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Liz Truss Becomes New Prime Minister: What are her policies?

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Liz Truss has been confirmed as Britain’s next prime minister. A beaming Liz Truss has taken the stage after her victory to a huge standing ovation, saying it’s an honour to be elected as the leader.

The foreign secretary saw off a Tory leadership challenge from former chancellor Rishi Sunak to win the race to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and the UK’s next PM. She thanked the party for “organising one of the longest job interviews in history”, as well as her supporters.

Liz Truss has pledged to follow through on her promises to voters, saying the Tory party needs to show it can deliver over the next two years. The new prime minister’s manifesto promises on tax, healthcare, climate, Brexit and Ukraine.

She says she has a “bold plan” to cut taxes and grow the UK economy.Ms Truss pledged to cancel out the rise in National Insurance that was announced by Mr Sunak and came into effect in April, in order to put more money in citizens’ pockets.

While she has since been cagey indeed about tackling the cost of living crisis, Ms Truss has promised help with energy bills within a week of taking office and to hold an emergency budget as soon as possible, with the country facing runaway inflation in double-digits and soaring costs while wages stagnate.

Ms Truss also pledged at the outset to scrap Mr Sunak’s planned rise in corporation tax, due to increase from 19 per cent to 23 per cent in 2023 and promised £30bn worth of tax cuts, which she insisted was the only way to revive the ailing British economy.

About 57% of valid votes cast were for Liz Truss. Turnout was pretty high too, with 82.6% of members casting a vote, with 654 rejected, possibly spoiled or filled out incorrectly.

 

Healthcare:

On the NHS – once more on its knees with autumn flu season approaching and a fresh wave of Covid far from unlikely –  Ms Truss has backed shifting a greater proportion of healthcare spending towards social care and bringing more doctors out of retirement to help out (surely a sticking plaster if ever there was one).

She has also said that making GP’s surgeries more accessible is key to relieving some of the strain on the UK’s hospitals, which are currently battling dangerously long waiting times and treatment backlogs while starved of resources.

Brexit:

Despite having supported Remain and spoken out at the time about the importance of ready access to Europe, Ms Truss now casts herself not just as the reincarnation of Margaret Thatcher but also as the Brexiteer’s Brexiteer, even more so than Mr Sunak, who actually voted to leave the bloc.

Like Mr Johnson, she has threatened to risk the fragile peace at home by tampering with the Northern Ireland Protocol, insisting that trade between Great Britain and the region must be “free-flowing” and left up to UK courts to legislate, while also pledging to scrap or replace any EU regulations that she views as holding back Britain’s economic recovery.

 

Climate:

Apparently still not a matter of much concern to many Tories despite a summer of record temperatures, drought and associated transport chaos, Ms Truss, also a former environment secretary, has at least said she intends to honour the UK’s pledge to hit net zero by 2050 and promised protections for wildlife and biodiversity.

That said, she has also called for a review into the ban on harmful fracking in pursuit of shale gas, encouraged more nuclear power stations and labelled solar farms “a blight on the landscape”.

 

Housing:

Potentially placing the new PM in further conflict with the environment is her pledge to see 300,000 new homes built in the UK every year.

Elsewhere, she has also said she hopes to help first-time buyers by incorporating rental payments into mortgage assessments.

 

Education:

Ms Truss has said every pupil must be entitled to “the best opportunity to succeed” regardless of their background, an aspiration drawing on her own supposedly gritty origins at a Leeds comprehensive.

Ms Truss has otherwise said she would like to expand academically-successful academies, introduce more free schools and reform university admission procedures so that places in higher education are offered only based on actual, not predicted, grades while making Oxbridge places available automatically to anyone with the right results.

 

Ukraine:

Ms Truss has moved to reassure Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky that Britain’s support for his country in the face of Russian aggression will be unwavering, six months into an increasingly brutal and costly war that Mr Johnson did much to involve himself with, securing the admiration of Mr Zelensky and his people in the process.

Energy crisis:

On the prevailing issue of rising energy bills, she says she will “deliver” when it comes to crisis by not only dealing with bills but also the long term supply issues.

“We will deliver, we will deliver, we will deliver,” concludes Truss, focusing on a theme that she returned to constantly during the leadership contest.

The new Tory leader adds that the party will defeat Labour at the 2024 general election.

Are you happy with the choice?

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Beyoncé to play Sunderland Stadium of Light in this year as part of Renaissance world tour!

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The multi-million record-selling singer and songwriter announced on her website she will be returning to the home of the Black Cats on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.

It’s one of only four UK dates on the tour, with the star also playing Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, Murrayfield in Edinburgh and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Ticketing will begin on Monday, February 6, 2023, starting with an exclusive presale to BeyHive members.

The global superstar, 41, returned to the stage in January with a show in Dubai, which made headlines around the world. There’s been rumours for weeks of a tour after the star released new album Renaissance last summer, featuring tracks including Break My Soul and Cuff It, her first solo studio album since Lemonade in 2016.

The 2023 tour, produced by Parkwood Entertainment, and promoted by Live Nation, kicks off on May 10, 2023, at Friends Arena in Stockholm, SE, making stops throughout Europe in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Sunderland, Paris, London, Marseille, Amsterdam, Warsaw and more.

The tour then continues across North America with shows in Toronto, Chicago, East Rutherford, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Houston and more.

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Metro penalty fare rise from £20 to £100 supported by public, Nexus survey finds

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The penalty for fare evasion on the Tyne and Wear Metro has now increased to £100, with commuters largely supporting the change.

But despite the steep increase in the penalty fee, a survey conducted by Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, found that 72% of people supported the increase. And 88% of people surveyed said that other passengers were the ones who were the real victims of ticketless Metro travel.

The survey, conducted through Nexus’ customer insight panel revealed that respondents regard fared evasion as seriously as handling stolen goods, tax evasion or weighing a cheaper item at a self-serve check-out.

It increased penalty fare comes after The Department for Transport (DfT) decided to raise the penalty for rail fare evasion in England and Wales as part of a new effort to crackdown on fare evasion across Britain’s railways. Metro is part of the Government’s national penalty fare regime, so it is included in the change.

Fare evasion on Metro costs Nexus £1m a year in lost revenue on what is a vital public service which does not make any profit.

Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “The penalty for fare evasion on Metro has gone up to £100 from today and this is something that the overwhelming majority of our customers support.

“This is the first change since 2005 and reflects feedback from customers who want to see a strong deterrent against fraud. Anyone who is issued with a £100 penalty fare will pay £50 if it is paid with 21 days of it being issued.

“The Government consulted the whole rail industry and Nexus was among those keen to see an increase. Our customers tell us they want tougher penalties for those who decide not to pay their fare.

“The simple message for Metro customers is to buy a ticket every time you travel, that is a lot more affordable than risking the £100 fine.

“It’s never been easier to pay for Metro travel with a Pop Pay As You Go card and Android’s Google Pay. One in four customers are now accessing Metro this way and getting the lowest fares we have on offer.”

The penalty for Metro fare evasion, which is always set by the Government, has been £20 since May 2005.

If paid within 21 days, however, the £100 penalty is reduced to £50. But anyone who fails to pay the penalty fare will be taken to court, where a conviction results in much steeper fines.

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‘Sex party’ in Newcastle cathedral under investigation by Vatican

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St Mary’s Cathedral Newcastle upon Tyne

Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral alleged to have invited worshippers to his living quarters during lockdown.

The Vatican is investigating rumours of a “sex party” at a British cathedral which is alleged to have happened during lockdown.

As part of an investigation into the circumstances of Robert Byrne’s resignation as the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, the Catholic church is looking into claims one of his priests invited worshippers to a private party at his lodgings.

Multiple people are said to have complained that Father Michael McCoy, dean of Newcastle Cathedral, approached them to attend a party at a time when gatherings were not permitted.

A diocese source told the Sunday Times said: “A number of complaints were made by individuals within the diocese after information came to light about a sex party taking place in the priests’ living quarters attached to Newcastle Cathedral.”

McCoy, 57, killed himself in April 2021 four days after finding out he was subject to an investigation by Northumbria police’s child and adult protection department for child sexual abuse.

He had been appointed by Byrne in 2019, replacing the popular Father Dermott Donnelly, the older brother of TV presenter Declan Donnelly. Father Donnelly has since died after an illness in July 2022.

While there is no suggestion Byrne attended the party, he resigned as bishop in December, telling worshippers his office “has become too great a burden”.

In a letter to clergy, which he read in St Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle, he said: “My own discernment has caused me to recognise that I now feel unable to continue serving the people of the diocese in the way that I would wish.”

He was appointed in 2019, after previously serving as an auxiliary in the archdiocese of Birmingham and as provost of the Oxford Oratory from 1993 to 2011.

In a letter seen by the Sunday Times, the archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon who is running the diocese until Byrne’s successor is appointed and is leading the investigation into his resignation, said he has been asked by the pope’s advisers to prepare “an in-depth report into the events leading up to Bishop Byrne’s resignation”.

The Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA) last week began an “unscheduled safeguarding audit” at the diocese.

Steve Ashley, the CSSA chief executive officer said the body was independent and had “full autonomy”. He said: “The scope of the investigatory work will cover any reported abuses, alleged abuses, safeguarding concerns and the culture of safeguarding in the diocese as a whole.”

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