Rishi SunakRishi Sunak

News Round-Up

Nov 20: PM’s pre-autumn statement speech; Vallance to give evidence; Joss Ackland dies

Here are the news headlines on Monday, November 20

Time 6:45 am, November 20, 2023

Sunak to give update on state of the nation’s finances ahead of autumn statement

Rishi Sunak is expected to use a speech to paint a more positive picture of the economy ahead of the autumn statement, which Jeremy Hunt has signalled could be used to cut taxes for businesses.

The prime minister will hail having last week hit his pledge of halving inflation as he gives an update on the state of the nation’s finances in London on Monday morning.

Hunt, the chancellor, heightened expectations that businesses could find some relief in his financial statement on Wednesday as he said now is the time to boost growth.

Hunt warns of ‘difficult decisions’ on benefits but mulls inheritance tax cut

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt argued that he needs to take ‘difficult decisions’ as he considers squeezing welfare payments by billions while slashing inheritance tax in a bid to appeal to more traditional Tory voters.

But reports emerged that Sunak and his chancellor were weighing up cuts to income tax or national insurance at the 11th hour, as they were warned by northern Conservatives that Wednesday’s autumn statement should focus instead on lower-paid workers and businesses.

They were under pressure to appease the right of the party as Suella Braverman remained on the attack after her sacking as home secretary, with Westminster observers suspecting she has been playing a long game for a possible leadership challenge in the future.

Sir Patrick Vallance to give evidence to the UK Covid-19 inquiry

Sir Patrick Vallance – one of the government’s most senior advisers during the Covid pandemic – is to give evidence to the UK’s public inquiry.

The former chief scientific adviser is scheduled to speak all day on Monday, followed by England’s chief medical officer Sir Chris Whitty on Tuesday and his former deputy, Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, on Wednesday.

Sir Patrick’s diaries from the pandemic have been in the spotlight during the inquiry after he revealed that former prime minister Boris Johnson once described coronavirus as ‘nature’s way of dealing with old people’.

Rishi Sunak to open Global Food Security Summit in London

The government is due to unveil a long-term plan for international development as Rishi Sunak opens the Global Food Security Summit in London on Monday.

The prime minister will announce a new virtual hub to link UK scientists with global research initiatives aiming to develop climate and disease resistant crops.

Sunak will also use a separate speech in London to update the public on the economic situation ahead of Wednesday’s autumn statement. A White Paper setting out the government’s proposed approach to international development more broadly up to 2030 is also expected to be published on Monday.

Premature babies evacuated from Shifa Hospital – World Health Organisation

Thirty-one premature babies have been safely moved from Gaza’s main hospital to another in the south and will be moved to Egypt, health officials said.

It comes as scores of other critically wounded patients remained stranded there days after Israeli forces entered the compound.

The fate of the newborns at Shifa Hospital captured global attention after photographs showed doctors trying to keep them warm. A power cut had shut down incubators and other equipment, and food, water and medical supplies ran out as Israeli forces battled Palestinian militants outside the hospital.

Film, music and publishing bosses to meet government to discuss risks of AI

Music, film and publishing bosses will meet with the government to discuss the risks of artificial intelligence (AI) on the creative industries.

A roundtable event led by culture secretary Lucy Frazer will look at how AI could impact the sector on Monday.

Succession’s Brian Cox and Lord of the Rings’ Andy Serkis have been among the British actors who have raised concerns about the threat of AI on the acting world. Senior bosses from Warner Music, Getty Images and the Publishers’ Association will take part in the event – alongside representatives from the Intellectual Property Office and Creators’ Rights Alliance.

‘Unique’ screen and stage actor Joss Ackland dies aged 95

Actor Joss Ackland has died at the age of 95, his family have said.

The screen and stage actor, whose career spanned more than seven decades, died peacefully at home on Sunday surrounded by relatives, the statement given to the PA news agency said.

He appeared in hundreds of films and television productions alongside his “rich and diverse” stage career, and was made a CBE for services to drama in 2001.


Showers for most of the country today, reports BBC Weather, with many areas seeing rainfall and cloud. The best of the sunshine will be in the south-east. Temperatures still mild – between 10 and 13 degrees.

Tonight will be similar to today with showers and cloud. The far north will see some clearer spells towards dawn.

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.

More stories...

Server 108