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UK’s economic policies could cause ‘many more deaths’ than COVID – with government urged to protect the ‘most vulnerable’ | UK News

The government’s economic policies could be causing “many more deaths” than the COVID-19 pandemic, an academic has warned.

In the space of eight years, almost 335,000 more deaths than expected were recorded across England, Wales and Scotland, researchers have found.

The “not only shocking but shameful” statistic is thought to show the “damaging impact” of difficult economic situations caused by the government reducing public spending.

Experts at Glasgow University and the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) looked at data on deaths in the three nations from 2012 until 2019.

Tory divisions over 45p tax rate U-turn to dominate conference – politics latest

“This study shows that in the UK a great many more deaths are likely to have been caused by UK government economic policy than by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ruth Dundas, a professor of social epidemiology at the University of Glasgow and one of the authors of the report.

In its findings, the report stated there was now a “clear and urgent need… for such harmful policies to be reversed” and its authors urged the government to “implement measures to protect the most vulnerable in society”.

The research was carried out amid a “stalling of improvement overall” in mortality rates, with the number of deaths among the poorest members of society increasing since the early 2010s.

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Coffey’s NHS plan: Is it enough?

What did the study find?

From 2012, until 2019, 334,327 more people died than expected across England, Wales and Scotland, and more than half of them were men.

Among women, there were 77,173 excess deaths in England and Wales, as well as 6,564 in Scotland.

Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the study found that previously improving mortality trends changed between 2011 and 2013 in Scotland and England.

This occurred after the Conservatives, under the leadership of David Cameron, came to power in 2010.

From that time until 2012, death rates among women living in the 20% most deprived areas of England increased by 3%, and they did the same between 2017 and 2019.

In the previous decade, this figured had decreased by around 14%.

In Scotland, the number of premature deaths among the poorest communities increased by 6-7% in the same time frames after declines of 10-20%.

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NHS data reveals A&E delays

‘These deaths did not have to happen’

Speaking about the research, Dr David Walsh, the lead author of the paper, said: “These figures are not only shocking but shameful.

“We must remember that these are more than just statistics: they represent hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been cut short, and hundreds of thousands of families who have had to deal with the grief and aftermath of those deaths.

“The tragic thing is that these deaths did not have to happen. In the words of the United Nations, in a society as wealthy as the UK, ‘poverty is a political choice’.”

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NHS ‘broken beyond repair’

The government’s ‘plan for patients’

He urged the government to realise the “damaging impact of austerity” and respond with economic policies that improve life expectancy for everyone.

Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the “shocking” findings reinforces the “urgent” need for the government to “change course” from its current budget proposals, which have caused concern among many MPs.

“Reinforcing austerity, and imposing deep real terms cuts on welfare payments and on public services as a whole, would simply add to the human toll so starkly illustrated in this study,” he warned.

His comments come amid speculation that the government could cut benefits in a bid to reduce public spending.

Former chancellor Rishi Sunak had promised to increase benefits in line with inflation, but current Prime Minister Liz Truss has said a decision on this policy “will be made in due course”.

With a failure to rule out a real-terms cut to benefits, concerns have been raised by Conservative MPs about the impact it may have on families already struggling due to the cost of living crisis.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman vows to stop Channel migrant crossings – and will ‘make Rwanda scheme work’ | Politics News

The new home secretary has vowed to stop small boats crossing the Channel and to find a way to “make the Rwanda scheme work”.

Suella Braverman, in her first speech in the job, received a standing ovation at the Conservative Party conference after promising to stop the illegal migrant crossings.

“We have got to stop the boats crossing the Channel. This has gone on for too long. But I have to be straight with you, there are no quick fixes,” she said.

“The problem is chronic. Organised criminal gangs are selling a lie to thousands of people. Many are drowning in the Channel.

“Many are leaving a safe country like France and abusing our asylum system.”

Ms Braverman told the Birmingham conference said she will work closely with France “to get more out of our partnership” both on the French coastline and “further upstream” against the criminal gangs smuggling people over.

This announcement was met with a standing ovation from the audience and prompted her to say she had not finished yet.

The home secretary added that in order to prevent illegal migration “we need to find a way to make the Rwanda scheme work”.

She hit out at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) overriding the UK Supreme Court so the government’s first deportation flight to Rwanda was unable to take off.

Her predecessor, Priti Patel, launched the scheme to send migrants, who came into the UK via small boats in the Channel, to Rwanda in a partnership with the African country.

But no flights have yet left the UK due to the ECHR’s decisions, with Ms Braverman saying: “We need to take back control.”

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Is Liz Truss trusted?

Modern slavery

She also said the largest group of migrants in small boats are currently coming from Albania, which she said is “a safe country”.

Ms Braverman said many of them claim to have been trafficked as modern slaves “despite them having paid thousands of pounds to come here, or having willingly taken a dangerous journey across the Channel”.

She said many are not modern slaves and their claims of being trafficked “are lies”.

Dover’s Tory MP Natalie Elphicke told Sky News she welcomed the measures and added that the British people will “absolutely help people in need of asylum” but the situation is abused daily in the town.

Ms Braverman also said there are “egregious examples of convicted paedophiles and rapists” making last-minute claims of modern slavery to block their deportation.

Read more:
Liz Truss says she has ‘absolutely no shame’ in U-turn on cutting 45p tax cut
Home secretary attacks Tory MPs who ‘staged coup’ over tax cut

Demonstrators outside the Royal Courts of Justice, central London, protesting against the Government's plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda, while a High Court hearing over the policy is ongoing. Picture date: Monday September 5, 2022.
The Rwanda flights have yet to take off due to legal challenges

Not racist to want to control borders

In her wide-ranging speech, the home secretary said legal migration needs to be controlled so those who emigrate to the UK assimilate.

“It’s not racist for anyone, ethnic minority or otherwise, to want to control our borders,” said Ms Braverman, whose parents came from Kenya and Mauritius in the 1960s.

“It’s not bigoted to say that we have too many asylum seekers who are abusing the system.

“It’s not xenophobic to say that mass and rapid migration places pressure on housing, public services and community relations.

“I reject the Left’s argument that it is hypocritical for someone from an ethnic minority to tell these truths.”

Police officers detain one of the Extinction Rebellion activists who protested at the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain September 2, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Ms Braverman took aim at Extinction Rebellion protesters

Police should not take the knee

She also promised to back the police and to ensure they investigate every neighbourhood crime.

Members applauded when she said officers must have powers to “stop protesters who use guerrilla tactics” and warned activists from environmental groups Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion that they will be jailed for breaking the law during protests.

She also said it was wrong for police to take the knee, join in political demonstrations and for male officers to strip search female suspects.

“More PCs, less PC,” she said to a roar of applause.

The home secretary also pledged to ensure the Prevent terrorism referral scheme is “fit for purpose”.

Four women selected to live and work in remote part of Antarctica with colony of penguins | UK News

Four women are to give up their home comforts to live and work in a remote part of Antarctica.

Clare Ballantyne, Mairi Hilton, Natalie Corbett and Lucy Bruzzone make up the team picked to take on the responsibility for managing historic site Port Lockroy, on Goudier Island.

They were among 6,000 people who expressed an interest in the roles – including running the world’s most remote post office and counting the island’s penguins – which were advertised by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) charity.

The team will travel 9,000 miles to reopen the bay for the first time since the pandemic, taking care of the charity’s flagship site – home also to the world’s most remote museum.

Penguins in Antarctica

They will be based on the island – in a region without running water or a flushing toilet – for five months, which means they will spend Christmas together.

As well as dealing with sub-zero temperatures and almost constant daylight, the women will share the island with a colony of gentoo penguins, which Ms Hilton will be in charge of monitoring.

“This will be my first time in Antarctica and I’m very excited to set eyes on the white continent. I have no idea what to expect when we get there – how cold it will be, will we have to dig our way through the snow to the post office?” Ms Hilton, from Scotland, said.

“I’m a conservation biologist, so personally I can’t wait to see the penguins and other wildlife like seabirds and whales.”

Mairi Hilton
Mairi Hilton and Lucy Bruzzone (below)
Lucy Bruzzone

Scientist Ms Bruzzone will be base leader, managing the team and co-ordinating all ship visits to the island.

She has already spent three months in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard on an Arctic expedition, and described her new adventure as a “lifelong dream”.

Newly appointed postmaster Ms Ballantyne, who has just completed a masters in earth science at Oxford University, will deal by hand with approximately 80,000 cards which are mailed each year from the site to more than 100 countries.

“I’m most looking forward to stepping on to Goudier Island and taking in the cacophony and pungent smell of the penguins, the backdrop of the glaciers and Fief mountains – and being able to call it home for the next few months,” the 23-year-old from Lincolnshire said.

Natalie Corbett
Natalie Corbett and Clare Ballantyne (below)
Clare Ballantyne

Newlywed Ms Corbett, who has worked in retail for more than a decade, will be in charge of running the gift shop and will leave behind her husband for the trip, which she dubbed a “solo honeymoon”.

The team will be joined by Vicky Inglis, who will help settle them in for the first 10 weeks.

The 42-year-old from Aberdeenshire who started working for UKAHT full-time in the summer, said: “Port Lockroy holds a very special place in my heart. Having spent five months out there before the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m excited to be travelling with the new team to introduce them to the magic of the Antarctic.”

Royal Navy frigate sent to North Sea after attacks on Nord Stream gas pipelines | World News

A Royal Navy frigate has been sent to the North Sea after suspected sabotage last week on the Nord Stream gas pipelines.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the ship was working with the Norwegian navy “to reassure those working near the gas pipelines”.

European nations believe the damage could only have been caused by an attack, with Russia strongly suspected.

The Kremlin has denied it was responsible and instead pointed the finger at the West.

Methane has been bubbling up since four leaks were found on the pipelines under the Baltic Sea, near Denmark’s Bornholm Island.

A British defence source told Sky News they were likely premeditated attacks using underwater explosives.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Sunday at the Tory Party conference that Russia made “no secret” of its ability to attack underwater infrastructure.

He said the damage to the pipelines – which run from Russia to Germany – showed “the Nordic states and ourselves are deeply vulnerable to people doing things on our cables and our pipelines”.

Mr Wallace said the UK would acquire two specialist ships to protect the network as the country’s “internet and energy are highly reliant on pipelines and cables”.

“The first multi-role survey ship for seabed warfare will be purchased by the end of this year, fitted out here in the UK and then operational before the end of next year,” he said.

“The second ship will be built in the UK and we will plan to make sure it covers all our vulnerabilities.”

Map showing North Sea gas network

Mr Wallace met other ministers of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) on Monday to share assessments of what the MoD called a “blatant and irresponsible” attack.

In a statement, it said the members had decided to increase their presence in the area, as well as “intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance activities” to deter future acts and reassure allies.

The JEF is focussed on security in the High North, North Atlantic and Baltic Sea region.

It includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK.

Woman dies after being attacked by dogs in home in Liverpool | UK News

A woman has died after being attacked by dogs at a home in Liverpool.

Police confirmed the woman, believed to be in her 60s, was pronounced dead at the scene and her next of kin have been contacted.

The incident happened in St Brigids Crescent, Kirkdale, on Monday at around 4.25pm.

Detective Inspector Gavin Mulcahy, from Merseyside Police, said: “We understand the shock this incident will cause in the local community and beyond.

“Our officers are at the scene carrying out further enquiries so if you have any information please let us know.”

Anyone with any information can contact @MerPolCC or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with reference 690.

Two men arrested after fatal stabbing outside mosque in Coventry | UK News

Two men have been arrested after a man was stabbed to death outside a mosque in Coventry.

West Midlands Police were called to the Jamiah Masjid & Institute just after 9pm on Sunday after reports of a fight involving a large group of men, some armed with knives.

Officers found two men who had been injured, including a 52-year-old man who died a short time later.

A second man, aged 44, suffered a small stab wound.

A 56-year-old man was arrested by armed officers nearby a short time later, while a second suspect aged 27 was arrested in the early hours of this morning.

Both men are being questioned on suspicion of murder.

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Screen Grabs taken from the scene  of a fatal stabbing  outside of a mosque in Coventry

Detective Superintendent Shaun Edwards, overseeing the investigation, said: “We’re supporting the family of the man who has died at what is a truly awful time for them, and our thoughts go out to them.

“We’ve made some really good early progress in this investigation, but there is still a lot of work to be done in identifying all of those involved in what happened last night.

“We don’t believe this is linked to any other incidents or disputes either in Coventry or the wider West Midlands, and it appears to have been an isolated dispute which has ended in tragedy.”

He said patrols in the area are being stepped up and asked anyone who may have seen what happened on a mobile phone or dashcam to get in touch with the police.

Anyone with information should call police quoting log 3319 of 2 October or use the Live Chat at, or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Truss and Kwarteng ditch plan for tax cut for highest earners | Politics News

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has confirmed that the government is axing plans to give the wealthiest 1% a tax cut following a bitter backlash from Tory MPs.

Mr Kwarteng said in a tweet that the measure had become a “distraction” from his objection to grow the economy.

He said: “We get it, we have listened.”

Politics live: Major U-turn after prominent Tories speak out

The 45p income tax cut policy was one of a series that prompted turmoil in the markets over the past week, with the pound reaching record lows against the dollar.

The plan was announced in the mini-budget, last Friday, but would have had to go to a vote before it could be approved.

Former cabinet minister Grant Shapps, one of the big hitters in the Tory party who had publicly criticised the policy, told Sky News that it would not have got through parliament.

“There is no mathematical way MPs would go and vote for this,” he said.

“The policy didn’t stack up and it didn’t make sense.

“You didn’t have to knock on many doors to see how unpopular it had been.”

The plan to scrap the 45p rate, which is paid by people who earn over £150,000 a year, was criticised as unfair amid the cost of living crisis.

Mr Kwarteng abandoned the policy hours before he was due to defend it at the Conservative Party conference.

Asked where the U-turn had left his credibility, the chancellor told BBC Breakfast: “We are 100% focused on the growth plan.”

He added: “I have been in Parliament for 12 years, there have been lots of policies which, when government listens to people, they have decided to change their minds.”

Asked if it had considered resigning, he said: “Not at all. What I am looking at is the growth plan and delivering what is a radical plan to drive growth in this country, to reduce taxes, to put more money that people earn in their pockets.”

Moments after Mr Kwarteng confirmed the U-turn, Ms Truss tweeted: “We get it and we have listened.

“The abolition of the 45pc rate had become a distraction from our mission to get Britain moving.

“Our focus now is on building a high growth economy that funds world-class public services, boosts wages, and creates opportunities across the country.”

‘They have destroyed their economic credibility’

The pound surged higher in overnight trading on Monday as reports emerged that the government would abandon the decision to axe the 45p tax rate.

Labour pressed for Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng to back down on the rest of their tax-cutting mini-budget.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the reversal today “comes too late for the families who will pay higher mortgages and higher prices for years to come”.

“The Tories have destroyed their economic credibility and damaged trust in the British economy,” she said.

“This is not over – it’s not just some distraction.

“The Tories need to reverse their whole economic, discredited trickle down strategy.

“Their kamikaze Budget needs reversing now. As the party of fiscal responsibility and social justice, it will come to the Labour Party to repair the damage this Tory government has done.”

King Charles will host South Africa’s president in first state visit as sovereign | World News

King Charles will welcome South Africa’s president and first lady to Buckingham Palace for the first state visit of his reign.

The palace has confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa has accepted the invitation to come to the UK from 22-24 November. He will be joined by his wife, Tshepo Motsepe.

It is understood the visit was in the early stages of being planned before the Queen’s death in September.

It will effectively see the King and Queen Consort play host and usually includes a lavish state banquet, but full details will be released in the coming weeks.

Any decisions on who should be invited for state visits are made by the Foreign Office, and are seen as the ultimate diplomatic gift; they are an important way for the UK government to shore up relationships with countries that they see as strategically important for reasons such as trade or security.

The Queen’s last state visit was playing host to US president Donald Trump in 2019.

A visit from Japan in 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The King has visited South Africa on a number of occasions since his first tour of the country, which included Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, in 1997.

His last trip was in 2011, along with the Queen Consort, then the Duchess of Cornwall

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks during the launch of the new Sandvik Khomanani manufacturing site, at Khomanani, in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, South Africa September 9, 2022
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa

The three-day state visit comes as Mr Ramaphosa faces allegations of money laundering in South Africa.

The president has denied the accusations, which include illegally holding around four million dollars in cash at his game ranch in northern South Africa and covering up its theft in an attempt to hide the existence of the money.

The scandal has proved a major blow to his image as a leader committed to stamping out corruption in South Africa.

Later today the King and Queen Consort will carry out their first official engagements since royal mourning for Queen Elizabeth II came to an end.

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Two weeks since his mother’s funeral the King, and Camilla, will visit Dunfermline in Scotland to mark its new city status.

It is one of eight towns that have become cities to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Their Majesties will also host a reception for members of British South Asian communities at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

Man shot dead in social club in west Belfast | UK News

A man has been killed following a shooting in a social club in west Belfast.

It took place at the social club of Donegal Celtic Football Club in Suffolk Road.

The club is understood to have been busy with people watching football on TV when the shooting took place on Sunday afternoon.

There was a heavy police presence following the incident.

Two ambulances were parked in the grounds while a helicopter hovered above.

“There’s total shock in this community today with the offence that happened in Donegal Celtic today,” Sinn Fein MP for West Belfast Paul Maskey said, as he visited the scene.

“My thoughts and sympathies are with this man’s family.

“I personally don’t know the victim but what I do know is that there’s a family there and our thoughts and our sympathies are with this man’s family at this stage.”

Mr Maskey urged anyone with information to come forward to police.

“There is no place for guns on our streets,” he said.

Part of Suffolk Road remained closed following the incident, with a number of diversions in place.