Rishi Sunak is expected to confirm a fourth Covid support grant for self-employed workers next week, as he delivers the biggest Budget since the Covid crisis emerged. Amongst stamp duty, the £20 Universal Credit uplift, new minimum wage rates and an update on the future of furlough, the Chancellor is set to deliver news on the next self-employed support grant. But the fourth payment in the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) could prove the last as it may be scrapped by May. The final scheme will be worth up to £7,500 and cover February, March and April, according to The Telegraph . Workers who meet the criteria will be able to claim 80% of their average profits over three months capped at £2,500, and paid as a single lumpsum. But the scheme could either be scrapped or capped at 20% of profits from May when lockdown restrictions are expected to lift and businesses could reopen. Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said the … [Read more...] about Will there be a fourth SEISS grant? Latest news on self-employed support scheme
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The UK's COVID-19 alert level has been downgraded, with the threat of the NHS being overwhelmed receding. The UK's chief medical officers say the alert level should move from 5 to 4 as the numbers of patients in hospital are "consistently declining and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded". Level 4 means transmission of COVID-19 is now "high or rising exponentially" compared with level 5 where there was "a risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed". What is the UK's 'COVID alert level' and what does it mean? The UK has been on level 5 since the beginning of January when it was moved from level 4 as it went back into lockdown after Christmas. In a joint statement, the four UK chief medical officers and NHS England's national medical director said they agreed the level should be downgraded following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre "and in light of the most recent data". … [Read more...] about COVID-19: UK alert level downgraded as threat of NHS being overwhelmed recedes
Anyone who has bought a smartphone since 2015 could be entitled to a share of a £480m payout if a legal claim from watchdog Which? is successful. The consumer rights group is suing US chipmaker Qualcomm, accusing it of using its market dominance to inflate charges to manufacturers, which they have then passed on to millions of Britons in the form of higher smartphone prices. About 29 million people in the UK may be entitled to compensation of around £17 each. Qualcomm's technology can be found in a number of leading brands, including Apple and Samsung. Damages are being sought for all affected Apple and Samsung smartphones bought since 1 October 2015. Advertisement Anabel Hoult, chief executive of Which?, said: "We believe Qualcomm's practices are anti-competitive and have so far taken around £480m from UK consumers' pockets - this needs to stop. More from Apple Streaming inquiry: Spotify, Apple and Amazon bosses defend models but seem … [Read more...] about Qualcomm: UK smartphone owners are due £480m payout, claims Which?
More surge testing will be rolled out in Ealing after additional cases of the coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa were detected. It is an extension of testing which was started in the west London borough earlier this month following the discovery of previous cases. Cases have been identified in Acton, Greenford, Southall and West Ealing and are not believed to be linked to international travel. Live COVID updates from the UK and around the world People living in Ealing are strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test when offered. Advertisement Anyone with symptoms should book a free test online or by phone to get tested at a testing site or have a testing kit sent home. On Wednesday the government announced that surge testing would begin in the HP10 postcode in Buckinghamshire and SW8 and SW9 postcodes in Lambeth in London. More from Covid-19 Kenneth Branagh transforms into Boris Johnson in uncanny first-look … [Read more...] about COVID-19: More surge testing in Ealing as additional South Africa variant cases detected
THIRTY BBC staff lapped up an online guide to drinking water funded by taxpayers. Critics blasted the hour-long webinar, titled Hydration, as “pointless and patronising”. The event was among several courses aimed at supporting workers’ mental and physical health. A description emailed to staff said: “Attending this webinar will help you identify the importance of being fully hydrated and find practical ways to achieve this state every day. “It will help you understand how being fully hydrated will improve health, wellbeing and performance.” A Freedom of Information request revealed 30 staff took part but the BBC did not divulge the cost of the course. 'UTTERLY POINTLESS' Critic Robin Aitken, who worked for the BBC for 25 years, said: “It’s absolute madness, utterly pointless and incredibly patronising.” John O’Connell, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The BBC has been caught pouring taxpayers’ money down the drain yet again.” The Sun revealed last month … [Read more...] about BBC sends 30 staff on a course on how to drink WATER