UK

Newspaper review: Papers look ahead to Osborne's plans

Sunday newspapers

Many of the Sunday papers concern themselves with what lies in store on Wednesday, when the chancellor gives his Autumn Statement.

The Independent on Sunday warns that the government's independent watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, is preparing to "run a torrent of red ink" over its borrowing forecasts because of disappointing growth.

It says George Osborne may be forced to borrow more than £80bn extra and resort to what it calls the "dark arts" of more spending cuts or tax rises.

The Observer believes the chancellor is planning to drop one of his ideas to save money - the proposed cut in housing benefit for under-25s.

Government sources have told the paper that fierce Lib Dem opposition to the plan - floated in June as a way to save £2bn - has forced him to rethink the cut and stop short of an outright freeze on all working-age benefits.

Expense worry

The Sunday Times reports that Mr Osborne is preparing to launch what it calls a "raid" on the pension benefits of higher earners.

It says this is part of a "squeeze the rich" deal with the Liberal Democrats as the price for keeping the benefits bill under control.

He is poised to cut the £50,000 annual tax relief cap on pensions to as little as £30,000, the paper says.

But the paper predicts the move will be condemned by the pensions industry and business leaders as hitting swathes of middle-income earners.

The day-to-day expense worrying consumers most, according to the Sunday Express, is the cost of fuel.

It reports a survey by consumer group Which? suggesting that 85% of people put pump prices as their main financial worry, raising pressure on the chancellor to axe a scheduled increase in fuel tax in January.

Charity call

The Liverpool Care Pathway, which can involve the withdrawal of drugs, fluids and food to allow patients to die, has been investigated by the Sunday Telegraph.

It reports on a survey by the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute and the Royal College of Physicians.

The study found that thousands of dying patients were left to suffer in pain.

The research also showed that almost half of dying patients - who were still conscious when they were placed on the pathway - were never told that life-saving treatment was being withdrawn.

The Mail on Sunday focuses on calls for an investigation into claims about a charity supported by Miriam Clegg, the wife of the deputy prime minister.

It has just been given £12m of taxpayer funding.

A spokesman for Nick Clegg has dismissed the claims as "smears and innuendo" and said the decision to award the money to Booktrust rested with the prime minister and the education secretary.

'Buying ugly'

Christmas is coming for the ugly vegetable, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Supermarkets warn that poor weather and flooding have made it difficult to get hold of perfect crops, and supermarkets are selling misshapen veg instead of rejecting them.

This is partly to support struggling British farmers.

"We're buying ugly," says Sainsbury's, next to pictures of a tomato shaped like a teapot and a parsnip apparently seconded from the props department of Doctor Who.

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