Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 27 October 2021

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

1

Sunak forecasts ‘age of optimism’

Rishi Sunak has claimed his Budget “begins the work of preparing for a new economy” after the Covid pandemic. The chancellor is expected to use his budget to insist the UK is entering an economic “age of optimism” despite a looming cost-of-living crisis. He has faced calls to resign for revealing a wealth of details about the upcoming Budget in advance of the official statement.

2

Testing ‘a waste of money’

NHS Test and Trace has been an “eye-watering” waste of taxpayers’ money, a report has found. The £37bn funding - equal to almost a fifth of the entire health service budget - was used to hire more than 2,000 consultants who were employed on rates of more than £1,000 a day. The report by the public accounts committee found that the scheme failed to prevent Covid lockdowns and did not allow a return to normality.

3

UN’s temperature alarm bell

A report from the UN has said the planet faces disastrous temperature rises of at least 2.7C if countries fail to strengthen their climate pledges. The study’s authors warn that current pledges would reduce carbon by only about 7.5% by 2030, far less than the 45% cut scientists say is needed to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C. Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, described the findings as a “thundering wake up call”.

4

Plan B ‘would cost £18bn’

The government has been warned that the “Plan B” for tackling Covid over the winter months would cause up to £18bn in damage to the UK economy and result in only a marginal drop in cases. Politico said the documents “outline the thinking at the top of government” as the prime minister comes under pressure from public health leaders to bring in new restrictions. The assessment found that vaccine passports would exacerbate Britain’s supply chain crisis.

5

Queen to miss COP26 summit

The Queen will not attend the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow following medical advice. She underwent preliminary medical checks in hospital last week after cancelling a visit to Northern Ireland. The 95-year-old monarch said she “regretfully” decided not to attend a reception at the summit. She will deliver her address to delegates using a recorded video message instead. “Perhaps this will be more of how we'll see the monarch in future,” said the BBC.

6

Senators approve Bolsonaro prosecution

A committee of senators in Brazil has voted to recommend that President Jair Bolsonaro face charges over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. A majority of the panel backed a report calling for nine charges to be filed against Bolsonaro, including crimes against humanity. More than 600,000 people in Brazil are confirmed to have died from Covid, but Bolsonaro has insisted he is “guilty of absolutely nothing”.

7

Paterson blames inquiry for wife’s death

A former Conservative cabinet minister has accused the Commons anti-sleaze watchdog of being partly responsible for his wife’s suicide. Owen Paterson faces being banned from the Commons for a month after he was found guilty of an “egregious” breach of lobbying rules. “There’s absolutely no doubt whatever in my mind that the manner in which this inquiry was conducted led to the extreme anguish which caused Rose to hang herself,” he told the BBC.

8

Clinton aide makes assault allegation

A longtime close aide to Hillary Clinton has claimed in her memoir that she was sexually assaulted by a US senator. Huma Abedin said she “buried” the incident until allegations against the supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh triggered her memory years later. Abedin, now 45, does not reveal the senator’s identity or even his party. 

9

Pubs will pass wage rise to punters

A pub owner has warned that the price of a pint of beer will have to rise by as much as 30p to help pay for higher wages and energy costs. On Monday, the government said the National Living Wage would rise to £9.50 per hour in April for those over 23 years old. Clive Watson, the City Pub Group chain’s boss, said the resulting cost of about £1m a year will have to be passed to customers.

10

Tripadvisor deluged by fake reviews

Almost one million reviews submitted to Tripadvisor – equivalent to 3.6% of the total – were determined to be fraudulent by the company last year. However, the travel advice website said 67.1% of the fake reviews had been caught before going live thanks to its pre-posting moderation algorithm. Travellers submitted more than 26m reviews in total last year, more than 8m for hotels, more than 12m for restaurants, and more than 4m for experiences, attractions and activities.

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