image captionSir Philip Green’s retail empire Arcadia “teeters on the brink of collapse”, the FT Weekend reports, as the group prepares to enter administration, putting more than 13,000 jobs at risk. If the retail empire collapses it would be the biggest High Street casualty of the pandemic so far, the paper adds. Topshop, Burton and Wallis are among the brands included in the group. In the early 2000s, Arcadia made Sir Philip “the fastest £1bn in history”, the FT Weekend says. But the UK’s lockdown has had a “material impact”, the group said.
image captionSir Philip is being urged to use his family’s personal fortune to provide a £30m “lifeline”, the i weekend adds, with fears the group’s collapse could cause a “domino” effect. And rival tycoon Mike Ashley, owner of Sports Direct and House of Fraser, is reportedly interested in buying Arcadia brands – but at a reduced price.
image caption“No shame” is the headline on the front of the Daily Mirror, as the paper reports that Sir Philip is planning a “luxury” Christmas break in the Maldives as thousands of retail jobs face being axed.
image captionMeanwhile, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has warned in The Times that hospitals in England could be overwhelmed with coronavirus cases if MPs do not back the government’s latest restrictions. When the second national lockdown ends next week, most of England will be in tier two or three. As the PM faces Tory opposition to the restrictions, Mr Gove calls on MPs to “take responsibility for difficult decisions” to prevent further spread of the disease.
image captionAlso reporting on government attempts to quell a Conservative backlash, the Telegraph says plans are being drawn up that would see towns and villages near Covid hotspots lifted out of the toughest restrictions. Meanwhile, a “Christmas transport tsar” has been appointed with the power to force train firms to provide extra carriages, the paper adds. It comes following concerns that social distancing will not be possible as people try to see their families during the five-day relaxation of restrictions.
image captionThe Royal Family is also preparing its Christmas getaway, according to the Daily Express, which reports the Queen has a plan which would allow her to spend the festive season at Sandringham.
image captionChancellor Rishi Sunak is facing questions over the transparency of his finances, the Guardian reports. The paper says that Mr Sunak’s wife and her family hold a multimillion-pound portfolio of shareholdings and directorships that are not declared in the official register of ministers’ interests. The Treasury said all the proper procedures for declaring interests had been followed.
image captionAnd the Sun says Coleen Rooney had a spy in Rebekah Vardy’s camp, who could come in useful in the “Wagatha Christie” legal battle. The initial row broke out in October 2019 when Rooney said fake stories had been leaked after only being seen by Vardy’s Instagram account. In July, Vardy filed for defamation, saying she had been falsely accused.
image captionFinally, the Daily Star says the BBC has banned an 11-year-old joke made by comedian Jack Whitehall about a university friend of his who is a dwarf.