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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 May 2023

1

Families missing out on benefits

UK households are collectively missing out on at least £19bn a year in unclaimed welfare benefits, according to a study by the consultancy Policy in Practice. With lower income households failing to claim benefits to which they are entitled, some families could be relinquishing as much as £4,000 a year. The analysis found that “the sheer complexity of the benefits system, lack of public awareness of what support is available”, and “fear of being perceived by others as ‘benefit scroungers’” contribute to the high level of unclaimed or underclaimed benefits, said The Guardian.

2

Voters ‘back nurse strike’

The majority of Britons back striking nurses, according to a poll for The Mirror. The research, by Deltapoll, found 60% support the nurses strike, while 35% oppose the walkout. Nurses in England are taking part in a fresh action, in what it has described as its biggest walkout so far. The industrial action by the Royal College of Nursing strike affects half of England’s NHS trusts. Ministers said the walkout would be very disruptive for patients.

3

AI to destroy millions of jobs

As many as 14 million jobs will disappear over the next five years as the economy weakens and companies adopt new technologies such as artificial intelligence, according to new findings. The World Economic Forum, which published a report based on surveys of more than 800 companies, found that employers expect to create 69 million new jobs by 2027 and eliminate 83 million positions. That will result in a net loss of 14 million jobs, equivalent to 2% of current employment.

4

Allegiance plan ‘tone deaf’

Critics have described the call for the public to swear allegiance to King Charles from home during his coronation as “tone deaf”. Graham Smith of the campaign group Republic, said: “This oath plan has been widely mocked, and the chances of more than 0.001 per cent of the country taking this seriously are zero.” He added that “with just 9% of people enthusiastic about the coronation, this plan shows just how out of touch the royals are”. Green peer Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb said it “does seem an odd request”.

5

Cleverly may visit China

James Cleverly could become the first foreign secretary to visit China in more than five years as part of plans to “use the King’s coronation to reset relations”, said The Times. Cleverly is due to hold talks with Han Zheng, the Chinese vice-president, this week when he visits London to attend the coronation. “In what is being seen as a piece of careful diplomatic choreography”, said The Times, the meeting is expected to lead to an official invitation by the Chinese for Cleverly to visit Beijing. Sources suggest Cleverly would accept.

6

Truss contests country house bill

Conservative MP Liz Truss is disputing a government bill relating to her use of the grace-and-favour country house she had access to as foreign secretary. The former prime minister has been billed for around £12,000 for costs incurred at Chevening House in Kent. Truss, “an extraordinary and intuitive financial mastermind, is naturally contesting the bill”, wrote Kevin Maher in The Times. She insists that the majority of the bill relates to using Chevening for government business, so she should not be liable for most of the bill.  

7

Peña tipped for Paraguay win

Santiago Peña of Paraguay’s ruling conservative Colorado Party has won the presidential election, said the BBC. With almost all votes counted, Peña got more than 42%, said electoral officials. Efraín Alegre, candidate of the Concertación Nacional coalition, has admitted defeat after getting nearly 28%. The campaigns were “marked by corruption scandals that especially affected the Colorado Party, the political force that has governed Paraguay uninterruptedly since 1943”, said Paraguay News.

8

Turkey ‘kills IS leader’

The Turkish military has killed the suspected leader of Islamic State in Syria, according to Turkey’s president. Recep Tayyip Erdogan told broadcaster TRT Turk the IS leader was “neutralised” in a Turkish MIT intelligence agency operation on Saturday. Security sources said the raid took place in the northern Syrian town of Jandaris, which is controlled by Turkey-backed rebel groups and was one of the worst-affected in the 6 February earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria. IS has so far made no comment on the claims.

9

Death in Cornwall stabbing

A man in his 30s died and seven other people have been injured in a street brawl near a nightclub in Bodmin, police have confirmed. Officers were called to the area of Victoria Square on Castle Canyke Road, Bodmin, at 3.15am on Sunday following a report that a number of people had been stabbed. A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and investigations are on-going, said Devon and Cornwall Police. It is understood that the man who died was a “popular rugby player for a local team”, said Cornwall Live.

10

Case ‘has Gray vendetta’

The cabinet secretary has been accused of having a vendetta against Sue Gray after he called for her to be banned from taking a job with the Labour Party for at least a year. According to Whitehall sources, Simon Case was “instrumental” in a recommendation that Gray, who investigated lockdown parties in Downing Street, should be barred from taking up a role as Sir Keir Starmer’s chief of staff until next March at the earliest. One source said he had a “vindictive” agenda against Gray due to her criticisms of civil service leadership.

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