News digest 13 March 2013

News digest 13 March 2013

13 March 2013

Ahead of the budget a week today and a TUC rally in London tonight trailed on the front of today’s Morning Star- Unite general secretary Len McCluskey will be speaking – the call for chancellor George Osborne to change course gets ever louder. Yesterday, dire manufacturing figures showed a fall of 1.5 per cent on the month and 3.0 per cent on the year and many of the papers report on the renewed fear of a triple dip recession in the UK. Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke is quoted in the Morning Star, Mirror and Indie: "These figures should serve as a warning to George Osborne that his forthcoming budget must be a game-changer for Britain's economy. The country faces the very real threat of a triple dip recession unless there is urgent action to boost the economy. As part of the budget, Britain needs a strategic manufacturing plan, but the government seems a long way off from developing one.”

In fact the only thing the government seems to be developing is the continued habit for U-turns, yesterday added another two which has reached at least 41 in total as Cameron dropped his plans for minimum alcohol pricing and the bedroom tax is sadly being mildly watered down rather than shelved. All in all the Con-Dems back a bedroom tax but not a mansion tax. Yesterday Iain Duncan Smith snuck out some minor changes to the bedroom tax proposals – exempting some foster carers and military families – but Unite slammed the move as nothing more than a cynical ploy. Said Unite general secretary Len McCluskey: "This eleventh hour change of heart by the government indicates it is fully aware of the needless pain this policy will bring. Hundreds of thousands of people - including many thousands of children - will still lose out as a result of this cruel policy [with] some of the most vulnerable people in society be plunged even deeper into poverty ... these exemptions are a crowd-pleasing attempt to deflect attention away from a chaotic policy that is set to cause misery for ordinary people.” At the same time the Lib Dems joined the Tories in the division lobby to vote against Labour’s proposals to immediately aim to establish a tax on properties worth more than £2 million, the reverse Robin Hood effect is still in full swing.  

And while Osborne gets ready to swing his axe once again, he has a wide raft of advice on what to do with the rabid right of his part demanding tax cuts as well as ever more privatisation. However Cameron and Osborne come in for harsh criticism in today’s FT with Martin Wolf summing up the Con-Dem coalition’s economic plans in four simple words: “Britain’s austerity is indefensible”, indeed, it’s time for plan B…

 Morning Star

 Daily Mirror







 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Spectre of stagflation returns to haunt UK (p1)
  • Cameron tells Tories to stop feuding (p2)
  • Cheap champagne sparkles as consumers trim costs (p2)
  • EDF raises heat on Hinkley C (p23)
  • Lobbyists beef up Labour links (p4)
  • Duncan Smith gives ground on ‘bedroom tax’ (p4)
  • Britain’s austerity is indefensible – Martin Wolf (p11)
  • Confusion over Autonomy inquiry (p15)
  • John Lewis puts squeeze on suppliers (p20)
  • RBS to give up control of Direct Line (p21)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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