Thousands of migrant workers to take part in UK's first day of action

Migrant workers in the UK make up 10.9% of the total workforce, but according to the Migration Observatory, that number increases dramatically in certain key sectors. Some 31% of cleaning and household staff, 30% of food preparation and hospitality workers, and 26% of health professionals are foreign-born. Universities, trade unions and art galleries including the Tate and Tate Modern are backing the day of action. One of the organisers of the day, Matt Carr, said: “There’s never been a national day of action in support of migrants in this country before. He said it was not good enough to allow those health workers who are vital to the NHS to spend the next two years unable to plan their futures.

February 20, 2017 06:00 UTC

Oxford University in talks to open French campus

A “satellite” base in Paris may allow Oxford University to safeguard funding from the European Union OLI SCARFF/GETTY IMAGESOxford University has held discussions with French officials about opening its first campus overseas in an attempt to keep European Union funding. Senior staff at the institution had a meeting last week about opening a “satellite” base in Paris, a move that would break 700 years of tradition. Other universities, including Warwick, have been approached with the idea of building a new campus in France in 2018, The Daily Telegraph reported. Oxford has been told that a campus could have French legal status and would therefore continue to receive funding from Brussels after Brexit. “Oxford has been an international university throughout its history and it is determined to remain open to the world…

February 20, 2017 02:00 UTC

Uber launches 'urgent investigation' into sexual harassment claims

The accusations from Susan Fowler, a former site reliability engineer who now works for technology company Stripe, prompted CEO Travis Kalanick to announce an “urgent investigation” on Sunday. “What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in,” Kalanick said in a statement provided to the Guardian. Despite repeated complaints, the women were allegedly told it was his “first offense” and that no action would be taken. Her organization within Uber was 25% female when she joined, but had dropped to less than 6% when she was trying to transfer, she said. Fowler’s harassment and discrimination claims are the latest scandal to hit Uber following the viral #DeleteUber campaign centered on Kalanick’s participation on Donald Trump’s economic advisory council.

February 20, 2017 01:30 UTC

Magic in the night: Bruce Springsteen closes his Australian tour in the sodden Hunter Valley

The answer is Bruce Springsteen, for thousands of patient but sodden fans who watched his final Australian concert at Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley last weekend. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band review – there’s no stopping the juggernaut Read moreAnd he’s here – to have a blast. Springsteen spars, mugs and fools around with his buddies, particularly the perennially scarved guitarist Steven Van Zandt. The E Street Band is well rehearsed across Springsteen’s vast 40-year-back catalogue. More than two-and-a-half hours in, Springsteen breaks into a marathon, fast-paced version of the Isley Brothers’ Shout.

February 20, 2017 00:11 UTC

UK ‘would lose £330m a day’ if migrants stopped working

The New Economics Foundation said migrant workers such as fruit pickers were responsible for 4 per cent of GDP NICK RAY/THE TIMESMigrant workers contribute £328 million to the economy every day and institutions such as the NHS would be unable to function without them, new research suggests. The New Economics Foundation said migrant workers were responsible for 4 per cent of GDP. Marc Stears, the foundation’s chief executive, said: “Britain has a long and proud tradition of openness to people from overseas and our research conclusively shows that migrants have more than repaid for the welcome they have received. “Our future as a country depends on the economic, cultural and social contribution that migrants make. As countries all around the world succumb to the siren call of populism, we need to remember that contribution and to celebrate it.”According to the foundation migrant workers account for…

February 20, 2017 00:09 UTC

Brexit, Blair and the battle for Britain’s future

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February 20, 2017 00:09 UTC

Warning of 4m refugees if troops leave Afghanistan

Britain has 500 soldiers in Afghanistan, training local army personnel. The defence secretary wants to keep them there ANDREW MILLIGAN/PAThe government could trigger a fresh refugee crisis in Europe if it withdraws troops from Afghanistan, Sir Michael Fallon has warned. The defence secretary, speaking at a security conference in Munich on Friday, predicted that up to four million Afghan men could seek sanctuary. Britain has 500 soldiers in Kabul training local army personnel, having ended combat operations in 2014. Sir Michael, 64, said that leaving “before the job is done” could lead to the resurgence of the Taliban.

February 20, 2017 00:09 UTC

Young refugees could flee to UK, Tusla warns

The state will spend €200,000 per year on each of the 40 children being taken in from the Calais refugee camp, despite Tusla’s concerns that some might be adults aiming to flee to the UK. The cost includes accommodation, education and social workers. A spokesman for the department of children said that it had lowered its requested age range for the first child refugees because of accusations in the UK that some refugees coming from Calais were adults pretending to be teenagers. Tusla, the child protection agency, warned the government that there was a “high risk that a number of those presenting will be adults” and that there was a “significant risk of flight once they have arrived in Ireland”. It expressed its concerns in…

February 20, 2017 00:09 UTC

Patients left stranded because hospitals are at ‘breaking point’

The UK has the second lowest number of hospital beds per head in Europe GETTY IMAGESOvernight hospital beds in England have decreased by a fifth in a decade, pushing the NHS towards breaking point, doctors warn today. The British Medical Association said a lack of beds was creating bottlenecks and patients were “unfairly let down”. In a report the doctors’ union highlighted a drop from 3.8 beds per 1,000 people in 2000 to 2.4 in 2015. Between 2006 and 2015, the number of overnight beds dropped by a fifth. However, the BMA said, the NHS had “a mismatch between the supply and demand for beds that…

February 20, 2017 00:09 UTC

How Norway will keep Britain’s lights on

A pair of red laser beams pierce the blackness, providing guide marks for a drilling machine to bore a computer-programmed pattern of 30 holes into the rock. “Once the drilling starts it gets really noisy,” Nigel Williams says. They are massive machines.” The resulting holes will be packed with explosives and then detonated. Three such blasts extend the tunnel by ten metres each day. It forms a crucial part of National Grid’s key project: to build the world’s longest subsea power cable.

February 20, 2017 00:09 UTC

Spurned Kraft calls off its £115bn pursuit of Unilever

Kraft Heinz withdrew its proposed £115 billion offer for Unilever, claiming that the decision had been amicable after talks betwen the companies Gene J. Puskar/APAn opportunistic attempt by Kraft Heinz to snap up one of Britain’s biggest companies passed its sell-by date last night after little more than 50 hours on the table. The giant American foods group unexpectedly withdrew its proposed £115 billion offer for Unilever, claiming that the decision had been amicable and with little apparent appetite for taking on anything more hostile. The surprise £40 cash-and-shares offer, announced at lunchtime on Friday and backed by the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, was quickly rejected by the Anglo-Dutch maker of Marmite and Magnum ice cream as undervaluing the company and having no financial or strategic merit. At the time, Kraft Heinz had indicated that it was prepared to work with Unilever to reach agreement on the terms of…

February 20, 2017 00:09 UTC

Hidden fees for money transfers cost small business ‘£4bn a year’

Punch Maughan, who lets holiday properties, suffered embarrassment with overseas customers because payments in her bank account were less than expected Adrian Sherratt for The Sunday TimesIn 2009, Kevin McDermott asked his bank why there was money missing each time one of his Australian customers paid him. The business owner could never have guessed then that such a straightforward question would prompt a Kafkaesque exchange with the high street lender. Eight years on and despite the intervention of his MP, countless calls and letters and an apology from Lloyds for its “poor service”, Mr McDermott is still far from satisfied. The entrepreneur behind Biofresh UK, a Hampshire-based sanitary products company, simply wanted his bank to explain why there was a £12 discrepancy in every payment he received from his overseas customers. In a 2012 letter optimistically called a “final response”, Lloyds said that the charge was its fee for accepting an…

February 20, 2017 00:09 UTC

Lies fuelling revolt over rates, insist ministers

Ministers risked enraging small businesses yesterday by claiming that the revolt over rate revaluations was rooted in “distortions and half-truths”. In a private letter to Conservative MPs that was passed to The Times, Sajid Javid, communities secretary, and David Gauke, Treasury minister, criticised what they described as a relentless campaign of misinformation that had gained traction in the media. An attachment to the letter, however, revealed the list of constituencies that would be worst hit by the increase in charges. It showed that some council areas would face average rate rises of more than 30 per cent, with traditional Tory seats in the home counties among those with the biggest increases. Rates in Theresa May’s constituency of Maidenhead will rise on average by 10 per…

February 20, 2017 00:09 UTC

Newcastle aim to escape the pack

St James’ Park hosts Aston Villa tonight for the first time outside the top division since 1938 JASON CAIRNDUFF/REUTERSNo league team in England have won more games. By most standards, Newcastle United are worthy of dominance, but the Sky Bet Championship rails against it. Tonight St James’ Park hosts Aston Villa for the first time outside the top division since 1938. By common consent, Newcastle have the strongest squad in the division, the best players, the most gilded manager, but the table does not quite show it. Win and they will go top again, but Brighton & Hove Albion and the chasing pack are proving obdurate.

February 20, 2017 00:09 UTC

Dash for gas could solve the diesel crisis

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February 20, 2017 00:09 UTC

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