Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 18 July 2022
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
‘Blowtorch’ Britain braces for 41C
Temperatures are expected to climb up to 41C (105.8F) over the next two days, breaking the UK’s heat records. A national emergency has been declared and the Met Office has issued its first red extreme heat warning across a large part of England. The Daily Mail said Britain is “bracing for the blowtorch” and the country is “expected to grind to a halt”. Unions are calling for legal protection against high temperatures in UK workplaces. However, The Times reported that schools are being urged not to close during the heat wave.
Tory leadership hopefuls clash
Conservative leadership candidates stepped up their attacks on each other’s records and policies in last night’s television debate on ITV. Rishi Sunak accused Liz Truss of promoting “something-for-nothing economics”, but she told the former chancellor that the tax rises he introduced would “choke off” growth. The BBC’s political editor Chris Mason said as tensions rose “you had to keep reminding yourself these were five people who are actually in the same party”. The Guardian added the debate showed that “everyone hates Rishi”, but “everyone hates Boris more”. The third and final TV debate is taking place tomorrow evening on Sky News.
Rwanda plan ‘chases headlines’
MPs have concluded that the government’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda “appears to have gone unnoticed” by those attempting to cross the English Channel and there is “no clear evidence” it will work. The Commons Home Affairs Committee said ministers were chasing “good headlines” and the “greatest deterrent” to Channel crossings would be to stop migrants from “ever leaving France”. Meanwhile, activists have rallied against the “heinous” policy in a series of protests across the UK.
Report criticises Texan police
An official inquiry has found that “systemic failures” and “egregious poor decision making” paved the way for May’s deadly shooting rampage which claimed 21 lives at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. A 77-page report prepared for Texas legislators found that although 376 law enforcement officers descended on the scene, they allowed Salvador Ramos to linger in and around the school for 77 minutes before they acted. “They failed to prioritise saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety,” the report noted. The report was hand-delivered to victims’ families before being made public.
IMF calls for tax hikes
Cutting UK taxes now would be a mistake, a top official at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned. As several Tory leadership hopefuls promise tax cuts, Mark Flanagan, who leads the IMF’s UK team, told BBC News that “debt-financed tax cuts at this point would be a mistake”. He argued that it would be better to raise taxes: “At some point you have to decide, do we want to invest in the climate transition? Do we want invest in digitalisation? Do we want to invest in skills for the public? Well, if you do, you need the resources to do it.”
Marburg virus found in Ghana
Ghana has confirmed its first two cases of the deadly Marburg virus with both patients dying in hospital in the southern Ashanti region. The highly infectious disease, which comes from the same family as the virus that causes Ebola, is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads between humans through bodily fluids. The BBC said that symptoms include headache, fever, muscle pains, vomiting blood and bleeding. Although no treatment exists for Marburg, doctors say drinking plenty of water and treating specific symptoms improves a patient’s chances of survival.
M&S scraps fruit ‘best before’ dates
Marks & Spencer has announced it will remove “best before” dates off more than 300 fruit and vegetable items, replacing them with a code that staff can use to check freshness and quality. Announcing the bid to tackle food waste, Andrew Clappen, director of food technology at M&S, said it needed to “do all we can to make sure none of it gets thrown away” and encouraged customers to “get creative with leftovers”. Morrisons and Co-op have also scrapped “use by” dates on some of their products.
Pro-Brexit areas more dependent on EU
A study has found that Brexit-supporting regions in the UK are becoming increasingly dependent on the European Union for their exports. The share of manufacturing exports that went to the EU increased in Wales from 58% to 60% between 2020 and 2021. The north-east England reported a rise from 56% to 58%, the east Midlands was up from 48% to 51% and the east of England rose from 46% to 48%. The study, by trade body Make UK, also found that the EU remains the “overwhelmingly dominant” destination for UK manufacturing exports.
Starmer ‘exploited’ Holocaust memorial
Antisemitism campaigners have condemned Keir Starmer for “exploiting” a Holocaust memorial by using it in a campaign video. The Labour leader is seen at the landmark in Berlin in a clip explaining how Labour can win the next general election. The Campaign Against Antisemitism said “to incorporate the memorial as the backdrop for a political clip that does not even mention the Holocaust is an insult”. Labour said: “Keir also spoke to the media about the visit, the power of the memorial and why we must never forget the Holocaust.”
Bison released into Kent
Wild bison will be released into the English countryside today as part of a £1.2m bid to “rewild” Britain. It is hoped the colossal beasts, which weigh up to a ton, will help to revitalise ancient woodland. The Daily Mail said bison are known as “eco-system engineers”, creating muddy ponds, pushing down trees and disturbing the soil to help plants and other animals thrive. They have been extinct in this country for 6,000 years but one male and three female bison will be introduced in Kent in the hope they can create a herd.