Newspaper headlines: May woos business, Blair 'return' and a Winter 'blunderland'

Theresa May's aim to keep UK corporation tax low is the lead story in the Times and the Daily Telegraph.

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Both papers believe the policy is designed to build bridges with business leaders with the Times describing it a "conscious change of tone" and the Telegraph suggesting the prime minister is to "back away" from plans to force companies to put workers on their boards.

The Sun says Mrs May will adopt a "carrot-and-stick" approach to business, by offering £2bn investment to make them global hi-tech leaders "but only if they do more for society".

That policy is fleshed out by the prime minister herself, writing in the Financial Times.

Arguing that business must work with government to make sure people on modest to low incomes are not "left behind by the forces of capitalism", Mrs May claims she will "always" be one of the strongest advocates for business but warns that when a small minority "appear to game the system", the reputation of all is undermined.


'Short-term giveaways'

Several papers also look ahead to this week's Autumn Statement, after the chancellor told the BBC's Andrew Marr that uncertain times were ahead.

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The Daily Mail admits to having "grave reservations" about Philip Hammond's "zeal" for scrapping the deficit-reduction targets advocated by his predecessor, while the Times calls for him to stress long-term structural reform and "avoid short-term giveaways".

Daily Mirror columnist Kevin Maguire says a promise by Mr Hammond to help people who are Just About Managing - the so-called Jams - is "empty, until he stops robbing the wallets of the working poor".

Meanwhile, research which suggests welfare cuts will leave working families worse off by more than £2,500 a year by 2020 is featured in the Guardian.

It says the findings have "alarmed councils and charities" which are worried about increased levels of poverty and homelessness and will "increase the pressure" on Mr Hammond to offer relief to the Jam households in his Autumn Statement.


The Daily Mail says a major study carried out by government and Public Health England has found that two thirds of the fresh chicken sold in British shops is "contaminated with an E.coli superbug".

Describing the implications as "truly frightening", the Mail wants to see tougher rules on the use of antibiotics, and strict hygiene standards at abattoirs and farms. The British Retail Consortium has told the paper it is working with suppliers to minimise the presence of all bacteria.

According to the front page story in the Daily Mirror, a "secret" Conservative plan to slash £22bn of NHS funding could lead to the closure of hospitals, wards and A&E departments. It says a health think tank has warned that sustainability proposals currently being drawn up are "being used as cover" for a "huge programme of cuts".

The Mirror's editorial argues that the "terrifying depth" of the NHS crisis has been laid bare.

The editorial in the Times considers the state of Britain's trains, after more than 20 senior rail bosses wrote to the paper to call for massive investment in new technology.

The Times thinks the pitch for more funding makes "eminent sense" after "dismal underinvestment" but argues the money "must come with conditions". The most important, it says, is ending the wrecking tactics of unions.

The confirmation that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, will run for a fourth term in office is analysed by a number of papers, including the Daily Telegraph.

But its leader column is downbeat, arguing that the chances "must be high that she will lose" given the anti-Establishment mood of voters around the world. Like Mrs Thatcher, it concludes, Mrs Merkel "may yet find that she is not invulnerable".


Blair 'return'

The potential return of Tony Blair to British politics is noted by many of the papers, after the former prime minister sparked speculation he hopes to play a larger role in the Brexit debate by announcing plans to open a new London office.

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The Daily Telegraph says Eurosceptic MPs have welcomed what one describes as the "glorious news" as they believe it will increase support for leaving the EU.

But the Sun's Trevor Kavanagh is far from thrilled.

Mr Blair, he writes, is "deranged enough" to believe he could cut a better deal than Theresa May, but as a negotiator he is "a proven catastrophe".


Winter 'blunderland'

The first Winter Wonderland to disappoint customers this Christmas season is widely featured.

The Daily Mirror describing the event in Bakewell in Derbyshire as a "blunderland".

According to the Daily Express, angry visitors were forced to walk through muddy fields to reach an incomplete Santa's grotto, while the Times says one woman who planned to stay the weekend left after 20 minutes.

The Daily Telegraph questions if one can ever have a winter wonderland without snow, and concludes that muddy fields are an "inescapable part" of a British winter.