Marks & Spencers is to increase its minimum wage by more than 5% to £10 an hour from April 1st to help its staff with the cost of living increase.
The rise will see more than 40,000 members of staff receive more than the legal minimum wage, which is increasing to £9.50 per hour for workers over the age of twenty-three in April.
M&S will also be offering free health checks for all staff members, which will include benefits such as an online GP service and health check screening.
A financial management advice service will also be included.
Steve Rowe, the chief executive of M&S, said on the pay increase: “The contribution our teams have made to support our customers and each other every day through some really challenging times has been remarkable.
“By once again increasing our investment into one of the best all-round reward offers for store colleagues across retail, we’re making sure that every colleague, whatever they do and wherever they work, is properly rewarded and supported at M&S.”
This follows similar moves by other retailers, such as Sainsbury’s who increased its own minimum wage to £10 an hour back in January.
And more recently, Aldi increased its minimum hourly rates for shop workers to £10.57 an hour from £9.55 nationally this month.
This comes as the UK braces itself for an impending cost of living crisis; inflation soared to 5.4% – the highest rate since 1992 – in December, and the price cap for energy bills is expected to rise by an estimated 46-56% in April.
Experts have warned that the cost of living will only get higher in the coming months in what has been dubbed a ‘national crisis’, and have urged the government to act ‘immediately’.
Rishi Sunak announced at the start of the month that millions of Britons will get a £150 discount on their council tax bill in April and a further rebate of £200 in October off their energy bills.
The overall £350 payment will then have to be repaid in £40 instalments over a period of five years, starting from next April.
Boris Johnson was ‘not partying’ in photo of him drinking at ‘party’, Tory MP says
New photos show the Prime Minister raising a glass during an alleged leaving party in November 2020
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has defended Boris Johnson after newly-released photos showed him drinking during an alleged lockdown party.
ITV News published four photos showing the Prime Minister raising a glass with a group of aides around a table littered with alcoholic drinks and party food on November 13th 2020, when the country was in its second national lockdown.
The photos, which were reportedly taken during a leaving party, cast fresh doubt on Johnson’s claims that he was unaware of rule-breaking in Downing Street during the pandemic.
However, a number of Tory MPs have spoken out in defense of Johnson, including Shapps, who insisted that Johnson ‘wasn’t partying’ in the first place.
Speaking to Sky News’ Kay Burley this morning, Shapps said: “The question is, was he down there partying?
“No, clearly not. He’d gone by to say thanks and to raise a glass to a colleague who was leaving. And, you know, the answer to this of course, is the police have spent a lot of time with a lot of people and a lot of resources… And they’ve come to their conclusion.
“As we know, he wasn’t fined for that event.”
The Cabinet minister went on to say that Johnson is ‘completely mortified’ by the publishing of the photos, acknowledging that ‘it shouldn’t have happened’.
He said: “He [Johnson] has paid the fifty quid fine. That’s the right thing to do. He’s human, and sometimes humans make mistakes.”
Shapps added: “I don’t think the fact of the pictures, us seeing them for the first time, changes what the police and Sue Gray already know.”
Just one week ago, it was announced that Sue Gray’s highly-publicised report into government misconduct during the Covid lockdowns had been completed.
A source close to Gray and her team said she now intends to publish her report ‘as soon as possible’, adding that it could come as early as next week, according to The Independent.
Gino D’Acampo hits back at ‘haters’ who criticised him for kissing daughter on lips
The celebrity chef came under fire for being ‘too affectionate’ with his eight-year-old daughter Mia
Gino D’Acampo has hit back at ‘all the haters out there’ who criticised him for kissing his daughter on the lips.
The celebrity chef shared two photos of himself and his eight-year-old daughter Mia, one in which the pair shared a kiss and the other showing them laughing candidly together.
Gino captioned the post: “To all the haters out there……yes I still kiss my principessa on the lips, get over it and get a life”.
The famed chef was met with a wave of support from his followers for sharing the post, with his teenage son Rocco also commenting with a series of hearts.
Another fan commented: “Blooming Nora, please tell me this is a joke? My son is 20 and I still kiss and cuddle him!”
While another questioned: “How can anyone say it’s wrong to kiss your child?!?!”
Though Gino hasn’t always received this level of praise, with him recently dividing opinions after revealing his daughter gets sent to bed on an empty stomach if she doesn’t eat her dinner.
Appearing on the Sweat, Snot and Tears podcast late last year, Gino said he thinks children become fussy eaters as a result of parents who can’t be bothered to ‘fight’ over meal times.
He said: “When people talk to me about fussy children with food and ask me, ‘What do I think?’ I tell them there is no such a thing as a fussy child. There isn’t.
“But there is a thing of moron parenting. By moron, I mean idiots. A child doesn’t grow up fussy, it’s not possible. It’s the parents.”
Gino also likened his children to training a puppy, saying: “I’m not comparing a dog to a child, for God’s sake, but it’s the same as a when you have a little puppy.
“You only have to tell him off and pretend to smack him a couple of times not to do the wee on the floor. Eventually, he’s not going to do the wee on the floor, he’s going to go outside.”
An interesting perspective…
Manchester Airport described as ‘hell on earth’ with long queues and waits of up to four hours this morning
The airport has been plagued by lengthy queues and delays for months now
Manchester Airport has been described as ‘hell on earth’ as passengers were forced to queue for up to four hours this morning.
Frustrated travellers shared photos and videos of the carnage on social media, with the airport being described as ‘absolute and complete chaos’.
Huge queues at check-in desks and security were reported across the morning, as well as long waits for luggage in arrivals.
Passenger Amy McDonald wrote on Twitter: “Never seen anything like it before at Manchester Airport, queued for 2 hours and when our flight was called it was a free for all… hope our bag has made it”.
Mhari Oaks said of her experience this morning: “Hell on earth this morning @manairport – avoid it like the plague!!!
“Everyone missing flights despite getting there 3 hours before departure. Absolute and complete chaos. No check in staff.”
Marion Wolstenholme described customers as being ‘upset, anxious and frustrated’, writing: “Chaos @manairport this morning.
“Almost 2 hours queuing to drop of case and still no end in sight. Really really poor – No organisation, no communication.”
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham previously warned that the lengthy queues and delays – said to be a result of staff shortages and increased passenger demand – will continue for the ‘foreseeable future’.
Following a meeting with airport bosses last month, Burnham said that while the airport has made efforts to recruit, ‘more should have been done earlier’, and that its communication to passengers ahead of and upon arrival should have been better, as should the management of the queues.
At this, Burnham offered three pieces of advice to passengers planning on travelling from the airport in the next few months:
- Arrive at the airport three hours before your flight.
- Check your baggage into the hold in advance if possible.
- If you have to carry hand luggage please try to minimise it and ensure it is correctly packed before you leave home.