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Councils prepare massive cuts in jobs and services

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councils prepare massive cuts in jobs and services

Councils in England are preparing to make significant cuts in jobs and services after losing income on investments in airports, cinemas and offices amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Data from the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests more than 30 local authorities now obtain a quarter of their annual income from commercial investments, many of which have been acquired in a property spending spree since 2016.

Revenues from £7.6 billion in holdings, gained as local councils attempted to find new income amid a decade of austerity cuts, have been significantly impacted as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

High street stores, offices and cinemas were shut and airports were left largely abandoned after the Government imposed a lockdown amid the crisis in March. 

These closures have affected local council rents and income, the Guardian reported, with Manchester city council and Luton council missing out on an estimated £100million in airport dividends.   

Authorities in England believe they could lose up to £624 million in commercial investment incomes this year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

But the Government has refused to offer them financial support, with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government stating councils ‘must properly consider the risks and opportunities when they make commercial decisions’.

Authorities have instead faced pressure to cover any shortfall through substantial cuts to jobs and services. 

Luton borough council funds around a quarter of the town's essential services from London Luton airport (pictured), which partially closed its terminal building with only a fraction of flights currently taking place due to the pandemic

Luton borough council funds around a quarter of the town's essential services from London Luton airport (pictured), which partially closed its terminal building with only a fraction of flights currently taking place due to the pandemic

Luton borough council funds around a quarter of the town’s essential services from London Luton airport (pictured), which partially closed its terminal building with only a fraction of flights currently taking place due to the pandemic

Luton borough council funds around a quarter of the town’s essential services through income from from London Luton airport, which partially closed its terminal building and allowed only a fraction of flights to take place amid the pandemic.

The town is set to hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to consider a £17 million cuts proposal which will include the loss of 365 jobs. 

It will also affect day centres for the vulnerable and elderly, school improvement and parenting support services. 

‘We were hoping we were coming out of years of austerity when Covid-19 struck,’ Hazel Simmons, the leader of Luton council, said. ‘It’s the worst time of my whole tenure. We don’t want to do any of those things.’

Luton council will lose an estimated £30 million in dividends from the airport, described previously as a ‘financial lifeline’, due to the pandemic over the next two years. 

It has approached the Government for assistance but has received no response, the Guardian said. 

Similarly, Manchester city council will lose out on an airport dividend of £70 million paid a year in arrears next April. 

The authority and nine other neighbouring councils own 65 per cent of the holding company which operates Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports.

Other council investments include Spelthorne district council's acquisition of BP's head offices at Sunbury-on-Thames for £380 million

Other council investments include Spelthorne district council's acquisition of BP's head offices at Sunbury-on-Thames for £380 million

Other council investments include Spelthorne district council’s acquisition of BP’s head offices at Sunbury-on-Thames for £380 million

Ashford borough council in Kent has invested in a cinema complex (pictured) in the town

Ashford borough council in Kent has invested in a cinema complex (pictured) in the town

Ashford borough council in Kent has invested in a cinema complex (pictured) in the town

Other council investments include Spelthorne district council’s acquisition of BP’s head offices at Sunbury-on-Thames for £380 million.

Ashford borough council in Kent owns a cinema complex, Thurrock council in Essex has invested £700million in renewable energy projects and other authorities have assets including petrol stations and supermarkets.  

MPs will today warn some local authorities have found themselves in ‘extreme’ debt while attempting to finance their commercial property spending. Some authorities borrowed up to £1 billion to build up their portfolio. 

Richard Watts, who chairs the Local Government Association’s resources board, said: ‘Councils have faced a choice of either accepting funding reductions and cutting services or making investments to try and protect them. 

‘As the committee rightly highlights, this was an approach that was encouraged by government.’

He added that the Government should compensate authorities for lost income from these commercial endeavours throughout the pandemic.  

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: ‘Councils are responsible for managing their finances and must properly consider the risks and opportunities when they make commercial decisions.’  

According to the IFS, the Government has allocated around £3.2 billion of funding to local authorities to help them cope with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on their spending and income. 

‘Most of the first £1.6 billion of this was allocated on the basis of estimated needs for adult social care spending,’ the report said.

‘But the second £1.6 billion has been allocated on a per-person basis, and 35 per cent of funding from this tranche in areas with two-tier local government is going to lower-tier shire districts.’

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Tory peer Lord McColl blames FAT PEOPLE for the UK’s high coronavirus death toll

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tory peer lord mccoll blames fat people for the uks high coronavirus death toll

A Tory peer said it was ‘despicable’ to  blame the government for thousands of coronavirus deaths – blaming them on fat people.

Former surgeon Lord McColl of Dulwich, 87, said Britain’s high Covid-19 death rate is not the Government’s fault but partly because the ‘majority of people are obese’. 

He said attaching blame to Boris Johnson‘s administration was ‘despicable’ and ‘propaganda (that) simply demoralises the public’.

Speaking in House of Lords debate today he also blamed population density and the country’s status as a travel hub for creating a perfect storm of conditions. 

He told a debate on coronavirus regulations: ‘As a doctor, I am very, very concerned about preventative medicine.

‘What was clear about the pandemic early on was that the majority of those afflicted had many medical conditions that made them much more vulnerable to Covid.

‘Obesity and Covid is a very dangerous combination and the reason for this is obesity impairs the immune system.

‘The reason the high mortality in the UK is because the majority of people are obese, and the population is the densest in Europe and moreover is the travel hub of Europe.

Former surgeon Lord McColl of Dulwich, 87, said Britain's high Covid-19 death rate is not the Government's fault but partly because the 'majority of people are obese'

Former surgeon Lord McColl of Dulwich, 87, said Britain’s high Covid-19 death rate is not the Government’s fault but partly because the ‘majority of people are obese’

He said attaching blame to Boris Johnson's administration was 'perverse'.

He said attaching blame to Boris Johnson’s administration was ‘perverse’.

‘Blaming the Government for the high mortality is therefore one of the most despicable allegations I’ve heard in this pandemic.

‘That kind of propaganda simply demoralises the public.

The UK death toll is more than 41,700, with separate figures published by the statistics agencies showing 57,500 cases where Covid-19 was mentioned on a death certificate.

Lord McColl also urged Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to join Boris Johnson’s drive to reduce obesity in order to ‘reduce the mortality in future pandemics’. 

The per has previously hit out as fat Britons. In February last year he suggested Royal Navy submarines should be equipped with wider escape hatches in future because British sailors are getting too fat to fit. 

The Tory blasted the UK’s plump personnel, saying that ejector seats on modern fighter jets have also had to be designed to cope with heavier pilots.

The former professor of surgery at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Medical School, who was a  junior health minister under John Major, spoke in a House of Lords debate on eating disorders.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte is back! Starbucks’ popular autumnal drink will be available in the UK NEXT WEEK

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pumpkin spice latte is back starbucks popular autumnal drink will be available in the uk next week

Starbucks has delighted fans by announcing the Pumpkin Spice Latte will be available in UK stores from next week.

The popular autumnal drink will be back in UK cafes from 25th September, a month after they appeared on US menus in the earliest ever launch for the sweet beverage.  

The drink is a combination of Starbucks Espresso Roast, pumpkin pie flavoured sauce and steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Starbucks has delighted fans by announcing the Pumpkin Spice Latte will be available in UK stores from next week

They will also be selling the Pumpkin Spice Frappucino which start from £3.45 for the Mini size

Starbucks has delighted fans by announcing the Pumpkin Spice Latte (left) will be available in UK stores from next week. The price of the drink will start at £3.30 for the small size, but it will vary by store and location. They will also be selling the Pumpkin Spice Frappucino (right)  which start from £3.45 for the Mini size, however the PSL Cold Brew macchiato will not be making a return this year

The price of the drink will start at £3.30 for the small size, but it will vary by store and location. 

Starbucks will also be selling the Pumpkin Spice Frappucino which start from £3.45 for the Mini size, however the PSL Cold Brew macchiato will not be making a return this year. 

While Starbucks first launched the drink in the US 17 years ago, British chains have created their own versions in recent years.

Embracing the US trend for autumnal drinks both Pret and Greggs sold a Pumpkin Spice Latte last year, while Costa sold a ‘Bonfire Latte’. 

As well as the new menu, Starbucks are also launching a new rewards programme set to launch on 23rd September.

Key features of the new loyalty programme include free drinks when 150 stars are earned. 

Anyone signed up to the scheme will get three points for £1 they spend in store, meaning they will get a free drink for every £50 they spend.

As well as the new menu, Starbucks are also launching a new r ewards programme set to launch on 23rd September. Key features of the new loyalty programme include free drinks when 150 stars are earned

As well as the new menu, Starbucks are also launching a new r ewards programme set to launch on 23rd September. Key features of the new loyalty programme include free drinks when 150 stars are earned

Once a member gets 450 points, they will reach Gold level status meaning they will get a free drink on their birthday month, and free extras including espresso shots, syrups and whipped cream.

Back in 2003, Starbucks created the original Pumpkin Spice Latte. Since then, the beloved fan favourite has grown in popularity year on year.

Over the years, Starbucks has evolved the drink to align with shifting consumer trends, with diverse variations to cater to all preferences, including a vegan option and a cold brew.

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World’s first healthcare cyberattack death after German hospital had to turn woman away due to hack

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worlds first healthcare cyberattack death after german hospital had to turn woman away due to hack

A woman in Germany has become the first healthcare cyberattack death after a hospital was unable to admit her because its systems had been the target of an attack. 

German prosecutors opened a homicide investigation on Friday into the incident which happened in the western city of Dusseldorf in September.

The female patient, suffering from a life-threatening illness, had to be turned away on the night of September 11 by the city’s University Clinic and died after the ambulance carrying her was diverted to Wuppertal, 30 kilometres (20 miles) away.

Prosecutor Christoph Hebbecker, head of the cybercrime unit in Cologne, said he had opened an investigation into negligent homicide against unknown persons, the Kolner-Stadtanzeiger daily reported.  

Dusseldorf's University Clinic was forced to turn a woman away on September 11 after it a cyberattack the day before left staff unable to admit patients. The woman then died en route to another hospital

Dusseldorf’s University Clinic was forced to turn a woman away on September 11 after it a cyberattack the day before left staff unable to admit patients. The woman then died en route to another hospital

If the investigation leads to a prosecution, it would be the first confirmed case in which a person has died as the direct consequence of a cyberattack.

The University Clinic in Dusseldorf, capital of Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, was hit by a ransomware attack on September 10 that penetrated its systems via a flaw in a Citrix VPN system.

The hospital’s IT operations remain affected and it is still unable to admit patients brought in by ambulance, it said on Friday. 

Germany’s cyber-security agency, the Federal Office for Information Security, was called in to shore up the hospital’s systems.  

Its chief, Arne Schoenbohm, said the Citrix flaw had been known about since December 2019 and called on healthcare facilities not to delay IT security upgrades. 

The chief of Germany's cyber-security agency has urged healthcare facilities not to delay or ignore IT security updates following the death of a woman who couldn't be admitted to hospital because of a cyberattack

The chief of Germany’s cyber-security agency has urged healthcare facilities not to delay or ignore IT security updates following the death of a woman who couldn’t be admitted to hospital because of a cyberattack

‘I can only urge you not to ignore or postpone such warnings but to take appropriate action immediately,’ Schoenbohm said in a statement. 

‘This incident shows once again how seriously this danger must be taken.’

Ciaran Martin, who stepped down as the head of Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre this month, said the incident could be prove to be first death caused by a cyberattack.

‘If confirmed, this tragedy would be the first case I know of, anywhere in the world, where the death of a human life can be linked in any way to a cyberattack,’ he told an event in London.

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