- Here are the headlines on Sunday, March 7
PM vows to stick with cautious lockdown approach
The Prime Minister has vowed to remain ‘cautious’ in loosening coronavirus restrictions as pupils prepare to return to school for the first time in two months tomorrow.
Boris Johnson hailed the ‘truly national effort’ to reduce coronavirus levels with the country on the cusp of marking the first phase of lockdown easing as classrooms reopen. But, despite an improving picture, the PM said he wanted to be careful not to ‘undo the progress we have made’.
According to the Prime Minister’s road map, the second part of stage one, which will allow outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households, is due on March 29.
56-59 year olds next on vaccine list
The vaccine programme continues to accelerate, with people aged between 56 and 59 being invited to book Covid-19 jabs this week.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told The Times it was ‘possible’ the government will have offered a first dose to all adults by June – a month ahead of the current end of July target.
Across the whole of the UK, more than a million people have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, while almost 21.8 million people have had one dose. Yesterday, a further 158 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 and there had been a further 6,040 cases.
Protests planned over 1 per cent NHS pay rise
NHS workers are planning protests around England at the government’s decision to recommend they receive a one per cent pay rise.
Demonstrators have planned a socially-distanced protest outside Downing Street and in Manchester city centre today over the pay offer.
The move has sparked talk of industrial action, and unions have warned it could see nurses leave the profession in their droves following the wage review from ministers after 12 months on the front line of the Covid pandemic.
5G rollout to be accelerated in Scotland
The rollout of 5G in Scotland is to be accelerated with a new scheme to identify public buildings where masts can be installed.
The programme will help identify sites on public buildings and streets for masts and antennas, and reduce barriers to installing them.
A total of 124 mobile masts are due to be installed in an effort to improve coverage in rural areas of Scotland.
Actor Laurence Fox announces bid to run for Mayor of London
Controversial actor Laurence Fox has announced he is campaigning to be the next Mayor of London, standing on a ticket of lifting the lockdown more than a month early.
The leader of the Reclaim Party said he had been inspired to try and topple City Hall incumbent Sadiq Khan at the May 6 election after the chancellor revealed at the Budget that the coronavirus response had seen the government borrow £407bn.
Fox said it amounted to ‘roughly £1,600 for every family in the country’ and thought it was time to get the financial situation ‘under control’. He vowed to push for the lockdown to be eased immediately after the local elections.
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New Covid cases increase by one million across Europe
Europe recorded one million new coronavirus cases last week, an increase of nine per cent from the previous week and a reversal that ended a six-week decline.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said among the hard-hit places is the Milan suburb of Bollate, where the virus swept through a nursery and an adjacent primary school with alarming speed. In a matter of days, 45 children and 14 staff members tested positive.
The surge is leading to new restrictions across the continent. The UK variant is spreading significantly in 27 European countries monitored by WHO and is dominant in at least 10: Britain, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Israel, Spain and Portugal.
Waiters, bricklayers and air cabin crew ‘worst hit by pay cuts’
Restaurant staff, IT engineers, bricklayers and air travel assistants are among the workers most likely to have had their pay cut since the Covid-19 pandemic began, analysis suggests.
These professions have been classed as ‘high vulnerability jobs’ by the Office for National Statistics, meaning they are non-key worker roles very unlikely to be done from home.
Just under a third (32.4 per cent) of employees in the UK fall into the high vulnerability group, and may have been more likely to see a reduction in working hours or wages during the pandemic.
House prices dip for two months in a row
House prices dipped for the second month in a row in February, according to an index.
Property values fell by 0.1 per cent month-on-month in February, following a 0.4 per cent decrease in January. Across the UK, property values were still 5.2 per cent higher in February than the same month last year, Halifax said.
But it cautioned that it would not expect the level of growth seen in house prices across 2020 to be sustained throughout this year. The average UK house price in February was £251,697.
London Stock Exchange Group ups dividend
The London Stock Exchange Group upped its full-year dividend on Friday as it managed to increase profits during Covid-19.
Pre-tax profit rose to £685m in 2020, up from £651m a year earlier, on revenue of £2.1bn, up three per cent.
The shareholder dividend will increase by seven per cent to 75p, LSEG said in an update to investors.
Bentayga customisation options expanded
Bentley Bentayga buyers can now create a more highly customised SUV as the model has joined the Mulliner Personal Commissioning Guide.
This gives Bentley buyers access to a vast range of upgrades that relate to interior materials and design as well as exterior colours.
On the outside, the extended paint palette offered by Mulliner includes 26 new shades that include metallic, satin and solid finishes. Inside, there are 27 hide and stitching colours, with any combination of up to three available, among many other options.
Chilly with a bit of sunshine
Northern Scotland will see patchy rain lingering through the day today, but elsewhere it will be a dry day with patchy cloud and gentle to moderate winds, says the BBC.
This evening, patchy rain will spread southwards across Scotland and into Northern Ireland, and overnight it will move into Northern England. Elsewhere will remain dry with patchy cloud throughout.
Rain will persist across northern England, southern Scotland, and Northern Ireland tomorrow. Elsewhere it will be drier with cloud and sunny spells. Gentle to moderate winds.
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