News Round-Up

Jan 6: National Insurance cut; Police investigate Horizon scandal; Tube strikes go ahead

Here are the headlines on Saturday, January 6

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Time 6:40 am, January 6, 2024

Chancellor unsure if government can afford to announce new tax cuts

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said he does not know if he can afford to cut taxes for British households as a national insurance reduction came into force on Saturday.

Hunt said he wanted to further ease a tax burden which is expected to rise to the highest since the Second World War before the end of this decade.

But speaking to reporters the chancellor said he was not sure if he could afford to reduce taxes.


Flood warnings remain in place as cold weather alert issued

Almost 250 flood warnings remain in place across England and Wales as conditions continue to cause travel problems across large parts of the country.

While the Met Office predicts the wet weather has passed, water levels remain high and colder temperatures are predicted for the next few days with the UK Health Security Agency UKHSA) issuing a yellow cold weather alert.

The Environment Agency had 244 flood warnings, where flooding is expected, in place across England on Saturday – down from more than 300 on Friday morning. Data from the Environment Agency showed almost every river in England has reached exceptionally high levels with some reaching record levels.


Police investigate ‘potential fraud offences’ during Horizon IT scandal

Metropolitan Police detectives are looking at ‘potential fraud offences’ committed during the Horizon IT scandal.

More than 700 Post Office branch managers were handed criminal convictions after faulty Fujitsu accounting software made it appear as though money was missing from their outlets.

Scotland Yard said on Friday evening that officers are ‘investigating potential fraud offences arising out of these prosecutions’, for example ‘monies recovered from sub-postmasters as a result of prosecutions or civil actions’.

Tube strikes go ahead after last-ditch pay talks break down

Strikes by London Underground workers will go ahead from Friday evening after last-ditch talks failed to resolve a pay dispute.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) will walk out throughout the next week, causing huge disruption to services.

The union is in dispute over a 5% pay offer and other issues including travel facilities.

Sunak faces by-election as ex-energy minister quits over drilling legislation

Rishi Sunak faces another by-election challenge as former energy minister Chris Skidmore is poised to resign as an MP, after quitting the Tories over legislation to boost North Sea oil and gas drilling.

Skidmore, who led a government review of net zero, announced on Friday he would stand down as he said the prime minister’s environmental stance is ‘wrong and will cause future harm’.

The MP for Kingswood in South Gloucestershire said the ‘future will judge harshly’ anyone who backs the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill due to be voted on in the Commons on Monday. He said he could not vote for legislation that ‘clearly promotes the production of new oil and gas’ and would show the UK is ‘rowing ever further back from its climate commitments’.


Sunak had doubts over Rwanda migrants plan as chancellor, documents suggest

Rishi Sunak was unsure the government’s scheme to send migrants to Rwanda would stop channel crossings when he was chancellor, according to documents.

The BBC said it had seen No 10 papers from March 2022, a month before the plan was announced by then prime minister Boris Johnson, which showed that Sunak was not convinced of the plan’s effectiveness.

The documents suggest Sunak felt ‘hotels are cheaper’ than reception centres to house migrants and that he was also concerned about the cost of sending asylum seekers to Africa and wanted to limit the numbers.

King to ‘withdraw private funding’ for Andrew’s security at Royal Lodge

The King is preparing to withdraw private funding for the security operation at the Duke of York’s home, according to reports.

Pressure is growing on Andrew as the unsealing of hundreds of pages of court documents connected to the Jeffrey Epstein scandal continues apace.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment, but The Telegraph said Andrew will have to fund the multi-million pound security costs at Royal Lodge himself if he wants to stay in the 30-room mansion in Windsor Great Park.

Friday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Survivors found in homes as Japan earthquake death toll hits 100

The death toll from a major earthquake in western Japan reached 100 on Saturday as rescue workers fought aftershocks to pull people from the rubble.

Deaths had reached 98 earlier in the day, but two more deaths were reported in Anamizu while officials in the hardest-hit Ishikawa prefecture held their daily meeting.

Some survivors who had clung to life for days were freed from collapsed homes with a man pulled out 72 hours after the series of powerful quakes started on Japan’s western coast with a 7.6 magnitude tremor on Monday.

US Supreme Court to decide if Trump can be kept off 2024 presidential ballots

The Supreme Court said on Friday it will decide whether former US president Donald Trump can be kept off the ballot because of his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss.

The justices acknowledged the need to reach a decision quickly, as voters will soon begin casting presidential primary ballots across the country.

The court agreed to take up a case from Colorado stemming from Trump’s role in the events that culminated in the January 6 2021 attack on the US Capitol. Arguments will be held in early February.

Weather

A murky start for eastern England with some drizzle, reports BBC Weather, and it’ll be equally as dull in central areas. It’ll turn brighter later in the day, though. Chillier with highs of seven degrees.

A cloudy night although there will be some clear breaks across central and southern parts of England. Light showers in coastal areas. Temperatures will hover just above freezing.

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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