The NHS is facing a legal challenge over its data deal with controversial Silicon Valley firm Palantir, Sky News can reveal. Palantir, which has become notorious for its close ties to security services and immigration agencies in the United States, secured its first ever deal to handle NHS data in March last year for the nominal sum of £1. Legal group Foxglove announced today that it was bringing a court case against the health service to force it to reconsider the contract, which was extended in December 2020 and is now worth £23.5m. Government's failure to publish COVID contracts details was unlawful, High Court rules The lawsuit is the latest challenge over procurement during the pandemic, which has become a highly contentious topic in recent months, with critics accusing the government of favouring its own contacts. It comes as a batch of internal government emails uncovered by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and seen by Sky News reveal that … [Read more...] about NHS facing legal challenge over data deal with controversial Silicon Valley firm Palantir
Wage gap data
As of Tuesday, the German capital is one year into its five-year "rent freeze," and the data collected so far has given both opponents and supporters fuel for their arguments. A survey published last week by property ad portal ImmoScout24 found that while Berlin's average rent has indeed dropped in the past year, by 7.8%, the number of new flats on the market eligible for a rent reduction had dropped too — by some 30%. That has had a major effect on the competition for new apartments, ImmoScout24 said, with an average of 214 people answering each rental advert in January 2021, compared to 128 in the same month last year. Many cities around the world have some kind of rent control measures in place, but Berlin's rent cap law, in effect since February 2020, is unique. It meant that rents for 90% of Berlin's apartments were frozen for five years at the level they were at in June 2019. New rental contracts could not be above that level, and as of November 2020, any existing rents … [Read more...] about Berlin’s revolutionary rent cap — success or flop?
Boris Johnson has said he is "very optimistic" that England can finally return to normal life on June 21 under his four-step roadmap out of lockdown. However the Prime Minister warned that "nothing can be guaranteed", as the Government maintains a cautious approach to freeing Brits from the limits governing daily life. Plans to reopen schools and allow greater outdoor socialising in March, to reopen beer gardens, shops and salons in April, and to scrap most rules on social contact in May have offered hope to millions. However the PM has been clear that he will be governed by "data not dates" and the timetable could slip if the virus begins to spiral. Four tests must be met before England can move onto the next step of the roadmap, which include how the vaccine rollout is going and whether there are any new variants causing concern. The document states: "Around four weeks is required to see the impact of the previous step in the data and the Government has committed to … [Read more...] about Three things that could derail Boris Johnson’s timetable for easing lockdown
BioNTech's boss has said he is confident the company's vaccine will be effective against the new coronavirus variant. Ugur Sahin said, however, that more tests were needed before he could be completely sure of the efficacy of the drug. The Pfizer/BioNTech jab is the only vaccine approved for use in the UK so far. It is also being rolled out in the US. Latest coronavirus updates from the UK and around the world Mr Sahin said that the company had "scientific confidence" that the vaccine would be effective, as the new form of COVID-19 shares 99% of the proteins with the previous iterations. Advertisement "The likelihood that our vaccine works... is relatively high," he added. But he acknowledged more research was needed into the mutation, which is prevalent in London and the southeast of England. More from Covid-19 Reading and Leeds festivals will go ahead in August, organisers confirm COVID vaccine side-effects, … [Read more...] about COVID-19: BioNTech boss confident coronavirus vaccine will work against new variant
Reckitt Benckiser has reported record annual sales following high demand for its cleaning products and disinfectants during the coronavirus pandemic. Reckitt Benckiser (RB), which includes the Dettol and Cillit Bang brands in its stable, said group like-for-like sales rose by almost 12% to £14bn during 2020 as consumers sought means to protect themselves from COVID-19 . Its hygiene division saw comparable revenues rise by almost 20% while it also expanded into 40 new markets as production of disinfectant sprays and wipes was ramped up. RB pointed to market share gains for many of its brands, including Durex , and reported that 80% of consumers planned to maintain their purchases of germ protection and disinfection brands. But it predicted group revenues would be flat to slightly higher in the current year as peak demand had been reached - a factor reflected in the share price reaction from investors as the stock was only fractionally up on the day in early … [Read more...] about COVID-19: Dettol-maker cleans up as pandemic demand drives record sales