Latest UK news evening headlines: Sunak ‘proud’ of furlough scheme, schools work on exam ‘back-up’ plan



Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said he is “proud” of furlough as it came to an end, saying people are now back to work and that for others the Government has a plan for jobs.

Speaking on a visit to a factory in South Milford, North Yorkshire, Mr. Sunak said: “I’m so proud of what it has achieved. It has protected millions of people’s livelihoods at a difficult time.

“But I’m also really proud of everyone who has shown such resilience over the last year-and-a-half to get through this. Everyone is now back at work, and that’s a fantastic thing.

“But I also want people to know that we’re not done supporting people even though the furlough scheme ends today. We have a plan for jobs that is focused on giving people the skills and the opportunities they need to find fantastic work and that’s what we’re now focused on delivering.”

Schools advised to run termly assessments under back-up plan for cancelled exams

A “back-up plan” for next summer’s GCSE and A-levels has been unveiled in case further Covid-19 variants emerge and exams have to be cancelled.

The Government and Ofqual have published joint proposals for using teacher-assessed grades again in summer 2022 if exams cannot go ahead.

Schools are being advised to plan termly assessments to ensure evidence is collected which could be used to determine their students’ grades if needed.

But the Department for Education (DfE) has said it is “firmly committed” to GCSE and A-level pupils sitting exams with adaptations next summer.

It comes after the proportion of GCSE and A-level entries awarded the top grades surged to a record high this year after results were determined by teachers amid cancelled exams due to Covid-19.

Covid-19 booster jab invitations to be sent to one million more people

The NHS is inviting more than one million high-risk people to come forward for Covid booster jabs.

Hundreds of thousands of text messages and letter invitations are due to be sent out this week as part of the latest phase of the vaccination programme.

Almost 850,000 people have already booked in for their top-up jab since the national booking system opened for bookings for boosters on September 21.

Meanwhile, more than 79 million vaccinations have been delivered – with nearly nine in 10 adults having had their first dose since December 2020.

The NHS is currently offering booster jabs to those who had their second vaccine at least six months ago, are living in residential care homes for older adults, are over 50, or are frontline health and social care workers.

Footballer welcomes first prison sentence handed to fan for online racist abuse

West Bromwich Albion and Romaine Sawyers have welcomed an eight-week prison sentence handed to a fan thought to be the first supporter jailed over online racist abuse of a footballer.

In a statement issued after Albion supporter Simon Silwood, 50, was jailed and ordered to pay £500 in compensation over a “grossly offensive” Facebook post, Sawyers encouraged fellow players to report all racial abuse to police.

The midfielder said: “I welcome the custodial sentence today issued to Simon Silwood and I am now focused on putting this incident behind me.

“Racial abuse towards anyone, in any circumstance, is totally unacceptable and I hope this case will serve as a deterrent to others.

“This is an incident that has affected me deeply, but I would like to encourage fellow players to report all racial abuse to the police. We must together stand strong in order to rid the game, and wider society, of this hideous behaviour.”





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