Newspaper review: Mixed reaction to Royal Mail sell-off


Government plans to sell-off the Royal Mail in the biggest privatisation for 30 years have sparked a mixed reaction in today's papers.

The Guardian has misgivings about "thrusting another bit of the public realm into private hands at a bargain price", as it puts it.

The Mirror thinks it is a sale we will all pay dearly for in the future.

But for the Financial Times, while the government may be privatising the Queen's head, it is not selling the Crown Jewels.

The paper says success is far from assured, but that Royal Mail has brighter prospects in private hands.

In similar sentiments, the Telegraph says sometimes to preserve a great institution, it must first be changed.

At the Times the view is privatisation is the right course for the taxpayer, the business, its customers and its workforce.

Companies such as British Airways, BP and BT have thrived in the private sector to the extent that it's hard to imagine them under state control, the paper adds.

Meanwhile the Daily Mail says it may be a sad day for lovers of continuity in our national institutions, but it cannot envisage any realistic alternative to privatisation.

The paper believes the injection of private sector discipline, acumen and funds could be just the fillip Royal Mail needs.

Debt time-bomb

Away from the postmen and women, and the Telegraph leads with the official figures showing that the proportion of children born out of wedlock in England and Wales reached a record 47.5% last year.

Meanwhile the Times highlights what its headline calls the debt time-bomb facing families. It says research suggests that more than 800,000 households could be spending more than half of their income on debt repayments when interest rates rise.

For its main story, the Mirror says official figures show that top earners are paying 35% of their incomes into the Treasury's coffers, while the lowest are forced to pay 36%. The paper says it's one of Britain's biggest economic injustices that poorer families are paying more tax than the richest.

The Guardian's front page claims the British government is considering plans to designate the Scottish military base that houses the Trident nuclear deterrent as sovereign United Kingdom territory if Scotland votes for independence.

The proposal to give MPs a pay increase of more than 11% on their current salaries is widely reported and makes the lead for the Independent.

According to the Telegraph, Ed Miliband is to ban Labour MPs from holding company directorships and earning more than 15% of their income through outside interests by the next general election.

Call for damehoods

According to the Guardian, cuts faced by the Office of National Statistics mean it is considering ending the collection of figures for smoking, drinking, teenage pregnancies and infant mortality.

And finally, the Daily Mail takes a dim view of David Cameron's gaffe in the Commons yesterday when he described Andy Murray as the first British player to win Wimbledon for 77 years.

To atone for his instinctive sexism, the paper says, the prime minister should recommend Ann Jones and Virginia Wade - women's champion in 1969 and 1977 - for damehoods without delay.

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