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



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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.



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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.”



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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.”



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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.

— 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.”



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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 🎥

— 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.



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5 Damning Revelations In Mary Trump’s New Book About The President

By Lee Moran

More damning details have emerged from the upcoming book written by Mary Trump about her uncle Donald Trump.

Early copies of the tell-all, obtained by multiple media outlets on Tuesday, reportedly say Trump cheated his way into college, commented on his own niece’s breasts in front of his wife and threatened to disown his son Donald Trump Jr. if he joined the military.

The White House has refuted many of the claims made by the president’s niece, a clinical psychologist, in “Too Much and Never Enough, How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Tuesday afternoon said she’d “yet to see the book,” but nevertheless said “it’s a book of falsehoods.”

The president’s brother Robert Trump attempted to stop the book from being published. It is scheduled for release on Tuesday.

Mary Trump wrote her uncle’s “penchant for division, and uncertainty about our country’s future have created a perfect storm of catastrophes that no one is less equipped than my uncle to manage.”

Here are some of the other eyebrow-raising details:

1. Trump cheated his way into college

Trump paid someone to take the SAT on his behalf, according to The New York Times account of the book.

Trump feared his grade point average “would scuttle his efforts to get accepted,” so he paid “a smart kid with a reputation for being a good test taker, to take his SATs for him.”

2. Trump commented on his niece’s breasts in front of his wife

“Holy shit, Mary. You’re stacked,” Trump’s niece alleged he said (in front of his then-wife Marla Maples) after seeing her in a swimsuit at his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, in the 1990s, according to The Guardian.

“I was 29 and not easily embarrassed,” wrote Mary Trump. “But my face reddened and I suddenly felt self-conscious. I pulled my towel around my shoulders.”

Trump speculated about his then-one-year-old daughter Tiffany’s breasts during a 1994 interview with Robin Leach.

3. Trump’s own sister called him ‘a clown’

Trump’s eldest sister, retired judge Maryanne Trump Barry, dismissed her brother’s run for office during a 2015 meal with Mary Trump.

“He’s a clown. This will never happen,” Mary Trump recalled her aunt saying of the presidential bid, reported CNN.

4. Trump is a terrible Christmas gift-giver

Trump one Christmas regifted a food basket to his niece, she said, but only after taking out a tin of caviar, reported CNN. Another year, he gave her a $12 pack of underwear from Bloomingdales, according to The Guardian account of the book. Her brother, meanwhile, received a leather-bound journal — that was out of date.

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, admitted in a 2018 interview that his father was a notorious regifter. “There was one Christmas where he may or may not have given me the gift I had given him the year before, because I had monogrammed it,” Trump Jr. recalled to Extra. “And I’m like: ‘I know you didn’t get this.’ ‘How do you know that?’ ‘Because I gave it to you last year.’”

5. Trump threatened to disown his son if he joined the military

Trump reportedly told his eldest son Donald Trump Jr. that he would disown him “in a second” if he joined the US Army, according to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who read segments from the book on air Tuesday.

Trump Jr. has since taken out his aggression by killing big-game animals on safari in Africa with his brother Eric Trump, and a rare endangered sheep in Mongolia.



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'Eat Out To Help Out' Scheme – How To Get 50% Off Food In August

By Natasha Hinde

We’re here to guide you through the coronavirus pandemic.
What The Stamp Duty ‘Holiday’ Changes Will Mean For You

How does the scheme work?

It’s up to businesses to register for the scheme to encourage customers to visit. They can do so by registering online from next Monday – July 13.

Then, throughout August, businesses will be able to offer customers half price discounts from Monday to Wednesday, and claim the money back from the government – with the funds in their accounts within five working days.

The discount is redeemable on sit-down meals and non-alcoholic drinks and the maximum discount per customer is £10.

Will all restaurants take part?

It’s not clear just yet which restaurants will be taking part in the scheme, but it’s worth keeping an eye on restaurant social media accounts over the coming week to see if they sign up and advertise the deal.

“1.8m people work in this industry, they need our support – and with this measure we can all eat out to help out,” said Sunak on Wednesday.

Food, accommodation and attraction firms will also benefit from a temporary VAT cut from 20% to 5%, he said.

As it stands, people are able to visit pubs and restaurants in England with members of their household, as well as members from one other household.



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Rishi Sunak Cuts VAT And Backs 'Eat Out To Help Out' Vouchers In Boost For UK Hospitality

By Rachel Wearmouth

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

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will cut VAT by 15% and introduce “eat out to help out” meal vouchers in a bid to save the Covid-hit UK hospitality sector from disaster.

Unveiling his mini-budget in the Commons on Wednesday, Sunak said he would cut VAT from 20% to 5% for the hospitality and tourism sectors from July 15 until January 12.

The “eat out to help out” discount will also offer 50% off, up to £10 per head, on meals out on certain days of the week during August.

He said the measures would help to protect as many as 2.4 million jobs in a sector of the economy hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sunak said it would help get customers back into restaurants, cafes and pubs.

He told the Commons: “I can announce today that, for the month of August, we will give everyone in the country an ‘eat out to help out’ discount.

“Meals eaten at any participating business, Monday to Wednesday, will be 50% off, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone, including children. Businesses will need to register, and can do so through a simple website, open next Monday.

“Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within five working days.”

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



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Boris Johnson Refuses To Say Sorry For 'Blaming' Care Home Workers For Covid-19 Spread

By Rachel Wearmouth

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

Boris Johnson repeatedly refused to apologise to care home workers amid claims he is attempting to blame them for the spread of coronavirus.

Labour leader Keir Starmer pushed the PM to say sorry in the Commons several times after he sparked fury for saying “too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures” during the crisis.

The PM and his ministers have said that Johnson was referring to the fact asymptomatic transmission between patients was not known about, but he stands accused of “insulting” front line workers.

The virus has spread rapidly among care homes as the disease disproportionately affects the elderly and 257 care workers have also lost their lives.

Martin Green, the boss of Care England, is among many who say the government had a “policy of emptying hospitals and filling care homes” when coronavirus began to grip the country in order to protect the NHS.

Claiming “the last thing I wanted to do was blame care workers for what has happened”, the PM said: “When it comes to taking blame, I take full responsibility for what has happened.

“But the one thing that nobody knew early on in this pandemic was that the virus was being passed asymptomatically from person to person in the way that it is and that’s why the guidance and the procedures changed.”

At least 20,000 people have died from Covid-19 in care homes.

Residents went without tests. Staff were left without PPE. And all after a decade of cuts to social care.

Shameful of Boris Johnson for trying to blame others for his government’s failures.

— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) July 7, 2020

“That’s not an apology and it just won’t wash,” Starmer countered.

“It was clear what he was saying and the prime minister must understand just how raw this is for many people on the front line and for those who have lost loved ones.”

The Labour leader then quoted Mark Adams, who runs the charity Community Integrated Care, to the PM.

Adams had called Johnson’s comments “cowardly” and said the PM was guilty of a “travesty of leadership”.

Johnson again refused to apologise and said he would invest in care homes, before branding Starmer “captain hindsight”.

“By refusing to apologise, the prime minister rubs salt into the wounds of the very people he stood at his front door and clapped,” Starmer said.

“The prime minister and the health secretary must be the only people left in the country who think they put a protective ring around care homes.

“Those on the front line know that that isn’t the case.”

Johnson went on to say he would bring forward long-awaited reforms to the social care sector, something which has been promised by the Conservatives since the party took power 10 years ago.

Starmer said the PM refused to acknowledge other mistakes and had been “too slow to act” and “typically flippant”.



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Employers To Get £1,000 Bonus For Every Furloughed Worker Kept On Staff

By Ned Simons

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

Rishi Sunak has announced the government will pay employers a £1,000 bonus for every person they bring back from furlough.

The furlough programme has seen the state pay the wages for nine million jobs

The chancellor confirmed on Wednesday the scheme, introduced as the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK, would be wound down “flexibly and gradually” until October.

But delivering a new set of economic measures today, Sunak revealed a new “jobs retention bonus”.

“If you’re an employer and you bring back someone who was furloughed – and continuously employ them through to January – we’ll pay you a £1,000 bonus per employee,” he said.

For businesses to get the bonus, the employee must be paid at least £520 on average, in each month from November to the end of January.

Sunak said: “We’ll pay the bonus for all furloughed employees. So if employers bring back all nine million people who have been on furlough, this would be a £9 billion policy to retain people in work.

“Our message to business is clear: if you stand by your workers, we will stand by you.”

Unveiling his mini-Budget, Sunak warned that “hardship lies ahead”, but insisted that no-one will be left “without hope”.

He told MPs that the government will do “all we can” to keep people in work.

Sunak said his “plan for jobs” would help protect livelihoods after the economy contracted by 25% in just two months.

He also announced an “eat out to help out” discount offering 50% off, up to £10 per head, on meals out on certain days of the week during August.

Other measures included a £2 billion scheme of taxpayer-funded work placements for 16-to-24-year-olds on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

He also revealed £3 billion green package, with grants for homeowners and public buildings to improve energy efficiency.

And there will be a £111 million programme of unpaid traineeships combining work experience with training.



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What Is Cottagecore – And Why Is It Having A Moment In Lockdown?

By Angela Hui

We’re here to guide you through the coronavirus pandemic. and appreciated the beauty of nature around them on daily exercise walks. We’ve embraced home comforts and yearned to leave our usual chaotic lives.

Cottagecore is a celebration of a calming world that brings comfort as people shelter in their homes. It’s easy to see the appeal of a sun-kissed fantasy escape to a twee countryside cottage surrounded by lush forests. Sounds dreamy, eh?

Think: idyllic country life, cosy interiors, rolling fields, flower print, straw hats…

Who is doing it?

By the looks of social media, so-called cottagecore devotees include the likes of David Beckham, Millie Bobby Brown, Halsey, and Harry Styles. They’re some of the famous faces leading the way as a prime example of cottagecore, which has started to trickle into the mainstream during lockdown.

When Little Women came out in 2019, many said the March sisters were “peak” cottagecore. People who find themselves drawn to the aesthetic are using it as a way of grounding themselves and seeking out a calming escapism.

Search the hashtag on any social media site and you’ll see how people are getting in on the trend.

How can you achieve the cottagecore look?

Whether you’re brand new to the cottagecore aesthetic – or ahead of the curve because you’ve been self-isolating with grandma for months – there’s plenty of ways to embrace the simple farm lovin’ lifestyle.

A cottagecore colour palette consists of mostly muted colours. If you’re looking to spruce up your walls with a DIY lockdown job, opt for pale or muted tones of greens, yellows and warm whites.

Deck out your home with house plants to purify your home’s air and give the illusion that you’re in the middle of a forest. Clothing wise, the must-haves are embroidery, florals, check prints, and chunky comfortable knits. Just keep in mind that if it looks like something your grandparents would wear, then you’re probably on the right track.



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'I Live With Pain': The Vaginal Mesh Review Finally Listened To Women

By Rachel Moss

Debbie Cox was a teacher, but vaginal mesh complications forced her into early retirement. The 56-year-old, from Tyne and Wear, was fitted with mesh – which is designed to hold pelvic organs in place – in 2001 following childbirth.

Five years later, she started to have adverse side effects including bladder and pelvic pain, which grew so severe she couldn’t work. For almost 10 years, Cox says her pleas for help went largely unanswered.

“I was in so much pain and things were becoming unbearable,” she says. “I had a full removal on March 12, 2020. I am recovering now. And only four months on, the difference is outstanding.”

Sadly, Cox’s story is not unique. Thousands of women have come forward to share their experiences of life-changing complications due to vaginal mesh in recent years, but only now are their voices being heard.

A long-awaited review into the the procedure confirms it has caused “anguish, suffering and many ruined lives [that] could have been avoided” – but women regularly had their experiences dismissed by medics as “women’s problems”.

A vaginal mesh implant, sometimes referred to as a “sling implant”, is a controversial treatment previously given to women who experienced pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence, particularly after childbirth.

It was once common in the UK, with more than 92,000 women receiving a vaginal mesh implant between April 2007 and March 2015 in England alone. But the treatment was “paused” and The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review was ordered by the then health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in 2018 amid concerns about the operations.

“We met so many women with limited mobility having to rely on a wheelchair or crutches to move around, unable to sit for periods at a time, unable to play with their children or carry their grandchildren,” the review, overseen by Baroness Julia Cumberlege states.

“The effects of these procedures have caused fractured relationships for some and placed some women and their families in dire financial straits. In short, the system does not know the true long-term complication rate for pelvic mesh procedures.”

Women told the review team of “excruciating chronic pain feeling like razors inside their body, damage to organs, the loss of mobility and sex life and depression and suicidal thoughts”.

Despite this, women often felt dismissed when reporting complications, the report says, detailing the “unacceptable labelling of so many symptoms as ‘normal’ and attributable to ‘women’s problems.’”

While there’s relief that women have finally been listened to, the findings of the report will come as no surprise to the women who have long sought help.

Karen Preater, 42, from Rhyl, North Wales, previously told HuffPost UK she had to leave her job due to the intense pain she suffers following vaginal mesh surgery and the drowsiness caused by her painkillers.

“I live with pain 24 hours a day, simple activities like walking upstairs can make the pain more severe, I’ve lost my confidence, my purpose and rely on others to help me out,” she said. “It’s also taken a toll on my mental health, I’ve had times when I just want to fall asleep and not wake up.”

Karen Preater

Beverley Burrows, from Wrexham in North East Wales, had vaginal mesh surgery at the age of 38 due to urinary incontinence after having three children. She told HuffPost UK she still walks with a stick, despite having her mesh removed, due to the longterm damage.

“Living with a chronic condition can be debilitating; both physically and mentally,” she said. “In some ways I feel like it’s robbed me of hope for the future. I can feel worthless and a burden to my family and I can feel sad, because of the realisation that the life I once knew is now different.”

Beverley Burrows

Mandy Bridge, 52, from Lancashire, was a busy mobile hairdresser before having vaginal mesh inserted in 2015. But the procedure left her unable to walk long distances, forcing her to use a wheelchair on days out.

She previously told HuffPost she experienced a stabbing pain from the mesh immediately after the operation, but it took three years of multiple doctors appointments for anyone to listen.

“I couldn’t put one leg across the other,” the mum-of-two said. “To be crude, if I put my finger inside myself I could feel it, it felt like toothbrush bristles. My husband could feel it during sex. It ripped condoms.”

Mandy Bridge

The new review accuses medial professionals of displaying “an institutional and professional resistance” to changing practice, even in the face of mounting safety concerns.

The report concluded that “those harmed are due not only an apology, but better care and support through specialist centres”.

Commenting on the review, Kath Sansom, founder of the campaign group Sling The Mesh, said the report “makes it very clear that our medical establishment is deeply entrenched in institutional denial and misogyny”.

“While we welcome all of the recommendations, there is no glory in knowing thousands of women have been maimed by mesh since the late 1990s then ignored when they asked for help suffering debilitating, life-altering and irreversible pain,” she added.

MP Emma Hardy, who has campaigned for women affected by mesh complications, said: “After many years campaigning and many years of pain, their voices are now finally heard.

“This battle was an uphill one that faced constant dismissal of repeated appeals from many women suffering appalling pain and the mishandling of complaints. However, the repercussions and effects of surgical mesh implants will for many be with them for the rest of their life.”

Health minister, Nadine Dorries, said the experiences of patients affected by mesh, made for “harrowing, but vital” reading. The government would set out a response after giving the review careful consideration, she added.

Additional reporting by PA.



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Met Police Apologises To Team GB's Bianca Williams For 'Distress' Caused By Stop And Search

By Chris York

The Met Police has apologised to athlete Bianca Williams for the “distress” caused by a stop and search which she claims was a result of racial profiling.

The force’s commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, said that although two reviews of the incident had found there was no apparent misconduct, it had been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) because of “the level of public concern”.

Speaking to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Wednesday, she said: “We apologised yesterday to Ms Williams and I apologise again for the distress this stop clearly caused her.

“Yesterday two of my officers spoke on our behalf to Ms Williams, and I think all of us watching could empathise with somebody who is stopped in a vehicle, who has a young child in the back, who does not probably know what exactly is going on, and is subsequently found, together with her partner, not to be carrying anything illicit.”

A video of the incident, which saw the Great Britain sprinter and her partner Ricardo dos Santos pulled from their car in a London street, was posted online by former Olympic medallist Linford Christie.

Williams has said she believes officers racially profiled her and dos Santos – a Portuguese 400-metre runner – when they were handcuffed and separated from their three-month-old son.

Dame Cressida said she has asked a senior officer to review the Met’s handcuffing practices to make sure it hasn’t become a “default”, and has set up an “oversight group” looking at the use of force, PA Media reports.

“Every time we see a video that is of concern we review them, we see if there are any lessons learned,” she told MPs.

“My senior officer has said… I’m sorry to Ms Williams for the distress, it has clearly caused her, and I say that, too.

“So, if there are lessons to be learned from it, we will learn them, and I’m looking at handcuffing as a specific issue.”

Nothing was found in the search, which the Met said was carried out by officers patrolling the area in response to an increase in violence involving weapons.

The force also said the vehicle was seen driving suspiciously, including on the wrong side of the road, and that the driver sped off when asked to stop.

But this account was rejected by Williams, who has said she is considering legal action against the Met.

“I feel very hurt by their actions, and to witness my partner being taken away and for me to be taken away from my son, my heart hurts,” she said.

IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said the watchdog will be looking at whether the use of stop and search was “appropriate and proportionate”.

He added: “We will also investigate if racial profiling or discrimination played a part in the incident.”

Diane Abbott, who sits on the committee, asked Dame Cressida whether she accepted one of the reasons the case resonated with communities was because it was “such a common occurrence”.

She said: “You’re a Black man, you’re driving a nice car and the chances of you being stopped, because a police officer thinks you’re a drug dealer or violent criminal, are so much higher.”

She added: “You don’t seem to have a perspective on how this looks to communities. It looks as if – and everyone’s had that experience, in my family, people I know – you’re a Black man in a smart car, you get stopped. And this is what Bianca Williams thought happened to her.”

Dame Cressida said she would be interested to see the results of a wider IOPC review into stop and search, adding: “What you say is not new to me, of course. I have heard it on and off throughout my service.

She added: “I don’t believe that is what is happening now, but I do understand that is people’s perception and we need to respond to that.

“Equally, my officers must feel that they have support to do their job and use their powers judiciously and of course fairly and to be able to keep the streets safe.”



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