It’s day three of the People United bus tour today with one stopping at Cambridge city centre and the other on the seafront in Hastings, there’s also People’s question times in Norwich and Portsmouth. Follow events via #FollowTheTour on twitter and check out exactly where the bus will be on the People United website. And if you want to know why Unite and other unions are on tour check our Steve Turner’s blog on LabourList, the title sums it up: Are you listening, Westminster?
And in Westminster the main talks remains on cuts ahead of Wednesday’s comprehensive spending review. The good news for the chancellor is he has bullied all departments into accepting more cuts, the bad news for the rest of us is that means £10.5 billion more will be wiped from government spending. It now looks like Osborne has pensioner benefits in his sights – although possibly only after 2015 due to Cameron’s election pledge – but even with the extra cuts he is trying to get some infrastructure spending going – primarily on road, rail and the internet - to give a boost to the economy. Sadly, with the scale of additional cuts for most departments a much bigger boost is needed to get the economy moving.
And the ongoing onslaught of the NHS continues as many of the papers take former health secretaries Andrew Lansley and Andy Burnham to task over Morecambe NHS Trust and the Care Quality Commission, but underlying it seems to be an attack on the NHS overall. The front page of the Telegraph reports on a ‘rotten NHS culture’ which led to the cover-ups while Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail damns the service, conveniently neglecting to mention that private healthcare service Bupa has seen a massive rise in complaints – up 50 per cent – in the last two years. Private sector health is not so hot.
And after facing the heat Starbucks has finally succumbed and agreed to pay some tax, making a £5 million donation. However, this was a gesture and really the company should perhaps pay some interest on its outstanding tax debts. Let’s hope the company does not need to borrow the money from Wonga which has announced an increase in its astronomical interest rates, the Mail reports they’ve been raised to 5,853 per cent, yet another example of what is wrong with society when firms get away with what tax they want to pay while people are forced to rely on payday lenders to make ends meet.
Despite all this there does seem to be some optimism in the air. Katie Allen writing in the Guardian tells her story of leaving school with just one GCSE but managing to get a top job in the City, that was thanks to work experience, jobs advice, training and employers giving youth a chance. All things that seem to have ended under the Con-Dems. Will that change? Well the Sun has a poll of young people which finds many of the country’s young people are looking forward to a bright future, even if they have to work past 70, pay to go university and don’t expect a state pension when they retire. Some may say this is the innocence of youth, but with a whopping 77 per cent saying they could not name a single politician they admire this may be more cynical – or realistic – than we imagine…
- People’s Assembly: Unite, strike, occupy, win (p1-3) – Len McCluskey quoted
- TUC tour rolls into Yorkshire (p2)
- Miliband: Attlee would support cuts (p5)
- Gordon Brown joins fight for Remploy jobs (p5)
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Doctors call for NHS to impose top-up fees (p1)
- Cash for houses and roads to sweeten £10.5 billion cuts (p2)
- Ex-ministers deny failing to deal with health watchdog complaints (p4)
- Wealthy pensioners to lose universal benefits after 2015 (p5)
- Labour to investigate ‘political blackmail’ (p9) – Unite cited
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Warning to central banks over recovery (p1)
- Osborne switches focus from cuts (p1)
- Osborne faces pressure to reverse fall in infrastructure (p2)
- CSR deal done (p3)
- Starbucks hands over £5 million (p4)
- The best spending cut of all? Shut down the Treasury – Philip Stevens (p15)
- Pay of top Europe/US bankers drops 10 per cent (p19)
Edited by Mik Sabiers