News digest 17 December 2012

News digest 17 December 2012

17 December 2012

The top story across the papers is the sad massacre of 26 people after a gunman opened fire inside a primary school last Friday. US president Obama is facing calls for tighter gun controls, but the arms lobby is resisting. In a country where 80 people die gun related deaths every day, more, not less, control is surely needed…

In the UK there are a range of different stories vying for attention, but as Christmas nears the news is thinner. Many of the papers focus on fuel poverty with the Sun reporting that nine million people face fuel poverty in the future while the Mirror reports that bills will rise £116 a year for the next decade. So much for Cameron and his pledge to have us offered the lowest price. The Guardian also notes thousands more households could be in fuel poverty by this Christmas and a new survey commissioned by Unite features in the Mirror showing that eight out of 10 workers say they are struggling to pay for Christmas, six out of 10 are cutting back on spending and total debt is heading towards a decidedly un-festive £4.1 billion. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Working men and women are facing a Christmas debt mountain thanks to Scrooge brothers Cameron and Osborne. Falling living standards and biting austerity mean a Christmas of worry and a new year of debt for many. Ordinary people face more financial hardship in Christmases to come unless we have a change of course and government.

From the PM to the would-be PM and London mayor Boris Johnson has been trying to grab headlines by demanding a referendum on EU membership before the election, less noted is his backing for Starbucks and other firms embroiled in the tax avoidance row, perhaps his new economics adviser - hired on £130,000 for a 30 hour week - can explain to him how taxation works. Owen Jones in the Indie also looks at Ukip and that party’s flat tax plan that would see millionaires paying the same rate of tax as nurses and binmen, and don’t even get started on Ukip’s immigration policy.

Talking of economic advisers and David Blanchflower in the Indie busts the myth that public sector workers are all overpaid while many papers also have reports on an interview with the outgoing TUC general secretary Brendan Barber who argues that while austerity may be hitting people hard, there is a time of opportunity for unions to lead the debate on the agenda, although with thousands of public sector job cuts there is much more to do, especially as plans move towards more strike action in the new year, Barber says unions are about more than that but the calls for co-ordinated action are getting louder… 

Morning Star

 Daily Mirror

  • Massacre at Sandy Hook (p1/4-7)
  • Fuel bills to rise £116 a year for a decade (p2)
  • £700 – Average Xmas debt facing poorest families (p2) - Len McCluskey cited
  • Firms don’t coff up (p11) [tax avoidance]
  • Lib Dem leader on ropes (p18)






·        Connecticut shooting ranges up and running as gun control debate rages (p1-3)


 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • US banks wants new liquidity riles eased (p1)
  • Clegg sets scene for coalition conflicts (p2)
  • Unions in ‘time of opportunity’ says barber (p2)
  • Staff to own 10 per cent of privatised Royal Mail (p3)
  • Democrats call for tighter gun control (p6)
  • Lot of aid to keep polish airline aloft (p19)
  • Hitachi setback over UK train deal (p21)
  • Pernod chief criticises tax rise (p21)
  • Signs of stability in [Irish] bank sector (p22)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers


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