Newspaper headlines: Cost of student debt and public sector pay

Three students in mortar boards Image copyright PA

The spiralling costs of student debt is the main thrust of several of the day's front pages.

The Guardian says students from the poorest 40% of families entering university in England for the first time this September will accrue an average debt of about £57,000, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The economic think-tank says the end of maintenance grants in 2015 had disproportionately affected the poorest, while students from the wealthiest 30% of households would run up average borrowings of £43,000.

And the Times reports on how three-quarters of graduates will never repay their student loans. They are liable for repayments once they earn more than £21,000 but after 30 years, whatever debt is left is written off.

Some 77% were not expected to repay their debt, including interest, the IFS said.

Roads revolution

A subject "guaranteed to stir local emotions" - as the Times puts it - is the prospect of building new by-passes.

The paper reports that the government is about to spend £1bn a year combating congestion in towns and cities.

Almost 4,000 miles of A-roads will be upgraded, and significant sums will be put into a fund to construct by-passes around built-up areas with the worst jams.

The Telegraph says business groups and road safety campaigners have welcomed the news, but the Times thinks the scheme is bound to provoke opposition, not least from those experts who think building new roads simply creates more traffic.

Interest in pay as an issue has been so strong it's surprising how little notice is taken of the offer to firefighters of a 2% rise. But the i newspaper puts the story on its front page, saying the increase will add to the pressure on Theresa May coming from the police, teachers, the armed forces and civil servants.

The Daily Mail notes that it's local authorities, not central government, which negotiates the salaries of firefighters.

Cameron's comments

There's a sharply personal tone to the attack by the Daily Mirror on former PM David Cameron for his comments about the need for pay restraint.

Under the headline, "Cam off it, Dave," the paper points out that nurses and teachers have seen their wages fall in real terms while he "coins it round the world", giving lectures for "up to a £120,000 an hour".

The Guardian suggests Mr Cameron's motive may have been to have a go at Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. The Times thinks it more likely he was trying to support the chancellor, and protect his own legacy.

The Mail, rather to its own surprise, finds itself praising Mr Cameron for his "wise words".

It offers sympathy to state sector workers, but argues that "a general spending splurge" would increase debt and cost jobs and growth.

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Tackling the shortage of homes in sought-after rural areas is, according to the Telegraph, a nettle the government is determined to grasp.

The paper believes Communities Secretary Sajid Javid will launch "a new assault on homeowners with a nimby attitude", forcing them to accept that more homes must be built.

He says there will have to be "tough decisions" because, as the Telegraph notes, "it could prove controversial with grassroots Tory voters, many of whom live in affluent areas".

The Sun comments that rising prices have brought "joy to homeowners", but it feels that the government has to find speedy ways of helping people in their 20s to find homes.

Patient problems

The Daily Express highlights the plight of patients who have to wait "for crucial knee, hip and cataract operations" on the NHS.

It describes the long delays as a new crisis for the NHS, saying surgery is provided quickly in parts of the country, while in others some patients do not receive any treatment.

According to the Mail, clinical commissioning groups are "having to ration procedures" to meet financial targets.

The result, says the Times, is that "patients are left in pain," and some "are having to beg for treatment that was once routine".

The world, says the Mail, has reached out in sympathy to Charlie Gard, the desperately ill eleven month old boy who suffers from a rare genetic condition.

The paper says it has been profoundly moved by the plight of his parents, as they sought to keep him alive.