Newspaper headlines: NHS pay 'insult' and EU vaccine 'volte-face'

By BBC News

  • Published
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Image source, Getty Images

A number of the papers focus on the 1% pay rise the government has recommended for NHS staff in England next year.

An "Insult to NHS heroes" is the Daily Mirror's take on the proposed pay rise. It says the increase would mean just £3.50 per week extra for the most experienced nurses.

The i reports that there is "fury" among NHS staff.

Referring to the weekly round of applause during the first lockdown, the paper quotes a doctor saying: "Is the government saying 'let them eat claps?'"

The Guardian suggests that with a final decision not due until May, ministers are "bound to come under intense pressure" to increase the offer.

The Times leads on what it calls a "significant bounce" in the polls for the Conservatives.

YouGov says its latest survey suggests the Tories have a 13-point lead over Labour, with 55% of people believing the Budget to be "fair", making it the most popular in a decade.

The Daily Telegraph's Fraser Nelson describes the numbers as "quite remarkable", with talk in Tory circles now turning to whether there is a case for an early election.

The date of May 2023 has been mentioned, with the government hoping to take advantage of a post-pandemic "economic boom".

But it's not all plain sailing for Boris Johnson, as the Daily Mail reports his problems trying to raise money for a possible £200,000 renovation of his Downing Street flat.

His fiancee, Carrie Symonds, is said to have been "inspired" by the upmarket interior designer Lulu Lytle.

It's not known how Mr Johnson will make up the potential six-figure shortfall. The Mail says it's been told that he was present when a plan was mooted to ask Tory donors to contribute.

Image source, Harpo Productions - Joe Pugliese
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Oprah Winfrey's interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will air in the US on Sunday

"Pour yourself a large vino, snuggle on the sofa and watch the sparks fly" is the i's advice ahead of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's interview with Oprah Winfrey, which is due to air in the US on Sunday night.

The release of a clip in which Meghan accuses the "The Firm" of "perpetuating falsehoods" about them has done little to dampen expectations.

The Sun suggests the fallout from it could be the biggest crisis for the monarchy since the death of Princess Diana.

"There will be no holding back" is the Guardian's prediction, while the Daily Express thinks it will "surely implode like so many other Kamikaze Royal interviews".

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have suggested genetically modified grey squirrels could be released into the wild to tackle Britain's burgeoning population of the species.

The Daily Telegraph says the plan would involve them passing on infertility genes.

There's concern about grey squirrels because they out-compete the native red squirrel, strip trees of their bark and prey on chicks.

Ministers are also looking at measures to control greys, with culls and oral contraceptives being considered.

Finally, "any fool can do it", lacking "grandeur and skill" and "an occupation for an articulated suit" are just some of the phrases employed by Jeremy Paxman to describe... news reading.

In the latest instalment of what the Times calls his "long festered grudge" against the profession, the University Challenge host says its no different to "reading aloud at school".

The paper notes viewers will be delighted that "semi-retirement has not mellowed The Grand Inquisitor".