Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 May 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Conservatives triumph in Hartlepool
Hartlepool has a Conservative MP for the first time since the seat was created in 1974 after the Labour candidate Paul Williams attracted little more than half the votes of his Tory rival Jill Mortimer. The by-election was “a key test of Labour’s appeal to its traditional heartlands”, says The Guardian, and defeat will leave “Keir Starmer facing huge questions over the future direction of his party”.
Economy bouncing back, says Bank
The Bank of England says Britain is on course for its strongest year of economic growth since the Second World War as households splash their lockdown savings and businesses increase their investment. After contracting by 9.8% in the worst recession since 1709 last year, growth will bounce back to 7.25% this year. Sandra Horsfield, UK economist at Investec, described the forecasts as “a hefty upward revision”.
Girl shoots pupils at US school
A girl aged 11 or 12 girl has shot and wounded two of her fellow students and a member of staff at a school in Idaho. Police say the pupil brought a gun to Rigby Middle School and opened fire. A teacher disarmed the girl and detained her until police took her into custody. The three victims are expected to survive, officials said. President Joe Biden recently announce steps to tighten gun controls following a string of mass shootings.
Inquiry calls for NHS spending surge
Spending on the NHS needs to rise by £102bn over the next decade, a commission has concluded. According to a four-year inquiry by the London School of Economics and the Lancet medical journal, the funding injection would cut avoidable deaths from cancer and heart disease, tackle health inequalities and rebuild the NHS after the pandemic. It said the new funds should come largely from tax increases.
Modi’s costly revamp angers India
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come under fire for pushing ahead with a £1.3bn parliamentary revamp, including a new home. The costly renovation has been categorised as an “essential service” so construction is allowed to continue even when most building projects have been paused. CNN says the public and opposition politicians are “infuriated” and two citizens have lodged a case with the Delhi High Court to try to halt construction.
Twitter suspends Trump-linked account
Twitter has suspended an account sharing content from Donald Trump’s new communications platform. The account claimed to be tweeting “on behalf” of the former US president but the social media giant said the account broke the rules by helping the former president to circumvent his ban from the social network. Trump launched his own communications platform - titled “From the Desk of Donald J Trump” - on Tuesday.
Travel costs will rise says boss
Holiday costs are set to rise this year due to pent-up demand and fewer aeroplanes in service, a travel boss has warned. Despite huge demand, uncertainty makes it hard for airlines to plan bringing more planes back into service, said Booking.com’s chief executive Glenn Fogel. “There’s so much pent-up demand,” said Fogel. “Everybody wants to go travelling, but we all want to do it safely.”
North Korea says leaflets could have Covid
Authorities in North Korea say propaganda leaflets sent via balloon over the border with the South could be carrying Covid-19. The state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper urged people to stay away from the leaflets, saying: “Even when we come across a strange object flying in the wind, we must consider them as a possible route of transmission of the malicious virus rather than a natural phenomenon.” North Korea has previously described the leaflets as “an intolerable provocation”.
Lineker in stand-off with taxman
The broadcaster Gary Lineker is being pursued for £4.9m in tax and national insurance in what The Times describes as “the most high-profile battle so far between HMRC and celebrities”. The tax authority says the former England footballer owes £3.62m in income tax and £1.31m in national insurance because he should have been taxed as a direct employee of the BBC and BT Sport. A source close to Lineker described the proceedings as “a shambles”.
Historian disciplined over Meghan remarks
An art historian has been disciplined after referring to “dreaded Meghan” and “people of colourful disposition”. Dr Anne Anderson of the Arts Society in Truro made the comments during a Zoom lecture. Speaking of the aftermath of Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah, she said: “You couldn’t turn the television on without some person of a colourful disposition having a moan about something.”