News digest 30 July 2013

News digest 30 July 2013

30 July 2013

Today’s digest opens with yet more concern for the NHS, this time coming after a major provider of the non-emergency 111 NHS phone service said it was planning to pull out of its contracts because they were not financially viable. NHS Direct initially won 11 of the 46 regional contracts for the service, covering almost a third of the population and after pulling out of two services, it now says the remaining nine are "financially unsustainable". Unite national officer for health Barrie Brown said: “There was no logic for the government to replace the successful single service NHS Direct, which was highly rated by users, with a fragmented NHS 111 set up with 46 different contracts. The impetus here is not patient care, but cost-cutting by a government whose foot is firmly on the privatisation accelerator.”

And from 111 to zero as Unite has challenged the boss of Sports Direct over concerns raised by workers about their poor level of treatment. After yesterday’s front page splash in the Guardian many of the papers follow up the story which sees all 20,000 of the company’s part time workers employed on so-called zero hours contracts where they have to be available for work but have no idea whether they will have any, the workers are also denied sick leave and holiday pay. Unite regional secretary Annmarie Kilcline said: "We hope Mike Ashley will sit down with Unite to discuss how the treatment of workers at Sports Direct can be improved, after all they have made the business such a success.” Unite is seriously concerned that a culture of low pay and poor treatment has embedded itself at Sports Direct and other companies using zero hours contracts. Unite has begun to compile a dossier cataloguing concerns over the treatment of workers.. 

And still on the treatment of workers, a number of papers follow up on the charges for employment tribunals with the Morning Star noting that Unison has struck a blow against the plans after winning the right to a judicial review of the changes which will see workers have to payout £1,200 before they can even start to get access to justice. It comes on the heels of a survey highlighted in the Mirror which quotes an Allianz report saying nearly half of bosses think the changes will be counterproductive with a quarter saying they think it will benefit only firms that treat workers badly. Then again that seems to be the Con-Dems’s raison-d’être.

And talking of hate the latest wheeze from the government over immigration – the supposed ‘go home’ buses that are touring the capital and literally telling illegal immigrants where to go – look like they may go countrywide. Even though business secretary Vince Cable called them ‘stupid and offensive’ prime minister David Cameron likes the idea saying they were ‘attracting a great deal of interest’ and that it was working, although how they measure that no one is sure, perhaps they have someone counting people out at the airports, or maybe they’ll leave it to Iain Duncan Smith and his dodgy statistics…

 Morning Star

 Daily Mirror




 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Nurses ‘too busy’ to provide basic care (p1)
  • Make fuel go further, says Ryanair (p4)
  • Contract workers denied basic rights (p4)
  • 111 future in doubt (p6)
  • Tory activists learn to love the coalition (p9)
  • Gus O’Donnell to be Heathrow’s new champion (p11)
  • Deloitte faces £20 million fine over MG Rover (p33)
  • Barclays goes cap in hand to its army of investors for £5 billion (p33)




  • 111 line faces collapse (p1)
  • The wards to avoid (p4)
  • Cable is proving himself a master of hit and run politics – Paul Goodman (p16)
  • Deloitte to face £20 million fine over MG Rover (b1)
  • Stay at home sunseekers dent profits at Ryanair (b3)
  • Sports Direct under fire (b5) – Unite cited
  • Sacked Siemens chief ‘wants his chairman to join him at exit door’ (b5)

 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Apple faces fresh accusations over conditions at Chinese plants (p1)
  • Cable attacks migrant bond plan (p2)
  • Health changes shift gear as £5 billion contracts go out to tender (p3)
  • Deloitte set to face fine over MG Rover (p14)
  • Union presses Sports Direct (p17) – Unite cited

 Edited by Mik Sabiers