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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 19 July 2023

1

Experts predict inflation fall

The latest inflation figures will be revealed this morning, with economists predicting they will fall to their lowest level since March last year. The Office for National Statistics is expected to reveal that the consumer prices index dropped to 8.2% in June, down from 8.7%, according to Bloomberg. The UK is “definitely over the worst” of food price inflation, said the boss of online food retailer Ocado. Grocery price growth slowed for a fourth month in June.

Five options to get the UK back to 2% inflation

2

US soldier crosses to North Korea

A US soldier is being held in North Korea after he crossed the border from South Korea without authorisation. Private 2nd Class Travis King was being escorted back to the US for disciplinary reasons before he seemingly “gave his escort the slip” at Incheon Airport, said the BBC. He reportedly joined a tour group at the border before running into the North. “I thought it was a bad joke at first, but when he didn’t come back, I realised it wasn’t a joke,” said an eyewitness.

3

Starmer challenge mooted

Labour MPs are being urged to launch a leadership challenge against Keir Starmer, reported the i news site. Former advisers who worked for both Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn believe the Labour leader should be “toppled” because his refusal to scrap the Tories’ two-child benefit cap is part of a “wider conservatism” that will “switch off” voters, said the outlet. According to the news website, the rebels considered approaching Ed Miliband to trigger a challenge, but the former Labour leader said he thinks the idea is “nuts”.

Keir Starmer’s transformation of the Labour Party

4

Coutts Farage row reopens

Coutts closed down Nigel Farage’s bank accounts after it decided that he is a “grifter” whose views “do not align with our values”, according to an internal document obtained by the former Ukip leader. The document says Farage is seen as “xenophobic and racist”, claims that he was a “fascist” in his schooldays, and says he had made remarks that are “distasteful and appear increasingly out of touch with wider society”. Previously, a Coutts insider had told the BBC that Farage’s accounts were closed because they fell below the financial threshold required by the lender.

Nigel Farage: was former UKIP leader cancelled by Coutts?

5

Thatcher praised Blair over 9/11

Margaret Thatcher praised Tony Blair over his support for Washington following the September 11 attacks, according to newly released government files. “You will have found, as I did, that just as one international crisis subsides, another soon threatens,” she wrote in a handwritten note, dated 4 April 2002. “I greatly admire the resolve you are showing”, she continued, adding that Blair had “ensured that Britain is known as a staunch defender of liberty, and as a loyal ally of America”.

6

Wootton admits ‘errors’

The controversial broadcaster Dan Wootton has admitted making “errors of judgement in the past” following claims that he inappropriately offered media colleagues thousands of pounds for explicit material of themselves. According to The Guardian, Wootton’s ex-partner claimed last week that Wootton used the pseudonym “Martin Branning” to try and obtain intimate photographs and videos. Speaking on his GB News show, Wootton denied criminality and said he was the victim of a “witch hunt” by “nefarious players”. The publishers of the Sun and the MailOnline, Wooton’s former employers, said they are looking into the allegations.

7

Children wait 18 months for dentists

Children in some areas of England are waiting up to 18 months in pain for dental general anaesthetic treatment and teeth extractions, said the BBC. At the start of 2023, more than 12,000 under-18s were on waiting lists for assessment or treatment at community dental service providers. The parents of one girl, who has waited three years for extractions, said the pain keeps her up at night. A Department of Health and Social Care official said the government is “working to improve access to NHS dental care” by “investing more than £3bn a year into dentistry”.

The crisis in dentistry: why has finding an NHS dentist become so difficult?

8

Republicans ‘race to defend Trump’

Donald Trump is set to be indicted over his role in attempts to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election, including the January 6 uprising at the US Capitol. The special counsel investigating the case has written to the former president informing them that Trump, 77, is a target of the investigation — “usually a strong indication that an indictment is imminent”, said The Times. Republicans are “racing behind the scenes” to use their “power and platforms” to shield the former president without knowing details about the criminal investigation, said CNN.

Donald Trump’s biggest legal woes

9

Brits work from home more than most

A global study has found that Britons work more hours from home than every other nationality apart from Canadians. Workers here spend an average of 1.5 days a week working from home, compared with an international average of 0.9. The study of 42,400 full-time employees in 34 countries, found that those in France spent less than half as many hours at home as Britons – just 0.6 days a week. British workers have the “greatest enthusiasm” for remote working during the summer months, said The Times, a practice that has been called “working from the beach”.

Pros and cons of hybrid working

10

Meat eaters put off by vegan labels

Ditching vegan labels could “help save the planet”, said The Times, after a study found that meat eaters are significantly less likely to opt for vegetarian and vegan menu options when they were labelled as such. Alex Berke of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, who led the study, said that “while labelling menu items as vegetarian or vegan is typical”, the results show the labels “often deter customers from choosing these more sustainable options”.

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