Compact between old and young at risk of breakdown, say peers

Insecure work and soaring housing costs among problems dividing generations

The tacit deal between young and old to support each other through life could break down because of major problems with housing, work and tax, a 12-month parliamentary inquiry has concluded.

The growth of the gig economy, soaring housing costs and fiscal giveaways for older people are driving a wedge between generations in Britain, according to a cross-party House of Lords inquiry into tackling intergenerational unfairness.

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Climate change and sexual harassment top list of girls’ concerns

Young women and girls also worry about bullying and gender stereotypes, research finds

Climate change and tackling sexual harassment are the biggest concerns for girls and young women, a major research project has found.

The consultation with 76,000 girls and young women aged from four to 25 in the UK by the Girlguiding organisation, also found bullying, gender stereotypes and pressures to look a certain way were among primary concerns.

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Curbing pensioner benefits could help the young, says report

Lords committee calls for free TV licences for over-75s and other perks to be scrapped

Free TV licences for over-75s should be scrapped, the age threshold for free bus passes raised and the triple-lock on pensions abolished to close the widening gap between young and old in Britain, according to a Lords report.

The House of Lords committee on intergenerational fairness and provision said it was time to rebalance government policy in favour of the young, to remove the risk of the social bonds between generations fraying further.

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The NHS is a huge employer of women – I want it to be one of the best as well | Matt Hancock

More family-friendly practices, greater gender equality and a culture that supports diversity will make the NHS better for all

• Matt Hancock is a Conservative MP and the secretary of state for health

From the days of Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole to our chief medical officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, women have played an integral part in the story of modern healthcare. Today, around 1 million female employees work for the NHS, making it one of the single biggest employers of women in the world. Without them, the NHS would be nothing.

Related: NHS must close gender gaps and prioritise staff wellbeing - Hancock

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Food bank network hands out record 1.6m food parcels in a year

Trussell Trust tells state not to rely on them and demands changes to UK benefit system

A record 1.6m emergency food parcels were given out by the Trussell Trust food bank network last year – more than 500,000 of them to children – as benefit cuts, universal credit delays, and rising poverty fuelled the busiest year in the charity’s history.

The trust demanded urgent changes to the UK benefit system – including major reforms to universal credit – as it recorded a year-on-year 19% surge in the number of food bags it gave out, the biggest annual increase for five years.

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Geoffrey Cox warns over human rights law for refugees overseas

Attorney general raises concerns about asylum claims at embassies and consulates

UK embassies and consulates would be overrun by refugees seeking asylum if human rights legislation is extended overseas, the attorney general, Geoffrey Cox QC, has warned.

Appearing before the European court of human rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, the government’s most senior lawyer argued that a Syrian refugee claim would set a dangerous precedent, creating “disorder and instability”.

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Ex-SNP MP Natalie McGarry admits embezzling £25,000

Former MP for Glasgow East admits taking money from campaign groups and SNP association

The former Scottish National party politician Natalie McGarry has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than £25,000 from pro-independence campaign groups, some of which she appropriated while sitting as MP for Glasgow East.

The 37-year-old, who was one of 56 SNP MPs elected to the Commons in the 2015 general election, admitted at Glasgow sheriff court on Wednesday to taking money from Women for Independence (WFI) and the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP between April 2013 and November 2015.

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‘Let them roar’: West End stages first baby-friendly performance

Vaudeville theatre claims to break new ground in London with parent and baby showing of hit play Emilia

Cliche has it that matinee audiences are full of snoring older people. But it was infants who were snoozing – and gurgling, screaming and playing peekaboo – at the Vaudeville theatre in the Strand on Wednesday afternoon. They were assembled for what is thought to be a first for London’s West End: a baby-friendly performance.

Bottle warmers and rows of changing mats were installed in the bars as part of the pioneering initiative for the hit play Emilia. Parents and carers were invited to bring children under 12 months old and “let them roar” during Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s feminist drama about the supposed “dark lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets, Emilia Bassano.

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Tory MPs seek to overturn May’s Huawei supply decision

Plans to encourage candidates in any leadership contest to ban ‘non-core’ 5G equipment

Some Conservative MPs are hoping to overturn Theresa May’s decision to allow the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei to supply some “non-core” equipment for 5G mobile phone networks by persuading any future party leader to consider a blanket ban.

The decision was taken in principle by May and other senior ministers at a meeting of the cabinet’s national security council (NSC) on Tuesday afternoon, and leaked that evening amid cabinet unrest over the issue, to the frustration of Downing Street.

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The Greta Thunberg effect: her activism in London in two minutes – video

Teen activist Greta Thunberg spent the Easter weekend in the UK and joined Extinction Rebellion protesters in London. She also took part in a Guardian Live event and told audiences that the world was facing an 'existential crisis' and movements such as Extinction Rebellion are putting crucial pressure on governments to act. She also took her climate message to the heart of power in Westminster, and prompted politicians to declare contrition for their failure to act. The recent surge of demands for more ambition – on the streets, from the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, and from David Attenborough – have helped to amplify the message that Greta and others are stressing with their climate strikes. The big test on this will come on 2 May, when the Committee on Climate Change announces the results of a review of the UK’s targets, including when the country should aim to reach net zero emissions. 


The Greta Thunberg effect: at last, MPs focus on climate change

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Benefits system set up for cruelty not efficiency | Letters

Respond respond to the tragic death of Stephen Smith, a man with debilitating illnesses deemed fit for work by the DWP

Frances Ryan asks “when do we start to care” about “the mass abuse by the state towards its disabled and sick citizens” (Stephen Smith has died. The cruelty of the system lives on, 23 April)? Research by Glasgow University Media Unit compared articles about people with disabilities in selected newspapers in 2004-5 and in 2010-11. Given the increased use of pejorative words and emphasis on “cheats”, it was not surprising that the later focus groups estimated benefit fraud at between 10% and 70%. Even those with concerns about the benefit system find it difficult to comprehend that a government department could behave outside the realm of natural justice.

Accompanying a friend in her 60s with serious mental illness and chronic physical disabilities, who had been summoned to the jobcentre by a standard letter with no reason given for the interview, but threatening sanctions if she did not attend, it was shocking to hear the interviewer’s accusation of potential fraud in the year 2014-15 when my friend became too ill to work and was advised to claim ESA (employment and support allowance). No evidence was produced from the DWP’s records to support this accusation. The interviewer agreed her earnings for that year were just over £1,000 but said that unless she could provide a document proving that she did not claim ESA before she stopped work, she could be sanctioned or have to repay the benefits for that year. A lawyer friend, unfamiliar with the DWP, expressed disbelief. Once we decide that some people in our society are not worthy of human dignity and respect, our government can do no end of bad things, and get away with it.
Jean Goodrick
Cambridge

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