Newspaper headlines: 'Pay squeeze', Black Friday and opera tweets

In the wake of the Autumn Statement, the papers disagree about analysis that suggests the outlook for wages and living standards is bleak.

"Picking over Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said that by 2021, real wages in the UK - pay adjusted for inflation - will still not have recovered to their 2008 level before the global financial crisis hit," reports the Guardian on its front page.

"Young people have been worst affected by a squeeze on wages since the crisis and now the effects of the vote to leave the EU look set to prolong that pain well into a second decade, on the IFS's reckoning.

"Pensioners, on the other hand, would be largely protected from an expected sharp pick-up in inflation on the back of a weaker pound.

"The think tank also said Hammond had done little to put 'more money in people's pockets', despite government pledges to help 'just about managing' families."

The Mail is not convinced, declaring: "Who are they trying to kid?"

The paper says IFS director Paul Johnson said the situation was "dreadful", but "furious" Tory MPs lined up to dismiss the forecasts.

They said it showed the IFS had its "Brexit gloom glasses" on and that there was a "race to the bottom" among Remain-backing economic forecasters, says the Mail.

The paper adds that Downing Street also hit out at the predictions.

The Sun rounds on the chancellor, saying Mr Hammond "blew billions on building projects instead of helping struggling workers".

It continues: "The Institute for Fiscal Studies said a predicted tiny earnings increase will not be enough to offset the jumbo drop after 2008."

The Times states: "The forecasts provoked a backlash from Tory MPs who said that they were too gloomy and likely to be wrong."

The Telegraph reports that the prime minister's official spokesman said the figures were misleading because they did not take into account the impact of tax cuts, benefits and pensions.


Grafters and strivers

The Guardian says the IFS findings should ring alarm bells.

"The reasons are now well known: lower business investment, scared off by Brexit uncertainty, will result in lower productivity and sink wage growth," it comments.

"The drop in sterling, sparked by the fears of Britain's departure from the continent, has pushed up inflation. Real wages will flatline next year and looming benefit cuts will squeeze living standards.

"This points to a dark time ahead for a country already split over attitudes to Europe and polarised by political forces once considered on the fringe, but now firmly in the mainstream."

The Mail says Michael Gove's statement during the EU referendum that people had had enough of experts comes to mind again.

"The truth is that nobody knows what the shape of the British or global economy will be in five years' time and all the experts in the world can't change that fact," declares the Mail.

The Mirror says grafters and strivers will find their wages will be worth less no matter how hard they work.

"The government's actions - in this case wages lower than they should be - speak much louder than honeyed words from a PM either in denial or deliberately misleading working families," it concludes.

For the Sun, the "shocking" figures prove just how dismal the the plight of struggling workers has been - and will remain for years.

"Mr Hammond is gambling billions on infrastructure hoping for a long-term gain," says the Sun. "He should have cut lower-rate tax and put more money now in workers' pockets."


Friday fever

Thursday was Thanksgiving in America which means it is Black Friday, when the crowds hit the shops.

The Times reports that retail analysts have predicted that huge discounts online and on the High Street will lead to a mountain of waste being sent to landfill as bargain-hunters buy millions of goods they will never use.

The paper says goods worth more than £200m will eventually be dumped, and a further £440m will be spent on upgrades to TVs or gadgets that people already own and the old items thrown away.

Jakob Rindegren, of the Environmental Services Association, tells the Times: "There is a link between consumption and waste, so when people buy more things on Black Friday there will be an increase in how much gets thrown away.

"It is inevitable that people will buy more at these times but shoppers should be conscious of the environmental impact of their purchase and try to understand what happens to items they throw away."

Image copyright AFP

In its business pages, the Guardian says Britons are expected to embark on a record-breaking £1.3bn spending spree on the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

"The American concept has taken the UK by storm, with desperate retailers launching discounts even earlier than usual this year as the battle for Christmas shoppers intensifies," it continues.

"Some of the High Street's biggest names, including Tesco, Argos, Currys PC World and Amazon, have upped the ante, offering more discounts spread over more days, and in Tesco's case opening its largest stores at 5am."

The Sun says shoppers will go Black Friday crazy while the Mirror predicts that Black Friday fever will sweep the country.

The Express says: "Retailers are hoping for another record Black Friday today, despite fears that shoppers are suffering sales fatigue."

Matt's cartoon in the Telegraph has the Three Wise Men scrapping over a Black Friday sale of frankincense and myrrh.


Eye-catching headlines

  • Gritty McGritface? Definitely not: Despite this being the year that the country voted to name the UK's £200m polar research ship Boaty McBoatface, Oldham Council has posted a picture of a new gritting vehicle and asked for suggestions on what to call it - but it will not necessarily be named after the most popular suggestion Times
  • One man's mission to get measure of metric signs: Retired Derek Norman, 82, has changed or removed nearly 2,000 "illegal" metric road signs since he began his campaign in 2000 when he was incensed after discovering EU plans to turn the country "completely metric" ahead of the UK's expected accession into the eurozone Telegraph
  • Ghostly appearance for lost chiller by HG Wells: A newly discovered HG Wells ghost story called The Haunted Ceiling, a macabre tale that scholars were unaware of and was found in a University of Illinois archive by the editor of The Strand Magazine, will be published for the first time this week Guardian
  • Cold war: Iceland takes on Iceland over trademark: The Icelandic government is escalating its cold war against the British supermarket chain Iceland by launching legal action against the use of its name The i

A tweet at the opera

Finally, the Times carries news that opera companies including Opera North and English National Opera are experimenting with allowing the audience to tweet about performances live.

"As the lights go down and the orchestra strikes up, opera audiences have traditionally settled in for several hours of uninterrupted passion, melodrama and the occasional joke," says the Times.

"Not so a new generation, who wish to augment the experience by looking down at their phones to type: 'OMG I'm really excited about the reveal'."

An ENO spokeswoman tells the paper that its priority is to ensure that such activity does not disturb the audience or the performers.

"However, we do want to continue to develop new ways to encourage people to share their experiences at ENO and so continue to think about how this and other innovations might take place in a way that works well for everyone," she added.