The digest opens with pressure on Europe’s automotive industry. As Paris yesterday closed in on a €7 billion deal to rescue Peugeot, in Belgium Ford Europe announced that it will close its car factory in Genk. Noting that Ford saw sales drop 10 per cent last year Stephen Odell, chairman and chief executive of Ford Europe, said: "The proposed restructuring of our European manufacturing operations is a fundamental part of our plan to strengthen Ford's business in Europe and to return to profitable growth." 4,300 workers will lose their jobs when the factory closes in 2014 and trade unions said that at least 5,000 more jobs would go among subcontractors. Over in the UK and the threat of closure also hangs over Ford’s Southampton operations, last night Ford would not comment on reports that it planned to close the Southampton plant which makes the Transit van. Unite’s Roger Maddison noted a sound of warning: “We know the way Mullaly [Ford’s global chief executive] cured the Ford problem in the US; he closed plants down and milked the assets of the plants that stayed.” Ford is meeting with the workforce and Unite this morning.
And as the future of Ford’s plant hangs in the balance the latest economic data was released this morning with the news that the UK is officially out of recession. GDP in the last quarter rose by a higher than expected 1.0 per cent, with the economy boosted by the Olympics and in particular the sale of Olympic tickets. The question is whether this will be a one off Olympic bounce or if the recovery is underway. Looking at Ford and the trouble in the eurozone it seems there will be more pain to come especially as the front page of the Times reports that the double-dip set Britons back £1,800 a year and the Mirror says the pay squeeze will last until 2017. It will be a long time before the feelgood factor returns.
That did not stop prime minister David Cameron trying to crow about the economy as he almost released the figures early at yesterday’s prime minister’s questions, technically a breach of the law. The prime minister had more trouble as Labour leader Ed Miliband took him to task over his governing on the hoof leading Cameron to end up asking Miliband questions, but will the law come knocking on Cameron’s shoulders? If he does not get done for leaking information he may be for saying he will refuse to allow prisoners to get the vote despite a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights.
Still with the courts and there was good news on equal pay as a High Court ruling struck a blow for women’s pay which could have implications across the country. And from pay to pensions and Tory peer Lord Bichard sparked outrage when he called for an ‘old people’s national service ‘ saying people should work for charity of lose their pension. The Mail headline sums it up best: ‘Retirees should do charity work to earn state pension (says £120,000 a year peer)’ yet another example of one rule for them and one for us?
And speaking of them and us the Sun has gone suitably nationalistic in its coverage of industrial espionage at vacuum cleaner maker Dyson. Tycoon Sir James Dyson has declared war on the Germans as he accused German manufacturer Bosch after alleging the company paid a mole to leak ‘confidential’ information, the headline is ‘Hans off’ while Dyson says he wants the immediate return of his intellectual property, on my side I’d prefer the return of his manufacturing operations to the UK, but then that is looking precarious despite today’s growth figures, keep your fingers crossed for Ford workers…
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Double dip set Britons back £1,800 every year (p1)
- German spy stole secrets from research centre says Dyson (p4)
- Cameron to defy court on prisoner votes (p6)
- Court victory for equal pay claims (p7)
- Hillsborough chief quits (p12)
keeps doors open (p46)
- End of the road for White Van Man (p49) – Unite cited
- Peugeot-Citroen grabs lifeline (p49)
- We’ve done it says Greece as new cuts pave way for bailout cash (p53)
- Rolls Royce restores reputation with Singapore Airlines (p54)
(no links all stories behind paywall)
to purge Barclays board (p1)
- PM seizes on economic ‘good news’ (p1)
- Pensioners incomes outpace those of average worker (p2)
- King seeks to tell good money from bad (p3)
- Europe’s carmakers slam on the brakes (p17)
- Dyson claims engineer gave secrets to Bosch (p17/19)
- Commercial jets lift Boeing higher (p19)
accelerates EDAS stake move (p19)
aims for digital move upmarket (p22)
Edited by Mik Sabiers