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News digest 29 November 2012

News digest 29 November 2012

29 November 2012

There’s only one real story on the agenda today, namely the Leveson inquiry. Lord Leveson's long-awaited report into press standards is due to be published today. The report covering the culture, practices and ethics of the press – or possibly the distinct lack of in certain sections – is the culmination of eight months of evidence and analysis triggered in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at the now-defunct News of the World tabloid. Witnesses during the hearings included victims of press intrusion, journalists, newspaper executives and proprietors, the police, communications advisers and politicians including prime minister David Cameron himself.

The publication of the report will be followed by a statement by Cameron in the Commons while Lord Leveson will also make a statement – but take no questions – at the QEII Conference Centre in London at 13:30. With the Tory party split on the subject Cameron is in a difficult position, the BBC's political editor Nick Robinson says that if Leveson recommends any form of new law Cameron faces an unpalatable choice - say yes and anger most national newspapers and most of his own party, or say no and anger hacking victims, Labour, the Lib Dems and some Tory MPs. The decision will be all the harder after taking into account Cameron’s former Downing Street communications director - and ex-News of the World editor - Andy Coulson who yesterday won an appeal against a ruling that News Group Newspapers did not have to pay his legal costs is deeply embroiled in the mix of disgust and opprobrium. Expect interest to be high…

And talking of high interest there looks like there has been some movement in capping the interest rates that payday lenders - like Wonga - can charge. The government has finally seen sense and is to change the law to allow restrictions to be imposed on the interest rates charged for so-called pay day loans. Lord Mitchell – whose amendment backed by unions including Unite and others – helped to bring about the change in policy said: "This is an industry run by cowboys on the fringes of legality. The losers are clearly the loan sharks and the pay day lending companies. They have tried every trick in the book to keep this legislation from being approved and they have failed. Their failure is our victory." The government will introduce its own amendment next Wednesday, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “At last there is some small recognition from this government about the dangers of unregulated pay day lending. We will still have the most lax rules governing legal lone sharks in Europe but this is small progress towards stopping them from having a clear pitch to make eye-popping profits on the backs of the needy. We now need further action to address the awful piles of debt people are now dragging around thanks to the poisonous concoction of mindless cuts and falling earnings..” Well said.

Other business news today includes bus workers at Arriva in London on strike over a continued pay freeze, Invensys has exited the rail sector selling its operations to Siemens, Thomas Cook has made a loss of £485 million, BP has been temporarily banned from new US contracts due to a "lack of business integrity" over the Gulf of Mexico disaster, while high street store Comet is expected to join the lengthening list of retail casualties and close before Christmas. With roughly one in 10 high street shops empty government figures also showed 10 per cent of people in work have been forced to accept part time jobs when they want (and need) to work full time. The main reason for rising underemployment has been the economic downturn and the blinkered Con-Dem government and its focus on austerity not growth and jobs, Cameron proffered a particularly poor defence of policies at yesterday’s PMQs, but sadly don’t expect any change from chancellor George Osborne when he rises to give his [belated] budget statement next Wednesday [there’ll probably be more tax cuts for millionaires and tax avoiding companies rather than anything to help the 99 per cent].

Finally, today also sees a series of by-elections with voters going to the polls in Rotherham (could be shaky for Labour after the MacShane expenses and this week’s Ukip foster furore), Middlesbrough and Croydon North. Hopefully they’ll be anther slap in the face for the Con-Dem coalition as voters register their disgust with cuts.

 Morning Star

 Daily Mirror

 Sun

 Express

 Mail

 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • As Leveson reports, owner of Indie seeks help (p1)
  • Ukip and Respect breathing down Labour’s neck (p5)
  • Archbishop gets power to shield vulnerable from pay day lenders (p11)
  • Clegg to break coalition ranks over Leveson (p12)
  • Alcohol pricing plan ‘will start court fight with drinks industry’ (p20)
  • Invensys sale signals end of era in British industry (p51)
  • Part time workers push for longer hours (p55)
  • Thousands lose jobs as Comet crashes (p56)
  • Fastjet takes off (p61)
  • Gatwick adds superjumbos (p61)
  • Bus in front is electric (p63)

 Indie

  • Coalition braced for split over Leveson (p1-4)
  • Victory for pay day loans campaign (p6)
  • Working, but not long enough (p6) – Len McCluskey quoted
  • Cameron risks unwise exit from EU, warns Blair (p12)
  • Minimum drink pricing meets stiff opposition (p34)
  • Loss-hit Thomas Cook find Olympics too much of a hurdle (p57)
  • Gatwick profit trebles (p59)

 Guardian

 Telegraph

 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • M&S and Invensys lead pension cheer (p1)
  • BP hit with temporary ban (p1)
  • Balls warns Osborne over Vickers reform (p2)
  • Cameron seeks unified response to Leveson (p2)
  • Foster row bolsters Ukip hopes (p3)
  • One in 10 workers would like more hours (p3)
  • Pay day lenders face cap (p3)
  • EDF chief hails investment key (p4)
  • Talks stir fears government will try to limit web freedom (p9)
  • Time for the chancellor to be honest – Chris Giles (p13)
  • Thomas Cook is not broken, says chief (p22)
  • Comet set to shut (p24)
  • Vodafone chief warns on monopolies’ revival (p24)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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