It’s the Tuesday following the last summer bank holiday of the year and our next extra day off won’t be until Christmas, so you’ll be forgiven for feeling a little down in the dumps today.
However, there is a potential glimmer of hope for all of you despising being back in the 9-5 grind after three glorious days off: Union bosses have been calling for four more bank holidays per year.
Evidently hit hard with those back-to-work blues, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has slammed England and Wales as ‘stingy’ for only offering eight public holidays across the twelve months of the year.
O’Grady said a new autumn bank holiday would ‘break the long stretch’ and would help to bring the UK in line with the rest of the world.
She said: “After August, there’s no national holiday until Christmas… And that’s because the number of holidays we get is so stingy compared to other nations.
“A few more public holidays would be a great way to thank working Britain for getting us through these tough times, and it would level us up with other workers around the world.
“It’s time for a national conversation – when should our new holidays be? What might they celebrate? An autumn holiday to break the long stretch to Christmas would be a good start.”
Compared to the European Union, the UK offers citizens the smallest amount of bank holidays; Romania, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland and Cyprus all give their taxpayers fifteen days off on top of their annual leave and weekends – that’s nearly double what we get here in the UK.
Further afield, there are seventeen public holidays in Japan, twelve in Australia and eleven in China and New Zealand.
Though this isn’t the first time there has been mention of extra bank holidays – when England reached the final of the Euros 2020 tournament (we’re still grieving over that, by the way), Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinted at the possibility of an extra bank holiday… Though, of course, it didn’t happen. Boo.
Woman sparks outrage after advertising cans of petrol for sale on Stockport Facebook group
As people queue for miles for fuel, one woman decided to cash in on the crisis
A woman sparked was met with a wave of backlash this morning after she advertised two cans of petrol for sale in a local Facebook group.
The controversial advert was posted in the Marple, Romiley & Bredbury Community Facebook group this morning, where two cans of petrol were being flogged for £50 or the nearest offer.
The ad read: “10L e10 petrol. Collection from Romiley. £50 Ono. Cans not included but can fill up on collection.”
The post, which has since been deleted, instantly racked up a number of angry reactions, with one social media user asking, “Is this a wind up?”
The woman’s attempt at cashing in on the ongoing ‘fuel shortage’ crisis comes shortly after the government urged people to not stock up on fuel, explaining that there is no shortage.
Chairman Brian Madderson said the shortages were actually down to ‘panic buying, pure and simple’ as he slammed whoever leaked BP’s original supply concerns to the media following a meeting with Government earlier this month.
Madderson added: “Whoever leaked it to a main broadcaster must have known the chaos that would ensue as soon as it hit newspapers, and that’s what we’ve had.”
North West residents urged to cut back on water as reservoirs run low
United Utilities has suggested a number of ways in which residents can cut back on their water usage
United Utilities has issued a water usage warning for North West residents as reservoir levels plummet.
While reporting that the region’s supply of tap water is ‘less than half what it should be’ at this time of the year, the water supplier has offered an array of suggestions as to how residents can lower their water usage.
In an email to customers, United Utilities said: “To keep precious water in the reservoirs until they have a chance to recover and help protect local wildlife, save water and only use what you need.
“We can do this with very little impact on our usual routine and every drop is precious, so swap a bath for a four minute shower, use the washing machine once less each week and re-use water where you can.”
The water supply across the North West comes from Haweswater and Thirlmere reservoirs in the Lake District, which are both only 36% full – usual levels in September would be around 70%, according to ITV News.
The shortage comes as a result of an unusually dry summer; although there were plenty of wetter days in North West cities and towns and even flooding in some areas, it has been the driest June to September in over 130 years in the Lake District.
There has also been extra demand on water being used as a result of more people staying at home and taking holidays in the north west during the pandemic.
Over on their website, the supplier also suggests a number of methods to lower water usage, such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, using a washing up bowl when washing the dishes, and refraining from overfilling the kettle by only boiling what you need.
For those with a garden, United Utilities also suggests investing in a butt, a device which collects rainwater to be used in the house, and to fully ditch the hosepipe while watering plants and washing cars, noting that using a watering can for your plants and a bucket and sponge for your car will not only save water, but will do wonders for the environment.
See their full list of tips here.
More than 10,000 foreign workers to be handed UK visas amid HGV driver shortages
The workers will be given the right to work in the UK up until Christmas Eve
Over 10,000 foreign workers will be given temporary UK visas in the government’s bid to tackle the ongoing supply issues experienced across the country.
The temporary scheme will be offered to around 5,000 HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers, who will be granted employment in the UK until Christmas Eve.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed that the visas will be made available from next month and will ‘ensure preparations remain on track’ for the festive season.
He said: “This package of measures builds on the important work we have already done to ease this global crisis in the UK, and this Government continues to do everything we can to help the haulage and food industries contend with the HGV driver shortage.
“We are acting now but the industries must also play their part, with working conditions continuing to improve and the deserved salary increases continuing to be maintained in order for companies to retain new drivers.
“After a very difficult eighteen months, I know how important this Christmas is for all of us and that’s why we’re taking these steps at the earliest opportunity to ensure preparations remain on track.”
As a result of the worker shortage, supermarkets across the country and major restaurant chains such as Nando’s, KFC and McDonald’s have been experiencing major supply issues.
Various retailers have also been warning that a solution must be found within days to avoid ‘significant disruption’ in the run-up to Christmas.
The exact cause of the labour shortages remain unclear, though it is believed to be a result of both the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and the cost of training and pay.
According to Sky News, the RHA claims around 20,000 European drivers have left the UK for ‘Brexit reasons’. They added that the pandemic saw many foreign HGV drivers return to their home countries, with the ‘vast majority’ not returning. There has also been a large backlog in HGV driver tests due to the pandemic, meaning tens of thousands of potential new drivers have been unable to join the industry.