Labour to take on outsourcing groups
Labour will mount an assault on big outsourcing companies if it wins the election, reducing their role in delivering the government’s back-to-work programme and exploring a plan to force them to pay all workers above the minimum wage in exchange for Whitehall contracts. The proposals are the latest plank in the party’s drive to end “business as usual” in the corporate world, and follow pledges to introduce an energy price freeze, rent controls, a mansion tax and a tighter cap on pension charges. In an interview with the Financial Times, Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, said the Work Programme had failed to help the most disadvantaged.
Farage urges direct democracy
British voters should be given the final say on any government policy through a referendum if enough people sign a petition to hold one, Nigel Farage has said. Speaking to the Institute for Government think-tank, the leader of the UK Independence party suggested overhauling the British electoral system to restrain the power of prime ministers and their governments.
India doubles duty on sugar imports
India has more than doubled its sugar import duty in an attempt to improve the fortunes of the country’s heavily indebted milling industry. Local sugar prices rose 1.5 per cent on the news.
Ally dismisses Cameron’s EU stance
One of David Cameron’s leading allies has damned his “incompetence” on Europe as the prime minister prepares for his biggest showdown with continental partners. Mr Cameron “stupidly tries to play the system” to appease critics in the Tory party and has “f***ed up” key negotiations, according to the Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski.
Backing for estuary airport
A four-runway hub airport would boost the economy outside London by £2.1bn and create 17,500 jobs in 14 cities, according to the latest economic analysis of the Thames Estuary plan.
The Daily Telegraph
More tax on savers than sinners
Taxes taken from savers and home buyers will exceed revenue collected in so-called sin taxes within two years, official figures have revealed.
An analysis of Treasury projections show that revenue collected by the government through inheritance tax and stamp duty will exceed that collected through taxes on alcohol and cigarettes by the end of 2016.
Pickles’s solar farm decision quashed
Government attempts to stop the spread of unsightly wind and solar farms have suffered a setback after a High Court judge quashed Eric Pickles’ decision to block one such scheme.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
EU cools relationship with Thailand
The European Union will scale back political ties with Thailand following the recent coup, putting on hold the signing of a political pact and suspending official visits. At a meeting of foreign ministers in Luxembourg, the EU also signaled it will freeze talks on a possible trade deal.
Fiat reverses course on workers
Fiat is set to transfer workers and institute a Saturday shift at its Maserati factory to meet increased demand for luxury cars, according to the Fismic metalworkers trade union.