Bank bonuses banned and Prince George 'the star'

The blocking of the Royal Bank of Scotland's plans to pay bonuses in excess of 100% of salary to its top executives, comes in for some examination in Saturday's press.

The Independent reports that the bank is furious over the block - applied by UK Financial Investments, the government body which oversees the state's 81% share in RBS. RBS, which made an £8.2bn loss last year, will be the only UK bank not to award such bonuses, it notes.

Image caption The Royal Bank of Scotland had a bonus pool of £576m accrued last year

The Daily Mail notes the bank still paid 77 staff more than £1m "despite its losses" and 342 senior staff earned an average of £624,000. It says the Treasury encouraged UKFI to oppose the pay-out.

But the Financial Times suggests that pressure from the Liberal Democrats on their Conservative coalition partners, led to the move. It says Nick Clegg told George Osborne that agreeing to very high bonuses would hurt both parties.

The Daily Mirror comments that Mr Osborne is on the "wrong side of the debate" and that he has a lack of enthusiasm for capping large bank bonuses.

It argues his acceptance that the Lloyds Group - which is 25% owned by the state - can pay its top earners massive bonuses suggests "he is happy for bailed-out bankers to enrich themselves beyond the dreams of avarice".

Financial Prudence

The knock-on effects of the new rules aimed at weeding-out mortgage borrowers who are likely to default, are discussed in several publications.

The Times says the increased costs of the checks - which were imposed by City watchdogs - has been passed on to borrowers in the form of increased fees for arranging mortgages. It says NatWest has already raised the cost of taking out a £200,000 loan by £800, and says other lenders will follow suit.

The Guardian says that experts believe the new move will "stall the burgeoning housing market". There could be more long-term, fixed-rate mortgage lending as well, as would-be house-buyers signed up to deals designed to demonstrate their long-term ability to repay.

Still on the subject of financial prudence, the Daily Express highlights figures from a financial services group suggesting that Britons are saving nowhere near enough to provide for a comfortable old age.

Its figures suggest the average Briton will accumulate a working life pension pot of £105,000 - which will only provide a retirement income of £5,000 a year. Even more startlingly, the Express claims that a third of those aged 45 to 54 have no pension provision in place at all.

"Shrewd strategy"

From the coverage in Saturday's papers - favourable and unfavourable - a visiting alien might conclude Nigel Farage was leader of the United Kingdom.

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Mr Farage gives a long interview to The Guardian, which describes the Ukip leader as the man who has the Westminster parties "rattled". Mr Farage tells the paper he is seeking to appeal more to former Labour voters in the north of England.

The paper says the challenge for Ukip is to keep the portrayal of their leader as a slightly "chaotic amateur" while at the same time conveying a "shrewd electoral strategy" in the forthcoming European election.

The Daily Telegraph has an unflattering sketch of Mr Farage's pre-election tour of the north. Noting the many pickets outside his appearances, the paper says Mr Farage told his audience that "Labour has turned their back on you" and "no longer represent you". The question the Telegraph writer poses is "could Gateshead be represented by a Thatcherite public schoolboy from Kent".

The Times notes Ukip's numerous travails - and is among the many papers which report that a "British builder" pictured in a Ukip election poster, has turned out to be an Irish actor hired for the shoot.

The Sun follows a similar line in its editorial, saying that behind Farage are "a large number of individuals who would struggle to run a whelk stall".

"Full-throttled yell"

The only male getting his picture in the press more than Mr Farage is a nine-month-old - Prince George.

The Daily Express says that the little prince was the "star" of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's tour of Australia and New Zealand. The youngest royal, it adds, received enough toys as gifts on the visit to fill his nursery twice over.

Image copyright Reuters

The Daily Telegraph lists those presents, including a giant cuddly wombat, a miniature amphibious boat and - naturally, perhaps - a boomerang.

The Sun shares the rest of the press's enthusiasm for George's immaculate behaviour on the tour, noting he has "inherited his grandma Diana's ability to shine in front of the camera". The Prince didn't put a bootie out of place, it adds.

Like all babies however, the next king but two is keen to let the World know he's here. As his parents talked to Australian PM Tony Abbott, ahead before leaving for the UK, Prince George let out a "full-throttled yell" The Times reports.

The visit has set the cause of republicanism in Australia back a decade, the paper reckons.

Roll with it

Reports of a reformation of the band Oasis, fuelled by Twitter speculation, has encouraged the Daily Star to confidently predict that the Britpop mainstays would headline this year's Glastonbury Festival.

The multi-platinum selling band split in 2009 after a rift developed between Noel and Liam Gallagher, the brothers who are the band's main creative force. The Star reports the "reformation" will net the pair £500m "to roll with it".

Meanwhile, the reformation of a band who hit the big time in the early 2000s has caused some concerns to people living around London's Hyde Park, The Independent reports.

The Libertines - who the paper says are "notorious for late stage arrivals" are set to play in the park on 5 July.

A spokesman for a Mayfair residents association group told the paper "we can't be supportive about this show for obvious reasons". But Libertines co-leader Carl Barat told The Independent "if people are concerned about noise they shouldn't have moved to Hyde Park".

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