While Boris Johnson will be revealing his ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown on Monday, February 22nd, reports of what we could expect have been leaking.
The prime minister is awaiting the latest evidence regarding the vaccine’s effect on both hospital admissions and deaths, which is expected to be delivered to him today.
Mr Johnson said this week that the easing of restrictions should happen in stages, in an ‘irreversible’ way, with a focus on evidence rather than sticking to deadlines to lift lockdown.
However, a new Whitehall blueprint for a timetable has emerged, and according to this plan pubs would reopen by late April as well as some sporting venues, with entertainment venues following in early May, Sky News reports.
The prime minister is still hoping the March 8th date will be used for kids to return to school, with the return of pupils the starting point for the gradual easing of restrictions.
According to Sky News the timetable suggests ‘a desire to reopen rapidly in the weeks after schools readmit most children next month’.
The blueprint suggests higher education and further education students might return in mid-April, with non-essential shops also opening again around this time.
Next would be hospitality venues, hotels, leisure facilities and some sporting venues, which according to these reports would reopen in late April, followed by entertainment venues and sporting facilities in early May.
It’s understood that this proposal, which has been devised by officials, hasn’t yet been signed off by the prime minister, and will only go ahead if Covid rates continue to decline across the country.
According to reports in the Mail earlier this week, the easing of restrictions will take place in ‘four-weekly intervals’, with the route out of lockdown seeing the UK ‘broadly’ back to normal by July.
Mr Johnson said on Wednesday that he’ll undertake a ‘cautious and prudent approach’ to gradually taking England out of lockdown.
Greater Manchester town officially named one of the happiest places to live in UK
A Greater Manchester town has been named among the 20 happiest places to live in the UK, alongside a couple of other North West spots.
Altrincham was placed in the top 20 of Britain’s happiest places to live in an annual survey, coming in at number 17 in Rightmove’s survey.
St Ives, a seaside town in Cornwall, took the number one spot, while Galashiels in Scotland came in a respectable second.
Other North West areas in the top 20 were Northwich (16) and Macclesfield (18).
Rightmove’s Happy at Home Index asked more than 21,000 people their thoughts on where they live.
Each area is ranked on factors like whether people feel there is a sense of belonging, local amenities, whether there is a community spirit and the proximity to green spaces.
According to Rightmove, these are Britain’s happiest places to live in 2022 (including the average house price and average asking monthly rental price):
1) St Ives, South West – £523,731, £1,152
2) Galashiels, Scotland – £153,546, £530
3) Woodbridge, East of England – £481,978, £1,196
4) Hexham, North East – £262,265, £810
5) Perth, Scotland – £179,410, £812
6) Harrogate, Yorkshire and the Humber – £381,124, £1,327
7) Anglesey, Wales – £324,048, £766
8) Bury St Edmunds, East of England – £334,160, £1,368
9) Stirling, Scotland – £197,075, £990
10) Cirencester, South West, £382,065 – £1,331
11) Richmond-upon-Thames, London – £1,153,347, £3,931
12) Falmouth, South West – £373,752, £1,289
13) Monmouth, Wales – £331,844, £1,104
14) Leamington Spa, West Midlands – £383,553, £1,274
15) Worcester, West Midlands – £286,250, £1,059
16) Northwich, North West – £246,995, £942
17) Altrincham, North West – £615,246, £2,297
18) Macclesfield, North West – £292,078, £1,146
19) Newbury, South East – £380,842, £1,364
20) Llandudno, Wales – £260,245, £760
Northern to start using new technology to catch train fare dodgers
‘This technology will be invaluable for our gate line and revenue protection colleagues’
Northern has announced that they will be bringing in some brand new technology to catch train fare dodgers.
Britain’s second largest train operator is planning to install the system within station barriers at ‘known hotspots’, the BBC reports.
The technology will automatically detect whether a ticket is valid, and alert rail staff for any additional checks, or if the customer has the right railcard.
According to Northern, around 180 fare dodgers were caught in a single day when they trialled the system at Manchester Victoria in November.
Northern’s Customer and Commercial Director Mark Powles said: “This technology will be invaluable for our gate line and revenue protection colleagues whose job it is to ensure ticket checks are carried out quickly and efficiently.
“Unfortunately, we know that a small minority of customers try to exploit the automated nature of barrier checks to travel on tickets they know they’re not eligible to use.”
Powles added that the kit was ‘very easy’ to install, saying it could be: “deployed to known hotspots across the whole network to help tackle this fraudulent activity”.
The Department for Transport confirmed last month that anyone travelling on a train without a ticket can be fined £100 from January 23rd, rising from £20.
Man, 33, charged following attempted kidnapping of schoolgirl
A 33-year-old has been arrested and charged
Police have charged a man, following the release of CCTV footage featuring a car used in three attempted kidnappings around Salford.
A man driving the vehicle attempted to force a 15-year-old girl into the car at a bus stop in Monton on Monday, November 21st.
Detectives also believe the same man tried to abduct another girl earlier that same day, as well as a third teenager five days previous.
Officers have confirmed that Sean Anthony Gillings (06/09/1989) of no fixed abode has been charged, following an appeal to the public.
This appeal resulted in the arrest of 33-year-old Gillings, who was then questioned and charged on Tuesday November 29th.
He also remains on bail for the other two attempt kidnaps, while further investigations are ongoing.
Gillings was remanded in custody yesterday, Wednesday November 30th, to appear at Manchester Crown Square Court on Wednesday January 4th 2023.
Police previously confirmed that a 33-year-old man was arrested by officers on Monday November 28th, on suspicion of three counts of attempted kidnap.
According to Greater Manchester Police, the victims have been left ‘extremely shaken up’.
Officers identified the vehicle in the footage as a black Vauxhall Astra with a silver cover on the driver’s side wing mirror.
Detective Inspector Chris Horsfield, of GMP’s Salford CID, previously said: “Although we have made this arrest, we are still very much looking to speak to anyone who may have information or dashcam footage, which could help us to establish the circumstances.
“We understand that the local community will be concerned but we are doing all we can to solve this investigation.
“I’d urge anyone who knows anything at all to please get in touch as soon as possible. In particular we are interested in the movements of a Black Vauxhall Astra 08 plate with a silver driver’s wing mirror cover; the passenger side is black.”
Police believe the incidents happened at the following times:
- Liverpool Street, Salford, between Fitzwarren Street and Albion Way on November 16th, between 7:45-8:20pm
- Mossfield Road and Ackworth Road, Swinton, on November 21st, between 8-9am
- Rocky Lane, Monton Green and Monton High Street on November 21st, between 6-7pm