Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 25 September 2023

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

1. Hollywood strike deal

Screenwriters in the US have announced a tentative deal with studio bosses that could see them end a strike that has lasted nearly five months. The Writers Guild of America said the agreement was "exceptional, with meaningful gains and protections for writers", but members will have the final say and the tentative deal does not end the strike. The industrial action has "lasted 146 days, tossed thousands of people out of work and exposed deep anxiety over changes brought by technology", said the Los Angeles Times.

The Hollywood actors strike explained

2. Troops may replace police

The Ministry of Defence has offered soldiers to support armed police in London after dozens of Met officers stood down from firearms duties. The BBC reported that more than 100 officers have turned in permits allowing them to carry weapons. Meanwhile, the head of the Metropolitan Police has demanded increased legal protections for officers. In an open letter to the home secretary, Met Commissioner Mark Rowley said it was right his force was "held to the highest standards", but he argued that the current system was undermining his officers and suggested they needed more legal protections.

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3. Climate U-turn 'costs'

Rishi Sunak has been told that his U-turn on net zero will raise the cost of living and put Britain behind other countries in the race to build a green economy, the inews site reported. In a letter to the prime minister, more than 100 economists from top universities across the UK and abroad argued that accelerating net zero would create jobs and attract business investment. Separately, Donald Trump has praised Sunak over his decision to scale back net zero commitments, congratulating the PM for being "smart" and taking on "climate alarmists".

Will Rishi Sunak's green wedge issue win over the public?

4. Lib Dems pledge

The Liberal Democrats have abandoned a key pledge to put a penny on income tax to improve public services in a bid to become the "party of the home counties", said The Times. Ed Davey, the party leader, said that the pledge, which the party first adopted in 1992, was unsustainable when people were struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. He believes his party has a "big opportunity" to replace the Tories in towns across the home counties. They hope to win as many as 40 seats and hold the balance of power.

October by-elections: what's at stake for Labour, Lib Dems and Tories?

5. Slowdown cost estimated

The UK economy's slowdown has cost households the equivalent of £1,400, according to the Resolution Foundation. The think tank said the economy has suffered from a prolonged productivity slowdown and stagnant business dynamism, with the private sector seeing the worst pace of economic change in nearly 100 years. The British economy has "spent the past 15 years struggling from one major crisis to another", said Greg Thwaites, research director of the Resolution Foundation.

Mini-budget one year on: how the Truss-Kwarteng growth plan lingers

6. Work 'shift' revealed

Unprecedented numbers of people in their 50s and older are in part-time work, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics. The study revealed that 3.6 million older people are working part-time in the UK: a record high and a 12% increase since 2021. This is also a 26% increase in the past decade and a 56% increase in the past two decades. The findings have been hailed as a "paradigm shift in how we view work and retirement", said The Guardian.

7. Trump has 'clear lead'

Donald Trump enjoys a 10-point lead over Joe Biden before next year’s US election, according to a new poll for ABC News and the Washington Post. The numbers, which The Times said will "cause alarm in the White House", would suggest a "clear win for the former president" rather than a repeat of 2020, when the result was tighter. The data suggests that among the reasons for Biden’s "waning popularity" are his age and his handling of the economy, The Times added.

8. France quitting Niger

France will end its military presence in Niger by the end of 2023, Emmanuel Macron has announced. "We are putting an end to our military cooperation with the de facto authorities of Niger because they don’t want to fight terrorism anymore," the French president said, referring to the military leaders who took over rule of the northwest African country. The announcement "appeared to end two months of French defiance over the coup", said Le Monde, which had seen Paris "keep its ambassador in place" despite him being "ordered" by the coup leaders to leave.

Niger coup: is this the end of French influence in Africa?

9. Leeds is 'shoplifting capital'

Leeds is the shoplifting capital of England, according to analysis of police statistics by The Times. Since 2012, more than 17,000 episodes of shop theft have been recorded in Leeds city centre, comfortably outstripping locations of a comparable size around the country. Shops are getting robbed "left, right and centre", a store owner in Leeds told the paper. Cardiff was in second place, followed by Westminster, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle.

10. Boris nanny claim

A nanny who worked for Boris and Carrie Johnson has claimed that she was unfairly dismissed three days into the job after having a drink with the former PM while his wife was in hospital with their third child. Theresa Dawes, 59, said that she was given 15 minutes to pack her bags by Carrie Johnson the day after she returned to the couple's home. She also said that when spoke to the former Tory leader about her treatment, he told her that his wife was "hormonal". The allegations are described as "untrue" by a spokesman for the former PM.

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