News digest 26 February 2013

News digest 26 February 2013

26 February 2013

The digest opens with a challenge to MPs and peers to stop the relentless rise of food banks which have trebled since 2009. Unite is bringing a food bank to the heart of government to draw attention to the impending welfare changes and how they will force ever greater numbers to rely on food parcels. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "Thousands of people are turning to food banks because they cannot make ends meet, but rather than help those who need it most, this government denounces them as shirkers and turns the austerity screw still further. These welfare changes are a regressive, mean-minded attack on the most vulnerable in our society - children, the disabled, lone parents. They are the product of a nasty ideology from a failed government and will set our country back to sadder times."

And from the food banks to those that got us into this mess in the first place. As incoming Bank of England governor Mark Carney says bankers must earn their trust – the reality is an elite that likes to earn big bonuses wants business to continue as normal. Former chancellor Norman Lamont argues in the Telegraph that a cap on bonuses would be lunacy while Jill Treanor in the Guardian comments that linking the Lloyds Bank chief's bonus to the share price does not make it acceptable. Still on banks and chancellor George Osborne was up before the banking standards commission yesterday where he ruled out the full nationalisation of RBS, but he has at least agreed to demands to ‘electrify’ the ringfence between high street and investment arms.

Osborne was also dragged to the House of Commons to answer questions on the AAA downgrade, which until last Friday was his benchmark of economic credibility. Shadow chancellor Ed Balls taunted Osborne as a ‘downgraded chancellor’ but Osborne vowed to redouble his efforts to deal with the debt. Oh dear…

And not dealing with issues has hit Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg. Many of the papers report that the Lib Dems are now in crisis over the allegations against Lord Rennard and about when the leadership knew or the issue, or not. Scotland Yard has now been called in and it looks like Clegg can’t handle the calamity, even worse for the party is the latest poll in the Indie which shows the Lib Dems dropping behind Ukip, key for Clegg is whether he can hold on to Eastleigh as the poll there is narrowing too…

And finally there is some good news, the Sun has decided to launch a new campaign calling on the chancellor to freeze the price of a pint in the next budget, but in better news the Indie reports that cabbies can cheer as the new Chinese owner of the Coventry company is to take on 100 staff and restart output committing the company to its Coventry base. Keeping up the pressure delivers…

 Morning Star

Daily Mirror







 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Osborne pins sluggish recovery on banks (p1)
  • Chancellor vows RBS will take domestic focus (p2)
  • Catholic cleric steps down (p2)
  • Osborne’s critics seize on rating downgrade (p3)
  • Clegg’s leadership in question (p4)
  • Voters expect Osborne to stay on his deficit course – Janan Ganesh (p13)
  • Ikea meatballs withdrawn (p18)
  • Nokia sets sights on emerging markets (p21)
  • Sony battles for premium customers (p21)
  • Builders boosted (p22)
  • ABF food brands fail living wage test (p23)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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