BBC News

Newspaper headlines: 'Job fears' despite chancellor's 'rescue plan'

By BBC News

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The front pages all focus on the government's new measures to support jobs when the furlough scheme ends next month, with mixed views.

The Express likens Chancellor Rishi Sunak to Harry Houdini, hailing his "daring £5bn escape plan", but the Mirror suggests millions could be out of work by Christmas - describing the package as "too little, too late".

The Times says Britain is facing a wave of redundancies after Mr Sunak conceded he could not save every job, while the Telegraph's headline highlights the chancellor's warning that the UK needs to "face up to the hard choices".

The Guardian reports that Mr Sunak refused to speculate on how high unemployment would go, as he admitted the economy was undergoing a "permanent adjustment" caused by the pandemic.

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The Sun is impressed by the chancellor's "tenacious commitment" to saving jobs, but warns he is fighting a losing battle against economic reality.

The paper's leader column describes Mr Sunak's latest measures as "a sticking plaster on a bullet hole", and suggests that his successive bailouts, though vital, "have kept Britain in denial that the worst hardships for generations lie immediately ahead of us".

It argues that rising numbers of Covid-19 cases have spooked the nation out of all proportion to the actual danger - and urges the government to "wake up" if it is taking comfort from public support for restrictions.

The focus of ministers, it claims, "should not be on closing down, but on finding ways to open up".

The Mail devotes a double-page spread to asking "Who Is In Charge?", after noting that Mr Sunak "upstaged" Boris Johnson by striking a different tone to the prime minister's "cautious" address to the nation on Tuesday.

It says Mr Sunak's new slogan, "Live Without Fear", sets out an approach that could not be in greater contrast to the "latest draconian crackdown" announced by Mr Johnson - who is described as being reduced to a "political piggy in the middle", forced to mediate between two cabinet factions divided over the need for another lockdown.

'Failing' tracing system

Teething problems with the new contact-tracing app on the first day of its release in England and Wales are widely reported.

The Times says millions of people have smartphones that are too old to use the technology.

And the Mirror is furious - arguing the whole thing is "worthless" unless ministers sort out the testing regime, which it claims has got worse despite billions of pounds of investment.

It describes the tracing system as a test of government competence - "one they are failing".

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Research which suggests just 18% of people with coronavirus symptoms are self-isolating is highlighted by the Financial Times, which says the low rate has "heightened fears" over rising case numbers.

The King's College London survey - of almost 32,000 people between March and August - also found only 11% of people who came into contact with an infected person went into quarantine.

The study found those least likely to follow the rules had dependent children, low incomes or worked in a key sector.

The shadow sports minister, Alison McGovern, has told the Mirror that "much-loved" football clubs outside the Premier League cannot be allowed to "get washed down the drain", and the government must come up with a plan to protect them from the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

She warns that football clubs have been "especially" hard-hit by failures of the track and trace system, and accuses ministers of having had "months" to get things right.

The Mirror agrees that an "urgent" government plan is needed. It says money at the top of football should be redistributed down the leagues, and lottery funding should be directed to help clubs most in need.

Dirty laundry

Finally, the Guardian is one of several papers to pick up a story first reported by the Washington Post, which claims that Israel's leader and his wife "have developed a reputation for lugging bags of dirty clothes on foreign trips, to be cleaned at another country's expense".

A member of staff at the White House guesthouse has told the Post that Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu "are the only visitors who bring actual suitcases of dirty laundry - and after multiple trips it became clear this was intentional".

Mr Netanyahu's office has denied the allegation.