Monday Briefing: The chain of interest rate hikes has shifted |
In the spotlight: hikes expected from Thursday
Hello, Warren Murray carries Monday’s news.
The Bank of England is set to raise interest rates on Thursday amid growing concern over high inflation and the cost of living crisis in Britain. Economists expect an increase of 0.25% to 0.5%. Headline inflation hit 5.4% in December, the highest level since March 1992. The Bank has warned it could peak at almost 6% by April, three times the target rate of 2% set by the government. Goldman Sachs’ Steffan Ball said the bank’s monetary policy committee could raise interest rates to as high as 1.25% by November this year. “We now expect the Bank of England to increase back-to-back meetings through May.”
A rise in borrowing costs is likely to complicate business recovery from Covid. Economic activity has increased in recent weeks as consumers gradually return to socializing and working in city centers and England’s Plan B restrictions have been lifted. There are fears that young people who lost their jobs during the pandemic in the UK have returned to less secure work, often in gig economy roles.
Johnson rushes – Westminster starts the week awaiting Sue Gray’s Party Report No 10, alongside which police inquiries continue. A beleaguered Boris Johnson will try to regain control of the agenda – today he is due to announce plans for a ‘Brexit freedoms’ bill to make it easier to tear up EU regulations and protections. The Prime Minister is expected to visit Ukraine with Foreign Minister Liz Truss early this week, and the leveling white paper is expected to be released on Wednesday. Whitehall sources said they also expected developments this week on helping families grapple with the cost of energy bills. Dominic Cummings told NYMag on Sunday it was his “duty to get rid of” Johnson as prime minister, describing him as “a bit like fixing drains”.
Doctor was a deadly poisoner, court says – An NHS doctor killed his partner’s father and nearly caused the deaths of her and her mother by giving them coffee containing the heavy metal poison thallium, the family court has ruled. Judge Williams made this finding in a case between the doctor and his now ex-partner over custody arrangements for their child. The case is highly unusual in legal terms as the doctor was found to have committed the murder in civil court, on the preponderance of evidence, rather than in criminal court, in which a jury must be sure beyond of any reasonable doubt. . The judge ordered the identities of the parties remain anonymous, but said the poisoner was a Bulgarian-born doctor who moved to the UK in the late 2000s. The doctor is not currently working and does not has not been criminally charged. A statement released by Delphine Philip Law, his lawyers, said he “vehemently denies” the poisonings and “he said the court failed to give sufficient consideration to the fact that there was no direct evidence of co-operation”. [his former partner’s] allegations”.
Vaccine exemption for NHS staff? – Hospitals in England could continue to employ unvaccinated NHS healthcare workers beyond the April deadline or risk leaving them dangerously understaffed, industry regulator CQC has said. Sajid Javid is considering scrapping the requirement that health and care staff must be vaccinated, the Telegraph has reported. Spotify said it would direct listeners to accurate information about Covid-19 as outcry over misinformation shared on Joe Rogan’s podcast continued to grow, with the streamer losing billions in market value and growing musicians removing their music.
“Rape trials will only get longer” – The typical time between a rape offense and the end of the resulting criminal case rose to 1,000 days in 2021 for the first time, figures show. The data also shows that 576 rape cases were waiting more than a year to come to court by the end of September 2021, well over double the average of the previous five years. Labor says the situation is getting worse every year. Jo Sidhu QC, chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said: “Rape trials will only get longer unless the government puts in place the resources to ensure we have enough prosecutors and defenders. to tackle the backlog.” A spokesman said the government was ‘overhauling our whole response to rape’, including increasing funding for support services to £185m, hiring more police, introducing new scoreboards justice and increasing the capacity of the courts “so that victims get the justice they deserve more quickly”.
Southgate invests in Thanksgiving Day – Gareth Southgate is hoping to help lead what could be the UK’s biggest ever appreciation party during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. The England manager – alongside celebrities such as Ross Kemp, Gary Lineker and Levi Roots – aims to encourage millions of people to take part in block parties in June celebrating community spirit and the Queen in what they have dubbed National Day of Appreciation.
Ten million revelers marked the Queen’s first 25 years on the throne in 1977 and a similar number celebrated Charles and Diana’s wedding in 1981. Celebrities including Prue Leith, Alan Titchmarsh and Lorraine Kelly will raise the profile of the event in the race – until Sunday June 5, the last day of the official celebrations of the Queen’s Jubilee.
Today in Focus podcast: Who will answer for Grenfell?
As the Grenfell inquiry heads into its final stage, politicians will be called to account for their role in the deadly fire. Our social affairs correspondent, Robert Booth, has been following along.
Lunchtime Reading: The Cost of Living Abroad
Next week, Britain’s energy regulator will announce the biggest increase ever to its energy price cap, leaving millions of households with an annual energy bill of almost £2,000. While the UK government has remained silent, European governments have taken action to shield households from the full brunt of the global energy crisis.
Rafael Nadal has described his triumph at the Australian Open as his greatest comeback after recovering from two sets against Daniil Medvedev to claim a record 21st Grand Slam title. West Indies won the T20 International Series 3-2 as England failed to chase 179 in game five, after Jason Holder saw off the tourists with the last four wickets in as many balls. Plans for the Six Nations in England have suffered further disruption as Harlequins center Joe Marchant returned a positive Covid test.
Tom Pidcock made it easy to become the first Briton to win the men’s elite UCI cyclo-cross world title as he escaped for a comfortable victory in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Rayo Vallecano has defended his decision to hire disgraced coach Carlos Santiso to take charge of his women’s team, despite being aware of a leaked recording in which he encourages his staff to find a girl to gang rape for. help build team bonds. A man in his 20s has been arrested on suspicion of rape and assault, police said, after Manchester United suspended footballer Mason Greenwood. And the Los Angeles Rams rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit in a narrow 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers to book a spot in next month’s Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals, who will play for the NFL title for the first time in 33 years after beating the Kansas City Chiefs 27-24.
Asian stocks followed Wall Street higher today – benchmarks in Tokyo and Hong Kong rose while Sydney fell. Markets in mainland China, South Korea and Taiwan were closed with the arrival of the Lunar New Year. Hong Kong and Southeast Asia are expected to close later in the week. Futures trading suggests the FTSE could open 40 to 50 points higher. The pound is worth $1,341 and €1,201 at the time of writing.
At the top of our Guardian newspaper today: ‘Johnson tries to regain control amid party outrage’. Also on cover: ‘Thousands still without power as new storm hits’. It comes in the wake of Storm Malik, as northern parts of the UK brace for winds of up to 90mph with the arrival of Storm Corrie.
Boris Johnson wants to run out the door (since partygate) this week and there are those willing to help. “Boris: we will go faster on the freedoms of Brexit”, assures the To postwhile the Express a “Boris pledges to ‘unleash the benefits of Brexit'”. the I stings the ball: “The flashback of the Prime Minister’s policy is not enough to silence the critics”. the Metro says ‘Prime Minister facing fiscal mutiny’ after Rishi Sunak and the Prime Minister said the increase in National Insurance contributions would not be reversed.
the Time leads on “Burglars go unpunished as only 5% of cases are solved” while the Telegraph has a good scoop: “U-turn on compulsory blows for NHS workers”. And with interest rates set to rise, the main story of the FinancialTimes is “The head of a £1.3bn wealth fund warns that inflation will sap returns for years”.
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