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Some employers are introducing ‘no jab, no job’ contracts for workers

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Some UK businesses are said to be drawing up ‘no jab, no job’ contracts for employees after being told ‘it’s up them’.

Law firms told the Financial Times that businesses such as care home operators are considering requiring their staff to have the vaccine once it is available to all adults in the UK.

Pimlico Plumbers has already announced a ‘no jab, no job’ policy for new recruits, while Barchester Healthcare has also revealed a similar policy for new staff.

Writing in the Business Leader in January, Pimlico Plumbers boss Charlie Mullins said: “It’s obvious that vaccination is the way out of the Covid crisis, and I think that there will soon be a strong argument for allowing businesses to open up to those who can prove they have been inoculated against Covid.”

Concerns have been raised about whether such a requirement could lead to discrimination against people who cannot or chose not to have the vaccine.

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It follows after vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi told BBC news: “It’s up to businesses what they do, but we don’t yet have the evidence of the effect of vaccines on transmission.”

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson suggested that he wants to focus on mass vaccination and rapid resting rather than making the jab a mandatory requirement. 

When asked about the idea of a vaccine passport within the UK, he said: “What we are thinking of at the moment is more of a route that relies on mass vaccination – we intend to vaccinate all of the adults in the country by the autumn – plus lateral flow testing.”

He stressed that the rapid tests would help ‘the toughest nuts to crack’ including nightclubs and theatres.

He said: “I think that will be the route that we go down and that businesses will go down.

“You are already seeing lots of business using the potential of rapid, on-the-day testing as well. I think that, in combination with vaccination, will probably be the route forward.”

UK Cinema Association (UKCA) chief executive, Phil Clapp said requiring a receipt of a jab presents a ‘range of practical and legal problems’.

He told the PA news agency: “The use of vaccine passports, in particular, presents a range of practical and legal problems.

“At this moment in time, and in the medium term, of course, the ongoing rollout of the vaccine makes this impractical, but even when that programme is complete, there will be a number of groups of who will not have been vaccinated for a range of legitimate reasons – some people with disabilities, pregnant women and young people amongst them.

“Making the proof of vaccination a condition of entry would open up cinemas (as it would other venues) to a host of possible claims for discrimination.”

The UK government confirmed that those who refuse the vaccine cannot be fired as this would be ‘discriminatory’.

Speaking in early February about if the government were considering vaccine passports, Zahawi said: “No, we’re not. One, we don’t know the impact of the vaccines on transmission.

“Two, it would be discriminatory and I think the right thing to do is to make sure that people come forward to be vaccinated because they want to rather than it be made in some way mandatory through a passport.

“If other countries obviously require some form of proof, then you can ask your GP because your GP will hold your records and that will then be able to be used as your proof you’ve had the vaccine.

“But we are not planning to have a passport in the UK.”

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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’

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The Labour Party

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.”

 

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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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