Police shut down raves across London last night as Britons freed from lockdown restrictions cast social distancing aside and partied into the early hours. For a second successive night pubs and bars were rammed – with parks and other open areas also busy with revellers unconcerned about a second wave of coronavirus. Large areas of northeast London were put under ‘dispersal orders’ by police as they battled to shut down a series of illegal music events. Footage from Millfields Park in Hackney captured dozens of partygoers as they gathered for a late-night rave in the capital on Sunday, with groups seen drinking while wearing green and purple flashing headphones.
POLICE have shut down part of London as hundreds flocked to illegal raves after a weekend of partying in pubs and parks. Large areas of northeast London have been placed under ‘dispersal orders’ by police battling to shut down a series of illegal music events. Video shows an illegal street party in North East London as hundreds of ravers defy calls from police for partygoers to stay home. The footage shows revellers wearing fluorescent green headphones and dancing to music blasting from what appears to be a DJ deck at Millfields Park. In Hackney Downs Park hundreds of revellers gathered to party despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Passengers arriving at Heathrow will be among the first to be offered medical Covid-19 tests at a UK airport, pending Government approval. Heathrow is ready to host the UK’s first airport Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing trial, using the same type of saliva swab test as the NHS, it was announced today. British and international arrivals from countries not exempt from UK quarantine could be checked for the virus upon landing and know within hours if they have tested positive. This could help thousands of people avoid a 14-day quarantine, if the British Government extends exemption to travellers who test negative.
The NHS will need to carry out the biggest flu immunisation programme yet this winter amid concerns about a second wave of coronavirus, the organisation’s chief executive has warned. Sir Simon Stevens told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One that it was “entirely possible” that there could be another surge in coronavirus cases in the winter and that a vaccine may not be available in time. The health service is particularly concerned about the impact of a second wave as the symptoms for flu are “interchangeable” with those of coronavirus.
The largest flu immunisation programme Britain has ever seen will have to be carried out this winter, the boss of NHS England has warned. As the health service prepares for a possible second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, doctor’s leaders have warned the health service will struggle if high numbers of Covid-19 cases coincide with a bad flu season. Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Sir Simon Stevens said the NHS was preparing for the virus to rebound this winter, adding: “I think we’re going to need the biggest ever flu immunisation season we’ve ever had.”
BORIS Johnson has been urged to fix the country’s social care crisis within the next 12 months. NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said plans to “properly fund” social care should be in place within a year to ensure the elderly are given “dignity in old age”. He insisted the legacy of Britain’s coronavirus crisis must be to “decisively answer” how we will look after the nation’s ageing population with “high-quality social care”. And as the NHS celebrated its 72nd birthday, he blasted poor pay and working conditions for staff as being part of the problem.
Plans to adequately fund the social care sector need to be in place within a year, the head of NHS England has said. Sir Simon Stevens told the BBC the Covid-19 crisis had shone a “very harsh spotlight” on the “resilience” of the care system. He said there was a need to “decisively answer” how high quality care could be provided long-term. The Department of Health said it would bring forward a plan for reform. In their 2019 election manifesto, the Conservatives pledged to find a cross-party solution to reduce pressures on the sector and provide long-term funding.
Thirty-five thousand more people could die of cancer next year because of the impact of coronavirus, expert modelling has suggested. Research by Health Data Research UK, the national institute for health data science, warned that the overwhelming focus on Covid-19 was likely to cause 18,000 excess cancer deaths. It said that this could almost double to 35,000 in the worst-case scenario. It said that urgent referrals for cancer care had dropped and that treatments had been delayed or cancelled. Thousands of patients have been scared off seeking help from GPs or going to hospital for treatment for fear of catching coronavirus.
Up to 35,000 more cancer patients could die in a year due to treatment delays caused by the pandemic, experts fear. The extent of excess deaths has been predicted by the UK’s leading cancer data research hub. Modelling by Data-Can, which collects figures on cancer treatments and is linked to leading universities, suggests the UK could see at least 18,000 more cancer deaths than normal – rising to 35,000 in the worst-case scenario. The horrific toll is a stark illustration of the indirect impact of the pandemic on the nation’s health, with many appointments and procedures postponed as hospitals prioritised treatment of Covid-19.
The National Crime Agency is investigating Leicester’s textile industry amid claims that sweatshops continued to operate during the pandemic. Leicester was the first city to face a local lockdown last week after a rise in cases the previous fortnight. The rise has been linked to the city’s garment factories, where many are paid below minimum wage in cramped conditions. A report last week by Labour Behind the Label, a charity that fights for the rights of workers, said that workshops in the city stayed open with little or no social distancing during the lockdown.
There are “quite significant concerns” about employment practices within clothing factories in freshly locked-down Leicester, the health secretary has told Sky News. Matt Hancock warned the government has the power to shut down businesses if they do not follow coronavirus guidelines. It follows allegations that clothing factories in Leicester, many of whom supply major online retailers, have risked spreading COVID-19 by failing to implement additional hygiene or social distancing measures. There are also claims that some factories told staff to continue to go into work despite being ill.
BRITAIN is braced for a second wave of coronavirus and people are in no doubt about whom to blame. Exclusive polling reveals that more than seven out of 10 of us (72 percent) expect the country to be hit with a second wave of the deadly virus. Nearly six out of 10 (58 percent) say people who broke the rules or were not cautious will be to blame if this disaster happens. Just 31 percent would pin the blame on the Government for easing lockdown restrictions too quickly. The research by Redfield & Wilton Strategies comes amid concern that protesters and revellers who attend large public gatherings may be fuelling the spread of Covid-19.
Nicola Sturgeon is under pressure to condemn “disgraceful” border protests where nationalists in hazmat suits urged English visitors to stay away from Scotland. Jackson Carlaw, the Scottish Conservative leader, said he was concerned that the scenes on Saturday would deter people from coming to Scotland and cause further damage to the country’s tourism sector, which has been devastated by coronavirus. A handful of nationalists turned up at the border over the weekend, urging motorists to “stay out”. Waving saltires and SNP flags, they displayed a banner stating ‘keep Scotland Covid free’.
Nicola Sturgeon’s threat to draw up a separate quarantine regime for Scotland has been undermined after it emerged that not a single check had been carried out on travellers obliged to stay at home under existing rules. Jeane Freeman, the Health Secretary, admitted on Sunday that no follow-ups had been carried out on arrivals to Scottish airports, four weeks after a system that requires people arriving from abroad to go into self-isolation for 14 days was brought in.
Rishi Sunak faces a plea to keep Britain in work as the scale of the jobs bloodbath already under way is revealed today. Almost 200,000 workers at household-name companies have been laid off since the start of lockdown, an analysis by the Daily Mail has found. The Chancellor was told last night that his focus needs to be on ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ in his mini-Budget on Wednesday. Senior figures warned that the job losses so far will be just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ unless dramatic action is taken. Major layoffs have hit sectors such as retail, travel, hospitality and manufacturing, all of which have been shaken by the coronavirus pandemic.
THERE will be more than two million people out of work by Christmas next year unless the Government acts quickly, a think-tank has said. Jobless levels will hit 2.2 million by December of next year without further support for the economy, according to the New Economics Foundation (NEF). The NEF has called for £28billion to be invested in green projects. The think tank claims such a move could create more than 400,000 full-time equivalent jobs by the end of next year. The study said additional jobs could be created in areas such as mass home insulation and in new training and skills initiatives.
The Treasury is considering ways of making it easier for businesses to access coronavirus support loans – ahead of expected measures from the Chancellor designed to create “jobs, jobs, jobs” in an effort to kick-start the economy. Officials from the Treasury and the British Business Bank are reviewing access to state-backed loan schemes after the European Commission last week relaxed state aid rules that blocked lifelines for some UK firms. A Treasury spokesman confirmed they “are considering the implications of this [EC’s] amendment for the loan schemes” and that the change by the EC was “an important step in ensuring all viable businesses receive the help they need”.
Companies will get a £1,000 cash bonus for every young person they hire as trainees, Rishi Sunak will announce this week. In his ‘mini budget’ on Wednesday, the Chancellor will unveil a £111million boost for the traineeship scheme. As part of the plans, employers will be given £1,000 for every young person aged between 16 and 24 that they hire, up to a maximum of ten trainees, or £10,000. It is the first time firms will be paid direct government subsidies for hiring youngsters.
Rishi Sunak has drawn up proposals to exempt most homebuyers from paying any stamp duty under plans to kick-start Britain’s economic recovery. The chancellor will reveal plans this week to lift the threshold at which people start paying stamp duty from £125,000 to as much as £500,000. The increase in the threshold, which is expected to be implemented in the autumn budget, is a temporary measure intended to stimulate the housing market. Mr Sunak will announce the plans on Wednesday as part of several measures to support the economy, including a temporary VAT cut for pubs, restaurants and cafés to help to protect 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality sector.
Britain’s struggling housing market could be given a much-needed shot in the arm with a six-month stamp duty holiday. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce plans for a temporary exemption for homes at the lower end of the market in the Budget in the autumn. Treasury officials are looking at raising the threshold at which homebuyers start paying stamp duty. Currently the levy is not charged on the first £125,000 of the property selling price, with a 2 per cent rate up to £250,000 and 5 per cent on the next £675,000.
At least 13 universities are at risk of closure amid a financial black hole in the sector of up to £19billion due to the pandemic, research suggests. They may need Government bailouts, debt restructuring or mergers to survive. And up to 20 universities could go to the wall if there is a significant second spike of the virus and the country goes back into prolonged lockdown. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned that ‘generally less prestigious institutions’ are at ‘greatest risk of insolvency’. This is because they ‘entered the crisis in a weak financial position and with little in the way of net assets’.
As many as 13 British universities could face financial disaster from the after-effects of the coronavirus outbreak, affecting one in 20 students in the UK and causing steep job cuts, according to research. Estimates by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that the UK higher education sector will endure losses ranging between £3bn to £19bn in 2020-21, with the exact size of the losses dependent on how many students decide not to enrol. The IFS calculates that pension obligations and investment losses caused by the economic downturn will also have a major impact on university balance sheets over the next four years.
Ofsted will visit schools in September in a bid to help convince parents to send their children back to school in the autumn. The checks by the education watchdog will not be the same as normal inspections and will be checking how each school is making plans towards creating a safe environment for the children. The schools will not be judged nor given a grade, unless there is ‘serious concern’ whereby enforcement powers may be required, and Ofsted will write to parents to explain how their child’s school is preparing for the new term in September.
Theatres, museums, galleries and other cultural ventures will get a £1.6billion bailout to stop them going under as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Thousands of venues will be able to seek emergency grants and loans in what ministers say is the biggest ever one-off investment in UK arts. With no live performances and more than 350,000 staff furloughed, the industry has warned that it will be devastated without cash aid. Boris Johnson has promised to set out a timetable this week for when mass events can resume, but it is thought theatres, concerts and festivals may have to wait until 2021 to restart.
Britain’s beleaguered arts and heritage sectors have been promised £1.57bn of help in a long-awaited rescue package described by the government as the biggest one-off investment in UK culture. After weeks of desperate warnings that the UK was facing an irreversible cultural catastrophe without targeted support, ministers announced a package that it said would protect the future of the country’s museums, galleries, theatres and music venues. The playwright James Graham, who has spoken passionately about the urgent need for investment, said the money appeared to be more than most people in the arts had dared dream of.
The government’s £1.57 billion support package for the arts industry has been mostly well-received by those within the pandemic-ravaged sector. Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the economic support package for the sector on Sunday evening, which is made up of grants and loans. The Tate, the Science Museum Group, the Natural History Museum, National Gallery and the Royal Shakespeare Company were among those who welcomed the money. Meanwhile Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee chair Julian Knight said the support package would take some cultural institutions out of the “danger zone”.
The government has unveiled a £1.57bn support package to help protect the futures of UK theatres, galleries, museums and other cultural venues. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told BBC Breakfast new grants and loans aim to preserve “crown jewels” in the UK’s art sector as well as local venues. It follows several weeks of pressure, with industry leaders warning that many venues were on the brink of collapse. Independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues will also be eligible. Guidance for a phased return of the performing arts, starting with performances behind closed doors and rehearsals, is expected to be published by the government shortly.
A massive £1.57bn coronavirus lifeline for the arts is being promised by the government, but theatres and music venues could still remain closed until next year. The emergency cash aid, in grants and loans, has been welcomed by leading figures from the arts, but there will be dismay that there are still no plans to resume live performances. There are fears that many theatres, concert halls and other venues may not reopen until next summer, which would mean them remaining closed through Christmas – with no panto season.
Theatres, independent cinemas and other arts organisations are to get a £1.5bn lifeline to help them stay in business while coronavirus forces them to remain closed. The rescue package is expected to help world-famous cultural institutions like the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Mary Rose Trust. Unveiling the plan, Boris Johnson said the money would help safeguard the arts for “future generations”. Organisations that will be prioritised are understood to include the so-called “crown jewels” of the British arts, culture and heritage industries and those with special local or regional significance, as ministers proceed with their “levelling up” agenda.
The high productivity of Hong Kong citizens and the tendency of migrants to work hard as they establish themselves would add to Britain’s wealth if the government’s special immigration pathway were used, the Centre for Economic and Business Research has said. The consultancy estimated that mass migration of Hongkongers to the UK could boost the economy by £40 billion. The foreign secretary has offered a route to UK citizenship for about three million residents of the former British colony, in response to the draconian national security law imposed by Beijing last week. In response China has threatened reprisals.
Harkening back to the rhetoric of Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution, China’s ambassador in London has called on Chinese university students studying in the United Kingdom to “serve your motherland”, amid growing concern about the influence of Beijing on Western campuses. In recently unearthed comments made to the Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said: “I hope you will carry on the glorious tradition of patriotism.