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Newspaper headlines: End to pay freeze and Facebook 'in the dock'

Super Admin 19 Oct 26

By BBC News

Image caption, The i newspaper looks ahead to the Budget on Wednesday as it reports that Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been warned of a lack of cash for schools. The paper reports that the chancellor has appeared to rule out longer school days and extra tutoring to help students who have been badly affected by Covid lockdowns. It also says he will confirm an end to the freeze on public sector pay but that pay rises for teachers, civil servants and military will not be confirmed for months.
Image caption, The Daily Telegraph also leads on the Budget as it reports that more than five million public sector workers are set to receive a salary increase next year with Chancellor Rishi Sunak expected to announce the end of the "Covid salary freeze". It reports the chancellor will argue that economic growth is "firmly back on track" after lockdowns.
Image caption, "Rishi's pay rise for 7 million" is the Daily Mail's headline but it asks "how will we afford it?" The paper says around 5.6 million staff - including nurses, teachers and members of the Armed Forces - will have an increase from April when the freeze ends.
Image caption, The Daily Express leads on the same story - it says eight million will get a pay rise as "Rishi makes work pay". It also reports on the increase to the national minimum wage to £9.50 an hour.
Image caption, The Guardian also leads on the plan to scrap the public sector pay freeze which it says comes "amid cost of living crisis". It says economists have warned that the measures "would not compensate for inflation rises and cuts to universal credit". The front page also carries the picture and quotes from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen who gave evidence about the tech giant to MPs on Monday.
Image caption, The Times quotes Ms Haugen saying that bullying on Instagram "follows children into their bedrooms" and that Facebook - which owns Instagram - knows this. But the paper's lead story is on drivers being told to brace for a winter of rising costs. It comes as the cost of petrol hit a record high.
Image caption, "Recycling trashed by Boris" is the headline on the Metro which says the prime minister has been accused of "losing the plot" the week before the COP26 climate summit. Mr Johnson told an audience of children at No 10 that "recycling isn't the answer" and did not "begin to address the problem".
Image caption, Meanwhile the Daily Mirror focuses on a different environmental story as it reports on campaigners trying to make MPs vote to stop sewage polluting rivers and seas. "The filth and the fury" is the headline.
Image caption, The Financial Times reports that the UK's spy agencies have contracted Amazon's cloud computing arm to host classified material in a deal "aimed at boosting the use of data analytics and artificial intelligence in espionage". The paper says the deal - estimated to be worth between £500m and £1bn - is "likely to ignite sovereignty concerns" with most of the UK's top secret data being held by a US tech company.
Image caption, The Daily Star has a humorous take on the driver shortage as it says Britain is now facing a lack of bus drivers as they quit to become truckers "on £70,000". It says "You wait ages for a bus…and none come along".
Image caption, The Sun reports that Netflix drama The Crown is to recreate the infamous Martin Bashir interview with Princess Diana - despite a plea from her son, the Duke of Cambridge, not to. The tabloid reports that the show is to focus an entire episode on the 1995 interview.

Several front pages highlight the chancellor's decision to end the public sector pay freeze.

The Daily Telegraph says the move reinforces Boris Johnson's push to make the UK a "high-skills, high-wage" economy - but has also led to warnings about inflation.

"How will we afford it?", asks the Daily Mail - which notes that the Treasury has already made spending pledges worth billions, on top of the UK's estimated bill of £400bn to pay for the Covid crisis.

The Guardian features comments by the general secretary of the TUC, Frances O'Grady, who has warned that many household budgets will have been "hammered" by the time the increase to wages comes into effect next year.

Image caption, The Times warns drivers should "brace for a winter of rising costs"

The main news for the Times is the record price of petrol, after the average climbed to almost 143 pence a litre.

The paper's headline says drivers have been told to "brace for a winter of rising costs" - with sharp increases in the price of oil exacerbated by retailers increasing their profit margins to recoup losses after petrol sales plummeted during the lockdowns.

According to the Sun, the high prices at the pumps have forced the chancellor to ditch plans to raise fuel duty in his Budget on Wednesday.

With the headline "Recycling trashed by Boris", Metro reports that the prime minister has been accused of "completely losing the plastic plot" as he answered questions about climate change at Downing Street on Monday.

It says he told an audience of children that recycling "isn't the answer" - describing it as a "red herring" that "doesn't begin to address the problem" of plastic waste.

The Daily Telegraph says Mr Johnson instead urged people to use less plastic.

The Daily Mirror says campaigners are making a final attempt to stop sewage polluting rivers and seas - after Conservative MPs blocked measures to control water companies in a Commons vote last week.

The paper claims there were three million hours of sewage discharges across the UK in 2020 - up from 293,000 hours in 2019 - but just 22 Tory rebels voted against weakening an amendment to the Environment Bill that sought to prevent water firms from carrying out the practice.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Campaigners are making a last-ditch attempt to stop sewage polluting rivers, according to the Daily Mirror

According to the Guardian, the Conservatives are "on the back foot" over the issue after a "weekend of anger" - prompting the government to launch a defensive social media campaign.

It says many Tory MPs published "almost identical" explainers about the vote - including information supplied by No 10 - claiming the costs incurred by immediately banning sewage discharges would be too great.

The front page of the Financial Times has details of a deal between Britain's three spy agencies and Amazon - which will see the US tech giant store top secret intelligence files on its cloud service.

The paper says the move is aimed at allowing spies to share information more easily - but warns the contract is "likely to ignite sovereignty concerns" - as a vast amount of the UK's most secret data will be hosted overseas. GCHQ is said to have wanted to find a UK cloud provider - but it became clear none had the scale or capacity needed.