Home The Bank of England decided against more quantitative easing, after creating £325 billion in three years. Steve Hilton, the Downing Street director of strategy, left proposals for cuts of £25 billion from welfare spending as he headed off for an academic post in California. Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary said that business leaders were whingeing, and ‘large businesses are sitting on a pretty large pile of cash’. William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said: ‘There’s only one growth strategy: work hard.’ Unemployment fell by 45,000 to 2.63 million. Thousands of civil servants are to be asked to work from home during the period of the Olympic Games, from 21 July to 9 September. The government said it would bring forward from 2014 the recruitment of 70 border staff to prevent long queues at Heathrow airport after the Olympics. Bankers were found to employ more staff (44,500) in Canary Wharf than in the City of London (43,300). Manchester City won the Premier League cup, pipping Manchester United at the post with two goals in injury time of a match against Queens Park Rangers.
Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, put the left-winger Jon Cruddas (replacing Liam Byrne) in charge of the policy review designed to form the basis of the party’s next manifesto. Peter Hain resigned as shadow Welsh secretary to spend more time with the proposed Severn barrage. Caroline Lucas is stepping down as leader of the Green party after four years. The Dalai Lama was given the £1.1 million
Templeton prize at St Paul’s cathedral. In a press conference he blamed England’s riots last year on young people ‘being brought up to believe that life was just easy. Life is not easy. If you take for granted that life will be easy, then anger develops, frustration, and riots.’ More than 700 of 3,427 claims for compensation arising from the riots, under the Riot Damages Act, are still outstanding, the Metropolitan Police said.
Nicola Sturgeon, the health secretary in Scotland, set the minimum price for alcohol at 50p per unit, higher than the 40p planned for England. Azad Miah, aged 44, was jailed for 15 years for attempting to recruit four girls aged between 12 and 16 into prostitution at a brothel he ran from the former Spice of India restaurant he owned in Carlisle. Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, her husband, Charlie, and four others were charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice over the phone-hacking inquiry. The parts of England deemed to be ‘in drought’ were reduced to an area east of a line from the Humber to Portland Bill, but no hosepipe bans were lifted.
Abroad Greece prepared for new elections in June after the president found that no party leader could form a government. Markets fell at the prospect of Greece leaving the eurozone. Spain and Italy found the cost of borrowing higher than at any time this year. Moody’s cut the credit ratings of ten Italian banks to junk status. Protestors from the Indignados movement the spectator | 19 may 2012 | www.spectator.co.uk sat down in the Puerta del Sol in Madrid. President François Hollande of France, on his way to talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, turned back to Paris after his plane was struck by lightning, but immediately found another one to fly to Berlin. Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union suffered its worst post-war showing in elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.
JP Morgan announced a $2 billion trading loss; Ina Drew resigned as its chief investment officer. Scott Thompson resigned as chief executive of Yahoo after objections to a computer science degree on his curriculum vitae which he had never attained. Carlos Fuentes, the Mexican writer, died, aged 83. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, brought a lawsuit seeking $1 million damages against the chambermaid who a year ago accused him of sexual harassment.
President Vladimir Putin of Russia said that he would not be attending this week’s G8 summit at Camp David. President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan said he would be attending this week’s Nato summit in Chicago. Two explosions on the same day in Damascus killed at least 55. Syrian security forces killed 20 in the town of Khan Sheikhoun during a visit by UN observers. A naval force set up by the EU attacked a land base in Somalia used by pirates. Indonesia refused Lady Gaga a permit to perform, after Habib Salim Alatas, the Jakarta head of the Islamic Defenders Front, said: ‘She’s a vulgar singer who wears only panties and a bra when she sings.’ CSH