Displaying items by tag: United Kingdom
A lack of effective and sustained government action and funding is partly to blame for a crisis in the quality of England’s homes, according to a new report entitled ‘Past, present and future: housing policy and poor-quality homes’. It finds that while the government has a crucial role in protecting the nation’s housing stock, dramatic funding cuts and failure to act have left England’s homes crumbling. Today, an estimated ten million people in England are at risk because they live in a home which doesn’t meet basic standards, with the majority of these homes posing a serious risk to their inhabitants’ health or safety. Previous research by the Centre for Ageing Better and the King’s Fund highlighted the link between poor-quality housing and Covid-19; those who are most at risk of the disease are more likely to be living in non-decent homes.
Over 600 medical professionals signed an open letter to the Prime Minister and the first ministers of Scotland and Wales, calling for the revocation of ‘at home' abortion schemes immediately, becausen of the risks to women's health and welfare. Each government has been in consultations whether to make the temporary policy permanent. Carla Lockhart MP said that the permissions granted by the Government without adequate parliamentary and public scrutiny have put women's physical and mental health at risk. 7% of British women reported being pressured into an abortion by a husband or partner. It is greatly concerning that the department of health saw fit to remove the routine in-person consultation before an abortion. Lack of sufficient ID checks over the online consultation process also poses the threat of pills being falsely obtained for another person, which raises particular concerns regarding cases of underage sexual abuse and trafficking.
Rev Dr Bernard Randall, a former chaplain of Christ’s College, Cambridge, is taking Trent College to court for discrimination, harassment, victimisation, and unfair dismissal after the school reported him - without his knowledge - to the government anti-terror watchdog for a sermon he gave at the school on ‘identity politics’. There has been widespread bewilderment as the story has been covered by newspapers and the internet. How can such a reasonable sermon from a Christian minister provoke the treatment he received? How can you be labelled a terrorist and eventually lose your job in a Christian school for advocating freedom of belief? He says his story sends a message to Christians: ‘You are not free to talk about your faith. It’s not enough to just “tolerate” LGBT ideology. You must accept it without question; no debate is allowed without serious consequences.’
UK farmers have sounded the alarm over reports the Government plans a trade deal with Australia which might make its food and farming imports cheaper. The move would be part of a free trade pact with Australia that the Government hopes will be a springboard for similar deals with other countries. But UK farming unions have warned of ‘irreversible damage’ from a bad deal. There is speculation the Cabinet is split over the move. As with many countries, farming imports from Australia face tariffs - making lamb and beef more expensive. UK care of livestock has far higher standards, and avoids hormonal additions. In a post-Brexit world, the Government has now indicated that farmers may have to prepare for the lowering of tariffs on agricultural imports. The NFU warned that its members will struggle to compete if zero-tariff trade on lamb and beef goes ahead.
Brexit minister Lord Frost has said that if Brussels continues to insist on checks on goods arriving from UK’s mainland the Government could trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol (which gives power to suspend the protocol if its application creates economic, societal or environmental difficulties that persist, or divert trade). No 10 fears that unless it takes such action, Unionist violence could flare during July’s marching season in protest at a virtual barrier down the Irish Sea. Urging Brussels to 'stop the point-scoring and work with us', Lord Frost said the UK's 'European friends' do not appear to share our desire for 'free trade and friendly relations. From the unfortunate attempt to put a hard border on the island of Ireland for vaccine exports to threatening to cut off Jersey’s electricity or retaliating against our financial services, we haven't heard much enthusiasm to make things work.'
Connect, Scotland’s largest independent parents’ group, is challenging assessments which replaced Covid-hit exams. Schools are taking ‘different approaches’ across Scotland and they are alarmed that tests and answers are being widely shared on TikTok. The Scottish Qualifications Authority said results will be based on ‘demonstrated attainment’ on a combination of course work and teacher judgement. Instead it mimics the very worst elements of the system it replaces. Wales cancelled GCSE and many schools scheduled assessments to collect evidence for grades while pupils are having to self-isolate. Head teachers and pupils speak of the system’s pressures when grades are decided by schools. Across the UK £13.5bn is needed to reverse the damage to pupils' education caused by the pandemic as they have lost almost two months of learning in reading, and three months in maths. Many are calling for the school day to be extended and increased funding for poor pupils to help recovery.
Many more arrests will follow after Rangers supporters shouted anti-Catholic slogans and songs and damaged property in Glasgow. Violent clashes led to five police officers being injured and thirty rioters arrested. Thousands of fans defied Covid-19 warnings against large gatherings and massed in George Square to celebrate Rangers winning their first Scottish Premiership championship since 2011. Images later showed George Square strewn with hundreds of broken bottles, plastic bags, and spent flares after flag-draped fans attacked each other and threw dangerous missiles at lines of riot gear-clad police officers. Nicola Sturgeon described the scenes as disgraceful: she was ‘angry on behalf of every law-abiding citizen. In normal times, violence, vandalism, and the vile anti-Catholic prejudice on display would be utterly unacceptable. But mid-pandemic, in a city with cases on the rise, it is also selfish beyond belief.’
In Leicestershire two men were arrested when police uncovered a £2.2m cannabis farm in a former bingo hall on 18 May. They were growing 2,188 plants which generated ‘essential’ income for organised crime gangs and ‘misery for many’. Cannabis is not a harmless drug in any way, shape or form. Often extremely vulnerable people are recruited to look after the plants, living in appalling conditions and full of fear. ‘Because of this, we invest significant resources in disrupting this activity and identifying those responsible.’ In Wales another cannabis factory was discovered inside a Swansea home on 14 May. A huge amount of damage to residential homes is caused by such factories. Communities suffer power cuts when the criminals break into the local underground electricity cables to obtain free power for their industry: see
Sadiq Khan has won another four years as London's mayor. He said in an interview that the church ‘does a lot of good for all Londoners’, and he finds the prayers for him when he visits churches ‘inspiring’. He thanks Christians for their prayers for himself and all our leaders, saying, ‘It is just so inspiring and I'm always struck.’ The former MP also praised churches for their role in social justice, saying, ‘Over the last five years, I've understood just how much our Christian communities contribute to London’s success. I've seen churches stepping up to provide support for lonely Londoners, give support for those sleeping rough, help the homeless and give young people constructive things to do.’ He added that churches are not just helping Christians, they are doing so much good for all Londoners, irrespective of faith, race or background.