After the last few days being dominated by the G8 and global leaders trying to either arm rebel forces/set up a peace summit for Syria, the focus today has drifted back to domestic issues and top of the agenda was chancellor George Osborne’s annual Mansion House speech on the state of the British economy. Osborne argued that the economy was out of ‘intensive care’ but no matter what he says, it is not good. For all Osborne’s talk about recovery, the reality on the ground is different. That’s why the People United bus tour is almost ready to roll, with two buses touring the country to find out what people up and down the land really think about Con-Dem Britain and what they want to change…
Overall the main thrust of Osborne’s speech was ‘steady as she goes’ as he continued to remain wedded to his austerity agenda of cuts, now, cuts tomorrow and cuts in the future. However Osborne tempered the cuts agenda with a giveaway agenda, announcing he is minded to sell off the government’s stake in Lloyds – neglecting to mention that at the current share price it would be at a loss of £3.4 billion – and that he was also weighing up whether to hive off ‘toxic’ debts from RBS into a bad bank. Again socialise the losses and privatise the profit, so much for we’re all in this together.
And one of Osborne’s other announcements was that outgoing bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King was to be ennobled, there’s less mention of his stratospheric pension which at almost £200,000 a year is 35 times more than a typical public sector worker. Unite’s Gail Cartmail is quoted in the Mirror: “Sir Mervyn, a public sector worker whose pension is funded by the taxpayer, hasn’t had to accept any cuts to his pension arrangements. It’s sheer hypocrisy to demand austerity of others while living a life of luxury.” Quite.
And if you thought yesterday’s talk of all change in the banking sector would last, it hasn’t. The front page of the Indie talks of a ‘new bonus boom in the banking sector’ highlighting a 64 per cent rise in bonuses from April 2012 to April 2013, the boom is probably all those champagne corks as the top rate tax cut kicked in.
The other main story in the papers is the Care Quality Commission cover-up on Morecambe Bay hospital, with a report into failings at the hospital having been suppressed; even though several mothers and babies died the hospital was given a clean bill of health. Both health secretary Jeremy Hunt and shadow - and former - health secretary Andy Burham apologised for the suffering and failings at the hospital, but the questions shifted to who was responsible for the cover up, and what action, if any, would be taken to stop evidence and findings being hidden. Hunt has said the whole truth will emerge, the question is whether there will be criminal prosecutions of those that suppressed the report?
Remember however that the NHS remains under attack, and isolated events like this and not symptomatic of the real benefit the NHS brings to the country. That’s why the country’s three biggest unions - Unite, Unison and the GMB - have announced today that they will be at the forefront of community protests to highlight the public's increasing concern at the piecemeal dismantlement of the NHS for the benefit of private care companies. Get ready for the mass rally in Manchester on Sunday 29 September…
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- NHS scandal watchdogs ‘should face prosecution’ (p1/6-7)
- Osborne to begin Lloyds sell off (p2)
- MPs warn Cameron over arming rebels (p4)
- Five years on and still no plan for RBS (p41)
- O’Leary says Ryanair in it for long haul (p43)
- Typhoon leads defence industry’s attack (p47)
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Osborne weights RBS bad bank (p1)
- Cameron backs jailing of bankers (p2)
- Miliband claims bonuses leapt by 64 per cent (p2)
- Osborne’s identity crisis (p2)
- Postal staff reject privatisation (p4)
- Labour hardens stance on train operators (p4)
- Britain’s banks are still a danger to the real economy – Chris Giles (p11)
- Eurotunnel fees too high (p16)
- IBM’s drive for growth (p17)
- Air France in $7 billion A350 deal (p18)
- Tata aims for sales lift with new Nano car (p19)
Edited by Mik Sabiers