UK

Newspaper review: New year papers turn money-minded

Papers

The first day of a new working year means money is at the front of many minds.

The Independent highlights rail fare increases of up to 10%, quoting campaigners who say the rises makes rail travel "an extravagance".

The paper says prices have risen three times faster than wages; it has analysed rail fares across Europe and concludes that England has the most expensive trains in the continent.

There's better news for workers in the Daily Express, which says millions will get a tonic thanks to a reduction in the pensions' black hole.

It says the shortfall in pension schemes has reduced by two-thirds over the past six months, with experts telling the paper it is because share prices have rallied - and the growth is expected to continue.

But a New Year survey of nearly 100 leading economists by the Financial Times sounds a more pessimistic note, with many warning that the recovery will continue to be weak.

The FT chooses the former chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Sir Howard Davies, to sum up the mood: he fears Britain will spend 2013 bumping uncomfortably along the bottom.

Cliff edge

The deep divisions in American politics are highlighted in coverage of the efforts to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

In an editorial, the Times, says politicians have recklessly taken the country to the edge of the cliff because of a polarisation that is more toxic than any time in the past 30 years.

"It's no way to run the world's largest economy", the paper says. Rupert Cornwell writing in the Independent rejects suggestions that the stalemate is merely the constitutions system of checks and balances in action. The founding fathers, he writes, "could never have imagined so colossal a collective abdication of responsibility by the people's elected representatives."

Gun point

The Sun reveals that assault rifles modelled on the one used in the Connecticut school massacre are being legally sold here in Britain.

The paper points out that customers would need a firearms licence, but campaigners are calling for new gun controls.

In an editorial, the Sun says that as long as these weapons remain on sale, "another bloodbath is just one act of lunacy away".

There are many tributes to the cricket commentator, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, who died on Tuesday.

In the Times, the BBC's Jonathan Agnew writes that "it's doubtful that anyone has contributed more in a lifetime to the overall coverage of cricket".

Sir Ian Botham, writing in the Daily Mirror, says CMJ was "one of THE voices of cricket". The former test cricketer and now correspondent for the Guardian, Mike Selvey, says cricket has lost "perhaps the best friend it ever had".

"A great innings, CMJ," says the Sun. "Over too soon".

A confused seal which ended up 50 miles inland is pictured in the Daily Mail. The paper explains that the animal swam up the River Great Ouse, through flooded fields, and into a landlocked lake in Cambridgeshire. It was, says the Daily Mirror, "very sealy".

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