News digest 31 July 2013

News digest 31 July 2013

31 July 2013

Today’s digest opens with the news that disabled families lost a High Court challenge over social housing benefit cuts for residents with spare bedrooms in England, Wales and Scotland, in other words the courts backed the bedroom tax over disabled people and their carers. Unite executive director for policy Steve Turner said: “The bedroom tax is a callous attack on vulnerable people. Our union applauds the brave actions of the families at the High Court; they may not have won the day, but they did win the argument. This tax is discriminatory and is causing hardship, which is why the judge ordered the government to produce a further stream of cash for councils struggling to cope with one of Westminster's most absurd and cruel policies.” It’s time for this callous policy to be dropped, but the Tories aren’t listening.

And from the war on disabled people to attacks on the north east. There was outrage after Tory peer Lord Howell – who just happens to be chancellor George Osborne’s father in law – suggested that fracking could be targeted on ‘uninhabited and desolate areas like the north east’ and should not be inflicted on the ‘beautiful south’. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Lord Howell has opened his privileged mouth and put his big foot right in it, insulting one of the most beautiful parts of the country in the process and exposing this government's prejudiced view of the north. The north east is not desolate. It fought off the years of Tory ruin under Thatcher and Major, only to have more despair foisted on it by Osborne and Cameron's politics of reward for the City and ruin for the rest of us.”

And from ruin to riches as Barclays is under pressure and features in a wide number of papers. The Mirror notes the bank may face a total £4.1 billion bill for PPI claims, but the bank has a plan to plug its £13 billion hole, namely issuing new shares, that would be one reason why its value dropped some £2.3 billion yesterday. Then again it can’t be all bad as the Times reports that the bank’s bonus pot is to hit some £510 million, so there will be a host of rich bankers enjoying some extra lolly, and they’ll have more after the cut to the top rate of tax, as ever so much for we’re all in this together.

And if you need an example of that just look at the latest profits from EDF, the Indie reports that the French owned energy supplier EDF has announced a jump in pre tax profits to £903 million for the first half of this year, built on the back of coldest spring in 50 years. With the papers recently reporting that deaths of elderly people have seen a sudden rise could it be that people are having to make the choice to heat or eat.

Well that could also be down to the rise of zero hours work, the Guardian has uncovered a wide number of employers that use zero hours contracts to ensure workers are at their beck and call, but have no guarantee of work, sick pay or any security. It’s not just Sports Direct, but also Buckingham Palace, Cineworld, Greene King and more. The headline in the Guardian sums up the impact on ordinary people: “I didn’t know week to week what work I’d get … I had panic attacks.” Welcome to the reality of work in modern day Britain…

 Morning Star

 Daily Mirror




 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Benefit cut urged to curb new migrants (p1)
  • Manning cleared of aiding enemy (p10
  • ‘Desolate’ north east best place for fracking (p5)
  • Make global companies pay their dues, say peers (p6)
  • Fire brigades ask for public volunteers to beat strike (p19)
  • The ‘Big Society’ lives on in Welby’s Wonga plan – Daniel Finkelstein (p21)
  • Barclays bonus pot hits £510 million (p33)
  • BP braced for long haul over Deepwater disaster (p35)
  • AA and saga may be split (p39)


  • Manning faces lifetime behind bars (p1)
  • Labour lead cut to three per cent (p2) [LAB37% CON34% Ukip12% LIB10%)
  • Claims for injury at work fall 60 per cent in decade (p8)
  • Peer: Only allow fracking in the north east (p12)
  • NHS passes ‘friends and family’ test (p14)
  • Spring freeze gives EDF £903 million profit (p28)
  • Barclays fights FCA (p53)
  • BP struggles to cap compensation bill (p54)



 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Barclays in rush to plug £13 billion shortfall (p1)
  • Send fracking to northeast, says Tory (p2)
  • Corporate tax needs radical overhaul (p3)
  • BP digs in for long struggle (p13)
  • Chrysler slashes profit forecast (p16)
  • GKN focus on aviation (p17)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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