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Prince William to highlight plight of those affected in Middle East conflict | UK News

The Prince of Wales has been so horrified by the human suffering unfolding in the Middle East he’s set to carry out a series of engagements to highlight the plight of all those affected by the ongoing conflict.

In the coming days, Prince William will meet with charities in the UK that are providing humanitarian support in the region and will hear about the conditions faced by those working on the ground.

He will also join a conversation at a synagogue with young people from a wide range of communities to acknowledge the rise in antisemitism around the world.

In October last year Prince William made what was seen as an unexpected intervention when Kensington Palace released a statement expressing his and the Princess of Wales‘s profound distress at the devastating events unfolding in the region.

It is rare for members of the Royal Family to make public comments on such contentious matters.

Sky News has been told that Prince William has been following events closely and his extreme concern about the human impact, especially on young people on both sides, has compelled him to want to do more within the diplomatic limits of his position.

In a press release announcing two visits by the heir to the throne, Kensington Palace said: “The Prince and Princess were profoundly concerned by events that unfolded in late 2023 and continue to hold all the victims, their family and friends in their hearts and minds.

“Their Royal Highnesses continue to share in the hope of a better future for all those affected”.

William will carry out the engagements alone as Kate continues to recover from abdominal surgery.

Their statement in October acknowledged the horrors experienced by innocent families on both sides, with their spokesperson saying: “The Prince and Princess of Wales are profoundly distressed by the devastating events that have unfolded in the past days.”

The spokesperson added: “The horrors inflicted by Hamas‘s terrorist attack upon Israel are appalling; they utterly condemn them.

“As Israel exercises its right of self-defence, all Israelis and Palestinians will continue to be stalked by grief, fear and anger in the time to come. Their Royal Highnesses hold all the victims, their families and their friends in their hearts and minds.”

In a separate statement, the King’s spokesperson said he was “appalled” by the “barbaric acts of terrorism” in Israel, adding the monarch was “extremely concerned” and his “thoughts and prayers are with all of those suffering”.

Read more:
Prince William appoints ex-diplomat as private secretary

King Charles seen after first round of cancer treatment
Prince Harry hints he wants reconciliation

In June 2018, Prince William became the first member of the Royal Family to visit Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

It continues to be seen as one of his most sensitive and challenging diplomatic trips to date and clearly had a lasting impact on him.

During the four-day trip, he expressed his own hopes for “lasting peace” in the region.

UK weather: Govt told to ‘wake up and smell the flood water’ amid warning more homes will be affected | UK News

The government is being urged to “wake up and smell the flood water” following Storm Henk – amid fears that climate change is making extreme weather events more common.

More than 1,800 properties have flooded after heavy downpours fell on already sodden ground, and the Environment Agency has warned more homes will be affected as river levels remain high.

Follow latest updates on the UK floods

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Hundreds of homes submerged by floods

Mary Long-Dhonau, a long-time campaigner for flood resilience, has told Sky News that she believes the government has failed to do enough to prepare for such a storm.

She is urging Rishi Sunak to visit flooded communities, and see first-hand what homeowners are going through after their properties were “absolutely devastated”.

“Having filthy, stinking flood water violate your home is absolutely awful. Your home is your castle and people naturally want to look after it,” Ms Long-Dhonau said.

The campaigner, who has experienced the impact of flooding for herself, warned affected families will now have to “project manage a building site” while their homes are repaired.

She also called for farmers to receive greater support after their fields were inundated with water, and said natural flood management measures must be introduced nationwide.

Mary Long-Dhonau
Mary Long-Dhonau

The government has unveiled a financial package for eligible areas in England that have suffered exceptional localised flooding.

Flooded households can receive £500 in cash to assist with immediate costs, council tax relief for at least three months, and up to £5,000 to make their properties more flood resilient in the future.

Support is also being made available to businesses – with grants of up to £2,500 so they can reopen.

Meanwhile, farmers who have suffered uninsurable damage to their land are eligible to receive as much as £25,000.

Read more UK news:
Sunak vows to cut taxes before election
Football fans ejected over ‘offensive gestures’

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‘Biblical’ flooding scenes in Nottinghamshire

‘Remain vigilant,’ Environment Agency warns

While rainfall has subsided, river levels remain elevated and are expected to stay this way for several days.

According to the Environment Agency (EA), parts of the River Thames in Oxfordshire – as well as the River Trent near Nottingham and the River Severn including Glocuester – are cause for concern.

As of 1am on Sunday, 192 flood warnings – meaning flooding is expected – are still in force. There are also 207 flood alerts that indicate flooding is possible.

Emergency responders are using temporary pumps, barriers and defences in an attempt to stop further homes and businesses from being flooded.

EA flood duty manager Katharine Smith said: “We urge people not to drive through flood water… it is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car.”

Check the latest weather forecast where you are


Mostly dry today

Sky News weather presenter Jo Wheeler says showery rain in the North and North East will fizzle out over time – and there will be a few showers in the South and South East, too.

She added: “Elsewhere, it’ll be dry with some good sunny spells where the fog clears.”

Daytime temperatures are set to remain below 5C (41F) for many – and the UK Health Security Agency has a cold weather alert in force until Friday.

However, the weather is set to be fairly settled over the next few days, and the Met Office currently has no warnings in force.

‘Everyone affected’ by Wimbledon school crash, say shocked parents | UK News

Parents paying their respects at the scene of the Wimbledon crash have said “everyone is affected” by the tragedy.

The local community has been left reeling after eight-year-old Selena Lau was killed by a Land Rover that crashed into an end-of-term tea party at The Study Preparatory School on Camp Road in Wimbledon on Thursday.

Selena Lau
Selena Lau

A second eight-year-old was in a “life-threatening” condition in hospital on Friday night, while a woman in her 40s remains in a critical condition.

A total of 16 people were treated at the scene and 12 – including a seven-month-old girl – were taken to hospital and their conditions have been assessed as not life-threatening, the Metropolitan Police said.

The injured adults were parents or carers and not staff at the school, they added.

The car crashed through the fence and into a building at the school in southwest London on Thursday morning.

The driver, a 46-year-old woman from Wimbledon, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and has been bailed pending further inquiries to a date later this month.

She was taken to hospital and her condition was assessed as not life-threatening.

A Land Rover Defender is seen inside the grounds of The Study Preparatory School in Camp Road, Wimbledon
A Land Rover Defender is seen inside the grounds of The Study Preparatory School in Camp Road, Wimbledon

‘Everyone’s affected by it’

One parent who brought their young child to the scene on Saturday said: “Everyone’s affected by it, everyone is questioning how it could’ve happened.

“I’m just feeling really sorry for the families of those affected and the kids who survived.

“It’s a quiet road, I’m wondering how can a car build up such speed in a short space of time, it’s crazy.”

Flowers left at the scene by Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis club
Flowers left at the scene by Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis club


Amelia, 19, a Wimbledon local, used to attend the school in 2015. She and her brother laid flowers on Saturday afternoon to pay their respects.

She said: “I think The Study is a tightly-knit community, it’s quite a small school so even after people left, we are all together. We came to pay our respects became it’s not just a school, it’s a community as well.

“I think it’s quite sad because the school is far out of the way, it’s not on a main road, it’s not in the centre of Wimbledon, so it’s shocking that this happened.

“The only reason you’re coming down these roads is to go to the school or the golf clubs.”

Tributes left at the scene
Wimbledon school crash tribute

Cards and flowers with moving tributes to the young girl were laid at the scene throughout Friday and Saturday.

Serena’s family said she was an “intelligent” and “cheeky” girl, “adored and loved by everyone”.

Full list of services affected as fire, police and ambulance ask public not to dial 999 | UK News

Emergency services across the country have asked people not to call 999 due to a technical problem.

The problems appear to be largely fixed – but here’s a list of who’s been affected and their latest published advice.

Which police forces have shared the alert?

• Metropolitan Police – now resolved
• South Wales Police – call 101 if 999 does not work
• Greater Manchester Police – call 999 and “please persevere” if connection takes a while
• West Midlands Police – call 101
• West Yorkshire Police – now resolved
• South Yorkshire Police – now resolved
• Kent Police – now resolved
• Derbyshire Police – now resolved
• Cumbria Police – now resolved
• Bedfordshire Police
• Essex Police – now resolved
• Northamptonshire Police – call 101
• Gwent Police – now resolved
• Devon and Cornwall Police – call 101
• Avon and Somerset Police – call 101 if 999 does not work
• Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) – call 101 if 999 does not work
• Thames Valley Police – now resolved
• Police Scotland – call 101 if 999 does not work
• Cleveland Police – now resolved
• Hampshire Police – now resolved
• Leicestershire Police – now resolved
• West Mercia Police – call 101
• Dyfed-Powys Police – call 101

Which fire and rescue services have shared the alert?

• South Wales Fire and Rescue – call 101 if 999 does not work
• North Wales Fire and Rescue – now resolved
• West Midlands Fire and Rescue – now resolved
• Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue
• Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue
• Scottish Fire and Rescue – call 01382 835804 (north); 0131 228 1367 (east); 01505 331661 (west)
• Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue
• South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue – call 0114 2727202 if 999 does not work
• London Fire Brigade – call 101 or 111 if 999 does not work
• Cleveland Fire Brigade – now resolved
• Lancashire Fire and Rescue – now resolved
• Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue – now resolved
• North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue – now resolved
• Kent Fire and Rescue – call 101 if 999 does not work
• Herts Fire and Rescue – now resolved
• Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue – call 01925713161 or 01925460821 if you can’t get through
• Cheshire Fire and Rescue – now resolved
• Cumbria Fire and Rescue – call 01925 713163 or 01925 460823
• West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue – now resolved
• Warwickshire Fire and Rescue – now resolved
• Norfolk Fire and Rescue – call 101 if 999 does not work
• East Sussex Fire and Rescue – call 01737 499006
• Surrey Fire and Rescue – call 01737 499050
• Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue – nor resolved but with reduced capacity
• Essex Fire and Rescue – call 01376 573403 if 999 does not work

Which ambulance services have shared the alert?

• London Ambulance Service – call 111
• North West Ambulance Service – call 111 if 999 does not work
• West Midlands Ambulance Service
• East England Ambulance Service
• North East England Ambulance Service – now resolved

The big interest rate rise: Who will be affected today – and how much worse could it get? | Business News

The Bank of England’s interest rate has increased by 0.5 percentage points – a figure that was bigger than expected.

The 13th consecutive increase came as a shock to most economists – but financial markets had forecast, to a greater degree, that a bolder move against inflation was warranted.

Here, Sky News explains the thinking behind the bank’s decision, and the immediate implications for your family finances as the cost of living crisis continues to evolve.

Why is the bank hiking so aggressively?

Put simply: the inflation number on Wednesday came in so hot – remaining at 8.7% during May – that the bank felt it had no choice but to act more aggressively.

The data from the Office for National Statistics also showed that so-called core inflation, which strips out volatile elements such as energy and food, was on the rise rather than easing.

It’s a particular worry for the bank as it suggests price rises are becoming more engrained in the economy.

Governor Andrew Bailey has spoken out on “unsustainable” company profit margins and levels of wage rises, at 7.2%.

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Chancellor: ‘We need to be patient’

But why impose more hardship on me?

It is perverse, isn’t it, that in acting to end the cost of living crisis as quickly as possible, the bank is imposing even more costs on millions of people.

Its only tool to utilise this is through a rate rise.

The bank, which has a 2% inflation target, wants to see the annual rate of price growth stabilise around that level – so its aim in making borrowing more expensive is to curb demand in the economy.

Who is affected today?

The dwindling number of households on standard variable rates (SVR) or trackers – those that are linked to the Bank of England rate – will see their mortgage bills go up almost straight away.

According to Moneyfactscompare, a rate rise of 0.5 percentage points on the current average SVR of 7.52% would add approximately £1,576 onto total repayments over two years.

Those on tracker deals, at an average of almost 5.5%, will see their monthly bills rise by just over £47 per month.

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Labour has ‘five-point’ mortgage plan

What about fixed-rate residential mortgage customers?

There were just over two million households on SVR or trackers early last year as bank rate started to creep further up.

The bulk are now on fixed-rate deals of either two or five years’ duration – but those costs have been surging, too.

Because of growing market interest rate expectations, funding costs for lenders have been going up in the process, forcing banks and building societies to pull their best deals, sometimes within days, and keep repricing.

That has been particularly acute this month, with the average two-year fix just passing 6% on Monday and hitting 6.19% on Thursday, according to Moneyfacts.

How are buy-to-let mortgages faring?

The majority of the two million such mortgages are on fixed-rate terms.

Rising bank rate expectations, again, only places more costs on lenders.

They pass them on to landlords who, in turn, make their tenants pay for it through their rent.

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What’s keeping inflation so high?

How much worse could this get?

Financial markets currently see UK bank rate hitting 6% early next year.

That is a whole percentage point higher than it stands at today.

By implication, it tells us that fixed-rate deals have further to run above their current levels.

Read more:
The solution to bringing down inflation is a political nightmare for the Tories
Mortgage misery: What is causing the crunch, will it get worse and what can you do if you are struggling?
‘Eyewatering’ hit to 1.4 million, mainly young, mortgage customers ahead, IFS warns

Surely savers are benefiting?

Banks have been accused by consumer groups and MPs of being quick to pass on rate hikes to their mortgage customers but slow to recognise the rises in their savings rates.

Building societies have had the better press than banks generally.

Rachel Springall, finance expert at, said of the current market: “A flurry of savings rate competition and consecutive Bank of England base rate rises continue to improve the savings market.

“Those savers earning variable rates of interest who take time to review their existing pots may find more attractive returns are available elsewhere, as their loyalty has not been rewarded.

“The top easy access accounts pay around 4%, with the market average around 2%, however, some of the biggest banks pay much less.”

New protections for children affected by domestic abuse – so victims can come forward ‘with confidence’ | UK News

Children who have been affected by domestic abuse will be treated as victims even if they were not present during violent incidents, it has been decided.

Under updated legal guidance, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) says children will get automatic access to support such as mental health and safeguarding services.

Prosecutors will also be asked to specifically consider the impact domestic abuse has on children when making a charging decision.

This will include speaking to schools or Child Services to support evidence of long-term abuse.

Kate Brown, CPS domestic abuse lead, said growing up in a violent or toxic home has a “hugely damaging” and “long-lasting” impact on children.

“Today’s guidance, which recognises them as victims, not only offers them automatic support but means the effect on them is considered as part of the justice process.

“There’s no doubt that having a clear understanding of the family dynamic and how a young victim may respond to the criminal justice process, will help us bring more abusers to court.”

She added domestic abuse represents a third of all crime referred to the CPS.

“Working with police and partners, we are dedicated to improving every aspect of how these cases are handled, so victims can come forward with confidence,” she said.

Queen’s death: Royal staff told their jobs could be affected under King Charles | UK News

Staff who provided personal services to the late Queen have been told that some of their jobs could be at risk under King Charles III.

A letter has been sent to a number of employees informing them that consultations will be held.

The letter, from Sir Michael Stevens, keeper of the privy purse, says: “I am sure you can appreciate that these are sensitive and challenging times.”

He adds that work is underway to support staff and ensure there are “good communications” over the coming weeks.

The letter says: “Consistent with continuity, the approach on Accession is essentially that the requirements and the purpose of the Household continue unchanged following demise.

“While it is too early to confirm the position definitively, it is anticipated that only a very small minority of employees (fewer than 20) who provided personal services to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth will see their posts affected by Her Majesty’s death.

“We will be consulting with you and those affected in relation to these anticipated changes after the State Funeral. Those affected are being written to.”

Last week it was disclosed that up to 100 employees at the King’s former official residence, Clarence House, had been notified that they could lose their jobs.

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King ‘will be much more accessible’

Read more:
King Charles planning ‘less expensive’ coronation
In pictures: How the world watched the Queen’s funeral

Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents a number of employees in the royal households, said staff had worked for the Queen for a number of years and felt “let down” after receiving the letter.

“Our members are disappointed and saddened by this development,” he said.

Meetings are being held with those affected and staff are being told they can contact Employee Assistance providers in the coming weeks.

Buckingham Palace has not commented on the letter.