National

TFL bailout extension and other stories

The most recent funding deal – announced 22 March – was due to expire today, however, the parties have agreed to a temporary extension to the existing agreement until 28 May to allow for discussions to conclude.

Two red London buses wait at a traffic light as a woman crosses the road in front of them.
Photo: A lady crosses the road in front of two London buses (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic caused a shortfall in passengers numbers which has decimated TFL’s finances, leading to the need of Government funding to keep services running.

The latest Department of Transport figures suggest that passenger numbers last week on TFL tubes were at 35% and buses at 60% of their pre-pandemic levels.

A spokesperson for the Transport of London said they are continuing their discussion on funding requirements with the Government and they hope “to enable a strong and robust recovery from the pandemic.”

PM’s intensive care nurse resigns from NHS

Jenny McGee who cared for Boris Johnson in intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital last year cited the Government’s 1% pay offer in her resignation letter.

Photo: Boris Johnson and Jenny McGee at a Downing Street Garden Party (Photo by
Andrew Parsons / Downing Street via PA PICTURE DESK)

In a statement released through the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital trust, Ms McGee said that after the toughest year in her nursing career, she would be taking a step back from the NHS but hopes to return in the future.

Acting General Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing, Pat Cullen has warned that an exodus from the nursing profession could happen if the Government does not give nurses a fair pay rise for the skilled work they do.

A No.10 spokesperson said that the government is “extremely grateful” for the care the NHS has provided over the last year and has invested £30 million to support staff.

But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Lisa McGee’s decision to resign is a “devastating indictment” of the government’s approach to the people that have put their lives on the line.

Vaccine hesitancy shouldn’t be tackled by ‘pointing fingers’

Dr Zubaida Haque from Independent Sage has said that vaccine hesitancy was being used as a “red herring” by the government and warned people not to point fingers at each other.

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of Pfizer, coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine at a vaccination centre in London. The image shows a pair of hands with blue rubber gloves holding the needle into the jar with the vaccine.
Photo: A healthcare worker prepares a dose of Pfizer, coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine at a vaccination centre in London. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

This comes after Matt Hancock voiced his frustration that some people are still choosing not to get the vaccine, despite fears that the Indian variant of Coronavirus is spreading in parts of the country.

Dr Haque warned that there are a number of reasons people aren’t having the vaccine and that people should not stigmatise but ask those communities not coming forward about their concerns.

Worries over Indian Coronavirus varient in Bedford

Bedford’s director of public health, Vicky Head has said she is “really worried” about the local increase of the Indian variant of Covid-19.

A woman processing a coronavirus swab test in PPE
Photo: A woman processes a swab test at the Faraday Community Centre asymptomatic COVID-19 test centre (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

More than 200 cases have been recorded in Bedford within the last week and has the second-highest rate of coronavirus cases in England.

Vicky Head has said that cases were initially at three to four a day but have now jumped to around ten times that amount over the last month.

Ms Head also added that plans to surge test parts of the borough are in place to ensure that they can identify those who have had the virus, but are asymptomatic and will ensure they self-isolate.

Struggling GCSE students could be given more years

A suggestion by England’s education recovery commissioner could see students being given four years to complete their English and Maths GCSEs to reduce the chances of failing.

Student sat at a desk taking an exam. The student is sat at a desk with an exam paper in front of them and a pencil in their hand.
Photo: Student taking an exam (Photo by John Paraskevas /Newsday RM via Getty Images)

Sir Kevan Collins told the Lords Youth Unemployment Committee that he thinks a “big discussion is needed about the future of GCSE’s and online exams”, adding that he believes online assessments are the future.

Students who fail to achieve a grade 4 or higher in their Maths and English are currently required to retake the qualification until they can achieve a grade 4, with students who achieve a grade 2 or lower being offered the alternative of passing a level 2 qualification.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already made £1.7 billion catch-up funding available to schools to ensure students who have faced disruption during the pandemic are given the opportunity to catch-up to their peers.

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