Today the People United bus tour will be visiting the streets of Leicester while Plymouth plays host to the other bus where there’s also an evening People’s question time , full details from the People United website.
The top story today is the trail for chancellor George Osborne’s address to parliament on the latest comprehensive spending review. Osborne will be up after PMQs. What we do know is that there will be another £11.5 billion of so-called savings from day-to-day public spending, otherwise known as even more cuts to the rest of us. As one commentator noted yesterday these cuts are not so much close to the bone but actually now hitting the marrow. As the chancellor’s Plan A for austerity fails Osborne will outline his kind of Plan B – although he won’t admit it – meaning after almost three years of cuts there should be some spending on infrastructure projects, primarily as Osborne has finally started to realise presiding over five years of no growth will not help win elections, unless the Tories are viewing the next election as a good one to lose?
Talking of no growth and the outgoing Bank of England governor Mervyn King used his farewell speech to say that growth in the economy is still fragile and that a sustainable recovery is a long way off unless global policymakers grapple with the underlying problems of the banking crash. Again, the blame lands squarely at the feet of reckless bankers and casino capitalists, while the rest of us suffer the cuts.
That’s why we need a strong opposition challenging the cuts agenda, writing in the Telegraph Mary Riddell asks whether the Labour leadership are just Tory clones or could they revitalise the economy and be another Atlee and Cripps with their new economic approach, the danger is whether the electorate backs the new economic approach or prefers the original axeman. Keep the focus on challenging the austerity agenda.
And on challenges a number of the papers report on the fall out over the selection process at Falkirk West after Labour’s ruling NEC said it could exclude some people from voting and even standing due to ‘concerns’ about recent recruits to the local party. Unite noted that no allegations had been put to the union and responded by saying: “Unite rejects the decisions taken today by the Labour party … it does so on behalf of the many decent trade unionists who have joined the party in good faith. The intervention by party officials into this process has been driven by Blairite pressure to exclude trade unionists from any influence, an ambition clearly spelled out by Peter Mandelson last month. Trade unionists will draw their own conclusions regarding the integrity of the party's procedures.”
The Mail also focuses on Labour’s finances highlighting how the Co-op bank – which the Times today says came close to collapse – has provided the Labour party with a £34 million lifeline in ‘cheap’ loans. While this is not ‘news’ as such it mixes the subject of cheap loans with the pressure on private investors to pay for the hole in the bank’s financing.
And from cheap loans to extreme loans, a couple of the papers report that payday lenders have been summoned to a showdown with consumer minister Jo Swinson next week, just hours before the OFT is expected to refer the market to the Competition Commission. The real question is whether the government will actually do anything about the exorbitant interest rates, expect some slapped wrists more than action, for that keep an eye out for Labour MP Paul Blomfield’s private member’s bill looking at regulating the industry. There’s still hope that the pernicious payday lenders can be brought to book and credit unions given the backing to lend to those most in need, fairly, frugally and without charging the earth and driving people deeper into debt.
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Stop snooping, says internet pioneer (p1)
- Millions of employees to lose automatic pay rises (p4)
- Labour selection row (p4)
- Leveson to be called for questioning (p6)
- Teachers see pay rise faster than overseas counterparts (p11)
- The old deserve every penny of their pensions – Alice Thomson (p25)
- King’s parting shot aimed at chancellor (p35)
- Carnival ready for new man at helm (p36)
- Co-op came close to collapse (p38)
- Four make Crossrail list (p39)
- Gatwick relishes freedom to compete (p41)
Crossrail shortlist revealed (p25)
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- King bows out with QE warning (p1)
- Spending review (p3)
- Heathrow plan angers investors (p4)
- Careless talk may cost the economy – Martin Wolf (p11)
- Co-op’s debt shake-up attacked (p15)
- Aston Martin creditors give green flag for restructuring (p21)
Edited by Mik Sabiers