News digest 25 April 2013

News digest 25 April 2013

25 April 2013

As the political media gets in a muddle and tries to make a mountain out of a molehill following comments by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey in an interview with the New Statesman. Len was simply reflecting the desire of many members for Labour leader Ed Miliband to stay true to his radical interests.

However, the real stories of the day were in the Houses of Parliament where workers’ rights were debated, discussed and undermined and a last ditch to save the NHS as we know it failed as lickspittle Lib Dems joined Tories in the lobby to pass the section 75 regulations.

It started in the Lords with the same old Tories as the initial opposition to the ludicrous sell your workplace rights scheme melted away, while over in the Commons Labour attempted to force the government to explain its spiteful attack on rural workers' rights leading a debate on the wrong minded abolition of the agricultural wages board.

The focus then spun back to the Lords to end the NHS as we know it. Despite a concerted campaign, the section 75 regulations which open the NHS to full blown competition were passed. Unite’s NHS wheel of misfortune came to the Commons to highlight the real cost of the changes for ordinary working people.

And despite the ongoing austerity chancellor George Osborne was spared the ignominy of presiding over a triple dip recession after GDP figures released this morning showed the UK economy edged up by 0.3 per cent in the first three months of the year. The rise in the figures was largely down to strong growth in the services sector and a recovery in North Sea oil and gas output, perhaps that was down to the fact that we all had to spend more on exorbitant energy bills to deal with the prolonged cold spell.

In reality the UK economy continues to flatline with no recognisable growth. As ever more central government cuts come in expect confidence to dip and the economy to struggle to get off the ground. With two agencies downgrading the UK’s credit rating Osborne still needs to change tack. It’s not only time for Plan B, unless Osborne starts to take decisive action rather than hoping his failed plans will eventually come good, it will be time for Osborne to go, and as the general election nears expect that call to become louder. The Mirror mentions that prime minister David Cameron is considering a rightwards shift in a reshuffle and there is now a Johnson in Downing Street after the PM appointed Boris’ brother Jo Johnson to head his policy unit…

 Morning Star

  • Co-op bid to buy bank branches collapses (p1) – Dominic Hook quoted
  • Health emergency (p2-3) – Unite cited
  • May signs new treaty in bid to kick out Qatada (p3)
  • Fivefold rise in food banks (p4)
  • Rural poverty to rise (p4)
  • Unison says 28,000 council staff on ‘rock bottom’ pay (p5)

 Daily Mirror


  • £2.4 billion council tax shortfall (p2)
  • Defeat over NHS shake up (p2)
  • Co-op no to Lloyds (p2)
  • Top job at No 10 for Boris’ brother (p4)
  • Ed blasts Len (p6) – Len McCluskey cited
  • Co-op flops (p42)
  • Crashing loss for EU Ford (p42)


  • U-turn on GP hours (p11)
  • Lloyds to relaunch TSB (p50)
  • Kier outbids Costain (p50)
  • Virgin [media] profits from austerity (p51)


 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Cameron puts Boris’ brother in No 10 job (p1)
  • Coalition at war over May’s plan to deport Abu Qatada
  • PM seeks global action to tackle tax avoiders (p12)
  • Ukip biggest new threat (p16-17)
  • Dreamliner to take flight again (p38)
  • Lucozade for sale (p39)
  • Co-op walks away from branch sale (p41)
  • Kier’s offer turns heads at may Gurney (p43)




 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Starbucks push to expand tax breaks (p1)
  • Osborne helps to find game changer (p2)
  • Plan to outsource buying of MoD kit (p3)
  • May considers quitting human rights convention (p3)
  • ‘Rights for shares’ swap passed (p4)
  • Heathrow misses target on security (p4)
  • Union backed candidates test Miliband (p4) – Len McCluskey cited
  • Boeing maintains buoyancy (p16)
  • Good times stall for German carmakers (p17)
  • Ford’s EU losses widen (p17)
  • Lloyds shrugs off branches setback (p21)
  • Morrison close to Ocado deal (p20)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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