Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 28 Feb 2021

The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am

1. Sunak plans tax grabs

Rishi Sunak is readying a new tax on online deliveries and a raid on the self-employed, says the Sunday Telegraph. In his budget next week, the chancellor will unveil a series of measures to pay for the £300bn cost of dealing with the pandemic. The Sunday Times says the chancellor will freeze for at least three years the point at which people start paying the basic rate of income tax —£12,500.

2. ‘Crisis’ in children’s mental health

There has been a warning of a “crisis on top of a crisis” with an expected surge in child mental health cases as schools reopen next week. Speaking to The Observer, paediatricians, psychologists and charitable groups providing mental health support said they were seeing increasing demand and warned of another spike as lockdown is lifted.

3. One dose ‘gives 90% protection’

A single vaccine shot reduces the risk of being hospitalised by Covid-19 by more than 90 per cent, according to the Mail on Sunday. Public health officials have told the government that the statistic applies for both the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The UK rollout has now achieved nearly 20 million first injections.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

4. Tories surge to new lead

The Conservatives have reached their biggest lead over Labour since last summer, according to an Opinium poll. The survey gives the Tories a seven-point lead over Labour, up from five points a fortnight ago. It is the biggest lead since July, with the Conservatives on 43% of the vote and Labour down one point on 36%. The Observer says it suggests Boris Johnson is benefiting from a “vaccine bounce”.

5. Crisis creates ‘accidental savers’

More than six million people have become “accidental savers” during the pandemic by keeping jobs while facing fewer outgoings, according to a financial consultancy. Lower commuting costs, fewer restaurant visits and holidays have seen some people’s financial position improve. Many of them could have saved thousands of pounds. However, others have faced greater debts, redundancy, or reduced income during furlough.

6. Kent town to fine litter bugs

A local authority in Kent is launching the first pilot scheme in the country to fine motorists for throwing litter out of their cars. Maidstone council will use LitterCam cameras to issue fines that will start at £90 and rise to £120 if unpaid after 15 days. Collection figures for rubbish have risen by 250 per cent in the county town.

7. Poll finds sexuality shifts

Only half of young people are solely attracted to members of the opposite sex, according to a new poll. A survey of 18 to 24 year-olds in the UK found just over 50 per cent are “only attracted to those of the opposite sex”. However, the researchers found that as the age groups got older, the proportion of people who were only attracted to the opposite sex got higher.

8. Fleet St editor supported IRA

A former editor of the Daily Mirror says he supported IRA bombing campaigns. Roy Greenslade, now emeritus professor of journalism at City University, says he was “in complete agreement about the right of the Irish people to engage in armed struggle”. Writing for the British Journalism Review, he argues that “the fight between the forces of the state and a group of insurgents” is “unequal and therefore could not be fought on conventional terms”.

9. Royals encourage jab take-up

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have urged people to get the Covid vaccine and warned of the dangers of “social media awash sometimes with lots of rumours and misinformation”. Prince William said vaccination efforts must continue so young people would feel “it's really important for them to have it”. Their statement comes after the Queen also encouraged people to get a vaccine.

10. Britain’s ‘healthiest place’ revealed

Wokingham is the healthiest place in the country, according to the first official national health index. The study also found that Blackpool is the unhealthiest and Brent, in northwest London, is the happiest. Meanwhile, Bath residents are the most physically active, and the healthiest eaters live in Richmond upon Thames. The Sunday Times says the findings of the study reveal a “stark” north-south divide.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.