The chancellor has said that the minimum wage should increase so “work always pays”. While the figure is set by a low pay commission- not the government- George Osborne said he believes “Britain can afford an above inflation increase”. He suggested the figure, of £6.31 an hour, needs to rise to close to £7. Labour said he was “all over the place" on the issue.
NSA ‘HARBOURING 200M TEXTS A DAY’
America’s National Security Agency is collecting 200million texts a day from across the globe, using them to extract data on locations, contacts and credit card details, according to an investigation by the Guardian. It said GCHQ has also made use of the database. The NSA said it only stores “lawfully collected SMS data”.
£1BN BANK PLUNGE AFTER BREAK-UP PLAN
More than £1bn was wiped off the share price of banks owned by the taxpayer today after Ed Miliband revealed plans to break up large banks in an attempt to encourage competition. At 2pm, RBS shares had dropped in value by £560m and Lloyds shares by £460m. Miliband said that banks have been “an incredibly poor servant of the real economy”.
TRIERWEILER TOOK ‘ONE PILL TOO MANY’
The French First Lady was admitted to hospital after taking “a pill to many”, although it was not a suicide attempt, according to a friend quoted in the French media. The reports say Valerie Trierweiler woke up on Friday feeling sick and “terribly alone”, and asked to be taken to hospital. Last night, she told a radio station she was suffering “extreme fatigue”.
DON’T LEAVE IT TOO LATE, WOMEN WARNED
Prof Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, has said she is concerned about the “steady shift” that sees women postpone starting a family until their late 30s and early 40s. “We all assume we can have children later but actually we may not be able to,” she said. ONS figures show 20% of women reach 45 without having children.
ZARA TINDALL: ROYAL BABY IS A GIRL
Another royal baby made its debut today as Buckingham House confirmed that Zara Tindall had given birth to a baby girl at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. The weight of the baby, whose father is rugby union star Mike Tindall, was 7lbs 12oz. The Queen is reportedly delighted by the birth of the child who is 16th in line to the Throne.
MIKAEEL KULAR: BOY HAS BEEN 'SIGHTED'
Police say there has been a possible sighting of missing three-year-old Mikaeel Kular, not far from his Edinburgh home. A nationwide child rescue alert has been issued for the 3-year-old who disappeared after being put to bed on Wednesday evening. As temperatures in Edinburgh dropped for a second night, police widened the search to the coast.
KING ALFRED'S PELVIS FOUND IN WINCHESTER
Bones found in a box in a museum in Winchester are believed to be those of King Alfred the Great or his son Edward the Elder, scientists from the University of Winchester have said. The find follows last year's discovery of King Richard III's remains beneath a car park in Leicester.
AUSTRALIA PILE ON MORE CRICKET AGONY
England's disastrous cricket tour of Australia hit a new low today as the side contrived to lose the second one day international in Brisbane by one wicket, as James Faulkner scored 69 to take Australia to victory with three balls to spare. England's total of 300 included a century for Eoin Morgan, but it was not enough as Australia scraped home.
HOT TICKET: GLOBE'S DUCHESS OF MALFI
A revival of John Webster's Jacobean revenge tragedy The Duchess of Malfi has opened at the new Shakespeare's Globe Wanamaker Playhouse. Gemma Arterton stars as a widowed Duchess who defies her brothers by marrying a commoner and suffers a nightmarish revenge. “Gripping,” says The Times. Until 16 February.