Vaccine rollout reaches ‘home straight’ six months on from first jab
Over-25s in England are to be offered a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine six months after the first jab was administered in the UK – as ministers continue to weigh up whether remaining lockdown restrictions will be lifted on June 21.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that those aged 25 to 29 in England – around three million people – will be invited to book their jabs from Tuesday as the NHS hailed reaching the ‘home straight’ of the biggest vaccination programme in its history.
Exactly six months ago, on December 8 2020, grandmother Margaret Keenan, 91, became the first patient in the world to receive a Covid-19 jab outside of a clinical trial when she was given the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Coventry.
NHS and social care staff burnout at ’emergency’ level, MPs say
NHS and social care staff burnout has reached an ’emergency’ level and poses a risk to the future of services, MPs have warned.
In a highly critical report, the Health and Social Care Committee called for immediate action to support exhausted staff who have worked throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, but pointed to long-standing, unresolved issues even beforehand.
For example, the Royal College of Nursing told MPs that, prior to the onset of the pandemic, there were 50,000 nursing vacancies in the UK, while the Royal College of Psychiatrists has said a lack of staff is one of the biggest causes of workforce burnout in mental health services.
Thousands to benefit as prostate cancer drug approved for NHS use
Thousands of men are to benefit from a new prostate cancer drug which has been approved for use on the NHS.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has recommended enzalutamide as an option for treating some types of prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer UK said the news was welcome for thousands of men with advanced prostate cancer, especially those who are unable to have chemotherapy.
PM under renewed pressure over aid cuts as rebel MPs secure emergency debate
Boris Johnson will come under renewed pressure to reverse a £4bn cut to Britain’s overseas aid budget amid widespread anger among some Tory MPs.
On Monday Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle ruled an attempt to amend unrelated legislation to force the Government to reinstate its commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid was out of order.
However MPs did secure a three-hour emergency debate on Tuesday in which Tory critics – including former prime minister Theresa May – are expected to pile on pressure ahead of this week’s G7 summit in Cornwall.
UK business chiefs call for further support amid Covid debt mountains
UK business chiefs have warned MPs that a ‘generation’ of firms could face collapse without further support, after piling up billions of pounds in debt during the pandemic.
Leaders in the UK’s hospitality, travel and retail sectors made a fresh plea for financial support measures and policy shifts at the Treasury Select Committee yesterday.
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of travel trade body Abta, told MPs at the committee that government support has not been ‘adequate’ for the impact of the pandemic on the UK travel sector.
Shopping surges in May after pandemic restrictions ease
Retail sales soared in May as the further easing of lockdown restrictions helped to drive spending, according to new figures.
The latest BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor revealed that total sales surged by 10 per cent in May, against the same period in 2019, after the sector benefited from the first month that non-essential stores fully reopened and the return of many hospitality venues.
It came as separate data from Barclaycard revealed that consumer spending jumped 7.6 per cent for the month as increased socialising helped to spark clothing sales.
Jeff Bezos to be aboard for Blue Origin’s first human space flight
Jeff Bezos will be aboard for Blue Origin’s first human space flight next month.
In an Instagram post early yesterday, Bezos said he, his brother, and the winner of an ongoing auction, will be aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft during its scheduled launch on July 20.
July 20 is the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Solicitors ‘under pressure’ as stamp duty deadline looms
Stressed solicitors have been working late nights and weekends to help home movers beat a stamp duty holiday deadline, according to the Law Society.
With just a few weeks to go before the deadline for the full stamp duty concession, professionals may need to manage their clients’ expectations around completing deals in time, it said.
The stamp duty holiday was extended in the March Budget and once the June 30 deadline passes, a new tapered rate will come into force and run from July to the end of September.
26 towns to receive share of £610m fund to revamp their communities
Twenty-six English towns have received a slice of £610m in Government funding to help them rebuild their economies in the wake of the pandemic.
The money, which comes from the £3.6bn Towns Fund unveiled in July 2019, is intended to kickstart urban regeneration and boost green transport infrastructure, tourism and jobs.
It is also intended for education and vocational training courses, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said.
House prices increased by 9.5 per cent annually in May to hit new record – index
House prices increased by 9.5 per cent annually in May to reach a new record high of £261,743 on average, according to an index.
Halifax said annual house price inflation was at its strongest level in nearly seven years.
Across the UK, house prices increased by 1.3 per cent month-on-month.
Monday’s Car Dealer headlines you might have missed
- Dealers are retailing one-in-four used cars too cheaply, says Indicata
- Lookers chair Phil White to stay on as group reveals when it will finally announce its 2020 results
- Scottish Government spent £1.2m on car and vehicle costs in just 12 months
- Design plans launched for EV charging points to become as ‘iconic’ as red telephone boxes
Bosch opens semiconductor factory in Dresden
Bosch has opened a new semiconductor factory in Germany with the goal of supplying the automotive industry with the much-needed components from September.
Semiconductors are used throughout a car and help to control certain aspects such as infotainment systems and mains screens as well as power steering and brake sensors. Many parts of a car simply wouldn’t work without these important ‘chips’.
However, a recent shortage has plunged the motoring industry into disarray with customers forced to endure long wait times as manufacturers suffer setbacks in production while awaiting fresh deliveries of semiconductors.
Tesla has put to bed plans for Plaid+ version of its recently updated Model S.
Rumoured to produce 1,100bhp and deliver a range of up to 520 miles, the Plaid+ has now been discontinued with just the regular Plaid model left on sale as the performance-focused Model S variant.
In a tweet, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said: ‘Plaid+ is canceled [sic]. No need, as Plaid is so good.’
London markets close up while results are mixed in Europe
London’s markets closed in the green yesterday but the German Dax struggled.
The FTSE 100 closed 8.18 points lower, or 0.12 percent, at 7,077.22 yesterday. The German Dax fell by 0.1 percent and the French Cac moved 0.43 percent higher.
‘Largely dry and warm’
Today, Northern Ireland and western Scotland will be breezy with areas of cloud and a few spells of light rain. Elsewhere, it will stay largely dry and warm with plenty of sunshine, says the BBC.
Tonight, England and Wales will remain dry with largely clear skies, but cloud will build from the west towards dawn. Northern Ireland and Scotland will continue to see outbreaks of rain overnight.
Tomorrow, northern and western areas will see areas of cloud and outbreaks of rain, these heavy at times. Further south and east will be dry and warm with sunshine. Breezy in the north and west.