News digest 23 May 2013

News digest 23 May 2013

23 May 2013

The digest opens with a sombre note as there’s comprehensive coverage of yesterday’s atrocity in Woolwich where a man – confirmed as a soldier believed to be in his early 20s – was attacked by two men with meat cleavers in broad daylight in front of shocked onlookers. The Guardian sums it up starkly: “In a few minutes on a cloudy May afternoon, terror had struck again in the UK in a style that counter-terrorist officials have long feared; brutally, out of nowhere and with chilling and horrific effect.” All thoughts with the family and friends of the victim.

Away from the main papers and the front page of the Morning Star has an exclusive interview with George Tapp, the anti-blacklisting campaigner that was mown down by a hit and run driver. The headline sums it up: “He drove off laughing…” Tapp – a former Labour councillor - broke both legs in the hit and run.

The other focus of the papers is the latest prognosis on the UK economy from the IMF. It’s not great. For a number of years the IMF has been saying that UK chancellor George Osborne would need to slow the pace of deficit cuts if the economy continues to underperform. However while there was some good news for Osborne as figures released yesterday showed public sector borrowing came in £2.5 billion lower than expectations, the reality is the Con-Dem coalition has actually borrowed some £64 billion more than it originally planned.

Even with some slightly better news this morning from the CEBR which expects better growth (albeit not yet) the IMF sums up the situation by arguing that the UK economy is 'still a long way from a strong and sustainable recovery' and that the government should aim to properly stimulate growth. That seems like a green light for Plan B, but then Osborne is not listening. So no rise in the minimum wage to get people spending, no help for our high streets, no extra house building, no support for construction, and nothing for industry. In fact nothing sums up the Con-Dem approach to the economy, flatlining for three years now.

Yesterday’s Cameron/Clegg relaunch (yes, another one) also did nothing to alter the belief that we’ll have two more years of misery before the election – and both leaders remain under pressure with their own MPs – but Labour leader Ed Miliband gets a bit of better press for his attack on Google.

Miliband told Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt directly: "When Google goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid paying its taxes, I say it's wrong." Schmidt retorted by saying Google followed "the tax laws of the countries we operate in" missing the point that there are millions of people suffering while his company plays the system, let’s hope revenues are checked, and profits repatriated and taxed at source.

Sadly it looks like it will be business as usual in industry as on the day that Britvic announces it has seen a 50 per cent rise in profits to £37.5 million, with revenues of £639.2 million, it announces that it is planning on cutting almost 300 jobs. Unite national officer Jennie Formby said: “The threat to the jobs at the three sites is a very bitter blow for the workers and their families ... It should be remembered that this is a very profitable company and could well afford to keep all these existing operations going. Unite will be doing all it can in the coming weeks to support our members.”  

And there could soon be ever more members to back, on top of talks between the TSSA and Unite about forming the first ever cross transport union, the FT reports that the PCS national conference has taken the first steps towards the possibility of creating a ‘super union’ with Unite. Although no formal proposals have been tabled both unions work closely on key campaigning issues. Whatever happens the coalition against the Con-Dem cuts is getting stronger and its days in office are numbered, the question is will there be anything left of our NHS, our pubic sector, our industry for the incoming government to salvage?

 Morning Star (web down today)

  • He drove off laughing (p1/10-11)
  • Disabled workers halt London traffic (p2)
  • Anti-cuts activists pack Manchester (p3) – Unite cited
  • 400 workers face chop at Chelmsford Britvic site (p2) – Jennie Formby quoted
  • Facility time cuts a ‘direct attack’ on trade unions (p4)
  • PCS executive to mull Unite merger (p4)
  • Lawyers rally for justice (p5)
  • Miliband blasts Google (p5)
  • Wales TUC coverage (p6)

 Daily Mirror




 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Soldier hacked to death in London terror attack (p1/6-7)
  • Coalition pledges to full five year term (p4)
  • Shares approach peak (p51)
  • Osborne gives green light to RBS/Lloyds sales (p51)
  • Britvic waits fro fruits of merger (p55/57)





 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • IMF urges Osborne to spend on big projects (p1)
  • Soldier killed in terror ambush (p1)
  • Pulled punches spare Osborne (p2)
  • Clegg says his party will be in power after 2015 (p2)
  • Google exec defends taxes in face of Labour onslaught (p3)
  • Architects propose Stansted as UK hub (p4)
  • PCS takes steps towards ‘super-union’ with Unite (p4) – Len McCluskey cited
  • SSE says energy bills will rise again (p22)
  • Dark clouds lifted from Lloyds/RBS (p23)
  • UK Mail to increase automation of sorting (p28)
  • Britvic to cut staff (p29)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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