News Round-Up

Feb 20: PM sets out support for farmers; Ofcom probes Sunak’s GB News show; New ID.7 Tourer

Here are the headlines on Tuesday, February 20

Time 6:49 am, February 20, 2024

PM to tell farming conference government is ‘by their side’

Rishi Sunak is set to pledge he will ‘never take our food security for granted’ as he outlines support for farmers in a speech to the sector.

Speaking to the National Farmers’ Union conference on Tuesday, the prime minister is expected to say the government will ‘be by their side’ as farming goes through its biggest change in a generation.

Sunak will highlight £427m in grants in 2024, including a doubling of the amount going to technology and innovation schemes to £220m to support farmers increase productivity – such as robotics, roof-top solar and agricultural research. And he will announce cuts to ‘red tape’ around permitted development rights to make it easier for farmers to develop buildings and diversify earnings by creating farm shops, commercial spaces and sporting venues.


Search continued overnight for missing two-year-old in Leicester river

Specialist dive teams continued to search overnight for a two-year-old boy who fell into the River Soar in Leicester.

The boy had been with family when he fell into the water in the Aylestone Meadows area, close to Marsden Lane, at around 5pm on Sunday.

A man who was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure has been discharged, Leicestershire Police said. Assistant chief constable Michaela Kerr said police are doing everything they can to find the boy ‘as quickly as possible’.


Lord Cameron hopes Falkland Islanders want to remain British ‘forever’

Lord David Cameron will carry out further visits in the Falklands on Tuesday after declaring that he hoped the islanders would want to remain British ‘forever’.

The foreign secretary is hoping to meet some of the islands’ most famous residents on Tuesday when he visits an area famed for its penguin colonies. He will see the islanders’ work to protect the natural environment and see some of the million penguins that live across the UK overseas territory.

Later on Tuesday he will then travel on to Paraguay, where he will be the first UK foreign secretary to ever visit the country.

Ex-Post Office chief hits back at Badenoch after claim of ‘spreading falsehoods’

A former Post Office chairman has accused the business secretary of making ‘an astonishing series of claims’ and mischaracterisations after she told MPs he had spread ‘made-up anecdotes’ following his dismissal.

The row between Henry Staunton and Kemi Badenoch deepened on Monday after he claimed over the weekend that he had been told to stall compensation payouts for postmasters affected by the Horizon scandal.

In a statement to the Commons, the business secretary said there was ‘no evidence whatsoever’ of his account and branded it ‘a blatant attempt to seek revenge’ for his sacking. Hitting back later on Monday, a spokesperson for Staunton said Badenoch had made an ‘astonishing series of claims’ about the saga.

Medicine shortages ‘around double what they were a year ago’

Medicine shortages have increased and are ‘around double what they were a year ago’, it has been claimed.

Speaking to the Health and Social Care Committee on Monday, Mark Samuels, chief executive of the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA), said they have been highlighting the medicine shortage risk to ministers since July 2021 and the BGMA is ‘very concerned about it’.

He said: ‘We’ve been monitoring it for several years now, and as you saw in the written evidence, shortages have increased. They’re around double what they were a year ago. We have them at 101 shortages in February this year.’


BBC chief pledges to keep ‘all local radio services’ amid £500m cost-cutting

BBC director-general Tim Davie has confirmed that he plans to keep ‘all the local radio services’ as the corporation continues to implement cost-saving measures.

The broadcaster has been reassessing its priorities over the last year as it seeks to make £500m of savings after coming under financial strain due to the licence fee being frozen and inflation rising.

The proposed plans for local radio stations to share more content and transmit fewer programmes unique to their areas resulted in BBC local journalists taking strike action last year.

Monday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

GB News programme with Rishi Sunak investigated by Ofcom over impartiality rules

Ofcom has launched an investigation into whether People’s Forum: The Prime Minister on GB News breached impartiality rules.

The programme, which saw prime minister Rishi Sunak take questions from the public in a live Q&A in Co Durham on February 12, has prompted about 500 complaints.

An Ofcom spokesperson said: ‘We are investigating under rules 5.11 and 5.12 of the Broadcasting Code which provide additional due impartiality requirements for programmes dealing with matters of major political controversy and major matters relating to current public policy.’

Campaigners lose High Court challenge over Stonehenge tunnel plans renewal

Campaigners have lost a High Court challenge over renewed plans to build a road tunnel near Stonehenge.

Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site (SSWHS) challenged Transport Secretary Mark Harper’s backing of plans which include the two-mile tunnel, to overhaul eight miles of the A303.

In December, the campaigners brought a bid to the High Court in London to challenge the decision to reapprove the plans. However, in a ruling on Monday, Mr Justice Holgate largely dismissed their claim, finding most parts of their case were ‘unarguable’.

Volkswagen makes ID.7 even more practical with new Tourer variant

Volkswagen has added to its flourishing line-up of ID electric vehicles with a more practical version of its ID.7 – the Tourer.

It’ll join a small number of electric estate cars when it arrives in the UK this summer, with a 605-litre boot bringing a reasonable 73-litre jump in capacity over the standard ID.7. This luggage room can also be increased to 1,714 litres with the rear seats folded flat – an increase over the 1,586 you’d get from the regular car.

The ID.7 Tourer will also be available with a new 86kWh battery capable of returning a claimed 427 miles of range though a smaller 77kWh version will still be available. The car is expected to go on sale in the summer, with full pricing announced closer to that time.

Weather

A cloudy and windy day in store for much of the UK, reports BBC Weather. A band of rain will slowly sink south-eastwards while heavy showers will develop behind it in the north-west. Highs of 14 degrees.

Clear skies for central and northern areas tonight, although rain will spread in from the south-east later on.

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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