In the first story today, we look at chancellor Rishi Sunak’s plans to extend the furlough scheme. Despite the fact the furlough scheme has already been extended throughout the temporary lockdown, the chancellor has gone further – announcing that it will be extended all the way through to the end of March in 2021.
There will be a review in January to determine whether the situation has changed, and whether it is reasonable to expect employers to contribute more to employees wages. However, assuming this doesn’t change too much in January, employees will be able to receive 80% of their wages up to £2,500 a month which will be paid for by the government. The employer, as it stands, will only have to cover small charges, such as pension contributions.
This will come as welcomed news by those that are struggling financially as a result of lockdown – whose numbers are increasing significantly today.
This is because many chains have announced redundancies. Sainsbury’s has announced they are cutting staff by 3,500 by 2024 and that they will close 420 Argos stores. In addition to this, Caterpillar (a US firm) has today announced that they will reduce their staff by 700 – mainly in Northern Ireland. This comes on top of the 1,500 job losses announced by department store John Lewis yesterday.
Perhaps this move by the chancellor is exactly what employees need – or perhaps more needs to be done for those who have already lost their jobs, such as those set to be laid off by Sainsbury’s, Caterpillar and John Lewis.
Kanye Concedes the Election
In the second news story today, we talk about the inevitable: the US election. However, while most of the media is focussing on whether Trump or Biden will govern for the next four years, one candidate has been completely overlooked: Kanye West. Despite not gaining the approval of either of the major parties, Kanye did decide to run in this election. It is notoriously difficult for an independent to win the election.
Kanye seemed undeterred by this fact though, and ran in 12 states in the US. In these 12 states, he has so far garnered an impressive 57,000 votes so far. One of which was his own vote – about which he said:
God is so good 😊 Today I am voting for the first time in my life for the President of the United States, and it’s for someone I truly trust…me. 🇺🇸 🕊
— ye (@kanyewest) November 3, 2020
However, although he did receive 57,000 votes, he has accepted that this is not enough for him to make it into the White House. Unlike Trump or Biden, he has conceded the election. He has, though, alluded to the fact that he will run again in 2024 with the not-so-cryptic tweet:
KANYE 2024 pic.twitter.com/Zm2pKcn12t
— ye (@kanyewest) November 4, 2020
Maybe we’ll have to make a video in the future on such a bid for the White House!
In European news today, we’re going to look at Denmark’s efforts to try and contain coronavirus. Well, a coronavirus. Let us explain.
While Denmark has been affected, as all countries have, by the coronavirus that has killed over a million people globally – it has also discovered that it could be facing an additional threat. The coronavirus has been transmitted, in Denmark, to mink (an animal similar to that of an otter or ferret). As a result, the virus has begun to mutate – leading prominent scientists in Denmark to worry that if the mutated virus transmits to humans and spreads, potential future vaccines will either not be effective, or simply not work.
The Prime Minister of Denmark has, therefore, stated that breeding mink during the pandemic is a significant public health risk, and that Denmark has a responsibility to other nations to ensure that this is not transmitted.
Although the plan was only to cull all mink within 8km of infected farms, the plan now extends to all mink – meaning that the government is attempting to kill all 17 million mink in the country.
This is a potentially controversial move – and raises some serious moral and ethical questions. For the sake of time, we’ll leave it up to you to consider whether such a move is justified.
A Ban on Sport
In the last news story today, we will discuss some of the new rules related to the new lockdown that was imposed in England today. While none of us enjoy the new rules – it is essential that we all follow them. They are, after all, designed to stop the virus spreading in part by the top scientists in the country.
Having said this, some of the rules that have been imposed are set to have a serious effect on underprivileged children. The Telegraph spoke to some organisations that use sport to try and improve the lives of such children. They reported that in London, the Greenhouse Centre provided free hot meals after school to children that attended their table-tennis club. Alongside this, children were provided with a place to do their homework and table-tennis facilities and coaching.
This was closed during the first lockdown, and is closed again during the temporary lockdown. Although on the surface, it is a sports club, it clearly provides a far more wide reaching package to children. When the lockdown was eased over summer, the club implemented new policies to allow it to remain open, and providing the much-needed support to children. However, as the new lockdown has been announced, it is no longer legally allowed to remain open until the beginning of December.
Let’s hope that either, the law will change to allow it to open in November or that it reopens in December when the lockdown is eased.
For those of you who think the news is too long, be sure to check out tomorrow’s daily briefing.