UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post United Kingdom
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post United Kingdom
Will Mellor And Hamza Yassin Top Strictly Come Dancing Leaderboard As Competition Kicks Off
Will Mellor and Hamza Yassin have topped the Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard after the new series kicked off on Saturday night.The Two Pints Of Lager star and the wildlife presenter both impressed the judges as the 15 new contestants took to the floor with their new dance partners for the very first time. Will performed an electric jive to Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin with his partner Nancy Xu, picking up 34 points out of a possible 40. Judge Motsi Mabuse said: “You surprised me, I’m speechless. That was fantastic. Best start ever.”Hamza and his partner Jowita Przystal also dazzled with their Foxtrot to Islands In The Stream by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, which also was awarded 34 points.Anton Du Beke commented of their routine: “We’ve got ourselves a ballroom dancer in the house.”Meanwhile, Britain’s Got Talent finalist Molly Rainford and new professional Carlos Gu came in third with a score of 31 for their energetic Samba, with Fleur East and Vito Coppola taking fourth place with a score of 29, for their Cha Cha to Let’s Get Loud by Jennifer Lopez, which closed out the show.At the other end of the leaderboard were former footballer Tony Adams and Katya Jones who placed bottom with a score of 15 for their Tango to Go West by Village People, which paid homage to his sporting career. However, the first week’s scores only tell half the story, as next Saturday, the couples will take to the floor once again, with their totals from across the two weeks combined.One couple will then become the first to be voted off this year’s show. Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 6.30pm on BBC One. READ MORE:Exclusive: Louis Smith On How Strictly Changed His Life ForeverStrictly Come Dancing Star Jayde Adams Opens Up About Same-Sex Pairing With Karen HauerCraig Revel Horwood Reveals Which Celebrity 'Set The Bar' For Strictly Come Dancing
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Keir Starmer Says The Government's Tax Cuts For The Rich Are 'A Piss Take'
Labour leader Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria, are greeted by party supporters as they arrive at the Pullman Liverpool, ahead of the start of the Labour conference.Keir Starmer has branded the government’s tax cuts for the rich as a “piss take”.The Labour leader turned the air blue at a reception at the start of the party’s annual conference in Liverpool on Saturday night.Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced on Friday that he was abolishing the 45p income tax rate currently paid by anyone earning more than £150,000 a year.It means that around 660,000 of the richest people in the country will save an average of £10,000 on their income tax bill.Kwarteng also scrapped the rise in national insurance contributions, cancelled a planned rise in corporation tax and ended the cap on bankers’ bonuses.Speaking at a conference reception, Starmer said: “That’s their politics - make the rich richer, make the super rich even richer.″And the theory is that if they’re made even richer, some of it may one day trickle down into the pockets of other people.“It didn’t work last time. Trickle down - it’s a piss take.”‘It’s a piss take ‘ Keir Starmer’s view of ‘trickle down’ economics - talking to East Midlands delegates at #LabourConference2022pic.twitter.com/UCAMvJMxk6— Alison Mackenzie (@Alison1mackITV) September 24, 2022Labour will this week set out how it plans to spend £28 billion boosting green projects to grow the economy and bring down energy bills.According to The Observer, Starmer will pledge to double the amount of onshore wind, triple solar and more than quadruple offshore wind power by 2030.Related...As Labour Gathers In Liverpool, The Pressure's On Keir Starmer To Convince Voters He Should Be Prime MinisterMost Voters Now Want To Change The Way MPs Are ElectedKwasi Kwarteng Has Admitted The UK Economy Is Now 'Technically' In Recession
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Everything You Need To Save On Pricey Autumn Drinks And Make Them At Home
All the best buys you need to make your fave autumn drinks at home for a fraction of the costWe hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, HuffPost UK may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.It’s that time of year again, where all of the autumn drinks hit menus. Think: Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Hazelmaple Hot Chocolates, and Iced Gingerbread Lattes. Seasonal drinks are great but they can be hella expensive. They might taste glorious and give you instant cosy, sweater weather vibes but £4.50 for a coffee seems like a lot. Especially, when you’re addicted and crave them daily. Keen to try cutting down your coffee costs? Here’s what you need to make your own autumn drinks at home for a fraction of the price!More HuffPost ShoppingWe All Want A Hot Chocolate Station. Here's How To Build YoursBelieve Me, This Ice Coffee Maker Is A Total Game-ChangerBaking Along To Bake Off? 18 Kitchen Essentials To Give It A Proper Go18 Hacks To Get Your House Hibernation Ready And Maximise Your Rest Time
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Dear Parents, This Is Where Your Expensive Nursery Fees Are Going
Nursery staff aren’t paid that much, yet childcare fees are crippling parents – so what’s going on?The reality is that there are plenty of hidden costs involved in running a nursery which many of us don’t think about – and with the cost of living rising, it’s about to get a whole lot worse.Nurseries, like any bricks-and-mortar business, have to pay all the usual overheads you’d expect like rent or mortgage payments, buildings insurance, business rates, gas, electricity, water, and council tax – not to mention staff salaries.But because they care for children, there are other hidden costs, like regulatory expenses. We’re talking DBS checks, annual Ofsted and ICO fees and insurance costs – as well as training costs in mandatory areas such as first aid, food safety and child safeguarding.Then there’s the price of supplying food and drink, nappies and wipes, cleaning materials and first aid supplies, and all those obvious things a parent would expect from a nursery like toys, arts and crafts, and outings. The list goes on.As Neil Leitch, CEO of the Early Years Alliance, tells HuffPost UK: “The delivery of not just affordable childcare, but high-quality early education, doesn’t come cheap.”Park Lane Nursery in Peterborough – which forms part of the Park Lane Primary School – currently cares for 54 children, aged between two and four years old.The nursery is lucky in some respects as it is merged with a school so lots of its costs are shared. However total outgoings – including staff salaries, which take up the bulk of the budget at £121,911 – are still just shy of £150,000 a year.The average salary of a UK nursery worker is £21,000 according to Totaljobs. Nursery nurses can be paid anything between £18,000 and £25,000 depending on where they’re based, and nursery managers between £30,000 and £45,000.Of the 54 children at Park Lane Nursery, 19 are two-year-olds and 35 are three-year-olds. Based on the set amount of government-funded free childcare, eight are entitled to 15 hours (per week) of funded care for two-year-olds. All 35 three-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours (per week) of funded care, and 16 of these are also entitled to 30 hours (per week) of funded care for three- and four-year-olds.These ‘free’ hours are funded by the local authority, which pays the nursery £5.66 per hour for funding free places for two-year-olds and £4.30 per hour for funding places for three- and four-year olds.Normal nursery fees are £15 ‘per session’ – which is either three hours in the morning, or three hours in the afternoon. That equates to £5 an hour.The free hours funding is a bone of contention for some nurseries, as many would – and do – argue it’s not enough. The support is only for the provision of childcare and does not cover the cost of meals, consumables or additional services. This is why some parents will be charged extra by nurseries on top of their free hours.Carrie Clare, executive head of Park Lane Primary School and Nursery, says the nursery is a not-for-profit and they’re currently breaking even: “So far the cost of living crisis hasn’t impacted us, but we expect it will do.”She also notes that as they are a nursery within a school, their costs “are probably less than a private nursery” and believes more government funding is needed to help childcare settings stay afloat.For many other providers, it’s not unusual to make a loss each month. A survey by the Early Years Alliance in March this year found that for 86% of childcare settings, funding for the three- and four-year-old early entitlement scheme does not cover the cost of delivering places – with around a third (30%) of providers operating at a loss.Like many businesses, childcare settings are bracing themselves for a tough – and expensive – winter. As are parents, who already face some of the most expensive childcare costs among leading economies, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).In fact, the TUC has warned that the cost of early years care for a child under two could rise to £2,000 a month by 2026.In July, the UK government set out new plans to “ensure high-quality and affordable childcare is accessible to all” by opening up the childminder market and proposing to change staff-to-child ratios so that a nursery staff member can look after up to five two-year-olds (rather than the current allowance of four).Most recently, in this week’s mini-budget, Kwasi Kwarteng,Chancellor of the Exchequer, confirmed the government will bring forward reforms to improve parents’ access to affordable, flexible childcare, but with little detail of how he plans to do that. The government confirmed more will be shared in due course.But those working in the industry – which is already facing extreme recruitment and retention challenges – say piling on further stress to nursery staff through staff-to-child ratios isn’t the answer. In October 2021, a survey revealed more than eight in 10 settings were finding it difficult to recruit staff and over a third of respondents were actively considering leaving the sector. What’s more, one in six said staffing shortages were likely to force their setting to close permanently within the year.Neil Leitch of the Early Years Alliance, says that while childcare settings spend the majority of their income on staff wages, “years of government underfunding has meant that many educators are on little more than the national living or minimum wage”. As such, people are leaving the industry for better-paid positions in sectors such as retail and hospitality, he adds.Ros Marshall, the managing director of nationwide nursery chain, Bright Horizons UK, tells HuffPost UK that nurseries have to invest heavily in their people, training, premises and other resources.“At the moment, however, there is a shortage of qualified staff across the sector,” says Marshall. “We recognise the cost of living crisis is affecting many people. But putting additional burdens unreasonably on nurseries doesn’t help – if anything, it will make the sector’s recruitment problem worse.”Helen Donohoe, policy advisor at the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, says that in addition to recruitment and retention, other issues are swirling around in the background for the childcare sector.The government recently announced support with rising energy prices, which will give settings some breathing space in the short-term, but “it does not go far enough to address all the other challenges they face,” says Donohoe.Many providers are having to make swaps to cheaper food supplies, cut back on resources and activities for the children in the care, and let go of staff whose wages and training they can’t afford, she adds.“Nurseries, like other types of early years and childcare provider form part of the critical infrastructure in our communities and set children up for the best start in life,” she continues.“It is time we saw government acknowledge this through the meaningful investment that the sector needs. Central to this will be increasing the hourly rate paid to providers to provide ‘free’ childcare places to reflect the true cost of delivering that offer.”At last October’s spending review the government announced additional funding for early years entitlements, so local authorities can increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers.But Donohoe says her membership body is “concerned” the situation will only worsen over the coming months – and that without a government strategy to ensure the future sustainability of the sector, the sector “will continue to see preventable closures of valuable services for families and practitioners leaving for better paid jobs elsewhere.”The overall number of childcare providers in England dropped by around 4,000 between March 2021 and March 2022, according to figures from Ofsted.Other ways to ease the burden could be support for energy bills after the initial government relief period ends, as well as exempting eligible early years settings from paying business rates, as is already the case in Scotland and Wales.HuffPost UK put all these suggestions to a government spokesperson, who insisted that “improving parents’ access to affordable, flexible childcare is a government priority”.They said: “We have spent more than £4bn in each of the past five years to support families with the cost of childcare. The number of childcare places available remains stable, as it has since 2015, and thousands of parents are benefitting from this support.”The spokesperson added that the government is “investing millions in better training for staff working with pre-school children”, has set out plans to help providers run their businesses more flexibly, and is offering further support for non-domestic energy users, including early years providers.But Leitch says that without realistic long-term government funding, running childcare businesses efficiently is “fast-becoming an impossibility”.“The government simply must properly fund the early years sector if settings are to be financially viable throughout the current cost-of-living crisis and beyond,” says Leitch. “Anything less is likely to be little more than a sticking plaster.”Related...This Spiralling Childcare Crisis Is Causing 'Complete Devastation' For FamiliesInside The UK's Baby Banks Gearing Up For Their Busiest Winter YetWhat's The Best Time To Wake Up In Autumn?'My Husband Says He's Not Ready To Have Children'
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UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Lewis Capaldi Leaves BBC Breakfast's Naga Munchetty And Charlie Stayt Speechless After X-Rated 'Communication Breakdown'
Lewis Capaldi on BBC BreakfastThere’s always some laughs guaranteed when Lewis Capaldi pops up on TV and his appearance on BBC Breakfast on Saturday proved to be no different, after what he called “a classic breakdown of communication”. The Someone You Loved singer left hosts Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt speechless after mishearing a comment Naga made at the end of his interview on the show. The X-rated moment came after Lewis had complimented Charlie on his “great hair”.“Well you’ve got great hair too,” Charlie replied, before Lewis leaned in for a high-five. Watching their blossoming bromance, Naga joked: “Would you like a room?”“I thought you said rim!” Lewis said. a classic breakdown of communication pic.twitter.com/EiyDecuzom— Lewis Capaldi (@LewisCapaldi) September 24, 2022As Naga was left open-mouthed, laughter could be heard from behind the cameras. “Jeez!” Charlie remarked. Keen to quickly move things along, a smirking Naga joked she was going to “have a little word with Lewis” as she segued to a news bulletin. Lewis had been on the show to promote his latest single Forget Me, which hit number one in the Official Chart last week. BBC Breakfast airs daily from 6am on BBC One and BBC News.READ MORE:Lewis Capaldi’s Mortifying Camera Roll Story Is The Stuff Of NightmaresHere's What Lewis Capaldi Actually Said In His Sweary Too-Rude-For-TV Brit Awards Speech
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James Corden Reflects On 'Risky' Decision To Quit The Late Late Show
James Corden hosting The Late Late ShowJames Corden has opened up about his decision to quit the The Late Late Show, saying it felt like “a greater risk to stay”.The Gavin & Stacey star has hosted the US talk show since March 2015, but announced he was stepping down in April this year.The presenter and actor has extended his contract with CBS to present the show for one more year before finishing in the summer of 2023.Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s This Cultural Life, James was asked whether he worried his persona as a chat show host stops people seeing him as the kind of performer he would like to be.He said: “Honestly, I don’t know. I guess we’re about to find out.“Look, I’m aware that this isn’t a road often travelled. I’m aware that there’s not a plethora of people who have walked away from these late night talk shows, ever. I get why they wouldn’t walk away. It’s amazing.“And for me really the reason to leave is the same as the reason to do it, which is, I wonder if this is possible.“And if this is it then, do you know what, it’s been quite a ride anyway. I get that it will be difficult.”James with guests Kylie and Kris JennerAsked whether he felt it was a risk leaving the show, James replied: “No. I think it’s a greater risk to stay.“There’s an amazing clip, in which David Bowie talks about never playing to the gallery.“On the day of the announcement that I was going to walk away, it was still made very clear to me that there was a job here for the next five years and I’m not gonna lie, financially it’s good.”James said he had watched the clip of Bowie repeatedly as a way of reassuring himself.Asked whether he felt scared or anxious about the move, he added: “Of course, who wouldn’t.“Like you say, you’re hoping that maybe there’s one more thing I’ve got to do. Maybe there’s one more adventure. You’ve got to jump, and it might take a minute.“I’m pretty all right with the idea that I might have to get comfortable in some silence for a minute.“By the time I finish, I’ll have done 1,235 shows. That is a lot of television.”as a British host of a US late night show, James has enjoyed immense success with the programme which features scores of celebrity guests and special segments.His popular Carpool Karaoke series, in which he drives to work with different musicians, singing their back catalogue over the radio and discussing their careers, has included Adele, Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande.He previously promised viewers that his final 12 months would be full of fan favourites and “other surprises” which would be “a blast”.James took over as presenter of The Late Late Show in 2015 from Scottish-born comedian Craig Ferguson, who spent 10 years as host.This Cultural Life airs at 7.15pm on Saturday on BBC Radio 4 and on BBC Sounds.READ MORE:James Corden Pays Tribute To 'Gracious, Dignified' Queen In Emotional Monologue On US Chat ShowJames Corden Admits It's Down To Ruth Jones Whether Gavin & Stacey ReturnsJames Corden Praises 'Brave' Harry And Meghan: 'I Have Nothing But Admiration And Respect For Them'
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As Labour Gathers In Liverpool, The Pressure's On Keir Starmer To Convince Voters He Should Be Prime Minister
Keir Starmer will deliver his speech to Labour conference on TuesdayWhen Keir Starmer gets up to deliver his keynote speech to Labour’s annual conference at 2pm on Tuesday, he won’t just be addressing those inside the hall.For the first time since becoming the party’s leader in 2020, he will be deliberately pitching himself to voters as a prime minister-in-waiting.After two years of repairing the damage done to the party’s reputation under Jeremy Corbyn, and rebuilding from the wreckage of the 2019 general election defeat, it is time for Starmer to face the public at large.Despite the turmoil which has engulfed the government on an almost continuous basis for the past two years - and Labour’s healthy lead in the opinion polls - there remains a sense that he has yet to seal the deal with the electorate.Voters see him as an undoubted improvement on Corbyn, but remain to be convinced that he deserves the keys to Number 10, or that his party is ready to be entrusted with power.“We’ve spent two years making this party electable again,” says one ally. “It’s been hard graft. Now, people are looking at the Tories and wondering what the hell they are going on about.“This is our big chance to say very clearly: we are the party with the plans and the ideas that will work for working people.”Like Liz Truss, Starmer has identified anaemic economic growth as the main problem facing the country. But unlike the new prime minister, he does not believe that handing the well-off massive tax cuts is the way to solve it.Instead, next week’s conference will hear more about how Labour plan to invest £28 billion on creating green jobs, investing in infrastructure projects and making the economy more robust.The challenge for Labour is to convince a sceptical public that their alternative is any better for the country than the Tories.A shadow cabinet member told HuffPost UK: “They have taken a huge risk with public finances and it looks more like a sugar rush than a growth plan.“Governments can and do borrow, but any growth plan would have at its heart energy transition - things like insulating homes, renewables and building new nuclear - plus investment in education and skills, and business rates reform.”A source close to Starmer added: “You’re going to see a huge contrast between Labour and the Tories over the next couple of weeks. It’s going to be stark.“The Tories are talking about a load of stuff that is either old hat and has failed for 12 years or just totally alien to the public. We are going to be talking about what matters - practical, common sense solutions. I think it’ll be really surprising for people to see that contrast.”While Starmer has succeeded in marginalising the left, he won’t have it all his own way in Liverpool.A motion calling for Labour to back proportional representation, which is backed by the major trade unions, is expected to be passed by delegates.Their cause was helped by this week’s British Social Attitudes survey, which showed that a majority of voters - including 61 per cent of Labour supporters - now back PR.But one senior Labour figure said: “We’re intensely relaxed about this. There are many things keeping me awake at night: the vote on PR is not one of them.”Another bone of contention is the conference slogan: Fairer Greener Future.One senior frontbencher said: “They’ve been telling shadow cabinet for a year that everything has to be focused on getting Tory voters. And then with a few days to go until conference, suddenly we are supposed to be eco warriors. No one has a clue where it’s come from.”These quibbles will be forgotten about, however, if Starmer manages to pull it out of the bag on Tuesday. “It’s his big moment to connect with the British people and show that he gets it,” said one ally. “He gets what people are getting through. He gets what needs to be done. I think he’ll pass that test with flying colours.” Related...Durham Police Beergate Probe Cost Taxpayers £101,000Keir Starmer Says Anti-Monarchy Protesters Should 'Respect' Those Mourning Queen's DeathStarmer Slams Truss’s Energy Plan Saying Working People Will Foot The Bill
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UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
I've Perfected The Ultimate Dating System — And It All Comes Down To Penises
"If my parents met on their wedding day and made it work, how much easier would it be with someone I could choose myself using a system I had devised?" the author writes.I’m 52 years old. To this day, my Pakistani mother says things like, “You should get a husband,” because that’s truly how her world works. When I was young, my mother would explain to me that each of us will be given a partner based on our kismet – our fated life story written on a star.So when my mother was married off to my father in an arranged marriage, it was her kismet and no human can change that. They have now been married for 55 amazing years. They believe that because they did all the things they wanted – achieved great career and financial success, raised three pretty amazing daughters and continue to enjoy each other’s company – that is proof they actually are each other’s kismet. Love, however, was explained to me differently. My mother would say, “When you bring a pet like a puppy home, do you immediately love him, and does he immediately love you? No, you grow to love each other. That’s like marriage. You need to train your husband: live with him, and then you will grow to love him and he will grow to love you.” This is real to her. Husbands are trainable like dogs. Also you just “get one.” These are the messages I grew up with in my home.But, outside my house, as an American girl, the messages I got were wholly different. Countless Silhouette romance novels, movies, country music (Randy Travis ... swoon!), and even my closest friends whose own parents fell in love and got married the American way, convinced me that true love was real. It is real, right?I didn’t believe in kismet and I wanted to believe in American love, but I have come to the conclusion that preordained kismet – love that you find with your heart – and marriage – a government-sanctioned partnership – are two different things, can be mutually exclusive, and are not what I’m looking for in a lifelong partnership. The person or people you choose to build a life with might not be the person or people with whom you share your heart, and it’s unlikely that the stars will reveal their knowledge readily. Whether you’re a man or a woman or non-binary or any other gender, I’ve come to believe it’s all about PENISES. But let me back up…When I was younger, I thought I would just “get a husband” and an arranged marriage wasn’t out of the question for me, but I still wanted to fall in loooooove. The endless parade of Pakistani medical students who began showing up randomly at my home in my teens were definitely not fall-in-love swoon-worthy like ... like ... Bruce Willis was in Moonlighting, or, oh, let’s say, Pierce Brosnan in Remington Steele!  So in my early 20s I decided to find “the one” and prove mother wrong. I was going to fall in love and commit and have the happiest “happy ever after” building my own happy world. I set out to find my true love through what I called DWI, or Dating With Intent (to marry). This was back when dating was dating. I got asked to dinner. I went to the movies. I got kisses goodnight.I was ready to date but how was I going to find “the one”?Having seen the result of successful arranged marriages all around me, I knew kismet, if it were real at all, was only part of the formula ― there was also a common foundation. My parents were both graduate school educated and they shared the same religion and country of origin. More than kismet, there were specific matching components of their personalities that allowed them to faithfully work through each and every conflict with the goal of staying together and remaining each other’s comfort and support system. Having seen the result of successful arranged marriages all around me, I knew kismet, if it were real at all, was only part of the formula ― there was also a common foundation. That’s when I started looking for my “PIE” — someone who complemented my Physical, Intellectual and Emotional needs. I reasoned that if our “PIEs” matched, we would fall in love, and then we would get married, have kids, and live happily ever after.Up until that point, I had all the confidence of a 20-something with an exceptional academic history and unending optimism. If my parents met on their wedding day and made it work, how much easier would it be with someone I could choose myself using a system I had devised?Then I met Ted Nicholas – my future ex-husband. I knew our PIEs matched, but I soon learned something else critical was missing. Our social selves were diametrically opposed. At first, the fact that he was an introvert and I was an extreme extrovert was fun. I “got him out of his shell” – but that only lasted so long.Three years into our marriage, I thought I was a genius for suggesting we take separate cars to the same event. We would arrive together, then somewhere in the evening when he’d had enough, he would simply vanish. That eventually led to me just going to events alone and calmly explaining to my friends that we would have more fun without him. Needless to say, Ted Nicholas and I didn’t last, and I added the “S” (social) to my system: another critical area that needed to be vetted before committing. Recognising my error and setting forth with PIES, I was confident I had the four foundational corners of a lasting relationship. Until I met Strongman...I never realised how important food is in a relationship’s viability. For me, my love of feeding those I love became the ultimate sticking point when I started dating a man with very strict dietary preferences. I learned if I can’t feed you, I can’t love you. If I can’t pick off your plate, I’m suffering silently. Food isn’t just about sustenance for my body – it’s an important part of how I live and love. And since my divorce I knew I had no issue walking away the very moment I thought “this won’t work” – so I did, and my PIES got an N for nutrition. The PIES were now a PENIS. Now this acrostic – and the formula to long-term happiness I was seeking – had to be complete, right? It was, for a little while. I was satisfied with my dating life until I met the 5/5 guy – our PENISes aligned completely – but I discovered he was super-religious and I am not. In fact, his idea of spirituality directly conflicted with my own beliefs. So I added a capital S for Spirituality to my scale.I also learned he was a spender like me and incredibly generous with what he had. I liked that, but more importantly, I realised that agreeing on financial matters was important for a relationship to work long term. I had long overlooked economic considerations in my dating method and my acrostic because I was convinced they shouldn’t matter. I thought I would find a partner and we would build an economic empire together. At 50, though, my options to build from scratch were starting to feel limited, and it is unrealistic to think my partner won’t have his own way of thinking about and dealing with money. So I added yet another match point – another E for Economics – that brought me to my final, seven-point matching system that I’m now using as a guide to find my forever friend and life partner.PENISES is an easy-to-remember acrostic representing seven critical match points to find and negotiate a winning long-term relationship. An old love once told me, “I might not know what the right thing is, but my gut always tells me when it’s wrong.” So, now, I’m trusting my gut.PENISES: My guide to dating (and maybe yours too):Physical: There’s a reason I keep this one at the top. This isn’t about just physical attraction but more about important things like: Do your sex drives match? Do you live in the same area code? Both of these ideas fall in the physical realm.Emotional: How important is it that you share your feelings with your partner? That your person shares their feelings with you? Are you a heart-on-your-sleeve type or more aloof? Remember that matching doesn’t mean you are the same, but that you can complement each other’s emotional nature. Nutritional: Are you a feeder or an eater or both? Does food hold a priority in your world? Do your priorities around food and/or food tolerances match? If you eat meat and your potential partner is a vegan, will that be an issue?Intellectual: This category is less about academic credentials and more about intellectual agility. A mentor once told me, “Make sure he can teach you something, and that you can teach him something.” I’ve dated men with graduate degrees and I’ve dated men with GEDs ― and a few with neither. It’s more about how you both see and experience the world. Are you curious about learning new things? Do you have things to talk about? Unmatched intellect can quickly become boring for one partner and frustrating for the other. Social: Are you a natural introvert or extrovert or ambivert? Knowing yourself is key to choosing a match. This is easily observed because our social lives are demonstrated and we have a track record of things that define how we move socially, as well as what we enjoy. A party animal might have a tough time dating a homebody.Economic: Where are you financially now? What are your goals? What about your potential partner? Are you a spender or a saver? Would you rather spend money on material objects or experiences? This topic may not be something you bring up on the first date, but talking about your lives, where you have been and how you imagine your financial future can offer a clue as to what the other person might be planning and what their priorities are. Spiritual: Do you both share a common sense of the universe and your role in it? Do you share beliefs in organised religion? Are you looking for a partner that can elevate your current spiritual plane? Does the person you are with want you to have a specific set of beliefs to consider you “eternally bonded”? After 52 years of living – the last two and a half years of which were spent facing a pandemic – it can sometimes feel like I’m the only single person who still remembers when dating was dating. Now that I’m back to “dating with intent” again, having the PENISES in my back pocket allows me to look across a table, ignore my beating heart, and focus when they or he or she says, “My dream home is a yurt, and I plan to forage for at least a year.” I can still have fun, but I would know and share at the outset that this relationship is probably temporary because we don’t match on some very key points. The most critical thing I’ve ever learned about relationships started with these words inscribed at the Oracle of Delphi: Know thyself. While the scientist in me wants to collect, analyse and disseminate a cogent algorithm that’s accurate for all, the optimist in me believes my person is out there, and the realist in me knows relationships take work and mutual willingness to engage in that work. The matchmaking yenta in my soul knows each of us is made up of parts that may or may not mesh – knowing your parts is paramount. The most critical thing I’ve ever learned about relationships started with these words inscribed at the Oracle of Delphi: Know thyself.PENISES is definitely not “I must find someone who has exactly these seven attributes” or “If I like someone and we only match in a few categories, there’s no way this can work.” It’s more like, “This is who I am within each plane, and I would like someone who can absolutely nail what I’m looking for.” It’s a starting point on a quest to be both optimistic about what you want and realistic about what you need.The PENISES are for partnering but start with self-insight. In ranking them for myself, it’s important that my date knows that if they are lacking my main priority, “P,” it’s game over, thank you, next! Differing on other parts of the acrostic may be less of a deal breaker. I like to share all of this up front with the person I’m newly seeing to learn what priorities, emphasis, or weight they might attach to one of the realms that I might consider negotiable.  I have a few friends already using the scale and, so far, it’s been successful for them. I’m crossing my fingers it will work like a charm for more people. I’ve already made so many dating mistakes myself, so I’m hoping breaking them down into these seven categories will help me ― and maybe you ― avoid them in the future. Hopefully PENISES will serve our country well, and maybe it can finally Make America Date Again!Rubi Nicholas is a lot of things: a mum, a stand-up comedian, an educated lady with three master’s degrees, a Mensa card and a “Fairy Brown Mother” to multiple young people. ... She’s also hot. But, she is shockingly single and, at 52, knows exactly why. Her journey has led her to conclude there are seven essential elements each of us needs to review with a potential partner to deem them viable for long-term commitment. She calls them the “PENISES,” because who would forget that? Spoiler alert: None of them are “love” because that’s just silly. Follow her social media as she continues the journey using PENISES to help others meet their match: on Instagram @rubinicholas, on Twitter @FairyBrwnMother and on TikTok @fairybrownmother.Related...The Recipe For A Happy Relationship Has 50 Key Elements, ApparentlyCan't Resolve Fights With Your Partner? 'Emotional Flooding' May Be To Blame'My Husband Says He's Not Ready To Have Children'
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Getting A Flu Jab May Lower Your Risk Of Stroke, Study Finds
!function(n){if(!window.cnx){window.cnx={},window.cnx.cmd=[];var t=n.createElement('iframe');t.display='none',t.onload=function(){var n=t.contentWindow.document,c=n.createElement('script');c.src='//cd.connatix.com/connatix.player.js',c.setAttribute('async','1'),c.setAttribute('type','text/javascript'),n.body.appendChild(c)},n.head.appendChild(t)}}(document); (new Image()).src = 'https://capi.connatix.com/tr/si?token=ff7fdddc-5441-4253-abc4-f12a33fad58b'; cnx.cmd.push(function () { cnx({ mediaId: "f241b05a-c210-49af-9527-5444283b8d80", playerId: "ff7fdddc-5441-4253-abc4-f12a33fad58b" }).render("632dc091e4b0d12b5404a896"); }); There may be a major perk to getting your flu jab that spans beyond virus protection, according to a new observational study published in the American Academy of Neurology journal.The research found that people who got their flu jab were less likely to have a stroke. Specifically, the study focused on ischemic stroke, which “accounts for about 87% of all strokes,” according to the American Heart Association, and happens when blood flow to the brain is blocked.The 14-year study took place in Spain and followed 14,322 people who had a stroke. Each person was compared to five people who had never had a stroke of the same age and sex. All study subjects were between the ages of 40 and 99. Researchers compared the date of the stroke with the date of the flu jab to see if participants had gotten their vaccination at least 14 days before the stroke. They also looked at this time frame in people who did not have a stroke. Approximately 41.4% of people who had a stroke during the study’s time period got their flu jab compared to 40.5% of people who had not had a stroke. However,after adjusting for issues like vascular-related conditions(people in the vaccinated group tended to have more stroke risk factors like high blood pressure or cholesterol), it was found that those who got their annual flu jab were 12% less likely to have a stroke than those who did not get the vaccine.Your flu jab may be protecting you against more than just the flu.Experts aren’t completely sure why your flu jab could reduce your risk of strokeThe exact reasoning behind this positive outcome is unclear right now, but researchers have some theories. Study author Dr. Francisco José de Abajo told Medical News Today that “at this stage, we can only speculate about the mechanisms, but there are several pieces of evidence from previous studies ... which suggest that flu vaccination may reduce inflammation mediators.”And according to the American Heart Association, “systemic markers of inflammation have been shown to be risk markers of stroke.” So, the reduction in inflammation could be the reason behind this decreased stroke risk in study participants.Additionally, not all vaccines lead to a reduced stroke risk – the pneumonia vaccine did not have the same effect, researchers found, which leads them to believe there is a connection between the flu vaccine and a lower risk of stroke. That said, the new study does have some limitations. It was observational and did not look into other factors, like diet and exercise in the study subjects’ day-to-day lives. Fitness, a nutritious diet and a healthy weight all contribute to a lower risk of stroke. It’s possible that people who are more likely to get a vaccine are also executing good health practices in other areas, too. Either way, it’s important to get your flu jabThe flu jab is an important way to protect yourself and those around you from contracting the virus. While many people can fight off flu, it is a very risky sickness for elderly people, young children and people with diseases, like asthma, Dr. Bert E. Johansson, a vaccine expert with the National Hispanic Medical Association, told HuffPost.By getting the flu jab, you’re reducing your risk of developing the virus, protecting your loved ones — and possibly even reducing your risk of stroke. “These results are yet another reason for people to get their yearly flu jab, especially if they are at an increased risk of stroke,” de Abajo said in a statement. “To be able to reduce your risk of stroke by taking such a simple action is very compelling.”Related...Everything You Need To Know About This Year's Flu Jab Rollout7 Sneaky Habits That Can Cause Heart ProblemsHere's How To Book Your Autumn Covid Booster – If You're Eligible
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UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
'Woman, Life, Freedom': Why We're Cutting Our Hair To Support Protesters In Iran
Kurdish activists in Beiruit hold headscarfs and a portrait of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, with a sign reading: 'The woman is life, don't kill the life,' during against her death.When Soutiam Goodarzi, a 20-year-old from Leeds, saw videos of women in Iran burning hijabs and cutting their hair, she knew she wanted to do the same. Goodarzi was born in Iran and lived there until she was nine. Now a student at the University of Oxford, she describes the recent protests in Iran – sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for breaking hijab laws – as “very close to my heart”.“I cut my hair as a mark of solidarity with women living in Iran,” she tells HuffPost UK. “And to draw attention to the protests, especially since internet access is restricted in Iran”. Goodarzi is one of thousands of women around the world who’ve hacked away at their locks as a symbol of protest, solidarity and mourning. On September 13, Mahsa Amini was arrested by Iran’s so-called “morality police” in Tehran for the way she was wearing her headscarf. Three days later, she died. Her death came on the back of increasing reports from Iran of women facing repression over how they dress, including some saying officials banned them from entering government buildings and banks if they weren’t dresses according to the Islamic code.Now, women in Iran are setting fire to their hijabs and chopping off their hair to protest for their rights, sparking some of the biggest protests the country’s seen in years. This picture of chopped hair hoisted as a flag will be the photograph of this century.#IranProtests2022pic.twitter.com/pq1viygnvF— Leena Manimekalai (@LeenaManimekali) September 22, 2022The protests across the country, with many using the chant, “Woman! Life! Freedom!”, have seen riot police reacting with pellet guns and water canons. At least nine people had died as of Friday, September 23.The government has also imposed an internet shutdown, not only preventing Iranians from speaking to each other through popular social media messaging apps, but also clamping down on information about the protests reaching the world at large.Still, the movement has spread across the globe, with women of all ages filming themselves cutting their hair. I decided to cut my hair to show solidarity with women in Iran. We need to keep raising awareness to the protests, especially given Iranians living in Iran have restricted access to the internet.#مهسا_امینی#ارتش_به_میدان_بیاpic.twitter.com/LR7801xhHk— soutiam (@Souts_A) September 22, 2022What sparked the protests?On September 13, a 22-year-old woman named Mahsa Amini was arrested by Iranian morality police for wearing her headscarf too loosely while visiting the Iranian capital city of Tehran.Iran has strict laws requiring women to wear hijab – a headscarf and loose clothing that covers their limbs. On Friday September 16, Amini died in a hospital after being in a coma for three days. While the police claim she died of sudden heart failure, her family have insisted she had no history of health issues and suspect that she was beaten.The first protests broke out at Amini’s funeral in her hometown in Kurdistan, where women – enraged by Amini’s death in police custody – started taking off their hijabs in protest of the regime’s strict hijab laws. At Mahsa Amini's funeral in her hometown of Saqqez, Kurdistan province, women take their headscarves off in protest against Iran's forced hijab law amid "death to the dictator" chants. Mahsa, 22, died in custody after being arrested by morality police.pic.twitter.com/MaqyberjNO— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) September 17, 2022Since then, the protests have both expanded and escalated. Many more people, including men, have taken to the streets across at least 15 cities to express their support for women’s rights as well as their discontent with the Iranian government with shouts of “down with the dictator!” and “death to Khomeini” (Supreme Leader) being heard across the country.The government has responded with violent suppression. Video footage from Twitter users show riot police using water canons on protestors in several places, including central Tehran.In other videos, the sound of gunshots is audible on chaotic streets as protestors throw stones at riot police and get fired at with pellet guns. Women who started off by taking off their hijabs to protest the strict laws are now publicly burning them.Some cities have also seen pro-regime protests, with hijab-wearing women carrying signs saying: “We are obedient to the leader.” This is Iran today. A woman proudly burning the most visible symbol of religious dictatorship; compulsory hijab.Hijab police killed #MahsaAmini but now there are millions of Mahsa in Iran who are shouting NO to Forced hijab NO to gender apartheid regime.#مهسا_امینیpic.twitter.com/9tzd9IRwgB— Masih Alinejad
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UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Accessorise Your Home On The Cheap With These 25 Total Amazon Bargains
Turns out, you can truly trust Amazon with all your home decor desiresWe hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, HuffPost UK may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.Let’s face it — when you’re on the hunt for some gorgeous new decorative pieces for your pad, Amazon might not be the first place you look. Traditionally, it’s somewhere I associate more with practical buys and gadgets galore.But as it turns out, we’ve all been skipping over an absolute goldmine of affordable decor. In fact, the products I’ve found on Amazon are so pretty yet well-priced, it’s now one of my go-to sites for picking up cheap-yet-chic homeware buys. Here are some of my favourites.More HuffPost ShoppingWhy Is No One Talking About These 27 Useful-Yet-Cheap Amazon Home Organisers?Crap At Interior Design? 12 Style Cheats To Ensure Nobody Knows30 Properly Grown-Up Buys People Tell Me I Need Before I Turn 30
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Louis Smith Interview: How Strictly Changed The Olympian’s Life Forever
Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace won Strictly Come Dancing in 2012“It’s scary to think that was a decade ago. I was 23 years old and now I’m 33, I’ve got grey hairs coming out of my nostrils,” a candid Louis Smith says as he casts his mind back 10 years to his debut on the Strictly Come Dancing dance floor. The Olympic gymnast was cast on the BBC show fresh off the back of his success at the London 2012 Games, and his partnership with professional dancer Flavia Cacace took the dance floor by such a storm that they went on to lift the Glitterball trophy as champions. A whole 10 years on, Louis still can’t quite believe his Strictly story, particularly as he found out he’d landed a spot on the line-up between events at the Games in what turned out to be a pretty life-changing call.  “Strictly wasn’t anything I had personally planned way in advance,” he insists, “but my agent had joked about it. Throughout that relationship, he’d say, ‘My goal is to get you on Strictly.’“There was an opportunity to go in for a meeting and that was before London 2012, so I went in, spoke to them, cracked a few jokes and had a laugh and showed them what I was about. Then I went off to the Olympics, competed, and then we won the bronze in the team event,” he continues.“In between the team event and the Commonwealth final, I had a phone call from my agent saying, ‘Congratulations on the bronze and the team event, absolutely smashing it, we’re all so proud of you.’ And then he was like, ‘Don’t feel any extra stress going in to the Commonwealth final, what will be will be. Regardless of what happens, Strictly want you to go on the show. So just go in and enjoy the competition and have the best time.’”Louis Smith celebrates with his Silver medal after coming second in the Men's Pommel Horse Final at London 2012For Louis, it was perfect to have something else to “sink his teeth into” after the highs of the Games, which were the pay-off of years of training. But going from the sports world into one of sequins and salsa just weeks later was a difficult adjustment. Immediately, Louis found himself being written and talked about in the press in ways he had never experienced as an athlete due to the intense media interest that Strictly commands.“It was a transition I really struggled with initially,” he says. “Usually when I did interviews, it was with very Oxford University sports journalist-type people, who would literally quote you word-for-word and I could spiel off all this stuff and not worry about my words being twisted. “Then I did Strictly and in the very first instance there was a headline saying I fancied my dance partner. I didn’t say that at all, so that was a learning curve. “I remember being really stressed about the whole situation because I knew she was in a relationship with someone and I didn’t want to be treading on anyone’s toes and be really respectful. [Flavia was] like, ‘Louis, it’s fine, trust me.’ And all the other contestants said, ‘Just wait, this is just the start, this is just what happens, don’t stress about it.’ “I had the most amazing cast. So many fantastic people that had all been through that and knew how to deal with it and told me to enjoy the experience.”Louis became a fan favourite early on in the 2012 series of StrictlyLouis got off to a solid start in the competition, quietly making it through the first few weeks before quickly emerging as a fan favourite. When he and Flavia reached the final alongside Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh and Pasha Kovalev and TV presenter Denise Van Outen and James Jordan, they were the only couple of the trio not to have previously landed in the bottom two. And then something happened that completely sealed their victory – their Showdance. The gymnastics-inspired routine – a nod to Louis’ sporting background – was unlike anything ever seen on Strictly at that moment in time. Set to Take That’s Rule The World, its contemporary style did not fit into the traditional confines of ballroom or Latin, and saw Louis begin his performance balanced on top of a giant globe.While Showdances in previous finals had an ‘anything goes’ approach, Louis reveals he and Flavia had to push producers in order to create something he’d dreamed of performing. “I like to do something different and I like to think that die-hard fans of Strictly have seen all the different dances and performances and they know what they haven’t seen when they see it. So I wanted the Showdance to be something like that, because it then stays in your brain,” Louis says. Flavia was cautious due to Showdances usually being “slap, bang, wallop, lifts, sparkles and cannons” but went to speak to bosses, and they were soon on board. However, this meant Flavia had to go back to the drawing board with what she’d originally had in mind. “All the planned lifts couldn’t really be used, as it wouldn’t fit the slow tempo of the music,” Louis explains. “So we were just researching ideas and we went through about 50 different lifts to see what did and didn’t work in the timeframe we had.“It’s an honour to be able to have started that ball on the contemporary side of things on Strictly,” he says, with such routines now a regular fixture on the show.Louis and Flavia's Showdance was unlike anything else the show had seen before at the timePaying tribute to the late Caroline Flack, who followed in Louis’ footsteps with an emotional Showdance set to Robbie Williams’ Angels in the 2014 final, he adds of the much-missed champion: “She took it to another level because. There was a connection and you feel drawn into the performance and get the goosebumps.”While Louis might have opened Strictly up to new ideas, the show also awakened a whole new passion for him too, with the athlete going on to hone his performance skills in a West End production of Rip It Up at the London Palladium alongside fellow Strictly alum Harry Judd, Jay McGuiness and Aston Merrygold. “One of the things I’m most proud of is going into the performing arts and musical theatre side of things, which I never really saw myself being part of,” he says. “I was always sort of envious when I’d go and watch a West End show and it would look so much fun and I wished I could dance and sing. So to have been able to work my way into that and capitalise on all of these opportunities that have come up, I do feel very lucky and privileged that Strictly opened the door to that.”It's 10 years since Louis lifted the GlitterballHe adds: “I’m under no illusion as well that all the things I’ve done, I’ve had to learn and take it seriously because I don’t want to be one of those people where you’ve got the job because you’ve got a name. I want to feel like I’ve earned my spot, and the people who I’m rubbing shoulders with have trained for years and years in musical theatre school and have earned their stripes. It’s also their proud moment on stage, so I don’t want to feel like I’m embarrassing them or letting them down, or cheapening the experience.” With more performance expertise now under his belt, could Louis ever be tempted back to the ballroom again, perhaps if the BBC ever launch a Strictly All Stars series?“100%,” Louis says without skipping a beat. “I would love to do Strictly knowing what I know now. “I’ve learned a way to pick things up quicker now.. One thing I really struggled with on Strictly was the performance side of things… So I would love to go back on and see how I would fare now.“Now I could give those musical theatre-trained people who go on Strictly a run for their money!”Louis is currently working with Tu to show why its school uniform gets gold for durability at the The Ultimate Playground Games. The Savvy School Shop is available at Tu.co.uk, Argos.co.uk and in selected Sainsbury’s stores.Louis Smith hosted The Ultimate Playground GamesREAD MORE:Louis Smith Reveals The Tricky Situation The Masked Dancer Secrecy Left Him With21 Celebrities Who Turned Down Strictly Come Dancing (And Their Reasons Why)Denise Van Outen Had Her Voice Box Removed So Docs Could Access Her Spine Following Strictly Horror Fall
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Shakira Spills Details About Tax Fraud Trial
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New Photo Of King Charles Reveals Touching Tribute To His Late Parents
!function(n){if(!window.cnx){window.cnx={},window.cnx.cmd=[];var t=n.createElement('iframe');t.display='none',t.onload=function(){var n=t.contentWindow.document,c=n.createElement('script');c.src='//cd.connatix.com/connatix.player.js',c.setAttribute('async','1'),c.setAttribute('type','text/javascript'),n.body.appendChild(c)},n.head.appendChild(t)}}(document); (new Image()).src = 'https://capi.connatix.com/tr/si?token=ff7fdddc-5441-4253-abc4-f12a33fad58b'; cnx.cmd.push(function () { cnx({ mediaId: "4b8efcfb-775a-4922-b880-709416b6de69", playerId: "ff7fdddc-5441-4253-abc4-f12a33fad58b" }).render("632e3627e4b01804e08e3a3b"); }); Buckingham Palace released a new photo of King Charles III on Friday, including a sentimental tribute to the monarch’s late parents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.The photo, taken on September 11, shows the king in the Eighteenth Century Room at Buckingham Palace. Charles is pictured at his desk looking at the Red Box, also referred to as a “despatch box”.The distinctive briefcase, which is delivered to the king wherever he is, contains documents from government ministers in the United Kingdom and representatives from the Commonwealth. (To the dismay of anyone looking to get a closer look at the documents, the papers are blurred.)Behind the king sits a photo of his parents. The photo, taken by Baron Studios, was given to Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, for Christmas in 1951, according to the palace. At the time, Elizabeth was still Princess Elizabeth (she became queen at age 25 the following year).  A previously unissued photo from Sept. 11 shows King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.Prince Philip died at the age of 99 on April 9, 2021, just weeks before his 100th birthday. Queen Elizabeth died at the age of 96 on September 8 at Balmoral in Scotland. She reigned for 70 years and celebrated her Platinum Jubilee to mark her decades on the throne in June. Charles ascended the throne immediately upon his mother’s death, as Elizabeth did after her own father’s death in 1952. Like his mother’s, Charles’ coronation is likely to take place well after he became monarch, as both a sign of respect and due to the time it takes to plan the event.Although a date for Charles’ coronation ceremony has not been set, observers suspect it may happen in February 2023, which would mark 70 years since his mother’s coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1953.King Charles III walks behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during a procession from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster on Sep. 14.Royal families and world leaders from around the world attended the queen’s state funeral on September 19, which was also held at Westminster Abbey. The Abbey was of great significance to the late sovereign ― she also married Philip there in 1947. The period of royal mourning extends to next Monday, September 26. Prince William, heir apparent to the throne, remembered his beloved “grannie” on Wednesday while delivering a virtual address to attendees at a New York City summit on behalf of his environmental awards, called The Earthshot Prize.The Prince of Wales was supposed to attend the event in person but canceled due to his grandmother’s death. “During this time of grief, I take great comfort in your continued enthusiasm, optimism and commitment to The Earthshot Prize and what we are trying to achieve,” William said. “Protecting the environment was a cause close to my grandmother’s heart, and I know she would have been delighted to hear about this event.” Related...Prince William's First Message Since The Queen's Funeral Was For A Meaningful CauseHuw Edwards Praises 'Army' Of BBC Talent As He Reflects On Fronting Coverage Of Queen's DeathBBC Responds To Complaints From Viewers Who Felt Coverage Of Queen's Death Showed 'Bias'
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UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Treasury Minister Dunked On For Premature Celebration Of Rising Pound
Chief secretary to the Treasury Chris Philp.The chief secretary to the Treasury has faced online ridicule after celebrating the rise in the pound – just before it repeatedly dropped to a 37-year low.Chris Philp, second in command to chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, seemed thrilled as sterling rose against the US dollar briefly as his boss unveiled his mini-budget.He tweeted: “Great to see sterling strengthening on the back of the new UK Growth Plan.”Great to see sterling strengthening on the back of the new UK Growth Plan https://t.co/Ec8tgXkgKd— Chris Philp (@CPhilpOfficial) September 23, 2022But once the markets digested what amounted to tax cuts costing up to £45 billion annually, the currency went in reverse.At its lowest point on Friday afternoon £1 could buy just 1.0896 US dollars – the worst exchange rate for Britons since 1985.It was a drop of over 3%, and means the pound has lost more than 7% of its value against the dollar in just a month.Twitter was in unforgiving mood.update: sterling has fallen to a fresh 37-year low against dollar of $1.11 https://t.co/FDPZC92zSh— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) September 23, 2022https://t.co/j63bfFA1YTpic.twitter.com/kX0e27Hy11— Henry Mance (@henrymance) September 23, 2022Thank God we've got such a fine mind in the Treasury https://t.co/7ORAlGsAHS— John Crace (@JohnJCrace) September 23, 2022READER: the pound dropped to a nearly 40 year low against the dollar today and continues to fall https://t.co/xY1bfIjlC0pic.twitter.com/854EhlDbLx— Paula Sherriff
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UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Strictly Come Dancing Pairings Revealed: Which Professionals Have The Celebrities Been Partnered With?
The cast of Strictly Come Dancing 2022The professional dancers who each of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing celebrities will be dancing with have been revealed.On Friday night, the BBC aired the long-awaited Strictly 2022 launch show, during which viewers discovered the partnerships for the new series.As part of the episode, it was announced that reigning champion Giovanni Pernice will be dancing with Radio 2 presenter Richie Anderson, while runner-up Johannes Radebe will dance with comedian Ellie Taylor.It has also been revealed that, for the first time ever, there will be two same-sex pairings in the same season of Strictly, with stand-up comic Jayde Adams dancing with Karen Hauer.The professional dancers of Strictly Come DancingMeanwhile, newcomers Vito Coppola and Carlos Gu will be dancing with pop singer Fleur East and CBBC star Molly Rainford, respectively, while Jowita Pryzstal has landed her first celebrity partner in wildlife presenter Hamza Yassin.Check out the full list of pairings below:Ellie Simmonds and Nikita KuzminEllie Taylor and Johannes RadebeFleur East and Vito CoppolaHamza Yassin and Jowita PrzystalHelen Skelton and Gorka MarquezJames Bye and Amy DowdenJayde Adams and Karen HauerKaye Adams and Kai WiddringtonKym Marsh and Graziano Di PrimaMatt Goss and Nadiya BychkovaMolly Rainford and Carlos GuRichie Anderson and Giovanni PerniceTony Adams and Katya JonesTyler West and Dianne BuswellWill Mellor and Nancy XuThis year’s Strictly launch show was pre-recorded before the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and was originally supposed to air the weekend prior to her funeral.However, the BBC eventually made the decision to delay this by almost a week, with the first live show of the series set to air tomorrow night on BBC One.
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UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Strictly Come Dancing Star Jayde Adams Opens Up About Same-Sex Pairing With Karen Hauer
Jayde AdamsStrictly Come Dancing star Jayde Adams has spoken out about her upcoming partnership with Karen Hauer on this year’s series.In the lead-up to this year’s launch show, viewers discovered that Radio 2 presenter Richie Anderson would make up one half of the show’s third ever same-sex pairing.During Friday night’s pre-recorded launch, it was announced that he will be partnered with reigning Strictly champion Giovanni Pernice – but viewers also discovered that for the first time ever, there will be two same-sex teams competing on the show.The second pairing will be made up of Jayde and Karen, with the former opening up about the partnership during an interview with HuffPost UK and other media outlets prior to this year’s launch show.Jayde will form half of one of this year's two Strictly same-sex pairingsJayde – who is a stand-up comic and Strictly superfan – recalled that she’d first tweeted about wanting to dance with a female pro four years ago, saying: “I was like, ‘if I was on Strictly, I’d like to be with a woman, because then I could lift her’.“Whenever [Strictly has] partnerships where you have a plus-sized guy, it’s easy for him, because he can lift the girl. But when you have it the other way around, and you have that imbalance… [the male professionals] are great, but they’re not rugby players. So I just thought I’d be [more] able to get into the acrobatics [with a woman].“And now, not only have I got what we’re calling an all-woman partnership with Karen, but she’s an athlete. You hold her up and she just holds herself there.”Jayde continued: “I think we’re going to have a lot of fun together, just trying to take ourselves out of our comfort zone.”Karen HauerOn what viewers can expect from them dance-wise, the comedian added: “We haven’t really discussed it, but I think we are going to mix it up a bit. We’re not just going to [base our routines on] the height order for the two of us. We’ll just go with who we are as people.“The thing that you add to all the dances is a narrative, and as a storyteller and a writer and a comedian, I’m all about story. So, it’ll all be dependent on what the story is that we’re creating with each dance.“I think you might be surprised. She and I are not going to shy away from the romance of dance, either. That’s going to be something really fun to act together, and we’re going to want to show that in our performances.“I think there’s going to be some chemistry. Romance and chemistry, we’re still going to bring that to our partnership, I think.”Elsewhere in the interview, Jayde spoke about her own dance background, noting that while she’s “no Ashley Roberts”, she did dance competitively as a child.“I was confident to be on this show because I know picking up routines is not going to be hard for me, because I’ve got a memory for routines because of free-style disco dancing when I was a kid,” she said. “That stuff stays with you forever.”Jayde alongside the rest of this year's Strictly castThe Bristol-born performer began her stand-up career in 2011, and in 2019 made a splash with her award-winning Edinburgh show The Ballad Of Kylie Jenner’s Old Face, the recorded special for which was long-listed for an Emmy.As well as fronting Channel 4′s Snackmasters and Crazy Delicious, Jayde has also acted in shows like Good Omens and Alma’s Not Normal, as well as the upcoming Take That film Greatest Days.In a recent interview with the BBC, Jayde shared that she had partly signed up for Strictly as a tribute to her late sister, who died in 2011 at the age of 28.“I’ve always been fat,” Jayde said. “I’m a really good dancer, but in freestyle disco dancing, back when I used to do it in the 90s, there was a real stipulation over what you looked like when you did it.“My sister really fitted that mould. I didn’t. We used to have to dance together because we were sisters and it was easier. And I’ll be honest with you, I think I held her back a bit.”She added: “She wouldn’t have understood any of this stand-up stuff at all. She would have been supportive and found me funny. She always found me funny.“But she studied contemporary dance at university and she was part of contemporary dance troupes in Bristol and dancing was her life. It’s all she ever did. And I think she would have really understood this.“It’s quite intense, I’ll be honest. It’s a big thing for me and my family that I’m doing it, and I’m going to try my hardest not to cry every week because I know how annoying that is, because I’ve watched the show for years.”This year’s first Strictly live show will air on Saturday night on BBC One.MORE STRICTLY:'I Wanted My Family To See Me Smiling': Helen Skelton Opens Up About Why She Said Yes to StrictlyEllie Simmonds Shares How She's Finding Training For Strictly: 'It's Going To Be Different'Craig Revel Horwood Reveals Which Celebrity 'Set The Bar' For Strictly Come Dancing
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UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
A Tory Minister Thinks Young People Who Just Put Their Money In The Bank Are 'Plodders'
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UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
What Is “Jeopardy!” Drama?
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UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Kwasi Kwarteng Has Admitted The UK Economy Is Now 'Technically' In Recession
Kwasi Kwarteng delivering his mini-budget in the House of Commons.Kwasi Kwarteng has admitted for the first time that the UK is now in recession.The chancellor conceded the economy had “technically” shrunk in the last two quarters.But he insisted his tax-cutting mini-budget will ensure the dip will be “shallow” and the economy will be start growing again.The Bank of England yesterday said it believed the UK was now in recession - something Liz Truss had insisted could be avoided during the Tory leadership election.In an interview with the BBC’s Chris Mason, Kwarteng said: “Technically, the Bank of England said that there was a recession, I think it’ll be shallow and I hope that we can rebound and grow.”Asked if he was admitting there was a recession, the chancellor said: “I’m not acknowledging that, no no I said that there is technically a recession.“We’ve had two quarters of very little, negative growth and I think these measures are gonna help us drive growth.”Asked what the difference is between a recession and a technical recession, the chancellor said: “There’s a big difference. Technically, the economists say two consecutive quarters, but I think we’re going to grow the economy, that’s what we’re doing that’s what we’re focused on.”Kwarteng and Truss have insisted their tax-cutting strategy will eventually see the economy growing by 2.5 per cent a year.But the value of the pound has plummeted in the wake of the mini-budget, while interest rates are tipped to rise even further.Economic experts have also rounded on the chancellor, with the highly-respected IFS accusing him of “betting the house” on economic growth.Related...The Pound Is Tumbling After The Mini-Budget. Here's What It Means For YouThis Is How Much Money The New Stamp Duty Cut Could Save YouAnalysis: We Are All Guinea Pigs In Kwasi Kwarteng's Economic Experiment
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The Pound Is Tumbling After The Mini-Budget. Here's What It Means For You
A photograph shows pounds and US dollar coins and banknotes displayed on a table.Markets have given their instant verdict on Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget – which includes tax cuts costing up to £45 billion annually – and it makes for grim reading.Spooked by the biggest raft of tax cuts for half a century, in a “gamble” to raise falling living standards by boosting growth, the pound repeatedly fell to new 37-year lows against the dollar during the day, slowly edging towards its all-time trough.The last time sterling dipped this low was 1985 – when prime minister Liz Truss’s political hero Margaret Thatcher was in power.At its lowest point on Friday afternoon £1 could buy just $1.0896, It was a drop of over 3%, and means the pound has lost more than 7% of its value against the dollar in just a month. The value of sterling is more than a fifth lower than it was a year ago.Sterling hit an all-time low of $1.0545 in March 1985, just before the Group of Seven (G7) economies acted to rein in the superdollar of the Reagan era in the so-called Plaza Accord.“The is the worst day I’ve ever seen in the markets from a British perspective,” said Neil Wilson, an analyst at Markets.com, as the London stock market also plunged.The pound is falling. Fast. pic.twitter.com/fc8RPGXN6R— Ed Conway (@EdConwaySky) September 23, 2022Why has the pound fallen so low against the US dollar?The value of a currency invariably reflects how traders fell about the health of a country’s economy – either for better or worse.The UK has been suffering from a series of factors – most pressingly, soaring energy bills – but the pound’s plunging value against the dollar is also a measure of the relative strength of the American economy, where inflation is easing and strong jobs numbers continue.A sustained rally in the US dollar, referred to by traders as the “greenback”, has also hit the euro, which plummeted to a fresh 20-year low against the dollar on Friday amid a suggested downturn across the euro zone. But the euro dropped by only 0.9% to $0.9755.The Japanese yen was 0.5% lower at $143.14, but is likely to make its first weekly gain in more than a month after authorities intervened to support the currency for the first time since 1998.In any case, investors have clearly taken fright at the Truss-Kwarteng plan, with concerns over tax cuts and increased public spending adding to the uncertainty influencing traders.update: sterling has fallen to a fresh 37-year low against dollar of $1.11 https://t.co/FDPZC92zSh— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) September 23, 2022Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said investors are concerned that government lacks a “coherent policy” at a time when the economy is facing “immense inflationary pressures”.“I think Kwasi Kwarteng really set off fireworks with his budget,” Streeter told The Associated Press. “It was much bigger and bolder than expected. But the real concern on financial markets as these widespread tax cuts are unfunded, they’re going to add to the government’s debt burden.”What does this mean for Brits?The immediate impact of the falling pound is being felt by British travellers heading off for their holidays.This means that travellers to the US – and to a lesser extent, Europe – will find their pound does not go very far, hiking up the cost of everything from accommodation to food.Other countries use the greenback as the main currency, so even destinations such as Dubai and China are more expensive as their currencies are pegged to the US dollar.Is it just holidaymakers who will be affected by the pound’s tumble?All UK consumers stand to be impacted by a sustained plummet in the value of the pound, because it makes it more expensive for retailers and manufacturers to import food, goods and materials.This means prices will be pushed up for goods and services, sending UK inflation rising even further and hitting Brits hard in the pocket.Samuel Tombs, an expert at Pantheon Economics, on Thursday said that inflation will likely increase by around 0.5 percentage points in 2024 because of recent falls in the pound.This means that every £1,000 that a family spends will be worth £5 less simply because of the drop in sterling, and will leave the average household around £150 worse off every year.The tumbling pound is also a headache for the Bank of England since it increases the cost of imports and can cause more imported inflation, adding pressure to lift interest rates again – with the knock-on effect of higher mortgage rates. The package was announced a day after the Bank warned the UK may already be in a recession and lifted interest rates to 2.25%.Are there any benefits to a falling pound?A weak pound can prove helpful in a number of ways, by making it cheaper for foreign companies to buy UK goods and boosting exports as a result.It can also increase foreign investment in the UK, for example in property and in shares.The FTSE 100 Index on London’s stock market usually rises when the pound falls as it is dominated by internationally-focused firms, which trade largely in US dollars.However, London’s top index fell below the 7,000-point mark for the first time since mid-June during Friday’s trading.At its trough, the index was trading down 2.5% at 6,981.5 points, its lowest since March when the market had plummeted after a nuclear power plant caught fire in Ukraine.A falling pound can also increase tourism to the UK, with overseas travellers looking to make the most of a better exchange rate.This offers a boost to retailers and other sectors, such as restaurants and leisure attractions.Related...Analysis: We Are All Guinea Pigs In Kwasi Kwarteng's Economic ExperimentWhat Raising Interest Rates Means For Mortgages And Credit CardsThis Is How Much Money The New Stamp Duty Cut Could Save You
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UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Mini-Budget Gets A Pounding – But Right-Wing Think Tanks Are Loving It
Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng visited Berkeley Modular in Northfleet, Kent, to promote the government's new Growth Plan. Kwasi Kwarteng has been accused of “betting the house” on economic growth after he announced plans to slash taxes for the rich paid for by a huge increase in government borrowing.In a devastating assessment, the highly-respect Institute for Fiscal Studies said the chancellor had “put government debt on an unsustainable rising path” with the spending splurge.Kwarteng used a so-called “mini-budget” to unveil radical plans to cut income tax for high-earners, end the cap on bankers’ bonuses, scrap planned rises in national insurance and corporation tax, and reduce stamp duty - a package set to cost £45 billion.To pay for it, the government will borrow an extra £70 billion over the next six months.The chancellor and prime minister Liz Truss believe the measures will eventually boost economic growth to 2.5 per cent a year.But the money markets reacted badly to the announcement, with the value of the pound plummeting once again and the cost of government borrowing going up.IFS director Paul Johnson said: “The chancellor announced the biggest package of tax cuts in 50 years without even a semblance of an effort to make the public finance numbers add up.“Instead, the plan seems to be to borrow large sums at increasingly expensive rates, put government debt on an unsustainable rising path, and hope that we get better growth. This marks such a dramatic change in the direction of economic policy-making that some of the longer-serving cabinet ministers might be worried about getting whiplash.”He added: “Mr Kwarteng is not just gambling on a new strategy, he is betting the house.”In fact, the only analysts with anything good to say about the mini-budget were right-wing think tanks such as the Institute for Economic Affairs, whose director general, Mark Littlewood, described it as a “boost-up budget”.He said: “It’s refreshing to hear a chancellor talk passionately about the importance of economic growth and supply-side reforms, rather than rattling off a string of state spending pledges and higher taxes.“Only by bearing down on the amount of tax the state collects across the income spectrum, and reducing the regulatory burden, can we create better conditions for growth.”But appearing on Sky News, Littlewood did concede: “You’re not going to like this package if you care more about the poor.” “You’re not going to like this package if you care more about the poor.” The Tories aren’t even pretending to care anymore.The only levelling up they are doing is in the accounts of bankers, earners on £150,000+ and oil & gas companies. pic.twitter.com/dkUS7nqf5g— Sarah Owen MP (@SarahOwen_) September 23, 2022Meanwhile, the Centre for Public Studies, whose director Robert Colville co-authored the last Tory election manifesto, was another fan.Not to blow trumpet, but:- Cancelling CT rise ✅- Unapologetically pro-business agenda ✅- Stamp duty ✅- Opportunity Zones ✅- Reversing NI rise ✅- Childcare reform ✅- Action on energy ✅All they need is capital allowances and it’ll be a @CPSThinkTank full house…— Robert Colvile (@rcolvile) September 23, 2022Business groups were also supportive of the chancellor’s measures.Tony Danker, director general of the CBI, said: “This is a turning point for our economy. Like covid, the energy crisis has meant government has had to spend massively to protect people and businesses. That means we have no choice but to go for growth to afford it.“Today is day one of a new UK growth approach. We must now use this opportunity to make it count and bring growth to every corner of the UK.”Martin McTague, national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “The Truss government is off to a flying start. The chancellor has delivered pro-small business measures today and has rightly recognised that removing taxes on jobs, investment and entrepreneurs is essential for our economy.”Today’s budget is a national disgrace.Handouts for the rich, hardship for the rest.Don’t accept it. Fight back. Join us at protests across Britain on October 1st.https://t.co/1SeHcIXdMrpic.twitter.com/iRriUgnaG9— Enough is Enough (@eiecampaign) September 23, 2022But trade unions were scathing in their assessment.Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, said: “This mini-budget is unashamedly a budget for the rich, big business and the City – highest earners’ tax slashed, corporation tax slashed, investment bankers’ bonuses let rip.“Billionaires and City bankers will once again be considering which tax haven they will stash their money in, whilst millions of ordinary families continue to struggle to make ends meet.”Related...This Is How Much Money The New Stamp Duty Cut Could Save YouMillionaires Handed £55,000 Tax Cut By Liz Truss And Kwasi KwartengLabour's Rachel Reeves Slams Tories Over Mini Budget For The 'Wealthy'
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UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Trump Called Out
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UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
ITV Denies Reports That Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield Were 'Heckled' During Queen Visit
Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield inside Westminster Hall last weekITV has denied that This Morning presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby were “heckled” by people waiting in line to see the Queen lying in state.Last week, the broadcaster issued a statement in defence of the daytime duo after it was claimed that they had “jumped the queue” inside Westminster Hall, where the late monarch was lying in state prior to her funeral.“They did not jump the queue, have VIP access or file past the Queen lying in state – but instead were there in a professional capacity as part of the world’s media to report on the event,” a spokesperson said.On Friday, The Sun published quotes from someone supposedly in the queue at the time of Phillip and Holly’s visit, who claimed the pair were “heckled” by those in line.However, an ITV rep has insisted this was not the case.Phillip and Holly in the This Morning studio earlier this week“This account is untrue and is not a fair and accurate representation of what happened that day,” they told Metro.“Phillip and Holly were escorted by government staff to work from the media gallery. They did not file past the Queen’s coffin and were there alongside a host of other broadcasters and national media in a professional capacity.”During Tuesday’s edition of This Morning, the pair also addressed the backlash head-on, with Holly insisting: “Like hundreds of accredited broadcasters and journalists, we were given official permission to access the hall. It was strictly for the purpose of reporting on the event for millions of people in the UK who haven’t been able to visit Westminster in person.“The rules were that we would be quickly escorted around the edges to a platform at the back. In contrast, those paying respects walked along a carpeted area beside the coffin and were given time to pause.“None of the broadcasters and journalists there took anyone’s place in the queue, and no-one filed past the Queen.“We, of course, respected those rules. However we realise that it may have looked like something else and therefore totally understand the reaction. Please know that we would never jump a queue.”READ MORE:This Morning Sparks Hundreds Of Ofcom Complaints Over 'Spin To Win' Energy Bills ControversyPiers Morgan Defends 'Distraught' Holly Willoughby And Phillip Schofield Over This Morning Queue RowEamonn Holmes Takes Swipe At Holly Willoughby And Phillip Schofield Over ‘Queue Jump’ Accusations
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Stormzy's Mel Made Me Do It Music Video Has More Celebrity Cameos Than We Can Count
Stormzy made his impromptu return to the music scene on Thursday night with the surprise release of his new single Mel Made Me Do It.The chart-topping rapper’s new track was released alongside its 11-minute music video, which has already got everyone talking – thanks in no small part to its seemingly-never-ending list of celebrity cameos.To say the Mel Made Me Do It video is star-studded would be a definite understatement, with everyone from Stormzy’s music industry peers to pioneering sports personalities putting in appearances.Early on in the clip, Stormzy appears in a fictional talk show co-hosted by Jonathan Ross and Zeze Millz, in which his fellow guests are Louis Theroux and Olympian Dina Asher-Smith.Honestly
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Mini-Budget: Millionaires Handed £55,000 Tax Cut By Liz Truss And Kwasi Kwarteng
Millionaires will get a £55,000 tax cut next year as a result of Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget.The chancellor annoucned on Friday announced that he was scrapping the 45 per cent top rate of income tax paid by those earning at least £150,000.It means anyone earning over £50,271 will be taxed at the same 40 per cent rate.The move will benefit around 660,000 high earners - saving them on average £10,000 a year.An analysis by the the Resolution Foundation think-tank has revealed the changes mean someone earning £200,000 will gain £5,220 a year.And those on £1 million will save an astonishing £55,220 a year.But for those earning just £20,000, the annual saving will only amount to £157.Torsten Bell, the chief executive of the Resolution Foundation, said it meant someone earning £1 million was saving “twice what a typical earner brings home a year”.Kwarteng has defended the move as necessary to stimulate growth in the economy. “High taxes reduce incentives to work and they hinder enterprise,” he told MPs.But Lisa Nandy, Labour’s shadow levelling up secretary, said it was “extraordinary”.“Political choices like handing £55,000 to millionaires are just impossible to justify when people are struggling to afford the basic essentials, food, energy costs and housing,” she told Sky News.The figures show 65% of the gains from personal tax cuts announced by the chancellor go to the richest fifth of households, who will be better-off on average by £3,090 next year.And 45% will go to the richest 5% alone, who will be £8,560 better off.Just 12% of the gains will go to the poorest half of households, who will be £230 better off on average next year.Current income tax ratesThe current income tax rates - the top rate will be axed.Challenged in the Commons over the savings handed to millionaires, Kwarteng would not be drawn on a precise figure.He told MPs the top rate was returning to what it had been for “20 years” including under the last Labour government.Between 1989 and 2010 the top rate of income tax was 40%. Labour raised it to 50% in April 2010 in the wake of the financial crisis. In April 2023 David Cameron’s coalition government reduced it to 45%.In his mini-Budget, Kwarteng also confirmed the reversal of the national insurance rise introduced by Boris Johnson’s government in April.The tax cut will benefit the poorest by just 63p a month, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.By contrast, the respected think-tank said the move would be worth around £150 a month to higher earners.Related...7 Key Takeaways From Kwasi Kwarteng's Huge 'Mini Budget'
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15 Of Spain's Women's Football Team Have Threatened To Quit For Their Mental Health
By now, you’ve probably read about the trend of quiet quitting at work, where employees commit to completing the basic requirements of their job description – and nothing else. It’s all about inserting boundaries for your wellbeing. Now, 15 members of the Spanish women’s football team have taken things one step further, threatening to resign en mass over concerns for their mental health. The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed it had received 15 emails – all identically worded – from players who refused to continue playing for their country under current head coach, Jorge Vilda.In a statement, the RFEF said the players claim Vilda’s regime is affecting their “health” and “emotional state” and “as long as it is not reversed, they renounce the national team of Spain”.The identities of the players who penned the letters have not been confirmed. The Spanish team reached the quarter finals of this summer's UEFA Women's Euro.The governing body responded by saying the players could be disqualified for up to five years and will only be allowed to play again “if they assume their mistake and ask for forgiveness”.The news is pretty extraordinary, coming in the wake of the Euros and at a time when women’s football is in big focus. Plenty will remember watching the Spanish side in the quarter finals, where they were defeated by England 2-1. It also coincides with something of a cultural shift in the sports world, with players increasingly prioritising their mental health.Last year, the world watched as tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrew from tournaments to work on her mental health. British sports stars Marcus Rashford and Emma Raducanu have also spoken about overcoming overwhelm, while US gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from some of her Olympic events, because she didn’t feel in the correct headspace to compete. It remains to be seen exactly how the news from Spain will play out. In a statement, the Royal Spanish Football Federation said: “The RFEF will not allow the players to question the continuity of the national coach and his coaching staff, because making those decisions does not fall within their competences.”The statement added: “The RFEF, contrary to the way these players act, wants to make it clear that it will not take them to this extreme or pressure them.“Directly, it will not summon the players who do not want to wear the shirt of Spain. The Federation will only have committed players even if they have to play with youth.“This has turned from a sporting issue to a question of dignity. Selection is non-negotiable. It is an unprecedented situation in the history of football, both male and female, in the Spanish and world arena.”Related...Alex Scott Explains Why Misogyny And Death Threats Won't Stop Her Presenting FootballEven After 10 Years, Rebecca Adlington Is Still Being Trolled. This Is How She ManagesWhy Watching England’s Lionesses Is So Great For Your Mental Health
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Stamp Duty Cut: When It Will Happen And How Much You'll Save
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has announced a stamp duty cut in his mini-budget – and it’s worth clueing up on if you’re hoping to move house in the near feature.Those buying a home between the value of £250,000 and £925,000 (the majority of home buyers in England) can expect to save £2,500 on stamp duty compared to previous prices. A tax break may seem like welcome news to home buyers, but property experts have warned it could cause chaos in the housing market longer term, as we saw following the pandemic stamp duty holiday of 2021.The latest stamp duty cut, which is effective immediately, lowers the threshold where buyers will have to start paying stamp duty. Kwarteng called it a “permanent cut to stamp duty, effective from today.” Under the previous system, there was no stamp duty to pay on the first £125,000 of a property’s value. Under Kwarteng’s plan, the threshold doubles, meaning stamp duty starts on properties over the value of £250,000 for those who are not first-time buyers.However, the rates remain the same, meaning there’s a maximum saving of £2,500 to be had for those who aren’t first-time buyers.The new system also increases the first-time buyer threshold. “First time buyers currently pay no stamp duty on the first £300,000. We are increasing that threshold to £425,000,” Kwarteng said.The chancellor claimed the stamp duty cut will “help families aspiring to own their own home”. What are the new stamp duty rates?The stamp duty rates are now:0%: £0 - £250,000 (£425,000 for first time buyers)5%: £250,000 - £925,00010%: £925,000 - £1,500,00012%: £1,500,000+How much money can you save on stamp duty?The property advice website HomeOwners Alliance has a stamp duty calculator, which allows you to enter the value of the property you’re hoping to purchase and check the associated stamp duty.This will be updated shortly with the new rates. Previously, home buyers in England were exempt from paying stamp duty on the first £125,000 on a property’s vale (the rates vary across the UK). This meant that, prior to the announcement, you’d pay the following stamp duty if it was the only residential property you owned (you’d typically pay 3% on top of these rates if you owned another residential property):Value £250,000: Previously £2,500 stamp duty. Now £0 Value £350,000: Previously £7,500 stamp duty. Now £5,000 (first-time buyers, £0)Value £450,000: Previously £12,500 stamp duty. Now £10,000 (first-time buyers, £1,500)Value £550,000: Previously £17,500 stamp duty. Now £15,000 (first-time buyers £6,250)Value: £650,000: Previously £22,500 stamp duty. Now £20,000 (first-time buyers £11,250)But it’s not that simple...Though you’ll save on stamp duty, Sarah Coles, a senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said cuts may risk “doing more harm than good”.Ahead of the budget announcement, which was anticipated after a tip off in The Times, Coles said that stimulating housing market demand could push house prices up further, at a time when the supply of available homes is already tight.Borrowers could then find themselves paying higher monthly mortgage costs if the price of their home increases. Mortgage rates are already on the rise and the Bank of England is expected to hike the base rate further this week, pushing borrowing rates higher.It’s also worth bearing in mind that the savings are not as high as those seen during the stamp duty holiday of last year – though some say that’s a good thing. In 2021, Liz Truss’s leadership rival and previous chancellor Rishi Sunak temporarily paused stamp duty on all properties up to the value of £500,000, in a bid to get the market moving. It meant potential tax savings of £15,000, though demand pushed up prices for property, removal services and conveyancers, disproportionately so in some parts of the country. There were reports of homebuyers ‘gazumping’ each other for removal vans and tussling to get to the top of their conveyancer’s to-do pile. It was stressful, to say the least. Ahead of Kwarteng’s announcement, Coles warned: “No buyer will ever complain about a tax cut, but if the government was to cut stamp duty it would mean ignoring the fact that the real brake on the property market is a severe shortage of supply.“Stimulating demand without addressing supply problems would risk more buyers chasing a tiny number of properties, which would push prices up. It’s what we saw during the coronavirus-inspired stamp duty holiday.“By ramping up prices at a time of rising mortgage rates, the end result will be higher monthly mortgage costs, which are going to be increasingly unaffordable. This in itself could be enough to deter buyers, so there’s the risk it could end up doing more harm than good.”Labour’s Rachel Reeves also said she did not think the stamp duty cuts would boost home ownership.“These stamp duty changes have been tried before,” she said. “Last time the government did it a third of the people who benefited were buying a second home, a third home or a buy-to-let property. Is that really the best use of taxpayers’ money when borrowing and debt are already so high?”But Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, welcomed the announcement.  “The government’s changes to stamp duty mean more people will be able to afford to get on the property ladder. It’s especially welcome at a time when interest rates are driving up the cost of borrowing,” she said. “Government has also reaffirmed its commitment to homeownership today. We agree it is critical: homeownership shouldn’t be for the richest in society, but achievable for everyone. This tax cut is a step in the right direction.“The fact the change is permanent and starts today is particularly welcome as it will avoid the chaos of the previous stamp duty holidays. It means those who had put their move on hold earlier this week when speculation began can now crack on with their exchange and completion.” Related...How Skyrocketing Rent Lies At The Centre Of The Cost Of Living CrisisHomeowners Need To Know This Tip For Saving Thousands On Energy Bills Long-TermHere's How Much Your Annual Food Shopping Bill Is Set To Go Up
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Analysis: We Are All Guinea Pigs In Kwasi Kwarteng's Economic Experiment
Kwasi Kwarteng has announced huge tax cuts for the rich.Liz Truss wasn’t bluffing when she said she was willing to make “unpopular” decisions.Make no mistake about it, her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s announcement of tax cuts for the rich is a huge economic experiment - and potentially politically toxic.Treasury sources say it’s all about “growing the size of the pie”, or the UK economy as a whole, which in turn will create - they hope - more jobs, higher wages, increased tax receipts and better public services.But the main headline from the not-so-mini-budget is the huge tax cut for the rich, which will see 660,000 higher-earners pocketing an average £10,000 a year.Or, to put it another way, if you are lucky enough to earn £1 million, the chancellor has just cut your tax bill by £55,000 - which is twice the UK average wage.Trying selling that one to Red Wall voters.Chuck in the lifting of the cap on bankers’ bonuses and no wonder one Westminster insider dubbed it it “a budget for fat cats”.Treasury sources were, unsurprisingly, eager to point to the fact that the basic rate of income tax will be cut to 19p from next April.“The entire country has received a tax cut today and everyone will benefit from economic growth,” said one.But with no analysis by the Office for Budget Responsibility, we have no way of knowing when - or if - Kwarteng’s gamble will actually pay off.That means everyone in the country is now effectively a guinea pig in the “new” government’s economic experiment.For all our sakes, we’d better hope it pays off.Related...Labour's Rachel Reeves Slams Tories Over Mini Budget For The 'Wealthy'Kwasi Kwarteng Slashes Income Tax For Highest Earners In Mini BudgetBankers’ Bonuses Cap Scrapped By Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng
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Hilary Mantel, Award-Winning Wolf Hall Author, Has Died Aged 70
Hilary Mantel pictured in 2020British author Dame Hilary Mantel has died at the age of 70.On Friday, a statement from her publishers HarperCollins confirmed the award-winning author had died “suddenly yet peacefully” surrounded by close family and friends.Paying tribute, HarperCollins described Dame Hilary as “one of the greatest English novelists of this century”.They added: “Her beloved works are considered modern classics. She will be greatly missed.”Dame Hilary was perhaps best known for her trilogy of books providing a fictional account of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in Henry VIII’s court.The first two books in the saga, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, both earned her the Booker Prize, making her the fourth author in history and first woman to receive the award twice.More to follow.
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