Newspaper headlines: 'Extra NHS cash' criticised, and 'Cyber Monday'

As the contents of George Osborne's Autumn Statement - due to be delivered on Wednesday - continue to be drip-fed to the media, Sunday's stories that an extra £2bn will be found for the NHS come under intense scrutiny.

The Guardian leads with claims that the promised new funding includes £750m "recycled" from cash already allocated to health.

Image copyright PA
Image caption George Osborne

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham accuses the chancellor of "spin", while Nigel Edwards of the health think tank the Nuffield Trust says, "taking money from elsewhere in the health budget may not be an option in coming years, as the vast majority already goes towards the NHS and underspends are running out."

In a comment piece inside the paper, Lord [David] Owen argues that the privatisation of contracts in the NHS - as set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 - has been a "massive blunder" with "disastrous repercussions".

He adds the "American model" health system admired by Andrew Lansley, who steered the Act through Parliament, is not only more expensive, but was "depressing standards of care" in the NHS.

The Times says the announcement of the new money has been met by an "outpouring of relief on [the] wards".

The paper's analysis says that "until now, a cash crisis next year - with the threat of staff cuts and rationing - has been a certainty".

But the paper says the nature of the NHS is such that it will need an additional £1.5bn every year, "the remorseless demands of an older, sicker population will push this cash escalator ever higher".

Image caption Stephen Dorrell

The Financial Times cuts to the nitty gritty politics behind the announcement in its headline, "Osborne tries to check Labour on NHS".

The paper says the health service "will play a pivotal role in determining who secures the keys to Number 10" in next year's election.

The Daily Telegraph's editorial agrees, stating that the extra money "is not just about propping up an ailing system; it is also aimed at neutralising the NHS as an issue".

The Daily Mirror directs its bile at Tory MP Stephen Dorrell, who has stepped down as chairman of the Commons Select Health Committee to start a job for KPMG, who are bidding for a £1bn NHS contract.

The paper says he will combine his "six-figure salary" job with his continuing role as MP until the next election.

The Mirror says the two roles are "clearly incompatible".


Future upgrades

Dwarfing the extra NHS cash is the £15bn that will be committed to new road projects in the Autumn Statement.

The Daily Telegraph says this measure too should boost the Conservatives' hopes in 2015, with two-thirds of the 80 schemes set to ease traffic congestion in seats held by coalition MPs.

Shadow transport secretary Michael Dugher says it is all electioneering.

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Image caption A tunnel will take the ever busy A303 out of sight at Stonehenge, under one of the schemes to be announced

He is quoted in the Telegraph saying, "the Government cut road investment in 2010, have done next to nothing over the last four and a half years, and are now promising future upgrades after the election. People won't fall for it".

The Daily Mail says the new programme will be the biggest road expansion since the 1970s.

It notes that "holiday blackspots" such as the A303 at Stonehenge, have been particularly targeted.

The paper adds, "The move is an echo of the 'roads for prosperity' scheme unveiled by Margaret Thatcher in 1989 to boost 'the great car economy.'

"This promised the largest expansion of the roads network since the Romans although many of the schemes were quietly abandoned by her successors following environmental protests and spending cuts."

The Times notes that, like the NHS cash, the extra road money may only be a temporary painkiller for the transport headaches of tomorrow.

It says our ageing population will mean an extra seven million drivers on the road in the next 20 years, causing particular problems in urban areas, where traffic is expected to increase 20% by 2025.

Amid the announcements of extra spending, there is press scrutiny of the wider financial challenges the government faces.

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Image caption Falling North Sea oil revenues have hit the government

The Independent says plunging oil prices, a slump in tax duty and poor take in income tax - with many of the economy's new jobs being poorly paid - has left George Osborne with a "£75bn budget bombshell".

That's the amount which the Office for Budget Responsibility says will need to be added to government borrowing in the next five years,.

This will be "delivering a damaging blow to Chancellor George Osborne's hopes of claiming that the Government has the country's deficit under control", the paper notes.

The Daily Mail's comment says the "cupboard is bare" for Mr Osborne to make further tax cuts to help the middle class.

The paper says these are the people "whose sacrifices have largely financed the recovery" but it notes "even the £7bn in [tax] cuts already promised are now in doubt".

"How much more squeezing do the middle classes have to take?" the paper asks.


'Politically toxic'

After losing a High Court battle over the "Plebgate" row, MP Andrew Mitchell is still in the sights of the Sun.

The paper interviews Jim Glanville, the former PC who was the source of its initial story about the Downing Street confrontation.

Mr Glanville was not on duty at the gates, but when he heard of Mr Mitchell's "outburst" against colleagues, he contacted the Sun.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Andrew Mitchell faces legal costs that may be as high as £3m

"I was incensed by what Andrew Mitchell had said and I knew it was going to be covered up," he tells the paper.

The Sun reveals Mr Glanville's call to the Sun was revealed after the Metropolitan Police used anti-terror powers to check journalists' phone records.

Mr Glanville was arrested and placed in a cell before being questioned and, after 11 months on bail, dismissed from the Met.

The CPS ruled that Mr Glanville - who was not paid for his story - should not be prosecuted, but the Met tells the paper he was dismissed as he had "breached standards of professional behaviour".

Mr Glanville, who now works as a car salesman, says the saga has cost him his marriage and left him with £13,000 debts.

He is angry at the force's hierarchy, but also with the MP at the heart of the row.

"Mitchell has been allowed to discredit anybody and say whatever he wants.

"He thought he was untouchable. Now he has been exposed as the bully he is."

The Times runs a story that suggests the former government chief whip's hopes of staging a political comeback may be hopeless.

A poll has suggested that 63% of people believe he did use the "politically toxic" word pleb to the officers, and 46% want him to stand down as an MP.


Bin snoopers

If there is one thing that gets people irate it is rubbish collection problems, and one thing that got the Daily Mail angry was a "broken promise" over them.

Image caption Wheelie bins are being emptied once every 13 days on average, the Mail says

Under the headline "the great betrayal" it says the government has failed to act on its promise to restore weekly bin rounds throughout the country.

Research by the paper suggests just 6% of council areas provide weekly collection for general household refuse.

It adds, "there is a creeping trend for councils to issue fees for basic services such as garden waste collection, garden rubbish bags and the disposal of bulky waste - with increases of almost 5,000 per cent in the worst-hit areas."

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is branded the "minister for hot air" by the Mail, which lists his various assertions that weekly collection rounds should be restored.

Mr Pickles' Labour counterpart Hilary Benn tells the paper: "You need to say what you mean and mean what you say. Eric Pickles does neither."

But a Conservative spokesman tells the paper, "the Labour Government bullied councils into axing weekly collections and were planning new bin taxes on family homes.

"Conservatives in Government have kept to our promises; we have abolished Labour's bin taxes, reined back in bin snoopers and have actively supported weekly collections."

But the paper notes that Mr Pickles has said that it might take 10 years before all councils restore the "traditional" weekly service.


Absolute pandemonium

After hysteria in the nation's newsrooms - and a few of the country's shopping centres - over "black Friday", there is fresh frothing at the prospects of "cyber Monday".

This is the day when the Daily Star informs us "frantic shoppers" will "cause more mayhem" by splurging a predicted £650m online.

Precisely how this online mayhem will unfold, or how the much-quoted £650m estimate was arrived at, is not explained.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption It all got a little bit messy in places during black Friday

The Star has warned that the sites of major retailers might fail when overwhelmed by the predicted 600% increase in traffic during commuting hours and around lunchtime.

The Daily Mirror says today will be the "Yule log on", and it helps fuel the hype by listing 50 of the best online bargains.

It quotes "retail research" professor Joshua Bamfield who sums up the cyber Monday phenomenon simply.

"People have money to spend after receiving their last pre-Christmas pay packet and retailers are making good offers. So the conclusion is increased shopping."

At least shopping online will negate the possibility of the in-store brawls witnessed in some areas by bargain hunters on black Friday.

There will be no danger either of the sort of rodent-related retail ruckus written about by the Daily Telegraph.

The paper says a "giant" rat caused a stampede of terrified shoppers when it appeared in the beauty section of Debenhams in Bedford.

"Women trying on mascara felt it brush past their legs," the paper explains, and there was "absolute pandemonium" when it rushed across the floor.

"There were screaming, panicking women and some were almost in tears," says one witness.

The Telegraph says the errant rodent was chased into a storeroom where, the paper adds ominously, "its fate remains unknown".

Making people click

Express: Controlled explosion at Catterick

Times: Mental patients held in cells

Independent: Boy discovered behind false wall

Sun: Becks and Brooklyn 'lucky to be alive'