Monday News Review

Miliband: ‘Our plans involved cuts’

Mr Miliband, a former adviser to Mr Brown, yesterday became the latest Labour figure to say that he had been wrong to “pretend” that cuts were avoidable. “We should have acknowledged earlier, after the financial crisis happened, that eventually there would have to be cuts under Labour,” Mr Miliband said. “Our plans involved cuts and we should have acknowledged that. The problem we faced was that we sometimes looked like we were pretending there weren’t going to be cuts under Labour, when there were.” The Labour leader also said that the party should “take our responsibility for not having regulated the banks sufficiently, along with governments around the world.” The UK economy was over-reliant on the financial sector and “too exposed” the financial crisis, he said. – the Telegraph

British Medical Association: ‘NHS reforms hugely risky’

Health reforms planned by the Government are “extraordinarily risky” and could lead to lower standards of care, a report from the NHS Confederation is expected to warn. The organisation, which represents hospitals and primary care trusts, agrees reform is needed but will criticise Health Secretary Andrew Lansley for failing to explain how the changes will benefit patients, the Observer reported. Mr Lansley is expected to publish the Health and Social Care Bill on Wednesday. His reforms will hand GPs responsibility for around 80% of the NHS budget and abolish primary care trusts. “Price competition”, which will allow hospitals to undercut each other to attract patients, could risk standards of care, the NHS Confederation is set to warn. – Sky

Miliband condemns strike action for Royal wedding

Ed Miliband yesterday condemned the prospect of unions timing industrial action to coincide with the Royal Wedding in April or next year’s Olympic Games. The Labour leader urged them against organising co-ordinated strikes to protest against cuts, warning them the tactic would be a return to the “heroic failures” of the 1980s. His comments marked his latest effort to rebut Tory accusations that he is “Red Ed”, with an agenda dictated by the large unions that bankroll his party. Some union officials have suggested that London Underground workers could strike on 29 April, the day of Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton. Mr Miliband told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “I am appalled at the idea of strikes to disrupt people going to the Royal Wedding. It alienates the public, and it is not the way to make the political argument we need to make.” Aides said he would be delivering the same message in a meeting with union leaders this week. – the Independent

News Corporation braces itself for further lawsuits

News Corporation executives have been considering how to draw a line under the News of the World phone-hacking affair as the Rupert Murdoch-controlled publisher of the tabloid – via its News GroupNewspapers subsidiary – braces itself for further celebrity lawsuits in the coming weeks. This weekend it emerged that former England footballer Paul Gascoigneis planning to sue the paper, claiming his phone was hacked, while others are poised to act after being told that they were referred to in the notebooks of Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator employed by the tabloid who was jailed for his part in hacking into phones belonging to aides of Princes William and Harry. The drip-drip of accusations has left News Corp wondering how much more it has to endure, at a time when the company is already quietly softening its legal approach when it is being sued. Previously News Corp had sought to settle cases, paying Gordon Taylor, head of the Professional Footballers’ Association, and publicist Max Clifford, about £1m each. Now it is letting the cases run, partly to see what evidence there is of hacking by NoW reporters, and also because it does not want to be treated as a “piggy bank” by high-profile claimants. – the Guardian

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