- Here are the headlines on Monday, April 5
Free twice-weekly Covid tests for everyone
Everyone in England is to be offered free, twice-weekly coronavirus tests as ministers prepare for the next stage of easing lockdown restrictions.
The lateral flow tests – which can provide results in around 30 minutes – will be available from Friday, regardless of whether people have symptoms.
People will be able to obtain a test through a home ordering service, workplace or school testing programme, or by collecting one at a local test site. The PM said the scheme would help stop fresh outbreaks, enabling the authorities to identify and control new variants of the disease.
IT company’s Covid-19 passport app to be ready in May
The IT company helping the UK government with a possible Covid-19 passport app has said its technology is ‘an efficient, secure and scalable solution’ that will support the safe reopening of society.
Netcompany has already confirmed its digital Corona passport app will be used in Denmark and is expected to be ready in May.
The UK government is working on the development of a ‘Covid status certification’ scheme, the so-called vaccine passport, and a Whitehall source said Netcompany is ‘helping with the technical architecture of a possible app’. Netcompany was awarded a year-long contract in November worth £3.1m by the government.
Local offices could let staff walk to work in 15 minutes
Many offices in the future will be around the corner from workers’ homes or just down the street, as the country comes out of pandemic working, one of the UK’s top property bosses has said.
The shift could allow people in the UK to live in so-called 15-minute towns, where most amenities, and work, are within a quarter-hour commute by foot, bike or public transport of residents’ front doors.
Mark Dixon, chief executive of IWG Group – which rents out offices in dozens of countries – said there is a simple reason why office life is unlikely to return to its pre-Covid status quo: ‘Because it’s what people want, and because it’s what companies want.’
Van driver celebrates £1m scratchcard win
A meat delivery van driver has won £1m on a National Lottery Scratchcard, which he bought as he popped into a shop to buy a vape to help him quit smoking.
John McFadden, from Southampton, said that he first checked his win at the shop where the assistant told him it was too big to pay out, so he called Camelot to check. He said: ‘I was just stunned.’
McFadden said he will spend his winnings on moving closer to his three children and two grand-daughters and on exotic holidays to the Far East.
Waylands boss John O’Hanlon on the Car Dealer Podcast
Hairdressers to reopen in Scotland as some lockdown restrictions lift
Hairdressers and barbers can reopen in Scotland from today as further coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the country’s route map out of lockdown on March 16, with Monday seeing customers allowed back into some businesses, including car dealerships.
Some non-essential shops can reopen, including garden centres and homeware stores, and click-and-collect services will resume. University and college students will return for in-person teaching and outdoor contact sports for 12 to 17-year-olds will restart.
Women still ‘under-represented’ in the boardroom
Women make up only about one in seven of senior management roles at financial services firms, new research has suggested.
Employment firm Fox & Partners said its study found there were 7,552 women out of 50,639 senior management jobs in the sector.
Progress has been made in hiring more women to non-executive roles in financial services firms but there is ‘significant’ work to do in appointing women to better-paid, senior executive positions, said the report.
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First-time buyers ‘£800 a year better off than renters’
First-time buyers are saving more than £800 a year compared with if they were renting, analysis suggests.
Halifax said the cost gap between being on the property ladder and renting has widened over the past year.
Its’“buying versus renting’ review found that average monthly rental costs have increased by 10 per cent to £821 in the past year, while the average monthly costs of being a first-time buyer home-owner have increased by one per cent to £753 during the same period.
New ‘Smart Mirror’ gives van drivers better rear visibility
One of the trickiest aspects of driving a van is seeing out the back, with the cargo area blocking the view. However, Ford has come up with a solution, called ‘Smart Mirror’.
It uses a camera mounted in the back doors, which provides a feed to the rear-view mirror and gives the driver a perfect view of what’s behind them.
The camera automatically adjusts its brightness to the conditions to provide a clear image whatever the weather or time of day, and Ford says it gives a field of view that’s double what a conventional mirror provides.
MG Cyberster is an MGB-inspired electric sports car concept
MG has revealed its new Cyberster concept car, which will make its public debut at the Shanghai Auto Show later this month.
It has been developed by MG’s London-based Advanced Design Centre, with a view to celebrate the firm’s iconic classic car while also showcasing its plan for the future.
Some of the key design features include round headlights with a ‘Magic Eye’ function that opens when the car is turned on, as well as a slim grille and ‘laser belt’ LED strip down the side of the car. Further details will be revealed when it goes on display in China on April 21.
Outbreaks of rain will spread south across England and Wales this morning, says the BBC. Snow showers will continue to drift southwards in Scotland, and Northern Ireland will see a few scattered snow showers.
Tonight snow showers are expected to persist across northern Scotland, perhaps reaching coastal areas further south. Northern Ireland will see more frequent outbreaks of snow. Elsewhere will have clear skies.
It will be another chilly day tomorrow, with snow falling more frequent in Scotland and coastal areas. Snow showers may develop further south and inland, but these will be few.
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