Ending the pandemic will take global access to COVID-19 treatment and vaccines – which means putting ethics before profits : The Conversation

The high cost of pharmaceuticals often means only the richest patients get lifesaving medicines. As coronavirus drugs emerge, it will require hard, creative work to ensure they’re available to all.

Source: Ending the pandemic will take global access to COVID-19 treatment and vaccines – which means putting ethics before profits : The Conversation

For Prince Andrew and Anne Sacoolas, the law is just an obstacle to navigate | Gaby Hinsliff | Opinion | The Guardian

These cases are an enraging reminder that the privileged have a very different view of justice, says Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff

Source: For Prince Andrew and Anne Sacoolas, the law is just an obstacle to navigate | Gaby Hinsliff | Opinion | The Guardian

Poverty in the UK is violating human rights. So…What’s next?

The report has been created and issued,but the Government disputes its findings, but the finding tend to show that the views of the population are correct.

The Government needs to accept the report and put their own ‘house’ in order.

The Government is proceeding on a a denial, they wish to believe their own misguided views rather than those of an independent enquiry.

This goes to prove that this Government does not care for the population of the UK, but only care for themselves and their immediate friends.

All these MPs claim for a TV licence – but many people who need it can’t – inews.co.uk

For many people, the BBC is more than just a broadcaster. It is a companion, a (good) teacher, an alarm clock, a sleep aid, an entertainer and a provocateur. It is not just a news source but the soundtrack to our lives. Like it or loathe it, one thing’s for sure – you feel a certain way about it, that’s as British as talking about the weather.

And so, the announcement that millions of pensioners will have to pay £154.50 for a TV licence from next year because the corporation plans to start means testing it has got tongues wagging.

BBC bosses have confirmed the move, with Director General Lord Hall saying the decision to cut the funding free TV licences for the over-75s – to the tune of £745 million a year – stemmed from Conservative austerity. Former Culture Minister Ed Vaizey seemed to agree, saying we shouldn’t forget it was the Treasury under George Osborne that decided the BBC would have to shoulder the cost to meet welfare targets.

Other politicians have also condemned the move. Theresa May is said to be “very disappointed” by the decision while Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has accused the Government of “breathtaking gall” in trying to “blame the BBC for this mess”.

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Why should MPs get free TV licences but not the over-75s?

However, whatever happens next, there is one group who will continue to be able to access free TV licences in the future: politicians. MPs work hard, often unsociable hours and they can claim a free TV licence for their constituency offices as an expense.

Figures published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) and obtained by i show that so far, in the expenses year 2018-2019 up until January (reporting is not yet complete for February and March), 154 MPs have made such a claim.

This includes Conservatives such as the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, who has overseen the rollout of Universal Credit, Michael Fabricant, Kevin Hollinrake, who founded the estate agency chain Hunters, Sir Roger Gale and Anna Soubry. Labour’s Hillary Benn, Karl Turner, Lisa Nandy, Kate Osamor and Yasmin Qureshi are also amongst those making the claim.

An incredible resource

The BBC says cutting free licenses for older people will save them somewhere in the region of £500m. I don’t question for a moment whether paying £154.50 a year for a TV licence is good value or that, now, more than ever, we need the quality rolling Brexit coverage of Laura Kuenssberg as well as the dark relief of truly innovative shows like Killing Eve.

And, no matter how connected the world becomes, BBC World Service will always be an incredible resource. We need more of this, not less and, for that, the BBC has to be able to compete with the likes of Netflix who are currently able to outspend it hand over fist. Something has to give.

Conservative leadership contender Jeremy Hunt has defended MPs ability to make these claims as a “legitimate expense”, but MPs earn around £80,000 a year which is far above the national average of £29,009. So is it fair that politicians can collect work perks when schools and care homeshave to pay?


Source: All these MPs claim for a TV licence – but many people who need it can’t – inews.co.uk

Millions in Europe drink contaminated water: UN | Euronews

Millions of people across Europe drink contaminated water, often without knowing it, a new United Nations’ report warned on Tuesday.

Some 57 million people across Europe and North America do not have piped water at home, the UN estimates in its latest annual World Water Development report released on Tuesday.

A further 21 million people lack access to basic drinking water services while another 36 million do not have access to basic sanitation, relying instead on unsafe, shared or unsustainable sanitation.

The situation is most severe in rural areas and in Central Asia and the Caucasus where 72% of the people have no access to basic water services.

But the UN warns that “many citizens in Western and Central Europe, as well as in North America, also suffer from the lack of or inequitable access to water and sanitation services.”

“Inequities are frequently related to socio-cultural differences, socio-economic factors and the geographical context,” it explains.

14 deaths per day

The European Commision estimated last year that water scarcity affects at least 11% of the European population.

Inadequate water bears strong human, ecologic and economic costs. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that every day, 14 people die of diarrhoeal disease caused by unsafe water.

According to WHO statistics, 480 people died in Germany in 2016 because of exposure to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. It was followed by France, which recorded 172 such deaths and the UK with 130 fatalities.

Lack of access also forces people to buy bottled water. Improving access to safe water would thus help European households to save more than €600 million per year, the EU Commission calculated. It would also, it noted, help to achieve one of the objectives from the Paris Climate Agreement as reducing the consumption of bottled water from 100 to 88 litres per year by 2050, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.2 million tonnes CO2.

The UN recommends that inequities in access should focus on reducing geographical disparities by addressing specific barriers faced by marginalised groups and people living in vulnerable situations and by reducing affordability concerns.

It highlighted efforts made in the Greater Paris area as well as in North Macedonia to assess the level of equity of access to water and sanitation. It also praised Armenia’s 2017 action plan to improve access for the 579 rural communities not serviced by centralised water supplies.

Some 2.1 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water with 4.3 billion lacking access to safe sanitation facilities, according to the UN.


Source: Millions in Europe drink contaminated water: UN | Euronews

Katie Price is right. Disabled people shouldn’t be forced off the internet by abuse | Gaby Hinsliff | Opinion | The Guardian

What sort of person repeatedly picks on a disabled child in the most vicious and cruel of terms?

The answer, of course, is the sort of people the model Katie Price had in mindwhen she started campaigning for online abuse to become a specific criminal offence. Price’s 15-year-old son Harvey – who is blind, autistic and has Prader-Willi syndrome – has been hideously mocked and taunted. His mother quickly gathered more than 220,000 supportive signatures for a petition demanding online abuse be treated as a hate crime, and now the parliamentary petitions committee has accepted her argument that the law isn’t fit for purpose – or to be precise a part of that argument. (Price’s petition referred not just to disability but to homophobia, racism and even body-shaming of women; the MPs were careful to single out disability alone, arguing in their report that they didn’t want to cut across the work of others on the rest.)


Source: Katie Price is right. Disabled people shouldn’t be forced off the internet by abuse | Gaby Hinsliff | Opinion | The Guardian

‘We all want to live the lives we choose’

Scope's Blog

Jameisha talks about the impact of a hidden impairment and how attitudes affect her daily life.

As a young person living with Lupus and a few other hidden impairments, I have had my fair share of challenges confronting attitudes surrounding my conditions. These experiences often come from well-meaning people, but they are a marker of how we need to change as a society to be more understanding and inclusive.

I have become very self-conscious about how people see me as a young person with an invisible impairment. So many thoughts go through my mind. What’s everyone thinking when I sit in the priority seating area? Are people judging me for getting the lift instead of the stairs? Are people staring at me for using the disabled parking space at the supermarket. It got to the point where I wouldn’t take help in fear that I would be judged. Ultimately, the…

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A decade of cuts has set back diversity in the public sector | Jane Dudman | Society | The Guardian

Ian Thomas is used to tough jobs. The former children’s services director at Rotherham council is now chief executive of Lewisham, a London borough facing huge financial pressure, including a £15.6m overspend on children’s services.

Only two areas of public service better reflect the UK population: social work and the NHS. Latest figures show that around one-fifth of social workers and NHS staff are from BAME backgrounds, although given that 42% of medics are not white, diversity in non-clinical NHS jobs is very much lower.

The lack of diversity is even more acute at senior levels. Judges, senior civil servants, chief constables and NHS chief executives are still predominantly white. In local government, according to last year’s Colour of Power report, none of the 108 chief executives of England’s largest councils was a BAME person.


Source: A decade of cuts has set back diversity in the public sector | Jane Dudman | Society | The Guardian

Ten million British jobs could be gone in 15 years. No one knows what happens next | John Harris | Opinion | The Guardian

Plenty of people may not have heard of the retail firm Shop Direct. Its roots go back to the distant heyday of catalogue shopping, and two giants of that era, Littlewoods and Great Universal Stores. Now it is the parent company behind the online fashion brand Very and the reinvented Littlewoods.com. All this may sound innocuous enough. But in two areas of Greater Manchester, Shop Direct is newly notorious.

Until now, what the modern corporate vernacular calls “fulfilment” – in other words, packing up people’s orders and seeing to returns – has been dealt with at three Shop Direct sites, in Chadderton and Shaw, near Oldham, and in Little Hulton, three miles south of Bolton. But the company now has plans to transfer all such tasks to a “fully automated”, 500,000 sq ft “distribution and returns centre” located in a logistics park in the east Midlands. The compulsory consultation period begins tomorrow, and the shopworkers’ union Usdaw and local politicians are up in arms: if it happens in full, the move will entail the loss of 1,177 full-time posts, and 815 roles currently performed by agency workers; on the new site there will only be jobs for about 500 people. At a time when apparently low unemployment figures blind people to the fragility and insecurity of so much work, the story is a compelling straw in the wind: probably the starkest example I have yet seen of this era of automation, and the disruption and pain it threatens.


Source: Ten million British jobs could be gone in 15 years. No one knows what happens next | John Harris | Opinion | The Guardian