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The British pub is safer than a supermarket aisle, yet now it faces oblivion writes Young’s pubs CEO

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the british pub is safer than a supermarket aisle yet now it faces oblivion writes youngs pubs ceo
Patrick Dardis, Chief Executive of Young's Pubs brewery group

Patrick Dardis, Chief Executive of Young’s Pubs brewery group

The disastrous and counter-productive extension of lockdowns announced by the Government yesterday is a catastrophe from which the pub trade will never fully recover.

By banning household mixing in pubs in London and beyond, Boris Johnson is condemning hundreds of thousands of the 1.3million people who work in it to the scrapheap of unemployment.

And millions more will have their social lives grievously disrupted. Personally, I am still in a state of shock from the realisation that as of tomorrow, I will be forbidden to meet my own son for a pint.

Mr Johnson might respond by suggesting we go to the pub garden – which is still allowed in groups of up to six – but I’m afraid this merely underlines how this government fails to understand human nature. Drinking outside is scarcely a tempting prospect as autumn makes way for the hard chill of November.

When the first shutdown was eased back in July, Britain’s 60,000 or so publicans spent tens of millions of pounds turning their pubs into biosecure sanctuaries from the national trauma of Covid – becoming experts on virology and the installation of Perspex screens overnight.

Extra staff were recruited and trained, facemasks were procured and bottles of hand gel appeared where once there had been bowls of peanuts.

Our pubs are now safer than most supermarket aisles, yet we are the ones facing oblivion, writes Patrick Dardis, Chief Executive of Young Pubs

Our pubs are now safer than most supermarket aisles, yet we are the ones facing oblivion, writes Patrick Dardis, Chief Executive of Young Pubs

Pub staff became recruiters for track and trace, urging drinkers to download and use the government app. They kept their side of the bargain by making their premises safe, preventing the build-up of large crowds of standing drinkers outside and coming down hard when the pub threatened to get rowdy. 

The brewery I run, Young & Co, has 300 pubs. Due to the dedication of our publicans and staff, I can report that across the entire pub estate, we have had precisely three members of staff and six customers notify us of a positive Covid test since July.

Our pubs are now safer than most supermarket aisles, yet we are the ones facing oblivion. Public Health England says pubs and restaurants account for less than three per cent of transmissions; our experience suggests the figure is much lower than that.

The pubs did their bit – and much more – and yesterday the Government responded with drastic new measures in London and other cities which will tip thousands of them into oblivion.

This is the second hammer blow the trade has suffered, coming as it does after last month’s abrupt and entirely pointless 10pm curfew.

This actually increased the threat by creating ‘Petri-bubbles’ of cross-infection in city streets as people simultaneously trudged home or crammed on to public transport.

When pubs were allowed to reopen in July, we estimated cautiously that about 5,000 pubs would not survive.

Patrick Dardis: When pubs were allowed to reopen in July, we estimated cautiously that about 5,000 pubs would not survive. Pictured: People wearing face masks in Covent Garden in central London walk past the White Lion pub

Patrick Dardis: When pubs were allowed to reopen in July, we estimated cautiously that about 5,000 pubs would not survive. Pictured: People wearing face masks in Covent Garden in central London walk past the White Lion pub

But after the reckless introduction of the curfew, which predictably killed trade, I doubled this figure to 10,000. Now, with regional Tier Two restrictions covering half of England’s population, I think we will lose a third – that’s 20,000 British pubs.

I hesitate even to contemplate the number of job losses but certainly it will be several hundred thousand. The same contempt has also been shown towards restaurants, still subject to the 10pm curfew, which literally no one in the industry understands and no minister has even tried to justify.

I’m afraid that Boris Johnson’s decision to take the path of least resistance and cave in to his scientific advisers and muddle-headed epidemic ‘modellers’ is the last straw for the UK’s once booming hospitality trade.

London is becoming a wasteland of shuttered pubs, restaurants and theatres, and it is not Covid that is doing the damage but Mr Johnson’s abysmally ill-considered response.

If you want to know how foolish this move against pubs is, just watch the queues of shoppers buying up supermarket wine and lager this weekend.

Much of it will be consumed at the sort of rowdy, unpoliced parties that the Government says it wants to stop. And it is insane to believe that this sort of drunken housepartying poses less risk of virus transmission than a well-run pub.

My advice to regular drinkers who are no longer allowed to meet friends for a drink in their local is not to spend the coming weeks fantasising about that first pint with friends.

Because by the time the new lockdowns are lifted and Mr Johnson deems it safe for you to go back to your local pub, the chances are you will find it has permanently closed. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Plug in to the electric car revolution

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plug in to the electric car revolution

Welcome to the electric car revolution. In case you hadn’t realised, it’s already underway. This challenging year is proving to be a pivotal one in the fundamental shift away from petrol and diesel towards cleaner, greener battery power, from hybrid to fully electric (see Jargon Buster, below).

Sales figures for the new ‘70’ plate in September – traditionally the biggest month for car sales – are particularly telling, with a surge in pure electric and other electrified cars as sales of petrol and particularly diesel cars have slumped. 

Overall last month, cars with some form of electrification accounted for 31.9 per cent of all vehicles sold, up from just 12.8 per cent a year ago. Pure and plug-in hybrids accounted for more than one in ten of total car sales, with the remaining hybrids accounting for one in five sales. 

The electric car revolution has begun, with orders of electrified motors on the rise ahead of the new '70' number plate being released (stock image)

The electric car revolution has begun, with orders of electrified motors on the rise ahead of the new ’70’ number plate being released (stock image)

For the year so far to September, sales of pure electric cars accounted for more than one in 20 sales compared to just 1.3 per cent in the same nine-month period last year.

YOUR CURRENT ACCOUNT 

CHARGING AT HOME Charging at home via a wallbox costs between 1p and 7p per mile. A Mini Electric, for example, costs around 4p per mile – or £5.80 for a full charge. This compares to the 8p to 17p per mile it costs to run the most fuel-efficient petrol and diesel cars.

PUBLIC CHARGING POINTS These can be found at almost 11,000 locations in the UK, and tariffs vary greatly – between 4p and 15p per mile. Some offer significantly cheaper prices for members who are likely to use them on a regular basis, with ‘pay-as-you-go’ customers paying significantly more.

A survey by What Car? revealed that pay-as-you-go customers could pay almost ten times more at a public charging point than charging at home. For example, an Audi e-tron costs an eye-watering £45.89 to charge from 10 to 80 per cent at a rapid charging point run by Europe-wide network Ionity, compared to just £4.66 on a domestic charger.

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Today there are around 300,000 electric cars on UK roads, with more than 50 different electric and plug-in hybrid models currently available in the UK and many more on the way.

A recent study by auditors Deloitte said half of UK motorists would consider buying an electric vehicle, predicting that 42 per cent of new cars sold across Europe will be electric by 2030. And a recent poll of 17,628 motorists by the AA and ITV’s Tonight programme also said nearly half (47 per cent) would switch to electric vehicles.

The drive towards electric cars has accelerated since the government brought forward plans to ban the sale of new petrol, diesel and even hybrid and plug-in electric hybrid cars by five years to 2035. That was compounded when Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in February that even this challenging deadline could be cut to 2032.

Yet very capable plug-in and self-charging petrol-electric hybrids offer an extremely helpful ‘halfway house’ for consumers to a fully electric future. 

Car-makers say they should therefore be exempt from the ban – pointing out also that a proper car-charging infrastructure needs to be in place first. But ministers insist otherwise. For now.

Another incentive for potential electric car buyers is the government’s Plug-In Car Grant, which gives buyers of all-electric cars costing up to £50,000 a £3,000 discount until 2023. Prices given in this guide take this subsidy into account.

Meanwhile, anti-car cities are already working on plans to ban any cars other than electric, low or zero-emissions vehicles from their roads. London and Bristol are in the vanguard, but others are set to follow suit.

Long gone are the days when the small number of odd and shaky-looking electric cars were seen as a quirky choice for hardcore eco-warriors keen to signal their virtue. We’ve come a long way since that flimsy death-trap-on-wheels, the G-Wiz, built between 2001 and 2012, was condemned by the Department of Transport after shocking photographs of one disintegrating during crash tests were published.

I have observed the journey closely, driving many of the cars currently on the market, and some of those yet to arrive. 

I well remember the sweaty palms moments as I’d ease off the accelerator and coast downhill for as long as possible trying to eek every last volt out of the battery, nervously biting my nails over whether I’d have enough juice to get me home.

Today electric cars are on the cusp of becoming mainstream for everyone. And boy do some of these new electric cars really shift – from nimble family hatchbacks to £2 million supercars. And they don’t have to break the bank either, as Korea’s Kia car-maker has proved with its award-winning e-Niro priced from £29,595 with a 282-mile range.

Will I get to my destination? 

Worrying about running out of juice (known as ‘range anxiety’) has been one of the biggest hurdles for potential electric car buyers. The good news is that ranges are growing as battery technology improves. 

Many models can now exceed 200 miles on a single charge, and the longest-range can reach 300. New ‘Eco’ modes mean the car’s regenerative braking system can recoup some energy and give you a boost en route. 

In the last budget the Government pledged a £500m investment for the installation of rapid charging hubs nationwide.

There’s still the question of how the system will cope if everyone goes electric. There are more than 100,000 home-charging points in the UK, and 30,000 public charging points. 

But there are more than 30 million motorists, so the challenge is huge. If sales of new cars from 2035 must be electric, that’s around 2 million cars a year. 

That would require hundreds of thousands of charging points overall, but the industry says it can deliver.

The faster, bigger or heavier a car, the more energy it needs and the quicker the battery will drain. What Car? magazine tests various models to find out how far they’ll go on a full charge. 

It noted, ‘The nagging concern that the battery will run flat before you get to where you’re going continues to put many people off electric cars.’

Most batteries today are lithium-ion. A new generation of smaller, lighter but more powerful ‘solid-state’ batteries are on the way, but we’re not quite there with them yet.

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The boom in models now on the market is being driven by major manufacturers, not small, independent firms. Maverick entrepreneur Elon Musk delivered a seismic shock to the status quo by creating his battery-powered Tesla cars that forced other car-makers to play catch-up. 

Stung by his sheer bravado and conviction that things can be done differently, manufacturers have risen to the challenge.

But Britain’s 30 million motorists need help – a commonsense steer through the electric car maze. And here it is, your guide to what’s on the market, what it will cost, whether it will suit your lifestyle and, most importantly, whether it will get you to your destination. 

Battery technology is improving every day, and more public charging points are being provided.

And here’s one personal prediction from me. As electric cars increasingly replace petrol and diesel, and Treasury coffers see less money coming in from fuel taxes, the Government will move stealthily towards a system of ‘pay-as-you-drive’ road-pricing. You’ll pay for your car use like you pay for your smartphone. 

Why else put so many expensive number-plate reading camera gantries over major roads and ‘smart’ motorways? A ‘Trojan horse’ for road tolls? You have been warned.

In the meantime, use this guide as a helpful introduction to an electric future that is already with us. And here’s to years of happy, zero-emissions, environmentally friendly, quiet but engaging and fun-filled motoring.

Jargon buster 

Do you know your BEV from your PHEV? Or your ICE from your HEV?

Here is a simple glossary of some of the most common bamboozling terms you may hear as an electric car-buying customer…

EV Electric Vehicle.

BEV Battery Electric Vehicle. A fully electric car.

HEV Hybrid Electric Vehicle. A vehicle powered by both electricity and petrol.

PHEV Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle. A hybrid you can also charge from the mains.

SELF-CHARGING HYBRID A type of hybrid car that uses braking resistance and deceleration to recharge the battery, which cannot be charged from the mains.

MILD HYBRID The least form of electric boost to a petrol engine. Usually a 48v supplementary motor.

ICE An Internal Combustion Engine, ie a petrol or diesel car. If an ICE blocks an electric charging point, you’ve been ICE’d!

HYDROGEN FUEL CELL A device in which a chemical reaction occurs between hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity. The only thing that comes out of the exhaust pipe is pure water. Cars powered this way may be the real ‘green’ vehicles of the future.

kWh Kilowatt-hour (literally 1,000 watts per hour). If your car does four miles per kWh, then 10kWh of charge will enable you to drive for 40 miles.

The Lotus Evija Hypercar 

 £2 million

Range 250 miles

Charging time 18 mins using a fast charger

Top speed 200mph

0-62mph Under 3 seconds

0-186mph Under 9 seconds

On sale Orders for a limited run of 150 are being taken now, with first deliveries expected mid-2021

Only 150 orders are being accepted by Lotus for their £2million Evija hypercar (pictured)

Only 150 orders are being accepted by Lotus for their £2million Evija hypercar (pictured) 

 

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Where to go for help

Go Ultra Low This website provides calculators for tax, journey ranges and cost savings. goultralow.com

Zap-Map Contains information on how to charge your vehicle, and is the UK’s largest provider of public charge point information. zap-map.com

OLEV The Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles. gov.uk/government/organisations/office-for-low-emission-vehicles

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders smmt.co.uk

Electrifying TV presenter Ginny Buckley gives electrified car news. electrifying.com

What Car? Consumer magazine and website. whatcar.com

Charging firms bpchargemaster.com, polar-network.com 

How do I charge my car? 

  • Most people will charge their car at home on a wallbox charger installed in their driveway or garage; this is sometimes included when buying a new electric car. Using one will fill your battery to 80 per cent* of capacity in a few hours.
  • A typical home charger costs £400-£600, after deducting a £350 grant.
  • Rapid chargers (taking your battery to 80 per cent full in 45 minutes) in garages, shopping centres and service stations can also be used to top up.
  • Flat-dwellers may be restricted to on-street or local charging. One scheme has converted street lights to street-chargers.
  • The last-resort method of charging is via a simple domestic 3-pin plug and can take 24 hours or more.
  • The first of a £1 billion nationwide network of more than 100 Electric Forecourts opens soon near Braintree in Essex (pictured) using ‘green’ solar power. It will charge 30 electric vehicles at once in just 20 to 30 minutes using ‘superchargers’.

*This figure is often cited because charging to 80 per cent is fairly quick, and slows significantly from 80 to 100 per cent.

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The best of both worlds: Hybrids combine the economy and quiet of electric power with the performance of a petrol engine. They could be for you if you’re thinking of dipping a first tentative toe into the electric vehicle market 

Curious about electric cars but don’t feel brave enough to take the plunge with an all-electric vehicle? Then try a petrol-electric hybrid first. 

Car-makers see them as a good introduction to battery-powered vehicles before electric-only cars become the norm, even though they have bizarrely been included in the petrol and diesel car ban from 2035.

There are three main categories, and most manufacturers now have some form of hybrid vehicle in their portfolio. The most common are ‘self-charging’ hybrids which use the engine and braking energy to charge the battery, but which can’t be charged from the mains. 

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVS) are petrol-electric vehicles you can also charge from the mains. A ‘mild hybrid’ provides a small extra boost to a petrol or diesel engine, usually in the form of a 48v battery in addition to the engine. 

Here are some of the most popular hybrids on the market…

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is at the centre of Toyota's totally electrified range of vehicles

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is at the centre of Toyota’s totally electrified range of vehicles

From £19,910 to £24,005

Power 1.5 litre three-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid

Electric-only range EV mode around 1 mile only

Economy 65.7- 68.9mpg 

CO 2 emissions 92-98g/km

Top speed 109mph 

0-62mph 9.7 seconds 

On sale Now

Toyota’s range is totally electrified, with selfcharging hybrids like this one at its heart and some all-electric cars coming soon. The striking new Yaris promises improved fuel economy, lower emissions, more oomph and bold styling. 

Zippy to drive around town and long-legged on motorways, there are five versions: Icon, Design, Dynamic, Excel and a ‘Launch’ Edition. There are four driving modes: the default ‘Normal’, ‘Eco’, a jaunty ‘Power’ and ‘EV’ for short pure electric runs. 

Electric power is in use for around half the time, rising to 80 per cent around town. With a smart sporty interior the five-door Yaris hatchback seats four comfortably and five at a squeeze. 

Toyota also has a Prius PHEV and plans more. It is about to launch a plug-in hybrid RAV4 SUV with first deliveries next spring as well as an electric hydrogen fuel cell Mirai from next year.

Renault Captur E-Tech

A self-charging version of the Renault Captur E-Tech is set to be launched late next year

A self-charging version of the Renault Captur E-Tech is set to be launched late next year

From £30,495

Power 1.6 litre petrol engine linked to 2 electric motors

Electric-only range 30 miles

Economy 177.6-188.3mpg

CO 2 emissions 30g/km

Top speed 107mph 

0-62mph 10.1 seconds 

Charging time 3 hours on 7kW wall charger 

On sale Now

Renault’s electric drive is accelerating. Its Captur E-Tech PHEV will be joined by a self-charging version late next year, and this month the French car giant unveiled a concept version of a forthcoming pure electric Megane which will join the existing Megane ETech PHEV (currently priced from £30,685). 

Also in the pipeline for next year is a new Renault Arkana crossover – in full and mild hybrid versions – priced between £30,000 and £40,000.

Land Rover Defender 110 P400e 

The Land Rover Defender, the successor to the Range Rover Velar, is a plug-in hybrid

The Land Rover Defender, the successor to the Range Rover Velar, is a plug-in hybrid

From £64,800

Power 2.0 litre petrol engine and 105kW electric motor

Electric-only range 27 miles 

Economy 85.3mpg

CO 2 emissions 74g/km 

Top speed 119mph

0-62mph 5.6 seconds 

Charging time 80 percent in 30 minutes on a fast charger or 2 hours on a wallbox 

On sale Now

Britain’s Land Rover has been busily electrifying its diverse range of 4x4s with hybrids, plug-in hybrids and some mild hybrids to make its large SUVs ‘greener’ in terms of fuel consumption. Among the latest are plug-in hybrid versions of its brand new Land Rover Defender – successor to the iconic original – and its sleek Range Rover Velar.

There are also plug-in hybrid versions of the Range Rover, Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport, as well as the Land Rover Discovery and Discovery Sport. A secret fully electric Range Rover is also in the pipeline, though it has not yet been officially confirmed.

Peugeot 508 Hybrid

The Peugeot 508 Hybrid offers a 'Sport Engineered' version that will allow you to go 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds

The Peugeot 508 Hybrid offers a ‘Sport Engineered’ version that will allow you to go 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds

From £34,930

Power 1.6 litre turbo petrol engine and electric motor 

Electric-only range 39 miles

Economy 166-235mpg 

CO 2 emissions 31g/km

Top speed 155mph (84mph in electric-only mode) 

0-62mph 8.3 seconds

Charging time 2-4 hours depending on the wallbox

On sale Now

Peugeot’s svelte 508 – in both GT and estate mode – has the looks to stand alongside any rival. Now there is a plug-in hybrid version to give it greater economy too. 

And Peugeot has just added a scintillating ‘Sport Engineered’ version – a 360hp hybrid that will whoosh from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The Mitsubishi Outlander kickstarted the UK's plug-in hybrid revolution in 2014 and became the UK's biggest seller

The Mitsubishi Outlander kickstarted the UK’s plug-in hybrid revolution in 2014 and became the UK’s biggest seller

From £35,815

Power 2.4 litre petrol engine with electric motor 

Electric-only range 28 miles

Economy 139.7mpg 

CO 2 emissions 46g/km

Top speed 106mph 

0-62mph 10.5 seconds

Charging time 80 per cent in 30 minutes on a fast charger 

On sale Now

This off-roader kick-started the UK drive for plug-in hybrids back in 2014 thanks to the tax advantage it gave to company car drivers. It became the UK’s biggest seller with more than 53,000 sold since launch and 3,000 sold so far this year.

Restyled in 2016 with a new engine, it was tweaked again in 2018 and there are offers available until the end of the year.

Audi Q8 PHEV

The Q8 PHEV is the latest top-of-the-range model from the German car outfit. Starting at £73,860, the price is higher than most other cars on this list

The Q8 PHEV is the latest top-of-the-range model from the German car outfit. Starting at £73,860, the price is higher than most other cars on this list

From £73,860

Power 3 litre V6 petrol engine with 100kW electric motor

Electric-only range 28 miles 

Economy 100mpg

CO 2 emissions 65g/km 

Top speed 149mph 

0-62mph 5.8 seconds

Charging time 2.5 hours on a wallbox 

On sale Now

Audi’s new range-topping SUV – the Q8 – adds plug-in hybrid electric power to the mix of the big and beefy German 4×4. 

The luxuriously appointed Q8 55 TFSI-e quattro is joined by a more powerful sibling, the Q8 Competition 60 TFSI-e quattro, whose 462hp version knocks 0.4 seconds off the 381hp 55’s 0-62mph sprint.

Citroen C5 Aircross

The Citroen C5 Aircross offers considerable manoeuvrability despite its large size

The Citroen C5 Aircross offers considerable manoeuvrability despite its large size

From £35,370

Power 1.6 litre petrol engine with 80kW electric motor

Electric-only range up to 34 miles 

Economy 157-222mpg

CO 2 emissions 32g/km

Top speed 140mph

0-62mph 8.7 seconds

Charging time 2 hours from a wallbox, 6 hours from a 3-pin plug

On sale Now

Citroen has been piling on the quirky style across the range, and getting ahead in the ‘green’ stakes with a good choice of hybrid options. 

The smooth and roomy C5 Aircross PHEV can reach 84mph on electric power alone, and despite its size it’s easy to manoeuvre.

All-Electric city slickers

Nimble, economical, easy to park – electric cars are perfect for urban driving. Here are some of the best…

Mini Electric

A new British-built Mini rolls off the assembly line at its Oxford factory every 67 seconds and one in eight of these are now electric

A new British-built Mini rolls off the assembly line at its Oxford factory every 67 seconds and one in eight of these are now electric

From £24,900

Range 145 miles 

Charging time 80 per cent in 35 minutes on a public fast charger, 3 hours 12 minutes on a domestic 7.4kW wall-box, 12 hours on a 3-pin plug socket 

Top speed 93mph

0-62mph 7.3 seconds 

On sale Now

Electrifying fact 

Pure electric and other electrified cars accounted for 1 in 3 sales in September – as sales of petrol and particularly diesel cars have slumped.

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A brand new British-built Mini rolls off the production line at its Oxford factory every 67 seconds – of which one in every eight is an electric version. I watched for myself, then drove one away ahead of the very first showroom deliveries.

It performs superbly on twisty country lanes, and even in lashing rain it held its grip despite fiendishly slippery surfaces. Who says electric cars don’t like water? 

The driving position feels good, and just lifting your foot off the accelerator creates its own braking effect and the resistance created recharges the battery, boosting its nominal range of 145 miles.

There are four driving modes. Sport is perfect for spirited driving, Mid is lively around town, then to save power there are Green and Green+. 

A smart digital dashboard details available range and tips on how to conserve energy. But it’s not cheap. 

The basic Mini Electric starts at £24,900, level 2 trim includes cloth and leather-look upholstery, more body colours, wheel options and technology for £26,900, while the premium level 3 trim adds parking assist, Harmon Kardon speakers, panoramic sun roof and other extras for £30,900.

Citroen AMI

The Citroen AMI is an urban-based vehicle that features backwards-opening doors and can only reach 28mph

The Citroen AMI is an urban-based vehicle that features backwards-opening doors and can only reach 28mph

From £5,000

Range 44 miles 

Charging time 3 hours on a domestic plug 

Top speed 28mph

0-62mph Not applicable 

On sale Now

Citroen has launched a back-to-basics urban electric car as a 21st-century version of its classic 2CV. The quirky two-seater runaround has doors that open backwards, and because it’s classified as a ‘quadricycle’ rather than a car it can in theory be driven by 16-year-olds without a driving licence in some European countries.

The AMI is powered by a 5.5kW lithium ion battery and can be charged via a domestic plug. It doesn’t have a boot, but instead uses a small recess by the passenger’s feet plus some space behind the two occupants.

It’s likely to be a popular import when Citroen gets cracking with a right-hand-drive model.

Fiat 500 Electric

The electric version of the successful Fiat 500 hits the market at three times the price of their basic petrol model

The electric version of the successful Fiat 500 hits the market at three times the price of their basic petrol model

From £26,995

Range 199 miles

Charging time 80 per cent in 35 minutes on a fast charger

Top speed 93mph

0-62mph 9 seconds

On sale Now (first deliveries early 2021)

Thirteen years after Fiat’s retrostyled ‘Cinquecento’ became a runaway success it’s been reborn as an electric car – but with a price tag nearly three times that of the basic petrol model.

There will be three trim levels, including a top-of-the-range convertible costing from £32,995. Less powerful versions starting from £19,995 can be ordered from December. 

The new range of electric cars are built in Turin, where the original Fiat 500 first appeared 63 years ago.

Smart EQ fortwo and forfour

Smart's fortwo and forfour models are among the smallest vehicles currently on the market

Smart’s fortwo and forfour models are among the smallest vehicles currently on the market

From £17,550

Range 72 to 82 miles depending on model

Charging time 80 per cent in 40 minutes on a fast charger, 3.5 hours on a wallbox 

Top speed 81mph 

0-62mph 11.6 seconds 

On sale Now

Powered by a 60kW/82hp electric motor and a 17kWh battery, Smart’s EQ fortwo (two seats) and EQ forfour (four seats) are among the dinkiest cars on the road – they’re nippy around town and a doddle to park.The basic forfour costs £18,035, and the model is also available as a cabriolet.

Charge of the heavy brigade! They’re oh-so popular today, but can beefy SUVs really be powered by electricity alone? Yes they can, as these stylish and economical vehicles prove 

The boom in sports utility vehicles (SUVs) has changed the face of motoring in recent years as families have opted for their flexibility and space over the traditional saloon.

One reason why so many of them are available as electric options is that their size makes them ideal for housing the battery needed to power them. Here are some of the most popular electric SUVs on the market today, or about to join it…

Ford Mustang Mach-e

Weekend magazine picked out a selection of the most popular electric SUVs, including Ford Mustang Mach-e (pictured)

Weekend magazine picked out a selection of the most popular electric SUVs, including Ford Mustang Mach-e (pictured)

From £40,270

Range 260 to 370 miles

Charging time 80 per cent, charge in 38 minutes with DC rapid charger

Top speed 111mph

0-62mph 3.7 to 8 seconds

On sale Pre-order now, first deliveries spring/ summer 2021

With a little help from Hollywood actor Idris Elba, who appeared in a promotional video for the Mach-e’s launch show in Los Angeles, Ford has turned its legendary gas-guzzler into a sporty ‘green’ all-electric family SUV – sparking a new era for the car-maker.

The new battery-powered five-seater will come in several versions, with standard or extended range, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The fastest ‘GT’ version, to follow in autumn 2021, promises ‘blistering’ acceleration from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds from its 465hp motor.

It’s the firm’s first all-electric ‘performance’ car. There are three drive modes: ‘Whisper’, ‘Engage’ and the sportiest, ‘Unbridled’.

Jaguar I-PACE

Jaguar I-PACE (pictured) was named both World Car of the Year and European Car of the Year for 2019

Jaguar I-PACE (pictured) was named both World Car of the Year and European Car of the Year for 2019

From £65,195

Range Up to 292 miles

Charging time 168 miles of range in an hour on 50kW rapid charger, 12.75 hours for a full charge on a home wallbox

Top speed 124mph 0-60mph 4.5 seconds

On sale Now

As fast, light and nimble as a leaping cat, the roomy I-PACE was named both World Car of the Year and European Car of the Year for 2019. 

No wonder Prince Charles is a regular user. It’s the first in a whole new family of electric and ‘electrified’ Jaguars – including a flagship XJ saloon and a speculated J-PACE SUV..

Mazda MX-30

Mazda MX-30 (pictured) is the first electric vehicle from Mazda and is powered by a 141bhp electric motor and a 35.5kWh battery

Mazda MX-30 (pictured) is the first electric vehicle from Mazda and is powered by a 141bhp electric motor and a 35.5kWh battery

From £25,545

Range 124 miles

Charging time 80 per cent in 36 minutes using rapid charger

Top speed 87mph

0-62mph 9.7 seconds

On sale Pre-order now, deliveries from spring 2021 

Mazda’s first electric vehicle is a five-seater compact SUV with ‘freestyle’ doors, meaning the rear doors open outwards from rear hinges, maximising the space for getting in and out. 

Powered by a 141bhp electric motor and a 35.5kWh battery, it rides on 18in alloy wheels and features a digital instrument dashboard with touchscreen. There’s an extra initial limited UK run of 500 ‘First Edition’ cars priced from £27,495.

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X (pictured) which charges in about 30 minutes, features a 17in touchscreen, cabin control and a radar

Tesla Model X (pictured) which charges in about 30 minutes, features a 17in touchscreen, cabin control and a radar

From £82,980

Range Up to 348 miles

Charging time About 30 minutes with rapid charger

Top speed 155mph

0-60mph 2.6-4.4 seconds

On sale Now

Tesla’s Model X electric SUV with its distinctive double-hinged ‘Falcon wing’ doors is how every child in the 60s and 70s imagined a 21st-century car would look. Buyers today can choose to have it configured to seat either five, six or seven people. 

The Model X Long Range costs from £82,980, has a range of 348 miles and will accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds. 

The even perkier Model X Performance, costing from £97,980, will do 0-60mph in a rocket-like 2.6 seconds, with range reduced to 340 miles. 

A 17in touchscreen – like a large, dashboardmounted iPad – integrates media, navigation, cabin control and vehicle data, while radar ‘sees’ through heavy rain and fog and even beyond the vehicle ahead.

Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Kona Electric (pictured) was listed in the Guinness Book Of Records in January

Hyundai Kona Electric (pictured) was listed in the Guinness Book Of Records in January

From £30,150

Range 300 miles (on the bigger 64kWh battery)

Charging time 80 per cent in 75 minutes fast-charge (bigger battery) 

Top speed 104mph

0-62mph 7.9 seconds 

On sale Now

This car entered the Guinness Book Of Records in January for reaching the highest altitude ever by a battery-powered car – 5,731m in Tibet’s Sawula Pass. 

The 39kWh version costing from £30,150 has an official range of 180 miles and can be charged to 80 per cent on public fast charger in 57 minutes. 

For your chance to win the more powerful version of the Kona Electric – with an official range of 300 miles – see next page.

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 (pictured) is the first all-electric vehicle from Volvo and has two electric motors

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 (pictured) is the first all-electric vehicle from Volvo and has two electric motors 

£59,985

Range Up to 280 miles 

Charging time 80 per cent charge in 40 minutes using 150kW rapid-charger, 100 per cent in 8 hours on 11kW wall-charger Top speed 112mph

0-62mph 4.9 seconds 

On sale Order now for early 2021 delivery

Volvo’s first all-electric car really is a vehicle you drive by the seat of your pants – ignition is activated by pressure sensors in the seat. Its two electric motors develop 408hp, and under the bonnet there’s a 30-litre front boot. There are also two plug-in hybrid versions of the XC40.

Other vehicles in this class include Audi e-tron & Sportback; Peugeot e-2008 SUV; Skoda Enyaq iV; LEXUS UX 300e; Volkswagen ID.4; Kia Soul EV; DS 3 Crossback E-Tense; Mercedes-Benz EQC; MG ZS EV and MG5 EV

FUN FAMILY HATCHBACKS

The choice for couples and families has grown greatly over recent years as manufacturers aim for the more mainstream market – combining enhanced performance with practicality…

BMW i3 

BMW i3 (pictured) was bought by just 180 people at launch, but last years sales topped 4,348

BMW i3 (pictured) was bought by just 180 people at launch, but last years sales topped 4,348 

From £33,575

Electrifying fact

Lower maintenance and charging costs mean mid-sized electric family cars are £132 per month less expensive to run than petrol cars, says a study by LeasePlan.

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Range Up to 192 miles 

Charging time Standard cable: 80 per cent in 15 hours. Wallbox fast-charge: 80 per cent in 4.9 hours. Rapid charge DC: 80 per cent in 42 minutes

Top speed Up to 99mph 

0-62mph From 6.9 seconds 

On sale Now

One of the first new electric kids on the block, the BMW i3’s life has been extended as it’s been such a big hit. Just 180 people bought an i3 at launch in 2013, but last year sales topped 4,348. 

The i3’s carbon-fibre body is created using hydro-electricity, the seats are partly made from recycled bottles and door panels and dashboard are manufactured from Deccan hemp and eucalyptus wood. 

The key fob is made from castor oil. Even the factory it’s built in is wind-powered. There are two trim levels, the i3 and i3s. The latter sprints to 62mph in 6.9 seconds with a top speed of 99mph.

Vauxhall Corsa-E Electric 

Vauxhall Corsa-E Electric (pictured) is built in Zaragoza, Spain, despite its British Vauxhall badge

Vauxhall Corsa-E Electric (pictured) is built in Zaragoza, Spain, despite its British Vauxhall badge

From £27,665

Range 209 miles

Charging time 80 per cent in 30 minutes with optional 11kWh highspeed charger, 100 per cent in 7hrs 30 mins from wall-charger, 80 per cent in 6 hours 

Top speed 93mph (limited)

0-62mph 8.1 seconds 

On sale Now

Vauxhall’s new all-electric Corsa-E puts an electric motor into a familiar British-badged hatchback. 

It is the next step in Vauxhall’s journey to ‘electrification’ – that’s pure electric, plug-in hybrid and selfcharging hybrid – across all of its models by 2024. 

‘The Corsa-E’s punchy performance will appeal to a broad range of drivers who may not have previously considered an electric car,’ says the manufacturer. Despite the British Vauxhall badge, the new electric Corsa is actually builtin Zaragoza, Spain.

Peugeot e-208

Peugeot e-208 (pictured) has been crowned European Car of the Year

Peugeot e-208 (pictured) has been crowned European Car of the Year

From £26,025 to £30,275

Range 217 miles

Charging time 7.5 hours from a dedicated home-charging point, 24 hours from a domestic plug. 80 per cent in 30 minutes from a 100kW rapid charger 

Top speed 93mph

0-62mph 8.1 seconds 

On sale Now

Peugeot’s perky 208 has just been crowned European Car of the Year – and one third of that is down to the electric version. That’s because the French car-maker’s policy is to offer a trinity of power options for each model – petrol, diesel and electric. 

The pure electric e-208 costs from £26,025 in base Active trim up to £30,275 for the rangetopping GT. 

There are three driving modes – Eco, Normal and the more engaging Sport. But the more aggressively you drive, the faster you drain the battery. Peugeot is committed to offering an electrified- version of its entire range by 2023.

Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF (pictured) has increased with power and become more hi-tech with the second generation five-seater

Nissan LEAF (pictured) has increased with power and become more hi-tech with the second generation five-seater 

From £26,845

Range 168 miles (e+ 239 miles) 

Charging time 80 per cent in 60 minutes on a fast charger 

Top speed 90mph (e+ 98mph) 0-62mph 7.9 seconds (e+ 6.9 seconds) 

On sale Now

Nissan really has turned over a new leaf with the second generation of its all-electric five-seater.

It will travel 50 per cent further, has 38 per cent more power and is more hi-tech than the original LEAF. 

Press a button in the console and your accelerator doubles as a brake when you take your foot off it. The car will decelerate to a complete stop, and even hold on a hill – it’s a bit like driving a dodgem car without the bumps.

Volkswagen ID.3

Volkswagen ID.3 (pictured) has a hi-tech dashboard and a boot capacity of 385 litres

Volkswagen ID.3 (pictured) has a hi-tech dashboard and a boot capacity of 385 litres

From £29,990

Range 336 miles

Charging time 80 per cent in 35 minutes on a fast charger

Top speed 99mph

0-62mph 7.3 seconds

On sale Now

Fun and funky with a hi-tech dashboard and a boot capacity of 385 litres, the ID.3 is the first of the German car giant’s electric ‘ID’ range to hit the road in the wake of the ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal. The top-of-the-range Tour, costing £39,290 and with a 77kWh battery, has a range of 336 miles.

Other vehicles in this class include Honda e; Kia e-Niro

 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Boris Johnson will announce a national coronavirus lockdown NEXT WEEK to save Christmas

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boris johnson will announce a national coronavirus lockdown next week to save christmas

Boris Johnson is expected to announce a national lockdown next week after his scientific advisers told him it was the only way to save Christmas.

Scientists from the Sage committee yesterday presented No 10 with bleak figures showing that Covid is spreading ‘significantly’ faster than even their original ‘worst-case scenario’ prediction.

Last night a Cabinet source told the Mail that the dramatic move will be announced next week. It was not clear exactly what form the new lockdown would take, or what would be ordered to close or how long it would last.

The Government now faces a critical weekend to determine the shape of the measures before an announcement.

The Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are said to have agonised over the decision because of fears it would leave the economy in tatters. 

But the scientists – backed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and senior minister Michael Gove – told them the virus was on track to kill 85,000 this winter, and that it was too late for a so-called ‘circuit break’.

They called for a longer national lockdown – similar to the month-long shutdown in France – saying it was the only way to stop hospitals from running out of beds.

In a clear signal of the deep Government split on the issue, a Cabinet source said those opposed to a lockdown were ‘not prepared to surrender’. 

Boris Johnson is expected to announce a national lockdown next week after his scientific advisers told him it was the only way to save Christmas

Boris Johnson is expected to announce a national lockdown next week after his scientific advisers told him it was the only way to save Christmas

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The Mail has been told that Mr Johnson’s No 10 team is also split, with an influential adviser understood to have warned him this week that a national lockdown was ‘inevitable’ – and delaying it could backfire on him. It came as:

  • Mr Johnson is to meet the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to thrash out a ‘common approach to Christmas’;

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds praise ‘utterly brilliant’ NHS staff for saving his life and the maternity team that delivered son Wilfred 

Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds will praise NHS medics for delivering their son Wilfred and for saving the Prime Minister’s life as he fought coronavirus.

In their first joint television appearance, a recording for the Pride of Britain awards, they will thank frontline workers for their ‘courage and dedication’ during the pandemic in a broadcast on Sunday.

The couple nominated nurses Jenny McGee and Luis Pitarma, two nurses who cared for Mr Johnson at St Thomas’ Hospital in April, and the maternity team who delivered Wilfred later the same month.  

 

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  • The number of virus patients in hospital has doubled in the past fortnight, with 10,708 patients being treated by the NHS.
  • The ONS said 50,000 people were becoming infected with coronavirus each day, with a further 274 fatalities reported yesterday;
  • A poll by anti-lockdown group Recovery found that more than 70 per cent of people were more worried about the effect of lockdown than they were of catching Covid.

Details of the lockdown row emerged after the Mail disclosed how the Prime Minister has been warned by scientists – led by Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance – that all hospitals in England will be full by December 17 unless he took more action.

Andy Street, the Conservative West Midlands mayor, said it was clear more action was needed. He added: ‘Whether it be a national four-week lockdown, I do not know, but what I do know is that the message is very clear: we have to take further action to turn this tide.’

Professor Dominic Harrison, director of public health at Blackburn with Darwen council, called for a circuit-breaker because Tier Three households were ‘not complying completely’ with the guidance.

But Jon Dobinson, of Recovery, said: ‘The concept of a four-week lockdown to save Christmas is yet more cruel and inhumane policy which will further fuel the growing mental health crisis – all justified by holding out a false hope.

‘People are dying in their thousands from lockdown and restrictions: it’s time to focus on that.’

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the Government was ‘striving to avoid’ a national lockdown. 

He added: ‘We’re always ready for further measures that we can take. But I think the most important thing about further measures is that we continue on the track we’re on of targeting the virus.’

There were also reports of more Tory infighting, with claims by older MPs that the lockdown revolt by Conservative MPs in northern ‘Red Wall’ seats was led by ‘selfish young MPs who have nothing to fear personally’ from Covid because of their age.

In their first joint television appearance on Sunday, Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds will praise NHS medics for saving the Prime Minister's life as he fought coronavirus and for delivering their son

In their first joint television appearance on Sunday, Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds will praise NHS medics for saving the Prime Minister’s life as he fought coronavirus and for delivering their son

Percentage change in coronavirus cases across England in the week to October 25: The five local authorities where the infection rate grew the most are: Kingston upon Hull City, 92.81 per cent; Derby, 91.84 per cent; North Somerset, 82.99 per cent; Medway, 77.17 per cent; and Bath and North East Somerset 69.72 per cent

 Percentage change in coronavirus cases across England in the week to October 25: The five local authorities where the infection rate grew the most are: Kingston upon Hull City, 92.81 per cent; Derby, 91.84 per cent; North Somerset, 82.99 per cent; Medway, 77.17 per cent; and Bath and North East Somerset 69.72 per cent

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Above are the Covid-19 infection rates in London boroughs for the week ending October 24, according to official data

Above are the Covid-19 infection rates in London boroughs for the week ending October 24, according to official data

Almost 20 NHS trusts in England are already treating more coronavirus patients than at the peak of the first wave, according to official statistics that come amid warnings hospitals across the country could run out of beds before Christmas

Almost 20 NHS trusts in England are already treating more coronavirus patients than at the peak of the first wave, according to official statistics that come amid warnings hospitals across the country could run out of beds before Christmas 

SAGE's presentation of the estimates of the median R rate in the four nations of the UK. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE’s presentation of the estimates of the median R rate in the four nations of the UK. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE's presentation of the median R rate in different NHS regions of England. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE’s presentation of the median R rate in different NHS regions of England. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE's presentation of the growth rate of Covid-19 in the NHS England regions. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE’s presentation of the growth rate of Covid-19 in the NHS England regions. The bars represent different independent estimates, the grey shaded areas represent the combined numerical range and the black bars are the combined range rounding to one decimal place

SAGE's presentation of the median R rate in the UK, with bars representing different independent estimates

SAGE’s presentation of the median R rate in the UK, with bars representing different independent estimates

One Conservative elder statesman said: ‘Many of our MPs who won Red Wall seats last year and are making the most fuss about lockdowns are young and are not at risk personally. 

‘They should think about their constituents in their 60s and over who are at much greater risk.’

The senior Tory, who is over 60, singled out four MPs who have been most outspoken – William Wragg, who represents Hazel Grove, Manchester, aged 32; Jake Berry, Rossendale and Darwen, 41; Chris Green, Bolton West, 47; and Dehenna Davison, Bishop Auckland, 27. 

Act now to save Christmas, urge Government scientists as they warn Britain will exceed the worst-case scenario unless country goes into lockdown

By Elanor Hayward, Xantha Leatham and Victoria Allen for the Daily Mail 

The national lockdown announcement is expected after government scientists said it was needed to save Christmas.

The experts believe soaring cases mean the UK could face 1,000 deaths a day within a month. Yesterday a further 274 fatalities were reported, compared with 136 a fortnight ago.

There is a lag of around three weeks between infections and deaths. The scientists told ministers that without further restrictions, the death toll will keep rising exponentially, and hospitals will be overwhelmed.

The number of virus patients in hospital has doubled in the past fortnight, with 10,708 currently being treated by the NHS. 

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Scientists have warned the second wave of coronavirus could result in 85,000 deaths, almost double the number of victims from the first epidemic

If this trajectory of doubling every fortnight continues, there will be more than 20,000 patients in hospital by mid-November, higher than at the peak of the first wave.

The number of coronavirus infections is currently four times higher than was anticipated under the Government’s ‘worst-case scenario’ plan, which estimated that daily infections would be around 12,000 throughout October.

It leaves the country on track to exceed the previous worst-case scenario of 85,000 Covid-19 deaths this winter.

The new national lockdown comes after the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) called for urgent national action including the closure of all bars and restaurants and other venues where households mix indoors.

They believe ministers have left it ‘too late’ for a two-week ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown – which they had called for in September – to work.

Instead, they demanded a longer national lockdown, similar to the month-long shutdown imposed yesterday in France. 

They argued that this is the best option to bring the R rate below 1 and prevent hospital capacity being overwhelmed.

Data for the week between October 12 and October 15 suggests the rate of infection has increased significantly in some parts of the country

Data for the week between October 12 and October 15 suggests the rate of infection has increased significantly in some parts of the country

If new measures were introduced quickly, restrictions could potentially be lifted in time for Christmas, allowing people to reunite with their loved ones over the festive season.

A senior official said: ‘Time is marching on, we are two months to Christmas… the more the numbers increase, the more difficult it is to turn it around.’ 

On Tuesday, it emerged that ministers had been told to prepare for 85,000 deaths this winter, with 500 deaths a day for at least three months and more than 300,000 hospitalised.

But Government scientists said yesterday that this ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’ has already been breached.

The planning document had estimated there would be 100 deaths a day by the end of October, but Britain has already recorded three times that amount on some days this week. 

In a newly released document from a Sage meeting on October 7, scientists said: ‘In England, we are breaching the number of infections and hospital admissions in the reasonable worst-case planning scenario…

‘The number of deaths is also highly likely to exceed reasonable worst-case levels within the next two weeks.

‘Were the number of infections to fall in the very near future, this exceedance of the reasonable worst-case scenario could be modest and short-lived, but if R remains above 1 then the epidemic will further diverge from the planning scenario.’

Another newly revealed Sage statement, from October 14, said: ‘The number of daily deaths is now in line with the levels in the reasonable worst case and is almost certain to exceed this within the next two weeks.’

The documents also show that for weeks, scientists have been calling for the closure of bars and restaurants to ‘anything but takeaway service’.

A document from October 7 – produced by SPI-M-O, a sub-group that reports to Sage – said there was ‘clear evidence’ for shutting them to slow the growth of the epidemic.

So what’s the TRUTH about Britain’s second wave? R rate drops again and symptom-tracking app says outbreak is ‘stable’ – but Imperial warns of 96,000 cases a day and even ONS claims infections are ‘rising steeply’ 

There is no doubt that coronavirus infections are still surging in the UK but mathematicians and scientists don’t agree on how bad the second wave really is. 

A raft of statistics have been published in the past 48 hours with conflicting estimates of the number of people getting infected with the virus ranging from 35,000 to 96,000 per day, and some casting doubt over doom-laden warnings of a repeat of March’s catastrophe.

Statistics published this week have produced a wide range of possible daily infections in England, from as few as 34,000, according to an estimate by King's College London to as many as 96,000, according to the Government-run REACT study

Statistics published this week have produced a wide range of possible daily infections in England, from as few as 34,000, according to an estimate by King’s College London to as many as 96,000, according to the Government-run REACT study

One of the Office for National Statistics’ top Covid-19 analysts today said cases in England are ‘rising steeply’, while an epidemiologist behind another project said people could be ‘reassured’ that the virus isn’t out of control. 

Of studies estimating the numbers of new infections each day in England, the ONS put the figure at 51,900; King’s College’s Covid Symptom Study said 34,628; a Cambridge University ‘Nowcast’ said 55,600; and the Government-funded REACT study by Imperial College London put it at 96,000. The Department of Health’s official testing programme is picking up 22,125 infections each day, but is known to miss large numbers without symptoms.

All the calculations have increased since their previous estimates and are in agreement that the outbreak is getting worse, but the speed at which this is happening is unclear. 

Meanwhile, SAGE today published its weekly estimate of the R rate and said the speed of spread has dropped. The Government’s scientific advisers put the ranges for the UK and England at 1.1 to 1.3, down from 1.2 to 1.4 last week. They said, however: ‘SAGE is almost certain that the epidemic continues to grow rapidly across the country.’

Numbers of people being admitted to hospital and dying of coronavirus continue to rise rapidly, with an average of 230 deaths per day now being announced and 10,308 people in hospital with Covid-19, increasing by more than 1,000 per day. 

These will keep increasing for the coming weeks and months even if cases start to slow down or even fall, officials say, because hospitalisations and deaths are ‘baked in’ by infections that happen two to three weeks earlier.

One statistician not involved with any of the predictions – Professor James Naismith, from the University of Oxford – said there were ‘uncertainties’ in all of them, meaning no one number was correct. He added: ‘We can be almost certain that we will see an increase in the number of deaths per day from Covid-19 over the next few weeks.’

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Paul Gambaccini reveals the torment of being wrongly accused

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paul gambaccini reveals the torment of being wrongly accused

All Paul Gambaccini ever wanted was an apology. What he never imagined is that it would take so long to achieve — nor that it would exact such a heavy mental toll.

We meet at his home, an immaculate high-rise apartment he shares with husband Chris that boasts stunning views of the Thames and across London.

The walls are adorned with framed vintage movie posters and the shelves neatly lined with thousands of books, records and CDs — testament to the much-loved broadcaster’s twin passions, music and film.

 

Radio presenter Paul Gambaccini, right, pictured with his friends Jimmy Tarbuck and Cliff Richard, wants an apology from the Metropolitan Police

Radio presenter Paul Gambaccini, right, pictured with his friends Jimmy Tarbuck and Cliff Richard, wants an apology from the Metropolitan Police 

Sitting on a sofa opposite me — socially distanced of course — Paul leans back and forth as he recalls, in animated detail over three hours, his quest for justice from the Metropolitan Police. Occasionally, he sips from a glass of water as he ponders the more difficult moments of his long ordeal.

At one stage he stands up to point out where Ed Miliband, then leader of the Opposition, addressed a star-studded fundraiser event for the Labour Party hosted by Paul at his home before his arrest.

Both Miliband and the Labour Party shunned him while on police bail, and that is something he will never forgive.

Two weeks have passed since Paul, now 71, learned he had won his landmark privacy action — revealed exclusively by the Mail today — against the Met.

In an out-of-court settlement, the force has agreed to pay him £250,000 — £65,000 in damages and £185,000 in legal costs — over privacy breaches. In a deal finalised just yesterday the Met has also agreed to ‘apologise for the disclosure of private information’ and ‘the hurt and distress that he was caused by that disclosure’.

Did he celebrate when he heard? He smiles: a dinner for two at home, followed by an episode of U.S. crime drama series The Wire.

Describing his emotions when his lawyer told him the Met wanted to settle out of court, he says: ‘There was no sense of triumphalism. I just thought, ‘‘Thank God this hell is over.’’ ’

Paul Gambaccini, pictured, was awarded £250,000 in compensation and legal costs following a privacy breach

Paul Gambaccini, pictured, was awarded £250,000 in compensation and legal costs following a privacy breach 

That battle has been won but, as Paul later makes clear, the war isn’t over. Now he has the BBC in his sights — more of which later.

It was seven years ago this week that Paul Gambaccini became the 15th man arrested under Operation Yewtree, Scotland Yard’s controversial inquiry into sexual abuse claims that was launched in 2012 in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Before 6am on October 29, 2013, eight Met officers stormed his apartment and arrested him on suspicion of historic child sex offences. He was accused — falsely — of molesting two underage boys in the late-1970s and early 1980s.

Sacks of possessions were seized, including computers, cameras, phones and appointment diaries (‘the personal details of the life you have lived’) spanning four decades. Recalling that horrific morning, he says: ‘The doorbell rang, I opened it and this male said, “You are under arrest for blah, blah, blah, blah, blah — and buggery.”

‘And I will never forget that Chris emerged from the bedroom in perfect sync with the word “buggery”. I had no idea of the horrors ahead. The dishonesty and multiple betrayals . . .’

‘I asked if I could have my orange juice and croissant and they said yes. But they wouldn’t let me shave. Maybe they thought I’d cut myself.’

Paul was escorted to Charing Cross police station where he was held in a cell for two hours before being questioned and released on bail ‘pending further inquiries’.

‘It was there it began. I think I was fingerprinted. I was there from about six in the morning until about 5.40pm in the evening. So just under 12 hours.’

Before 6am on October 29, 2013, eight Met officers stormed his apartment and arrested him on suspicion of historic child sex offences. He was accused — falsely — of molesting two underage boys in the late-1970s and early 1980s

Before 6am on October 29, 2013, eight Met officers stormed his apartment and arrested him on suspicion of historic child sex offences. He was accused — falsely — of molesting two underage boys in the late-1970s and early 1980s

Over the following 12 months, his bail was renewed six times as the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) blundered over what to do. Scotland Yard dispatched officers to New York, Los Angeles and Australia to question Paul’s old friends and acquaintances.

It turned out that his two accusers were fantasists in the mould of VIP abuse liar ‘Nick’, aka Carl Beech, now serving 18 years for false sex abuse allegations against former Armed Forces chief Lord Bramall, former Home Secretary Leon Brittan and ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor.

When the veteran DJ finally learned in October 2014 that he would face ‘no further action’ (NFA), he did not hide his outrage at the Met’s treatment and the devastating consequences of his very public arrest. The host of Radio 2’s Pick Of The Pops and Counterpoint on Radio 4 was banned from the BBC airwaves while on bail and his income plummeted.

Organisations he had long supported, including the gay rights pressure group Stonewall and Amnesty International, abandoned him. People he considered friends disappeared. Phone calls and messages went unreturned.

Today he reveals for the first time that his husband Chris, an advertising executive, received death threats. A deranged man vowed to slit Chris’s throat for living with a ‘paedophile abuser’. Despite the emotional trauma and what he perceived to have been a shocking abuse of power by an incompetent force, seeking retribution was not a priority.

‘When I got my NFA, and I was asked, “Are you going to sue the police?” I said, “No, the odds are stacked in their favour,” ’ he says. ‘But then, a month later, I was listening to the Today programme and John Humphrys was interviewing Bernard Hogan-Howe [then head of Scotland Yard], and he asked him to comment on my case. Hogan-Howe refused and changed the subject. Later, I was watching Parliament TV when Hogan-Howe was testifying, and the then chair [of the home affairs select committee] Keith Vaz asked him about my case. He refused to answer and changed the subject. And I thought, “I get it now. He’s never going to acknowledge that this happened.” ’

Still, Paul held back and then, in 2016, the report by retired High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques into the ‘Nick’ scandal and other Scotland Yard investigations into high-profile figures accused of sex abuse, was published. It threw the book at the Met over Operation Midland, its shambolic VIP sex abuse inquiry into the ludicrous claims made by ‘Nick’ — and Paul’s own case.

Paul, pictured, is appearing on the Mail+ True Crime Podcast

Paul, pictured, is appearing on the Mail+ True Crime Podcast 

‘I was Chapter Six,’ Paul says. ‘As I read my redacted chapter — it had so many black lines through it that it could hang in the Tate Modern — I learned to my astonishment that my original accuser had ceased cooperating with the Met during my bail period. I thought no man can acquiesce in his own attempted annihilation. I must take action. That is why we launched our complaint against the Met.’

Paul sued Scotland Yard for ‘improper use of private information’ that had led to him being identified following his arrest.

His legal team argued that the Met’s public comments were ‘in breach of its own media guidelines’ and Paul’s legal right to a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The action centred on press statements issued after his arrest. The Met did not name him as a suspect but referred to his age and location of his home.

His lawyer Jules Carey, of Bindmans, says: ‘The actions of the Metropolitan Police that caused Paul to be identified as an Operation Yewtree suspect were unlawful and both he and his husband suffered greatly as a result, including the receipt of death threats.’

‘It’s like Al Capone,’ Paul says of his legal team’s approach. ‘You’d love to get Al Capone for the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, but you can’t. But you can get him for income tax evasion. I would love to get the Metropolitan Police for being cruel and dumb, but you can’t. So get them for what you can.’

The climbdown by the force comes two years after Paul received a five-figure sum in damages and a full apology from the CPS over the same botched sex abuse inquiry. Which legal victory gives him more satisfaction, I ask. Beating the CPS or the police? ‘This one,’ he says emphatically. ‘The CPS would never have been involved, had it not been for the Met arresting me.

‘I grew up in America and came here when I was 21 in 1970. My opinion of English police — the bobby on the beat without a gun — was of a far superior, user-friendly officer than the New York police. And it has broken my heart to learn that the Met is corrupt from the core.

‘It is the management. It is their version of the Mafia code of omerta. The code of silence . . . where they all put their arms around each other in a circle, and nobody gets in, and the truth doesn’t get out. That is the priority of the Met.’

Paul’s mood fluctuates between relief that his dispute with the Met is finally over and bitterness that no heads have rolled — yet — over Operation Yewtree or Operation Midland. ‘You have to remember that I knew from the very first moment [the Met] were on to a loser . . . And then I learned, over time, the police made no attempt to check the veracity of the allegations. One of my accusers twice said in his statement that I had the skin colour of a lightly skinned Asian. Shows how much he knew of me.’

As he talks, he becomes more angry about the lunacy of the investigation, describing how one of his accusers told detectives he kept returning to be abused because ‘at least I got free drugs, drink and cigs out of it, whereas if I stayed at home, my parents locked me naked in the basement with a turkey’.

‘Every friend I have told about this has had the immediate reaction, “Was it a live turkey?” ’

He says Hogan-Howe, whom he describes as the ‘villain and the coward of my life’, encouraged liars and fantasists to come forward when, in the wake of the Savile scandal, the Met in effect said ‘accuse celebrities and you will be believed’.

‘And he got people like Carl Beech, and my accusers, who I can never name for legal reasons. One of them was a multiple, unsuccessful accuser. It turns out he was a serial drug abuser and let’s just say a very distressed individual.

‘I could never believe the police could arrest someone without any evidence . . . It was just the ravings of these two people, who’d been in telephone contact with each other. They should have either been prosecuted or offered medical attention.’ He says police have concealed details of ‘how daft’ many of the post-Savile accusations against celebrities were, including those made against comedian Jimmy Tarbuck, who was arrested and then cleared over false sex claims.

Which brings us to another of his famous friends — and another victim of false allegations of historical sex abuse.

Ten months into Paul’s period on bail, the BBC live-screened helicopters circling above a police raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s Berkshire home in August 2014.

In July 2018, the BBC was ordered to pay Sir Cliff £210,000 in damages for breach of his privacy. Paul and Sir Cliff had been friends for 40 years, but the fallout from Operation Yewtree brought them even closer.

‘Cliff was raided several months after I was arrested, so I knew the ropes,’ he says. ‘I was very pleased I was able to give him some uplift. Because there was a guy, a great Englishman of the 20th century, being utterly abused by the state and the BBC.

‘And no one in authority is rushing to his defence when it was as plain as day to me that he was being maligned.’

Paul and Sir Cliff joined forces with other falsely accused high-profile individuals, including Harvey Proctor, monitoring the nonsensical allegations being taken seriously by police chiefs.

The broadcaster says he was inspired ‘by the courage and tenacity of several other falsely accused individuals and their loved ones. They have been the ultimate support group’.

But it has been the unstinting back-up from Paul’s husband Chris that gave him the strength to pursue his battle against the Met.

‘It comes down to the issue of anonymity before charge,’ Paul says. ‘Cliff was never charged with anything, or even arrested. The organisation which Cliff and I support is FAIR [Falsely Accused Individuals for Reform] and it calls for anonymity before charge unless there is a current threat to members of the public as determined by a magistrate.

‘When I first came to Britain [from New York] there was a phrase used by police, in news reports of arrests, which struck me as very curious. It was ‘‘a man is helping police with inquiries’’. And I came to understand that that was code for someone has been arrested and had been interviewed.

‘Well, that for me is sufficient. You can say, “Operation Yewtree is in progress. A man has been arrested. He is Yewtree 15.” It would have told the public that inquiries are continuing. The flaw was to name actual people. Because you have people making specific allegations against people.’

Paul’s statement confirming his legal victory against the Met makes clear his respect for the print media’s role in reporting his ordeal and the obscene farce that was Operation Midland. (He is kind enough to single out my colleague Richard Littlejohn and I for praise, along with several other journalists, in helping him achieve justice.)

‘The A-word was the big thing. That was all I ever wanted. An apology,’ he says. ‘The money was incidental because I was back at work. I wanted to be recompensed for the lost year but the most important thing was the apology.

‘I was brought up to believe this was the country of fair play . . . I expected the police to embody the laws of honesty. I didn’t realise they are a mob of their own.’

His fury at being taken off air after his arrest has not dissipated and now he is determined to get a public apology from the BBC.

We discuss how the Corporation got it so wrong over Savile, the false sex abuse allegations made against the late Tory politician Lord McAlpine, its coverage of the raid on Sir Cliff’s home and its early reports on Operation Midland for which BBC journalists have been criticised over their dealings with ‘Nick’.

‘They also got it so wrong with Tony Blackburn,’ Paul interjects.

Blackburn, his close friend, was sacked by the BBC following the Dame Janet Smith review into sex abuse within the Corporation, only to be reinstated a year later after the veteran DJ protested he had been made a ‘scapegoat’ and threatened to take legal action.

Heads haven’t rolled at the BBC, I point out.

‘It’s the same reason as the police,’ says Paul. ‘It’s because of omerta. No one will admit any error and they protect each other. All I can say is their time will come. I have got two out of three. There is one left. [The BBC] think they got away with it. Like the police, they were so arrogant and condescending they thought we would be content to just escape with our lives and the return of our occupations. As if we could forget.

In the seven years it’s taken me to get justice from the Met, we [the wider group of falsely accused celebrities] have all been playing chess with the BBC, and one day we will say “checkmate”. We all know who [the] people [responsible] are.

‘And if the new Director General — for whom I have no criticism — is smart, he will reach an acceptable understanding of this. The BBC was happy to throw some of its longest-serving stars overboard for their own public relations purposes.’ Nobody at the Corporation should underestimate him.

‘Early last year, I was given a personal apology in an office [at the BBC]. But that’s no good. As I had said to [another] of the leading executives [previously], “You make me happy by a public apology and actual restitution for the year that I missed.” But I was denied that.

‘There is no regard for us as individuals in these matters. We are just symbols.’

When I interviewed Harvey Proctor for my True Crime podcast on Mail+ earlier this year, he said tearfully that he would never get over Operation Midland. He lost his job and his home over the fantastical claims made by ‘Nick’.

A year ago he received £900,000 in compensation and legal costs in an out-of-court settlement from the Met.

Nor has Sir Cliff made any secret of the emotional turmoil he suffered over the false allegations made against him. Will Paul Gambaccini ever get over his Yewtree ordeal?

‘Of course not,’ he says. ‘I view it as one of the triptych of public events that I managed to survive. One: the Vietnam War, in which I had a high lottery number so I was not drafted. Two: Aids, which took about a third of my gay friends. And now the witch-hunt.

‘These are things you try to survive. My American generation tried to survive Vietnam. My gay generation tried to survive Aids. And my group of falsely-accused celebrities fought to survive the witch-hunt. And we won.

‘However, nobody has been held accountable for this terrible fouling of British justice. The inversion of the central tenet of the justice system. Not a single person.

‘Did it just happen by itself? I don’t think so. And the worst perpetrators have all been promoted.

‘That is a sign of the sickness of the Establishment.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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