Reactions to Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement dominate UK front pages on Friday, with the Guardian’s headline reading “From bad to worse”. The paper reports that the chancellor’s £30bn of delayed spending cuts and £25bn of backdated tax increases “laid bare the country’s dire economic predicament”.
The i splashes with “UK’s lost decade”, and what the paper calls the “biggest drop in living standards on record … sending British earnings back to 2013”.
Its report says the country is paying the price for “Putin’s war in Ukraine, the pandemic, Brexit policies and Liz Truss’s damage to market confidence”.
Usually reliably sympathetic to the Tory party, the Daily Mail turns its ire on Hunt’s budget with the headline “Tories soak the strivers”.
The paper’s political editor reports that the overall tax burden will be pushed to its “highest level since the second world war”, with “with highest earners hardest hit”.
The verdict of the paper’s star columnist, Sarah Vine, is carried on the front page: “And there was me thinking we’d voted in the Conservatives!”
The Telegraph too is blunt in its assessment, quoting an economist in its headline: “‘The rhetoric of Osborne… with the policies of Brown’”.
The paper’s main story says that Britain’s welfare bill is to rise by almost “£90bn after Jeremy Hunt shielded benefit claimants and pensioners from soaring inflation with a raid on workers”.
Tory peer and former Brexit negotiator David Frost writes in a front page opinion piece that “The ship has been steadied – but we’re all left with less money of our own.”
The Mirror’s headline simply reads “Carnage”. The paper quotes shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves as saying that “all the country got today was an invoice for the economic carnage that the government has created.”
The Times writes that as the chancellor seeks to balance the books, there will be “Years of tax pain ahead”.
The Financial Times carries a similar headline with “Hunt paves way for years of pain,” quoting the chancellor as saying “We need to give the world confidence in our ability to pay our debts”.
Scotland’s Daily Record harks back to another era of Tory rule with the headline “You’ve never had it so bad”, as does Metro.
The Record says that after 12 years of Conservative rule the UK faces its “biggest-ever clump in living standards” as well as a “surge in unemployment and a year-long recession”.
The Express is able to find some good new in it all however. Splashed on to a full page image of Hunt, the paper claims “Victory” in its campaign to secure a 10.1% increase in the state pension, saying it will “help millions cope with the cost-of-living crisis”.
The Sun, meanwhile, relegates the autumn statement to a small article on its front page, with the headline “Tax hell.. Thank God for the footie!”