The annual rate of inflation in the UK more than doubled in April to 1.5 percent on the back of higher petrol prices and gas and electricity bills, its highest level since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Rising from 0.7 percent in March, the increase in the consumer price index matched expectations from economists and the Bank of England.
Britain has relaxed restrictions on its economy and social contact further on Monday, but the spread of the Covid variant that first emerged in India is threatening a full lifting of measures. Lockdown measures have been eased in England, Wales and most parts of Scotland on Monday, meaning that pubs, bars and restaurants are now allowed to serve customers inside; museums, cinemas and theaters can reopen; and exercise classes and indoor sports can resume.
Boris Johnson’s government has unveiled plans for the coming parliament in a Queen’s speech that combined interventionist economics with openly populist moves in areas such as free speech, policing and voter ID. Announcing the list of planned new bills in a relatively minimalist ceremony with only 74 people in the Lords chamber and much of the usual pomp pared back, the Queen began by saying the overall aim was to “level up opportunities” across the UK.
Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband and the longest-serving consort of any British monarch, has died at age 99. Philip spent 65 years supporting the queen, retiring from his public role in 2017 and staying largely out of the view since. In his active years, he helped set a new course for the monarchy under a young queen, championing Britain itself, as well as environmental causes, science and technology.
Rare cases of blood clots in people who have been given the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine could raise questions over whether young people should receive it, a leading epidemiologist has said, amid reports the UK’s watchdog was considering new restrictions on the jab. It noted that 30 people out of the 18.1 million who had received the Oxford vaccine in the UK had developed blood clots, and seven of those had died, as of 24 March.
The US is threatening to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on some UK exports as it retaliates over Britain’s new ‘unreasonable’ and ‘discriminatory’ tax on big tech firms. The UK introduced a digital services tax last April in a bid to ensure search engines, social media platforms and online marketplaces pay their fair share. Washington believes the tax unfairly targets US firms.
Two police officers were seriously injured and at least two police vehicles were set on fire in the city of Bristol in southwest England during violent scenes after a peaceful protest, police said. Thousands of demonstrators had converged on the city center, ignoring COVID-19 restrictions, to protest against a government bill going through parliament that would give police new powers to restrict street protests.
Britain’s Prince Philip, the 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth, left a London hospital on Tuesday after a four-week stay for treatment for an infection and to have a heart procedure. The queen, 94, has remained at Windsor Castle where the couple have been staying during the coronavirus pandemic, and has continued to carry out her official duties by video.
The Queen has sought to draw a line under damaging racism claims made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, saying that issues will be dealt with “privately” by the royal family. The monarch expressed her “concern” over allegations of racism and her sadness on learning exactly how challenging the couple had found life as working royals, though she said some recollections of events differed.
Pressure built on Tuesday for Buckingham Palace to respond to bombshell allegations from a tell-all interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, that has shaken the monarchy. Assertions that a member of the royal family had raised concerns about the skin color of the couple’s son, Archie, and that a desperate Meghan had contemplated suicide dominated national discussion in Britain, where the interview with Oprah Winfrey was broadcast Monday evening.