The digest opens with the latest unemployment figures which show a slight dip in levels of 14,000 to 2.5 million in the three months to last December, while the number in work rose by 154,000 to 29.7 million. However, questions continue to be asked about how reliable the figures are and they could be expected to worsen with the continued closures on the high street since early January. The reality is shown by a story that features in all papers – the Telegraph headline is ‘Desperate 1,701 fight for eight Costa jobs’ – which reports that when Costa coffee advertised eight jobs on a website it was inundated with applications.
general secretary Len McCluskey said: "When 1,700 people apply for just eight jobs in a Nottingham coffee shop there is something seriously wrong with employment in this country. Of course it is good news that more people are reportedly in work but … the shocking waste of our young people's talents, underemployment, poverty pay and bogus self employment are all indicators of an employment crisis, not a recovery."
And from a fall to a definite rise, the other main story is the forthcoming energy crisis. The Express ums it up as ‘£3,000 energy bills by 2020’ but the Mirror could almost recall the 1970s going with the headline ‘Blackouts, price hikes, power cuts… the future’. So not only will the future not be bright as we’ll have to keep the lights off to save electricity, but it will also be expensive as ever more people are forced into fuel poverty even though prime minister David Cameron said he would try to deal with the energy sector and high prices.
Then again Cameron’s on another junket – sorry trade mission – this time to India where he is hawking jets, that does offer some possible good news for not only the Red Arrows which the Mirror says will be saved from the cuts – but potentially for BAE which could get a new jets order. Elsewhere in aviation BA is looking at competing with the low cost airlines by bringing in hand baggage only tickets and easyJet is cutting it fine with its new Moscow service which is due to start next month – the company has yet to apply for a licence with Russian authorities, knowing Russian bureaucracy that should be more than enough time, not.
And finally there’s a trio of interviews in the papers, the Mail has an interview with education secretary Michael Gove, while the Telegraph talks to TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady and finally the Mirror has a chat with Chuka Umunna about how to reinvigorate the high street, and that is echoed in the Telegraph where retailers have called on chancellor George Osborne to help out, but then the part-time chancellor is rather hard to pin down these days…
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Clock ticks on Isle of Man tax haven (p1)
- Employers less likely to shed workers (p3)
- Ofgem wars of rising fuel bills (p3)
- Why the euro crisis is not yet over – Martin Wolf (p13)
- Danone to cut 900 jobs (p19)
- Lloyds fined (p22)
- 4G take up on track, says EE (p22)
Edited by Mik Sabiers