Displaying items by tag: United Kingdom
Good News for Everyone (formerly the Gideons) distribute Bibles in hospitals, hotels, education, public services, clubs and prisons. A Bible in Andy’s cell at Aylesbury Young Offenders Prison turned his life around. ‘While in prison, I decided to take my own life. My situation had become so hopeless I had lost the will to live. I made a noose and decided to fix it to the window then let myself hang to death. At that moment a quiet voice spoke to me “Just read that Bible”. On the shelf sat a copy of the New Testament and Psalms. I started reading at the beginning of Matthew. At Luke, the story of the lost son, my tears began flowing, my hopelessness disappeared, and the wretchedness I suffered went. If no Bible had been in that cell, I would be in hell right now, instead of living my life in the joy of the Lord!’
Some medical students need to work multiple part-time jobs to afford to complete their degrees. Final year students have stopped training because they don't have enough money to survive.
For that year, they get a bursary to live on (maximum £6,458). It is not enough - especially for those from low-income backgrounds. They are campaigning for better NHS bursaries. Penny Sucharitkul hopes to be a vascular surgeon, but the money does not even cover her rent. She is from a single-parent family, and relying on Universal Credit after her father lost his job during the pandemic. On top of studying full-time, she works as a martial arts instructor and a clinical research assistant. She says working-class students are treated unfairly. ‘We're getting up at 6 am, training all day, then going to work again. It’s incredibly taxing on our mental health. We're burning people out before they've even started in the NHS.’
Over eighty complaints of assaults, neglect, and sexual abuse have been made about after-school clubs in the past five years. In one incident, an eight-year-old boy had to clean his younger sister who had special educational needs, after she soiled herself: see The Department for Education says every child should feel safe in such clubs. Parents rely on them, and breakfast clubs, to provide childcare outside school hours. Many are not regulated, as providers do not need to register with Ofsted unless they offer childcare for more than two hours. They can register voluntarily with Ofsted in England, but only 10% are inspected a year, meaning they might not be inspected for nearly a decade. The mother of the two siblings said it was difficult for parents to know about the quality of safeguarding, saying, ‘After-school clubs are blind spots that need to be addressed.’
The attorney general has been advised that it would be lawful to override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the post-Brexit arrangement which requires some checks on goods between Britain and NI. This angers both Unionists and the EU. There has been no power-sharing executive for several months after the DUP withdrew in protest against the protocol. In the recent election Sinn Féin, whose goal is for NI to become one country with the Republic of Ireland, won the most seats and needs to form a government. It cannot take up the office unless the DUP nominates a deputy first minister. The DUP's leader said his party would respect the election result, but changes needed to be made to the protocol. Boris Johnson has said the most important treaty is the Good Friday Agreement, which established a cross-community power-sharing government to end decades of violence.
Tory MP Lee Anderson has said that poor people use foodbanks because they cannot cook properly; they haven’t got the skills to budget appropriately or do a proper weekly shop, ‘like we did back in the day’. Mr Anderson said he was not ‘being a nasty Tory.’ ‘The point I was making was that there are a lot of people out there who with the right help, the right support, and the right education, would be able to fend for themselves.’ The Trussell Trust foodbank network said, ‘Foodbank need in the UK is about lack of income, not food.’ Mr Anderson’s expenses claim last year was £220,000. The Independent Food Aid Network wrote to the chancellor warning they are close to ‘breaking point’ after an unsustainable surge in demand due to the cost of living crisis.
As Russia staged a military parade marking its defeat of Nazi Germany, the defence secretary accused Russia of hijacking their ‘forebears' proud history’ and said their generals must face war crimes trials. Mr Wallace said, ‘Russia is not interested in occupying Mariupol; he is simply destroying it. Russia's brutality in Ukraine could send incredibly dangerous messages if Putin was successful. It would indicate to powers around the world that they ‘just need to be more brutal than others to achieve their aims. If Putin is successful in Ukraine, then watch out.’ He also said the Government was in this ‘for the long haul’ and would continue providing Ukraine military and financial support, plus more sanctions targeting £1.7bn of new import tariffs on Russian goods used to make parts for mobile phones and computers. Export bans will target chemicals, plastics, rubber and machinery. It takes the value of products subject to UK sanctions to over £4bn.
The UK could be heading for a recession. The economy contracted by 0.1% in March, and higher prices are ‘really beginning to bite’, the Office for National Statistics said. People are spending less in shops and cutting down on car journeys; the impact of higher energy bills in April has also yet to be seen. Many price rises are just starting to hit households now. Last week the Bank of England forecast that inflation could reach more than 10% by the end of the year. It warned the UK faces a ‘sharp economic slowdown’. The chancellor has threatened to hit energy companies with a one-off ‘windfall’ tax if they don't invest enough in new projects. Opposition parties want to tax the soaring profits of oil and gas firms to help families grappling with rising bills. Treasury officials have been ordered to examine a potential tax, and Boris Johnson said the Government would have to look at the windfall proposal if not enough investment was made.
Keir Starmer insists he did not break coronavirus lockdown laws by having a beer and a curry at a ‘campaign event’. A source who was present at the meal said, ‘It has been claimed that Starmer worked during the curry and then after the curry. None of those two things happened. He did not go back to work.’ He added, ‘Some of those present at the event with Sir Keir and deputy leader Angela Rayner were not working at all and were just there for a jolly’. Durham police are looking into the event. ‘Sir Keir Starmer has been economical with the truth about “Beergate”', said Dominic Raab. But he did not call for Sir Keir’s resignation if police fined him. Instead he said his party would remain focused on the economy, not engaging with the beer saga. ‘If he's going to be talking about his curry menu for the next week, we're not going to be engaged in that.’
Boris Johnson has said the British embassy in Kyiv will open its doors again, after its closure shortly before Russia's invasion. He also said it was sadly a ‘realistic possibility’ when asked if he agreed with intelligence that the Russian bombardment could continue to the end of next year, ending with Russian victory. He said, ‘Putin has a huge army with a very difficult political position because he has made a catastrophic blunder. His only option, really, is to continue to use his appalling, grinding approach driven by artillery, trying to grind the Ukrainians down. No matter what military superiority he may be able to bring to bear in the next few months, he will not be able to conquer the spirit of the Ukrainian people.’
Labour is calling for an emergency budget to bring forward more measures to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. Inflation is at a thirty-year high. Sir Keir Starmer demanded further measures, for instance a windfall tax on energy firms. Downing Street said the Queen's Speech, in which future policies are outlined, is coming up, and these issues are ‘utterly central to what the Government is trying to do’. Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled plans to address the cost of living in March's Spring Statement. They included fuel duty cuts, raising the threshold for paying National Insurance, and cutting the basic income tax rate before the next general election. Meanwhile grocery prices were 5.9% higher in April than a year ago due to rising raw material costs, whilst shoppers are turning to discount retailers Aldi and Lidl as budget pressures grow. The average household food bill will now be a potential extra £271 per year: see