Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon says she is “very, very, very sorry” about the loss of taxpayers’ money, after it was suggested her government had followed “catastrophic” legal advice by pursuing a case that it was likely to lose.
In January 2019, the Scottish government paid her predecessor Alex Salmond’s £500,000 legal bill after it admitted acting unlawfully.
Ms Sturgeon was speaking at the inquiry into her government’s botched handling of harassment complaints against Mr Salmond.
She also apologized to the two women who made the complaints saying they were let down by a very serious error.
The Scottish Conservatives have called for Ms Sturgeon to resign after breaking the ministerial code, which she strongly denies.
Budget 2021: Rishi Sunak announces more changes
Today the chancellor Rishi Sunak addressed the Commons delivering the 2021 budget.
The chancellor said that it was feasible for the economy to return to pre-pandemic levels by mid 2022, six months earlier than previously expected.
Sunak said his support went beyond the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown, to ensure that nobody would be left behind.
Good news for many came first, with confirmation that the furlough scheme would be extended until the end of September, with businesses then having to contribute 10% in July and 20% in August and September.
The £20 increase in universal credit will also continue for a further 6 months.
The chancellor also unveiled a new plan to help victims of domestic violence which has increased during lockdown.
Mr Sunak has earmarked £19m for programmes which support victims and their families.
UK to import AstraZeneca vaccines from India
The UK has ordered 10 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume.
The mass production at the SII of the AstraZeneca vaccine is for middle- and lower-income countries.
This move by the wealthy Western countries due to the growing demand might lead to vaccine hoarding delaying the vaccination procedure in poorer countries like Brazil, Bangladesh and India who are heavily depending on the production by SII.
The UK has successfully vaccinated 20 million of its citizens with the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and currently the EU’s medicine Agency is auditing the SII to confirm the import of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.
Meghan ‘saddened’ amid bullying reports
The Duchess of Sussex is said to be “saddened” by recent reports of bullying claims against her.
The Times newspaper reports that Meghan Markle faces bullying accusations from Royal aides relating to her time living in Kensington Palace after her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018.
A spokesperson for Meghan said that “the duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself”.
These claims come ahead of the couple’s upcoming TV interview with Oprah Winfrey, which will air on Monday.
P&O to extend halt of international cruises
P&O Ferries have announced an extended halt to international holiday cruises in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Their ships will not travel until the end of August when ‘staycation’ cruises around UK coastal waters will begin.
P&O’s ships were taken back to Southampton in March 2020 due to the pandemic and have since become a tourist attraction whilst anchored along the coastline.