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North-East Unemployment Set to Spike As Furlough Scheme Ends



Author: Emma Robson

53,100 people in the region were still receiving furlough when the scheme came to an end on the 30th of September.

With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing many businesses to close, the £70 billion pound government scheme has been responsible for supporting millions of people across the UK over the last 18 months. However, with the scheme now coming to an end, concerns are being raised about whether the end of the scheme will see unemployment figures in the region soar.

Economists have forewarned that although many people may find employment in the sectors that are beginning to recover such as travel and hospitality, there is also likely to be new redundancies as a result of businesses losing access to the government funding. The North-East Chamber of Commerce warns that the end of furlough could be tough for businesses as they have new problems arising due to the after effects of the pandemic, “we’ve got a whole new wave of issues that are hitting them (businesses)…price rises, supply chain issues, labour issues etc.”

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Simon Clarke said the current employment situation in the UK is “really strong.” He added, “It’s been a huge success in meaning this awful situation hasn’t cost millions of jobs which would have been the central estimate when this all began.”

Simon Jordan: Twitter

Despite this, there are over 1 million people who were expecting to be receiving furlough past the end of September, and Rishi Sunak has announced a new scheme to support families who need it most with rising fuel costs. The ‘Household Support Fund’ will provide many families with extra cash, distributed by local councils to help families with essentials over the coming months.

Alan Custis, head of UK equities at Lazard Asset Management, stated that the rate of employment which fell to 4.6% last month is likely to swing higher over the coming months. Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics has expressed concern that consumer demand will not have broadened enough for businesses to re-employ all their staff who remained on furlough.

Leaders in some of the most heavily affected industries have urged for policy reforms in other areas. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “With businesses currently experiencing a record number of vacancies, our hope is that those seeking employment will consider the varied and exciting opportunities a career in hospitality offers. She added, ‘in order to drive further job creation, we urge the Government to implement a long-overdue reform of business rates and a permanently lower rate of VAT for hospitality and tourism in order to help fragile businesses back on their feet.”

However, the end of the schemes comes with a record number of UK vacancies, the Office of National Statistics data reporting that there are more than a million job openings currently throughout the UK for the first time on record. There has been a surge in the hiring of HGV drivers, warehouse staff and food production workers, and countries such as the United States of America and Australia also faced similar spikes in unemployment when their financial support schemes came to an end.

The Government insists that now the vast majority of restrictions have been relaxed, it is the right time to end the scheme and concentrate on creating skills and opportunities.

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Deborah James Awarded Damehood After Raising Over £3,000,000 for Charity



Deborah James has said she is ‘blown away’ after being made a Dame for her tireless campaigning for cancer charities.

The inspirational broadcaster and author announced earlier this week that she is receiving hospice care at home after stopping her cancer treatment, and has said she ‘could have weeks to live at most’.

In recent days, the You, Me & The Big C host has raised over £3million for charities that have helped her over the past five years, through her Bowelbabe Fund.

After calls for her to receive the Royal honour, it has been revealed that Deborah is now officially Dame Deborah James.

‘I don’t know what to say. I’m blown away and feel incredibly honoured,’ she said reacting to the news.

She added ‘I don’t feel like I deserve this. I can’t tell you what this means to my family, it’s so much to take in.’

Her husband Sebastien Bowen, said the public support of the fundraiser has ‘brought a piercing ray of light and hope into this, the darkest of times’, adding that the Damehood is ‘so truly deserved’.

Downing Street said the Queen was ‘pleased to approve the honour of damehood’ be bestowed upon Deborah James.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed Dame Deborah as an figure of inspiration to the country.

‘If ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it,’ the leader said.

‘Deborah has been an inspiration and her honesty, warmth and courage has been a source of strength to so many people.’

Thank you for all your incredible work.

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EuroMillions: UK ticket holder claims £184m jackpot



One lucky ticket-holder’s life has changed forever after winning the £184million EuroMillions jackpot. It means they have become the biggest ever National Lottery winner, operator Camelot has said.

Whoever they are, they have knocked the anonymous winner of £170million in October 2019 off the top spot. They have also become the National Lottery’s 14th winner of more than £100million.

The winner, who is yet to be named, is also the second person in the UK to win the EuroMillions jackpot this year, after someone bagged £109million in February.

The winning numbers were 3, 25, 27, 28 and 29 – plus the Lucky Star numbers 4 and 9. One ticket matched all seven numbers to win £184,262,899.10.

Senior winners’ adviser for the National Lottery, Andy Carter said: “What an amazing night for one UK ticket-holder who has scooped the incredible £184million EuroMillions jackpot – they have become the UK’s biggest ever National Lottery winner.”

The claim will now go through a validation process to ensure terms and conditions are met and once the ticket has been validated the winner can choose whether or not to remain anonymous.

What would you do with all that money?

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Baby P’s Killer Mum Tracey Connelly Set for Prison Release after Judge Gives Green Light



Tracey Connelly, the mother of Baby P, who died after months of abuse, will be released from prison after the Parole Board rejected a Government challenge against its ruling.

The decision comes after Justice Secretary Dominic Raab appealed against the recommendation to free Tracey Connelly from prison.

Connelly was jailed at the Old Bailey in 2009 for causing or allowing the death of her 17-month-old son Peter at their home in Tottenham, north London, on August 3 2007.

Dominic Raab said the decision demonstrated why the system “needs a fundamental overhaul – including a ministerial check for the most serious offenders”.

Now 40, this was Connelly’s fourth parole review after she was released on licence in 2013 but recalled to prison in 2015 for breaching her parole conditions by “developing intimate personal relationships” online and inciting another resident at her accommodation to engage in “inappropriate sexualised behaviour”.

In a statement, the Parole Board said: “In summary, the judge has concluded that the panel did take into consideration all evidence mentioned by the application and made rational conclusions.

“The reconsideration decision clarifies that the weight given to the evidence given by the Secretary of States witnesses, who supported release, and the proposed external controls, was proportionate and the reasons were clearly outlined in the decision letter.

“The final ground on the rationality of the outcome was also rejected on the grounds of not reaching the threshold, as defined by law, for becoming unreasonable.”

The Parole Board, which is independent of government, received a formal request to review the decision to free Connelly last week.

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