Author: Radio News Hub
Around 1.3 million vulnerable people are yet to take up the offer of a Covid-19 jab, according to new estimates..
David Cameron’s Greensil Capital statement in full
Here is the full statement from David Cameron
“Since the collapse of Greensill Capital, many questions have been raised about my dealings with Lex Greensill in government, and my subsequent involvement with the company.
“I completely understand the public interest in this issue, given the impact of Greensill’s collapse on the hundreds of people who worked for the company and on other businesses and livelihoods. I feel desperately sorry for those affected.
“I also worry about the future of firms like GFG Alliance and the many jobs that could be on the line, which are linked to what has happened at Greensill.
“It’s important to understand that I was not on the Board of Greensill Capital, nor was I a member of the Risk or Credit Committees.
“I played no role in the decisions to extend credit, or the terms on which such credit was extended, to GFG or any other customer. But that is little comfort to the many who worry about the firm’s future and their jobs. They are very much in my thoughts throughout this difficult and uncertain period.
“Having said this, many of the allegations that have been made about these issues are not correct.
“Lex Greensill was brought in to work with the Government by the former Cabinet Secretary, Jeremy Heywood, in 2011. He was not a political appointee, but part of the Civil Service drive to improve government efficiency.
“In bringing him in, Jeremy was acting in good faith to solve a real problem – how to ensure companies in supply chains, particularly SMEs, could access low cost credit.
“The false impression has been created that Lex Greensill was a close member of my team, meeting with me on a regular basis. The truth is, I had very little to do with Lex Greensill at this stage – as I recall, I met him twice at most in the entirety of my time as Prime Minister.
“The Government supported his initiative to encourage large companies to use supply chain finance (SCF) to enable their suppliers to access low cost credit.
“I announced this initiative as Prime Minister in October 2012. I made it clear that the Government would play its part through the community pharmacy scheme, ensuring that thousands of pharmacies could get early payment to improve their access to credit and cash flow.
“This scheme has successfully reduced costs to the NHS and enabled many thousands of pharmacies to access early payments and low cost credit.
“The idea of my working for Greensill was never raised, or considered by me, until well after I left office.
“I took up the position as a part-time Senior Adviser to Greensill Capital in August 2018. This was shortly after General Atlantic, one of the most respected international backers of tech sector companies, invested in the company. Large financial institutions, like Credit Suisse, were helping to enable Greensill’s expansion.
“Likewise, well-known international blue-chip companies such as Airbus, Vodafone, Nissan, AstraZeneca, Ford and Oracle contracted and partnered with Greensill. The company had a strong board, with experienced figures from business, banking and finance.
“I was not a director of the company, and was not involved in the oversight of management, or the day to day running of the business. I was contracted to work for the company for 25 days per year (details of my other activities since leaving Downing Street are set out at the end of this statement).
“My remuneration was partly in the form of a grant of shares. Their value was nowhere near the amount speculated in the press.
“Part of my motivation for accepting the role was my desire to work for a UK-based, entrepreneurial, early stage finance and technology venture, rather than simply work with larger, more well-known financial institutions.
“I remain proud that during my time as Prime Minister the UK became a global centre of the new and emerging FinTech industry. Greensill was one of the fastest growing UK FinTech businesses. I was attracted by the solution it offered, supporting businesses to gain access to working capital.
“I later became an enthusiastic advocate for Greensill’s pay product, Earnd, which enabled employees to see and access their pay as they earn it, in real-time and, crucially, for free, with no charges or interest rates, rather than having to wait until the end of the month. This was, to my mind, an antidote to exploitative payday lending schemes.
“My responsibilities included providing geopolitical advice to the leadership, helping to win new business, speaking for the company at conferences and events, and helping with plans for international expansion.
“As part of my work, I assisted with presentations made by the company overseas, including in the US, Singapore, South Africa, Australia and the Gulf. While visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in January 2020 to advise on their forthcoming chairmanship of the G20, I also – with Lex Greensill – met with a range of business and political leaders, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“As the Softbank Vision Fund was by this time the largest investor in Greensill, the company was, in effect, part owned by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (itself a major participant in the Vision Fund).
“Greensill planned to open a new regional office in Riyadh as part of its international expansion and I wanted to assist in this effort. While in Saudi Arabia, I took the opportunity to raise concerns about human rights, as I always did when meeting the Saudi leadership when I was Prime Minister.
“Like many businesses in 2020, Greensill – and many of its clients – was negatively affected by Covid. Companies facing challenging financial markets, especially ones whose activities impacted many other businesses, were encouraged to make representations to the Government.
“I made representations to the Treasury and others about the potential for the company to continue to play its part in extending credit to businesses, particularly via the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). (The approach proposed by Greensill mirrored very closely action that had been taken during the financial crisis in 2008/09, when supply chain finance bonds were included in a similar financing facility).
“While I understand the concern about the ability of former ministers – and especially Prime Ministers – to access government decision makers and the sense, and reality, of ease of access and familiarity, I thought it was right for me to make representations on behalf of a company involved in financing a large number of UK firms. This was at a time of crisis for the UK economy, where everyone was looking for efficient ways to get money to businesses.
“It was also appropriate for the Treasury to consider these representations.
“Concern has been raised about the nature of my contact, via text message and e-mail. I understand that concern, but context is important: at that time the Government was – quite rightly – making rapid decisions about the best way to support the real economy and welcomed real time information and dialogue.
“It was a time of national crisis with fears about businesses’ access to credit. Greensill Capital wanted to offer a genuine and legitimate proposal to help with this.
“As part of my work for Greensill, I also discussed their solutions for supply chain finance and their pay product, Earnd, with others. This included various people to discuss the roll out of Earnd across the NHS, where it was being offered for free as part of Greensill’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme. Greensill met all costs themselves.
“I was attracted to Earnd as an exciting and innovative product with the real potential to help employees with their finances, not least being able to get paid at the end of their shift, rather than at the end of the month. I considered it important that Earnd would remain forever free to use for all workers and public sector employers.
“In my representations to government, I was breaking no codes of conduct and no government rules. The Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists has found that my activities did not fall within the criteria that require registration.
“Ultimately, the outcome of the discussions I encouraged about how Greensill’s proposals might be included in the Government’s CCFF initiative – and help in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis – was that they were not taken up.
“So, I complied with the rules and my interventions did not lead to a change in the Government’s approach to the CCFF.
“However, I have reflected on this at length. There are important lessons to be learnt. As a former Prime Minister, I accept that communications with government need to be done through only the most formal of channels, so there can be no room for misinterpretation.
“There have been various charges levelled against me these past weeks, mainly that I made representations to the Government on behalf of a company I worked for. I did.
“Not just because I thought it would benefit the company, but because I sincerely believed there would be a material benefit for UK businesses at a challenging time.
“That was, in large part, my reason for working for Greensill in the first place. I deeply regret that Greensill has gone into administration, but the central idea behind their key product –using modern technology and deep capital markets in order to help firms be better financed, to grow and create jobs — was a good one.
“My other work:
“My other principal activities since leaving 10 Downing Street have included:
– Writing and publishing my memoirs;
– Serving as President of Alzheimer’s Research UK, leading a major fundraising drive and chairing their early diagnosis project, Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases (EDoN);
– Chairing the Patrons of National Citizens Service (NCS), which I set up as Prime Minister;
– Co-chairing the Council on State Fragility with the former President of Liberia and former President of the African Development Bank;
– Sitting on the Board of ONE, the advocacy group for international development; and
– Co-chairing Pew Bertarelli Ocean Ambassadors, where we seek to build on the success of the UK’s Blue Belt, which helps protect our marine environments, and promote its goals around the world.
“I also back a range of charities and causes close to my and Samantha’s hearts, principally those associated with our Armed Forces and veterans, disabled and ill children, and Alzheimer’s. And I support a range of causes local to our home in Oxfordshire.
“My commercial interests include advising three other firms – Fiserv, Illumina and Afiniti – working in the areas of FinTech, BioTech and Artificial Intelligence respectively.
“I have also given a number of speeches, lectures and interviews through the Washington Speakers Bureau.
Published: 11/04/2021 by Radio NewsHub
Celeste: Performing at virtual Baftas a unique opportunity
Brit Award winner Celeste has described performing to an empty Royal Albert Hall at the Bafta film awards as a “unique opportunity”.
The chart-topping soul singer, 26, was speaking as she arrived at the second of the two ceremonies for this year’s awards, which is going ahead without winners and nominees present.
She is due to perform her track Hear My Voice from best film nominee The Trial Of The Chicago 7.
She told the PA news agency: “I think it has such an allure to be able to perform without an audience and I was saying earlier that it’s such a unique opportunity to be able to perform in a place like this, sort of fully ready to go, dressed, without a crowd so I look forward to that, and hopefully I’ll come back another time where I can have a big audience.”
She added: “You get to have an intimate reaction with this historic venue that otherwise you probably wouldn’t get, other than in a sound check, so I think it’s quite amazing.”
Road movie Nomadland and coming-of-age drama Rocks lead the diverse nominations, where four female filmmakers are in the running for the best director prize.
Celeste described the improved diversity at the event as “really important”.
She added: “It is a conversation we are having across the industries whether it is fashion, music, art, film, everything.
“There is not a shadow of doubt that it is of the upmost importance to see that diversity across our screens because it gives us that sense of relief and understanding and empowerment.
“And also I think film can be such an important gateway into understanding the lives and cultures of other people.
“Then perhaps with that information you don’t feel as frightened to delve into that. I think it can be a great educational tool.”
Despite having a breakout 12 months, she said: “It has definitely been quite daunting at points and I have just found myself having to adapt.
“I think just as you get used to a new way of life something else changes and you have to figure out how to readjust again.
“I have definitely had real ups and downs like I am sure everyone else has and it is just learning how to understand yourself in those times and the people around you.”
In December 2019, Celeste was announced as the winner of the Rising Star Award at the Brits, and a month later she was crowned the winner of BBC Music’s Sound Of 2020.
Only a few artists, including Adele, Sam Smith and Jorja Smith, have secured both awards.
02:4511 Apr 2021
British stars Daniel Kaluuya and Vanessa Kirby among hopefuls at virtual Baftas
Daniel Kaluuya, Vanessa Kirby and Riz Ahmed are among the British hopefuls at tonight’s Bafta film awards, which is going ahead without winners and nominees present at the Royal
Published: 11/04/2021 by Radio NewsHub
Newborn baby found dead in supermarket car park
Police are trying to find the mother of a newborn baby who has been found dead on a supermarket car park.
West Midlands Police Detective Inspector Jim Edmonds said the “truly tragic discovery” was made the Morrisons car park on the Black Country Route in Bilston on Sunday just after 9am.
Officers, who were alerted by a member of the public, are extremely concerned for the welfare of the baby’s mother and are urgently appealing for her or anyone who knows who she is to come forward.
It is not known when the baby was born or how they came to be in the car park.
In making an urgent call to try to find the mother, Mr Edmonds said: “This is a truly tragic discovery, and we’ve been treating the scene and the baby with the utmost care and dignity today.
“While we don’t yet know what has happened, what we do know is that there must be a mother out there who is in real need of help − and she is my absolute priority at the moment.
“We have been checking CCTV and speaking to hospitals, but it may be that the mother or someone who knows who she is sees this appeal.
“I really want to speak to her to make sure she’s OK, and to ensure that she can get the help that she urgently needs.”
Anyone with information has been asked to get in touch with police by quoting log 842 of April 11.
Officers can be reached via live chat at west-midlands.police.uk, or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. The public can also dial 999 in an emergency.
Published: 11/04/2021 by Radio NewsHub
Sir John Major – Philip gave Queen ‘great support’ during difficult times
The Duke of Edinburgh was the person to whom the Queen could “unburden herself”, Sir John Major has said.
Being head of state is “a very lonely position in many ways”, with a limited number of people available for the Queen to speak frankly with, the former prime minister said..
He said: “Consider the position the Queen is in. She is the head of state, that is a very lonely position in many ways.
“There are a limited number of people to whom she can really open her heart, to whom she can really speak with total frankness, to whom she can say things that would be reported by other people and thought to be indelicate.
“Of the handful of people to whom she can speak frankly, her husband, Prince Philip, was obviously the first one.
“At times of difficulty, he was the person who was there, he was the person to whom she could unburden herself.
“And when you’re facing a sea of problems, as she so often was, and sometimes when you’re overwhelmed by what has to be done, someone who understands that, someone that can take part of the burden, someone who can share the decision-making, someone who can metaphorically – or in the case of Prince Philip, I think, probably literally – put their arms around you and say ‘it’s not as bad as you think, this is what we have to do, this is how we can do it, this is what I think’ – I think when you talk of him being a great support, that was it.”
Sir John said he hopes the Queen will be given time and space following Philip’s death.
He said: “The Queen and Prince Philip had 73 years of marriage together. That is extraordinary, I can think of no-one else who’s had a marriage for that length, in my experience. So it will be an enormous hole in her life that suddenly Prince Philip isn’t there.
“How will the Queen manage? Well, I think there are several things to say about that. Firstly, I hope she will given some time and space.
“I know she is the monarch, I know she has responsibilities, but she has earned the right to have a period of privacy in which to grieve with her family.
“After that… Prince Philip may physically have gone, but (he) will be in the Queen’s mind as clearly as if she were sitting opposite him.
“She will hear his voice metaphorically in her ear, she will know what he will say in certain circumstances, he will still be there in her memory.”
Published: 11/04/2021 by Radio NewsHub
Gun salutes to be fired across UK to mark death of Philip
Gun salutes marking the death of the Duke of Edinburgh are to take place across the UK, in Gibraltar and at sea.
Saluting batteries will fire 41 rounds at one round every minute from midday in cities including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, as well as Gibraltar and from Royal Navy warships, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
Gun salutes have been fired to mark significant national events since as early as at least the 18th century.
They were used to mark the deaths of Queen Victoria in 1901 and Winston Churchill in 1965.
The public is being encouraged to observe the gun salutes, which will be broadcast online and on television, from home.
First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the most senior officer in the Royal Navy, added to the tributes to Philip.
In a statement released on Saturday morning, he said: “His genuine empathy, affection and engagement with the Royal Navy resonated with us all.
“His generous spirit, his delight in all aspects of the Naval Service, and his deep understanding of our values, standards and ethos made him such a close friend to the Service for over eight decades.”
In London, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will ride out from their base at Napier Lines, Woolwich Barracks, onto the Parade Ground.
There will be 71 horses, 36 of them pulling six 13-pounder field guns dating from the First World War.
The same guns were also fired for Philip’s wedding to the Queen in 1947 and at her Coronation six years later in 1953.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh was a constant supporter and ambassador of the armed forces.
“We celebrate his life of service and offer our condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the royal family.”
Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter said: “His Royal Highness has been a great friend, inspiration and role model for the armed forces and he will be sorely missed.
“The Duke of Edinburgh served among us during the Second World War, and he remained devoted to the Royal Navy and the armed forces as a whole.
“A life well lived, His Royal Highness leaves us with a legacy of indomitable spirit, steadfastness and an unshakeable sense of duty. From all of us who serve today and who have served, thank you.”
The Honourable Artillery Company will fire a salute at the Tower of London, the 104th Regiment Royal Artillery will fire from Cardiff Castle, and the 105th Regiment Royal Artillery will fire at Hillsborough Castle, Belfast and Edinburgh Castle.
Ships taking part include the HMS Diamond, HMS Montrose and HMNB Portsmouth, while the Royal Gibraltar Regiment will join the salute from the British overseas territory.
Philip joined the Royal Navy after leaving school, beginning at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in May 1939, and was singled out as best cadet.
During the Second World War, he served on several ships – firstly on HMS Ramillies – and saw active service against German, Italian and Japanese forces.
In March 1941, he was a searchlight control officer on the battleship HMS Valiant and was mentioned in despatches for his part in the battle of Matapan against the Italian fleet.
Shortly afterwards, he was awarded the Greek War Cross of Valour.
He rose rapidly through the ranks, earning promotion after promotion, with some believing he could have become First Sea Lord – the professional head of the Royal Navy.
But the Duke stepped down from his active role in the forces to fulfil his duty as the Queen’s consort.
In recognition of his long-standing connection with the Royal Navy, the Queen conferred the title of Lord High Admiral on the Duke to mark his 90th birthday in June 2011.
Published: 10/04/2021 by Radio NewsHub
Election campaigns suspended following Duke of Edinburgh’s death
Election campaigning has been suspended by political parties following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer spoke on Friday and agreed to the pause.
Voters will make their decision at the ballot box on May 6, including for council and mayoral positions in England, the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Parliament.
A Conservative Party spokeswoman said: “In light of the sad news from Buckingham Palace all campaigning will be paused until further notice.”
For Labour, a spokesperson said: “As a mark of respect following the sad death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Labour Party has today suspended all campaigning.”
The Liberal Democrats also confirmed they would be suspending their national election campaign on Friday.
Published: 09/04/2021 by Radio NewsHub
Royal Mint ‘had a long and close relationship with the Duke of Edinburgh’
A boss at the Royal Mint said the organisation had enjoyed a “long and close relationship” with the Duke of Edinburgh.
Anne Jessopp, chief executive of the Royal Mint, said that on behalf of the Mint she wanted to express great sadness and heartfelt condolences at Philip’s death.
She said that a committee chaired by Philip had approved the coins needed for decimalisation.
She said: “On behalf of everyone at the Royal Mint, I’d like to express our great sadness and heartfelt condolences at the passing of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
“The Royal Mint had a long and close relationship with the Duke of Edinburgh as he served as president of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC) for 47 years between 1952 and 1999.
“During this period the committee he chaired approved the Coronation Medal, the coins needed for decimalisation and four coinage portraits of Her Majesty the Queen.
“The thoughts of all of us at the Royal Mint are with the Royal Family at this difficult time.”
The Royal Mint is based in Llantrisant, south Wales, after moving from London several decades ago.
In 1967, it was announced that a new Royal Mint would be built at Llantrisant. Work started on the site quickly and the first phase was opened by the Queen in December 1968.
Published: 09/04/2021 by Radio NewsHub
Royal drama The Crown ‘deeply saddened’ by death of Duke of Edinburgh
The makers of royal drama The Crown have said they are “deeply saddened” by the news of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.
Philip was played by Doctor Who star Matt Smith in the first two series of the lavish Netflix series, opposite Claire Foy as the Queen.
He was replaced by Outlander actor Tobias Menzies for series three and four, opposite Olivia Colman as the Queen.
The first series followed the earlier days of the relationship between the Queen and Philip, while the second series dramatised tensions in the marriage.
Later episodes showed his interest in and passion for space travel.
A statement from the show, written by Peter Morgan, said: “Netflix, Left Bank Pictures, Sony Pictures Television and the production team on The Crown are deeply saddened to hear of the death of The Duke of Edinburgh.
“Our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this sad time.”
Oscar nominee Jonathan Pryce will take over the role of the Duke of Edinburgh for the fifth and six series of the show, which will be the last.
He will star opposite Imelda Staunton as the Queen.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has also paid tribute, saying Philip represents a “special” place in its history.
He became the organisation’s first president in 1959, one year after the British Film Academy and the Guild of Television Producers and Directors merged to create the Society of Film and Television Arts, a forerunner of Bafta.
The Duke represented the Society until 1965 and presented awards at ceremonies during this period.
He was also present at the official opening of Bafta’s headquarters in London, after he and the Queen gave their share of the profits from the film Royal Family to the SFTA.
Bafta said Philip was “an important figure in one of the most ambitious overseas initiatives the Academy has ever undertaken”, when he attended the Festival of British Film and Television at the Library of Congress in Washington DC
A statement said: “The Duke occupies a special place in the Academy’s history and will be missed enormously.
“Our thoughts are with the Royal Family, to whom we offer our deepest sympathy.”
Philip’s grandson, the Duke of Cambridge, is the current president of Bafta.
The Academy is due to hand out its film awards on Saturday and Sunday night in largely virtual ceremonies.
Published: 09/04/2021 by Radio NewsHub
People flock to Buckingham Palace to pay respects to Philip
Crowds flocking to the gates of Buckingham Palace to pay respects to the Duke of Edinburgh show “what the monarchy really means to people”, according to one.
As the Union flag flew at half-mast on the palace, hundreds of people gathered to lay flowers for Philip and read the framed plaque palace staff had placed on the gates announcing his death on Friday.
After several visitors queued to view the plaque, royal staff removed it so that it would not encourage a large congregation at the gate in breach of coronavirus safety regulations.
Members of the public were told to wear a mask and line up behind a barrier to view the sign in the hour before it was removed.
Maximilien Roesner, 24, who works for a manufacturer of medical equipment and PPE in London, said he was “absolutely saddened” to hear about Philip’s death, but added the crowd at the palace gates “shows what the monarchy really means to people”.
Mr Roesner, who laid a large bouquet of red roses beside the front gates, said: “I’m absolutely saddened, I think he was a true inspiration not only to his generation, but to our generation, to my generation, and it is a very sad day.
“He lived a life dedicated to service to the United Kingdom, and I think he is one the strongest men and a truly inspirational person.”
Mr Roesner, who is from Germany but lives in London, added: “The United Kingdom is represented so well by this family… and I think just looking here how many people are coming and how many people are saddened to hear the passing of Prince Philip just shows what the monarchy really means to people.”
George Colvin-Slee, 28, said Philip’s legacy will “loom large in our popular memories for many years to come”.
Mr Colvin-Slee, who came from his office on The Mall near the palace when he heard the news of the duke’s death, said: “It’s obviously a very sad day for the country and for the Commonwealth as well, a man who has dedicated his life to the service of the nation and I’m sure he will loom large in our popular memories for many years to come.
“He’s a very colourful figure in our national life, and we would be something less without him.
“But the royal family are very resilient, we’ve had many deaths of high-profile figures in the family before and I’m sure that they will continue on dutifully as they always have done.”
Elizabeth MacDonald, 41, who visited the palace with her two young children and husband, said: “I feel incredibly sad, I mean he’s 99, he’s had such a long life and I feel really sad for their partnership.
“I think people will be really sad for the Queen, that she’s lost him and I think as a whole there will be some worry about the monarchy and what happens to it from this point on.
“I was just saying to my children, the last time a reigning monarch lost their partner was Queen Victoria, so it’s something they won’t necessarily see again in their lifetime.”
Helen Snowdon, 59, expressed her condolences for the royal family and remembered the duke’s “very good sense of humour”.
Ms Snowdon, a housewife from Warwickshire who was visiting her daughter in London, said: “I felt really upset because they’re part of our history, so I just wanted to come down with my daughter and just pay our respects and lay some flowers.
“I feel very sad for the royal family and the Queen and my condolences go out to them.
“So yes this is a historical day because I think the Queen and the royal family are great for this country and Prince Philip has been a great support to the Queen for many years.
“I think a lot of the British public and people across the world do, so it’s good to pay our respects to him.
“He also was very funny, he had a very good sense of humour – he always made me laugh.”
Published: 09/04/2021 by Radio NewsHub