News Round-Up

Oct 27: Chancellor expects post-covid growth; Test and Trace failure; Gov in sewage U-Turn; Record fuel prices

  • Here are the headlines on Wednesday, October 27

Time 1 month ago

Rishi Sunak’s budget optimism boosted by prediction of higher growth after Covid

Rishi Sunak will hail a ‘new age of optimism’ in his budget amid predictions he will have more money than expected to spend due to a fast bounce-back from Covid.

The chancellor is set to strike an upbeat tone as he talks up building a ‘stronger economy of the future’, with the promise of rising wages, cash for the NHS and investment into regional transport projects.

Mr Sunak’s spending plans are likely to be bolstered by forecasts of faster growth than predicted in the spring as the economy roars back into life since the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, according to analysts.

Test and Trace ‘has failed on main objective’

The NHS Test and Trace programme ‘has not achieved its main objective’ to enable people to return to a more normal way of life despite being handed ‘eye-watering’ sums of money, according to a report by MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee said that the programme’s outcomes have been ‘muddled’ and a number of its aims have been ‘overstated or not achieved’.

Meanwhile it has been handed the equivalent of 20 per cent of the NHS’s entire annual budget – £37bn over two years.

Ministers’ U-turn over legal controls against dumping raw sewage into waterways

The government has climbed down over refusing to implement legal controls on water companies to prevent them from dumping raw sewage into rivers and seas following a voter backlash.

Labour has accused ministers of conducting a U-turn in the face of public anger after Conservative MPs were last week whipped to vote down an amendment to the Environment Bill that would have placed legal obligations on water companies to stop polluting England’s waterways during heavy rainfall.

But, despite ordering MPs to defeat the proposal, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on Tuesday said the bill would be ‘further strengthened’ as it looks to put in place a ‘duty enshrined in law’ to ensure water companies ‘secure a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows’.

Higher shop prices likely in run-up to Christmas

Higher shop prices are likely in the run-up to Christmas as ongoing global shortages and supply problems result in cost pressures, figures suggest.

Shop price annual deflation eased to 0.4 per cent in October from last month’s decrease of 0.5 per cent – a slower rate of decline than the 12 and six-month average price decreases of 1.3 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively.

Overall prices are still lower than this time last year but food prices this month saw their highest rate of year-on-year inflation, at 0.5 per cent, since November 2020, according to the BRC-NielsenIQ Shop Price Index.

Inquest set to open into death of MP Sir David Amess

An inquest into the death of MP Sir David Amess, who was stabbed to death during a constituency surgery at a church, is due to be opened and adjourned.

Sir David, 69, was attacked at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex on October 15.

The father-of-five was pronounced dead at the scene at 1.10pm and a preliminary postmortem examination report gave the cause of death as multiple stab wounds to the chest.

Tuesday’s Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Tens of thousands of children aged 12 to 15 booked in for Covid-19 jabs

More than 80,000 children aged between 12 and 15 have been booked in online to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations.

A total of more than 2.5m letters are landing on doorsteps this week inviting parents to book a jab for their child this half-term through the national booking service.

There are more than 100 existing vaccination centres – including the Kassam Stadium in Oxford and Montgomery Hall in London – which have already opened their doors to this age group.

Just four in ten companies think they are on track to reach net zero on time

Only four in ten businesses say they are on track to comply with the UK’s climate change targets, while staff are unsure about what their employers are achieving, new data show.

In a survey released by Microsoft and Goldsmiths, University of London, three quarters of organisations said they had ‘one foot in and one foot out’ on sustainability.

It comes despite big commitments from many companies to make sure that they eliminate their contribution to global warming within the next 30 years, if not sooner.

Environment Minister launches public consultation on climate strategy

A public consultation process on how Northern Ireland will tackle climate change has been launched by Environment Minister Edwin Poots.

The Green Growth strategy paves the way for the transition to a low-carbon economy, aiming to balance the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with protecting the economy.

Launching the eight-week consultation process at Artemis Technologies in Lisburn, Mr Poots said ‘urgent action’ is required to meet the climate challenge.

Worker shortage could rule out UK turkeys for Christmas, farming sector warns

Farming and meat industry bosses have warned MPs that acute labour shortfalls could result in a shortage of turkeys produced in the UK for Christmas.

Bosses told the Defra Select Committee that non-UK workers leaving during the pandemic contributed to a shortfall in staff numbers.

Graeme Dear, chairman of the British Poultry Council, has told MPs there is a ‘likelihood’ there will be a shortage of UK-produced turkeys for Christmas, warning produce may have to be imported from Europe.

Facebook posts quarterly earnings of £6.5bn amid whistleblower scandal

Facebook has recorded third quarter earnings of £6.5bn as it weathers a storm of blistering claims from a former employee.

The company reported a net income for the three months ending on September 31 of $9bn (£6.5 bn), up from $7.8bn for the same period in 2020.

A backlash against the technology firm has been intensifying since The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Facebook’s own internal research concluded its algorithms helped foster political dissent and contributed to mental health and emotional problems among teenagers, especially girls.

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More than half of the UK now paying more for petrol than 2012’s record high

On Sunday, the average price of petrol in the UK hit a new all-time high – but new data indicates that it could continue to rise with seven of the 12 UK regions now paying above the previous record level.

The latest figures from RAC Fuel Watch indicate that seven of the 12 regions in the UK now have an average petrol price above the previous record of 142.48p per litre set in April 2012.

That dubious honour of highest petrol price in the UK goes to the South East at 143.57p, with the East and South West completing the top three with 143.38p and 143.18p respectively.

Cloudy and wet day ahead

Today, north-western England, southern Scotland and the far north of Wales will be cloudy and wet. Elsewhere will be drier but mostly cloudy, with some sunny spells in Northern Ireland. The BBC reports it will be a mild day.

Tonight, the rain will continue in southern Scotland and north-western England before drifting into western parts of Wales. The rest of the UK will continue mostly cloudy and dry.

Tomorrow, Wales and western parts of England will have a wet day, but the rest of England will be mostly cloudy and dry. Showers in Scotland and Northern Ireland, with some sunny spells in places.

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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