LOADS OF MONEY TO SPEND SAY BRITS
The Daily Mail reports: Britons are poised to blow £50billion in pent-up savings when lockdown is lifted, new research claims. A survey revealed that foreign holidays will be the most popular post-pandemic purchase, as well as staycations and eating out. The study, by Scottish Friendly and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), also found that 46 per cent of households increased their cash pot over the past year, swelling the UK’s total savings by £192billion. But more than a quarter of this – around £50billion – is expected to be splurged in the coming months as lockdown-weary Britons treat themselves when restrictions ease. Some economists have warned that the pent-up demand could lead to high inflation, but BoE Governor Andrew Bailey said the central bank does not expect inflation to hit suggested heights of between 4 and 5 percent.
NOW YOU CAN GO ON A DEMO BUT NOT MEET YOUR FRIENDS
The Telegraph reports: the move to allow the public to take part in demonstrations sparked anger, as critics point out that people are still banned from meeting friends. Protests will be allowed to take place from March 29 after the Government sought to quell the fury that erupted following the policing of the Sarah Everard vigil. Just a day after Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, urged people not to attend demonstrations, Downing Street said the ban on organised gatherings would be lifted when stay at home rules were relaxed later this month. But the move has already sparked anger, with critics pointing out that while people will be allowed to go on marches with hundreds of others, they will still be banned from meeting groups of friends or attending large weddings or funerals.
PROTEST IS A HUMAN RIGHT NOT A GIFT OF GOVERNMENT
The Morning Star reports that thousands of demonstrators pledged to continue fighting proposed policing laws outside Parliament following a fifth consecutive day of protest today ( Wednesday) as demonstrations were continuing nationwide after Tuesday night’s protest in London coincided with a parliamentary vote on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which passed by 359 votes to 263. A speaker from human rights campaign group Liberty said: “Protest is a fundamental human right, not a gift that the state can take or give away as a gift at its pleasure, We demand the right to take to the streets. We demand the rights to organise together. We demand the right to be out at night. We are here, we are together, and we are not afraid.”
NO APOLOGIES FROM US SAYS TOP MET POLICE OFFICER
From The Times: Appearing before the committee of the mayor’s office for policing and crime a top Metropolitan Police officer has refused to apologise for the controversial policing of a vigil for Sarah Everard. Sir Steve House, the deputy commissioner for the Met, said he was sorry “that people are so upset at seeing officers enforcing legislation” but that his officers thought that they had been doing the right thing.
POLL SHOWS SUPPORT FOR THE POLICE AT VIGIL
The Telegraph reports that more than half of the public support how the Metropolitan Police dealt with the Sarah Everard vigil on Clapham Common on Saturday, a survey has revealed. The YouGov survey commissioned by the Crest Advisory showed 53 percent of the population supported the Met’s tactics at the memorial event for Sarah Everard – with support among men at 56 percent and women at 50 percent. The result showed 71 percent of Conservative voters were in support of the police intervention, but 48 percent of Labour voters disagreed with it. Slightly more Londoners backed the police’s handling of the event (44 percent) than disagreed with it (38 percent), but nearly half of young adults aged 18-24 (46 percent) thought officers should not have intervened in the way they did. Almost half said members of the public were most responsible for the scuffles, with 29 percent blaming the police and just 9 percent said the Government, which had introduced Covid laws restricting gatherings, were to blame.
SCOTLAND’S GOVERNMENT TAKES OVER SCOTRAIL
The London Evening Standard reports: ScotRail services will be taken into public ownership, Michael Matheson Scotland’s Transport Secretary told MSPs the rail service will be run through an arm’s length company owned and controlled by the Scottish Government. The takeover will happen when the current franchise with Anellio ends, currently expected in March 2022. Mr Matheson said: “I have repeatedly stated the current franchising system is no longer fit for purpose. Following a detailed assessment process and given the uncertainty caused by Covid-19, alongside the continuing delays to the UK Government White Paper on rail reform, I have decided that it would not be appropriate to award a franchise agreement to any party at this time, either through a competition or a direct award.
SHIELDING TO END ON MARCH 31 SAYS MATT HANCOCK
The SUN reports: Shielding for vulnerable Brits will end on March 31, Matt Hancock confirmed today. The Health Secretary addressed the nation with the good news today as he confirmed that more than 25million Brits had been vaccinated with their first dose. Nearly five million people were told to shield in the last few weeks. Those who were vulnerable to Covid were told to stay inside and limit their social activity but all vulnerable Brits have now been offered the jab and all those over 50s are set to be jabbed by April.
UNDER 50s FACE JAB DELAY
The Guardian reports that people under 50 will have to wait a month longer than planned for their Covid vaccination because of a major shortage of vaccine that will start at the end of the month, NHS bosses have admitted. NHS England told health service chiefs in a letter on Wednesday that the government’s vaccines task force ‘has notified us that there will be a significant reduction in weekly supply available from manufacturers beginning in the week commencing 29 March and as a result all vaccination sites in England have been told to not book anyone under 50 in for their first dose between 1 and 30 April and to concentrate instead on jabbing everyone over 50s and administering second doses.’
DEMOTIVATED CHILDREN CREEPING SNAIL LIKE TO SCHOOL
The Guardian reports that school children have suffered an epidemic of demotivation while out of the classroom during coronavirus lockdowns, according to the chief inspector of schools in England, who warned against punishing children by shortening their holidays in an attempt to help them catch up. Amanda Spielman, the head of Ofsted, told headteachers that a significant minority of children just haven’t been engaging when their teaching moved online as schools remained closed to most children from the start of the year. “With the best will in the world, schools haven’t been able to avert an epidemic of demotivated children. Heads have told us that even the hardest-working pupils lost enthusiasm as time went on. Remote education requires great self-discipline – and that’s something that home-working adults struggle with, let alone children.”
BIDEN TO PUNISH PUTIN
The Times reports: US President Biden has said that Vladimir Putin is a killer with no soul and warned that Russia would pay a price for interfering in US elections. Biden’s comments came shortly after US intelligence officials said that the Russian president probably authorised attempts to influence last year’s poll in favour of Donald Trump. A US government report concluded that individuals with links to Russia had spread misleading or unsubstantiated allegations about Biden during his election campaign. Moscow has described the allegations as baseless. Biden said today that he would take steps to punish Putin, adding: The price he’s going to pay, well, you’ll see shortly.” The president did not specify whether he was referring to Russia interfering in the US election or other actions.
US SENATORS DEMAND FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF NI BREXIT AGREEMENT
The Daily Mail reports that US lawmakers have piled the pressure on Boris Johnson to resolve the post-Brexit Northern Ireland border dispute with the EU, warning a trade deal with Washington could be at risk. A bipartisan group of US senators has issued a resolution demanding the full implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, as well as the Good Friday Agreement and Stormont House Agreement. The resolution warns against the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland and states that the UK meeting its obligations must be taken into account if and when trade talks between Downing Street and the White House resume. The publication of the resolution comes as US President Joe Biden holds St Patrick’s Day talks with the Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin. Mr Martin made clear before the talks that he will be seeking Mr Biden’s support in ensuring the Brexit agreement is upheld by the UK.
From the Morning Star: When Britain’s blokes eventually get a chance to strut their stuff on the beach again, they’ll be wearing skimpy Speedo-style swimming briefs according to fashion insiders. Beaches may remain off-limits when lockdown is lifted – because budgie-smugglers are back. Britains blokes are set to strut their stuff on the sand in skimpy Speedo-style swimming briefs after top designers included them in their new ranges. Aussie swimwear firm Speedo has never stopped knocking out the tiny trunks and now high-end UK fashion firm Orlebar Brown has added a number of tight trunks to their collections.