UK newspaper review: Economic news dominates front pages

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Media captionJenni Russell, columnist for The Times, and a former speech writer to Margaret Thatcher, Tim Collins, discuss the morning's papers.

Economic news features on several front pages, with many papers taking heart from Bank of England governor Mark Carney's suggestion that the recovery is gathering pace.

Mr Carney smiles from the front page of the Financial Times, although the Times notes the improving outlook means interest rates are likely to rise earlier than expected, causing the cost of borrowing to go up. Its cartoonist uses the opportunity to poke fun at Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, who's previously been a critic of the government over the lack of growth.

It pictures him using his body to hide not so much a green shoot as a bush, while insisting "Millions still see no growth". The Mail, too, jokes at Mr Balls' expense, with cartoonist Mac picturing a monastery caretaker, announcing "There's a Mr Ed Balls at the door seeking sanctuary" as monks digest the economic news.

Meanwhile, the Sun celebrates the news by advising readers: "Cheers what you should do next." Its helpful hints include checking best buy tables for the best savings interest rates and asking for a pay rise.

Reviewing the papers for the BBC News Channel, Times columnist Jenni Russell found less reason to be cheerful, saying: "It's also going to be very ambivalent for all the people in the country who've got mortgages because we've become accustomed to having such low rates for such a long time."

But fellow guest Tim Collins, a former speech writer for Margaret Thatcher, despaired at those who "dwell on the negative". He said: "It's less than 12 months since we were afraid of a triple-dip recession… we've had less than a year of economic growth and we're now having headlines saying it's growing so fast we're going to have interest rates going up."

Charles at 65

As Prince Charles marks his 65th birthday, several papers revel in an unexpected chat with the Duchess of Cornwall. Among them is the Daily Telegraph, which reproduces a portrait of the Prince of Wales on its front page, with the headline: "Hopeless, annoying, exhausting: Camilla's verdict on Charles."

Inside, the results of the eight-minute interview involve the duchess speaking in rather fonder terms of her husband, and providing some insight as to how he'll mark his coming of pensionable age: "He does quite like celebrating. He quite likes birthdays... people giving him a bit of cake, a bit of a sing-song." Later, she adds: "I rather hope we will be all caked out by the end of it."

Historian Dominic Sandbrook, writing in the Daily Mail, reckons the best birthday present for the prince would be the Queen's abdication. Meanwhile, the Daily Express uses the landmark birthday to reel off Charles's "firsts", such as being the first heir to the throne to attend primary school, take a degree and learn Welsh.

The Daily Mirror describes the prince as getting his "omnibus pass", alongside a comment by Time Magazine's Catherine Mayer - who's spent six months shadowing Charles - that he's still young at heart. And the Independent compares him to someone waiting to take over the family business, while asking whether he's a "guiding light for the 'post-retirement' work era".

National treasures

Letters written by John Lennon, Edgar Degas paintings, Barbara Hepworth sculptures and what the Times describes as the "earliest example of Charles Darwin's dreadful handwriting" are now in the ownership of the nation, thanks to a scheme allowing people to donate cultural treasures to avoid a tax bill.

The Acceptance in Lieu scheme allows people to offset or settle inheritance tax bills and this year the scheme has been extended to allow people to donate during their lifetime. "A donation by Hunter Davies, the Beatles biographer, of letters and lyrics written by John Lennon, which are now part of the British Library collection, are the first fruits," the Times notes.

The Guardian notes one of the more unusual items was the work of "self-proclaimed Latin American revolutionary" Raphael Ortiz who "picked up an axe and hacked apart a fashionable couple's piano in the name of art".

The scheme is popular among cash-strapped stately homeowners, says the Financial Times, which quotes law consultant Stephen Cooke as saying: "There's no doubt that for families who own a historic collection but are very short of liquidity... it can be an absolute lifesaver."

'Deleted' documents

Magazine Computer Weekly's claims that the Conservative Party has attempted to erase a 10-year backlog of speeches from the internet have been picked up by the papers, with the Labour-supporting Mirror quick to criticise.

"Rewriting history like this smacks of Stalinist revisionism in the Soviet Russia of the 1930s," it says.

"Some of the speeches removed from the website contain pledges from the Conservatives that they would use the internet to be a more "transparent" and "accessible" government if elected," notes the Telegraph.

Meanwhile, the Independent takes the story as an invitation to reel off "deleted broken promises". It reckons "No big NHS reorganisation", "Protecting Sure Start centres from closure" and "No cuts to child benefit" fall into that category.

The Conservatives say the move was part of a revamp to allow people to easily access the most important information.

Other highlights

  • The Times describes how three amateur surveyors "made a molehill out of a mountain" by measuring Knight's Peak on the Isle of Skye at 2,999ft 6in, causing it to be downgraded from a Munro, the name for a Scottish mountain
  • The Daily Mail seems surprised by Solihull being declared the UK's "best place to live"
  • And after a report suggested gammon joints and parmesan were among the goods most often stolen from the High Street, the Sun hears from two professional women who are "addicted to shoplifting"