News digest 1 February 2013

News digest 1 February 2013

01 February 2013

Today’s digest starts with a kick in the teeth by the coalition government to 750,000 people living in south London after health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that he was pressing ahead with downgrading the A&E and maternity units at Lewisham hospital due to failures at an unrelated NHS trust. This was despite a 25,000 strong protest march and a 50,000 signature petition. Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “The fight will go on to protect health services from the chaotic and pro-privatisation policies that this government has pursued since May 2010 … Hunt is trying to destabilise the whole NHS against the united voice of health professionals, patients and the public.” The campaign continues but there are at least 34 other A&Es under the threat of the Tory knife. And the Tories continue to sharpen the knife, many of the papers report that police officer numbers are now at an 11 year low, whatever happened to the pledge to protect front line services? As ever, never trust a Tory…

And it looks like trust in the banking sector could fall through the floor. As ordinary staff face ever more cuts the chiefs are mired in yet another mis-selling scandal, this time over loans to business. Barclays, HSBC, RBS and Lloyds have all been embroiled in the scandal which has seen them put aside £700 million to deal with mis-selling of swap deals which were supposed to insure businesses from risk but instead benefited the banks. The Mirror calls it a ‘rate old mess’ while the Sun sums it up as ‘Ratbanks’ but what is more concerning is that as state backed banks are involved so it looks like the taxpayer will pay while bankers continue to get their bonuses, although obviously they will have to wait until the top rate of tax is cut in April.

And talking of tax cuts, it seems one cut that chancellor George Osborne was not expecting was his own. The Mail reports that there is an new Tory plot to oust the part-time chancellor, comings so soon after the Afriyie affair this could pose toxic for the Tories as the party focuses on internal battles. The Guardian headline says Cameron is under orders to lift poll ratings by mid 2014 or he will face a revolt. Not looking good Dave.

But the prime minister Cameron is jetting around the Middle East trying to look all presidential, but more seemingly putting his foot in it. After announcing that he would increased defence spending yesterday there’s been yet another U-turn with the news now that the defence increases will be delayed, one could argue that he does not know what he is doing rather than being deceitful, but then he can be rather duplicitous. Andreas Whittam Smith in the Indie asks ‘Is Cameron a liar? The official verdict’ referring to the recent Tory party political broadcast where Cameron said he was paying down the debt, the OBR shows that it has risen by £200 billion to £1,111.4 billion by the end of 2012. Either Cameron should apologise for misleading the public, or he should resign, I know what I’d like to see.

 Morning Star

 Daily Mirror





  • Bookies avoid £1 billion tax (p1)
  • Ministers prepare more welfare cuts (p10
  • Downgrade for A&E (p2)
  • Court challenge to council tax rise set to hit poorest (p9)
  • Airlines under fire for avoiding payouts (p12)
  • Is Cameron a liar? The official verdict – Andreas Whittam Smith (p17)
  • Banks face £1.5 billion bill for mis-sellling (p53)
  • Shell sets sights on fracking (p53)
  • Lager let down for Diageo (p54)
  • OFT shuts three debt firms (p55)



 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Barclays in Qatar loan probe (p1)
  • Fresh mis-selling scandal hits banks (p1)
  • Lawson calls on Osborne to nationalise RBS fully (p2)
  • Bitter battle over defence ringfence retreat (p3)
  • Services see outsourcing surge (p4)
  • NHS trust dissolved (p4)
  • AB InBev’s deal threatened (p15)
  • Iberia unions reject latest restructuring package (p16)
  • Ericsson benefits from sales rises (p18)
  • P&G seeks growth (p19)
  • Rail franchise changes under fire (p20)
  • Shell disappoints (p20)
  • Banks seek to cap latest scandal (p21)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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