Newspaper headlines: China economy, honours list, home ownership and blue passports

China and the economy, David Cameron's honours list, home ownership and blue passports are among a wide range of front page stories.

The Times reports that the Chinese foreign ministry has urged the UK to ensure the "smooth implementation" of the £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power station project "as soon as possible" in its first response to Theresa May's surprise decision to review the plans.

"The prime minister delayed final approval of the Somerset plant on Thursday night amid security concerns about the involvement of state-owned Chinese companies in Britain's infrastructure," the Times continues.

"Hinkley Point, which would be built by the French energy company EDF and provide 7% of UK electricity, is not the main concern - but the deal clears the way for another reactor to be built at Bradwell, Essex, solely by Chinese companies.

"In strongly-worded remarks yesterday, the Chinese state news agency Xinhua said that it could not understand the British government's 'suspicious approach'."

The Times says the delay puts HS2 and other deals worth £100bn at risk.

Image copyright AFP

Meanwhile, in China itself, the Financial Times says that taxi enterprise Uber has agreed to sell its Chinese operation to rival Didi Chuxing after failing to crack the Chinese market.

"The agreement marks the latest retreat by a US technology company from a market where Travis Kalanick, Uber's chief executive, acknowledged that most Western internet companies had 'failed to crack the code'," says the FT.

"Google shut its Chinese search engine in 2010 over censorship concerns and Facebook and Twitter are blocked in the country.

"Uber's exit is relatively graceful by comparison, as it will form an alliance with Didi that will give each company seats on the other's board."


Peerage blocked

The row over David Cameron's resignation honours list rumbles on, after the Sunday Times reported that the former prime minister rewarded Remain campaigners, Downing Street staff, his wife Samantha's special adviser, and former Chancellor George Osborne.

The Telegraph claims Mr Cameron was blocked from giving a peerage to former Conservative Party treasurer and donor Michael Spencer by the Whitehall committee responsible for granting titles.

His City company was fined over the Libor borrowing rate scandal.

Prime Minister Theresa May, says the Telegraph, will now have to decide whether to overrule the committee - which means the list could be delayed until the autumn instead of being published in the next few days as expected.

The paper continues: "The move, confirmed to the Daily Telegraph by Whitehall sources, follows accusations of cronyism after a leaked list showed Mr Cameron is attempting to award titles, including knighthoods, MBEs and OBEs to a series of aides, family friends and political allies."

The Mail says: "A source said leading City broker Michael Spencer, the former Tory treasurer, had failed the 'sniff test' over his links to a firm involved in the Libor fixing scandal.

"Meanwhile Theresa May refused to block Mr Cameron's list, saying it was a matter for him."

The Telegraph comments that the list has encouraged the view that, having lost office, Mr Cameron ceased to care how his actions appear.

Adams' cartoon in the Telegraph has Larry the Downing Street cat proudly sporting a coronet and ermine robe. Palmerston the Foreign Office feline looks on decidedly unimpressed.


Housing ladder

News that home ownership has fallen to its lowest level for 30 years, according to a think tank, is widely reported.

"The struggle to get onto the housing ladder is no longer just a feature of the capital's property market, with Greater Manchester experiencing as big a slump in ownership since its peak in the early 2000s as parts of London," says the Guardian.

"It is the lowest figure since 1986, when home ownership levels were on the way up, with a boom fuelled by the deregulation of the mortgage industry and the introduction of the right-to-buy policy for council homes by Margaret Thatcher's government.

"The report highlights the scale of the task of the new Tory prime minister, Theresa May, who has pledged to tackle the housing deficit."

The Metro agrees that it is a blow for Mrs May, "who has vowed to tackle inequality" and says the report shows that previous figures that showed the decline had stopped were a "blip".

The Times says: "The research reveals that the housing crisis has now spread well beyond London and the South East with Greater Manchester experiencing sharper falls than the rest of the country."

Image copyright PA

The Mirror declares that the housing crisis is now a national emergency.

"Figures out today reveal a nationwide problem, with millions of families in the North and Midlands struggling as much as Londoners to get on the property ladder," it says.

"It comes as house prices continue to dwarf average earnings."

Analysis by Mark Hayward, director of the National Association of Estate Agents, in the Mirror concludes that the market cooled amid Brexit fears but this will not fix underlying challenges - the only solution is to build more homes.

In an editorial, the Mirror says: "Until recently most people could get on the housing ladder if they worked hard and saved some money. Now the barriers to owning your own home have never been greater.

"A whole generation is being locked out of the housing market and forced into expensive rental accommodation."


Famous dark blue passport

Finally, the Sun leads with the launch of a campaign to restore blue UK passports instead of the current red EU-style ones following Brexit.

"The Sun today calls on the government to bring back our famous dark blue passport - as a symbol of the UK regaining sovereignty from the EU," says the paper.

"We want a pledge from Number 10 to reintroduce the true blue, ditched in 1988 for an EU-approved burgundy passport."

Several Conservative MPs line up to give their support for the Sun's campaign.

Image copyright PA

The Sun says: "Most Brits consider ourselves British - not citizens of the EU. Nothing affirms that national identity, or our sovereignty, like the historic old blue passports.

"Having EU-approved ones may have been convenient over the last 28 years in the Brussels club. That must change now.

"The government must make plans to reintroduce the blue ones... and the sooner the better. We'll be first in the queue for a new blue."