Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 17 June 2022

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

1

Inflation forecast delays tax cuts

The Bank of England has predicted that inflation will climb to 11% this year, prompting the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to assure governor Andrew Bailey that he will not introduce tax cuts that would “add unnecessarily to inflation”. Yesterday, the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee increased interest rates by a quarter of one per cent to 1.25% - the fifth rise in a row. Share prices plunged in Asia this morning, at the beginning of what is expected to be a “torrid day” for investors, said The Guardian.

2

Young gymnasts ‘abused and starved’

A report has found that British Gymnastics enabled a culture where young gymnasts were starved, body shamed and abused. Anne Whyte QC has led an independent review, based on more than 400 submissions from those in the sport. “I heard extreme accounts of gymnasts hiding food, for example in ceiling tiles or under the bed in their rooms,” she wrote. “I received accounts of coaches checking hotel rooms ‘army style’ and travel bags for food.” One story was of a seven-year-old girl being “sat on” by her adult coach to extend a stretch. 

3

Top doctor calls for fewer pills

England’s most senior doctor has said medics must stop handing out “a pill for every ill” as it leaves millions of patients hooked on drugs they do not need. Professor Sir Stephen Powis, the NHS medical director, said that 10% of all GP prescriptions are unnecessary, and that the problem worsened during the pandemic as a lack of GP access meant patients had fewer medication reviews. Powis said that “cutting unnecessary prescriptions could also save millions of pounds which could be reinvested into NHS care”.

4

PM could scrap ethics role

Boris Johnson could scrap the role of ethics adviser to Downing Street, after Lord Geidt resigned. There is speculation that Geidt’s objections to the steel tariff policy were an excuse to leave the government. A former cabinet minister told The Telegraph: “It’s quite an anodyne reason to resign. I think it’s a pretext for the fact he’s had a monstering by the committee.” Downing Street sources suggested that the role could be scrapped altogether and replaced with a body or committee to advise Johnson on ministerial misconduct.

5

Sri Lanka close to zero fuel

Sri Lanka’s fuel stocks will last for about five more days, its power and energy minister warned yesterday. The island nation is awaiting official confirmation from the Indian government of a new $500m (£406m) credit line for fuel. CNN explained that the country of 22m people is caught in its worst financial crisis in seven decades after its foreign exchange reserves “dwindled to record lows”. Chronic fuel shortages have seen miles-long lines at petrol stations, with some motorists waiting overnight.

6

Moscow denies invading Ukraine

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has insisted that the country “didn’t invade Ukraine”. Speaking to the BBC, he added: “We declared a special military operation because we had absolutely no other way of explaining to the West that dragging Ukraine into Nato was a criminal act.” He also claimed that the West is pressing United Nations officials to amplify fake news. Meanwhile, the head of the UK’s armed forces has said Russia has already “strategically lost” the war in Ukraine and is now a “more diminished power”.

7

Disabled man dies at Gatwick

A disabled man left waiting on a plane died at Gatwick’s Airport after getting off without a helper. The Sun said the passenger became “the first victim of Britain’s airport chaos” after he fell to his death from an escalator. The tabloid said the man had been waiting for assistance from an EasyJet flight but became frustrated by delays, prompting him to leave the plane into the packed terminal, where the accident occurred. Gatwick said “staff shortages were not a factor in this incident” and “an investigation is under way”.

8

Brits cut back on food and journeys

People are cutting back on food and car journeys to save money, according to a survey. More than half (56%) of the 4,011 people quizzed had bought fewer groceries, and the same proportion had skipped meals. Trips taken in the car had also been limited in the previous six months by 72% of those asked. The BBC, which commissioned the survey, said the findings reveal the “widespread impact” of prices rising at their fastest rate for 40 years.

9

Temperatures to hit 34C today

The UK has recorded its hottest day of the year so far and temperatures are set to rise further today. The mercury is expected to rise to 34C in the south east of England today, exceeding temperatures in parts of Jamaica. Across most of England and Wales, highs of between 27C and 30C are expected. The Met Office issued a Level 3 Heat Health Alert and an expert warned of a “rare climate change event”.

10

Prince Michael ‘to retire’

Prince and Princess Michael of Kent are set to retire, after the Prince’s connections to the Kremlin came under scrutiny following the invasion of Ukraine. The Queen’s first cousin, a fluent Russian speaker with a lineage to Tsar Nicholas II, severed his ties with Moscow, handing back an Order of Friendship award, one of Russia’s highest honours, as well as stepping down as patron of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce. It is thought the couple will announce their retirement to coincide with Prince Michael’s 80th birthday on 4 July.

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