Insights from the UK and beyond
Wednesday’s front pages
“Darling seeks end to 10p tax backlash” reports the Financial Times, noting that the move will still leave 1.1 million poorer households worse off following the abolition of the lowest tax band in last year’s budget.
For the Daily Mail the tax giveaway is a “2.7 billion pound gamble” to appease fury on the Labour backbenches over the scrapping of the 10p starting rate.
But the papers also find room for other stories: Drivers face a 185 pound tax to park at work, says the Daily Telegraph of a government push to cut traffic congestion. The paper reports that Nottingham city council will be the first to introduce the “workplace parking levy as an alternative to road pricing.
The Sun reports that Yorkshire ripper Peter Sutcliffe is making a legal bid for freedom from the secure Broadmoor hospital, claiming his human rights have been breached. It says Sutcliffe, jailed in 1981 for killing 13 women, wants to be declared sane and given a release date.
The Independent opts for an analytic lead, suggesting that “Britain could once again be haunted by the spectre of stagflation“. It says a combination of stagnant output and high inflation not seen for decades will dog policymakers for months if not years to come.
By contrast the Daily Express says there is “Now a race to cut prices“, reporting that supermarkets Asda and Tesco and mortgage lender Nationwide have all unveiled plans for a host of cost-cutting deals to help “Britain’s hard-pressed families.”
The Times publishes a revealing photo of Housing Minster Caroline Flint — exposing her briefing notes on the state of the housing market as she walked to a cabinet meeting. “Safe as houses? Not this minister’s private papers” runs the headline over the picture. You can see a magnified image of the notes themselves on the front of the Telegraph.
The Guardian reports that Spain is being forced to ship drinking water to Barcelona to cope with the effects of the worst drought in the country since records began 60 years ago.
The Daily Mirror leads with the arrest of a 19-year-old man over the weekend murder of 16-year-old Jimmy Mizen in a southeast London bakers, while the Daily Star says police are following a reported sighting of missing Madeleine McCann on a flight to Sao Paulo in Brazil.