News digest 3 April 2013

News digest 3 April 2013

03 April 2013

The top story in almost all the papers is the Philpotts, the parents yesterday found guilty of killing six of their own children in a twisted plot that went wrong. Sadly the rather twisted Daily Mail uses this as a brickbat on the benefits system going with the scandalous headline ‘Vile product of welfare UK’ as the paper looks to tar anyone on benefits with the same brush, it’s down to Owen Jones in the Indie to proffer the voice of reason with his piece ‘Condemn the guilty, not an entire class’ but the right wing tabloids will continue to bang the government’s drum as the welfare state is dismantled alongside the NHS and the public sector as a whole. .

And the Philpott story masked the emergence of chancellor George Osborne from the bowels of the Treasury ready to drain even more growth from the economy. Defending the government’s wholesale attack on the welfare state – and on anyone bar the one per cent – the chancellor was challenged from all sides. With members of his own party demanding he be replaced by foreign secretary William Hague, and millions of people about to be clobbered by his tax rises (except millionaires). Unite general secretary Len McCluskey branded Osborne an ‘economic Dracula’ saying: “Very rarely does George Osborne make set-piece speeches to justify his policies that have brought the economy to the edge of a triple dip recession. At the same time as the UK economy is flatlining, he is the architect of the so-called welfare reforms that are sucking hope from millions of people … the sight of the chancellor exhorting the low waged in work to turn their backs on the poor out of work has to mark a new low for one of the highest offices in the land.” Challenging Osborne’s lack of a growth agenda, Len added: We need a welfare system that works but that needs to be part of a sound economic policy, one which would put money into people’s wallets and purses to boost domestic demand and supports a coherent manufacturing policy to increase exports, underpinned by the creation of skilled jobs and plentiful apprenticeships.”

And Osborne and the Tories also look like they will go after the minimum wage, too scared to abolish it the chancellor signalled that he was considering letting it wither on the vine (not his words, but definitely his sentiment). Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "The Tories are hell-bent on kicking the weakest when they're already down. Cutting or freezing the minimum wage would make the struggling economy worse and create even more hardship for the lowest paid workers in Britain.  This government knows no boundaries when it comes to spreading poverty.”

And it won’t let poverty reach the cabinet table after a series of ministers were challenged to live on £53 a week, the most notable being the work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith. After more than 300,000 people signed a petition demanding he do exactly that the Sun headline sums it up: ‘IDS blows top at £53 stunt’, with IDS moaning that he has struggled (in his multi-million pound mansion), oh really…

And away from Osborne’s speech and moaning ministers there’s also the reality of workers fighting back for patient safety. While Hunt heads for the hills ambulance workers took strike action in Yorkshire yesterday. As the NHS changes before our very eyes around 450 ambulance service workers were on strike across Yorkshire in a dispute over cuts to patient care and derecognition of their union, Unite.

And talking of strike action the FT focuses on the push for a general strike to challenge the Con-Dem cuts, the clock is ticking as the people get angrier and the cuts start to bite, watch this space…

 Morning Star

 Daily Mirror







 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • General strike urged (p1/3) – Unite cited
  • BBC chief issues rallying cry (p2)
  • Wales rejects plans for new M4 tolls (p2)
  • Unions split over general strike call (p3) – Len McCluskey quoted
  • Lending falls as manufacturing remains tough (p4)
  • Support for NHS rises (p4)
  • Virgin seeks route to revive Air France-KLM link up (p15)
  • EADS elects ex-Thales chief (p16)
  • New Stobart coup (p21)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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