Newspaper headlines: 'Meal deal chancellor' and £30bn rescue plan

Rishi Sunak Image copyright DOWNING STREET
Image caption The chancellor broke with Tory orthodoxy, according to the Daily Mail

The papers are dominated by the chancellor's mini-budget, and gorge on the opportunities for food-related headlines that his discount-dining scheme offers.

"Grab a £10 Rishi Dishi" says the front page of Metro - with the trade body UK Hospitality telling the paper the initiative is a "huge bonus".

"Rishi Dishes up £30 billion budget of hope" is the headline in the Daily Express.

The Daily Mail says though lunch may be on the chancellor, "we will all have to pick up the tab". It calls his policy announcements a "feast of freebies", and describes it as a definite "break from Tory orthodoxy."

The Times spells out just how expensive that feast is. When added to the other measures to support the economy , it means £189bn is being spent "nursing" the country through the Covid crisis.

That's more than the government spends on actual nurses and indeed the entirety of the health service, the paper says.

The Financial Times calculates borrowing of £350bn will be needed this year to pay for it all. It predicts the deficit will balloon to twice the level seen in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Even so, the Daily Mirror wanted Mr Sunak to do more. "Chicken Feed" is its headline, as it quotes Labour criticism that the country was "promised a New Deal" but was instead "delivered a meal deal".

The Sun admits some doubts as to whether the strategy will work, but nonetheless praises it as a "staggering package of giveaways" which will "go down a treat with our readers".

Camilla Tominey, in the Daily Telegraph, considers the chancellor's remarkably rapid rise. "It is still hard to believe that less than a year ago, he was leading a government consultation on the accessibility of disabled lavatories", she writes.

Paul Waugh, in HuffpostUK, says there's considerable support in the party for Mr Sunak's approach. It says he ended yesterday to the sound of Tory MPs on the 1922 Committee banging their desks in approval.

That from a body, he points out, which is "not normally in favour of borrowing-fuelled spending sprees".

Nonetheless, the Financial Times argues, at some point the Chancellor must ultimately stabilise the public finances. "Mr Sunak will not be able to play Santa Claus forever", it says.

The main story for the tabloids is the latest evidence from the High Court involving the Hollywood actor, Johnny Depp, who is suing the Sun newspaper for libel for its description of him as a "wife-beater."

The Sun itself reports how Mr Depp was accused in court of "kicking and slapping" his former partner, Amber Heard, on a "drink- and drug-fuelled rage on a private jet." Mr Depp denies ever being violent towards Ms Heard; the case continues.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Johnny Depp denies being violent towards ex-wife Amber Heard in a libel case against the Sun

The so-called Great Firewall of China - the vast apparatus that limits free use of the country's internet - appears to have "descended on Hong Kong", the Guardian reports.

It says the free and open access to websites which was previously one of the territory's most important advantages now appears in "dramatic decline".

The Guardian describes many people in Hong Kong "rushing to erase their digital footprint" of any signs of dissent, or support for the last year of protests.

As well as private citizens, the FT, says the censorship of the internet has left western tech companies with big questions about how much leeway they will have.

They must now ask themselves whether they will have to abandon Hong Kong, with Singapore looking like the most obvious refuge in Asia, the FT reports.

It says it has learned at least one Big Tech company is considering a "total retreat from the territory".

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The Whiteleaved Oak has stood near Eastnor Castle, in Herefordshire, for 500 years, the Times reports, and was venerated by pagans who favoured it as a site to observe the summer solstice.

Seemingly it wasn't treated with such reverence by campers last weekend however. They left a fire unattended and set the tree ablaze.

All that remains, says the Times, is a "charred stump".  It was a "fantastic tree", the local fire chief says, with its demise reinforcing a message he have been trying to get across: in this dry weather "have barbecues at home in your own garden".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Endangered New Zealand shore plover

Finally, the Guardian reports on the faltering attempts to help the world's most endangered species of plover.

During lockdown, 29 of the birds were taken to a specially selected, predator-free island in New Zealand, but now appear to have "absconded".

The conservationist leading the attempts to boost shore plover numbers explains: "It is frustrating, we can give them strict instructions, but they choose not to obey." He adds: "We persist."