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News Round-Up

Sept 6: PM facing National Insurance hike backlash; Gordon Brown urges end of West’s vaccine ‘stranglehold’; Wagamama worker shortage; Heatwave this week

  • Here are the headlines for Monday, September 6

Time 6:29 am, September 6, 2021

Social care funding talks ongoing as Tory grandees blast National Insurance hike

Boris Johnson remained locked in talks over how to fund social care reforms as Tory grandees warned hiking National Insurance would unfairly hit young and lower income workers.

Former chancellor Lord Hammond told the prime minister there will be a ‘very significant backlash’ if he goes ahead with the the manifesto-breaking move this week as expected.

Johnson, health secretary Sajid Javid and chancellor Rishi Sunak have been thrashing out the details, as the government prepares to announce its long-awaited reforms to social care. Reports suggested that £5.5bn more funding has been agreed for NHS shortfalls later this year, including to help clear the backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Johnson to defend his handling of the Afghanistan crisis to MPs

Boris Johnson will reiterate his pledge to use ‘every economic, political and diplomatic lever’ to help the Afghans left behind by Britain as he defends his handling of the crisis to highly-critical MPs.

The prime minister will make a statement to the House of Commons on Monday when parliament returns from its summer recess to confront a potential humanitarian disaster in the making.

Johnson and foreign secretary Dominic Raab have both been subject to criticism over the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and their response since the Taliban takeover.

Gordon Brown calls for summit to end West’s ‘stranglehold on Covid vaccines’

Former prime minister Gordon Brown is stepping up calls for an emergency summit to tackle the ‘scandal’ of millions of people in low-income countries being denied a Covid vaccine.

He published a report based on data from research agency Airfinity, which claimed Western nations were ‘hoarding’ nearly 300 million vaccines Brown said could be saving lives in countries such as those in Africa.

By the end of October, the unused vaccines stockpile – those stored or not contracted for delivery – will be 500 million, large enough to put African and poor-country vaccination programmes back on track, he said.

Wagamama reveals chef recruitment struggles amid UK worker shortage

Pan-Asian chain Wagamama has revealed difficulty in hiring chefs across a fifth of its restaurants as the sector battles amid a ‘perfect storm’ of supply chain woes and staff shortages.

The group’s recently appointed chief executive Thomas Heier said he was struggling to fill chef vacancies in around 30 sites.

He said Brexit was impacting the number of European workers looking for jobs in the UK, but also blamed tough competition in the recruitment market as logistics firms are resorting to wage hikes and steep cash bonuses to help plug lorry and delivery driver shortages.

Staff shortages could last two years, warns CBI

While Wagamama struggles with a worker shortage, a leading business group is urging the government to take urgent action to tackle the shortage of workers, warning that labour supply problems could last up to two years.

The CBI said there is growing evidence of staff shortages, which are continuing to disrupt firms as they battle to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

Director-general Tony Danker said the challenge extends beyond a lack of HGV lorry drivers, which is hitting supplies of goods to supermarkets, pubs and other businesses.

Weekend Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

More than 11,000 properties flipped to holiday homes amid staycation boom

More than 11,000 second-home owners in England have flipped their properties to become holiday lets since the start of the pandemic, to capitalise on soaring demand for staycations.

New analysis of government figures by real estate advisers Altus Group showed that the number of holiday homes trading as businesses has jumped by more than a fifth since the pandemic hit.

The data shows that there are now 67,578 homes in England classified as holiday homes which have been flipped to become commercial premises, compared with 56,102 properties in March last year.

Restrictions on travel to other countries has resulted in a surge in demand for domestic holidays, particularly in 2021.

Heatwave incoming

Parts of the UK could see an official heatwave in the coming days, with temperatures hitting almost 30C (86F), forecasters have said.

The Met Office said people in some areas will bask in sweltering heat and sunshine from Monday to Wednesday.

These include 25C (77F) for central England and Wales – where it has been forecast the threshold could be exceeded – and 28C (82.4F) for London and the South East.

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The mercury is expected to exceed the average for September, which is 18C (64.4F) in the UK.

Hotting up

And turning to today’s weather, the north will see light patches of rain lingering while the south will see cloud to start the day, says the BBC. However, in the south, cloud will clear leaving a dry and warm day.

Tonight, cloudy with light spells of rain for Northern Ireland and Scotland. Elsewhere will be dry with the odd patch of fog.

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.

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