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Hopelessness Is A Heavy Feeling. Here Are 5 Ways To Help It Pass.

By Natasha Hinde

We’re here to guide you through the coronavirus pandemic.
Anxious About Leaving Your Home? Here’s How To Push Past Those Fears

For those who are struggling with feelings of hopelessness right now, psychotherapist Rakhi Chand, a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), has some advice.

1. Talk about it.

Chand urges people to talk to loved ones – or charities, therapists, support networks – about it. The NHS is keen to remind people they can still access free therapy, although mostly over the phone or virtually. You can also find trusted private therapists through sites such as Counselling Directory, BACP and UKCP.

“Talk to people you trust, or a professional,” says Chand. “Hopelessness is a heavy feeling. Don’t be alone with it. In ten years of practice, I don’t recall anyone struggling with hopelessness saying that it helped to keep it to themselves. And I realise that for many this takes much courage.”

2. Don’t judge yourself.

Don’t fight it if you feel hopeless – or make it worse by judging yourself for feeling that way, she adds. It’s a normal response to have, given the situation we find ourselves in. And remember, you’re not alone in these feelings.

3. Stay in the present.

“Hopelessness is inherently about the future,” explains Chand – so try and stay in the present. You can do this by: practising mindfulness, exercise, engaging with a puzzle, reading a book, cooking, listening to music, or seeing friends. Focus on what you’re doing there and then, not on the future.

4. Take a break from social media.

Step away from social media if you can, says Chand, as it can fuel feelings of hopelessness. “Social media is far from being in the present and for many – especially younger people – it’s an addiction,” she says.

“Set aside time on a daily or weekly basis to be phone-free. Tell people you’re doing that to help you be accountable.” If it’s hard to resist the urge to check your phone, give it to someone else to look after, she suggests.

5. Seek help.

“If you feel that hopeless that you want to hurt yourself, call the emergency services,” she says. “If that’s not quite where you are at, the Samaritans
could also help.”

We need government action, too

There are glimmers of hope from the latest survey. Levels of anxiety and worry about the pandemic have fallen across the population, from 62% of UK adults surveyed at the beginning of lockdown to 49%.

Professor Tine Van Bortel, an expert in global public health from the University of Cambridge, acknowledge this is good news – but added that this should not obscure the fact vulnerable groups are still struggling.

“The UK and devolved governments must respond to their needs, to prevent many people’s current mental distress from escalating into tragic long-term consequences,” she said. “This research clearly identifies where some of those areas of most need are – including young adults, people with existing mental health problems and the unemployed.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We recognise the impact this pandemic can have on people’s mental health.”

They pointed out that mental health support continues to be available for those who need it during this time. “NHS services remain open and we are providing £9.2m of funding to national and local mental health charities to support adults and children affected by the pandemic,” they said.

“Mental health services will continue to expand further and faster thanks to a minimum £2.3bn of extra investment a year by 2023/24 as part of the Long Term Plan.”

Prof Bortel said any policies going forward should be developed in “meaningful consultation” with stakeholder groups and the wider public, “to ensure they adequately address all needs”.

“There is a unique opportunity now to do things better and get it right,” she said.

Useful websites and helplines

Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI – this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).

CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.

The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email [email protected]

Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/how-to-deal-with-feelings-of-hopelessness_uk_5f05ce17c5b63a72c33b92aa


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Rishi Sunak Starts The Long Break-up: Winding Down Furlough As Jobless Fears Loom

By Paul Waugh

You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening.

Rishi Sunak ended the day as he began it, to the sound of fellow Tory MPs banging their desks in approval.

The support given by the Cabinet in the morning was unsurprising, particularly as Boris Johnson was by the chancellor’s side. But even when he flew solo at the early evening meeting of the backbench 1922 Committee, a body not normally in favour of borrowing-fuelled spending sprees, the reception was just as warm.

It’s likely too that Sunak’s summer “update” will go down well with many of the public who take advantage of its 50% midweek meal deal, are hired as apprentices or spared thousands in stamp duty. And even though this wasn’t a full-blown Budget, he managed to pull out the ‘rabbit’ of a six-month VAT cut that cheered many in the hospitality sector.

Yet with confirmation that the furlough scheme was definitely ending in October, this was in many ways a break-up speech with much of the British workforce. Even though it was tempered by “Dishi Rishi”’s soothing voice and long eyelashes, the message on the end of the affair was unmistakable: “It’s not you, it’s me (and my politics).”

To the nine million people currently dependent on the state paying 80% of their wages, he said: “It cannot and should not go on forever. I know that when furlough ends it will be a difficult moment.” But he didn’t want to give “false hope” that it will be possible to return to the jobs they had before.

There was even a bit of tough love: “The longer people are on furlough, the more likely it is their skills could fade, and they will find it harder to get new opportunities.” That sounded like “it’s better for both of us that we end this”. Anyone who has been on the receiving end of that particular sentiment (in work or relationships) knows that it’s not wholly true.

Still, even as he was effectively saying goodbye, the chancellor wanted to cushion the blow for a few more months. His August “eat out to help out” plan may ensure that he’s a summer boyfriend to those restaurants and pubs that face a tough time from continued social distancing.

Applying the 50% discount to Mondays-to-Wednesdays only was shrewd, as it ensures eateries can spread more evenly through the week their footfall, allowing them to survive without the daily capacity that ekes out a profit margin. The average household spends £19 a week on restaurant and cafe meals, so the £10 maximum discount has also been crafted with that in mind.

Targeting a fiscal stimulus at the lower paid and the sectors that need help most makes sense. The stimulus impact of a stamp duty cut is more debatable, especially if the better off who sell a £500,000 home then decided to simply pocket rather than spend the £15,000 saving. The story of this downturn has been the wealthier actually paying off debts and increasing savings, as the poorest head more into the red.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds pointed out that consumer confidence is vital in regenerating demand in the economy and that ultimately relies on the government sorting out a proper test and trace system. Just as the public were ahead of No.10 in going into lockdown before it was formally imposed, their fears over safety mean that it will take more than a £10 meal deal to venture out and spend. Sunak may have been keen to wait on tables in Wagamama’s today, but he was clearly not so keen on waiting to see if there was a second wave of coronavirus before axeing furlough altogether.

Are the public more worried about health than wealth? I’m told that some private polling done by the government suggests that the public aren’t scared enough about job losses yet, and they believe the state will step in to help them. A new survey today found a quarter of parents don’t intend to send their children back to school in September.

Maybe that’s why Sunak essentially said today that in fiscal terms there really is no such thing as a free lunch, even as he offered 50% off an actual lunch. “Over the medium-term, we must, and we will, put our public finances back on a sustainable footing,” he said. There was a gaping hole in his speech about how or when he would do that, and we will have to wait until the autumn to find out.

Another unknown is whether firms will be so hard hit by the downturn that no amount of job retention bonuses or training and apprenticeship help will shift them from the simpler strategy of just slashing jobs. The bottom line of business self-preservation, of stemming losses, may make Sunak’s own talk of a return to ‘sustainable’ finances look bitterly ironic.

It’s worth noting that this is a Treasury that is now run in tandem with No.10, not independently from it. Minutes before the statement, Boris Johnson made plain his own impatience, saying the furlough scheme “keeps employees in suspended animation” and “we need to get our economy moving again!” When your boss talks like that, and your predecessor was ousted for not toeing the line, the pressure on the chancellor to follow suit is obvious.

Johnson asserted his authority this weekend too, breaking convention to rule out any increases in VAT, income tax or national insurance. “I don’t normally talk about fiscal stuff because I leave that to Rishi. But what is in the manifesto is in the manifesto.” So, for all Sunak’s own flashy Twitter graphics, complete with a rockstar signature, it’s the PM’s imprimatur written all over his plans.

If we are not totally sure what Johnsonism is yet, Sunakism is even harder to fathom. But it does involve a sharp political eye (he personally intervened last night to reverse the HMRC move to tax people taking up an employer’s covid test) and a focus on the future (Treasury insiders stressed repeatedly his plans would support young, female, Bame workers in the hospitality sector).

Most of all the chancellor knows he has an almost impossible task to balance competing interests and forces as the UK moves into the next phase of the pandemic. His bluetoothed Ember travel mug sets an exact drinking temperature “so your coffee is never too hot, or too cold”. He clearly wants the public finances neither too hot nor too cold too.

Instinctively a small state Tory, Sunak starts off with backbench goodwill because he backed Brexit (even putting it before a career in George Osborne’s Treasury). But he has proved he is willing to implement policies Gordon Brown would only dream of, and in some cases actually started (the Future Jobs Fund, a targeted VAT cut).

He told Sir Edward Leigh that he “wholeheartedly” agreed that there are no long-term “subsidised jobs”. Sir Des Swayne lavished praise but added a hint of menace too. “After that package and that performance, the only reasonable thing I can say to my right hon. friend is, ‘Remember, O Caesar, you are mortal’”. Sunak gulped and said: “Thank you, I think.”

When he addressed the 1922 committee at the end of the day, the chancellor flashed his libertarian credentials and his desire to get the state out of people’s lives. However, he then explained that he had been on a political journey forced on him by the pandemic. What he didn’t say was that his Damascene conversion to the merits of government intervention – and now his path out of it – was really him following the gospel according to Boris Johnson.

For all his soaring rhetoric about “turning our national recovery into millions of stories of personal renewal”, and for his belief in “the nobility of work”, he still faces the big charge that he is still not doing enough to help avoid the spectre of mass unemployment. Hard-nosed Tory MPs, some of whom see Sunak as the next Conservative PM, have been urging him to stop being Santa and to turn into Scrooge this winter.

It’s unclear whether swapping the public’s affections for those of the PM and his fellow MPs will turn out to be a good career move. But the careers of millions of others rest on him – and his boss – getting it right. The real reckoning, in fiscal and employment terms, will come in the autumn.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/waugh-zone-analysis-sunak-summer-statement_uk_5f06375ac5b63a72c33c93de


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UK's Top Official Sir Mark Sedwill Gets £250,000 Payoff For Standing Down

By Arj Singh

Coronavirus has changed everything. Make sense of it all with the Waugh Zone, our evening politics briefing. Sign up now.

Britain’s top civil servant Sir Mark Sedwill will get a near-£250,000 payoff after quitting his dual roles at the top of government as part of Boris Johnson’s overhaul of Whitehall.

The prime minister confirmed that Sedwill will get a £248,189 pension contribution after stepping down as cabinet secretary and national security adviser.

Johnson issued a ministerial direction to make the payment in a minute to the permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office.

Sedwill’s “two hats” position at the top of Whitehall has long been controversial among some Tory MPs since the two roles were united and handed to him by Johnson’s predecessor as prime minister, Theresa May.

But his resignation drew strong criticism from the FDA civil servants’ union, who accused Johnson of forcing him out.

The PM’s decision to promote his chief Brexit negotiator David Frost to national security adviser has also caused angst among senior figures, given his lack of experience in intelligence and security.

Last week, May blasted Johnson for replacing Sedwill with Frost, saying he has “no proven expertise in national security”.

Speaking in the Commons, the former PM made a rare intervention over the controversial appointment of Frost, saying “expert, independent advice” was vital in government.

Sedwill’s departure came amid fears a wider shake-up of the civil service by the PM, spearheaded by Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove, will erode the impartiality of the civil service.

A search has begun to replace Sedwill as cabinet secretary.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has acknowledged that Johnson’s appointment for Frost was political, drawing comparisons with the United States.

When Sedwill announced his departure, FDA general secretary David Penman said: “No.10 – or those around it – has sought to undermine Sir Mark and the leadership of the civil service, with a series of anonymous briefings against him over many months. Not only is it a self-defeating and corrosive tactic, it’s also a cowardly one, safe in the knowledge that those who are briefed against are unable to publicly respond.

“How would any potential candidate for cabinet secretary judge their prospective employers, given how the current cadre of leaders has been treated by them?

“The danger here is that No.10 may have won this particular round of their power play, but at what cost?”

He added: “Whatever emerges as fact from the series of briefings that have sought to undermine Sir Mark’s position, this government will emerge weaker as a result.”

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/mark-sedwill-boris-johnson-payoff_uk_5f061494c5b63a72c33c3bdc


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Renters 'Left Out In The Cold' By Rishi Sunak's Coronavirus Mini-Budget

By Graeme Demianyk

Coronavirus has changed everything. Make sense of it all with the Waugh Zone, our evening politics briefing. Sign up now.

Renters have been ignored in Rishi Sunak’s mini-budget to kickstart the coronavirus-hit UK despite a string of measures to help those who own their own homes.

A stamp duty cut was one of the flagship policies within the chancellor’s extra £30bn-worth of spending, which comes on top of the £122bn already shelled out to tackle the crisis.

Housebuilders welcomed the move, which could save buyers up to £15,000.

But the lack of anything to help the one-in-five UK households who live in private rented accommodation comes as campaigners raise concerns over the ban on evictions ending next month.

Housing charity Shelter estimates around a quarter-of-a-million private renters in England could be at risk of losing their homes.

It said on Wednesday that the chancellor’s statement was a “major missed opportunity” and that changes to stamp duty are “just a distraction”.

One discounted meal at a restaurant will be cold comfort to those struggling to pay their rent each month and facing the threat of eviction in August.Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “In the midst of the the biggest economic downturn in living memory, what we needed from the chancellor today was action, not distraction.

“Unfortunately cuts to stamp duty are just another distraction, as we are facing the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and new homes. Changes to stamp duty are wholly insufficient for the challenge this country is facing.

“Voices from across the political spectrum have been calling for urgent investment in social housing to stimulate housebuilding, protect jobs, and provide urgently needed homes.

“In the face of this mounting crisis we need rapid spending, bringing forward the money already committed to affordable housing to be spent now as a rescue package – not in five years’ time. This is a major missed opportunity by the chancellor.”

Disappointed @RishiSunak didn’t announce any action to help renters with the rent debt crisis they face today. Hundreds of thousands of renters are choosing between paying for rent or food. For them it less ‘eat out to help out’ they need a ‘pay out to eat in’! @genrentuk

— Alicia Kennedy (@aliciakennedy07) July 8, 2020

Liberal Democrat MP and leadership hopeful Layla Moran said the chancellor has “left renters out in the cold” while handing a £3.8bn stamp duty cut that will “benefit wealthy homeowners the most”

She added: “One discounted meal at a restaurant will be cold comfort to those struggling to pay their rent each month and facing the threat of eviction in August.

“Thousands of hard-pressed families are being pushed into poverty by the heartless two child cap on benefits, but will not see any extra support.

“At the start of this crisis, the chancellor said we will be judged by our capacity for compassion. By failing to provide additional support directly to those who do fall on hard times, this mini-budget shows this government has utterly failed that test.”

Shelter estimates that 227,000 renters across the country have fallen behind with payments and is concerned they could lose their homes when the evictions ban ends on August 23.

People who accrue rent arrears of eight weeks or more can be automatically evicted, in addition to the risk of being subjected to a Section 21 “no fault” eviction.

In his Commons statement, Sunak also unveiled plans for:

– Firms which have furloughed staff will be given a £1,000 bonus to keep workers in jobs.

– Announced an “eat out to help out” plan for dining out in August to boost the hospitality sector, with a 50% discount per head from Monday to Wednesday up to a maximum discount of £10 per diner.

– Slashed VAT on food, accommodation and attractions from 20% to 5% from July 15 until January 12, a tax cut worth up to £4 billion.

– Set out a scheme for firms to be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25 and a new bonus of £1,500 for apprentices over that age.

Alicia Kennedy, director of campaign group Generation Rent: “While support for jobs is welcome, people are struggling to put food on the table now and face the threat of losing their home when the eviction ban is lifted next month.

“The stamp duty holiday doesn’t help renters whose incomes and savings have been destroyed by the pandemic and face a further setback to their hopes of buying a home. Right now the government is leaving renters to bear the cost of the pandemic – we need Rishi Sunak to increase Local Housing Allowance, remove the restrictions stopping people from accessing it, and end the rent debt crisis before it causes mass homelessness.”

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/rishi-sunak-renters-mini-budget_uk_5f05de8dc5b67a80bc017db4


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Everything You Need To Know About Rishi Sunak's £30bn Coronavirus Mini-Budget

By Arj Singh

Coronavirus has changed everything. Make sense of it all with the Waugh Zone, our evening politics briefing. Sign up now.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has outlined an extra £30bn-worth of spending designed to help the UK through what is likely to be the worst recession on record.

It comes on top of the £122bn already shelled out to tackle the coronavirus crisis and comes as ministers grapple with the possibility of mass unemployment in the months ahead.

So what do you need to know?

The grim challenge ahead

Even while imposing austerity after the financial crash, George Osborne liked to talk about sunlit uplands and crack a few jokes.

But Sunak’s grave tone matched the scale of the crisis with a warning that “hardship lies ahead”.

And who can blame him when he is forced to reveal the grim reality that the UK’s economy got 25% smaller in just two months – the same amount it grew over the previous 18 years.

This will come with “significant job losses”, but Sunak underlined the point of his entire statement by declaring: “I will never accept unemployment as an unavoidable outcome”.

A bold chancellor

He’s only been chancellor since February, but Sunak has shown he is unafraid to introduce bold, eye-catching measures in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Despite resisting Labour calls for an extension of the furlough scheme for the worst-hit sectors, he unveiled a package of support for hospitality and tourism businesses which have been shuttered by lockdown and remain highly restricted.

Echoing his boss Boris Johnson, Sunak said he wanted to see “bustling” pubs, cafes, restaurants and hotels again while announcing a cut in VAT cut for food, accommodation and attractions from 20% to just 5%, costing £4bn.

The measure will cover eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafes and pubs, accommodation in hotels, bed and breakfasts, campsites and caravan sites, and attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos – all until next January.

Officials pointed out this would cover attractions like Alton Towers and Longleat safari park, a £100 a night hotel room in Cornwall or a Premier Inn in Manchester, and a meal at Nando’s or Pizza Express.

Accompanying this was a bold £500m “eat out to help out” plan, offering customers a government-backed 50% discount up to £10 each on dining out between Monday and Wednesday in August.

But perhaps unsurprisingly for the teetotal chancellor, alcoholic drinks were not included in either plan, with the Treasury believing the 80-90% of pubs that serve food can still benefit.

Furlough bonus

Sunak had some home truths for workers on furlough, warning that keeping it going until things return to “normal”, whenever that is, risks giving people “false hope” that they will be able to return to their old jobs.

Instead, the job retention scheme is being wound down to its end in October to ensure people are not “trapped in a job that can only exist because of government subsidy”.

But by far the biggest outlay in his speech was a jobs retention bonus, giving employers £1,000 for each worker taken back from furlough in a move that could cost up to £9.4bn.

This will apply to all 9m workers who have been furloughed since coronavirus took hold in the UK – if their employers take them back.

Help for the young

Sunak was particularly focused on young people, who are at very low risk of dying from coronavirus but arguably will suffer the biggest consequences from lockdown.

There was a new scheme which will see companies given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and a new bonus of £1,500 for apprentices over that age, worth £1.6bn.

And there was a £2bn “kickstart” scheme to pay the wages of 16-24 year-olds on universal credit and currently at risk of long-term unemployment. The cash will be available for six month work placements and cover 25 hours a week on the minimum wage.

The Treasury was also keen to point out that its package of support for hospitality will help workers who are disproportionately young and more likely to be female or from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Something for Tory voters and backbenchers

Sunak needed to have something for traditional Tories worried about all the high spending and he delivered with the abolition of stamp duty on properties worth up to £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland until March 31 next year.

The chancellor pointed out that house buying and selling fell by 50% in May with prices falling for the first time in eight years as he outlined the measure, which will cut the average bill by £4,500 and mean nearly nine out of ten people buying a main home will pay nothing in stamp duty.

The measure will cost the Treasury £3.8bn but Sunak said he needs people to feel “confident to buy, sell, renovate, move and improve”, arguing it will drive growth despite concerns that the move would distort the market.

Plenty of winners, but also some losers

While there were plenty of winners in Sunak’s speech, many will be feeling left out.

Self-employed people who only belatedly got help in a grant scheme which is due to run out in August got nothing.

And while many of the measures were a big statement about the government’s drive to open up the economy despite public health risks, there was nothing set aside for businesses that will face local lockdowns to combat coronavirus outbreaks often through no fault of their own.

There was also nothing to help with childcare despite many parents facing the prospect of losing their jobs, and nothing for renters.

People walk in Melton Road also known as the Golden Mile in Leicester

Dodds’ debut

The statement was also notable for Anneliese Dodds’ first big Commons moments as Keir Starmer’s shadow chancellor.

The Labour frontbencher renewed calls for the furlough scheme to be continued for “viable” industries that face a disproportionate impact from coronavirus and accused Sunak of putting off the big economic decisions until autumn.

She also called for an end to the “poverty pay” of social care workers who have played a central frontline role in the crisis and urged ministers to solve the fact that people may be less willing to self isolate if it means going on “low-value” and “limited” statutory sick pay for 14 days.

But Dodds was also forced to confirm that Labour is not proposing a wealth tax after mixed messages in recent days.

And she repeatedly made the link between the government’s approach to the economy and the health response to coronavirus.

Thanks for the meal deal, but we were promised a new deal. #SummerStatementpic.twitter.com/c3AOUhgdGT

— The Labour Party (@UKLabour) July 8, 2020

“The best the government can do to boost demand is to give consumers and workers the confidence and psychological security that they can go out to work, to shop, and to socialise in safety,” Dodds said.

“So please chancellor work with your colleagues so the public health response catches up with that operating in other countries.”

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/rishi-sunack-mini-budget-everything-you-need-to-know_uk_5f05e672c5b63a72c33bdcb8


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People Trapped After Crane Collapses Onto House In Bow, East London

By Chris York

London Fire Brigade is working to free a number of trapped people after a 20-metre crane collapsed onto a house in Bow, east London.

The condition of those inside the building is now known at this time.

Video posted to social media shows the mangled remains of the crane and the damaged roof of a nearby house.

London Ambulance Service said it had a number of crews and a team of specialist paramedics who work in hazardous environments at the scene.

A 20 meter crane has collapsed onto a terraced house in #Bow. Fire crews are working to free people trapped inside. Please avoid the area 🎥 @K_6737pic.twitter.com/godrS65TFO

— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) July 8, 2020

This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/crane-collapses-bow-london_uk_5f05d5c8c5b67a80bc0165f7


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