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Nearly 900,000 frontline workers to get pay rise for their hard work during coronavirus crisis

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Almost 900,000 public sector workers such as doctors, teachers and police officers are set to get an above-inflation pay rise. 

The news comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak ‘recognised their vital contribution’ throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Nurses, midwives, hospital porters and other NHS staff are not covered due to a three-year deal in 2018 which sees a total of 6.5% increase over the period. 

The existing departmental budgets will fund the salary increases of up to 3.1%. 

Labour has responded explaining that the rise would not make up for the years of real-term cuts and the seven-year freezing of public sector pay from Conservatives. The settlement will also not help care workers who are paid by struggling local authorities. 

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Pay rises will be different across the UK also. 

  • Teachers in England will see the largest increase of 3.1%
  • Doctors and Dentists across the UK will see a 2.8% increase backdated to April
  • Police officers, prison officers and National Crime Agency staff in England and Wales will be given a 2.5% increase
  • Members of the armed forces will see a 2% increase backdated to April
  • and finally, members of the judiciary and senior civil servants will see a 2% top-up on their wages backdated to April

Police and teachers operate a different pay year so increases will start in September.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “These past months have underlined what we always knew, that our public sector workers make a vital contribution to our country and that we can rely on them when we need them.

“It’s right, therefore, that we follow the recommendations of the independent pay bodies with this set of real-terms pay rises.”

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Currently, more than 300 NHS workers have died in England alone after contracting coronavirus while working throughout the pandemic. 

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds said although the pay rise is ‘good news’, ‘it won’t make up for a decade of real-term pay cuts’ for many front-line workers. 

“Many other public sector workers – including those working on the front line in social care – won’t get a pay rise out of this at all because the Tories haven’t made good on their promises to boost local authority funding,” Dodds explains.

“That’s not fair – and it’s no way to reward those who’ve been at the forefront of fighting this pandemic.”

The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, added: “Many public sector workers, like jobcentre staff and local government workers, aren’t getting these rises. They deserve a decent pay settlement too.

“And the government should urgently announce a pay rise for social care workers, who put their lives on the line to care for others during this pandemic.”

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The government borrowed a record-breaking amount in the first quarter of the financial year due to a soar in spending at the height of the coronavirus, amounting to £127.9bn. In 2019-20 borrowing was £55.4bn making the borrowing to fund emergency support measures of the lockdown more than double the whole of the last fiscal year.  

June’s pubic sector net borrowing had risen five-fold year-on-year, amounting to £28.3bn more than the previous year and making it the third highest for any single month on record. 

Most economists confirm that borrowing was less than expected and less than the downward revised £45.5bn recorded for May.

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Boy, 15, arrested after teenage boy stabbed to death outside school

He’s the second person to be arrested

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West Yorkshire Police

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.”

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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.

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Drag Race UK star Cherry Valentine has died aged 28

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Drag star George Ward, known as Cherry Valentine, has sadly passed away aged 28, it’s been confirmed this morning.

Ward’s family announced the news, describing his death as a ‘profound shock’.

He appeared on series two of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, before going on to front the BBC documentary Gypsy Queen And Proud.

According to his family, Ward – who was raised in Darlington, County Durham as part of the Traveller community – died on Sunday.

He qualified as a mental health nurse back in 2015 before he began his career in drag.

Ward’s family said in a statement: “It is with the most heart-wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away.

“This will come as a profound shock to most people and we understand there is no easy way for this to be announced.

“As his family, we are still processing his death and our lives will never be the same.

“We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched. All we ask is for your patience and your prayers in this time. We love you Georgie.”

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