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Gordon Brown launches London’s first ‘multibank’ amid UK child poverty fears

The first “multibank” in London, distributing everything from basic foods to baby products and toiletries, will be officially launched this week, amid continued concerns about levels of poverty as the school summer holidays begin.The opening of Felix’s Multibank, which has the backing of former prime minister Gordon Brown and London mayor Sadiq Khan, is the latest in a growing network of multibanks.Brown said the new project was opening at a time when the country’s approach to the problem of destitution would change. There have been continued calls from within Labour for Keir Starmer to take stronger action on child poverty.Brown said: “The London Felix Multibank is the fourth of six that will be opened by the end of this year across Britain

July212024
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Labour MP calls two-child benefit cap ‘heinous’ in latest call to scrap policy

Keir Starmer has come under further pressure to scrap the two-child benefit limit after another of his backbench MPs described the policy as “heinous”.Writing in The Sunday Times, Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield said the cap, which came into effect under then-chancellor George Osborne in 2017, was “sinister and overtly sexist” and had been the main reason driving her to stand for parliament.More than a dozen backbenchers are understood to support an amendment to the king’s speech.The SNP has also tabled an amendment to scrap the limit, which prevents parents from claiming universal credit or child tax credit for a third child with a few exemptions.Duffield said: “The obvious target is the caricature of the ‘feckless’, ‘irresponsible’ people who drop children every few minutes without being able to pay for them, but the subtext is altogether more sinister: it is an attack on women’s right to choose how many children they have

July202024
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Can you prepare for a good menopause? Perhaps start by thinking of it as a ‘second spring’

There’s a hilarious sequence of events in Miranda July’s latest book, All Fours, in which the central character looks at a graph that shows how oestrogen goes off a cliff during menopause. Worried about what this might mean for her sex drive, she desperately surveys her older friends about their experiences, gathering anecdotes and wisdom in a valiant effort to be prepared for the onslaught.But can you war game a good menopause? Many women in their 30s or 40s may be wondering, given awareness of this momentous life transition is finally a moment.“And that’s good,” says Dr Karen Magraith, GP and past president of the Australasian Menopause Society, because “it’s always good to talk about menopause”.Yet with more awareness, some women may feel trepidation about what to expect, and a whole industry has sprung up offering solutions and serums for their worst fears

July202024
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Pay bodies to recommend 5.5% rise for teachers and NHS staff, report says

Independent pay review bodies representing teachers and NHS workers have reportedly recommended above-inflation pay rises that could require the government to raise up to £10bn, a leading economist has said.The bodies are going to recommend a 5.5% rise for the 514,000 teachers and about 1.3 million NHS staff they represent, according to the Times, well above the figure the government is thought to have been preparing for. Such a move would present an early challenge to Rachel Reeves’s fiscally rule-bound treasury

July202024
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‘I feel helpless’: van dwellers stuck in tight spot on Bristol’s historic Downs

Soaring rents have driven people to live in vehicles – which has caused friction with residents and prompted the council to tow away caravansCallum peers nervously out of the gloom of his cramped, graffiti-sprayed caravan, which he shares with a tiny tabby kitten. It’s not much, but the alternative is the streets.Two weeks ago, he almost lost the caravan he calls home when Bristol city council started removing live-in vans from a tree-lined lane through historic parkland in the north of the city.“It was horrible. It was upsetting

July202024
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A £53m gamble: billionaire’s company claims it was tricked into buying UK online betting firm that was worth ‘nil’

Ensconced within the luxury of his £30m Knightsbridge pad overlooking Hyde Park, the billionaire Teddy Sagi laid his cards on the table. “I have a big pair of balls,” he proclaimed, according to documents filed at the high court. “I lost £300,000 in the casino last night. I will buy your business for £53m.”For the man on the other side of the negotiating table, the online gambling entrepreneur Simon Wilson, the stakes had never been higher

July202024