Today’s digest opens with a mixture of bubbly and benefits. As millionaire chums of chancellor George Osborne raise a glass or two to the top rate tax cut the latest attack on benefits continues with the introduction of a new personal independence payment test which replaces the disability living allowance. French IT firm Atos has won the contract for the bulk of the tests which determine whether people are entitled to extra money to cope with disability, this is the same company that has been under fire after a third of its disability decisions were overturned on appeal. While Osborne is featured in the Mirror as avoiding a debate with disability campaigner Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, many of the right wing papers focus on Labour’s response to the welfare changes with Iain – I can live on £53-a-week - Duncan Smith laying into Labour, the BBC and the Guardian in the Sun, while the Express says Labour’s benefits rethink has unravelled, its down to the FT to report that the real issue in benefits is the ageing population. The Social Market Foundation think tank says the chancellor will need to curb pensioner benefits which account for the lion’s share of payments.
And speaking of pensions some of the papers argue that the disgraced ex heads of HBOS should hand back some of their multi-million pound pension pots, one ex-banker - Sir James Crosby - is believed to have a £25 million pension pot, if the bank had not been bailed out by the government his pension would have shrunk to just £30,000 under insolvency rules. As ever, one rule for them and one for the rest of us. Business secretary Vince Cable is at least investigating whether they should face a boardroom ban, and even Trevor Kavanagh in the Sun has no sympathy for the banking elite.
And finally there’s quote a bit of coverage of the dangers of social media after a teenager paid £15,000 to be Britain’s first youth police and crime commissioner – Paris Brown – faced calls to quit after the Mail unearthed a series of violent, racist and homophobic rants on twitter. As ever, be careful of what you say online, Labour’s Chuka Umunna is also facing some pressure after last weeks unearthed comments about ‘nightclubs full of the trash’ the Mail questions whether he used a fake identity to edit his Wikipedia entry, even Kevin Maguire says his snobby past may come back to haunt him, as ever think before you tweet, post, poke or like…
(no links all stories behind paywall)
forced to maker more welfare cuts (p1)
- ‘Zero hours’ contacts numbers leap (p1/3)
- Disability tests begin amid criticism (p2)
- Labour seeks to toughen stance on benefit reform (p2)
- Cameron begins trip to win over EU leaders (p4)
- Copper price set to fall (p17)
- Caterpillar job cuts (p21)
groups limit pay rises at top (p21)
Edited by Mik Sabiers