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News Round-Up

Sep 11: Pressure to designate China as a threat; Mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting called for; Rents could rise four times as fast as house prices

  • Here are the headlines for Monday, September 11

Time 6:11 am, September 11, 2023

Chinese parliamentary spy arrest puts pressure on Sunak

Rishi Sunak was facing pressure to designate China a threat to national security after a parliamentary researcher was arrested on suspicion of spying for Beijing.

The arrest under the Official Secrets Act led to the Prime Minister confronting Chinese premier Li Qiang at the G20 summit in India on Sunday over ‘unacceptable’ interference in democracy.

The researcher, who had links with senior Tories including security minister Tom Tugendhat and Foreign Affairs Committee chair Alicia Kearns, was arrested back in March – but it went undisclosed until Saturday.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Mr Tugendhat are pushing for China to be labelled as a threat to Britain’s safety and interests under new national security laws, the Times reported.

Charity urges mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting

The government is being urged to introduce mandatory reporting on the ethnicity pay gap for all companies employing over 250 workers.

The Runnymede Trust and ShareAction, the charity campaigning for responsible investment, suggested legislation to end the “deep-rooted inequality” in pay identified over the last four years.

A policy document published by the two organisations said making it mandatory to publish ethnicity pay gap differentials was the first step to measuring and addressing the scale of racial disparities and tackling structural racism in companies.

Rents ‘could rise four times as fast as house prices’

Rents could rise more than four times as fast as house prices between the end of 2022 and the end of 2026, according to a forecast.

Across Britain, rents could rise by 25 per cent over the four-year period, compared with 5.5 per cent growth in house prices, estate and lettings agent Hamptons predicts.

As mortgage rates gradually fall and households benefit from real income growth, Hamptons said it expects house price falls to come to a halt in 2024, with growth picking up in 2025 – which is thought likely by the property services firm to be the year when a new housing market cycle starts.

Michael Schumacher simulator

Michael Schumacher’s F1 simulator to appear at antique fair

An official Ferrari Grand Prix drivers’ simulator used by Michael Schumacher will be on display at a Dublin antiques fair next weekend.

The simulator was used by Ferrari to prepare drivers for the various circuits on the Formula One calendar in 2006 – Schumacher’s last season driving for the team.

The F1 memorabilia will appear at Timeless, the Irish Antique Dealers’ Fair, which returns to Dublin’s RDS on September 15 and will be sold at a subsequent auction in the coming months.

Maritime sector calls for £2bn to decarbonise

Britain’s maritime industry is calling for a big increase in Government investment to help the UK lead the way in decarbonising the sector.

Maritime UK, which represents the industry, has used the start of London International Shipping Week on Monday to ask the Government to increase its annual funding for the sector to £2 billion, matched by contributions from the industry.

Chris Shirling-Rooke, Maritime UK’s CEO, said the money would help the industry decarbonise by developing green fuels, port infrastructure and new types of technology to reduce carbon emissions.

Daniel Khalife to appear in court today

Daniel Khalife is due to appear in court charged with escaping from custody at HMP Wandsworth.

The 21-year-old former soldier was arrested on a canal towpath in west London at 10.41am on Saturday after being pulled off a bike by a plainclothes counter-terrorism officer.

His capture followed a mass land and air search over four days after he went missing from the prison on Wednesday.

New iPhone expected to switch to USB-C

The next iPhone is likely to feature one of its most notable design changes in years, according to an industry expert, as its charging port switches to fall in line with impending EU law.

Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 15 range on Tuesday evening during an event at the tech giant’s California headquarters.

Reports and predictions from analysts suggest the biggest change to the new phones will be removing the Apple Lightning connector – present on every iPhone since its introduction in 2007 – and replacing it with the USB-C port, which EU regulations have made the mandatory connection on all small electronics, and must be in place by the end of 2024.

TUC to accuse Government of having ‘broken Britain’

The leader of the TUC will accuse the Conservatives of having ‘broken Britain’.

In his keynote speech to the TUC Congress in Liverpool, general secretary Paul Nowak will claim that ‘nothing works in this country anymore and no-one in Government cares’.

He will say: ‘They’ve had 13 years to sort out crumbling concrete in our schools, but five days before the new term they tell schools they can’t open.

‘Because – and I quote the Education Secretary – everyone ‘sat on their arses’.’

Sunak does not commit to maintaining triple lock in next Tory manifesto

Rishi Sunak has not committed to maintaining the triple lock on state pensions in the next Conservative manifesto.

It comes as pensioners could be in for an 8 per cent boost to income next year in line with the increase in average wages – following a 10.1 per cent rise this year to match inflation.

The triple-lock safeguard means the state pension tends to increase every April in line with wage growth, price inflation or 2.5 per cent – whichever is higher.

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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