- Here are the headlines on Friday, March 26
Mobile app possible for vaccine certificates
A mobile phone app which features a scannable QR code could be used to provide a virtual coronavirus certificate for entrance into pubs, clubs and restaurants, according to the Daily Mail.
Boris Johnson has acknowledged the ‘moral complexities’ around a domestic coronavirus certificate and suggested that it might only be possible to introduce one after all adults had been offered a vaccine at the end of July.
The government will say more on the possible use of Covid status certificates in early April, which could be based on whether people have developed antibodies through infection, as well as vaccinations and negative tests.
Hauliers arriving from Europe to be tested for Covid-19
The government is planning to implement a mass testing regime for lorry drivers arriving in the UK just days after the Prime Minister flagged tougher measures to prevent Covid-19 variants being transmitted from Europe.
Hauliers, border force officials and other specialist workers at the border have been exempted from testing, but The Daily Telegraph reports that could soon change.
The paper says Whitehall will announce this weekend that those previously exempted will instead have to take a customised test, though this will be done once they are in Britain rather than at the border to avoid delays.
Rules on travel and tourism in Wales eased tomorrow
People in Wales will be able to stay in self-contained holiday accommodation from Saturday, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed.
The country’s ‘stay local’ requirement will also be lifted on the same day, meaning there will be no travel restrictions within Wales for the first time since it entered lockdown on December 20.
But the easing of tourism and travel rules are not meant to be taken advantage of by people living elsewhere in the UK – with England, Scotland and Northern Ireland still under lockdowns.
EC chief warns AstraZeneca must honour contract before exporting
The European Commission president has warned AstraZeneca that it must ‘honour’ its vaccine contract with the bloc before exporting doses elsewhere in the world.
Ursula von der Leyen urged ‘transparency’ from other countries, but did not confirm if the EU would bring in tougher export restrictions on coronavirus jabs.
However, she acknowledged that worldwide supply chains needed to remain ‘intact’ for vaccine production, while some European leaders appeared optimistic that the UK and EU could soon resolve their dispute over supplies.
Asda waits for Supreme Court ruling on equal pay fight
Asda bosses are waiting for a ruling on a Supreme Court equal pay fight with store workers.
More than 40,000 Asda store workers, about two-thirds of whom are women, have brought equal pay claims after complaining that staff working in distribution depots unfairly get more money.
Asda bosses say store jobs are not comparable to distribution centre jobs. Lawyers representing store workers say distribution depot workers get between £1.50 and £3.00 an hour more.
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MoD temporarily grounds Hawk T1 aircraft after crash
Two pilots are in a stable condition in hospital after a Royal Navy Hawk jet crashed in woodland during a training exercise, leading to the Ministry of Defence temporarily grounding the aircraft pending an investigation.
The crew from the 736 Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Culdrose at Helston, Cornwall, ejected from the jet during the incident yesterday morning.
The two-seater Hawk T1, which is the same model of jet as used by the Red Arrows, crashed in woodland in the St Martin area near Helston during a training exercise. All Hawk T1 aircraft across the services have been temporarily ‘paused’ amid an investigation.
Boozy students banned from roads for riding e-scooters
Six students have been banned from the roads for drink-driving while riding e-scooters following a series of complaints by residents.
North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard how Northumbria Police stopped the young men riding the orange for-hire scooters in the same area of Newcastle in the space of several hours on the same night.
One of the students caught in the early hours of February 25 was almost four times over the drink-drive limit, the court heard. He was banned from driving as the scooters are classed as ‘vehicles’.
Tui cuts summer holiday capacity
Travel company Tui has cut its summer holiday schedules amid new coronavirus restrictions in Europe.
The Anglo-German firm announced it is offering 75 per cent of its pre-pandemic capacity in the peak travel months starting from July, down from a planned 80 per cent.
Some 2.8m guests are booked on summer trips, down 60 per cent compared with the same point in 2019.
200,000 more people furloughed in February
Another 200,000 people were put on furlough for the first time last month as the government paid out nearly £4bn to cover wages.
HM Revenue and Customs said it had paid £57.7bn in furlough cash to around 11.4m people since the pandemic began.
Around 4.7m people were still on furlough by the end of February, the new figures show.
FTSE 100 sinks on back of weak commodity stocks
The FTSE 100 slid into the red as it was held by weaker commodity stocks, caution over further lockdowns in Europe and a rising pound.
London’s top flight closed 38.06 points, or 0.57 per cent, lower at 6,674.83 yesterday.
The German Dax decreased by 0.01 per cent and the French Cac moved 0.09 per cent lower.
Grant Shapps orders fresh review into smart motorways
Smart motorway crash statistics are to be analysed by the roads regulator amid safety fears.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has commissioned the Office of Rail and Road to carry out an independent review of safety data for the controversial roads.
He has also ordered his officials to continue their work with Highways England – the government-owned company responsible for England’s motorways and major A roads – on ‘developing possible future options’ for reducing accidents on smart motorways.
Bank transfer scams cost victims £479m in 2020
Less than half of the total value of losses to bank transfer scams last year was returned to victims by banks and other finance providers, industry figures show.
Some £479m was lost in 2020 to scams where people were tricked into making bank transfers to fraudsters – also known as authorised push payment (APP) fraud, according to the data from UK Finance.
This total was up by five per cent compared with the previous year.
Miliband: I want to spearhead electric car revolution… but I do not own one
Ed Miliband has admitted he does not own an electric car as he looks to spearhead a ‘revolution’ to make owning a zero emission vehicle an ‘option for all’.
Labour’s shadow business secretary made the admission on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, declaring that lockdown had got in the way of his family’s planned electric vehicle purchase.
Asked whether he had an electric car, the former party leader said: ‘I haven’t yet, it is a work in progress. We were actually on our way to buying one before lockdown – it is going to happen, I promise you. I have bought an electric bike but it [the electric car] is on its way.’
Peugeot cuts e-2008 prices for government grant eligibility
Peugeot has announced price cuts across the e-2008 range in response to the government reducing the price cap for the plug-in car grant.
All trim levels have been given a £450 discount, dropping top models below the new £35,000 price cap. It means the Allure Premium now starts at £32,380 after the £2,500 government grant has been applied.
Meanwhile, the entry price is now £30,730 for the Active Premium, and mid-spec Allure models start at £31,930.
Wet and windy
Largely wet and windy today, with bands of rain moving eastwards, says the BBC. It will turn colder with blustery showers in western areas with these turning wintry over higher ground. The odd brighter spell at times too.
Tonight, showers will continue in western areas, these wintry over higher ground, and pushing further east at times. Some clear spells, in between patchy cloud, and it will continue windy.
Tomorrow, showers will ease, and cloud will build in from the west, becoming widespread. Later, a band of rain will reach Scotland and Northern Ireland, falling wintry on the highest ground.
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