Newspaper headlines: No curbs before 2022 and energy bills 'to double'

By BBC News

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Image source, Getty Images

The government's decision not to impose any new Covid measures in England before the end of the year, is the main story for most papers. The Times says the government gives the green light to New Year's Eve parties. "No fresh restrictions to spoil New Year's Eve", is the Telegraph's headline and the Daily Star says it is "Happy New Beer". The Mail welcomes the news with the headline: "Boris's New Year Cheer".

According to the Guardian, the announcement came after the prime minister was told by advisers that significant NHS pressures were coming from staff absence, rather than overcrowded intensive care units. It says ministers are expected to continue to focus efforts on vaccination, with sources saying the majority of those behind the rise in hospital admissions are unvaccinated.

The warning that average domestic energy charges may double next year makes the lead for the Express. It says the chief executive of Ovo, Stephen Fitzpatrick, has urged ministers to do more to tackle the soaring costs for consumers.

The Telegraph says it is understood the government could facilitate a deal that would give the industry access to a £20bn fund which they could repay at a rate of £2bn a year over 10 years. This would help companies to cover the cost of the short-term spike in wholesale gas prices and allow suppliers to keep a lid on consumers' bills, the paper adds.

The Telegraph reports that the law governing the sale of crossbows may be tightened after an armed intruder broke into the grounds of Windsor Castle on Christmas Day. It says Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a review of rules that currently allow anyone over 18 to buy a crossbow without needing any checks or a licence. Whitehall sources are quoted as saying officials have been told to "incorporate any lessons" from the potential attack on the Queen into a review of legislation, which was ordered earlier this year.

The Guardian says ministers have been warned that their efforts to tackle Britain's obesity crisis are likely to fail because the public are constantly bombarded by unhealthy food options. According to the paper, a report commissioned by the government's own obesity research unit found that easy access to, and availability of, unhealthy food 24 hours a day made losing weight difficult for millions of people. The report suggests that shops, supermarkets, advertisements on public transport and workplaces can make it almost impossible for people to stick to diet plans.

Finally, Winston Churchill was famous for smoking Cuban cigars. and visitors to his former home, Chartwell in Kent, have been able to buy some of his favourite brands in the gift shop for years. However, the i reports that the National Trust, which owns the property, has decided to stop selling them. The paper says the reason is not that there is any concern about profiting from tobacco sales, but simply a drop in demand for them.