News digest 26 March 2013

News digest 26 March 2013

26 March 2013

Ignoring the old adage of ‘if you are in a hole stop digging’ prime minister David Cameron yesterday decided to use immigration as the springboard for his latest relaunch coming out strongly with an attack on immigrants that claim benefits. Apart from the fact that the prime minister seems to be moving to the beat of Ukip’s drum – whatever happened to prime ministers leading from the front – as ever the speech ran into trouble after Downing Street clashed with health secretary Jeremy Hunt on the cost of treating European patients on the NHS (Hunt said the cost to the NHS was £200 million – the prime minister said it was a tenth of that) and also struggled to back up the prime minister's immigration statistics. Cameron rolled out some key facts that were quickly rebutted with many commentators noting that of the two million net A8 migrants to the UK (from the eight eastern European countries) that joined the EU in 2004, just 13,000 claimed job seeker's allowance while it is worth noting that migrants actually pay more tax (on average A8 migrants receive lower wages than UK-born workers but remain net contributors to public finances). So if Cameron cracks down even further on immigration he will find the government’s tax take shrinks even further, classic joined up Con-Dem coalition economics, or not as the case may be. As ever the immigration arms race neatly excuses the government from taking the real action the country needs in terms of generating growth and jobs, building homes and protecting our health service, the sooner the Con-Dems are gone the better…

But if Labour thinks the next election will be a walk in the park the latest poll in the Indie shows it is still struggling to build a stronger poll lead. While the party is still 10 points ahead of the Tories that lead has dropped on the previous month. The real issue is the message Labour is pushing out. The Times has a piece by Rachel Sylvester on the fall out over the workfare abstention last week, while Unite general secretary Len McCluskey writing on the Guardian website sets out the line saying Miliband must offer a radical alternative to austerity or be consigned to the electoral dustbin. Said Len: "In many respects Labour is at the crossroads of its future, of its purpose … if it doesn't stand up for the aspirations of ordinary people – the 99 per cent, if you like – then what is its purpose?”

And talking of the 99 per cent, the Indie and Times mention that Unite – together with Unison and the TUC – is to agitate with Pirc for executive pay reform by exerting pressure at company AGMs as the union becomes more involved in challenging corporate governance. As the 99 per cent mobilise the one per cent need to watch out.

And one that does need to keep an eye out is heir to the throne and father-to-be Prince William. A number of the papers report that the Royal Navy’s helicopter search and rescue operations are to be sold to an American company. There’s no mention of whether the company thinks it is bidding to get royalty in its service, but yet again the Con-Dems ignore 70 years of history and flog off a key service to a private contractor, I suppose William could find another job, but what about the other 99 per cent of the workforce?

 Morning Star

 Daily Mirror




 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Energy bills to soar (p1)
  • Doctors refuse to vet immigrants (p4)
  • Fears for savers after Cyprus bailout (p8)
  • Nurses to spend a year feeding and washing patients before they qualify (p18)
  • Old Labour rears its rebellious head – Rachel Sylvester (p25) – Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • Lloyds millionaires (p39)
  • United they stand (p39) – Unite cited [Pirc deal on corporate governance]
  • Gas deal to protect Britain against winter shortage (p43)
  • We’re ready to take on toxic RBS debts (p44)
  • TNT Express cuts jobs (p45)




 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Eurozone shifts burden of risk to investors (p1)
  • Darling fears subprime ‘housing bubble’ (p2)
  • Cameron wades into debate on ‘benefit tourists’ (p3)
  • Maude urged to abandon Whitehall reform plans (p4)
  • Lloyds reveals 25 top staff earned over £1 million (p16)
  • Unions unite to challenge corporate excess (p20)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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