Displaying items by tag: United Kingdom
Despite recent increased spending on Continuing Healthcare, staff shortages and rising prices mean people with complex medical needs are lacking the help they need. Sometimes family members are so exhausted from providing continual care that they’re concerned over their relative’s safety. Declan is one of the 16,000 people needing Continuing Healthcare. He has severe, progressive muscle wasting and cannot move unassisted. He requires a ventilator to breathe and has chronic heart and respiratory failure. The care he needs to be able to live at his family home should be met by NHS’s Continuing Healthcare scheme that enables people with high complex needs to live outside of the hospital. Declan is entitled to 24/7 support by experienced care workers plus extra help mornings and bedtime. His mother has been asking for care overnight and during her working hours - but repeatedly faces shortfalls in meeting Declan’s needs.
British lawmakers warn that imported technology embedded in Chinese electric vehicles could be used to harvest information on drivers. With China leading the global EV market, cheaper Chinese vehicles are expected to dominate UK automotive sales. A cross-party group of MPs have expressed concern to the government that Britain is on the verge of handing control of critical infrastructure to Beijing, with all of the ‘associated security risks.’ An unnamed senior government official said that if it is manufactured in China, how certain can you be that it won’t be a vehicle for collecting intel and data? Why have electric vehicles manufactured by countries that already spy using technology? Why wouldn’t they do the same here? The UK already suspects China’s technology imports are a security risk and barred Huawei from the 5G network in 2020, ordering all equipment and services to be removed by the end of 2023.
Adam Smith-Connor has pleaded not guilty to charges related to breaking a local ‘buffer zone’ around an abortion clinic and praying silently outside the medical facility. He was approached by police outside the clinic earlier this year. He thought he would not be prosecuted, as the statutory time-limit for pressing charges had elapsed. At his hearing on 9 August he said, ‘We are standing in the nation of the Magna Carta, the nation which has championed democracy and freedom. We have a history of upholding human rights we can be proud of and a respect for freedom that I fought to uphold when I served this country for twenty years in the army reserves, including in Afghanistan. Yet here I stand before you, being prosecuted for a thought crime.’ His legal team contend that freedom of thought is protected absolutely through the Human Rights Act and therefore, the local council has no power to prohibit silent prayer.
Richard Harvey attended the prestigious Winchester School. Although he was Jewish he regularly attended chapel services. Richard debated with his Christian friends, but Christ’s resurrection was a stumbling block - until, while discussing it, Richard saw an empty tomb. He was interested in what it meant to believe in Jesus and studied theology at university, but he was pulled in two directions: his Jewish friends wanted him to return to Judaism and Christians suggested he wasn’t a Jew now. When he studied church history he wondered, ‘Whatever happened to the first Jewish Christians? Why did they disappear? How can they reappear today?’ God called him to be an answer to his questions. He became an evangelist with Jews for Jesus and later for the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people (CMJ). Today he is involved with the British Messianic Jewish Alliance and lectures at All Nations Bible College, preparing missionaries for service overseas.
The Local Pantry network is saving money for and improving the health of their communities. Pantries are small shops serving local neighbourhoods. Members pay a few pounds weekly and choose ten items worth many times more. They eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and are trying and enjoying new foods. Their finances have improved, and it helps them reduce food waste. Members also say their health has improved significantly. On 18 July the 100th pantry opened, in Kent. Churches host or support 47 of the 100, and the network has reached 90,000 people. Churches are ideal hosts, with physical space, local links, a well-known location, potential volunteers, and a desire to see positive change. Portsmouth’s Baptist Church closed its foodbank and opened a pantry instead. Inspired by its success, a Southsea Church of England did the same, as did two other local organisations, including an Elim Church community group.
Many are made homeless from ‘no-fault’ evictions when their landlord decides to sell. The Government promised to ban these types of evictions in 2019 but has not done so yet. Evicted families are placed in temporary accommodation. On 31 March almost 105,000 households, with over 131,000 children, were in such accommodation (hotels or bed and breakfast). This latest figure is the highest since records began. Sitting outside a hotel in Plymouth earlier this month, the BBC found several homeless families keeping each other company. When people are in temporary accommodation, there is nowhere for them to move to. The root of the problem is lack of housing, exacerbated because local housing allowance rates have been frozen for the past three years. Amid soaring rents, that choice has left much of the country unaffordable for any household needing housing benefit to help pay their rent.
A reporter posing as an economic migrant found immigration law firm staff briefing clients how to lie to the authorities to stay in Britain. They were willing to help him get refugee status despite being told he had no legitimate reason to stay in the UK. One lawyer asked for £10,000 to invent a backstory for him, including claims of sexual torture, beatings, slave labour, false imprisonment and death threats making him suicidal and compelled to flee to the UK. He promised a doctor’s report to back up the story and antidepressants to give to the Home Office as ‘evidence’ of mental trauma. Another lawyer promised to ‘create the evidence’ to make it appear the reporter had a genuine fear of ‘persecution and assassination’ if he returned home. He boasted of a success rate of over 90% with similar asylum cases. Immigrants face jail for making false asylum claims, whereas solicitors facilitating and profiting from them only face professional sanctions.
‘I have been a doctor for forty years working in a broken system. Endless demands with inadequate resources have been costly. But will striking work? Does Jesus want me to strike? I’m conflicted. Philippians says, ‘Don’t look out only for your own interests, take an interest in others, too with the same attitude of Christ.’ If I strike someone else will cover. They’ll be taken from routine work, making the queue of suffering grow. Nevertheless, when all is said and done, the NHS is not playing fair; they expect everything and erode my salary by stealth. The BMA says a strike in August will show the government we mean business. Colossians says I should think I work for you Lord, not them. Do I really have to trust you to meet my needs? Or must I agree with BMA’s next strike over pay and conditions?’
The Co-op has warned some communities could become ‘no-go’ areas for shops due to crime hitting record levels, increasing by over 1/3rd in the past year. There were about 1,000 shoplifting and anti-social behaviour incidents every day in the past six months. A Freedom of Information request revealed 71% of serious retail crime had not received a police response. Many police forces do not prioritise retail crime. The Co-op has called for an ‘urgent change’, and for all forces to target repeat and prolific offenders in cities where organised criminal gangs operate - it could be described as looting. Criminals come in with bags, sacks or clothing which can conceal hundreds of pounds’ worth of stock - coffee, meat, spirits; others clamber over the kiosk and just tip products into their bags. They know the police don't have the resources or can't attend quickly enough.
Christian Aid have cut ties with Barclays over the bank’s investments in oil and gas industries. The bank is known to be one of Europe’s leading funders of fossil fuels. Sarah Edwards from Just Money Movement said, ‘I think charities, companies, churches, and individuals are all having to think now more about what our money is doing, and the kind of world that our money is shaping. I think that's a really positive step. And we're really pleased that Christian Aid have done this. Money shapes the kind of world we want to see. Banks don’t just sit on our money when it is in a current or savings account, they invest it, they lend it, and use it in different ways. Some of those ways we might not be happy with.’ Barclays said it will set an ambition to become net zero by 2050, as addressing climate change is an urgent and complex challenge.