Newspaper review: Papers predict storm chaos


Monday's newspapers are dominated by previews of the storm which is currently affecting large parts of southern Britain.

The Times and Daily Telegraph are among the papers to warn of travel chaos due to hurricane-force winds which will peak during the morning rush hour, while the Daily Mail says "Britain's transport system was thrown into chaos" as train services were suspended, flights cancelled and roads closed.

The Sun says the country faces "paralysis", with millions expected to be stranded at home.

According to the Daily Express, high winds and rainfall "could leave the country with a clean-up bill of £4bn".

Alongside the headline, "Lost in the Storm", the Daily Mirror features a picture of the rescue operation launched after a 14-year-old boy was swept away by the sea off the coast of East Sussex.

'Old and cold'

Away from the weather, the lead story in the Guardian focuses on what could happen if the proposed new high-speed rail link between London and the north of England is scrapped.

Under the headline "Weekend rail closures for up to 14 years", the paper says government-sponsored studies claim that upgrade work on existing lines "could double journey times".

The Times suggests ministers hope the estimate "will bolster support for the project ... and distract attention from a new cost-benefit analysis".

A potential clash between Britain's energy regulator and the so-called Big Six energy firms is highlighted by the Financial Times.

It claims watchdog Ofgem is unhappy after the companies blamed the price increases on rising wholesale costs while its data shows wholesale prices "have been almost flat over the past year".

The possible consequences of the energy price increases are featured in the Independent's lead story, which claims that three million elderly people fear they won't be able to pay their heating bills this winter.

On the same subject, under the headline "Old and Cold", the Daily Mirror warns that up to 200 pensioners a day "could die this winter" because they can't afford to heat their homes.

NHS wages

Ed Miliband could reopen the inquiry into alleged vote-rigging in Falkirk, according to the Times and the Daily Mail.

The Mail says the Labour leader is "under pressure" to act after emails emerged which appear to implicate the Unite union in thwarting the original investigation. The union denies the claim and points out it has been cleared by two inquiries.

Two separate NHS stories are featured on the front pages of the papers.

The Times reports comments made by the head of the medical profession's seven-day working review, Norman Williams, who said that patients could have a complete NHS at evenings and weekends "only if they accept more hospital closures and mergers".

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph states that the health secretary will today announce "a new crackdown on NHS salaries".

The man

Finally, most papers are effusive in their praise for musician Lou Reed, who has died at the age of 71.

In a front page obituary, the Guardian's chief music critic Alexis Petridis writes that it is "almost impossible" to overstate Reed's importance.

The Daily Telegraph refers to one of Reed's best-known songs in its headline "Rock legend takes his final walk on the wild side", while the Times acknowledges the co-founder of the Velvet Underground as "one of the most influential musicians in rock history".

Many of the obituaries refer to Reed's drug and alcohol addictions and hatred of journalists but the Daily Mirror is among the papers that remembers the deadpan wit of the I'm Waiting for the Man singer.

The Daily Mail is less generous, claiming Reed "did more than any other rock star to give drugs a false and dangerous glamour".

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