer. RBS is backed by the state and was bailed out by the taxpayer… It should not be advocating employment contracts which attack workers’ rights and creates social exclusion.” Too right.

And also in precarious position, but all of her own doing, is culture secretary and ‘expenses cheat’ Maria Miller. Miller is still the culture secretary, but the story is still in the headlines and the Tory tide is turning against her. Prime minister David Cameron yesterday issued yet another supportive message, and also denied claims that she has kept her job because of shortage of women in the cabinet. The front page of the Telegraph goes in hard again with the simple headline: “Tory MPs call for Miller to be sacked” and Labour kept up the pressure after Edinburgh East MP Sheila Gilmore made a formal complaint to the standards committee over Miller's 32-second Commons statement, sorry supposed apology. Miller’s not sorry, she should lose her job…

And if Miller needs something to do, the government yesterday hailed the expected creation of 12,000 jobs by Asda as the supermarket announced chain plans to open 40 new superstores. However, this does come after the chain announced it was chopping 200 head office staff, and what’s the bet that most work is part time on the minimum wage, or slightly higher? And let’s hope zero hours contracts don’t get a look in. What Britain needs is quality jobs in manufacturing and advanced engineering, sadly, with the announced megamerger of Holcim and Lafarge in the cement sector yesterday – the likelihood is of plant closures and potential job cuts while the City gets to enjoy the mega riches from signing off the deal.

And that’s takes us back to the Royal Mail sale with business secretary Vince Cable in a pickle as he is to be recalled to face the Commons business select committee at the end of the month to explain the sale of the Royal Mail, more specifically to justify the pricing of the assets and the sale, and who got the “mates’ rates”, all in all there was no justification, like Maria Miller he should do the honourable thing and go, but as ever it is one rule for them and another for the rest of us…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  • MPs to grill Cable over mail fiasco (p1)
  • Police Fed chair and general secretary quit (p3)
  • Now Tory MPs turn against Miller (p3)
  • Brakes put on council’s bid to drive soup kitchen away (p4)
  • Dorset workers robbed off conditions (p5)
  • Blackouts: Let’s call the energy giants bluff – Alan Simpson (p8)
  • We’re joining the People’s Assembly Against Austerity on 21 June (p10) – Unite/Len McCluskey cited

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Peaches dead at 25 (p1-7)
  • Tories plan to call for Miller’s head (p8)
  • Low [paid] bucks at Palace (p15) – Unite/Steve Turner cited (p15)
  • Punch’s £2 billion bill (p46)
  • Co-op delays results (p46)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • PM at war with party over Miller row (p1)
  • Labour to devolve £20 billion funding to regions (p2)
  • Head of Police Federation quits (p4)
  • Maria Miller, the Westminster bubble queen – Hugo Rifkind (p25)
  • Missed deadline piles pressure on Co-op bank (p35)
  • Cable ordered back into firing line over Royal Mail sale (p38)




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • PM offers fresh support to Miller (p2)
  • Indebted NHS hospital trust seeks private cure (p3)
  • Starting wages show rapid rise (p4)
  • Labour vows to spread wealth away from London (p4)
  • Cable to answer further questions on Royal Mail (p4)
  • Holcim and Lafarge lay out deal (p15)

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