Newspaper headlines: Inquiry judge quits, interest rate cut, Olympics start and Bowie prize

The resignation of the head of the inquiry into child sexual abuse and the interest rate cut by the Bank of England make front page headlines.

The Times says Dame Lowell Goddard's resignation raises questions about the scale of an inquiry that stretches back to cover more than 60 years, examines dozens of institutions, and is expected to run for at least a decade at a cost of £100m.

The paper says it is also an embarrassment for Prime Minister Theresa May, who as home secretary appointed the judge last year with an annual pay and benefits package totalling £500,000, after her two earlier choices for the post also resigned prematurely.

The Times continues: "Whitehall sources said that the search for a replacement to lead the inquiry had started and that an interim chairman - possibly from the panel already assembled and working on the inquiry - might be appointed.

"Dame Lowell's position became untenable after the disclosure that in the 12 months since her appointment in April last year she had spent 30 days on leave and 44 working days in New Zealand and Australia.

"The IICSA [Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse] said she was in constant touch with London and had been learning from Australia's Royal Commission on abuse but the commission said that it had only had two meetings with inquiry officials."

Image caption Dame Lowell Goddard was criticised for the amount of time she spent abroad

According to the Telegraph, abuse victims said the inquiry had "descended into farce" and they felt "betrayed" by her shock resignation.

The Telegraph notes: "Dame Lowell, 67, a high court judge in New Zealand, had faced criticism over the scale of her pay and also the amount of time she had spent abroad since taking the role, in April last year.

"She received a £360,000 salary, a £110,000 accommodation allowance and regular free return flights to New Zealand for her and her family.

"Since taking the role she had spent more than 70 days overseas, either on holiday or working abroad. She also admitted in a preliminary hearing last week that she did not have a clear understanding of aspects of English law."

The Guardian says the future of the inquiry was thrown into doubt with her departing comments that it was beset with a "legacy of failure" that was hard to shake off.

"After a one-line resignation letter to the home secretary, Amber Rudd, Goddard released a statement that indicated the controversies and challenges of the inquiry since it was set up in 2014 were insurmountable," says the Guardian.

"The New Zealand judge, who was persuaded to take on the role after two previous chairs resigned after criticism of their establishment links, quit 24 hours after being criticised in the media for taking three months' holiday since being appointed in April 2015.

"But her statement suggested deeper reasons for resigning that date back to the inquiry's inception."


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Lack of interest

The Guardian leads on the interest rate cut announced by the Bank of England from 0.5% to 0.25%.

"The move will bring relief to borrowers but has angered savers who have been getting poor returns for years because of low interest rates," says the Guardian.

"Keen to ensure that the cut is felt by households and businesses, the Bank's governor, Mark Carney, took a tough line with commercial banks, telling them they had no excuse not to pass the lower official borrowing costs on to customers."

The paper says Mr Carney promised extra funds for banks to cushion the blow to their profitability from lower interest rates as part of a four-point package.

The Times says pensioners and savers will be affected on two fronts because the interest they earn diminishes alongside rising inflation, squeezing their buying power.

The Telegraph reports that a number of the country's biggest banks said that they would delay mortgage rate cuts for customers by up to two months.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mark Carney said banks should pass on lower interest rates to customers

The Financial Times says: "Mark Carney had a lot of doubts to dispel as he announced a monetary stimulus to offset the shock of the UK's vote for Brexit.

"Many Remain voters fear the economy is now doomed to years of uncertainty. Leave supporters have accused the Bank of England governor - who warned of the economic consequences of leaving the EU - of talking the country into a downturn.

"Banks say that near-zero interest rates will ravage their business. Besides these partisan views, there is a widespread concern that, after years of extraordinary measures, policymakers have little remaining firepower."

The i's business editor Elizabeth Anderson comments that while borrowers can rejoice in cheaper loans the rate cut will bring more misery to savers and pensioners who have paid off their mortgage and rely on their income from money put by and investments.

The Mail says banks were accused of cashing in, the Sun that Mr Carney said the UK would not be hit by recession, while the Mirror asks: "Will it save us?"


Let the Games begin

The papers look ahead to the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games which takes place in Rio on Friday.

In a leading article, the Times says the human spirit will be celebrated at Rio but the Olympics must return to its original code of modesty and fairness.

It states: "The Olympic movement is about the sense of community that this sporting competition engenders.

"It seeks, according to its charter, 'to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles'.

"The custodian of the charter is the International Olympic Committee, which in turning a blind eye to systemic drug abuse has let down athletes across the globe."

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Media captionBroadcaster and former football administrator David Davies and political commentator and ex-Labour director of communications Lance Price join the BBC News Channel to review Friday's front pages.

The Guardian expresses similar sentiment, saying that exalted ideals collide with a grubbier reality at Rio's Games.

"When competitors from more than 200 countries watch the Olympic flame blaze forth from the low-emissions cauldron at the Maracana stadium in the small hours of Saturday morning, it will mark the culmination of years of preparation.

"By the time it is extinguished the athletes will have triumphed, fallen short or stumbled, and these 16 days in Brazil will perhaps define their careers forever.

"The stakes are almost as high for Rio de Janeiro and the Olympic movement itself."


Bowie on shortlist

Finally, the Times reports that David Bowie could become the first posthumous winner of the Mercury Prize after his final album, Blackstar, was named on a 12-strong shortlist.

The paper says the late singer heads a list of high-profile artists vying for the award, with albums by Radiohead, Skepta and The 1975 also nominated.

Seven of the 12 albums have reached the Top 10 in the charts.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The late David Bowie has been nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize

"The Mercury Prize has often appeared to pride itself on nominating critically acclaimed but obscure acts," says the Times.

"However, this year judges including former winner Jarvis Cocker and singer Jessie Ware, have eschewed that approach, plumping instead for some of the biggest-selling albums of the past year."