Newspaper review: UK's welfare changes discussed


A number of stories in the papers are prompted by the changes to the UK's welfare which come into effect on Monday.

The Daily Telegraph says it has identified the government's first public admission that it is no longer trying to cut the welfare budget.

Under the headline "We've given up", it says Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has told an audience in Scotland that Britain is not cutting welfare, but is in fact "managing" the increase.

The Guardian quotes the government's poverty adviser, Frank Field, describing the proposed spare room subsidy - which Labour call the bedroom tax - as "social engineering which Stalin would have been proud of".

On the other side, the Daily Mail says the the reforms are curing a "social disease", and it claims thousands have already returned to work because of a proposed cap on benefits.

The Sun also defends the plans, saying welfare reform must be pushed through, however strident the opposition.

Hospital fines

Arguments about the current and future state of the NHS are to be found in many of the papers.

The Independent leads with claims of "dirty tricks" over the suspension of childrens' heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary. It says there have been calls for the medical director of the NHS, Sir Bruce Keogh, to resign over the decision.

Sir Bruce is also on the front of the Guardian, which says he has "controversial" plans to fine hospitals which fail their patients.

He says that once clinical commissioning groups take over billions of pounds of health spending on Monday, they should hold back part of a fee from a hospital if a patient has not received the highest possible standard of care.

The Telegraph reports that a key recommendation of the report on the Mid Staffordshire scandal has been quietly dropped.

It says that a revised NHS constitution published last week failed to state that the health service would always put patients first. Instead, it says the NHS will "aspire" to put patients first.

Actor tributes

Sir Andrew Motion tells the Times that "townies" who own second homes in the countryside should be taxed so hard that they sell up.

The former poet laureate, who is now the head of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, tells the paper that rural communities are being "gutted", and that the countryside is under siege from planners.

There are warm tributes to the actor Richard Griffiths, who has died at the age of 65 after complications from heart surgery.

The Daily Express praises his glittering career and beautiful voice. The Daily Mirror says the world of stage and screen lost a little of its magic when he died.

The Times obituary recalls the time he berated an audience member for receiving six calls on his mobile phone. The man left the theatre.

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