Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 12 July 2022

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

1

Sunak to pledge tax cut

In his leadership campaign speech, Rishi Sunak will pledge to cut taxes once inflation has fallen and promise “a return to traditional Conservative economic values”, said The Guardian. As the race to become the new Tory leader gathers pace, “culture war issues, lurid rumours of affairs, business dealings and questionable tax statuses are flying back and forth between candidates”, added the paper. Hopefuls have just hours to secure the support of at least 20 MPs after the party increased the number of nominations required to make it onto the first-round ballot in order to hasten the selection process.

2

Taps could run dry in heat wave

Water firms have warned the public that wasting water could risk taps running dry. Providers said irresponsible water use during this week’s blistering heat wave could result in them not being able to treat water quickly enough to keep up with demand. Southern Water said hosepipe bans may need to be enforced in areas including Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Affinity Water, the supplier for parts of southern and eastern Britain, has urged people to avoid the use of sprinklers, hosepipes and large inflatable pools.

3

Johnson ‘could return to No. 10’

Boris Johnson has not ruled out attempting to stage a comeback should his successor’s government collapse, allies have told The Times. The outgoing PM will not “fade into the background” after standing down but will sit on backbenches until the next general election. A friend compared Johnson to Winston Churchill, who returned to office in 1951. “The party will be begging Boris to come back,” they said. “There will be buyer’s remorse.” Another ally said Johnson has “not gone for the long term” because he “could have significant influence from the outside and then who knows what will happen”.

4

MoD: BBC puts troops at risk

The BBC said it “stands by” its journalism after the Ministry of Defence accused the corporation of putting troops at risk with an episode of Panorama alleging that British special forces killed hundreds of people during night raids in Afghanistan. The documentary, which is set to be broadcast tonight, will reveal new evidence including from witnesses who claim they saw unarmed Afghans being killed in cold blood during the war. The MoD said it “strongly objects” to the “subjective reporting” but a BBC spokesperson said the episode is firmly in the public interest.

5

Mo Farah was trafficked as child

Mo Farah has revealed that he was brought to the UK illegally as a child and forced to work as a domestic servant. Speaking to the BBC, the Olympic star said he was flown over from Djibouti aged nine by a woman he had never met, and then made to look after another family’s children. Although he was given the name Mohamed Farah by those who flew him over from the east African country, his real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin. The long-distance runner’s story is told in a new BBC documentary called The Real Mo Farah, which airs on Wednesday night.

6

Regulator ‘ignoring gambling deaths’

Grieving relatives will call for the gambling regulator to halve the number of betting-related suicides within two years. The demands will be made by a group of seven families at a meeting with the Gambling Commission which campaigners hope will force the regulator to “reboot its approach”. The Times noted that only eight suicides have been investigated by the industry-funded regulator since 2018, despite a Public Health England study estimating that 409 suicides are linked to gambling in England every year. The failure to investigate more deaths has led campaigners to accuse betting firms of ignoring an “epidemic of suicide”.

7

Ecclestone charged with tax fraud

Bernie Ecclestone has been charged with tax fraud following an investigation into overseas assets. The Crown Prosecution Service said that it had charged the former Formula 1 boss with “fraud by false representation in respect of his failure to declare to HMRC the existence of assets held overseas believed to be worth in excess of £400 million”. Commenting on the development, HMRC said: “Our message is clear – no one is beyond our reach.” Ecclestone, 91, was estimated to be worth £2.499bn by The Sunday Times Rich List this year and is the 74th richest person in the UK.

8

Uber ‘sold people a lie’

The Uber whistleblower said he decided to speak out because he believes the company consciously flouted laws in dozens of countries. The former lobbyist, who leaked thousands of documents, told The Guardian: “I was the one telling people that they should change the rules because drivers were going to benefit.” Instead, he added, the company had “actually sold people a lie”. Leaked documents revealed that Uber “flouted laws, duped police, exploited violence against drivers and secretly lobbied governments during its aggressive global expansion”.

9

Retail sales plunge

Retail sales are falling at a rate “not seen since the depths of the pandemic”, said the British Retail Consortium. The volume of retail sales declined for the third consecutive month in June, falling at an annual rate of 1%. Shoppers are cutting back on so-called white goods, such as fridges and dishwashers, as well as opting for cheaper brands, the retail body found. The Financial Times said that “soaring inflation” is hitting household finances.

10

India to become most populous country

India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country in 2023, said a report from the UN. As the pace of mortality slows, the world’s population, estimated to reach eight billion by 15 November this year, could grow to 8.5 billion in 2030 and 10.4 billion in 2100, found the report, which was released on World Population Day. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said a growing population was a reminder of our shared responsibility to care for the planet and that we should “reflect on where we still fall short of our commitments to one another”.

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