The Papers: ‘Faster path to freedom’ and stamp duty ‘to be extended’
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The Papers: ‘Faster path to freedom’ and stamp duty ‘to be extended’

By BBC News


image captionWednesday’s front pages continue to focus on how the UK will emerge from lockdown. The Daily Telegraph claims the prime minister’s roadmap in England “could be accelerated” if data on the effect of vaccines is better than expected. The paper says it has been told by government sources that some of the timings set out by Boris Johnson on Monday could be reviewed.
image captionThe government is preparing to extend the stamp duty holiday by three months until the end of June, according to the Times. It says the move is an attempt by Chancellor Rishi Sunak “to keep the property market firing” as Britain emerges from lockdown.
image caption“Stampede for the great getaway” is the headline in the Daily Express, which says “lockdown-weary Britons” sent foreign holiday bookings soaring by 600%. It puts the surge down to a combination of the PM’s “optimistic roadmap” and the Covid vaccine rollout.
image captionThe same story leads the Daily Mirror, which calls it “the Great British take-off”. It carries a warning from consumer group Which? saying that making foreign travel plans is “risky”.
image captionThe Metro focuses on the prime minister saying that vaccine passports will be inevitable for foreign travel – and may also be needed to go to pubs and workplaces in the UK. The paper says Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has been tasked with looking into the possibility of “Covid status certificates”.
image captionMinisters are being urged to offer door-to-door vaccine jabs in “hard to reach, deprived and minority ethnic communities”, according to the Guardian. It says the calls have come amid mounting fears that coronavirus risks becoming a “disease of the poor”.
image captionThe i newspaper leads on schools in England giving catch-up lessons during the holidays to help children who have missed six months of classroom time because of the pandemic. It says schools will be given millions in extra dedicated funding to run the classes.
image captionThe impact of the pandemic in the United States is the lead in the Financial Times, which carries comments from the chair of the US Federal Reserve saying there is “hope for a return to more normal conditions” this year. It reports he signalled to Congress that the US central bank intended to maintain its “heavy support of the economy”.
image caption“Tiger’s terror” is the headline in the Daily Star, which reports that golf superstar Tiger Woods had suffered multiple leg injuries after a “horrific car crash”.
image captionA picture of the crash scene is also splashed across the front of the Sun, which says the golfer was cut free by firefighters after his SUV careered up an embankment before overturning near Los Angeles in California.
image captionAnd a former judge is calling for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the granting of search warrants in the VIP child sex abuse inquiry, reports the Daily Mail.

Wednesday’s front pages continue to focus on how the UK will emerge from lockdown. “Faster path to freedom if jabs exceed expectations” is the main headline for the Daily Telegraph.

It says a senior government source has suggested the dates for lifting Covid restrictions set out in the official roadmap out of lockdown could be accelerated – if data on the impact of vaccination supports the move.

The source stresses any move to speed things up would be unlikely before May, but the government has insisted the dates set out for lifting restrictions are the earliest possible – and any suggestion they could be brought forward is wrong.

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionCrete has seen a surge in bookings, according to EasyJet

For many tabloids the focus remains the prospect, however precarious, of a summer break abroad. The Daily Mirror reports a huge increase in demand for summer sunshine getaways – or as the Daily Express puts it, a “stampede for the great getaway” with companies seeing a 600% surge in bookings.

The Daily Mail claims that holiday providers closer to home are also benefiting. It says many staycation firms are “cashing in” by doubling prices for holiday cottages – pushing some short breaks to more than £1,000.

For the Times, a different type of holiday makes the lead as its headline declares “stamp duty holiday to be extended”.

The paper says Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce the move in next week’s Budget to shore up the housing market, along with further extensions for the furlough and business rates holiday schemes.

Many front pages carry pictures of the wreckage of Tiger Woods’ SUV following his crash in Los Angeles.

“Tiger horror smash” is the headline in the Sun.The Guardian reports the star golfer suffered serious leg injuries and had to be cut free by firefighters.

Online, the Los Angeles Times suggests Woods had a shattered ankle and complex leg fractures – quoting “a source familiar with his treatment”.

Local resident Irene Foster, who heard the crash from her kitchen, tells the Los Angeles Daily News that the stretch of road Woods had been travelling on is notorious for accidents and “that’s what happens along these windy roads when people drive too fast”.

Under the headline “Salmond goes to war with Sturgeon” The Daily Telegraph reports on the escalating tension between Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the former First Minister Alex Salmond.

The paper says the fresh acrimony – with Mr Salmond pulling out of testifying to a Holyrood inquiry when claims he had made about Ms Sturgeon’s conduct had been heavily redacted – displays a “shocking picture” of Scotland’s political life, with the SNP presiding over what in essence is a “one-party-state”.

“Stench of a cover up” is the take of the Scottish Daily Mail.

And according to the Daily Express, it’s not just the drama within political circles that has frayed tempers in Scotland.

The paper reports that a new Netflix thriller “Behind Her Eyes” has attracted complaints from prominent Scots, such as the Glaswegian singer who fronts Fairground Attraction, Eddi Reader – who says the show stereotypes the nation as “stingy”, bad-tempered and mean.

“Bordering on insult” is the Daily Mirror’s headline for the story.

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