Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 October 2021

The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am

1

New claim against Everard killer

Police have admitted they may have had enough clues to identify Wayne Couzens as a threat to women before he raped and killed Sarah Everard. After Couzens was handed a rare whole-life sentence, new details of previous indecent exposure claims against him emerged. No action was taken in response to the allegations. Cressida Dick, the head of the Metropolitan police, admitted the murder heaped shame on Britain’s biggest force.

2

High-street scans tackle backlog

Dozens of “one-stop shops” for NHS scans and tests will be set up on high streets and in football stadiums to help address Covid backlogs, reported The Times. Ahead of what the health service fears will be its “toughest winter yet”, health chiefs say about 2.8m scans a year will take place at 40 seven-day-a-week hubs, which would cut waiting lists for routine care. A record 5.6m people are waiting for operations.

3

Fuel poverty fear as bills soar

Millions of households are facing a 12% gas and electricity price rise as the squeeze on family finances tightens. The BBC reported that typical default domestic energy bills are rising by £139 a year, and prepayment meter customers will see a £153 increase. Adam Scorer, from fuel poverty charity National Energy Action, said the “massive devastating increases in energy prices” will drive over 500,000 more households into “fuel poverty”, leaving them unable to heat or power their homes.

4

Australia reopens its border

Australia is set to reopen its international border from November, allowing vaccinated travellers into the country for the first time in 18 months. The current rules, under which only citizens and people with exemptions are allowed to enter, has caused controversy by separating families. “It's time to give Australians their lives back,” PM Scott Morrison told reporters.

5

Petrol crisis rolls on despite reassurance

Nearly half of the UK’s independently owned petrol stations were still dry or out of one type of fuel yesterday, reported The Guardian. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke said that the situation was “back under control”, but the Petrol Retailers Association said drivers were continuing to buy fuel faster than it could be restocked. A spokesperson said motorists were also still subjecting staff at forecourts to unacceptable levels of abuse and violence.

6

France calls for fishing retaliation

France is urging the EU to retaliate against Britain’s decision to deny fishing permits to most of the French boats that applied for them. Annick Girardin, France’s minister for the sea, is expected to ask for curbs on British fish imports and restrictions on UK students who want to study in the bloc. She has also indicated that railway links could be used as leverage, hinting that Paris may block Channel tunnel freight and passenger traffic.

7

Sunak told to cut business rates

Conservative MPs in “red wall” seats have urged Rishi Sunak to cut business rates, days after Labour announced it would abolish the tax and overhaul the system. The Tory backbenchers said high street shops were most at risk of closure in seats that Boris Johnson had promised to prioritise with levelling up. Business rates raise revenues of about £25bn a year in England.

8

Wall Street in red after torrid month

Wall Street endured its worst month of the year in September and ended the final trading day of the quarter in the red. CNN said stocks were “extremely choppy” in September, as investors “grappled with an abundance of issues: high inflation expectations, rising bond yields, the pace of the economic recovery, America’s debt ceiling and China’s corporate debt levels”.

9

Butcher shortage fears for Christmas

The British Meat Processors Association says that the UK is short of about 15,000 butchers, which is forcing the industry to focus on basic tasks to keep shelves stocked with simple cuts of meat. A spokesperson said this means “there’ll be shortages of things like pigs in blankets” during the festive season. The Times said ministers may ease visa restrictions to allow up to 1,000 foreign butchers into the country.

10

Russia to hold lavish royal wedding

Russia will celebrate its first royal wedding in a century today when Nicholas II’s purported heir is married in the former Imperial capital of St Petersburg. Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov, a hereditary pretender to the Russian throne, will marry Victoria Romanovna Bettarini amid a “lavish two days of imperial pomp and ceremony” complete with Faberge wedding rings, royal guests and a banquet provided by the catering tycoon known as “Putin’s chef”, reported The Telegraph.

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