Here are the key points from Chancellor Rishi Sunak's budget speech: • Economy expected to return to pre-COVID levels by the middle of next year, six months earlier than previously thought • GDP growth forecast for this year downgraded to 4% (from 5.5%) according to Office for Budget Responsibility • Unemployment expected to peak at 6.5% • Forecasts show government borrowing reaching £355bn in 2020/21, of 17% of the national income - the highest level since the Second World War. For 2021/22 it climbs to £234bn, 10.3% of GDP. • Debt is set to peak at 97.1% of GDP in 2023-24. • An additional £65bn in spending in response to coronavirus takes total fiscal support to £407bn • £1.6bn will go towards continuing the vaccine roll-out and improving future preparedness • Chancellor confirms furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September, with the government paying 80% of salary though employers will asked to put in 10% from July and 20% from August • Help for … [Read more...] about Budget 2021 key points: What was announced in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s speech?
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A Bridgerton actress who was criticised for her weight after posting images of her Golden Globes outfit on Instagram has called for actors to be judged for their work, not their body. Nicola Coughlan posted a photo of her wearing a pastel yellow Molly Goddard evening dress and cropped black cardigan for the Golden Globes virtual red carpet on Sunday night. Despite a host of likes and positive responses - including from the designer herself - a comment from one journalist calling the 34-year-old "the fat girl from Bridgerton" quickly took the conversation in a negative direction. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Nicola Coughlan (@nicolacoughlan) Big Calf podcast host Amanda Richards wrote: "The fat girl from Bridgerton is wearing a black cardigan at the Golden Globes [because] no matter how hot and stylish you are, if you're a fat girl there will always be a black cardigan you think about … [Read more...] about Bridgerton star hits back at podcast host’s ‘fat’ jibe after Golden Globes appearance
Germany on Wednesday took a step towards forcing companies to take responsibility for any labor or environmental abuses in their global supply chain. A new law (Lieferkettengesetz in German) allows for hefty fines starting at several hundred thousand euros if their contractors abroad are found to breach human rights or environmental rules. The fines go up to two percent of the company's annual revenues if they exceed 400 million euros ($484 million). The companies are held responsible for every step of the way: from the raw materials to the finished product. "This law protects workers from exploitation across sprawling supply chains and protects human rights across the world," Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday, adding "In future, it will be clear that 'Made in Germany' also means respect for human rights." The SPD-run development and labor ministries initially wanted the law to also target smaller companies, but backed down in the face of strong opposition from the … [Read more...] about Germany to implement supply chain law against exploitation
Mikhail Gorbachev turned 90 on Tuesday, with several world leaders sending well-wishes to the former leader of the Soviet Union. The former leader of the Soviet Union and secretary-general of the Communist Party is considered by some as one of the greatest reformers of the 20th century — but remains a controversial figure at home. How did he celebrate his birthday? Still active, Gorbachev heads a political foundation and co-owns the Kremlin-critical newspaper, Novaya Gazeta . He celebrated his birthday while staying in a hospital as a precaution amid the coronavirus pandemic. Gorbachev was scheduled to have video calls with his aides and associates who gathered at his foundation to congratulate him. He also spoke with world leaders and read messages from admirers worldwide. Gorbi and the Germans: Mikhail Gorbachev at 90 Remembering the 'Fathers of Unity' The first and only president of the former Soviet Union turns 90 on March 2. Since German … [Read more...] about Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev celebrates his 90th birthday
Covid deaths in England are falling faster than gloomy SAGE advisers thought they would, official data show — and scientists claim lockdown rules could be loosened faster. Models produced by the SPI-M group of scientists predicting the future of the Covid outbreak in February suggested the daily death count would stay above 200 until mid-March. But the average number of victims recorded each day had dropped below this level before the end of February, statistics show. Experts told The Telegraph the progress is 'better than expected' and suggested the Government's 'data not dates' approach could see relaxations brought forward. The vaccine rollout has made immense progress, with 20million people now vaccinated across the UK, and studies suggest the jabs are working better than expected, preventing between 85 and 94 per cent of hospitalisations. SPI-M's prediction was more pessimistic about how well the vaccine would work and whether it would stop transmission, which may … [Read more...] about Lockdown ‘could ease earlier’ in England because Covid deaths are falling FASTER than SAGE predicted thanks to vaccine success