A group of 45 Conservative MPs from "Red Wall" seats have called for a permanent reduction in business rates to help firms come out of "cold store" after the coronavirus crisis. In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of Wednesday's Budget , MPs from the Northern Research Group (NRG) have demanded a "bold move" to support shops and high streets up and down the country. Live COVID updates from the UK and around the world Business rates are paid on the use of a building for non-domestic purposes. At last year's Budget, Mr Sunak announced a 12-month suspension of business rates to help firms affected by COVID lockdown restrictions. Advertisement But he is now under pressure to make that assistance permanent - although the Treasury has said it won't publish the results of a fundamental review of business rates until the autumn, when there is more economic certainty. Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry, the chair of the NRG, … [Read more...] about Budget 2021: Conservative MPs demand permanent cut to business rates to help firms come out of ‘cold store’
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A top Porton Down scientist says his “blood ran cold” when he learned the deadly nerve agent novichok had been used on British soil. Professor Tim Atkins was on call on March 4, 2018 when police contacted him to say they were dealing with a chemical weapon incident. Traces of the Russian-made nerve agent were found in Salisbury, Wilts, after Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal, then 66, and daughter Yulia, 33, were spotted slumped on a park bench. Both survived and are now under police protection. Exposure left Dawn Sturgess, 44, dead and her partner Charlie Rowley, and Wiltshire Police’s Det Sgt Nick Bailey seriously ill. He has since retired from the force after 18 years of service. Speaking ahead of the third anniversary of the attack on Thursday, Prof Atkins said: “My blood really went cold. “While I suspected a chemical had been involved – and clearly a toxic one – I don’t think I ever predicted that it would be “My mind turned to how am I going to … [Read more...] about Top scientist says his ‘blood ran cold’ when he found out Novichok had been used in UK
MCDONALD & Dodds is an ITV crime drama series set in Bath, Somerset – and it's just started its second series. The first series was a big hit with viewers featuring the mis-matched cops as both episodes gained over 6million viewers each. Who is in the cast of McDonald & Dodds series 2? The second series comprises three stand-alone feature length episodes with each one containing a host of guest stars. Tala Gouveia as DCI Lauren McDonald Tala Gouveia plays feisty and ambitious DCI Lauren McDonald who comes from South London and previously worked with the Met. Series writer Robert Murphy described her as “plunging into genteel Bath like a bull in a China shop”. Tala has previously appeared in ITV’s Cold Feet , the kids show Go Jetters on CBeebies and BBC1’s Click & Collect Jason Watkins as DS Dodds Jason Watkins’ character DS Dodds has been described as “unassuming,” who previously had been happy to work in the background during his career. … [Read more...] about Who is in the cast of McDonald & Dodds series 2?
F ield Marshal Lord Vincent of Coleshill, who has died aged 87, was successively Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Chief of the Defence Staff and Chairman of the Nato Military Committee between 1987 and 1996; it was a decade that wrought immense changes in the balance of power in Europe, with far-reaching implications for Britain’s Armed Forces. Vincent’s appointments coincided with the demise of the USSR, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact countries, the Gulf War, the implementation of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty and the re-unification of Germany. He also had to deal with the start of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and the consequent commitment of British forces to the UN’s Organisation Protection Force (Unprofor). These events raised important questions about British defence policy and structures. As the Cold War moved to its conclusion and the conflicts in the Balkans escalated, other Nato countries were reviewing their force structures, and one of … [Read more...] about Field Marshal Lord Vincent of Coleshill – obituary
A hunt continues for a person in the UK infected with a coronavirus "variant of concern" from Brazil, with the government accused of "unforgivable incompetence" in managing Britain's borders. The COVID-19 variant, first seen in the city of Manaus, is feared to spread more rapidly than the original virus and could be more capable of evading existing vaccines. Three cases of the P.1 coronavirus variant have been confirmed in England and three in Scotland, Public Health England said. Two of the cases in England come from a household in South Gloucestershire, where one person returned from Brazil in mid-February, before hotel quarantine measures were introduced. Live COVID updates from the UK and around the world Advertisement What we know about the Brazil variant Sara Blackmore, public health director for South Gloucestershire, said increased testing - including asymptomatic testing - and enhanced contact-tracing had been introduced … [Read more...] about COVID-19: Boris Johnson accused of border ‘incompetence’ – as hunt continues for mystery person infected with Brazil variant