- Here are the headlines on Monday, December 14
Family doctors to begin Covid-19 vaccinations
Vaccination clinics run by family doctors will begin across England from today but people have been warned that a rise in cases after Christmas socialising could disrupt the roll out of jabs.
GP practices in more than 100 locations will have the approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine delivered to them on Monday, with some offering vaccinations within hours.
Care home residents in Scotland are due to receive the vaccine for the first time today, while NHS England and NHS Improvement said the majority of GPs will begin providing vaccination services to their local community from tomorrow.
Brexit talks could go on past Christmas
Brexit talks could go right to the wire after the UK and European Union refused to set a new deadline following the decision to continue negotiating over a trade deal.
There was fresh hope on the prospect of a deal after Boris Johnson and Europe’s top official Ursula von der Leyen agreed to ‘go the extra mile’ and continue discussions beyond Sunday’s initial deadline.
With no cut-off date given for when the talks must wrap up, it leaves the door open for the wrangling to go on until December 31 – when the transitional arrangements are due to cease.
Serial coronavirus testing to be introduced in Welsh schools
Regular coronavirus testing will be rolled out in schools and colleges across Wales from January, the Welsh government has announced.
The process will see staff and pupils who come into contact with an infected person asked to take a Covid-19 test every day for 10 days or self-isolate.
Those who test negative at the start of the school day will be able to continue attending in person, while those who test positive will need to self-isolate and book another test confirming their result. Results will be given within 30 minutes.
London’s surge in Covid-19 cases deeply concerning
The surge in coronavirus cases across London is ‘deeply concerning’ and requires further government action to be brought under control, Sadiq Khan has said.
The Mayor of London wrote to Boris Johnson yesterday requesting an immediate increase in Covid-19 testing across the capital in response to the rising number of infections.
Khan also asked for a compensation scheme to be put in place for businesses ahead of any further restrictions being imposed on the city. The government said it will review all tiers in on Wednesday.
Honda restarts UK production
Production at Honda’s plant in Swindon resumed today (Dec 14) following a pause last week because of a parts shortage.
Manufacturing was halted last Wednesday (Dec 9) after transport delays and ports congestion hit the supply chain, as reported by Car Dealer.
However, in a statement issued yesterday, Honda said it had told its Swindon employees that full production operations would resume in all areas on Monday, December 14.
Local roads are ‘biggest motoring concern’
Pothole-plagued local roads are the UK’s most widespread motoring concern, a new survey suggests.
An RAC poll of 3,068 drivers indicated that 38 per cent are agitated by the condition and maintenance of local roads.
This is up from 33 per cent in 2019 and is ahead of other issues such as motorists using phones (32 per cent), the standard of other people’s driving (27 per cent), and the aggressive behaviour of other road users (26 per cent).
Conservatives must be the party of small business
A Conservative former cabinet minister has urged the government to prioritise small businesses after the country’s recovery from Covid-19.
In a speech, Dr Liam Fox is expected to call on Boris Johnson to ensure the Conservative Party are ‘the champions of small business’, as these companies are ‘the lifeblood of the economy’.
The former secretary of state for international trade will also propose the introduction of a ‘small business test’ in the next budget whereby every piece of legislation, regulation and taxation would be vetted as to its impact on companies prior to being enforced.
Public urged not to panic-buy in event of no-deal Brexit
British shoppers have been urged to avoid stockpiling food in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The British Retail Consortium said retailers are increasing stocks to ensure a ‘sufficient supply of essential products’ and that any impact to the food chain is likely to affect fresh produce like fruit and vegetables, which cannot be stored for long.
Without a deal, after January 1 the public will face more than £3bn in food tariffs and higher prices throughout 2021, the trade body said, adding that the uncertainty is making it harder for businesses to prepare.
Landlords join home-buyer rush to beat stamp duty
Around one in six (15 per cent) of house sales agreed in November went to landlords – the highest proportion since December 2016, according to an index.
More than half (51 per cent) of these purchases were made in cash, according to property services company Hamptons, which compiled the report using data from letting agent the Countrywide Group.
Hamptons said regionally the rush has been concentrated in the Midlands and northern England.
Walmart received £1.1bn Asda dividend
Asda has said that former owner Walmart paid itself a £1.15bn dividend from the supermarket chain, just weeks before the coronavirus pandemic forced the UK into lockdown.
The pay-out was confirmed in the grocer’s filed accounts for the 2019 financial year. Walmart agreed to sell the supermarket chain to the billionaire Issa brothers and private equity firm TDR Capital for £6.8bn in October following a lengthy auction process.
The supermarket said it paid out the dividend of ‘surplus cash’ to US grocery giant Walmart on March 5.
Mild and blustery
Brisk southwesterly winds will bring showers to many areas today, although Northern Ireland and north east England should stay dry and with sunny spells, says the BBC. It will be relatively mild for the time of year.
Tonight, there will be further scattered showers blowing in from the southwest, primarily affecting Wales, and southern and western parts of England and Scotland.
Tomorrow a southerly breeze will bring showers to southern and western parts of Britain, while only the odd shower will make its way into central and eastern parts, where there will be sunny spells.