BBC News

Newspaper headlines: Test and trace 'can't cope' and jobs aid 'triples'

By BBC News

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image captionThe chancellor was trying to avert mass unemployment over the winter, the Financial Times said

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been forced to "dig deeper" because of anger at the level of support for jobs, according to the Guardian.

It says his rescue package was an attempt to appease northern MPs. It also questions Mr Sunak's assertion that he was responding to the spread of the virus, pointing out that business groups and think tanks had highlighted flaws in the job support scheme last month.

The Financial Times says the chancellor wanted to avert "a winter of mass unemployment" and that the latest measures have "buoyed" the hospitality sector.

The Daily Telegraph thinks the £13bn package will "keep business alive". It amounts, in the paper's view, to a continuation of the furlough scheme - with the government picking up the tab for almost half the wages of many workers.

But the Telegraph wonders about the timing of a promise to give £22m of backdated support to Greater Manchester - just a day after Boris Johnson fell out with local leaders over a request for an extra £5m.

It thinks this raises questions about communications between 10 and 11 Downing Street. The Daily Express, however, says the prime minister and his chancellor presented "a united front".

It thinks that for businesses, the measures may be the difference between life and death. But for the paper, the mystery is why the chancellor didn't act sooner.

The Guardian editorial agrees he is playing "catch-up", re-writing his winter plan even before the clocks went back.

It says Mr Sunak has steered "a charmed course" through the pandemic, but the need for the latest intervention should make those who've put their chips on him "stop and think".

The Daily Telegraph believes he "shot Labour's fox" because the package was more generous than expected - leaving the opposition peddling what the paper calls "the ridiculous idea of an England-wide lockdown".

But the £11bn price tag worries the Sun, which says it's the equivalent to the entire annual police budget for England and Wales. It thinks that eventually we will have to find a way to live with the virus.

Moving ministers north

"Covid cases up to 90,000 a day - and Test and Trace can't cope" is how the i newspaper sums the situation up.

It also carries a poll suggesting the majority of people support a two-week circuit breaker, but they want the rules relaxed at Christmas.

The Daily Mail's front page story is based on a Lancet study which questions the effectiveness of ordering people to stay at home.

The Edinburgh University research says that after a month of the restriction, the R rate - which measures how quickly the infection is spreading - drops by only 3 per cent.

It adds that a ban on gatherings of more than ten also cuts the R by the same amount.

The findings - based on an assessment of 130 countries - found the main flaw was an inability to ensure people complied with the rules.

The Times reports the prime minister intends to move ministers and their departments to northern cities as part of his pledge to "level up" the country.

It says a quarter of the 92,000 civil servants who work in London could be relocated by the end of the decade, including the Department of Work and Pensions and the Home Office.

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image captionFootballer and free school meals campaigner Marcus Rashford helped out at a foodbank

The campaign by the England footballer, Marcus Rashford, for free school meals to be extended throughout the holidays makes the front page of the Daily Mirror and the Daily Star.

Under the headline "This is what compassion looks like", the Mirror pictures Rashford helping at a foodbank after the Commons voted down his proposal.

Ministers insist that help is best targeted through the benefits system.

But the Star lampoons MPs for rejecting the idea, printing an example of the subsidised menu which is available in Parliament. "Let them eat steak!", it says, "with a nice Béarnaise sauce, obviously."

And the Daily Mail hails the "great-gran who spoke for Britain" when she vowed not to spend her life locked indoors.

It thinks 83-year-old Maureen Eames from Barnsley struck a chord with millions with the comments she made in a BBC interview.

She tells the Daily Telegraph: "We were bombed in the Blitz... we didn't surrender then and we shouldn't now."

media captionPeople in Barnsley town centre react to tier three restrictions being announced