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Society | The Guardian

  • UK government may start offering financial rewards for becoming healthier

    NHS and councils in England also being given £70m towards weight loss and fitness courses

    The government is expanding access to weight loss services and may start offering people financial rewards for maintaining a healthy lifestyle as part of the fight against obesity.

    The Department of Health and Social Care is giving the NHS and local councils in England £70m to pay for up to 700,000 overweight or obese people to go on weight management courses, such as those provided by Weight Watchers or Slimming World, or work with a personal coach to help them shed unwanted pounds.

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  • All UK adults could get Covid vaccine dose by June if supply speeds up

    Office for Budget Responsibility sets out scenario in which government beats its pledge by a month

    All adults in the UK could receive a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine by June if the pace of inoculations steps up to 4m a week from this month, according to the UK’s official economic forecaster.

    The Office for Budget Responsibility said in economic forecasts published alongside the budget that government public health advisers were assuming vaccine supply could reach 4m a week from 25 April.

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  • Budget means tax rises ahead – and little new for first-time buyers

    Analysis: Freezing allowances will lead to more people paying income tax, while the stamp duty holiday is driving up house prices

    We can hardly call them “stealth tax rises” this time around, as the chancellor was at pains to spell out the impact of his decision to freeze both personal allowances and the amount you can put in your pension over your working life. But for many people the increases outlined in the budget may remain under the radar for a while.

    Personal allowances will rise as planned in April. The first £12,750 of income will still be tax-free, while the 40% rate will kick in at £50,270. But after that there will be no change until 2026. Any inflation-linked increase in pay or benefits will therefore be eroded by the extra tax you will pay.

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  • Give women’s sport a chance on International Women’s Day | Brief Letters

    Margaret Thatcher statue | Women’s sport | Ian St John | Drying washing | Potholes | Carrie Symonds

    I note that the erection of a statue of Margaret Thatcher in Grantham will no longer be publicly funded, but instead covered by private donations (Grantham council won’t pay for Thatcher statue unveiling, 2 March). In short, it has been privatised. It’s what she would have wanted.
    Keith Flett
    Tottenham, London

    • Monday is International Women’s Day. How about breaking the long sexist habit of your newspaper and devoting the whole of the sports section to women’s sport? I dare you. After that, challenge yourselves to keep a 50-50 balance of women and men.
    Mary Gildea
    Charlton, London

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  • NHS, social care and most vulnerable 'betrayed' by Sunak's budget

    Experts say failure to give NHS extra cash would see it struggle with pandemic’s ‘challenging legacy’

    A lack of support for care homes, the NHS and people on benefits led to claims that Rishi Sunak’s budget had left the country’s most vulnerable people “betrayed”.

    In his statement to the Commons, the chancellor ignored the social care system and set out only a temporary extension of the universal credit boost, potentially plunging 500,000 people into poverty next winter.

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Opinion | The Guardian

  • Steve Bell on Rishi Sunak's budget and Boris Johnson's renovations - cartoon
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  • The Guardian view on Rishi Sunak's budget: Britain will go backwards with tax rises and spending cuts | Editorial

    The chancellor would like Britain’s relief response to be seen like Joe Biden’s in the US. But President Biden believes in the power of government, Mr Sunak does not

    Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, has emerged in recent months with the plausible aura of a future Tory leader. This budget was a crucial one for two reasons. First, it was the biggest fiscal event since the UK left the orbit of the European Union. Second, it is dawning on Britons that they can see beyond the shadow of coronavirus. Both beg the question: what sort of country could we expect to live in post-pandemic? Mr Sunak did not have an answer, which exposes him as a man of style, not substance.

    In doing less than he had promised, the chancellor revealed more about the government than he perhaps wanted. Brexit’s dividend is barely visible in an age of coronavirus. The climate emergency was noticeable by its absence. It is good news that part of the Treasury and a national infrastructure bank will be in the north. Britain is far too centralised a state. But there was a wider, troubling pattern of pork-barrel spending that saw Mr Sunak shower “red wall” seats that voted Tory with free ports and town deals, as well as thinly disguised bids to buy off independence demands in Scotland. The most tangible result of Brexit seems to be an elevated trade deficit.

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  • The Guardian view on the pope in Iraq: in the footsteps of Abraham | Editorial

    The first papal visit to Iraq can promote inter-faith dialogue in an age of religious polarisation

    The lead-up to the first-ever papal visit to Iraq has been somewhat overshadowed by concerns over its timing. Last month, a surge of coronavirus cases led the Iraqi government to impose a partial lockdown and curfew. The Vatican’s ambassador to Iraq, Archbishop Mitja Leskovar, is currently self-isolating after testing positive for Covid, and there are fears that crowds enthusiastic to see Pope Francis could ignore social distancing rules at public events. Security concerns have also been heightened by the double suicide bombing at a Baghdad market in January, which killed at least 32 people.

    The Iraqi authorities are confident that the risks can be managed. But given the circumstances, there was certainly a case for delaying the trip, which begins on Friday and will last four days. The pope’s determination to go ahead testifies to the significance he attaches to a visit that sums up two key themes of his papacy: the need to develop genuine inter-faith dialogue with Islam, and a non-sectarian vision of the church as a “field hospital”, where the spiritual wounds of the suffering are healed.

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  • Shameful cut in UK aid to Yemen is indefensible | Letters

    Readers respond to the government’s decision to slash aid to Yemen

    When Andrew Mitchell says that “cutting aid to Yemen by 50% is unconscionable” (Somalia health clinics will close due to UK aid cuts, charity warns, 2 March), and adds that “this is not who we are”, John Crace disagrees, and is right up to a point (The Politics Sketch, 2 March).

    It is what this nation has become, largely because of what can only be described as brainwashing. Being told constantly by the media that the national debt needs repaying urgently and foreign aid has to be cut leads to a gradual acceptance of such falsehoods – as Boris Johnson well knows when claiming to have popular support, and mocking Keir Starmer for devoting all six of his questions at this week’s prime minister’s questions to the subject of a poor country’s imminent famine.

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  • I want to hear the case for and against Prevent | Letter

    I approach this review in a spirit of collaboration, writes William Shawcross

    As Sadakat Kadri’s article showed (Why is the government trying to undermine its anti-terror programme?, 1 March), Prevent arouses strong views. This is not surprising. The stakes are very high.

    As a writer and journalist, I have seen that terrorism comes from many sources, and inflicts terrible wounds on souls as well as bodies. I have attempted to deal head-on with the thorny moral and legal issues that emerged as the west responded to the threat of Islamist terrorism after 9/11. This has led to some of my views being misrepresented or misinterpreted.

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Learning in the Modern Workplace

  • Modern Training Part 1 (Online Workshop)
    1 – 26 March 2021 Modern training is not just about digitising current training events but thinking differently about what is appropriate for today’s workforce. There are two (4 week) workshops so you can take one or the other or both. In the first we focus on creating fundamental training initiatives, whilst in the second […]
  • MWL Benchmarking Survey
    How modern is your organisation’s approach to workplace learning? In this final survey of this section we ask you which of the activities described on the Roles & Responsibilities page you have already implemented, are planning on implementing, or are not yet planning to implement. You can use this survey to benchmark your organisation’s L&D activities […]
  • MWL 2021: New roles and responsibilities
    In MWL 2021 Back to Basics we looked at the 3 key strands of work: (1) Promoting continuous self-learning, (2) Supporting continuous learning from the work, and (3) Modern Training. But this will not be the sole responsibility of the L&D function. Learning in the modern workplace is everyone’s responsibility – with overlapping roles – as […]
  • Frequency of Learning
    How FREQUENTLY do you learn from each of the 4 D’s of Learning? Please take the survey below which asks how frequently YOU learn from these 14 specified ways?
  • Online Workshop: Promoting self-learning and self-development
    Next public workshop: 11 January – 19 February 2021 Continuous learning and development in the workplace is much more than continuous training. Whilst it is up to everyone to become a lifelong learner and keep up to date with what’s happening in their industry or profession to remain employable, it’s also up to L&D departments […]