Newspaper headlines: PM pledges 'building blitz' amid unemployment fears

Boris Johnson Image copyright Wiktor Szymanowicz/Getty Images

"Billions to get Britain Booming" is how the Mail on Sunday headlines its interview with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The paper says he's promising "a building blitz" of hospitals, houses, roads and rail to save the economy from the effects of the pandemic. The details will be set out in a speech on Tuesday which he calls "a very big moment", it reports. It also shows Mr Johnson doing press-ups to quash what it calls "Westminster rumours" about his health. According to the Mail, he also reveals he helps with night feeds and nappies for his two-month-old son, Wilfred.

The Observer has a more downbeat view of the post-lockdown landscape, with a warning from Labour that jobless totals could hit 1980s levels of more than three million without fresh state support. According to the paper, Labour says the most urgent need is to protect jobs in sectors that don't yet know when they can re-open - such as gyms, nightclubs and conference centres.

There are fears that a first local lockdown could be imposed after a spike of coronavirus in Leicester, according to the Sunday Times. The paper says there's been an outbreak in food production plants and reports that the virus is spreading through large gatherings outside takeaway restaurants. It quotes a source close to Health Secretary Matt Hancock as saying he has been studying the legislation and is "quite worried" about the situation.

Writing in the Spectator, ITV's political editor, Robert Peston, says he's been told the data doesn't yet show that a full lockdown is required.

Papers in the US have been analysing the alarming surge in virus cases there. The Washington Post describes it as an "historic failure" that exposes "a crisis in governance extending from the Oval Office to state capitals to city councils". It says what it calls the "dysfunction of Trump's White House" has been "particularly ill-suited for a viral outbreak that requires precision, focus and steady leadership".

The New York Times says the "shared sacrifice of millions of Americans with jobs lost, businesses shuttered, and daily routines upended has not been enough". It concludes that "many governors underestimated the coronavirus and rushed to reopen before their states were ready".

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The Sunday Telegraph leads with the story that the country's top civil servant is likely to lose his job this week in what it calls a "Whitehall revolution" by the PM. It says Sir Mark Sedwill's departure will be a clear sign the long planned shake-up of the civil service by Mr Johnson's chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, is "gathering pace". The article also notes there is now a rival power base after what it calls "the surprise appointment" of Simon Case to the new post of permanent secretary in No 10.

The controversial planning application approved by the housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, is the top story in the Sunday Times. It says senior officials "begged" him to block the £1bn property deal from the Conservative donor Richard Desmond. The paper says it's been told by a Whitehall source that Mr Jenrick dismissed warnings the luxury housing plan broke planning rules via text messages to a junior aide. The Sunday Times believes the source's claim that Mr Jenrick showed "total disregard" for the law in the run-up to the decision will reignite calls for his resignation. A government official told the paper the decision-making process was thorough and there was no question of bias.

The Observer reports allegations from the US that the Russians secretly offered to pay Taliban-linked fighters to kill British and American troops in Afghanistan. The paper says it was part of a "major escalation" by Moscow to de-stabilise the White House while president Trump was seeking a peace deal. It says Mr Trump was briefed on the activity months ago - but Bloomberg News says that has been denied by the White House.

Private schools are accusing the government of ignoring their offers to help state school pupils with catch-up sessions over the summer, according to the Sunday Telegraph. The paper says it's seen a letter from Christopher King, the chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools, expressing his frustration to the education secretary. Mr King says private schools could make a "significant difference" to the education of children in their local community at minimal or no cost to parents. The paper doesn't include a government response.

The Sunday Telegraph carries a warning about the vanity of people using zoom and other video-conferencing tools. Dermatologists have told the paper that growing numbers of people have been using laser pens to try to remove their freckles. Experts warn the devices can lead to burns and scarring and even hide signs of melanoma which can allow the cancer to spread undetected. The paper says the British Association of Dermatologists wants the devices banned.

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And the Sunday Times reports that celebrities are making money in lockdown from people who pay them for a personalised insult. James Buckley, best known as Jay from The Inbetweeners, is particularly popular at £41.50 a time for his fruity language. He's reported to have earned £100,000 in three months amid a surge in demand for video greetings from famous faces. Other stars on the books will deliver more benign messages. Dick Van Dyke, now 94, is said to charge £830 a clip.