Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 28 September 2022

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

1. IMF criticises Kwarteng measures

The International Monetary Fund has openly criticised the government’s economic plans, warning that they are likely to fuel the cost-of-living crisis. The IMF said the tax cuts and borrowing plans could speed up the pace of price rises and “the nature of the measures will likely increase inequality”. The BBC’s economics editor, Faisal Islam, described the statement as “direct, uncompromising, unflinching and somewhat humiliating criticism”. The Telegraph said the statement was a “highly unusual attack”.

What the pound’s record low means for the UK

2. Labour ‘smells power again’

Keir Starmer said the public must never forgive the Tories for “crashing” the economy. In his speech to the party conference, the Labour leader said the only way to end the turmoil and create a “fairer, greener, more dynamic” society was with a Labour government. The Guardian said that “while the Labour leader spoke to a party that smells power again, some big obstacles remain in the way” and The Times said Labour “cannot rely solely on the government’s errors to regain the trust of the voters”.

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Keir Starmer: too boring for power?

3. Russia wins ‘sham’ referendums

Russia has claimed victory in disputed referendums in Russian-held regions of Ukraine. All four of the occupied areas of Ukraine voted to join Russia after the votes, said pro-Moscow officials, but UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly described the votes in the self-declared republics of Luhansk and Donetsk and the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as “sham” referendums. The UN Security Council is expected to declare that the results will not be accepted and that the four regions remain part of Ukraine.

What next for Ukraine after annexation votes in Russian-occupied areas?

4. ‘Twindemic’ warning for winter

Millions of people in the UK are being urged to take up flu and Covid vaccines after health experts warned of a deadly “twindemic” this winter. The UK should expect a significant, early wave of flu, experts said, based on what Australia has just experienced during its winter. NHS director for vaccinations and screening Steve Russell said: “This winter could be the first time we see the effects of the so called ‘twindemic’ with both Covid and flu in full circulation.”

Has Covid become less dangerous than flu?

5. Truss and Kwarteng ‘argued’ over response

Whitehall sources said Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng had a row over how to deal with the fall in the pound on Monday in the first signs of friction between the PM and the chancellor. Sky News said Truss had resisted Kwarteng’s suggestion that a Treasury statement was needed to calm the markets. However, a Downing Street source claimed it was “nonsense” that No 10 and No 11 had been at odds during the meeting, saying Truss meets Kwarteng every day and there was no argument.

Can Truss and Kwarteng pull off their growth plan?

6. Record price rises noted

Shoppers are paying 10.6% more for food than they were a year ago, data from the British Retail Consortium-Nielson IQ index shows. Food price inflation surged from 9.3% to 10.6%, and overall shop price inflation accelerated to 5.7% in September, up from 5.1% in August. Both rises are records. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Government must urgently freeze the business rates multiplier to give retailers more scope to do more to help households.”

Soaring inflation: the cost of living crunch

7. Lawrence killer sends selfies

One of Stephen Lawrence’s killers faces a criminal investigation after sending selfie pictures from his prison cell to friends outside. In an “astonishing breach” of jail rules and security, “snarling brute David Norris” has acquired a smartphone, which he uses to call and text friends, log onto Facebook and watch YouTube, said the Daily Mail. The murderer – nicknamed ‘Nozza’ – wrote in one message: “Nozza is defo home in 2 [years] and High Court now agrees. Get that party sorted girls cos I be there soon.”

Stephen Lawrence murder: will there be another criminal enquiry?

8. Labour a ‘lawless’ organisation

Senior Labour officials attempted to undermine support for Jeremy Corbyn and silence debate about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, according to a documentary. The Labour Files, an investigation by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit based on 500 gigabytes of documents, emails, video and audio files from the party dating from 1998 to 2021, found that party bureaucrats attempted to undermine members supportive of Corbyn. However, noted the Daily Express, Labour denies the documentary’s claim that it is a “lawless” organisation.

Why everybody’s talking about Labour’s anti-Semitism whistleblower battle

9. Postal workers to strike

Workers at Royal Mail will stage 19 days of strike action during the busy build-up to Christmas. Saying its “significant announcement” reflects the “anger” felt, the Communication Workers Union said the walkouts will be spread across October and November and will be a mix of single days and rolling action. It said the move follows an “outrageous” decision by bosses to withdraw from national agreements and push ahead with cuts to workers’ terms and conditions. Royal Mail said it is losing £1m a day and “must change faster in response to changing customer demands”.

Why postal workers are going on strike

10. Elderly who pump iron live longer

Older people can live longer if they lift weights or do press-ups once a week, research shows. The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that strength training in old age provides health benefits above and beyond simply doing cardiovascular exercise such as walking or swimming. Older adults who combined weekly weightlifting with aerobic exercise were about 47% less likely to die over a ten-year period than those who did not exercise.

The five most promising methods to extend human life

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