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House prices continue to rise – up for the 12th month in a row | Business News

Annual house price growth in the UK accelerated to 11% in July, slightly up from the 10.7% seen in June, according to new figures.

House prices increased by 0.1% month-on-month – the 12th consecutive monthly increase – according to Nationwide Building Society.

The average house price in July reached £271,209.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said the housing market had been surprisingly buoyant so far, given the strains on households’ budgets and consumer confidence plunging to a record low.

He added: “We continue to expect the market to slow as pressure on household budgets intensifies in the coming quarters, with inflation set to reach double digits towards the end of the year.”

Marc von Grundherr, director of London estate agent Benham and Reeves, said: “You’d have thought that having gorged themselves on a feast of mortgage affordability and stamp duty reductions during the pandemic, the appetite of the nation’s homebuyers would be dwindling.

“This clearly isn’t the case and even a string of consecutive interest rate hikes are yet to taint their taste buds as they continue to pile their plates high – pushing house prices to record highs in the process.

“With the bricks and mortar buffet on offer remaining understocked with regard to the level of homes available, we can expect property prices to remain robust even against an uncertain economic backdrop.”

‘Market momentum remains unwavered’

James Forrester, managing director of Barrows and Forrester, added: “Market momentum remains unwavered, having weathered a prolonged period of Brexit uncertainty, a global pandemic, increasing inflation and the most incompetent prime minister in living memory.

“All things considered, it seems as though nothing short of an apocalypse can bring the property market to its knees.”

But managing director of HBB Solutions, Chris Hodgkinson, said: “While house prices remain sky high, home sellers would be well advised to fasten their seatbelts as we’re likely to witness a period of heightened turbulence before the year is out.

“Buyer demand levels are already starting to wane and when the well runs dry, home sellers will have to adjust their asking price expectations in order to secure a sale, as a perfect storm of increasing mortgage costs, record inflation levels and the steep cost of living all put pressure on the UK property market.”

Winners of Love Island 2022 crowned, with Michael Owen’s daughter finishing in second place | Ents & Arts News

Ekin-Su Culculoglu and Davide Sanclimenti have been crowned as this year’s winners of Love Island.

The 27-year-old Turkish actress from Essex and Italian business owner, also 27, won over fans with their fiery but passionate relationship that lasted most of the series.

They beat Gemma Owen, who is the daughter of former England footballer Michael Owen, and Luca Bish in the final two, while Indiyah Polack and Dami Hope finish third.

Tasha Ghouri, who was the show’s first deaf contestant, and Andrew Le Page finished in fourth place.

ITV this year scrapped the option for one of the winning couple to steal all of the prize money for themselves.

Ekin-Su and Davide arrived in the Love Island villa early on in the series as bombshells and despite initially being attracted to each other, they suffered a rocky relationship, with the Italian labelling Ekin-Su as “fake as Louis Vuitton from China”.

However, they were later inseparable and dubbed themselves the “Italian snack” and “Turkish delight”, eventually professing their love for each other.

When they were announced as the winners, Ekin-Su burst into tears and Davide gasped and said: “I can’t believe it.”

Ekin-Su Culculoglu and Davide Sanclimenti, Gemma Owen and Luca Bish, Indiyah Polack and Dami Hope, Tasha Ghouri and Andrew Le Page with Laura Whitmore
(From left) Luca Bish, Gemma Owen, Ekin-Su Sanclimenti, Laura Whitmore, Indiyah Polack, Dami Hope, Tasha Ghouri and Andrew Le Page

This year’s Love Island was hosted by Laura Whitmore.

The current series of Love Island has been a ratings success, securing its biggest launch episode since 2019.

ITV has also announced there will be two series of the show in 2023 – a winter series in South Africa and a summer series in Majorca.

Read more:
Amy Adams on getting hooked on Love Island

Footballer who’d just renewed club contract signs for Love Island
Love Island contacted by abuse charity

Penny Mordaunt’s endorsement is a boost for the Truss camp and a crushing blow for Rishi Sunak | Politics News

It’s the endorsement both candidates desperately wanted in the battle for the Tory crown.

And potentially the biggest vote winner, declaring for Liz Truss so far.

Penny Mordaunt was runner-up to Rishi Sunak in all but the final round of voting by MPs, before being narrowly edged out by Liz Truss in the nail-biting 11th-hour showdown.

Politics Hub: Live updates as Truss and Sunak go head-to-head once again

In round one she won 67 votes to 50 for Ms Truss, in round two it was 83-64, round three was 82-71 and round four 92-86, before she finally polled just 105 to 113 for Ms Truss.

Now, in a shock move after the bad blood between their two camps during the MPs’ voting, the former magician’s assistant has sprinkled her stardust on the Liz Truss campaign.

In a stunning piece of theatre at the Tory party’s hustings at the University of Exeter, she dramatically climbed on board the Truss bandwagon and almost certainly earned herself a cabinet job if the foreign secretary defeats Mr Sunak.

Cynics will claim Ms Mordaunt’s endorsement of Ms Truss would have carried more weight had it come earlier.

But the timing – the day ballot papers were being sent to party members – is ideal for Ms Truss and a crushing blow to Mr Sunak.

Read more from Sky News:
Rishi Sunak pledges to fine patients who miss GP appointments
Liz Truss can bask in the glow of a double boost

Inside the hall, the moment when Ms Mordaunt was introduced as Ms Truss’s cheerleader and warm-up act was pure box office.

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Penny Mordaunt has backed her rival in the Tory leadership contest against Rishi Sunak

The backers of the two leadership candidates had been kept under wraps until the hustings got underway.

Her backing for Ms Truss is a remarkable U-turn.

When her campaign to reach the top two had real momentum last month, there were claims that she was the victim of smears and dirty tricks by the Truss campaign.

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case was forced to bow to demands from Ms Mordaunt’s supporters for an inquiry after accusations that civil servants leaked information to the press to damage her chances in the race.

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As the early bookies’ favourite and the darling of party activists according to several polls, she had been attacked over her stance on trans issues and claimed her views had been misrepresented.

Later there were claims that she was lazy and “went missing” in her job as an International Trade minister, neglecting her duties because she was plotting a leadership campaign.

Aged 49, two years older than Liz Truss, Ms Mordaunt is a Royal Navy reservist and took part in a TV reality show called Splash wearing a swimsuit. Now she’s made her biggest splash yet in the Tory leadership campaign.

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will take part in a head-to-head debate on Sky News on Thursday 4 August at 8pm hosted by Kay Burley.

If you would like to be a member of the live studio audience and be in with a chance of asking a question, please apply here.

Channel crossings in July hit highest monthly total of year so far amid reports of new deal with France | Politics News

The number of migrants crossing the Channel in July was the highest monthly of the year so far, with 3,683 making the journey in 90 boats, according to government figures.

The new total – the highest of any month in 2022 – comes amid reports Home Secretary Priti Patel will sign another multi-million pound deal with France to try to reduce the numbers.

According to the Times, the money will go towards more beach patrols and surveillance equipment, and be in addition to millions already paid to the country.

Politics Hub: Poll boost for Sunak as Truss gets more cabinet backers

It also comes a month after new laws increasing the maximum penalty for those illegally entering the UK to four years in prison, and life in prison for those piloting the boats.

The government announced its plan to send migrants who arrive illegally in the UK to Rwanda just three months ago, saying it would deter people from making the Channel crossings.

But the first flight to the country was cancelled after a last minute order from the European Court of Human Rights, and 11,131 migrants have arrived in the UK since.

More on Migrant Crossings

Ms Patel has continued to stand by the plan, saying the government would “not be deterred from doing the right thing [and] we will not be put off by the inevitable last-minute legal challenges”.

And both candidates for the Tory leadership, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, have committed to the scheme.

Home Secretary Priti Patel arrives at 10 Downing Street,
Reports claim Priti Patel is about to sign a new deal with France to try to curb Channel crossings

But opposition parties and charities – reportedly even Prince Charles – have claimed the policy is inhumane.

Last month, court documents revealed Ms Patel was warned against pursuing the scheme, with the UK’s High Commissioner to Rwanda saying the country “has been accused of recruiting refugees to conduct armed operations in neighbouring countries”.

Man charged with murder of missing Basildon mum after body found in Wat Tyler Country Park | UK News

A man has been charged with the murder of a young mother following the discovery of a body in a country park.

Madison Wright, of Basildon in Essex, was last seen alive on 22 July and was wearing a pink top, black trousers and flip flops.

The 30-year-old’s black Vauxhall Astra was found four days later on 26 July in Brackendale Avenue in Basildon.

Forensics teams at the police cordon at Wat Tyler Country Park in Basildon, Essex. Pic: Essex Police
Forensics officers at the police cordon at Wat Tyler Country Park in Basildon, Essex. Pic: Essex Police

Essex Police arrested a man on Friday, and on Sunday officers charged Gary Bennett with murder.

The 36-year-old, from Pitsea, is due to appear at Southend Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

The force said that a body was found at Wat Tyler Country Park in Basildon on Saturday.

The park and nearby recycling centre remain shut whilst officers continue with their enquiries.

Madison Wright's car was found in Brackendale Avenue, Basildon, Essex, on 26 July. Pic: Essex Police
Ms Wright’s car was found in Brackendale Avenue, Basildon, Essex, on 26 July. Pic: Essex Police

The body has yet to be formally identified but Ms Wright’s family have been informed of the development and are being supported by specialist officers, police said.

Police want to speak to anyone who has information but has not yet come forward, in particular anyone who saw Ms Wright or her car between 8.30am on 22 July and 26 July.

The force is also appealing for CCTV, dash cam or other footage in relation to the incident.

Essex Police can be contacted about the incident on a dedicated phone line on 0207 1267612.

Information can also be reported online at or anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.

Euro 2022: It’s come home! Lionesses deliver England’s first major trophy since 1966 | UK News

England are waking up as the champions of Europe after the Lionesses delivered the country’s first major trophy since 1966.

There were euphoric scenes nationwide last night after the squad beat Germany 2-1 in extra time – with 87,000 supporters at a packed-out Wembley Stadium cheering them on, not to mention millions more at home.

And later today, thousands of fans are set to join in the celebrations at an event in Trafalgar Square, where the team will take part in a live Q&A and lift the Euro 2022 trophy.

Sarina Wiegman has described the victory as an incredible achievement – and her players couldn’t resist storming into the press conference, singing “football’s coming home” at the top of their lungs and dancing on the table.

The England manager, who has won plaudits for her composure throughout the tournament, revealed she had a beer for the first time in years during the celebrations – and plans to take a little time off before beginning preparations for next year’s World Cup.

She thanked the nation for their support, and admitted: “I will need a couple of days to realise what we have done.”

It’s been a flawless journey for the Lionesses – and not only did they score the most goals ever in this tournament, but they only conceded two.

There’s now a firm belief that England’s fairy-tale ending could transform women’s football in the years to come – sparking renewed interest in the game among fans and players alike.

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Fans roar as Lionesses win Euros

“I think these tournaments have done so much for the game but also for society and women in society in England but also across Europe and the world,” Wiegman added.

The Queen also highlighted the significance of the Lionesses’ achievement in a statement, telling the team: “Your success goes far beyond the trophy you have so deservedly earned. You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations.

“It is my hope that you will be as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of the result today.”

Read more:
PM, Spice Girls and Three Lions react to Euro 2022 victory
Tears, cheers and jubilation: England’s historic win in pictures

England’s win is ‘life-changing’

Sky’s Adele Robinson described the atmosphere at Wembley Stadium as electric, with one little girl spontaneously screaming: “It was amazing.”

And the girl’s father was in tears too, telling us: “I’ve been watching for the last 40 years and I’ve never seen England win a final. It means so much, it’s enormous. It’s why we wanted to make sure our daughter came and saw.”

The crowd was full of smiles and singing – with children wearing flags as capes. One teenager with “Lionesses” written on her midriff said England’s win felt “life-changing”.

One six-year-old with the England flag painted across her cheeks simply said: “Thank you, that was awesome.”

Chloe Kelly celebrates scoring England's second goal
Chloe Kelly celebrates scoring England’s second goal

A nail-biting finale

Ella Toone gave England the lead in the 62nd minute with a sublime lob after being sent through one-on-one with the German goalkeeper.

The Lionesses were unable to hold on as Germany’s Lina Magull scored a flick-on at the near post in the 79th minute.

But England prevailed in extra time as Chloe Kelly poked home from close range after Germany failed to clear a corner.

England wins

Beth Mead won the Golden Boot after finishing the tournament with six goals – 12 months after she was left out of Team GB’s Olympic squad for the Tokyo Games.

“I can’t believe it,” she said. “Sometimes football puts you down but bouncing back is the best way and that is what we have done.

“I am so, so proud of this team. I love this team and I love this country.”

Man charged with murdering nine-year-old girl in Lincolnshire | UK News

A man has been charged with murdering nine-year-old Lillia Valutyte in Lincolnshire.

Deividas Skebas, 22, was arrested by police two days after Lillia was found dead after being stabbed in Boston at about 6.20pm on Thursday.

Lincolnshire Police say the Lithuanian national, of Thorold Street, Boston, is due to appear at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court, on Monday.

Officers arrested Skebas in the Central Park area of Boston at around 2.45pm on Saturday following “a combination of intelligence and information supplied by members of the public”.

Chief Superintendent Martyn Parker said: “This is a heartbreaking case that has affected many people in Boston, and further afield.

“Our thoughts continue to be with Lilia’s family at this exceptionally difficult time.

“The response to such a devastating incident has involved committing significant resources to the investigation, and engaging with people in Boston who are understandably shocked by Lilia’s death.”

Lillia had reportedly been playing with her younger sister on the street just yards away from an office where their mother was working.

The girls had a hula-hoop, and a toy pram was left at the scene, according to locals.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has described Lillia’s death as “appalling”.

Archie Battersbee set to have treatment withdrawn on Monday after life support battle | UK News

Archie Battersbee, who is on life support, is set to have treatment withdrawn at 2pm on Monday unless the government complies with an injunction from the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Barts Health NHS Trust, which is treating the 12-year-old, said in a letter to his parents that “no supplemental oxygen will be given” after the endotracheal tube of the mechanical ventilator is removed.

Archie has relied on the machine to breathe since being admitted to hospital on 7 April after being found unconscious at home by his mother.

“The time it takes for the heart to stop beating is often a matter of minutes, but in some cases, this can take longer,” the letter continued.

“A doctor will assess Archie regularly to confirm that the heart has stopped beating but with consideration of the family’s need not to have too much intrusion at such a difficult time.”

Archie’s parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee will be told on Monday morning how the withdrawal process is to be performed, with the aim to “preserve Archie’s dignity”, the letter read.

It went on: “You or any of the family may wish to lie on Archie’s bed with him or have him in your arms, if that should be practically possible.”

More on Archie Battersbee

A High Court judge had ruled that ending treatment is in Archie’s best interests, after reviewing evidence from clinicians and said the boy’s prognosis was “bleak”.

The family says doctors should give Archie a chance to recover and have made an application to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, citing Articles 10 and 12 of the Convention (UNCRPD) which call on nations to ensure the right to life and equal rights for disabled people.

In a letter to Ms Dance and her barrister Mr Bruno Quintavalle, the committee writes it has “requested the state party [the UK] to refrain from withdrawing life-preserving medical treatment, including medical ventilation and artificial nutrition and hydration from the alleged victim while the case is under consideration by the committee”.

Read more:
Archie Battersbee’s mother appeals for help from health secretary
Supreme Court refuses to intervene in life-support battle for brain-damaged boy

Archie's parents Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance
Archie’s parents Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance

On Saturday the government told Sky News it has received correspondence from the UN which it is carefully considering.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We recognise this is an exceptionally difficult time for Archie Battersbee’s family and our thoughts are with them.

“We have received the letter and will respond in due course.”

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Archie’s mother makes plea

Ms Dance told Sky News she is waiting anxiously for the British government to comply with the UN request.

Barts Health NHS Trust said delaying the start of palliative care would “not be appropriate without an order of the court.”

The family said the assertions were misleading, adding: “We as a family are very disappointed that the Trust’s management has chosen to hide behind euphemisms and to mislead the public.

“It is hard to see any reason for that behaviour except knowing that what they are doing is cruel and wrong.”

Euro 2022: ‘We don’t fear anyone’ – England aim to make football history in front of record crowd | UK News

England’s Lionesses will be aiming to make football history when they take on Germany in the Euro 2022 final at Wembley later today.

The home side, who could land their first major trophy, are underdogs – Germany have won the title eight times, as well as 21 of the 27 meetings between the two teams.

But England did triumph the last time the teams played each other in February – and since Sarina Wiegman took over as coach in September, they have played 19 games and won 17 of them.

Speaking late last night, Wiegman said that – despite the pressure – there is a sense of calm within her squad. She added: “When you reach a final, then you’re one of the best teams in the tournament. I think we have a very good team too, and we don’t fear anyone.

“I think it has been really calm around the team – I think that worked really well. So we just went back to the hotel where we are staying and did the training sessions again, did recovery there and the things we have to do to get prepared.”

When asked if the women could win and make up for the men’s team’s Euros defeat at the hands of Italy in the final last year, she said: “I don’t think we should compare men and women – it’s just one England.

“I don’t think there is any difference.”

England’s men have never won a European football championship and their last major tournament victory was the World Cup in 1966.

Regarding the German women’s team, Wiegman said: “I think at some point it might be a little physical – Germany can play very direct, physical and straightforward. That’s what we expect.”

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England manager Sarina Wiegman: ‘We don’t fear anyone’

Record crowd expected

Around 90,000 fans are expected at Wembley this evening – a record for a Euros final.

The previous record was set in 1964 at the men’s final as 79,115 fans watched Spain host the Soviet Union.

Last year’s men’s final between England and Italy at Wembley was watched by 67,000, although that crowd was smaller due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An RAF flypast is planned just before the 5pm kick-off today, led by a C-130 Hercules crewed by three women, accompanied by two Typhoon fighter jets.

Hercules captain Flight Lieutenant Lauren, who has been in the RAF for 12 years, said: “I’ve flown missions all over the world with the RAF but this will be one of the most memorable.

“It has been inspiring to watch the Lionesses progress and I will be loudly cheering them on as soon as I land back at RAF Brize Norton.”

Read more:
How Sarina Wiegman’s ruthless European style has changed England’s fortunes
Lionesses ready for ‘fairytale’ final against Germany, says captain Leah Williamson
How England’s Lionesses found the perfect blend to reach Sunday’s final

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‘The fans are going to be our twelfth man… Woman. Damn!’

‘A summer of fantastic memories’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has written a letter to the England team, wishing them the best of luck.

He told them: “Your passion for the game, your tenacity in tricky spots, and above all your astounding talent on the pitch have already created a summer of fantastic memories for millions of us.

“You can see it in the sold-out stadia, in the packed fan zones, in the small children dancing wildly to Sweet Caroline and the TV viewing figures that have seen records crumbling almost as comprehensively as Sweden’s defence did in the semi-final.

“In any pride it is the Lionesses who ruthlessly hunt as a team and bring their prize back home – and I am sure that will be the case against Germany.”

And Mr Johnson wrote that – no matter the outcome – “the pitches and playgrounds and parks of this country will be filled as never before with girls and women who know beyond any shadow of a doubt that football is not just for boys, it really is for everyone”.

His message ended: “That is all down to you and what you have already achieved. And so, when the referee’s whistle blows tonight, I hope that you are every bit as proud of yourselves as England is of you.”

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said to the players: “As a parent, I know how vital it is to see strong, successful role models in sport.

“What you and your team have accomplished this summer will not just be celebrated as a great moment for English football but as one that encouraged and inspired young women like my own daughter.”

Sir Keir attended the Lionesses’ semi-final victory over Sweden on Tuesday and said it would “live long in the memory”.

He added: “It’s coming home!”

The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund accepted donation from Osama bin Laden’s family | UK News

The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund accepted a donation from Osama bin Laden’s family in 2013, it has emerged.

According to The Sunday Times, Prince Charles met with the al Qaeda founder’s half-brother Bakr in London – and allegedly agreed to accept a £1m payment.

The report claims that several of the senior royal’s closest advisers urged Charles to return the money.

Clarence House has denied that Prince Charles was personally involved, telling Sky News: “The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund has assured us that thorough due diligence was undertaken in accepting this donation.

“The decision to accept was taken by the charity’s trustees alone and any attempt to characterise it otherwise is false.”

Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund added: “The donation from Sheik Bakr bin Laden in 2013 was carefully considered by PWCF trustees at the time.

“Due diligence was conducted, with information sought from a wide range of sources, including government. The decision to accept the donation was taken wholly by the trustees. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate.”

Osama bin Laden was behind the September 11 attacks of 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people in the US.

The Sunday Times claims that Charles’ meeting with Bakr, the patriarch of the wealthy Saudi family, happened two years after Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces in Pakistan.

The newspaper reported that the donation was accepted despite the objections of advisers – one of whom said having the money “would not be good for anybody”.

The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund was founded in 1979 and awards grants to UK-registered non-profit organisations for projects in the UK, Commonwealth and other countries.

This is not the first time that PWCF’s activities have come under scrutiny.

Earlier this year, The Sunday Times reported that Prince Charles had accepted a suitcase full of cash as a charitable donation from the former prime minister of Qatar.

Three lots of money totalling €3m were handed to the prince personally between 2011 and 2015 by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani.

The palace has not denied that on one occasion, he presented the prince with €1m which was reportedly put into carrier bags from Fortnum & Mason, the luxury food store that has a royal charter to provide the Royal Family with groceries.

Clarence House insists all ­correct processes were followed over the donations – and a senior palace source later said Prince Charles accepting bags of cash for his charity “would not happen again”.

Earlier in July, the Charity Commission said it would be taking no further action over that donation – adding it has “no concerns” about the governance of the prince’s charity and that trustees submitted information via a serious incident report.

There was no suggestion those payments were illegal, but anti-monarchy campaign group Republic said it wrote to the Charity Commission to demand an investigation.