News digest 22 March 2013

News digest 22 March 2013

22 March 2013

Today’s digest opens with a simple story of a win for workers. Yesterday Unite members at B&Q's warehouse in Burton-on-Trent voted overwhelmingly to accept an improved pay offer which guaranteed all employees will receive the ‘living wage’. The vote follows a hard fought campaign by Unite which highlighted how workers were unable to put food on the table for their families after years of pay freezes and below inflation rises. Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “The union has established a good relationship with Wincanton, which took control of the site in February this year. All Unite members are paid a ‘living wage’ and the deal also saw management reverse price increases in the workers’ canteen, as well as a new site agreement regulating shut-downs. Once again the value of collective bargaining is there for all to see.”

And that is all the more important as the plan to get workers to sign their rights way was roundly defeated in the Lords. A little noted defeat for the Con-Dem coalition saw the Lords throw out the plans for workers to give up employment rights in return for as little as £2,000 in shares. Former Tory cabinet minister Lord Forsyth called the plans “ill thought through, confused and muddled” but chancellor George Osborne will look to the Lib Dems to try and save the bill.

And it looks like the budget is also unravelling for chancellor Osborne or as the Sun calls him the ‘chancer of the exchequer’ with a scathing attack on his sums accusing him of a ‘fiddle’ on the deficit and hiding plans that will see all families face a hike in taxes in 2016, conveniently after the next election. Worse for the chancellor is wider coverage of the huge gap in public expenses with the IFS saying there may need to be another £9 billion in tax rises. This tied with Labour attacking Osborne over his help to buy a home scheme which seems will be more likely to be help a millionaire buy a second home scheme after Labour said a loophole needed to be closed after the chancellor’s ill-thought out plans were shown to be full of holes.

And talking of home the Mail also has a strong attack on ministers – this time deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is in the firing line – after stay at home mother Laura Perrins  tore into the Con-Dems’ family policy saying ministers viewed their role as ‘worthless’ and said ‘if a mum decides to stay at home she should be celebrated not denigrated’, too right. Sadly the Con-Dem cuts are hitting women hard, but there’s no sign of a plan B, time to change the top team…

 Morning Star

 Daily Mirror




 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Britain on brink of running out of gas (p1)
  • Clegg backs bid to make immigrants pay deposit to enter Britain (p7)
  • Tax rises will be needed to pay for face saving budget (p8)
  • More jobs lost at AstraZeneca (p53)
  • Co-op hopes sale will keep bank deal alive (p54)
  • Ferry operator ‘won’t try to crush rivals’ (p610




 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Cyprus unveils fresh rescue plan (p1)
  • Spending on public services to plummet (p3)
  • Osborne defends shares for rights (p4)
  • Cable challenges Barclays (p4)
  • Eurotunnel seeks détente (p18)
  • SSE warns of lights going out (p21)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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