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The Telegraph Frontpage for Wednesday 2023 February 01

Members of the National Education Union on a picket line in November
Sam Hall By Sam Hall
Good morning.

Today’s strikes promise to be the most disruptive yet, as teachers join walkouts by hundreds of thousands of other public sector workers. Officials fear that striking teachers will still be paid, despite unions forcing the closure of classrooms at most schools.

Teachers who strike could still claim pay

More than 100,000 members of the National Education Union are expected to walk out today in the most disruptive teachers’ strike in more than a decade, with 85 per cent of schools in England and Wales set to close to some or all year groups. However, schools have made the decision to close without knowing which teachers will actually be on strike because of laws that mean union members cannot be forced to tell their bosses. Last night, concerns were raised that this could enable striking teachers to claim that they are working and therefore be paid. In a letter to all schools, Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, told head teachers that any striking staff must not be paid. Analysis has found that teachers in England are among the highest paid for the fewest hours in Europe and the developed world.

Unions have declared today a de facto general strike, with 500,000 workers walking out across seven unions, according to the Trades Union Congress. Train drivers, civil servants, airport and university staff are taking industrial action as well as teachers. Commuters will be left stranded across the country as 15 train operators run zero trains on both Wednesday and Friday. Walkouts by the Aslef and RMT unions mean there will not even be reduced services operating for passengers who have faced months of strike action – find out who is on strike today and check how your area will be affected with our interactive tool.

Typical British diet is fuelling the risk of cancer

A major study has suggested that foods which make up half of the typical British diet are fuelling the risk of cancer. Scientists said common daily fare – including most breakfast cereals, breads, snacks and convenience meals – appears to be endangering the nation’s health. Our health editor Laura Donnelly writes that a number of studies have previously linked “ultra-processed” foods, which are mass produced, containing chemicals, colourings, sweeteners and preservatives, to cancer. But researchers said the latest study by Imperial College London is the most comprehensive yet, involving almost 200,000 people aged between 40 and 69 who were tracked for over a decade, against the risks of 34 types of cancer. They said the findings were particularly concerning because of the “exceptionally high” intake of processed foods in the British diet – making up around half of daily calories.

Wood-burning stoves face tougher restrictions

Wood-burning stoves face tighter restrictions in pollution hotspots under government plans to improve air quality. Our environment editor Emma Gatten reports that new stoves will have stricter limits on how much smoke they can emit every hour in official smoke control areas, as part of new five year green targets. Ministers are also putting pressure on councils to crack down on illegal burning in such areas, and will discourage the burning of wet wood outdoors. Although councils can impose fines of up to £1,000 in smoke control areas, no penalties have been issued in the last five years.

Also in the news this morning

Politics | Jeremy Hunt has opened the door to freezing fuel duty for another year as he was grilled on tax cuts by backbenchers yesterday. The Chancellor said any decision to take such a move, which would save motorists billions of pounds, would depend on “what the finances are at the time”. Drivers already hit by high prices at the pumps are currently facing the prospect of fuel duty rising by 12p a litre in March, unless the Government decides to impose a freeze.

Around the world: Heroin now legal in Vancouver

A radical new policy introduced by British Columbia, one of Canada’s most liberal provinces, means police simply now walk past drug users. The law means adults in possession of 2.5g of drugs such as heroin and cocaine will not be arrested or even have their drugs seized. Our US correspondent Jamie Johnson writes that more than 11,000 British Columbians have died from drug overdoses since a public health emergency was declared in 2016. However, the new policy has not come without criticism and accusations of double standards.
More than 11,000 British Columbians have died from drug overdoses since a public health emergency was declared in 2016

Adults in possession of 2.5g of heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine or ecstasy will now not be arrested Credit: Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times

Comment and analysis

Editor’s choice

The Guardian
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Style | How watch wars became the new battleground of the luxury world
Eva Green
Culture | There are two types of rude French people. I know which one I’d rather deal with

Business briefing: Stealth taxes hit higher earners

Stealth taxes are hitting higher earners more than expected, with rising wages helping the Treasury to rake in an extra £12bn alone last year, according to the Government’s spending watchdog. The OBR said a stronger jobs market meant more people were dragged into paying the 40p rate of income tax rate than previously thought, pushing up employee tax and national insurance revenues sharply. Our economics editor Szu Ping Chan reports that larger receipts from big banks and accountancy firms also meant the Government borrowed far less to plug the gap between tax receipts and public spending in the 2021-22 tax year.

And finally… for this morning’s downtime

Farewell to the 747: End of an era as Boeing waves goodbye to its last jumbo jet | As the final Boeing 747 is handed over to its new owners, we consider why the jumbo jet became such an icon of the skies.

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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