The digest opens with bye bye Benedict as all the papers cover the shock resignation of the Pope who has decided to call it a day. The 85-year old pontiff will step down at the end of the month and perhaps the best summation of the news is on the front page of the Guardian which shows lightning striking St Peter’s…
Perhaps a better target for lighting may be the banks, and specifically senior bankers. This morning Barclays announced another 3,700 job cuts as it aims to reduce costs by £1.7 billion even though profits rose by 26 per cent to £7.05 billion. Unite national officer Dominic Hook said: "The CEO's promise of a culture shift at the bank is to be welcomed but we need to see more progress to address the gap between the highest paid and the lowest paid staff at Barclays, which is huge. Unite will be expecting the bank to reward its staff fairly for their contribution to the success of the bank." Sadly it seems that the only rewards are to those at the top as the front page of the Indie reports the chairman of RBS – which was fined £390 million over the Libor scandal – thinks that the chief executive of the bank is only modestly paid, and deserves his bonus. CEO Stephen Hester is on a ‘modest’ £7.8 million; suppose he’ll be thankful for the top rate tax cut as he struggles to get by on that paltry sum....
And also struggling as it approaches its 65th birthday is the NHS, with many papers reporting that 14 more NHS trusts are under investigation over patient care, while A&E’s across the country are under threat. The front page of the Morning Star reports on the fight back in London where there are a series of events this week, Yorkshire paramedics are also angry over Unite being derecognised and across the country trust managers are looking to tear up national pay in an effort to cut their budgets, not sure how good that will be for overall patient care.
And talking of care, yesterday the government also announced planned changes to support for pensioners. Ministers were accused of conning the elderly by making them now fork out £75,000 towards the cost of their care in old age. The new policy will cost an extra £1 billion a year and will be funded out of a freeze on inheritance tax, so that’s another Tory pledge broken, but hey Hunt says its down to the poor state of the economy and we all know who to blame for that don’t we? For example the Indie reports the coalition's infrastructure plan has fallen flat as just seven out of 576 projects have been completed.
And finally the horse meat scandal expands as ever, now not only is most beef lacking in beef, but donkey meat could have got into the food chain, the call for greater regulation gets louder, and floundering environment secretary Owen Paterson attempts to shift the blame and the onus for regulation –or the lack of – on to the industry, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink (unless you legislate and isn’t that what MPs are supposed to do)…
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- EDF asks for state backing on nuclear site (p1)
- Pope stuns church (p1)
- Horse meat scandal and calls for regulation (p2)
- Heathrow operator calls for big increase in airline tariffs (p2)
- Cable digs in to resists Osborne (p4)
- G20 braced for currency wars talks (p7)
- RBS under pressure to force out executives (p17)
- GE breezes past Vestas to top slot in wind market (p17)
- Essar profits lifted (p18)
- Peugeot given deadline to justify state aid (p21)
Edited by Mik Sabiers