The Papers: Covid ‘jab joy’ and public sector pay ‘blow’

By BBC News



image captionThe Daily Telegraph leads on comments from Defence Secretary Ben Wallace that the armed forces must recruit “specialists” in fields such as cyber technology if they are to win future wars. Elsewhere, it reports that dozens of mass vaccination centres will be set up and thousands of healthcare staff recruited to immunise people against coronavirus – with the first location confirmed as Derby from mid-December.
image captionThe i says the UK is preparing to carry out the first vaccinations against Covid-19 in the next two weeks – as Pfizer seeks clearance for a roll-out of its vaccine. The health secretary is expected to outline plans on Friday, the newspaper adds.
image captionThe Sun says up to one million people a day are to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in a “record-breaking push to beat the virus”. The NHS is expected to recruit more than 40,000 extra workers, it reports, with Pfizer expecting approval for its vaccine “within days”.
image caption“New jab joy,” is the Daily Star’s headline. The newspaper says a third Covid-19 vaccine – developed in the UK – is safe and especially effective on the over 65s.
image captionThe Daily Express says 40 mass vaccination centres will be set up across England. It quotes Downing Street sources as saying the prime minister is fighting for “everyone to have as normal a Christmas as possible”. Like many of Friday’s papers, it features a photograph of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh reading cards marking their 73rd wedding anniversary.
image captionThe Daily Mail reports that millions of public sector workers face a pay squeeze to help pay for the pandemic. The newspaper says Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to unveil a cap on wage increases set at or below inflation in next week’s spending review. Teachers, police and civil servant are among those who will be affected, the Mail reports, with only nurses and doctors exempt.
image captionThe Guardian leads with the same story, calling it a “new spending row” as the chancellor “puts squeeze on public sector salaries”. Meanwhile, it reports that a Cabinet Office inquiry into allegations of bullying by Home Secretary Priti Patel found evidence that she broke the ministerial code.
image captionThe Times leads on the Cabinet Office report, saying Boris Johnson will defend Priti Patel on Friday, pointing to the report’s conclusions that her actions may have have been “unintentional”. The prime minister will refuse to publish the full investigation, the newspaper adds.
image captionThe Daily Mirror reports that the government is facing court action over the deaths of 20,000 care home residents during the pandemic.
image captionThe Metro says price comparison site CompareTheMarket has been fined £17.9m by the competition watchdog for making home insurance premiums artificially high. The company said it “fundamentally disagreed” with the findings, the newspaper reports.

Reports that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to announce a new freeze on public sector pay at next week’s Spending Review make the front pages of the Guardian, the Times and Daily Mail.

According to the Guardian, the plans are part of a wider Whitehall savings drive, aimed at tackling record levels of government borrowing.

The paper says it’s understood the squeeze on wages will not affect NHS staff, to “avoid triggering public anger” over the treatment of doctors and nurses who’ve been working on the frontline throughout the pandemic.

But the Daily Mail says the move will still prove controversial – with workers including teachers and police officers being asked to help plug the “black hole” in the nation’s finances.

image copyrightPA Media

image captionSome of the newspapers report that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to announce a new freeze on public sector pay at next week’s Spending Review

The Times says Mr Sunak is expected to say a pay freeze is “only fair”, when many in the private sector have lost their jobs.

The front pages of both the Times and Guardian also feature the inquiry into bullying allegations made against Home Secretary Priti Patel.

The Times says Boris Johnson will set out to defend his “embattled” minister, and will reject calls for her resignation – despite the inquiry’s conclusion that she breached the ministerial code.

The paper says Mr Johnson will also refuse to publish the full Cabinet Office investigation into Ms Patel’s behaviour which preceded the inquiry.

The Telegraph leads on an interview with Defence Minister Ben Wallace, who tells the paper that the number of personnel in the armed forces is set to decline over the next five years, as the focus turns away from “boots on the ground” to cyber-technology.

Spelling out how the government plans to use the increase in defence spending announced on Thursday, Mr Wallace says the UK needs to become a “world-beater” in military satellites, lasers and drones – employing more specialists and recruiting fewer traditional soldiers.

The High Court’s decision to allow a legal challenge against the government over the death of a man who caught coronavirus in a care home is the main story in the Daily Mirror.

The paper says the case – brought by Dr Cathy Gardner following the death of her 88-year-old father – paves the way for a judicial review of thousands of Covid-19 deaths at care homes in England.

media captionCoronavirus vaccine: How close are you to getting one?

“One million jabs a day” is the headline in the Sun.

The paper says the NHS is planning to recruit 40,000 workers to help administer a coronavirus vaccine at speed as soon as one is approved.

The i newspaper says the UK is preparing to carry out the first vaccinations within a fortnight in the “biggest peacetime operation” in recent history.

The Telegraph says dozens of mass vaccination centres will be set up across the country – with one of the first confirmed locations at Pride Park football stadium in Derby.

The front page of the Daily Star is a photograph of an older man and woman, wearing masks while they wait at a bus stop. The headline: “You wait all year for a vaccine, then three come along at once.”

Lohit Soundarajan

Founder , Editor Tech Guy #Voxguy

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