Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 28 October 2021

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

1

Sunak plans to cut taxes

Rishi Sunak has told Conservative MPs that he plans to cut taxes before the next general election, according to The Guardian. Just hours after delivering his third budget, the chancellor told Tory backbenchers: “I won’t mince words with you... it is my view that going forward every marginal pound we have should be put into lowering people’s taxes, not more spending.” Following the budget, Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury, told the BBC that there has been a “philosophical shift” in conservatism after a budget in which Sunak increased taxes to levels not seen in 40 years.

2

Brexit to hit economy more than Covid

The impact of Brexit on the UK’s economy will be worse than that of the Covid-19 pandemic, the chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has warned. Richard Hughes told the BBC that leaving the EU will reduce the UK’s potential GDP by around 4% in the long term, while forecasts suggest the pandemic will reduce GDP “by a further 2%”. The OBR said the combination of both factors means the cost of living could rise at its fastest rate for 30 years.

3

China missile tests a ‘Sputnik moment’

The highest ranking US general has said Beijing’s suspected hypersonic missile test earlier this month is a “Sputnik moment”, a reference to the Soviet launch that sparked the Cold War arms race. Reports have indicated that China recently tested a nuclear-capable missile that could evade US air defence systems. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told Bloomberg that “what we saw was a very significant event of a test of a hypersonic weapon system”, adding that the development is “very concerning”.

4

Arrest over Rayner death threats

Police have arrested a man on suspicion of making threats against Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner. The MP has cancelled her constituency surgeries in recent weeks due to an “escalation of abuse and threats”, including death threats, The Guardian said. A friend told the paper that Rayner is “not in a good place”. A 52-year-old from Halifax was arrested on suspicion of malicious communications.

5

Protests over spiking epidemic

Demonstrators took to the streets across the UK last night, boycotting nightclubs in protests against a sharp rise in spiking cases. There were protests in more than 40 university towns and cities after data revealed 56 incidents of drugging by injection in September and October, as well as 198 confirmed reports of drink spiking. The Guardian said the demonstrators were “united by a common fury”, describing the gatherings as “a call to arms from a generation of young women fed up with being afraid”.

6

Data shows radio listeners down

Most breakfast radio shows now have smaller audiences than before the pandemic, industry data has revealed. The BBC’s Today programme, Zoe Ball, Greg James and Chris Evans are among the shows to have fewer listeners than the last time ratings were measured, according to industry organisation Rajar. The first figures for Times Radio, Rupert Murdoch’s new venture, show 637,000 people are tuning in each week.

7

Historic divorce begins in London

The “biggest divorce case in British legal history” began yesterday as a Jordanian princess arrived in court to “demand a share of the fortune of the ruler of Dubai”, reported The Times. Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, 47, is seeking a payout following the end of her marriage to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, 72. Experts predicted that the settlement could outstrip the record £450m awarded in 2017 to Tatiana Akhmedova, the ex-wife of Russian billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov.

8

Camilla calls on men to act

The Duchess of Cornwall has called on all men to tackle a “deeply disturbing” culture of sexual harassment, saying “rapists are not born but constructed”. In what The Telegraph described as “her most pointed and passionate speech to date”, Camilla spoke of the “unimaginable torment” of the women killed by men and the families left behind. She added that the names of the women, including Sarah Everard, should be remembered.

9

John Lewis scraps contentious ad

John Lewis has withdrawn a home insurance television advertisement that showed a boy, wearing a dress and heels, trashing a house. The chain pulled the campaign, which ran for just over a fortnight, after the Financial Conduct Authority said it was “potentially misleading” and “could cause confusion”. It raised questions over whether a claim following the destruction depicted in the 60-second advert would be paid out in real life due to the boy deliberately causing widespread damage.

10

Barcelona sack Koeman

Ronald Koeman has been sacked as head coach of Barcelona after 14 months in charge of the Spanish giants. The club have managed just 15 points from 10 games in La Liga and have already lost twice in the group stage of this season’s Champions League. The club are currently ninth in the table. In a statement, the Spanish club said: “Ronald Koeman will say goodbye to the squad on Thursday.” Following a 2-1 loss to rivals Real Madrid this month, Koeman “was targeted by a crowd of fans who attacked his car as he tried to drive away from the stadium”, Sky News said.

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