News digest 18 December 2012

News digest 18 December 2012

18 December 2012

There are a variety of stories across the papers today. As the first funerals start of the 26 people murdered in Sandy Hook there is still in depth coverage of the massacre. The call for gun control is beginning to gain some ground, but it may take time for both sides to come to an agreement. Talking of agreement the front page of the FT reports that a deal is taking shape to avert the US fiscal cliff which would otherwise send the US economy into a tailspin with implications for the rest of us.

Back in the UK and the cabinet this morning will discuss them latest developments in the UK. With inflation remaining unchanged over the month the cabinet may try to put a positive spin on the economy, but the fastest rising items are fruit, bread and cereals as well as energy bills, or what is becoming the largest part of household spending as the squeeze continues. The front page of the Morning Star highlights the Unite survey showing ordinary people are being pushed ever further into debt just to get by. Perhaps the cabinet should invite an ordinary member of the public to cabinet.

Instead the Tories are more concerned on demonising ordinary working people with the Mirror reporting on a backlash over adverts dismissing all benefit claimants as layabouts, so if you have no job, are ill or disabled it’s your fault in the Tories eyes, remember that at the next election. The Tory strategy does not seem to be working as the Indie has the latest opinion poll which shows a solid 10 per cent lead for Labour (39 per cent) over the Tories (29 per cent).

The coalition’s lapdogs the Lib Dems squeeze into third with just 10 per cent, and that is why deputy prime minister Nick Clegg tried to put some clear blue water between his party and the Tories. His big idea, get rid off free bus passes for well-off pensioners and another attack on benefit claimants, won’t win that way.

Also losing out are taxpayers as many papers report that the taxman kept 20 million phone calls on hold last year as callers waited almost five minutes on average to get through. Perhaps that will be the new excuse from the big companies, I called to pay my tax bills but no one answered? And talking of bills, as high street retailer Comet finally closes it has emerged that the taxpayer faces a £50 million bill to cover mass redundancies and unpaid taxes. This despite the private equity owners seemingly having gained substantially while what can only bee seen as running the company into the ground, perhaps some of the private equity profit can be transferred to the taxpayer?

Finally talking of transfers and the real impact of the recession the Indie covers a report from the Bank of England which confirms that the poor have suffered a bigger hit in incomes than the rich, that’s obviously why we have more cuts to benefits to pay for the top tax rate cut due in April, only in Con-Dem Britain…

Morning Star

 Daily Mirror







 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Deal takes shape to avert US fiscal cliff (p1)
  • G4S set to win child benefit role (p1)
  • Business group backs Heathrow expansion (p2)
  • Revenue’s hotline called to account (p2)
  • Exit from EU imaginable, says Cameron (p4)
  • Tesco edges closer to naming UK chief (p19)
  • Apple hit by growth worries (p19)
  • Volvo to shift up a gear in China (p23
  • Date set for Google v Germany [over charges] (p23)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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