Many of the front pages consider what could be included in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement on Thursday.
“Energy bills to soar for millions” is the headline in the Sunday Times, reporting that Mr Hunt will cut support for households dealing with rising gas and electricity costs by up to £40bn.
According to the Mail on Sunday, the chancellor’s economic statement will also include plans to reduce the 45p income tax threshold, meaning the highest earners would start paying the top rate of tax at £125,000, rather than £150,000. But the paper says some Tory MPs fear that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is “over-correcting and jeopardising the Conservatives’ reputation as a low tax party”.
Mr Sunak will “invoke the spirit of Margaret Thatcher” by saying “there is no alternative” to tax hikes and spending cuts, reports the Sunday Express. But in an interview with the Sunday Times, Mr Hunt insists he will “put people ahead of ideology”.
Writing in the Sun on Sunday, the chancellor says that if the government “gets this right” it can “lay the foundations of a prosperous economy”.
But in the same paper, Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves writes that “Britain’s potential is being wasted”. She sets out her economic vision, including what she calls a “proper” windfall tax on energy firms, scrapping tax loopholes and tackling “tax-dodging by big businesses”.
In the Sunday Telegraph, Chief Secretary to the Treasury John Glen pledges to “root out” government waste. He writes that it’s “outrageous that public money is being soaked up by the system when it could be put towards areas that really need it” and suggests selling under-used government buildings, cracking down on fraud and “harnessing innovation”.
The Observer says Mr Hunt is expected to make clear that he is “in large part having to repair damage” caused by Liz Truss. The paper reports on figures from the Resolution Foundation think tank, which estimate the former prime minister’s mini-budget in September cost the UK £30bn – roughly half of the fiscal hole in the government’s budget the Treasury says it needs to fill.
The front page of the Sunday Times features a photograph of two smiling women draped in Ukrainian flags as they celebrate Russia’s retreat from the city of Kherson. The paper says the withdrawal is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most embarrassing defeat since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, adding it “is arguably the biggest personal humiliation of his 22-year rule”.
In the Sunday Telegraph, immigration minister Robert Jenrick says he wants to end the policy of housing asylum seekers in hotels.
He writes that “human decency has to be accompanied by hard-headed common sense”, adding that “illegal immigrants are not entitled to luxury hotels”. Mr Jenrick says the “debate needs to shift from managing the symptoms of the problems to the cure” and insists the government is working to stop what he calls “economic migrants” from crossing the English Channel.
The Sun on Sunday reports that one in 20 nurses in England does around £7,000 worth of unpaid overtime every year. The research comes from a survey by NHS England – which also revealed staff worked at least 11 hours per week for free. Labour tells the paper that the health service “has become dependent on the goodwill of overworked staff”.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay has warned in the Sunday Telegraph that the demand by striking nurses for a 17% pay rise will drive up inflation. He writes that he has “immense gratitude” for the work done by nurses, but believes their pay demands are “neither reasonable nor affordable”.
The Sunday Mirror reports that Matt Hancock has been criticised by his local vicar during a church sermon. It says the Reverend Max Drinkwater told parishioners in Haverhill in Suffolk that the former health secretary had neglected his constituents by appearing on the ITV reality show I’m A Celebrity…. Get Me Out Of Here.