Newspaper review: Papers weigh up welfare reaction


Chancellor George Osborne is planning what the Independent calls "a scathing attack" on the churches and charities that oppose the government's welfare changes.

The paper says he will use a speech on Tuesday to claim that those who have criticised the reforms are simply "vested interests" reacting with "depressingly predictable outrage" to necessary change.

The Daily Telegraph says Mr Osborne is coming out fighting, claiming that the vast majority of working households will be better off under the changes.

But the paper says Treasury figures published alongside Mr Osborne's speech show that "stay at home" mothers in a family of four are more than four times worse off under the changes than a similar family in which both parents work.

Many of the papers report the claim by Iain Duncan Smith that he could get by on £53 a week.

The Daily Mirror for one challenges the work and pensions secretary to try it. Perhaps he could get by for a day or even a week, it says, but for months or a year?

The Mirror claims he would quickly discover that what it calls the "grinding poverty" he inflicts on others is a "tough, dispiriting struggle".

Toll road

The Financial Times reports that Germany and France have snubbed David Cameron's review of the relationship between Brussels and EU member states.

According to the paper, the prime minister had hoped the exercise would prompt a reappraisal of the way in which rules made in Brussels have encroached on national life.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have declined to take part.

They concluded, says the FT, that it was more about an internal British debate on the country's EU membership than a genuinely impartial stocktaking.

The government is to press ahead with Britain's second toll motorway, according to the Times.

It says George Osborne has agreed to underwrite the £1bn project to ease congestion on the M4 in south Wales.

The paper says the idea is that a major capital spending programme will stimulate the economy - and it will be up to the Welsh government to decide how much to recoup through tolls.

Fascism row

With no let up in the harsh winter conditions, the Guardian draws attention to the plight of hill farmers in Wales who are facing their worst crisis in 60 years.

The paper says the melting snow has revealed the carcasses of thousands of heavily pregnant ewes and new-born lambs who have succumbed to the freezing conditions.

One farmer says many lambs are being frozen to death before they can even stand.

The main story for the Sun and the Daily Star is the row over the appointment of new Sunderland football manager Paolo Di Canio who has in the past appeared to admit he was a fascist.

The Sun says that while the Italian is no racist, a minority of idiots in football crowds need no extra encouragement to sow hatred and division. The paper hopes he can keep his politics to himself.

According to the Daily Mirror, the miners' union has asked for its banner to be removed from the stadium in protest at Di Canio's appointment.

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