Chancellor unveils 2021 Budget to House of Commons & other stories

Rishi Sunak is currently addressing the House of Commons where he is disclosing the 2021 Budget; outlining plans to boost the country’s economic recovery.

Today’s Budget comes at a time when UK borrowing is at an all time high since World War 2.

The furlough scheme is to be extended until September.

Increased Universal Credit payments are being extended.

Five billion pounds in grants are being made accessible to businesses affected by the pandemic.

Shadow Treasury Minister, Bridget Phillipson said that securing Britain’s recovery “means a plan to support jobs and businesses, protect family finances and set Britain on the path to a better, more secure future”.

Nicola Sturgeon evidence at Salmond investigation

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has told a parliamentary enquiry that claims of a plot against her predecessor Alex Salmond are “absurd”.

Ms Surgeon is giving evidence to MSPs investigating her government’s mishandling of sexual harassment complaints against Mr Salmond.

In her opening statement she rejected claims that she had broken the ministerial code. 

The First Minister said she believed she had acted properly and made the best judgement she could on the matter. 

Ms Sturgeon also apologised to the two women who made sexual harassment allegations and to the wider public for failings of her government.

“Although I was not aware of the error at the time, I am the head of the Scottish government so I want to take this opportunity to say sorry to the two women involved and to the wider public.”

Lecturer pension contributions to rise amid deficit growth

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) has announced today that contributions will have to rise significantly to repair a deficit of over £15bn.

In a report released on their website, the USS outlines that the current contribution rate is 30.7% – 9.6% paid in by members and 21.1% from employers – however recommend a rate rise to between 42.1% and 56.2%.

This would result in contributions needing to cover a rise by over £2bn per year, when the university sector has already been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lecturers would be projected to have to pay hundreds more per year for the same pension benefits they currently have.

A spokesperson for Universities UK has said this is “unaffordable for employers” and risks “pricing even more staff out of the scheme”. 

Twenty arrests in “organised crime” raids

“OU64BNX THAMES VALLEY POLICE” by eastleighbusman is licensed under Creative Commons

Thames Valley Police officers have carried out a number of warrants to combat organised crime today, arresting 20 individuals across England.

Eighteen addresses were visited by officers today in Reading as well as London, Birmingham, Sunderland and Blackburn. 

These arrests come after an eight month long investigation focusing on distribution of class A and B drugs, modern slavery, human trafficking and money laundering. 

Thames Valley Police officers seized a large number of drugs, weapons and money during these arrests. 

Labour suspends councillor for ‘private care’ vaccination

An Oxford councillor has been suspended by Labour after publishing social media posts about receiving a Covid-19 vaccination from a private care doctor. 

Photo Courtesy of Oxford City Council

Jamila Azad, who sits on Oxfordshire City Council and on Oxford City Council, posted a photo of herself and her daughter receiving the vaccine with a comment describing the doctor as a ‘Private Care Doctor’ as there is ‘a long wait for the NHS’

The post has since been removed. 

The government has previously stated that only NHS vaccines were to be administered. 

The Labour Party have announced that an investigation has been opened. 

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