A young man who was stabbed to death in a spate of attacks across London over the weekend has been named.
A young man who was stabbed to death in a spate of attacks across London over the weekend has been named.
Rishi Sunak is plotting a new tax on online deliveries next month and a raid on the self-employed later this year, The Telegraph can reveal. The Chancellor will use Wednesday's Budget to announce a £5 billion fund to help high street pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops that have remained closed as a result of the Covid lockdown. On March 23 – dubbed "tax day" in Whitehall – he will then unveil a series of consultations on further tax increases to start paying for the £300 billion cost of dealing with the virus crisis. The Telegraph has learnt that this will include options to tax online retail more heavily, including the possibility of a new green tax on every internet delivery, alongside other online tax ideas. However, it is understood that he has turned his back on a mooted windfall tax on the "excess profits" of internet companies. Mr Sunak is also planning to use a Budget in the autumn to increase National Insurance Contributions paid by Britain's 4.5 million self-employed, arguing that they too benefited from state support in the pandemic. A Treasury source said: "The idea of an online sales tax is being looked at as part of the business rates review. "Responses to the consultation are being considered in the round, but the Chancellor is cognisant of the need to level up the playing field between the high street and online taxation."
The celebrity chef is under fire on Twitter after making a 'humiliating' remark about a woman's teeth.
Almost a quarter of NHS staff in some parts of the country are refusing Covid jabs, with official statistics showing more than 200,000 health and care workers putting patients at risk. NHS figures show that 91 percent of front line healthcare staff across the country have taken up the offer of a vaccine, but that dips to 76 per cent in London – the worst refusal rate. In total, more than 41,000 front line healthcare workers in the capital, including medics, hospital porters, cleaners and laboratory staff, have not had the jab. The national picture among care home staff is even worse, with uptake of less than 73 percent. The statistics show that around 106,000 front line healthcare staff and more than 121,000 care workers have yet to take up the vaccine. Last week, Prof Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, said NHS and care home staff had a "professional responsibility" to get vaccinated, while the Queen said those who refuse the vaccine "ought to think about other people rather than themselves".
People across the country enjoyed temperatures of up to 15C on Saturday.
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German scientists have urged Berlin to speed up vaccinations by following the UK’s example in delaying the second dose as German regulators look set to make a U-turn by approving the AstraZeneca jab for over 65s. A team of pandemic researchers believe delaying the second dose of the BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna vaccines beyond the current 28 days would speed up the process, provide greater protection for the population and result in “up to 10,000 or 15,000 fewer deaths” in Germany. The authors of the study, prepared by a team of pandemic researchers from Berlin’s Humbolt University and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, say delaying the second dose would also prevent vaccine mutations from continuing to gain traction. Berlin-based pandemic researcher Dirk Brockmann told Germany’s Deutsche Welle news service on Sunday that a change in strategy would boost the country’s lagging vaccination rollout. Delaying the second dose would double the speed of ongoing vaccinations as “you no longer just put the second dose back in the fridge and wait." “According to that data, there is complete protection against death from Covid in the risk groups after the first dose. That's a huge success,” said Prof Brockmann.
Nearly two million people aged 60 to 63 in England are being invited to book a coronavirus jab as part of the continued expansion of the vaccine programme. NHS England said that the letters will start landing on doormats from Monday, explaining how people can make an appointment to get jabbed through the national booking service. They have been sent out after more than three in four people aged 65 to 70 took up the offer of a vaccination, it added. It comes as leaders from 60 of the UK's black majority churches joined forces on Sunday to show their support for the Covid-19 vaccine to their congregations. They will say they support the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine programme, and urge their congregations to seek out the facts about the vaccine from trusted sources. They will also say that they have either already been vaccinated or that they will get the vaccine when it is their turn. The alliance of Christian leaders, which includes Bishop of Dover the Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, said they felt compelled to act after data suggested black people are among those most likely to be hesitant about receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. Bishop Hudson-Wilkin said: "When you are offered the Covid vaccine, please take it. "This is our chance to show we care for ourselves and our neighbours. "Don't let misinformation rob you of your opportunity to protect yourself and others." This initiative has been organised by Christian umbrella organisations Churches Together in England, Evangelical Alliance and YourNeighbour.
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Britain has a moral and legal obligation to Shamima BegumHowever monstrous her actions in joining Isis, her citizenship isn’t conditional because her parents were born abroad Shamima Begum: deprived of British citizenship. Photograph: PA
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Conservative Prime Ministers have pushed through more than 1,000 tax rises at a rate of roughly one every three days over the past decade, according to new research. The TaxPayers’ Alliance found that the Government has made 1,651 tax changes since 2010, 63 per cent of which - 1,034 - were tax rises. VAT, vehicle excise duty and income tax saw the most changes under a succession of Conservative Chancellors going back to George Osborne. The research will be seen as a surprise to some Tory voters who will have supported the party at general elections on its promise of keeping taxes down. However former Tory Cabinet minister John Redwood said: “I am not surprised. When I have voted for Budgets, I often have had to do so through gritted teeth.” He added: “The way to get more revenues is to have realistic and lower tax rates.” The total amount collected in tax will increase by £172 billion in real terms between 2009-10 and 2021-22, according to figures from the Office of Budget Responsibility. Since 2010, the most net tax rises happened during David Cameron’s leadership, with both the greatest number of tax changes and tax rises in a single year in 2012/13. Mr Cameron also oversaw the biggest number of tax cuts in a single year, cutting 83 taxes in the last full year before the 2015 election. Under Theresa May, there were over twice as many tax rises as there were cuts. Boris Johnson is so far the only leader since 2010 to introduce more tax cuts than rises. This is largely due to the temporary tax cuts and new reliefs to tackle the economic effects of covid-19. Indeed the only year since 2010 with more tax cuts than rises was 2020-21, with 78 of the 151 tax changes being cuts. Britain already has the highest sustained tax burden in 70 years and hiking taxes now would mean further austerity for taxpayers. In all Income Tax was the most fiddled with tax, being changed 180 times over the past 10 years. It went up 61 times, and was cut 119 times. National Insurance was changed 130 times - increasing 64 times and being cut 66 times, while alcohol duty was altered 125 times, the overwhelming majority - 114 - were increases in the tax. The Alliance is calling for a recovery budget on Wednesday, giving taxpayers a respite from rises, rescuing struggling sectors and reviving the economy. Labour has also called for Mr Sunak to avoid increasing personal taxes during the pandemic. John O’Connell, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “The tax burden is at a 70-year high, and it's not hard to see why after a decade of tax increases. “All too often we've seen Conservative chancellors give with one hand but take back a good deal more with the other, meaning every aspect of everyday life comes with a sizeable tax bill. “This Budget offers the government an opportunity to break with their predecessors from the last decade by giving taxpayers a respite from tax rises.” A Conservative source said: "Over the last year the government has stepped in to protect jobs and support people through this unprecedented crisis to the tune of almost £300billion. "We went big and we went early to help those hit hardest and there's more to come next week. "But the Chancellor is also going to level with people about what this crisis has meant for the public finances. The British people elect Conservatives because we have a track record of managing the public finances responsibly, and that's not going to change now."
The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two. Health experts are anxiously awaiting a one-and-done option to help speed vaccinations, as they race against a virus that already has killed more than 510,000 people in the U.S. and is mutating in increasingly worrisome ways.The FDA said J&J’s vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations and death. One dose was 85% protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents — protection that remained strong even in countries such as South Africa, where the variants of most concern are spreading.“This is really good news,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told The Associated Press Saturday. “The most important thing we can do right now is to get as many shots in as many arms as we can.”J&J initially is providing a few million doses and shipments to states could begin as early as Monday. By the end of March, J&J has said it expects to deliver 20 million doses to the U.S., and 100 million by summer.J&J also is seeking authorization for emergency use of its vaccine in Europe and from the World Health Organization. Worldwide, the company aims to produce about 1 billion doses globally by the end of the year. On Thursday, the island nation of Bahrain became the first to clear its use.“This is exciting news for all Americans, and an encouraging development in our efforts to bring an end to the crisis,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “But I want to be clear: this fight is far from over,” he added, encouraging people to stick with masks and other public health measures.On Sunday, a U.S. advisory committee will meet to recommend how to prioritize use of the single-dose vaccine. And one big challenge is what the public wants to know: Which kind is better?“In this environment, whatever you can get — get,” said Dr. Arnold Monto of the University of Michigan, who chaired an FDA advisory panel that unanimously voted Friday that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh its risks.Data is mixed on how well all the vaccines being used around the world work, prompting reports in some countries of people refusing one kind to wait for another.In the U.S., the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna shots were 95% protective against symptomatic COVID-19. J&J’s one-dose effectiveness of 85% against severe COVID-19 dropped to 66% when moderate cases were rolled in. But there’s no apples-to-apples comparison because of differences in when and where each company conducted its studies, with the Pfizer and Moderna research finished before concerning variants began spreading.NIH’s Collins said the evidence shows no reason to favor one vaccine over another.“What people I think are mostly interested in is, is it going to keep me from getting really sick?” Collins said. “Will it keep me from dying from this terrible disease? The good news is all of these say yes to that.”Also, J&J is testing two doses of its vaccine in a separate large study. Collins said if a second dose eventually is deemed better, people who got one earlier would be offered another.The FDA cautioned that it’s too early to tell if someone who gets a mild or asymptomatic infection despite vaccination still could spread the virus.There are clear advantages aside from the convenience of one shot. Local health officials are looking to use the J&J option in mobile vaccination clinics, homeless shelters, even with sailors who are spending months on fishing vessels — communities where it’s hard to be sure someone will come back in three to four weeks for a second vaccination.The J&J vaccine also is easier to handle, lasting three months in the refrigerator compared to the Pfizer and Moderna options, which must be frozen.“We’re chomping at the bit to get more supply. That’s the limiting factor for us right now,” said Dr. Matt Anderson of UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, where staffers were readying electronic health records, staffing and vaccine storage in anticipation of offering J&J shots soon.The FDA said studies detected no serious side effects. Like other COVID-19 vaccines, the main side effects of the J&J shot are pain at the injection site and flu-like fever, fatigue and headache.An FDA fact sheet for vaccine recipients says there is “a remote chance” that people may experience a severe allergic reaction to the shot, a rare risk seen with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Such reactions are treatable, and vaccine recipients are supposed to be briefly monitored after the injection.The vaccine has been authorized for emergency use in adults 18 and older for now. But like other manufacturers, J&J is about to study how it works in teens before moving to younger children later in the year, and also plans a study in pregnant women.All COVID-19 vaccines train the body to recognize the new coronavirus, usually by spotting the spikey protein that coats it. But they’re made in very different ways.J&J’s shot uses a cold virus like a Trojan horse to carry the spike gene into the body, where cells make harmless copies of the protein to prime the immune system in case the real virus comes along. It’s the same technology the company used in making an Ebola vaccine, and similar to COVID-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca and China’s CanSino Biologics.The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are made with a different technology, a piece of genetic code called messenger RNA that spurs cells to make those harmless spike copies.The AstraZeneca vaccine, already used in Britain and numerous other countries, is finishing a large U.S. study needed for FDA clearance. Also in the pipeline, Novavax uses a still different technology, made with lab-grown copies of the spike protein, and has reported preliminary findings from a British study suggesting strong protection.Still other countries are using “inactivated vaccines,” made with killed coronavirus by Chinese companies Sinovac and Sinopharm.(AP)