News digest 4 June 2013

News digest 4 June 2013

04 June 2013

The lobbying scandal continues to hog the headlines. However rather than deal with the real issues that have erupted over the latest scandal Downing Street said it would bring forward a bill on lobbying before the end of July and that it planned to not only bring in a statutory register but that it would also include measures to end the self-certification of trade union membership and reform third-party funding of election campaigns. So rather than look at the issue at hand it looks like the Tories are cynically trying to shoehorn further changes that would disadvantage union members rather than get to the crux of the matter which is deal with the real influence of lobbyists on legislators. Then again Cameron and Osborne are off to Watford this week for the meeting of the secretive Bilderberg Group where political heavyweights and business executives come together to discuss the key issues of the day. Meetings take place behind closed doors, with a ban on journalists while there is no formal agenda and no votes are taken or public statements issued, sounds perfectly fine and above board to me.

There’s also coverage of shadow chancellor Ed Balls speech. Balls says a future Labour government would have ‘iron discipline’ on spending - with winter fuel payments, free schools and police commissioners all possibly facing curbs. Most papers focus on his call to end the winter fuel allowance for rich pensioners but more notable is the following comment which implies very tough spending plans going forward: "The last Labour government was able to plan its 1997 manifesto on the basis of rising departmental spending in the first years after the election. The next Labour government will have to plan on the basis of falling departmental spending." Balls did at least reiterate his call for a VAT tax cut and additional infrastructure spending to boost the economy, but it looks like Labour is slowly shifting its economic policy, we’ll find out more as Labour leader Ed Miliband is also due to give a flagship speech later this week…

Away from Westminster and the reality of Con-Dem policy in action is becoming ever more apparent. The latest data on admissions to hospital accident and emergency departments shows that between January and March 313,000 people had to wait more than four hours to be seen – a nine year high - this is while A&E departments across the country are under threat of closure and the NHS ringfence is under pressure. NHS safe in Con-Dem hands, I think not.

And if you want to know the impact of the cuts on ordinary people look no further than the Daily Mail which reports that families will be £1,800 worse off by 2015, that will not bode well for the general election. Interestingly, it looks like the Tories are trying to push some propaganda as the headline that takes the biscuit is on the front page of the Telegraph: ‘Wealthy hit hardest by recession’ yes, you read that right, wealthy hit  hardest.The spurious piece quotes the total hit for those earning over £50,000 a year who have seen pay rises some eight per cent below inflation, although the IFS says that threat has ended. Sadly, it glosses over the fact that poorer Britons relying on state support can expect to see their incomes squeezed for the foreseeable future while top earners start to see pay increases and reduced taxes, as ever the rich get richer and the poor get poorer…

 Morning Star

 Daily Mirror




 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Gove ready to replace GCSE (p1)
  • Balls says he will match Osborne spending plans (p2)
  • Gridlock in A&E (p4)
  • Cameron and Clegg ambush unions (p21)
  • Co-op filled balance sheet with £1 billion bank loan (p37)
  • Heathrow’s planned cuts ‘an abuse of monopoly’ (p41)
  • South African miners’ union officials shot (p43)




 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • ECB wary of intervening (p1)
  • Balls apes Brown’s winning pledges (p2)
  • 5,00 shops face closure (p2)
  • Poorest to suffer from welfare reform (p3)
  • TUC sees lobby legislation as way to crack down on unions (P4) – Unite cited
  • Call to embrace flexible working (p4)
  • Killing of union official fuels tensions in SA mines (p17)
  • Airline sector profits poised to take off (p19)
  • Severn Trent rejects bid (p23)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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