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Covid Updates for West Midlands

Click the the latest news on Covid within Birmingham https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51768274

BBC Front Page News

Epsom College head found dead with husband and daughter, 7

The head of a private school in Surrey has been found dead along with her husband and seven-year-old daughter.

New images show Nicola Bulley on day she disappeared

Doorbell footage of Nicola Bulley outside her home on the day she disappeared is shared with the BBC.

Ukraine braced for renewed Russian offensive later in February

A large Russian attack is likely to come from the east and south, Kyiv says, but it has the reserves to repel it.

China balloon: US searches in Atlantic for wreckage

The US is trying recover debris from the suspected spy balloon that fell in shallow waters off South Carolina.

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AskTen - Nine things you may not have noticed last week!

1. How to build a thriving workplace. To attract and retain the best talent in your industry, you need to offer candidates an inspiring, engaging workplace. Fortunately, transforming your company culture, adopting more transparent policies, and engaging your employees does not require a huge budget. With careful planning, you can implement measures that will allow your workers and business to thrive. READ MORE >>

2. Business confidence bounces back. British business confidence has bounced back, according to a new survey showing that it had reached its highest level in six months in January. Overall confidence among UK companies increased by five points to 22% this month, the latest Lloyds Bank Business Barometer found, edging closer to the long-term average of 28%. Confidence is an “important economic indicator and driver of growth”, because “the more optimistic companies feel, the more likely they are to invest”. The Times

3. Government borrowing at record levels. Official figures showed that UK Government borrowing in December shot up to a record £27.4bn – the highest for the month since records began and more than £9.8bn higher than analyst expectations. The ONS reported the Government paid a record £17.3bn to service the cost of debt linked to inflation. With total UK borrowing now standing at 99.5% of GDP, the debt-to-GDP ratio is at levels last seen in the early 1960s. Financial Times

4. Oil companies to reveal profits. Oil giants are preparing to announce an “obscene” £160bn “profit bonanza”. As five of the world’s biggest producers prepare to reveal their figures, analysts predict the annual haul will have doubled. The forecast combined profits for BP, Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Total Energies would equate to more than £5,000 a second. The NGO, Global Witness said: “Let’s not forget that these companies are richer because the rest of us are poorer.” Daily Mirror

5. What motivates you to go into the office? Hybrid workers are choosing to go to the office more often. Why? According to a new report from Transport for London, the cost of heating and electricity, isolation due to freezing temperatures and the opportunity to dine out or pop into the shops are driving workers back. In the report, around 60% of the respondents went in to save on bills, while the rest cited the need for social interactions after being isolated due to the cold. What motivates you to go into the office? Please vote in our latest poll and share your thoughts with us. VOTE HERE >>

 

6. Compensation claims down in UK. Compensation culture appears to be on the decline in Britain as nearly half of the public shuns the idea of making a claim. The number of claims for road traffic incidents, accidents or illness at work, slips, trips or falls in public places and medical negligence was down more than 40% last year. A study found that the reasons for the decline lay in the fact people were worried about stigma linked with making a claim, deterred by a fear that claims take too long, or held a fear of lawyers or the legal system. The Times

7. Pension age could be raised sooner. People will have to work for longer before claiming the state pension under plans to raise the official retirement age to 68 sooner than initially planned. The present threshold of 66 was due to be raised to 68 in 2046. However, ministers are looking at bringing forward the change to as early as 2035, affecting those who are 54 and under today. Experts said bringing the move forward would spare the taxpayer about £10bn but sceptics said it would disrupt the plans of those already planning for retirement. The Guardian

8. Sources say Sunak was warned. Sources have said that Rishi Sunak was told there could be a reputational risk to the government from Nadhim Zahawi’s tax affairs when he appointed him as Conservative party chair in October. Senior government officials are said to have given the prime minister informal advice about the risks from an HMRC investigation that had been settled just months earlier. Meanwhile, as the PM celebrated his 100th day in office, Tory insiders fear he is “spinning and getting nowhere”. The Sunday Times

9. Excess deaths soar again. Official data shows that excess deaths have reached their highest number since the second wave of the pandemic. Some 17,381 people died in England and Wales in the week ending 13 January 2023. The five-year pre-pandemic average for deaths was 14,544, meaning there were 2,837 excess deaths last week alone. Less than 5% of the excess deaths were from Covid, with high flu rates, record NHS waiting lists for routine operations, ambulance and A&E delays, and unmet needs from the pandemic year also blamed. The Telegraph

10. The bottom line. The AA warned that at peak times, it can cost more to charge the vehicles than it does to fill up a petrol car. Owing to rising energy prices, it now costs 16.18 pence a mile to power a small electric car, compared to 14.45 pence for a petrol equivalent. These figures apply to slow chargers; the rapid ones favoured by drivers on long journeys cost even more than that. The Telegraph