Newspaper headlines: Philip Hammond Autumn Statement and Jo Cox murder

Chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement dominates the front pages, amid forecasts that Britain will have to borrow £122bn more than expected over the next five years.

The Times reports: "Faced with ballooning borrowing driven by Brexit and weak global economic growth, Mr Hammond carried out a series of stealth tax raids to fund help for the 'just about managing' households that Theresa May has promised to assist.

"He scrapped 'salary sacrifice' tax breaks for employees' expenditure on items such as gym membership and sharply raised insurance tax in a move likely to add £10 a year to the average cost of motor insurance and £7 to that of household cover."

The Telegraph says the chancellor's statement was one of the most conservative in recent history, containing relatively minimal changes to tax and spending policies.

"The flagship part of the hour-long speech was a pledge to spend £23bn on infrastructure in the coming years," the Telegraph continues.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Philip Hammond delivered his first - and last - Autumn Statement

The Guardian says the first official projections conducted after the vote of the likely impact of Brexit pointed to significantly weaker growth when the UK leaves the EU.

"With the Treasury now expecting public finances to be deep in the red until the next parliament, Hammond offered only modest handouts to the 'just about managing' families that Theresa May's government said it wanted to help, though he repeatedly used the mantra of 'building an economy that works for everyone'," says the Guardian.

For the i, Mr Hammond steeled the UK for tough economic days ahead in a sombre statement.

The Financial Times saw it as a statement dominated by the predicted effects of quitting the EU.

Matt's cartoon in the Telegraph has a man watching the Autumn Statement on TV saying: "I'm one of the people who are Just About Managing to stay awake."


Rest of the press

  • Mr Hammond, who has been criticised by this newspaper for his gloomy tone, struck a markedly different note yesterday Mail
  • Mr Hammond put a bold plan to raise productivity of British industry at the centre of the Autumn Statement Express
  • In a major break from six years of Tory belt-tightening, Mr Hammond opened up the spending taps to unveil a package for extra housing, roads, broadband and science Sun
  • Chancellor Philip Hammond yesterday admitted the Tories will break their promise to balance the books by 2020 as a borrowing splurge sends the national debt soaring to record levels Mirror
  • Chancellor Philip Hammond yesterday vowed "a new future" for post-Brexit Britain as he unveiled a mini-Budget for struggling families Star

Sense and Sensibility

In a leading article, the Times says Mr Hammond's challenge was to find ways to save and invest at the same time, but his main achievement was to channel the voice of common sense.

"As Britain prepares to leave Europe it is right to borrow to invest," says the Times.

"These are unique circumstances that also justify the decision to abandon the goal of a budget surplus by 2020, which this newspaper supported until the referendum."

The Telegraph believes the chancellor missed an opportunity to "join some of the dots" about the future.

"Despite the uncertainties over Brexit, Mr Hammond was alert to the importance of sending out a positive message - of a 'Britain open for business' and able to control its own destiny," it says.

"But there is still too little in the way of a coherent narrative from the government, and from Mrs May in particular, about where they expect the country to be in two or three years' time."

The Guardian says the statement shows "Britain's biggest foreign policy blunder of the modern age" will cost the country dear.

"The last-ever Autumn Statement was Philip Hammond's first, and it was a humiliating experience that no chancellor of this country, the world's most historic trading nation, would relish," it comments.

"Behind the bravado at the dispatch box of a 'great nation' lay a truth that should be universally acknowledged: the self-inflicted wound of Brexit is going to hurt."

Oliver Duff, editor of the i, writes that Brexit could be relatively low-impact on the economy or appalling - the reality is that no one knows.

The FT notes: "One of the rare moments of self-indulgence in Philip Hammond's first major statement of fiscal policy was his pledge to fund repairs to a stately home associated with Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

"A more appropriate literary reference for the UK chancellor might have been Austen's Sense and Sensibility - recounting a family's efforts to put a brave face on changed financial circumstances."


Notorious extremist killer

The murder of Labour MP Jo Cox is recounted after Thomas Mair was jailed for life for her killing.

As the Times reports: "When Thomas Mair's neighbours saw his face flash up on their television screens after the murder of Jo Cox, most presumed that he was an innocent bystander caught up in the violence.

"The man they called 'Tommy' was well known on the streets of Birstall, West Yorkshire, as a lonely oddball.

"Asked about his most memorable characteristic, neighbours recalled the plastic Tesco bags that Mair, 53, religiously carried around with him, or noted peculiar habits they attributed to his obsessive compulsive disorder.

"On 16 June, however, Mair ensured that, far from harmlessness, his reputation would be as the senseless assassin of a defenceless MP."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Jo Cox was the MP for Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire

The Telegraph says his actions in murdering Mrs Cox made him one of Britain's most notorious extremist killers.

The Guardian describes how Mair was a racist recluse who made a long, slow descent into murder.

"Reclusive, nervous and by his own account gripped by feelings of worthlessness, Thomas Mair struck his neighbours and many of his relatives as odd but quite harmless.

"In truth, Mair was racist and a terrorist in the making, his home stuffed with far-right books and Nazi memorabilia, and his mind brimming with a belief that white people were facing an existential threat."


Eye-catching headlines

Image copyright PA
  • Codebreaker school at Bletchley Park to break cyber-threat: Buildings at Bletchley Park, in which Alan Turing and a crew of gifted "boffins and debs" cracked German ciphers during the Second World War, will be brought back into service to train the next generation of codebreakers to combat today's cybersecurity threat Times
  • Scoop! Ice cream "is good for your brain": A Japanese scientist has found that eating ice cream for breakfast improves mental alertness in a series of clinical trials in which test subjects were required to eat ice cream immediately after waking up Telegraph
  • English fizz and ambassadorial treats as fans toast golden year for Farage at Ritz: Guests arriving at a party thrown in Nigel Farage's honour at the Ritz were greeted by pyramids of Ferrero Rocher chocolates in a joking reference to Donald Trump's proposal that the interim UKIP leader should become Britain's ambassador to the US Guardian
  • Baguette that fits your bag: A French bakery has reinvented the baguette - bending it in a U-shaped design to make the loaf fit snugly in a shopping bag Mail