News Round-Up

Aug 14: Home Office told of Legionella on day of barge transfer; Nearly 4m working days lost to strikes; ‘Last’ Royal Navy veteran of Dunkirk dies

Here are the headlines on Monday, August 14


Time 6:37 am, August 14, 2023

Council says Home Office contractors told of Legionella on day of barge transfer

Home Office contractors were told about traces of Legionella bacteria found on the Bibby Stockholm barge on the same day asylum seekers were transferred on to the vessel, Dorset Council has said.

The discovery eventually led to the removal on Friday of all 39 people who had boarded the floating accommodation docked in Portland on Monday.

The council has now said it informed the ‘responsible organisations’, barge operators CTM and Landry & Kling, about the preliminary test results on Monday, the same day it received them. A Home Office official was then told about the discovery on Tuesday, the council said, but government sources said ministers did not know about the presence of the bacteria until Thursday.

Nearly four million working days lost to strikes in past year, says think tank

Around 3.9m working days have been lost to industrial action in the past year, more than at any point since the 1980s, according to new research.

Many of the strikes have been fuelled by real-terms falls in pay of more than nine per cent in the highly-unionised public sector, said the Resolution Foundation. Sectors including health, education, the postal services and railways have been responsible for 96 per cent of all days lost to strike action since 2021, said the think tank.

Its report, released as junior doctors continue a four-day walkout, said high inflation meant average weekly pay for all workers was 4.1 per cent lower in real terms in the three months to May than it was in the same quarter in 2021. But real-terms pay for public sector workers fell by 9.2 per cent over the same period and for those in health and social care it fell by 9.8 per cent, the study indicated.

Halting progress on net zero could burden consumers with extra costs, PM warned

Rishi Sunak has been warned that halting the UK’s progress towards net zero could ultimately burden consumers with extra costs.

The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), which represents more than 140 manufacturers, universities, local authorities and energy service providers working towards a green transition, has called on the prime minister to ‘go further and faster’.

It comes after Rishi Sunak faced a major backlash from cross-party MPs, environmental groups and scientists after confirming government support for 100 new licences for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea. Downing Street also signalled that the government is considering watering down green policies that put financial pressure on families due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Tourists urged to stay away from Maui as death toll set to rise

Hawaii officials have urged tourists to avoid travelling to Maui as many hotels prepare to house evacuees on an island that faces a long recovery from the wildfire that demolished a historic town and killed more than 90 people.

About 46,000 residents and visitors have flown out of Kahului Airport in West Maui since the devastation in Lahaina became clear on Wednesday, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

‘In the weeks ahead, the collective resources and attention of the federal, state and county government, the West Maui community, and the travel industry must be focused on the recovery of residents who were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses,’ the agency said in a statement late on Saturday. Tourists are encouraged to visit Hawaii’s other islands.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un orders sharp increase in missile production

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered a drastic increase in production of missiles and other weapons, state media said, days before South Korea and the US begin annual military drills that North Korea views as an invasion rehearsal.

Kim’s push to produce more weapons also comes as US officials believe Russia’s defence minister recently talked with North Korea about selling more weapons to Russia for its war with Ukraine.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Monday that Kim visited factories producing tactical missiles, mobile launch platforms, armoured vehicles and artillery shells on Friday and Saturday. During a stop at the missile factory, Kim set a goal to ‘drastically boost’ production capacity so the facility can mass produce missiles to meet the needs of frontline military units, KCNA said.

Weekend Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Pubs to continue selling takeaway pints as Covid-era licensing rules retained

Pubs in England and Wales will be allowed to continue selling takeaway pints after the government decided to keep pandemic-era licensing rules.

Under the relaxed regulations, businesses were able to serve customers through hatches when they were forced to close in 2020 to restrict the spread of Covid.

The rules were due to expire in September but Rishi Sunak is said to have decided to enable them to continue, the Sun on Sunday reported. The PM said: ‘I’ve heard the British pub industry loud and clear – takeaway pints are a boost for their businesses and our economy. That’s why they’re here to stay.’

Wrong-way driving reports on motorways up 13 per cent in a year

The number of reports of vehicles being driven the wrong way on England’s motorways rose by 13 per cent in a year, an investigation has found.

Motoring groups described the increase as ‘frightening’ and called for technological interventions to be considered.

National Highways figures obtained by the PA news agency show 872 incidents involving ‘oncoming vehicles’ were reported on England’s motorways in the year to June 19. That is up from 770 during the previous 12 months, and represents an average of more than 16 every week.

‘Last’ Royal Navy veteran of Dunkirk dies aged 102

A former sailor believed to be the last Royal Navy veteran from Dunkirk has died at the age of 102.

Lawrence Churcher, who was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, died at a care home in nearby Fareham, just days short of his 103rd birthday, according to the Project 71 charity which supports Second World War veterans.

The charity, which said Mr Churcher was thought to be the last known naval veteran of the evacuation, posted on Facebook: ‘A truly remarkable man, loved and respected by all who knew him. Stand down Lawrence, your duty is done. It has been an honour to have known you.’


Rain will sweep in from the south-west across England and Wales, reports BBC Weather, and it’ll be thundery in places. Patchy cloud and showers further north. Highs of 23 degrees in the east of England.

Rain will clear tonight leaving a dry night with patches of lingering cloud.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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