‘Thousands’ of funerals and hospital appointments have been cancelled as the nation comes to a standstill to mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth.
Her Majesty’s funeral – set to take place at Westminster Abbey on Monday September 19th – marks a nationwide bank holiday, giving workers up and down the country the day off to remember the long-serving monarch.
However, it has emerged today that a number of funeral services have also been cancelled or postponed to honour the Queen’s burial, as have ‘thousands’ of NHS hospital appointments and surgeries.
A woman rang into LBC this morning to share that her mother’s funeral, originally scheduled to take place on Monday, had been postponed because of the Queen’s burial.
She explained that the flowers, the service cars and the wake had all been arranged and paid for, and that relatives were even flying in from the US to be there for the service.
People have been taking to Twitter to slam the decision to cancel or postpone funeral services as ‘absurd’ and ‘despicable’.
One person commented: “Why should the scheduled funerals of the dearly departed be cancelled because the Queen died? Her life isn’t more worthy than theirs.
“Why’s the Govt & King Charles III allowing this? It’s why I say the Monarchy symbolises entrenched inequalities.”
Another noted: “To cancel a funeral/funerals is definitely a step too far. [Are] feelings and emotions permitted for one family only?”
Additionally, openDemocracy has reported that NHS trusts have postponed ‘thousands’ of ‘non-urgent’ procedures and appointments as a result of the national mourning period.
These cancellations include replacement surgeries, eye surgeries, maternity checks and even cancer treatments.
Many patients had been waiting months for surgery, only to have it cancelled a week beforehand. In a letter to one patient, the NHS blamed ‘unforeseen circumstances’.
The decision to cancel appointments comes as hospital waiting lists hit an all-time high, with almost 6.8 million people waiting for appointments at the end of July.
Astonishingly, more than 377,000 of these patients had been waiting for more than a year.
NHS data also shows that nearly 40% of cancer patients had their treatment delayed beyond the two-month maximum.
Announcing the decision to cancel appointments on Monday, NHS bosses at one trust said that if any doctors were ‘willing to operate’ they would be ‘supported’.
A doctor at one trust told openDemocracy: “I imagine most of the doctors would be happy to just ignore the bank holiday, but we are totally reliant on a huge team of people paid minimum wage and treated like s**t like porters and cleaners, and I imagine they will take a bank holiday if offered – as I would in their position.”
Labour pledges to renationalise railways and hire thousands of doctors and nurses
The party’s shadow transport secretary said the conservative’s ‘disastrous rail system’ has ‘catastrophically failed us all’
The Labour party has pledged to bring the nation’s railways back into state ownership if it wins the next general election.
Speaking at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool today, Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said putting ‘failing private operators in the hands of the public’ would ‘improve services and lower fares’.
Haigh added that the government’s ‘disastrous rail system’ has ‘catastrophically failed us all’ and turned railways into a ‘cash machine for companies and foreign governments’.
She cited the recent Avanti West Coast disruption as an example, slamming it as ‘the worst performing operator in the country’ over its long delays and service disruptions.
During its conference, the party also promised a recruitment drive for thousands more NHS doctors, nurses and midwives by reversing the Conservative party’s abolition of the 45p tax rate for top earners.
The scrapping of the 45p tax rate – which is paid for by those who earn over £150,000 a year – has received huge backlash from both Labour and Conservative MPs, many of whom say the move is only set to benefit the wealthy.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said the billions of pounds saved on reversing this cap would deliver ‘one of the biggest expansions of the NHS workforce in history’, instead of handing financial rewards to the UK’s top earners.
She announced that under Labour’s plan, the money saved would pay to double the number of district nurses qualifying every year, train 5,000 more health visitors, and create an extra 10,000 nursing and midwifery each year.
She also said that the number of medical school places would be doubled from 7,500 to 15,000 to ‘make sure that everyone who wants to train as a doctor in Britain can’.
Reeves said: “Our priority is not tax cuts for the wealthiest few – it is securing our public finances and investing in our public service.
“I can tell you: with a Labour government, those at the top will pay their fair share. The 45p top rate of income tax is coming back.”
Boy, 15, arrested after teenage boy stabbed to death outside school
He’s the second person to be arrested
A teenage boy has been arrested following the murder of a 15-year-old on Wednesday.
The suspect, also 15, was picked up by police after student Khayri McLean was stabbed to death in Huddersfield.
He has now been arrested in connection with the murder.
He’s the second person to be arrested as police investigate Khayri’s death outside his school.
West Yorkshire Police said: “Police investigating the murder of 15-year-old Khayri McLean in Huddersfield have arrested a second youth in connection with the incident.
“The 15-year-old male was arrested yesterday and is currently in custody. A 16-year-old male who was arrested yesterday also remains in custody.
“Officers from West Yorkshire Police’s homicide and major enquiry team (HMET) are continuing to conduct enquiries into the death of Khayri, who died after being stabbed on Woodhouse Hill, Huddersfield, on Wednesday.”
Kwasi Kwarteng scraps cap on bankers’ bonuses in first mini-budget as Chancellor
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Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng gave his first mini-budget in the House of Commons this morning.
He began by discussing the government’s plan to support people with the cost of energy, including freezing domestic bills at £2,500 and giving out the £400 rebate.
There’s also unit price limits for companies.
Kwarteng said he believes the UK needs a ‘new approach for a new era’ to achieve growth of 2.5%, saying the three important parts of his mini-budget are reforming the economy’s supply side, tax cuts and a responsible approach when it comes to public finances.
As part of this, the Chancellor announced a new bill to overhaul planning restrictions, saying this will ‘unpick the complex patchwork of planning restrictions and EU-derived laws’.
He revealed that benefit claimants will see their benefits reduced if they do not fulfil their job searching commitments.
Kwarteng also confirmed that the cap on bankers’ bonuses will be scrapped, following reports that he would make this one of his first moves.
As well as that, the planned corporation tax increase has been cancelled, and will remain at 19%, with the Chancellor also setting out a series of tax cuts for businesses.
This includes tax cuts for businesses in designated tax sites for 10 years, accelerated tax reliefs for buildings, and no business rates to pay for newly occupied business residences.