Newspaper headlines: Chancellor's 'jobs lifeline to save economy'

By BBC News


"Rishi blows the budget" is the Sun's headline assessment of the chancellor's job retention scheme, which features on many of Thursday's front pages.

The paper says that under the plans, an employee normally on 37 hours a week could do just 17 hours and still get their full wage via the government top-up.

The FT says that officials' calculations have been based around workers doing between 50% and 60% of their normal hours.

The paper points out that this would be considerably cheaper than the furlough programme, which is reported to have cost almost £4bn in the last month alone.

In its own "rough" calculation, the FT says partially supporting wages of three million people would cost about £500m a month.

Image source, PA Media

"Rishi's jobs lifeline" is the Daily Express assessment of Rishi Sunak's planned economic intervention.

The paper says that while the chancellor will prioritise protecting and creating jobs - he will also be honest with the public that "some economic pain" may be needed in the short term to help the UK's finances "bounce back to full health".

But quoting Whitehall sources, the Guardian says rather than focusing on the future, Mr Sunak's winter economic plan is more about showing the public the government is dealing with the "here and now".

The Daily Mirror uses its editorial to criticise the chancellor not acting sooner to help try and keep people in work. "Not before time" is the paper's main message to the Treasury before it unveils its wage support plan.

The paper says the measures need to be "lasting, fair and effective" and not just "a series of piecemeal policies".

The Times leader calls the chancellor's consideration of a wage subsidy scheme "a sound principle" - because it would protect jobs that have a future even though consumer demand is temporarily depressed.

'Growing backlash'

The Daily Telegraph reveals Boris Johnson is facing a "growing backlash" from some of his own MPs after announcing the new coronavirus restrictions could last six months.

At least one minister has reportedly threatened to resign, while up to 50 Conservative MPs are said to be ready to withhold support in a vote to approve the government's lockdown powers.

The i adds there is resentment from Tories in the south-west of England where infection rates remain low. Many are said to want an exemption from any national lockdown, with the MP for West Dorset concerned his constituents are being "punished" for breaches in large towns and cities.

Image source, PA Media

The Times reports that one in three people who are told to isolate by the new coronavirus tracing app in England and Wales will get a "false positive" result.

The glitch - which mistakenly assumes someone has been within two metres of an infected person for 15 minutes - is because the Bluetooth signal can be affected by surrounding objects.

But in an editorial for the Daily Mirror, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, says the public should have "some sympathy" for the app's creators because it has been built in a hurry.

"BBC fights listed status of historic studios" is a headline in the Times, as it reports on the corporation's struggles to regenerate Maida Vale.

The paper says the BBC had hoped to make "huge sums of money" by selling the site made famous by the likes of The Beatles and Pink Floyd to developers.

The building has grade II listed status - meaning any interested parties face significant extra cost. But with the BBC board said to be "so concerned" about the financial impact of not being able to develop the site, it has launched a "strong appeal" against elements of the listing.

'Christmas lockdown warning'

"Students get Christmas lockdown warning" is the bleak headline on the front of the i.

According to minutes from the latest meetings of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), experts are concerned about infected students "spilling" out from university at the end of term and causing large outbreaks of Covid-19 in their home communities.

Nick Hillman, the director of the Higher Education Policy Unit, says students staying on campus during the festive period should be viewed as just "another sacrifice" in the battle against the virus.

And finally... as if 2020 hadn't been bad enough, the Daily Mail warns of a "grim and chronic" threat to gin and tonic. The paper says there is growing concern that a pathogen introduced to the UK in the 1990s is threatening the country's juniper trees.

Described by the Mail as a "fungal foe", it is said to thrive in water-logged conditions. But researchers believe all hope isn't lost for fans of a G&T because some trees appear to be resistant to the pathogen which cannot spread through their roots.