The digest opens with the FT trailing the troubles that chancellor George Osborne is having in trying to slash another £11.5 billion from the government’s budget. It calls it a ‘budget black hole’ after it emerged that just £2.5 billion of further cuts have been identified. Looks like the cuts are so close to the bone that there’s not much room for manoeuvre or are ministers getting jittery as we move towards the next election?
Also still jittery is prime minister David Cameron as the EU referendum bill row rumbles on, it looks like the latest concession is to the private member’s bill, but will that really halt the Ukip bubble? Peter Mandelson – of all people – has some choice words for Cameron in the Telegraph, namely every time Cameron concedes to Ukip he notches up another advance for Farage’s party.
Then again the bubble may have burst for Ukip leader Nigel Farage as many of the papers seem to take pleasure in reporting that he was barricaded in a bar by police after protesters started chanting at him. At least the well known bon viveur was locked in a drinking establishment; there may be darker places for him.
And from dark places to evil and many of the papers focus on the evidence given by Google to the Commons public accounts committee after its tax arrangements were called into question. With the company’s claims seemingly ringing hollow chair Margaret Hodge said “as a company that says do no evil, I think you do do evil. You use smoke ands mirrors to avoid paying tax.” The question is will anything be done about it?
And for more callous company operations there’s no need to look any further than RBS which yesterday announced another round of job losses, this time 1,400 are to go. And this happens after fat cat bosses at the company revealed they would share a bonus pot of £607 million, which will also be taxed at the new reduced top rate, so much for we’re all in this together…
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Budget black hole in Osborne’s finances (p1)
- MP accuses Google of ‘evil’ actions (p2)
- Rise in Lloyds shares lifts sell-off prospects (p3)
- Farage forced to retreat (p4)
- People want to work more – let’s help them to do so – Samuel Brittan (p11)
- Stobart back on course, says chief (p16)
- Honda gears up for return to F1 (p18)
- Invensys eyes bolt-ons (p20)
- Aviva steps up drive for costs cuts (p20)
Edited by Mik Sabiers