Displaying items by tag: england
The Met Office has issued an extreme heat weather warning (Level 3 Alert) for most of England and parts of Wales, with temperatures building, especially from 16 to 19 July when the maximum could reach 38C. There could be a danger to life or potential serious illness; there could be widespread impact on infrastructure, with road closures and cancellations or delays to rail and air travel. Health minister Maria Caulfield said that a heatwave plan is being actioned; also a NHS hot weather plan is in place. Pray for health and social care workers to pay particular attention to the elderly and vulnerable. Pray for councils and boroughs to conduct welfare checks on vulnerable street people and rough sleepers. Pray for parents to watch young children for signs of heat exhaustion. In England, there were 2,500 excess deaths in the summer of 2020 as a result of hot weather.
Sats results show year 6 standards in reading, writing and maths have slipped in England since the pandemic. 59% of pupils met the expected level. The government says the Sats results were as expected due to the pandemic and there is ‘more work to do’ to help pupils catch up. By 2030 it wants 90% of children leaving primary school to have the expected standards in reading, writing and maths. Unions said further investment in schools and teaching staff was needed to achieve that target. The government said it values the work teachers up and down the country are putting into education recovery. £5bn has been allocated to help pupils catch up and children struggling in English and maths will ‘receive the right evidence-based targeted support to get them back on track’. The education unions and former advisor Sir Kevan Collins said the recovery fund falls short of what was required - around £15bn.
Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said he does not believe the state should be ‘nannying’ parents about the way they bring up their children. He has rejected the call to ban smacking children in England, saying, ‘Parents are entitled to discipline their children. My very strong view is we must trust parents on this. They should be entitled to discipline their children. There is a very big difference between a “light smack on the arm” and child abuse.’ Dame Rachel De Souza, the children's commissioner, has signalled her support for changing the law to give children the same protection from assault as adults. Wales has made illegal any type of corporal punishment, including smacking, hitting, slapping or shaking illegal. In England and Northern Ireland, smacking a child is unlawful, but is allowed as long as it constitutes ‘reasonable punishment’.
There are fears that the new Covid variant, Omicron, ‘could be’ more infectious and less responsive to vaccines. Therefore, from 10 December, face coverings are mandatory for most indoor venues including places of worship, theatres and cinemas - as well as on public transport and in shops and hairdressers. Masks won't be needed in pubs, restaurants, or gyms where it's ‘not practical to wear them’. From 13 December, people should work from home ‘if possible’. From 15 December (subject to parliamentary approval), people will need to show an NHS Covid vaccination status or a recent negative lateral flow test to enter nightclubs, indoor unseated venues with over 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with over 4,000 people and any venue with over 10,000 people. They must also do lateral flow tests (LFT) before entering high-risk settings like crowded places involving people you wouldn't normally come into contact with, or when visiting a vulnerable person.
Social care organisations want Boris Johnson to fix the broken care system.They want long overdue changes to funding social care and ‘immediate’ cash injections to cover costs incurred during the pandemic. Councils need money for new technology and fairer deals for care staff. In 2019 Boris Johnson vowed to fix the funding crisis ‘with a clear plan we have prepared’, but discussions around changing costs are still ongoing. Social care is not free to vulnerable people with assets over £23,500. Below that they receive council help. Consequently, thousands of people annually must sell their homes to pay for their care. Charities warned that ‘every week of dithering means an extra 13,000 pensioners being denied vital help’. It is believed the PM supports a £50,000 lifetime cap on care costs to shield pensioners from catastrophic bills. However Rishi Sunak is concerned over finding £10billion a year to pay for this.
For many years groups have gathered at locations along the Scotland/England border in a spirit of unity and reconciliation, confessing and repenting of the sins of one nation towards the other. There is a sense that much has been achieved, but there is still work to be done. In that spirit a small group from both sides of the border met to pray and discuss over recent weeks; the result is ‘Cross Border Blessing’ on 28 April. Sixteen individuals/couples will pray a blessing from one nation to the other, in 15-minute sections, criss-crossing the border from east to west. You can join them from where you are by using the blessing prayers In the evening there will be an online gathering of people from both nations to worship and pray under the banner of unity, celebrating what God is doing to build His church.
With effect from 4 July, where it is not possible to stay 2m apart, people should stay ‘one metre plus’. Churches may open for prayers, services, and weddings for a maximum of 30 people, subject to social distancing and no singing. Restaurants and pubs will offer hospitality with table service only and limited contact between staff and customers, who must give contact details on arrival. Hotels, B&Bs, cottages, campsites, and caravan parks can also reopen; people can stay away from home for the first time since March. Other restrictions for meeting indoors and outdoors are being eased, as long as businesses protect the public from risk of infection. Sadly thousands of sun-seekers flocked to the beach at Southend just one day after the announcement, completely disregarding all rules by sitting or standing close together on a packed beach. See
After further easing of lockdown measures, health leaders are calling for an urgent review to determine whether the UK is properly prepared for the ‘real risk’ of a second wave. In an open letter published in the British Medical Journal, ministers were warned that urgent action would be needed to prevent further loss of life. The presidents of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, Nursing, Physicians, and GPs all signed the letter which stated, ‘While the future shape of the pandemic in the UK is hard to predict, the available evidence indicates that local flare-ups are increasingly likely and a second wave a real risk. Many elements of the infrastructure needed to contain the virus are beginning to be put in place, but substantial challenges remain.’ The chair of the BMA urged ministers to set up a cross-party group with a ‘constructive, non-partisan, four nations approach’, tasked with developing practical recommendations. Pray that the public calmly consider this warning and act wisely.
Shelter revealed that 135,000 children are homeless in Britain, one in 200 people in England are without a settled home, and 280,000 people are recorded as homeless. However, the charity pointed out that these statistics could be the tip of the iceberg, with hidden homelessness and rough sleeping difficult to document accurately. The scale of the challenge that Boris Johnson’s new government must face is daunting. Pray for government action to address the lack of social homes. A spokesman for the ministry of housing said, ‘Everyone should have somewhere safe to live, and councils have a duty to provide accommodation to those who need it, including families with children’. There are 1,450 Big Issue sellers working on the streets each week. Homelessness blights lives, leaving lasting imprints of trauma, and many are only days away from becoming homeless.
There are more slaves today in the world than at any other point in history. Right now, over forty million people are trapped and exploited in slavery. Over 25% of these are children. IJM invites you to join them, standing in the gap and going into deeper intercession for the survivors who have been rescued and crying out for those who are still trapped; praying for the teams going into the darkest corners of the world. Come in May to London or Glasgow, prepared for a day of storytelling, inspired intercession, and worship. Join guest speaker Benson Shamala (IJM Kenya’s deputy director), Dr Amy Orr-Ewing, and singer-songwriter Lucy Grimble in London, or with 24-7 Prayer Scotland’s Crystal Cryer and worship group Ps & Gs Music in Glasgow. Pray for justice and courage to equip you to raise your voice against the strongholds of violence and be part of ending slavery for ever.