image captionLike many of Wednesday’s front pages, the Guardian focuses on a “damning” National Audit Office report that found “multiple shortcomings” in the UK government’s £18bn contract process. The newspaper reports the parliamentary spending watchdog as saying PPE suppliers with political connections were directed to a “high priority” channel for UK government contracts. But, it says, the report recognised government procurement officers were operating under extreme pressure.
image captionThe Metro leads on the same story, saying auditors are warning billions of pounds in coronavirus spending is unaccounted for. The newspaper quotes the National Audit Office as saying public trust is in “peril” as the spending of taxpayers’ cash “soars”.
image captionThe Financial Times quotes the Cabinet Office as saying it “needed to procure contracts with extreme urgency to secure the vital supplies required to protect frontline NHS workers” following the public spending watchdog report. The newspaper leads on a £12bn “green industrial revolution” in the form of a 10-point green plan from Boris Johnson. Writing in the newspaper, the prime minister says the plan is “one of the most innovative and ambitious programmes of job creation we have known”.
image captionThe Times also splashes on the green plan – saying the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned from 2030 and hybrid vehicles outlawed five years later. There will be a significant expansion of grants for domestic energy improvements and new funding for nuclear and hydrogen power, it reports. The newspaper adds Britain has a legal target to cut greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050.
image caption“End of road for petrol and diesel cars in just nine years,” is the Daily Mail’s headline. It says the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars will pave the way for an “electric vehicle revolution”. The newspaper says the ban will happen a decade earlier than originally planned.
image caption“Families will meet again in Christmas Covid plans,” says the i newspaper. It quotes a leading epidemiologist as saying extended support bubbles of up to four households may enable families and friends to gather safely. The government wants to offer a window of celebration after an “incredibly difficult year”, the newspaper adds.
image captionThe Daily Express says Boris Johnson wants a three-day “window” for the festive season that will let three households gather under the same roof. It says talks are ongoing, but ministers are discussing an overall limit on numbers of people – likely to be around 10 – who can gather for Christmas.
image caption“Starmer under fire as Corbyn readmitted,” is the Daily Telegraph’s headline. The newspaper reports Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is under “intense pressure” to withhold the whip from Jeremy Corbyn after the party lifted his suspension. Labour sources told the Telegraph that on Tuesday night no decision had been made by Sir Keir. The newspaper pictures World Cup 1966 winner Sir Geoff Hurst on its front page. The former footballer has called for heading restrictions in professional football and a complete heading ban for young children.
image captionThe Mirror says “World Cup legend” Sir Geoff Hurst wants to donate his brain to dementia studies after he dies. The newspaper reports that his decision comes after his team-mates’ deaths were linked to heading the ball.
image captionThe Daily Star says BBC show The Vicar of Dibley is returning with three new episodes.