After yesterday’s dip in unemployment – albeit with the worrying undertone of a rise in youth unemployment - today’s digest opens with the spectacular failure of chancellor George Osborne's 4G cash saving wheeze which he had used to mask his borrowing figures at last year’s Autumn statement. Osborne argued he would benefit from some £3.5 billion but in reality he only managed to raise £2.3 billion so that blows a billion pound hole in his accounts and means the budget deficit will likely actually rise this year rather than fall. As the government has consistently claimed – or should that now be lied – that its deficit reduction strategy was on track, this is yet another example of policy going off the rails. It’s time for Osborne to get the chop…
And while Osborne may be out of his depth it looks like Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King’s power is draining. Minutes from the MPC meeting show it voted against expanding the quantitative easing programme from its current £375 billion, even though the governor backed the idea, the pound fell sharply after the release of the minutes. Incoming governor Mark Carney will soon be in the hot seat.
And from a hot seat to a vacant seat and with one week to go to the Eastleigh byelection the jury in the trial of Chris Huhne's ex-wife, Vicky Pryce, was discharged after failing to reach a verdict on a charge of perverting the course of justice. Pryce will face a retrial while Huhne is still awaiting sentencing and a possible jail term.
Also under pressure is NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson. While prime minister David Cameron says he is doing a good job the front page of the Mail has a poll that says 90 per cent of NHS staff think he should be sacked over his handling of the Mid Staffordshire scandal, whose advice would you take?
And talking of advice and its back to jobs with education minister telling over 60s to go back to university to retrain and keep their jobs, is there a further extension to the pension age or just another out of touch Tory? Talking of out of touch a number of the papers report on the head of Titan Tyres Maurice Taylor who has lambasted workers at a French tyre factory. The latest attack on France and the Hollande administration bemoans employees at a struggling tyre plant saying the employees at the plant only work three hours a day. In another attack he complains that they get an hour for lunch and breaks, as usual American industrialists prefer to work people to the bone, or export jobs elsewhere. Nevertheless the answer from the French industry minister Arnaud Moutebourg could be interesting, after all he previously told steel magnate Laksmi Mittal he was no longer welcome in France after a previous contretemps…
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Pryce trial collapses amid doubt over jury (p1)
- Jobs figures hide economic decline (p1/2)
- Osborne’s sums won’t add up (p9)
sent into freefall (p37)
- Mining chief moves on (p38)
- FSA finds ‘potential fraud’ at Barclays (p41)
- RSA reveals shock dividend cut (p41)
- Osborne short changed over 4G (p44)
- Final call for HMV at Heathrow (p45)
- Titan of tyres punctures French work ethic (p47)
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Pound slides after Bow shock (p1)
- RSA chief under fire (p1)
- Job creation grows but wages suffer (p2)
- PM’s deficit vow thrown in doubt by 4G auction (p3)Pryce trial collapses (p4)
- Coalition split on housing benefit (p4)
- UK’s energy policy stands in the way of growth – Richard Lambert (p13)
- Jobs freeze as Apple cuts orders (p17)
- Top Santander experts see pay drop by a third (p18)
- Momentum grows for less expensive iPhone (p19)
- Tata plans Indian airline (p21)
- New BAE/EADS deal on the cards?
- RSA dividend cut (p22)
Edited by Mik Sabiers