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UK’s crucial services sector FINALLY returns to growth

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uks crucial services sector finally returns to growth

There were signs of ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for the UK economy today as the crucial services sector finally returned to growth.

The closely-watched PMI index recorded a level above 50 – representing expansion – last month for the first time since February. 

The services measurement of 56.5 was marginally below the expectations of analysts, but still suggests the fastest rate of growth for five years. 

It will be a boost for Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, as they desperately try to breathe life into the economy after the brutal lockdown to tackle coronavirus

Service providers saw activity surge after being boosted by the reopening of non-essential retailers in mid-June and a raft of leisure and hospitality businesses at the start of July.

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The measurement of 56.5 for July was marginally below the expectations of analysts, but still suggests the fastest rate of growth for five years

Around 38 per cent of respondents reported an increase in business activity during the month, with only 24 per cent reporting a decline.

However, it said that some firms noted that ‘output had simply risen from an extremely low base’ as concerns remain over the length of time the economic recovery will take.

Meanwhile, new business volumes increased for the first time in five months and at the fastest pace since January.

Tim Moore, economics director at IHS Markit, which compiles the PMI index, said: ‘UK service providers are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel after a record slump in business activity during the second quarter of 2020.

‘Higher levels of service sector output were almost exclusively linked to the reopening of the UK economy after lockdown measures and the subsequent return to work of employees and clients.

‘However, these are still the very early stages of recovery and survey respondents often commented on achieving growth from an exceptionally low base.’

The survey also showed employment was a ‘weak point in July’ as staffing numbers fell at an accelerated pace as the winding down of the Government furlough scheme neared.

It said that around one-third of those surveyed reported a drop in employment, while only 11 per cent signalled an improvement.

Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said: ‘This undoubtedly good news is masking some underlying problems that will still need addressing.

‘Employment fell even more quickly in July as some firms made redundancies in response to worries about the length of the recovery.’

The news will be a boost for Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak (pictured in Yorkshire on August 1), as they desperately try to breathe life into the economy after the brutal lockdown to tackle coronavirus

The news will be a boost for Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak (pictured in Yorkshire on August 1), as they desperately try to breathe life into the economy after the brutal lockdown to tackle coronavirus

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Lisa Armstrong ‘calls the police after love letters from Ant McPartlin were stolen’

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lisa armstrong calls the police after love letters from ant mcpartlin were stolen

Lisa Armstrong has reportedly contacted the police after items from her and ex-husband Ant McPartlin’s marriage were stolen from outside her former marital home.

The make-up artist, 43, is said to have discovered a Valentine’s Card from Ant was taken from a skip that was placed outside. 

According to a report from The Mirror on Thursday, Lisa contacted officers after she realised the notes were taken, as well as a document of the seating arrangements at their wedding in 2006, and one of Ant’s personalised dressing gowns.

Incident: Lisa Armstrong 'called the police after love letters from ex-husband Ant McPartlin were stolen from a skip outside their former marital home', it was reported on Thursday

Incident: Lisa Armstrong ‘called the police after love letters from ex-husband Ant McPartlin were stolen from a skip outside their former marital home’, it was reported on Thursday

A spokesperson from Scotland Yard told the publication: ‘Police were called on Thursday, 17 September to reports of a burglary. It was reported that a number of items were stolen from a skip outside the property.

‘Officers carried out inquiries. No suspects were identified. The investigation has been closed.

‘If any further investigative opportunities are established this will be reviewed.’ 

MailOnline has contacted Lisa’s representatives and the Metropolitan Police’s press office for comment.

Theft: A Valentine's Card from Ant to Lisa, as well as a document of the seating arrangements at their wedding, and one of Ant's personalised dressing gowns is said to have been taken

Theft: A Valentine’s Card from Ant to Lisa, as well as a document of the seating arrangements at their wedding, and one of Ant’s personalised dressing gowns is said to have been taken

Earlier this month, Lisa was seen taking the final steps in her split from Ant as her belongings were removed from their £5 million former marital home.

Removals men were seen taking a plethora of items out of the house, including artwork, a sofa and a Power Plate Pro5 Vibration Plate, costing £1,195. 

Last week, the make-up artist, who has resumed work on Strictly Come Dancing and just released a cosmetics line, made a bold statement as she left her famous ex-husband’s unwanted possessions on the pavement for passers-by to take.  

Lisa split from Ant in 2018 after 12 years of marriage, and is now reported to be dating James Green. Lisa and Ant, who is now dating Anne-Marie Corbett, finalised their £62million divorce back in April after their split in January 2018. 

All over:

All over: Lisa and Ant finalised their divorce back in April after their split in January 2018, and her belongings were removed from their £5 million former marital home earlier this month

Lisa, who received £31 million in her divorce settlement from Ant, was clearing out the home of all beloved possessions, including her gym equipment. 

In another stage of her moving process, she put goods in boxes marked ‘help yourself’ and put them outside her west London property as she prepares to move out of the marital home she formerly shared with her ex.

The items were easily identifiable as Ant’s because they included his Newcastle United shirts and a ‘Team Ant’ foam hand from Saturday Night Takeaway. There was also Ant’s old dressing gown and a pile of board games. 

No longer needed was Piers Morgan’s book The Insider and Lisa threw in her own Craig Revel Horwood’s Tales from the Dance Floor. 

She was also throwing out a bowl used by their beloved Labrador, Hurley, as well as a Banksy artwork calendar and a Jamie Oliver book. 

A source told The Sun Lisa is leaving her West London house and wanted a ‘big clear out.’ They added: ‘Ant had already sifted through what he wanted to keep and had gophers collect them in recent weeks. 

‘What was left is being offered for free. His bathrobe has been taken. Footie memorabilia has also been given away. But it was the end for his Newcastle shirts.’

Moving on: Ant is now in a relationship with Anne-Marie Corbett, and the pair are often seen out and about together. Pictured this month

Moving on: Ant is now in a relationship with Anne-Marie Corbett, and the pair are often seen out and about together. Pictured this month

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Mayor of Middlesbrough ANDY PRESTON blasts local lockdown measures

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mayor of middlesbrough andy preston blasts local lockdown measures

People in my town are frustrated, angry and dismayed at the Government’s draconian proposals to impose even more oppressive local restrictions.

There’s nothing compassionate or pragmatic about what Health Secretary Matt Hancock intends to do. 

It’s badly thought out, illogical and – despite what the Government claimed yesterday – it is not based on consultation with councils or local experts.

To throw people out of work and take away the support of their friends, family and community is just cruel. People are seen in Middlesbrough

To throw people out of work and take away the support of their friends, family and community is just cruel. People are seen in Middlesbrough

Fortunately these plans are not yet in place – and hopefully they stay that way. For I know I speak on behalf of Middlesbrough here when I say that, as things stand, we do not accept them.

Of course, stopping the spread of the virus has to be the Government’s priority. But this must be done with an awareness of the pain that isolation can inflict, and the damage it does to mental and physical health.

Above all, for God’s sake, we have to do everything possible to preserve people’s livelihoods.

Our local council went to the Government and explained the over-riding importance of this. We asked them to work with the community and local businesses, to allow safe socialising and keep Middlesbrough moving. They didn’t listen.

To me, it is obvious that anyone should be allowed to visit a relative or a friend in their garden, and have a cup of coffee while remaining well distanced. And, of course, we should be able to meet them for a chat in a well-run, socially distanced coffee shop.

Yet these new rules – which essentially ban different households from meeting – will prohibit all those safe, human activities that are small but so essential for wellbeing.

People are seen shopping in Middlesbrough town centre. People in my town are frustrated, angry and dismayed at the Government¿s draconian proposals to impose even more oppressive local restrictions

People are seen shopping in Middlesbrough town centre. People in my town are frustrated, angry and dismayed at the Government’s draconian proposals to impose even more oppressive local restrictions

To add to the insanity, it isn’t even clear how the regulations will be enforced. Like so many growing towns, Middlesbrough spills out of its boundaries – and the neighbouring borough of Redcar and Cleveland is not included in the restrictions. 

It’ll be two rules for one town, and sometimes two rules within one street.

This is bitterly unfair on a community which is still recovering from the recessions of the 1980s.

I don’t like complaining because my parents always said that life’s not fair, but that is no reason to introduce obviously and unnecessarily unfair measures such as these. 

For now is the worst possible time to be forbidding people to socialise. Six months of long nights and cold weather are on the way.

To throw people out of work and take away the support of their friends, family and community is just cruel. 

It will push many people into depression, and I am afraid that increased rates of suicide will be just one of the terrible consequences. Crucially it doesn’t have to be like this. 

To me, it is obvious that anyone should be allowed to visit a relative or a friend in their garden, and have a cup of coffee while remaining well distanced

To me, it is obvious that anyone should be allowed to visit a relative or a friend in their garden, and have a cup of coffee while remaining well distanced

After the initial lockdown, our public health experts came up with innovative, workable ideas to make venues safe and limit the spread of the virus, while still allowing people to see each other. But the Government seems to have paid no attention to these advances.

The injustice is heightened because Middlesbrough has been at the forefront of tough measures to try to stem the tide during this global crisis. We have not been soft on Covid-19. 

As a council, we have been active and caring, and we’ve got stuff done. We’ve handed out 180,000 free facemasks, and my team was pushing for people in the hospitality industry to wear them long before it became obligatory. To me it was an obvious preventative measure, one enforced across much of Europe, and we led the way.

Yes, I will reluctantly obey these new rules if they become law and I will urge everyone in my town to do so. This isn’t about raising two fingers to Downing Street. It’s much more important than a mere protest. 

But before the Government makes a dire mistake and puts these restrictions into law, I’m pleading with them to think again. 

We need a plan to reduce transmission of the virus while showing compassion and understanding. That is what is missing.

As a council, we have been active and caring, and we¿ve got stuff done. We¿ve handed out 180,000 free facemasks, and my team was pushing for people in the hospitality industry to wear them long before it became obligatory

As a council, we have been active and caring, and we’ve got stuff done. We’ve handed out 180,000 free facemasks, and my team was pushing for people in the hospitality industry to wear them long before it became obligatory

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Fiasco as specially chartered plane flies just ONE failed asylum seeker out of the UK

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fiasco as specially chartered plane flies just one failed asylum seeker out of the uk

A plane chartered by the Home Office flew a single Channel migrant out of the country yesterday – after last-minute legal challenges blocked 29 other removals.

The flight to France went ahead because the aircraft had already been paid for by the British taxpayer.

Lawyers for dozens of migrants who were due to be returned waited until the final possible moment to lodge appeals which would prevent them being put aboard the aircraft, Home Office sources said.

In 18 cases they lodged claims under human rights laws. Six further cases involved, for the first time, allegations of modern slavery.

This requires the Home Office to carry out further research and delays their removal. The flight, from an unnamed airport, is believed to have cost at least £100,000.

A plane chartered by the Home Office flew a single Channel migrant out of the country yesterday – after last-minute legal challenges blocked 29 other removals

A plane chartered by the Home Office flew a single Channel migrant out of the country yesterday – after last-minute legal challenges blocked 29 other removals

The debacle adds further weight to Home Secretary Priti Patel’s argument that the asylum system needs root-and-branch reform.

In August, the Home Office was forced to scrap a video on its official Twitter feed because it referred to ‘activist lawyers’ who were ‘delaying and disrupting returns’.

Last night a Whitehall source said: ‘These dinghy-chasing activist lawyers just show why there must be widespread reform. It’s completely unacceptable.’

The solo migrant who was removed yesterday was a Sudanese national.

Five of those whose removal was postponed had already been deferred from an earlier flight.

Under EU rules known as the Dublin III Regulation, asylum seekers who have previously claimed refugee status in another EU country can be returned there.

The debacle adds further weight to Home Secretary Priti Patel’s argument that the asylum system needs root-and-branch reform

The debacle adds further weight to Home Secretary Priti Patel’s argument that the asylum system needs root-and-branch reform

But the current law allows lawyers to submit challenges at any stage of the process, including at the last minute. Miss Patel has said she wants to streamline the legal system so all grounds of appeal must be lodged at the beginning of a case.

Last night a Home Office spokesman said: ‘On this morning’s flight we received a large number of first-time human rights claims, which have to be given appropriate periods of consideration.

‘The Government’s efforts to facilitate entirely legitimate and legal returns of people who have entered the UK through illegal routes are too often frustrated by last-minute challenges submitted hours before a scheduled flight.

‘These claims are very often baseless and entirely without merit, but are given full legal consideration, leading to removal being rescheduled, and can effectively result in the timing out of a return due to the stringent Dublin Regulation.

‘It is right that we seek to remove migrants who have travelled through a safe country and have no right to remain in the UK – people should claim asylum in the first safe country they enter and we make no apologies for pursuing removals.’

A group of people thought to be migrants arrive in an inflatable boat at Kingsdown beach, near Dover, Kent, after crossing the English Channel

A group of people thought to be migrants arrive in an inflatable boat at Kingsdown beach, near Dover, Kent, after crossing the English Channel

The flight fiasco came as it emerged the number of asylum seekers living in budget hotels has risen to more than 9,500. At the beginning of September the figure was 8,000 spread across 91 properties in 51 local authorities. The Government froze the asylum process during lockdown and deportations ground to a halt.

Those claiming asylum are entitled to £37.75 per week for food, toiletries and clothing. Matthew Rycroft, the Home Office’s most senior civil servant, said: ‘There are more people coming into the asylum system at the moment than are leaving it and that is because of Covid.’

Of the 9,500 living in hotels, 1,200 have been denied asylum and are awaiting deportation, the public accounts committee heard. Around 2,500 have been granted asylum and can leave after suitable accommodation is found for them.

MPs were told that 122 asylum seekers tested positive for coronavirus in outbreaks in hotels in Birmingham and Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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