OPINION - The Standard View: When Kyiv wins and peace comes, Britain must help rebuild Ukraine


More dead, more injured and buildings destroyed — Russia has unleashed its latest barrage of missiles across Ukraine. The targets spanned the country, from the capital Kyiv to Lviv in the west, Odessa in the south and Kharkiv in the east. The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is under Russian control, has lost electric power. Knocked off the grid, it has only 10 days of generator power remaining.

These attacks represent another attempt by Vladimir Putin to destroy critical energy infrastructure and demoralise the Ukrainian people. Despite the hardship and the barbarity inflicted by Putin’s war, the latter is not on the cards. Despite the missiles, residents in Kyiv were soon getting ready to go to work.

The conflict has been off the front pages in the UK and around the world in recent weeks, despite heavy fighting in areas such as Bakhmut. But today’s bombardments serve as a reminder both that this war goes on and its instigator has no regard for human life.

In the face of this evil, Britain, alongside our Nato allies, must continue to supply Kyiv with the hardware, support and cash to win this war. And when peace comes, we will help rebuild Ukraine.

Stealth taxes will hurt

Stealth taxes are rarely as stealthy as governments like to pretend. The classic is the failure to raise income tax thresholds by inflation, which drags more and more people into higher rates. In a cost-of-living crisis, taxpayers notice the difference.

Almost one million workers in London and the South-East are facing a tax bombshell. The latest extension of the threshold freeze, first introduced by Rishi Sunak when he was Chancellor, amounts to a crude raid on middle earners. And it is Londoners, facing soaring living costs and the highest rents in the country, who bear the heaviest burden.

The economic downturn has hit the poorest hardest — there are people in this country forced to choose between eating, heating their homes or paying their rent. At the same time, we must recognise that those paying higher rates of tax are not necessarily living a life of luxury.

The Government faces difficult choices. From financing the energy support scheme to more generous public-sector pay deals, it needs the revenue that frozen thresholds deliver. But for both the taxpayer and the Government, it is far from a free lunch.

Mae’s Eurovision bow

It’s official — Kentish Town’s Mae Muller will be representing the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest. The 25-year-old will perform the track I Wrote a Song, hoping to go one better than last year’s phenomenal runner-up Sam Ryder.

Long gone are the days of off-key, nil points performances. The UK is in it to win it. And though London may have missed out on hosting the event, it will very much be represented in Liverpool.