Thursday, May 19

United Kingdom

Chancellor breaks pledge on energy bills rebate
Featured, United Kingdom

Chancellor breaks pledge on energy bills rebate

Thousands of households could be missing out on support to ease the cost of living crisis as councils fail to pay their energy bills rebate.Brits are facing the biggest squeeze on living standards in 30 years as bills soar and inflation jumps. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a support package revealing that millions of households in the UK will receive energy bill discounts totalling £350 to help with soaring costs. There will be a repayable £200 discount on bills from October and a further £150 council tax rebate for most households in England in April, the guidance said. However, an investigation by Radio 4’s Money Box has found that many councils have failed to make the £150 payment. In addition, the wording of the payment date in the guidance has changed from in April to...
Passengers on the streets suffer due ‍strike by London Underground workers
Featured, United Kingdom

Passengers on the streets suffer due ‍strike by London Underground workers

London Underground was suspended in the rush hour, although limited services returned later on a few lines. People tried to get to work on buses or in taxis but huge queues formed, forcing many to give up and go home. A strike by London Underground workers caused travel chaos on Tuesday, crippling Tube services and causing misery for commuters trying to get to work. Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) walked out for 24 hours in a bitter dispute over jobs, pensions and conditions. Road congestion around the capital was at its highest level of the year so far as some commuters attempted to drive through the capital. The disruption came on the same day as Tube and bus fares went up by an average of 4.8%. Picket lines were mounted outside Tube stations, while the union...
One in four people have no idea about government’s £200 energy bill discount
Featured, United Kingdom

One in four people have no idea about government’s £200 energy bill discount

A quarter of people have not heard of Rishi Sunak's flagship cost-of-living policy that will hand a £200 rebate to every household in a bid to tackle the energy bill crisis. Amid soaring wholesale gas prices, Ofgem announced last week that the energy price cap will increase by 54% - meaning the average UK household's annual energy bill will rise by £693 to £1,971 on 1 April. Following the announcement, the chancellor announced that the government would be bringing in the £9.1bn "Energy Rebate Scheme" to help struggling households. The scheme is made up of two parts: Households in bands A-D will receive a £150 discount on their council tax Every household will receive a £200 interest-free repayable 'rebate' or 'discount' on their energy bills. All households will then repay th...
The first female bus driver who sacked for being ‘too short’ in UK
Featured, United Kingdom

The first female bus driver who sacked for being ‘too short’ in UK

More than 23,000 people have signed a petition in support of a five-foot bus driver who was sacked because she could not use the wing mirrors safely. Mother-of-three Tracey Scholes, 57, was one of the first female bus drivers in Manchester and has driven buses for 34 years. But when Go North West changed the position of their buses' wing mirrors, the 57-year-old widow had to lean around a pillar to see them, meaning she could not keep her feet on the pedals. Mrs Scholes was offered a different role on the company's school buses, which had more suitable mirrors, but the change would have meant a reduction in pay and hours worked.  She turned down the offer and she was given notice. The business said they had made 'numerous proposals' to keep her in the company. After an appeal, with Mr...
Pfizer Covid jab approved for use in vulnerable primary school children
Featured, United Kingdom

Pfizer Covid jab approved for use in vulnerable primary school children

The Pfizer BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in vulnerable primary school children. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) updated its advice after the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the jab for five to 11-year-olds following a robust review of safety data. In response to the Omicron variant, the committee has also advised that some older children be offered a booster dose. A low-dose version of the vaccine has been approved for those aged five to 11 who are in a clinical risk group, or who are a household contact of someone (of any age) who is immunosuppressed. They should be offered a primary course of vaccination typically two doses. It is estimated that around 330,000 children are said to fall withi...
The UK records 119,789 new coronavirus cases
Featured, United Kingdom

The UK records 119,789 new coronavirus cases

The UK has recorded 119,789 new COVID cases in the latest 24-hour period - the highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic. A further 147 coronavirus-related deaths have also been reported. The latest daily figures compare with 106,122 cases the previous record and 140 deaths reported on Wednesday. Yesterday's 106,122 figure has since been revised up to 109,655 following previous under-reporting in Scotland due to a technical issue. Last Thursday, the UK reported 88,376 new COVID cases, and 146 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. However, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, which has been advising the government during the pandemic, has warned that COVID data over the Christmas period will be significantly disrupted. In minutes from a meeting on 20...
COVID can be brought under control in 2022
Featured, United Kingdom

COVID can be brought under control in 2022

A top World Health Organization (WHO) official has said she is hopeful the COVID pandemic can be brought under control next year. Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, told a virtual press conference on Wednesday the world had the tools to defeat the virus if used correctly. She said giving vaccines to people who need them the most in all countries must be a priority instead of booster programmes. Dr Kerkhove added governments must also drive down transmissions or we would continue to see the virus mutate, which would bring us closer to the beginning than the end. She said: I do believe we’re still in the middle of this pandemic, unfortunately. But I completely believe we have the power to end it in 2022. WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also w...
Second European country to lockdown the unvaccinated
Featured, United Kingdom

Second European country to lockdown the unvaccinated

A second European country is to impose lockdown rules on unvaccinated citizens following a spike in cases. Slovakian prime minister Eduard Heger has announced that services will be limited in the country for anyone who has not had a COVID vaccine. It comes after neighbouring Austria on Monday reintroduced lockdown for unjabbed people in the run-up to Christmas. Germany is also understood to be considering similar measures, which could be announced within days. Europe has seen itself become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic once again, with the situation in Slovakia taking a particularly worrying downturn. A man receives a dose of the Sputnik V COVID vaccine at a vaccination centre in Zilina, Slovakia. A second European country is to impose lockdown rules on unvaccinated citize...
Senior Tories call on Home Office to stop unfairly excluding young Hong Kong nationals
Featured, United Kingdom

Senior Tories call on Home Office to stop unfairly excluding young Hong Kong nationals

Senior Tory MPs are calling on the Home Office to extend the UK’s settlement route for Hong Kong nationals to include swathes of young people who are currently unfairly excluded. An amendment to the Nationality and Borders Bill, tabled this week by Conservative MP Damian Green and supported by Tom Tugendhat and 11 other Tory MPs, would enable Hong Kongers with at least one parent who is a BNO citizen to apply for a UK visa. It comes after The Independent revealed last month that Young Hong Kongers who fled police brutality are languishing in the UK asylum system because they are not able to benefit from the British National Overseas (BNO) scheme due to their age. The scheme, which is projected to receive around 422,000 applications from Hong Kong nationals in its first four years, req...
Hundreds care home face closure across England
Featured, United Kingdom

Hundreds care home face closure across England

Around 500 homes could be forced into shutting their doors as workers may be forced to quit or lose their jobs due to not being fully vaccinated. With the implantation of the need for full vaccination, the Government warns that 40,000 staff could be lost. But NHS data suggests that this number may be far more, as their calculations estimate that 60,000 workers would not have the second vaccine by the end of October. Mike Padgham, chairman of the Independent Care Group, who has worked in the sector for 30 years, said: The deadline for care staff to be double-vaccinated could see up to 500 homes across England having to close their doors because they don't have enough staff to operate safely. If that happens, it begs the question of where thousands of residents would go, as they can't go...