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Some news for Saturday 28 January 2023

Jeremy Hunt

The Chancellor has pleaded with early retirees to go back to work, as he said the country faced an “enormous and shocking waste of talent and potential”.

The big story: ‘Enormous and shocking waste of talent’

Jeremy Hunt has promised a “fundamental programme of reforms” to get millions of people back to work, as he said the drive will be the key to fixing the UK’s “productivity puzzle”. The Chancellor said approximately one fifth of UK adults of working age are economically inactive – about 6.6 million people – and, of those, 1.4 million want to work but a further five million do not. He described this as an “enormous and shocking waste of talent and potential”, as he told those people that “Britain needs you”. Delivering a keynote speech on the UK’s economic future in central London this morning, Mr Hunt said it was time for a “fundamental programme of reforms to support people with long term conditions or mental illness to overcome the barriers and prejudices that prevent them from working”. He added that the UK would not fix its “productivity puzzle unless everyone who can participate does”. The Chancellor also hit out at declinism, as he said the UK will need a sense of “optimism” if it is to achieve a better economic future.

Mr Hunt said the Government’s plan for boosting economic growth and prosperity was based on four pillars, namely: enterprise, education, employment and everywhere. The Chancellor added that in order to spark the creation of more new businesses in the coming years, “firstly we need lower taxes” and the UK “should be explicit” that “high taxes directly affect the incentives which determine decisions” about where businesses choose to base themselves. However, he said the Government would look to cut taxes only “when the time is right”. He subsequently added that it was “unlikely” he will announce “significant tax cuts” at the Budget in March.

‘E for empty’

The Chancellor’s ‘four Es’ strategy for growth was met with a lacklustre reception from some, as one economist said “E for empty” characterised the measures. The Institute of Directors was scathing in its assessment of the plan, with the business group saying it had “heard nothing” about how he would put his ambitions into action. Chief economist Kitty Ussher said this meant they would “add a fifth E for ‘Empty’ to his four E’s economic framework”. The British Chambers of Commerce argued that a further two Es had been forgotten, suggesting that without addressing energy and exports, “our economic growth will continue to be stunted”.

HS2 will reach Euston

On a busy day for the Chancellor, he also sought to dispel reports that HS2 will be severely cut down, insisting that it will run into central London. Speaking to journalists this morning, Mr Hunt said that he couldn’t see “any conceivable circumstance” in which the high-speed line would not end at the planned Euston terminal. The comments came after a report in The Sun suggested the Government and HS2 bosses were looking at pairing down the current scope of the line, by delaying or even scrapping the Euston plan completely.

Sturgeon trans law in disarray after rapist climbdown

Nicola Sturgeon’s controversial trans laws are in disarray after she was forced to announce that a rapist who claimed to be female would be moved into a male prison. Isla Bryson, who was this week convicted of raping two women, was initially housed in a women’s prison in Stirling, but has been transported to the male wing of a jail in Edinburgh. It comes as the First Minister is locked in a battle with the Government over her Bill which allows people to self-identify their legal gender by signing a statutory declaration. Simon Johnson and Daniel Sanderson have the inside story on how a double rapist ended up in a female jail. And Alan Cochrane argues this scandal has destroyed Nicola Sturgeon.

Tech mogul gives himself the organs of a teenager

What would you give to have the body of a teenager again? Bryan Johnson, a Silicon Valley tech mogul, thinks it can be done for about $2 million a year. The 45-year-old is at the forefront of a new war on ageing in which billionaires and celebrities are trying to turn back time. But he has taken it to another level. US editor Nick Allen explains how he is employing an army of 30 doctors in what he calls “Operation Blueprint”.

Also in the news last Friday

Church engulfed by blaze | A ferocious fire tore through a heritage-listed church in north-west London overnight, prompting a major emergency response. Around 80 firefighters in 12 fire engines rushed to St Mark’s Church, in St John’s Wood, at about 11pm. Astonishing video and pictures captured large flames and smoke billowing from the structure, with bystanders looking on in horror as the blaze raged.

Ferocious fire rips through heritage-listed London church

Around the world: Wagner mass grave reveals toll

Hitmen, murderers and alcoholics from in and outside Russia have been killed fighting for the notorious Wagner mercenary group. New graves found at a site in rural southern Russia expose the human cost of convicts who died on the front lines after a major prison recruitment drive. Russia correspondent Nataliya Vasilyeva reports how an investigation found many of the dead had been convicted of violent crimes. Meanwhile, it was suggested that France could agree to Volodymyr Zelensky’s demands for fighter jets to defend Ukraine’s skies.
The cemetery was discovered this week in a remote part of southern Russia.

The cemetery was discovered this week in a remote part of southern Russia. Credit: Reuters

 

Poland will send 74 battle tanks to Ukraine in a bid to further bolster Kyiv’s defences ahead of an expected Russian offensive. Joe Barnes reports that Warsaw will be sending 14 German-made Leopard 2s, as well as 60 modernised Soviet-era tanks from its stocks. Meanwhile, it was reported that more than 200 Russian troops have died in “fierce” fighting over the strategic town of Vugledar in Donetsk in recent days.

Other World news: Trump’s muted campaign launch

Donald Trump has been telephoning Republicans, “pleading” with them to attend his slimmed-down campaign launch. This weekend, the former president will publicly kick off his 2024 presidential bid with events in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Our Washington editor Rozina Sabur reports that the gatherings in the two key early-voting states are being billed as more “intimate” affairs than his trademark rallies, with more than a few prominent Republicans expected to be absent.

Comment and analysis

Editor’s choice

Holocaust memorial day
Holocaust Memorial Day | ‘Suzie was scared and alone – but became my sister’
Waterstones
Booksellers | How Waterstones thrived where Amazon’s algorithm failed
James Daunt used to liken Amazon to a lion that threatened to devour the book industry whole, so potent was its threat to high street shops.

Yet today the softly spoken Englishman can finally boast something his online nemesis can’t: almost four years into running US giant Barnes & Noble, he is preparing to open dozens of new stores – and some in places where even Amazon was forced into retreat.

It is the culmination of a turnaround strategy that Daunt imported wholesale from Waterstones, the British chain he also saved from oblivion.

Both companies are owned by Elliott Management, the infamously ruthless fund manager founded by Wall Street billionaire Paul Singer. Elliott parachuted Daunt in to run Barnes & Noble after buying the struggling chain in 2019.

Six-minute exercises
Short and sweet | The six-minute exercises to help keep you sharp
Here is a selection of articles we think you’ll be interested in today.
‘Dangerous’ London Bridge rush-hour stampede blamed on rail bosses
How a double rapist bound for Scotland’s toughest prison ended up in a female jail
Nicola Sturgeon says trans rapist will be moved from female prison
Nicola Sturgeon’s trans law in disarray after rapist climbdown
Nicola Sturgeon under pressure to move trans rapist from women’s prison
Andrew Bridgen sues Matt Hancock for £100,000 over Covid vaccine row
Grayson Perry’s Full English, review: artist merely brushes the surface of national identity
Want to watch Gerard Butler crash-land a plane and battle crazed guerrillas?
My daughter was killed on a movie set – here’s what needs to change
How M3GAN became Hollywood’s first TikTok blockbuster
Jeremy Renner in Marvel’s Avengers
Film | ‘Without us, there is no film industry’: inside the UK’s special effects sweatshop
Adolfo Kaminsky, 2012
Obituary | Adolfo Kaminsky, resistance worker whose forged ID papers spared thousands of Jews from Nazi death camps
Gareth Edwards finished a flowing counter-attack sparked by the footwork of Phil Bennett
Rugby | Inside Line: Dissecting the greatest try ever scored, 50 years on
Alan Cumming returns OBE over ‘toxicity’ of British Empire
Tax-free pensions limit could increase in back to work drive
Classmates stripped off in front of transgender rapist they didn’t know was awaiting trial
How much Matt Hancock made from I’m a Celebrity – and how much he gave to charity
Workman dies after being crushed by pop-up urinal in central London

Headlines: Saturday’s essential news

Tub evidence | A posed photo has been made public which it’s claimed proves a bath sex allegation against the Duke of York would not have occurred. It could get Prince Andrew out of hot water.

Around the world: Top stories

Comment and analysis

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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