News digest 22 February 2013

News digest 22 February 2013

22 February 2013

The main story in today’s digest is the failure of the government’s flagship work programme. Many of the papers report on the findings from the respected public accounts committee which reveals that it would be better to do nothing than waste some £5 billion on the scheme with the Mail saying ‘Back to work scheme branded £5 billion failure’ while the Telegraph says ‘Work scheme is good for nothing’. Strong words indeed.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey backed calls for the programme to be abandoned: "What will it take for this government to finally accept that their workfare programme simply does not work? The courts have ruled it unlawful and now Iain Duncan Smith has been told in no uncertain terms his scheme is an expensive waste of taxpayers' money. Tackling long term unemployment needs a sustained, considered effort. It needs to be part of a plan for good growth, not crackpot schemes that do little more than replace real jobs with free labour for extremely profitable retailers."

Labour is also looking at benefits with the FT reporting on plans for helping ‘strivers’ as part of his policy review, but what we really need is a full on plan for jobs and growth.

Sadly that is lacking from the Con-Dem government with more pressure on Osborne not only over his deficit switch, but also his treasured AAA status which is looking under threat, as is sterling which is continuing to fall on the exchanges as the UK’s economic climate worsens.

Also worsening is the Tory performance in the Eastleigh byelection campaign after prime minister David Cameron attacked the BBC over its coverage, perhaps if the candidate bothered to appear there wouldn’t have been an empty chair. It’s not looking good for the Conservatives, and surprisingly there maybe some cheer for deputy prime minister Nick Clegg whose party could hold the seat even though Huhne resigned in disgrace and the Lib Dems are facing a potential harassment scandal.

Then again Clegg could have his chips as a number of papers report on the end of some common names. The Mail says it is ‘Goodbye Mr Chips’ as that surname no longer exists in England and Wales. Other rare names in danger of dying out include Mirren, Fernard and Portendorfer and also on the endangered list is Clegg which has seen a 34 per cent fall in its prevalence since 1901, that pales into insignificance against the collapse in Lib Dem support since the election, so soon it may hopefully be goodbye Mr Clegg…

Morning Star

 Daily Mirror




Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Fuel prices to reach record levels by Easter (p1)
  • Bomb trio face life (p1/8-9)
  • Tax cheats to be named (p6)
  • Lib Dem accused of advances to women activists (p17)
  • While there’s work, we’ll put up with low growth – David Lipsey (p26)
  • Stelios could send easyJet down (p41)
  • Inflation the danger now (p42)
  • BAE lifts gloom with share buyback pledge (p45)
  • Mercedes fined (p48)
  • Asda insists trends are positive (p51)
  • Launch of $20 million Learjet delayed (p53)




FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Brussels turns up pressure on Libor (p1)
  • Rothschild blow in bid to overthrow Bumi’s board (p1)
  • Labour looks at help for strivers (p2)
  • Tax evaders named and shamed (p3)
  • Plan to cut deficit off course (p3)
  • Asda vows to rebuild trust (p4)
  • BAE seeks to rally investor support (p22)
  • Premier Foods fails to make bread rise (p23)

  Edited by Mik Sabiers

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