Displaying items by tag: United Kingdom
Public finances are under pressure from a predicted recession. Both PM candidates agree that people will need help with the cost of living this autumn, but tax cuts will only bring relief to taxpayers. Cutting health and social care levies gives no money to pensioners or anyone earning less than £12,570. The new prime minister will not start the job for another four weeks. The candidates are coming under increasing pressure to spell out their plans. Gordon Brown recently said an emergency budget was urgently needed and that Boris Johnson, Ms Truss and Mr Sunak must agree on one now. A financial time bomb will explode with the October energy price cap. Loughborough University’s Prof Hirsch said, ‘It is urgent for the next prime minister to ensure families have enough to live through this crisis and beyond.’ Some will be £1,600 worse off per year. On 11 August government ministers met with energy giants, focusing on how energy companies can alleviate pressure on consumers: see
Nine in ten NHS dental practices across the UK are not accepting new adult patients for treatment. In a third of 200 council areas, no dentists were taking on adult NHS patients and eight in ten NHS practices were not taking on children. The Department of Health said it had made an extra £50m available ‘to help bust the Covid backlogs’ and that improving NHS access was a priority. While NHS dental treatment is not free for most adults, it is subsidised. There are people across the UK who canot afford private fees, and the subsidised rates are crucial to getting care. The lack of NHS appointments means people drive hundreds of miles in search of treatment, pull out their own teeth, resort to making their own improvised dentures. and restrict their long-term diets to little more than soup.
Heidi Crowter is hoping to change Britain’s abortion legislation through her hearing at the Court of Appeal. Currently the UK permits unborn babies with a disability to be aborted up to birth, while the limit for other babies is 24 weeks. Heidi and others want to stop this discrimination and are continuing their fight after the High Court rejected their case last year. Heidi’s mother Liz told the Christian Institute that those with Downs syndrome are still made in the image of God; they just have one extra chromosome. Heidi said, ‘In 2022 we live in a society where disabled people are valued equally after birth but not in the womb. This law is discriminatory and needs to be changed.’ A ruling will be made in late autumn.
A prolonged dry spell and record-breaking temperatures have left rivers at exceptionally low levels, depleted reservoirs, and dried-out soils. Environment secretary George Eustice has urged more firms to take action to mitigate the effects of the prolonged dry weather. But each water company has different thresholds and demands, so we might not see a UK-wide ban. Sir Robert Goodwill, chairman of the environment, food and rural affairs select committee said, ‘It costs water companies money to impose a hosepipe ban and I suspect they have held off longer than they would have done twenty years ago when most people were unmetered and just paid their water rate.’ His comments come as the UK prepares to declare a drought. Water UK say that climate change and an increasing population mean there could be water shortages by 2050. On 10 August Thames Water sent water tankers to residents in the first place in Britain to run dry when Stokenchurch reservoir was found to contain E.coli.
The Environment Agency is expected to declare a drought in England, the Met Office has issued the highest warning in its Fire Severity Index, but UK’s fire brigades are completely unprepared for the risk posed by the soaring temperatures. On 14 August an ‘exceptional’ red fire risk warning will cover much of central and southern England as temperatures exceed 35C for the fourth day in a row for the first time since 1976. The national officer for the Fire Brigades Union said cuts to services across the UK have left fire services unable to cope with a repeat of the dozens of break-out fires and destroyed homes experienced last month. These fires burn at high temperatures, spread at incredible speed, and are brutally dangerous for fire and rescue crews to fight. Over a fifth of the workforce has been cut since 2010, yet they must deal with extreme weather events in increasing regularity and severity.
Most victims of burglary, robbery, and theft in England and Wales are not given the justice they deserve. HM chief inspector of constabulary Andy Cooke calls current low charge rates ‘unacceptable and unsustainable’. He said ‘Some tackle crimes effectively, but others miss opportunities to identify and catch offenders at all stages from when a crime is first reported.’ Lack of investigative capacity and experience is made worse by detective shortages. In the year up to March 2022 only 6.3% of robbery offences and 4.1% of thefts in England and Wales resulted in charges. Digital, forensic, technological and analytical capabilities are not good enough to allow officers to carry through to investigations. They must improve their approach to personal robbery, theft from a person, theft of and from motor vehicles, and domestic burglary. By March 2023, all police forces must ensure burglary, theft and robbery crime scenes are managed according to national standards and are effectively supervised and directed.
Some say that failure to plan for the millions of people coming to Britain is behind our current woes. Twenty years ago, Migration Watch UK said Britain could expect over two million immigrants every ten years unless curbs were introduced. The Home Office denounced the prediction, but the actual increase is far greater. Since 2002, the UK's population has grown by eight million. 80% of which is attributed to immigration: but no one talked about it. At the 2001 general election, parties promised ‘not to play the race card’ during their campaigns, so the impact of extensive immigration was closed. By the 2005 election it could not be ignored. Population increase is now the fastest in history. Recruiting overseas professionals (doctors, teachers, etc.) helps support our growing needs. However, the extra hospitals, schools, GP surgeries, houses, transport links and the like that are required for such a large number of people have not been provided in sufficient quantity.
When Archie Battersbee’s accident left him unconscious, he was put on life support treatment, but months later he had not regained consciousness and doctors said he was brain-stem dead. They planned to stop treatment. Archie's mother disagreed, wanting a ‘realistic time’ for her child to recover saying, ‘Planned death is euthanasia, which is illegal in this country. It is for God to decide what should happen to Archie, including if, when and how he should die.’ On 22 July we highlighted Archie’s situation and the need for law changes so that the vulnerable and their families are protected in end-of-life matters. His parents began legal proceedings to keep Archie on life support treatment, but finally on 4 August the European Court of Human Rights refused their application to delay any changes to his treatment. Continue to pray for changes to be made around hospitals' power to make life or death decisions for the vulnerable.
On 1 August almost 700 migrants crossed the English Channel in 14 small boats, a record for the year so far. The French authorities stopped one boat at sea with 35 people on board. Government figures state over 17,000 people have arrived in the UK after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats so far in 2022. Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have both vowed to toughen controls on migration into the UK as part of their bids to become next Tory leader and prime minister. Mr Sunak said he would tighten the definition of who qualifies for asylum and introduce a cap on refugee numbers. Ms Truss said she would increase the number of Border Force staff and extend the UK's Rwanda asylum plan. However, no asylum seekers have been sent to the East African country yet following a series of legal challenges. See
On 3 August thirty police officers and immigration officials raided two properties and detained a 40-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man, both originally from Somalia, on suspicion of offences linked to people-smuggling. The pair have lived in Northern Ireland for ten years; authorities believe they are part of an operation being run by an organised crime gang transporting people into the UK. Officers also searched the addresses for cash. Immigration officials say that individuals can pay gangs between £2,500 and £15,000 to be brought into the UK, often exploiting the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland. Priti Patel said the operation showed expertly-trained officers working tirelessly to keep our country safe by disrupting suspected criminal activity. An immigration enforcement officer said this was just one of the ways they worked with the police to act against people-smuggling.