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November 10 - 16 2010
μWorld News PAGES 14-17
μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituaries PAGES 22-23
μExpat Life PAGES 29-32
Online crackdown Stabbed MP calls for YouTube to remove hate sermons
WORLD NEWS P14
China tries to gag Cameron Diplomat warns PM not to voice support for Nobel Prize winner
Making Hay The Telegraph has joined forces with the Hay festival
Lloyds appoints new chief António Horta-Osório will have bonus linked to lending targets
21 13 28 37 39 45 12 22 30 31 34 39
Bonus Ball 6
Bonus Ball 36
There were four winners of Saturday’s £17.7m jackpot but no one won Wednesday’s £11.2m prize
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By Jonathan Wynne-Jones and Robert Mendick THE BBC was engulfed by bitter in-fighting last Saturday night after leading presenters defied a strike by colleagues to host some of the corporation’s flagship shows.
The dispute also threatened to escalate as management and union leaders refused to back down over changes to the staff pension scheme.
While presenters including Evan Davis, Jonathan Dimbleby and Sarah Montague crossed picket lines, the National Union of Journalists, the union behind the strike, promised further walkouts until Christmas.
It is understood that the BBC faces legal action from the union, which believes changes to the pensions scheme could be unlawful.
In a blow to Mark Thompson, the director general, a BBC Trustee has criticised his failure to consult more widely and has promised to fight for the members.
The row threatens to set the corporation’s executives on a collision course with the Trust at a time when they are struggling to defend the decision to accept the Government’s freezing of the licence fee.
However, a source close to Mr Thompson said he was adamant that he would not bow to pressure from the union to make further compromises over the pension deal.
The management believed it had undermined the impact
Evan Davis leaves the BBC last Saturday after presenting the ‘Today’ programme on Radio 4 in defiance of a strike of the strike last Saturday when presenters of Today, its flagship news programme, arrived for work.
In a symbolic victory for the BBC, Davis and Montague risked the wrath of colleagues by ignoring the NUJ strike and presenting the programme.
The programme was not broadcast last Friday, the first day of the stoppage.
BBC Breakfast was also largely unaffected by the walkout, although Susanna Reid, the regular Saturday presenter, joined others who backed the union’s action, including Fiona Bruce, Huw Edwards and Martha Kearney.
Staff warned that newsrooms would be divided after the failure of some leading presenters to support their colleagues in the industrial action.
A Radio 4 insider said it would “be easy to remember
‘I was replaced by a picket line cutie’
the few breakers as the strike had been solid”.
Michael Crick, the political editor on Newsnight, which was scrapped last Friday, said: “I haven’t listened to the Today programme. I regard listening to or watching the BBC as strike breaking.”
Other BBC presenters told The Telegraph that they felt the BBC’s management was at fault for its poor handling of the dispute, and said the walkout represented deep resentment at the level of pay and pensions received by the executives.
“It grates that people like Mark Thompson and Mark Byford [the departing deputy director general] have such big salaries and pension pots,” said one Radio 4 presenter. “There is a lot of resentment about the difference between what the bosses get and what the producers get. If you look back, the gap hasn’t always been like this. People now feel as though the executives are in a different universe.”
Robert Peston, the BBC business editor, also criticised the way the dispute had been dealt with, saying: “Management at the BBC has handled the pensions issue clumsily and badly.”
It is thought none of the presenters who worked last Friday and Saturday were members of the NUJ, which was isolated in its action after the other unions accepted the BBC’s offer.
Jeremy Peat, a BBC Trustee and chairman of the Pensions Board, last Saturday said that executives had failed to consult properly over the changes, which will bring an end to what is widely seen as a generous final salary pension scheme.
“My preference would have been for the executive to work with the trustees in looking to find ways to resolve the deficit,” said Mr Peat, a respected economist. “Instead it felt as though we [the Trust] were sidestepped as management put together the changes to the pensions scheme.”
Jeremy Dear, the general secretary of the NUJ, said the strikes would not stop until BBC management improves the current offer. “We believe the deficit will not be as bad as the BBC are saying,” he said.
Mr Dear added that he was pleased with the impact of the strike, but said staff were upset at the decision of Davis and Montague to work.
Continued from page 1 Continued from page 1
worth £20,000 when the market was at its nadir in the spring of last year would have seen the value of their portfolio increase by £11,600.
Last week’s sharp gains followed several months of encouraging economic news. Manoj Ladwa, senior trader at ETX Capital, said: “Although the decision to pump further funds into the US economy hardly came as a surprise, it certainly seems to have kick-started the equity market.”
David Buik, senior partner at BGC Partners, explained the jump in share prices: “There’s been impetus from quantitative easing [QE], third-quarter earnings have been much better than expected, and there are no storm clouds on the horizon until the austerity package starts to bite.”
Last month, official figures showed Britain’s economy had grown by two per cent in the past six months. Mark Dampier, of the financial advisers Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “A lot of this rally is driven by QE in the
States, but not enough credit is given to retail investors — private shareholders — in Britain. They have started to come back to the market and been buying shares in earnest in recent months.
“And politicians have been great salesmen. Every time they put up taxes, a sensible saver looks to shelter their money from tax. With the higher ISA limit, many have been taking advantage by buying shares.”
The majority of companies on the FTSE 100 index earn their profits abroad, so most experts consider the blue chip index to reflect the health of the international economy. However, the FTSE 250 — smaller companies, most of whom do their business in Britain — was also resurgent. It closed up 140.18 last Thursday at 11,016.46, a three-year high. Mr Dampier added: “Corporates have reported better than expected profits. Many companies did what governments should have done: cut their debts and get their houses in order. They are reaping the benefit now.”
Economists warned that the resurgent markets were not a sign that life would get better for the majority of consumers.
Charles Davis, at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, a think tank, said: “We’ve had some surprisingly strong economic data, but it has not improved overnight.
“There are still major headwinds in the economy. Families are feeling the pinch from the cost of living rising at a far faster pace than average earnings. And that is before next year’s increase in VAT and the effects of a cut in benefits and increased public sector job losses.”
Savers with money in a bank or building society were warned that they were unlikely to enjoy better savings rates.
Though the Bank of England voted against a fresh bout of quantitative easing, most believe it will keep interest rates low for some time to come. “Cash savers have had a shocker and they will continue to do so,” Mr Dampier said.
Business, page 33
much longer.” Many compared her to John Sergeant, the former ITV political correspondent, described as a “dancing pig”, who felt compelled to leave the 2008 series.
Miss Widdecombe has made a name for herself with her flamboyant outfits and her refusal to engage in some of the more sultry moves required by the dances.
“It is not necessary to flash your knickers to do a decent ballroom dance,” she said on last Saturday night’s show.
Last weekend she treated viewers to her interpretation of a Charleston, in a turquoise flapper’s outfit, complete with squinted headdress. One of the judges, Craig Revel Horwood said she spent more time on “her backside” than dancing. She was awarded 17 out of a possible 40 points by the judges, a full 11 points fewer than anyone else.
While many viewers clearly enjoyed the comedy, voting off Jimi Mistry, the actor, rather than Miss Widdecombe, dance aficionados said her continued success was unfair.