Newspaper headlines: Sunak 'wins tug-of-war' over NI Tory tax hike as rise confirmed – BBC News

By BBC News

The Sun welcomes Boris Johnson's willingness to send more UK forces to Eastern Europe, because of the threat of Russian military action against Ukraine.
The paper's editorial describes it as "a significant show of support for our threatened ally". But it's damning about the lack of a similar response from the US President.
"As Ukrainian mothers and grandfathers practise drills with wooden rifles to protect their homeland," it says, "Joe Biden once more sits on his hands and hopes."
The Sunday Mirror is more circumspect. It argues that Mr Johnson's "proposed dash to eastern Europe to solve the crisis over Ukraine should worry us all".
It also implores the prime minister and President Putin – who are expected to hold talks next week – to "tread carefully as Europe nudges ever closer to war".
According to the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Johnson's chief of staff – Dan Rosenfield – spent the day at a cricket match, three days before the fall of the Afghan capital, Kabul.
It believes the disclosure "is likely to prompt further questions about No 10's role in the operation to rescue UK and Afghan nationals". But Downing Street is quoted saying Mr Rosenfield was in "constant contact with the office".
Under the headline "loyalty test for Tory MPs", the Sunday People reports that a group of Conservative MPs who back the prime minister are secretly assessing their colleagues' levels of support for Mr Johnson.
The paper says that under the plan, MPs are asked on three different occasions, by three different people, how they would vote in a no confidence ballot. If their answers are inconsistent "they can then expect a call from Mr Johnson".
There's concern in the Observer that people struggling to deal with rising living costs are being targeted by credit firms, offering "buy now, pay later" deals on things like groceries and pet food.
It warns that the practice is creating a potential "debt trap" for vulnerable households. A senior figure from Citizens Advice tells the paper it's "like a runaway train", with inadequate protection for those slipping into debt.
The Mail on Sunday thinks readers struggling with their bills will be shocked to learn that energy firms have doubled the amount of gas – extracted in the seas around Britain – that they're exporting.
It says the increase is revealed in figures compiled by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The paper suggests the revelation will spark fresh accusations that companies are profiteering from the gas price crisis.
But an industry expert tells the paper: "The gas doesn't belong to Britain or the British people – it's extracted by commercial companies that sell to the highest bidder."
Finally, the Sunday Times reports on one sector of the economy that's experiencing a post-pandemic surge – what it calls "doggy day care".
It explains that as people return to the office, the dogs they acquired while working from home still need to be looked after.
The paper's editorial column suggests that paying up to £40 a day for such services is "barking mad". It advises prospective owners: "If you can't care for a dog long-term, don't get one."
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