News digest 13 February 2013

News digest 13 February 2013

13 February 2013

The digest opens with an all out attack on the Con-Dem’s failed workfare scheme by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey. Speaking after appeal court judges agreed with university graduate Cait Reilly's claim that unpaid workfare schemes were legally flawed, Len said: “This government is determined to give incompetence a new meaning on a daily basis. Cait Reilly is a hero for challenging this flawed scheme [which] was exploitative, cruel and a total waste of the talents of our young people. There was never any evidence to support the scheme. Studies from the US and guidance given to the UK government showed these schemes have no record in finding people paid employment ... the government must now ditch this forced labour scheme for big business and focus on creating real jobs.” A deserved victory for Cait and a welcome blow to the work programme and the government’s ill thought through plans.

And from no pay to low pay and the debate over bankers and bonuses continues with Unite calling on senior bankers at Barclays to look at raising pay for ordinary bank workers while the bank announced 3,700 more job cuts as part of a fundamental overhaul of the bank. Unite’s Dominic Hook argued:” The CEO's promise of a culture shift at the bank is welcomed but we need to see more progress to address the huge gap between the highest and lowest paid staff at Barclays … the starting salary at Barclays is just £13,500 a year, making some workers at the bank eligible to claim tax credits.” Unite is calling on the bank to reward its staff fairly for their contribution to the bank’s success.

And from success to failure as despite saying he’ll accept the findings of the Leveson report in full – “unless they are bonkers” – prime minister David Cameron yesterday rejected calls for the press regulator to have statutory backing saying the post-Leveson watchdog should be established by royal charter, not legislation. Hacked Off, which has been campaigning for press reforms, accused Cameron of selling out on his promise to protect victims of press harassment by watering down Leveson's recommendations, the Lib Dems gave the plans a cautious welcome while Labour seems to be taking less of a hard line as before, there’ll be cross party talks tomorrow so it looks like another classic stitch up could be on the cards…

And speaking of cards it looks like the squeeze on families – and the need to borrow on credit – will continue as although the CBI thinks the UK will avoid a triple dip recession it has downgraded UK growth forecasts yet again, high street store Republic looks set to enter administration and even ex-Eastender Martine McCutcheon has gone bankrupt. The Indie calls it an ‘ever greater squeeze for the middle’ while the Mail sums it up as ‘squeeze on family incomes to last 15 years’, austerity Britain is not working or growing.

The one area continuing to consume many pages is the horse meat scandal. Yesterday two British firms were raided with the latest headlines including the scandal of British ‘horse’ kebabs  (then again do you ever know what’s in a kebab?), it looks like this one will run and run… although the end of the world may be sooner than expected after North Korea yesterday conducted another nuclear test, is a new not so-cold war coming…

 Morning Star

 Daily Mirror







 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Barclays facelift wins over investors (p1/31)
  • Regulators swoop on two [meat] plants (p2)
  • Tories’ press watchdog charter draws criticism (p2)
  • Public contract suppliers under fire on tax (p4)
  • CBI lowers growth forecast (p4)
  • Apple shrugs off activist lawsuit (p29)
  • Orsi arrest leaves Finmeccanica flying blind (p32)
  • IAG’s plan B for job cuts (p36)
  • G4S draws a line under Games fiasco (p36)
  • Brussels squashes Ryanair takeover ambitions (p36)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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