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New TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak

PA Media

Comments by the new head of the Trades Union Congress Paul Nowak and other union leaders feature on several front pages.

In an interview with the i, Mr Nowak said unions were considering pulling out of pay review bodies which are to discuss salary offers in the spring. He said he was worried about the credibility of such bodies, because although the government says they are independent, they must act within the “envelope” set by ministers. Mr Nowak added this had led to the below-inflation pay offers this year.

The Times highlights a warning from Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) which represents civil servants, that unions could co-ordinate, synchronise and escalate strikes. The paper says it’s been told by a PCS source that it was in talks with other unions.

In an editorial, the Daily Star accuses the government of not treating the most widespread industrial action in a generation with the seriousness it deserves. The paper urges Rishi Sunak “to do something to convince us that he is on the side of ordinary folk, and not just his rich mates”.

The Daily Telegraph reports that an independent review of Prevent, the government’s deradicalisation programme, has found that taxpayers’ money has been handed to groups promoting Islamist extremism. Citing the unpublished report, the paper says key figures in organisations which have benefited from the scheme have supported the Taliban and defended militant Islamist bodies banned in the UK. In a statement issue to the paper, the government said the report will be published “in due course”.

According to the Guardian, more than half of residential homes for people with dementia that were inspected this year have been rated inadequate or requiring improvements, up from less than a third before the Covid pandemic. The paper says inspections uncovered often shocking failings such as people left in bed for months, pain medicines not administered, violence between residents and malnutrition.

Under the headline “Sneaky Nandos”, the Sun says Whitehall bosses avoided a government pay freeze and rewarded staff for good performance with up to £100 in gift cards for shops and restaurants. The paper says civil servants received the treat even though half of them worked from home and there were huge failings in some departments.

“Have Tories given up on cutting tax?” Asks the Daily Mail. The paper says a major Treasury review of the tax system, ordered by Kwasi Kwarteng when he was chancellor, has now been “quietly ditched” by his successor Jeremy Hunt. In an editorial, the paper accuses Mr Hunt of “embracing the big state Treasury orthodoxy which is hostile to his party’s fundamental values”.

The Times reports that Labour is promising a crackdown on anti-social behaviour if it wins the next election. The party is planning to increase the use of community sentences – such as clearing wasteland or removing graffiti – and to set up community payback boards to make sure offenders do the work. In an editorial, the paper says the pledge by shadow justice secretary Steve Reed is aimed at convincing voters that Labour, rather than the Conservatives, should be seen as the party of law and order.

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Source: BBC

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