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News Round-Up

July 1: Covid-19 booster jabs could begin in September; William and Harry to unveil Diana statue; Gap to close UK stores; New VW Polo GTI revealed

  • Here are the headlines for Thursday, July 1

Time 3 months ago

Covid-19 booster jabs could begin for 32m Britons in September

A Covid-19 vaccination booster programme could begin for 32m Britons as soon as September, officials have said.

The UK is the first country in the world to publish interim guidance on a Covid-19 vaccine booster campaign. It advises the government sets out the priority list for who should get a third jab if a booster programme is needed.

It will coincide with the rollout of flu jabs, which health officials have said will be vital this winter as they prepare for a potentially difficult influenza season.

William and Harry to put differences aside for unveiling of Diana statue

The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex will put their differences aside to unveil a statue of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales on what would have been her 60th birthday.

The monument has been erected at Diana’s former home Kensington Palace in its Sunken Garden, which has been filled with more than 4,000 flowers and offers a ‘calmer and more reflective setting’ for the permanent tribute to the princess.

Kensington Palace has confirmed the royal brothers and Diana’s close family, thought to be her siblings, will attend the unveiling, along with the statue committee and others involved in the process of erecting it in the palace’s Sunken Garden.

UK urged to share Covid vaccines with the world at same time as booster rollout

Proposals to offer coronavirus vaccine boosters in the UK should take into account sharing doses with other countries around the world, campaigners have said.

While Britons could be offered a third jab in the autumn, millions of people in other parts of the globe have not had a first one, the One Campaign warned, adding: ‘The best way to protect people at home is to share doses with other countries now.’

A Covid-19 vaccination booster programme could begin for 32m people in the UK as soon as September, officials have said.

Police handling of London vigil and Bristol demo breached ‘fundamental rights’

Police breached ‘fundamental rights’ at a vigil for Sarah Everard and ‘Kill the Bill’ protests, a parliamentary inquiry has found.

There were ‘multiple failings’ by the Metropolitan Police and Avon and Somerset Police in the way they handled events at Clapham Common, south-west London, and in Bristol in March, according to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and the Constitution (APPGDC).

The group of MPs and peers has proposed amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (PCSC), which is due to be debated on Monday, as a result of the findings.

Man apologises over video of Chris Whitty being harassed in park

A man who was criticised after being filmed apparently accosting Professor Chris Whitty has apologised to the top medic for ‘any upset I caused’.

Lewis Hughes, from Romford in Essex, said if he made England’s chief medical officer feel ‘uncomfortable’, then ‘I am sorry to him for that’.

The video, which lasts around 20 seconds and was filmed in St James’s Park, shows two grinning men grabbing Prof Whitty as they shout ‘Oi oi’ and say ‘One photo please?’. As Prof Whitty attempts to walk away, the men grab him again, while a voice is heard saying ‘leave the gentleman alone’ before the clip ends.

New 204bhp Volkswagen Polo GTI revealed

Volkswagen has pulled the covers off its updated Polo GTI.

The supermini hot hatch gets tweaked styling with new bumpers, animated LED rear lights, and LED matrix headlights as standard, incorporating an illuminated radiator grille bar that gives off a striking light signature.

Despite the changes, the engine is the same 204bhp, turbocharged 2.0-litre unit found in the previous generation model. UK pricing and specification will be confirmed closer to launch, but expect a slight increase on the existing model’s £24,000 starting price.

High street retail giant Gap to close all UK and Ireland stores

High street retail giant Gap has announced it will be closing all stores in the UK and Ireland by the end of 2021.

The company said it intends to take business online ‘in a phased manner’ from the end of August through to the end of September this year.

It added it would provide “support and transition assistance” to colleagues following the closures, though did not specify how many employees had been affected. The retailer has been active in the UK since 1987 and has 81 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Wednesday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Labour demands probe after emails suggest VIP ‘fast track’ for Covid testing

Labour is calling for an investigation into claims of a ‘VIP lane’ for coronavirus testing contracts after documents emerged suggesting bids from companies with political connections were fast tracked.

A senior civil servant advised ministers in an email in April last year to write ‘FASTTRACK’ on any offers they received for testing kits, according to documents revealed by the Good Law Project.

The emails were disclosed by the campaign group as part of its legal challenge against the Government over personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts.

Chancellor to lay out rules on businesses’ climate disclosures

The chancellor will promise to make the UK the most ‘advanced and exciting’ financial services hub in the world as he sets out a plan which would force companies to reveal their impact on the climate.

Rishi Sunak is set to explain how he wants to “sharpen our competitive advantage in financial services” with reforms in the industry.

Speaking at Mansion House, the chancellor will announce new plans that will force companies to report their environmental and climate impact. The so-called Integrated Sustainability Disclosures Requirements will apply to firms ‘across the economy’, the Treasury said. Companies will also be required to say what risks and opportunities they are facing from climate change.

Housing market could move closer to normality as stamp duty threshold halves

The ‘nil rate’ stamp duty threshold has been halved, in what could be the start of more normal levels of activity returning to the market.

With the threshold having now fallen from £500,000 to £250,000 in England and Northern Ireland, buyers who missed Wednesday’s deadline could end up paying thousands of pounds more than they had budgeted for.

But if they drop out now, they could miss the chance to make any stamp duty savings at all. The nil rate threshold will halve again from October 1 to £125,000 – its normal level.

According to Rightmove, sales are taking around four months to go through on average, so someone starting their property search again may miss the chance to make a stamp duty saving by buying a home before October.

Currys PC World to launch trial with Uber drivers delivering goods

The company behind Currys PC World is in talks to convey its products via Uber drivers as it looks to expand its home delivery services.

Dixons Carphone chief executive Alex Baldock said he would reveal more details in coming weeks but explained the plan was to ensure customers could receive goods quickly.

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He said: ‘One of the big advantages of having stores as well as online is an increasing number of consumers are impatient and what their amazing technology right now, and we can get it faster than anyone else through order and collect, so we’re going to keep driving that time down.’

Dry and sunny

A dry and sunny day across most of the UK today, reports BBC Weather. Cloud could linger in the east of England, and maybe see a few spots of rain. Showers will develop in the west.

Tonight, rain will clear leaving a dry night with variable amounts of 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.

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