Workers should not be left out of pocket if they choose to eat meat, according to the UK’s largest union, after a firm said it would be not pay expenses for meals containing meat.
US firm WeWork has told staff it will no longer reimburse them for meals containing poultry, pork and red meat.
It will also cease serving meat at its events due to environmental concerns.
The TUC said firms should encourage staff to make healthy choices, but should not penalise meat-eaters.
WeWork, a US-based shared office space provider which employs 6,000 people globally, said in a memo: “Moving forward, we will not serve or pay for meat at WeWork events, including poultry, pork and red meat.”
It said, citing research from the journal Science, “avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact”.
WeWork said its decision would save 16.6 million gallons of water, 445.1 million pounds of CO2 emissions and 15,507,103 animals.
The calculation is based on five-year projections for employee growth as well as the number of people using its office space – which currently stands at 253,000 “members”.
Hannah Reed, senior employment rights officer at the TUC, said: “Employees should be encouraged to make healthy choices. They should not be left out of pocket if they choose to eat meat.”
Bloomberg reported that people who require “medical or religious” allowances are being referred to WeWork’s policy team to discuss their options.
Sadiq Vohra, an employment lawyer at Slater + Gordon, says: “It is quite prescriptive, a company telling employees ‘when you are out and about we will not pay for you to eat meat products’.”
But he said that as long as the company was able to make concessions to the policy based on religious or medical grounds then it should not be problematic.
Companies have become more vocal about environmental issues and earlier this year a number of firms in the UK signed up to a pact to cut plastic pollution over the next seven years.
Alastair Woods, reward and employment partner at PwC, the accountancy firm, said that the way a company “thinks about the wider world” is of increasing importance for prospective employees.
He said: “We recently ran a survey of employees asking questions about what they look for from an employer beyond pay.
“One quarter of 18-34 year olds in the UK said that acting with integrity was important for an employer, and just over 15% said that a commitment to doing good in society was a factor in deciding whether to apply for a job with a specific company.”
Five daughters of hereditary peers are to challenge a law that stops them from being elected to the House of Lords.
They are taking the government to the European Court of Human Rights in a bid to end the system of male primogeniture which has resulted in almost all titles being passed to male heirs.
Lawyers argue they face discrimination on the grounds of their gender.
The group accuse the government of “double standards” because it promotes women’s rights.
The woman involved in the case are: Lady Willa Franks, eldest daughter of the Earl of Balfour; Lady Eliza Dundas, eldest daughter of the Earl of Ronaldshay; Sarah Long, elder sister to the current Viscount Long of Wraxall; Tanya Field, eldest daughter of the Earl of Macclesfield, and Hatta Byng, eldest daughter of Viscount Torrington.
Under the principle of male primogeniture, sons, nephews and uncles take precedence over daughters, nieces and aunts when a title is passed on to the next generation.
The five women, who are part of the Daughters’ Rights campaign, want the UK government to remove the word “male” from legislation they describe as “outdated” so they can stand for by-elections to the Lords.
While some hereditary titles can be inherited by women because of the rules surrounding the way they were originally created, all but one of 92 current hereditary peers are male.
The Daughters’ Rights campaign says the system breaches Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, when taken alongside Article 3 of the First Protocol, the right to a free election.
Downton Abbey law
New rules on royal succession came into force in 2015 to remove male bias, meaning that Princess Charlotte is currently fourth in line to the throne.
In 2013 the Equality (Titles) Bill was introduced in the Lords with a view to allowing for equal succession of female heirs to hereditary titles and peerages but it was voted down.
That proposed change became known as the Downton Abbey law after the ITV drama series carried a storyline where the Earl of Grantham’s title passed to a distant relative he had never met, instead of one of his three daughters.
UK courts do not have oversight over the rules governing parliamentary procedure.
Solicitor Paul Hardy, from law firm DLA Piper which is bringing the case, said the application to the European Court of Human Rights “raises profound questions about sexual equality and membership of the House of Lords”.
The barrister for the campaign, Edward Legard, said: “It seems wrong in a country where women, including now royal women, are born with equal opportunities, that we continue to discriminate against one group based only on gender.”
When new mother Lisa Lewis found out she was having triplet boys – she knew she wanted them to grow up appreciating real food.
Her solution? She applied for a council allotment to grow it herself.
But it did not stop there – within the space of four years she has turned 16 plots into 40, reclaimed a fly-tipped wasteland and opened it up to those with disabilities.
Now the site in Bridgend is one of 201 named as new Green Flag Award winners.
“I’m really chuffed,” said Mrs Lewis.
“It’s so nice – we’ve got a fabulous community on site. We all work together as a little group to make it happen.”
When she first arrived at the Badgers Brook Allotments in Brackla she was less than impressed with what she found.
“It was a really rundown site. Sat in front of it was large piece of derelict land that had been used for storage during house building.
“It was just strewn with stuff – sofas, old televisions, discarded shoes and clothes – it was a proper eyesore.”
She got in touch with Bridgend council and discovered they owned the land, and persuaded them to sign it over to her and the allotments.
Then the transformation began. The land was cleared, kerbs and paths were put in and a new green space in the village began to emerge.
“I wanted it to be accessible to those who had disabilities, who might otherwise spend the day stuck at home,” said the allotmenteer.
She won support from other groups, such as the disability charity Cartrefi Cymru, and watched the site blossom.
“It’s not just an allotment – it’s a community,” added Mrs Lewis.
And her three sons, Kamran, Kaydan and Levi – now six – love nothing more than tending their own bed in their mother’s plot. Mrs Lewis added: “They love it – they grow their own food – they’ve even got chickens now.”
The allotments are one of just over 100 green spaces across Wales handed a community Green Flag Award on Monday, for those areas maintained and run by volunteers.
The flags recognise green spaces that meet the highest standards for horticultural, cleanliness, environmental management and community involvement.
A further 89 full awards have been made to larger parks, gardens and woodlands owned by councils and trusts.
Cardiff tops the list for awards with 25 flags, including a new flag for the city’s Heath Park.
Among other first time recipients are Aberdare Park, Swansea University’s Bay Campus, and Wrexham Cemetery.
Glanrhyd Hospital in Bridgend also becomes the first hospital in Wales to achieve Green Flag status.
Lucy Prisk, from Keep Wales Tidy who present the awards, said: “The 201 flags flying are a testament to the dedication and enthusiasm of the staff and volunteers across the country who work tirelessly to maintain Green Flag Award standards.
“I’d encourage everyone to get outdoors this summer and enjoy the incredible parks and green spaces we have on our doorstep.”
A British cave diver who helped rescue 12 Thai boys from deep within a cave has said he is considering suing tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.
In now-deleted tweets, Mr Musk had called Vern Unsworth a “pedo guy” after the cave expert ridiculed a mini-submarine built by Mr Musk for the rescue effort as a “PR stunt”.
Mr Unsworth told reporters on Monday that he was considering legal action.
“It’s not finished,” he told Australian network Channel 7.
Thailand-based Mr Unsworth’s knowledge of the cave complex is said to have played a key role in the rescue effort. He travelled into the caves in the first days after the boys went missing and helped bring in top international cave rescue experts for the mission.
Mr Unsworth had earlier said the mini-sub built by Mr Musk’s team, and flown to Thailand before being rejected as inappropriate for the rescue mission by Thai officials, would have had “absolutely no chance of working”.
Elon Musk, who regularly takes on journalists and other critics on Twitter, on Sunday tweeted a response to Mr Unsworth, without using his name but calling him a “British expat guy who lives in Thailand”.
He said he would make a video showing the mini-sub making it deep inside the cave “no problemo”, adding: “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it”.
Mr Musk did not back down when challenged.
He later deleted the tweets – which were sent to his more than 22 million followers – and is yet to publicly respond to the outcry.
“Yes,” Mr Unsworth said when asked if he would consider legal action.
The BBC has contacted Mr Musk, via his company Tesla, for comment.
All 12 boys and their young coach were rescued last week from the Tham Luang cave system after a complex and treacherous rescue operation involving hundreds of volunteers. They had become trapped in the cave by rising floodwaters on 23 June and were first found by rescuers on 2 July.
The 13 rescued remain in hospital in the city of Chiang Rai but are expected to be discharged on Thursday.
Last week, as the rescue effort was under way, Mr Musk hit out at the Thai official in charge of the mission’s command centre, Narongsak Osotthanakorn, after he said the mini-sub was “not practical with our mission”, though it was “technologically sophisticated”.
Mr Musk responded by saying Mr Osotthanakorn had been “described inaccurately as ‘rescue chief'” and was “not the subject matter expert”.
He also tweeted an earlier email from Richard Stanton – one of two British caving experts called in to front the rescue – who had urged the business leader to build the capsule as quickly as possible.
Mr Unsworth told the AFP news agency that he would make a decision on whether he takes legal action against Mr Musk after flying back to the UK this week.
“He’s just a PR stunt merchant – that’s all he is,” he said.
Richard Bacon has tweeted “I’m alive” after spending six days in a medically-induced coma.
The former Blue Peter presenter, who has been living and working in the US, was taken into intensive care after having breathing difficulties while on a plane to the UK.
The 42-year-old TV and radio host confirmed he had suffered a double chest infection, but said the exact type of infection was yet to be identified.
“We need to help people to discover the true meaning of love. Love is generally confused with dependence. Those of us who have grown in true love know that we can love only in proportion to our capacity for independence.” — Mister Rogers”. I’m learning this.
— richard bacon (@richardpbacon) July 16, 2018
His first tweet after regaining consciousness was about love, quoting late TV presenter Fred Rogers.
Bacon wrote: “We need to help people to discover the true meaning of love. Love is generally confused with dependence. Those of us who have grown in true love know that we can love only in proportion to our capacity for independence”, adding “I’m learning this.”
It prompted a reply from comedian David Baddiel, who wrote: “Very much hope this is actually you tweeting this. In which case: welcome back.”
Ha. I am alive. Or in Lewisham. Or somewhere between the two
— richard bacon (@richardpbacon) July 16, 2018
To which Bacon replied: “Ha. I am alive. Or in Lewisham. Or somewhere between the two.”
In more detailed posts shared with his 1.32 million followers, Bacon wrote: “So I did 6 days straight in a coma. Been here another 4 since. It’s an yet unidentified double chest infection. I nearly died. At one point, as I was as run down a hallway to ICU at midnight, with a massive needle jammed in my chest (bit like Pulp Fiction) I thought, this is it.”
He went on: “How’s is this going to affect my kids’ lives? Who’s going to sit my poor dad down and say”I’m sorry, we did everything we could”. But then I didn’t die. And I didn’t die because I’m on the NHS . VivaTheNHS. See you for your 100th. By which time I probably will have pneumonia”.
Praising the NHS for their care, the father-of-two tweeted: “This is how good Lewisham Hospital is. I walked in off the street simply complaining of being short of breath. With 90 minutes they had placed me into a life saving six day coma. #VivaTheNHS.”
Earlier speculation seemed to point to pneumonia being to blame for his sudden illness.
Bacon’s family had been at his side in intensive care, with his mother Christine and sister Juliet posting updates on social media.
Celebrities who have wished the presenter well include former footballer Gary Lineker, Love Island presenter Caroline Flack and scientist Brian Cox.
Comedian Rufus Hound took a tough love approach, joking: ‘”Congratulations’ on ‘not dying’.”
It’s the treasure hunt being talked about by everyone in the commercial banking sector.
A £775m pot of cash has been made available by Royal Bank of Scotland to boost competition in small business banking.
The money has been made available by the bank as a condition of its £45.5bn bail-out by taxpayers during the financial crisis just under a decade ago.
The European Commission originally required, in return for waiving its rules on state aid, RBS to hive off a chunk of its branches and business customers to a new business that was to have been christened Williams & Glyn – reviving a centuries-old name owned by RBS.
But demerging Williams & Glyn proved problematic, costing RBS more than £2bn in the process.
So in September last year, the Commission agreed RBS could instead provide a package of cash to be made available to rivals for them to lend to small businesses.
The next step in the process has now happened, with Banking Competition Remedies (BCR), the government-backed vehicle that will oversee how the package will be distributed, confirming applications for the money will open in November.
Winners will find out how much of the cash they will get their hands on in February next year.
Among the likely applicants are Santander UK, Nationwide Building Society, TSB, Metro Bank, CYBG – which is in the process of buying Virgin Money – Aldermore and Starling Bank.
However, all have been infuriated by the time taken to dole out the readies, having been told last autumn the process would begin in June this year.
All of the bidders have already spent considerable sums preparing to apply for some of the money.
CYBG, which like Metro Bank, Starling Bank and Santander UK is expected to bid for the largest chunk of up to £120m, said recently it had already spent £5m in preparations.
Metro Bank has spent nearly £600,000.
Anne Boden, the founder and chief executive of Starling Bank, has warned that, unless the money is disbursed quickly, there is likely to be further consolidation in the sector along the lines of the recent takeovers of Virgin Money and Aldermore which, earlier this year, was bought for £1.1bn by the South African lender FirstRand.
One banking executive told the Financial Times in May: “We were originally told the package would be ready by the end of the year. I guess it was our mistake not to ask which year.”
The delays are also understood to have irritated RBS itself.
It made the money available some time ago but has been wrongly blamed in some quarters for the delays.
BCR admitted today that it was to blame for the hold-up which, it said, reflected the “later than anticipated” appointment of its directors – executive chairman Lord Cromwell, a former Barclays employee; executive director Brendan Pellow, a former Lloyds executive; and Aidene Walsh, whose appointment was only announced today.
Non-executive directors are also due to be appointed but BCR has yet to even hire a head-hunting firm to advise on the appointments.
Lord Cromwell said: “We have been working collaboratively with stakeholders to ensure that the company is put on its feet successfully and appropriate due diligence applied, vital on an innovative project like this and where large sums of money are being disbursed.”
How the BCR eventually divvies up the cash is likely to be the subject of much scrutiny.
Some of its rivals are indignant that Santander, the UK’s third-largest mortgage lender and which can hardly be described as a scrappy outsider, is even being allowed to compete for funds.
The established “big four” of RBS/NatWest, Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds already account for more than seven in 10 business current accounts, and that rises to four in five once Santander UK is included.
Rivals have also grumbled about the decision of Nationwide, the UK’s second-largest mortgage lender and an increasingly formidable competitor in current accounts, to bid for funds when it did not previously have any small business lending operations.
There will also be particular attention in the industry, given the problems with its recent IT migration, to how much money TSB bids for.
In the meantime, as the first anniversary approaches of RBS’s agreement with the European Commission to put a package in place, the lack of competition in the small business lending market drags on.
A man has been dragged out of the Trump-Putin news conference, moments before the leaders were due to speak.
Footage from the news conference showed the man -later identified as journalist Sam Husseini – holding up a piece of paper with the words “nuclear weapon ban treaty” written on it before what appeared to be a security guard grabbed and struggled with the man.
In the clip, the apparent security guard, who was wearing an ear-piece, tries to grab the paper off the man before taking him away.
Three other men – also wearing ear-pieces – escort the man away as the world’s media take pictures and film the incident unfolding before them.
According to the Associated Press news agency, a US Secret Service agent spoke to Mr Husseini before Finnish security removed him.
He was sitting among US news media at the time of the incident and told journalists in the room he was a reporter from American magazine The Nation.
The magazine has since issued a statement.
It read: “Sam Husseini, communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, received press accreditation from The Nation to cover the summit between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
“At a time when this administration consistently denigrates the media, we’re troubled by reports that he was forcibly removed from the press conference before the two leaders began to take questions.
“This is a developing situation that we will be following closely.”
The journalist appeared to tweet photos from the event before he was taken away by security.
Steve Williams couldn’t remember what a “clean” life was like. The 47-year-old from Wrexham had moved from one addiction to another since his early teens.
“The life I was living, it was getting to the stage where it would have killed me. Some days I got in that dark a place that I thought that death would be better than what I’m living.”
Last year, Steve went into detox and underwent a residential treatment programme for his addiction to Spice.
Spice is 10 times worse than crack cocaine and heroin together
A synthetic drug, which was previously described as a “legal high,” it was outlawed two years ago, but its use is prevalent.
The effects are highly visible, sometimes it’s called the “zombie drug” because of the collapsed states users fall into.
The drug is cheap, and Steve began smoking it in vast quantities.
“Spice is 10 times worse than crack cocaine and heroin together, it’s one wicked drug, it’s evil,” he says.
“With heroin and drink you can function to a point, you can go to work on heroin or alcohol. With Spice you can’t do nothing, you don’t want to do nothing. You just want to sit where you are and smoke and smoke and smoke.”
‘Russian roulette’ drug hitting the homeless
‘Potent’ Spice samples lead to hospitalisations
Ban on so-called legal highs comes into force
Steve was offered a fast-track to detox and rehabilitation for his addiction to Spice through a new scheme that has been set up in Wrexham.
Last year the town hit the headlines when images of people in “zombie-like states” appeared in the media.
All I know is drugs, that’s it, I’ve got no-one else except drugs
Craig Nikolic, 43
There was one day, when every single police officer in the town was involved in dealing with a Spice-related incident.
The photos, coupled with a rise in anti-social behaviour, led to concerns from some local people and businesses that Wrexham was gaining a reputation as Spice Town.
In response, Wrexham Council, health and housing agencies, North Wales Police, homelessness and drugs charities joined forces and set up a taskforce, recognising that they needed to work together to try to offer a new approach.
Steve Campbell has been helping to co-ordinate the group.
He has profiled more than 90 people who are known to be involved with substance misuse and who gather in Wrexham town centre.
Most of them are homeless and rough sleepers, but not all are so.
The database he has created contains:
Detailed information about each individual, including the substances they use
The number of times an ambulance has been called out to them
Whether they’ve committed antisocial behaviour
Their housing and benefits situation and their interaction with the police and the criminal justice system.
Mr Campbell said the profiling allows them to get to know each person and what kind of help they’ll need, if they decide to accept it.
They are monitored to see how their circumstances change from week to week.
From these 90 profiled, the 20 of the most vulnerable have been identified and targeted for help. In some cases, that will be a rapid referral to detox and rehab without the need to go through the usual procedure which can take up to a year.
“People have to go through a process to access detox and rehab, and it works well for the large majority of people and ensures that they are ready for it,” said Mr Campbell.
“But for a certain cohort – the chaotic drug users that we are talking about – they are not capable of making those appointments, they don’t know what day it is.”
He said it was about a process for those incapable of using the normal system that “just doesn’t work for them”.
Read these stories about the same issue:
The impact of Spice in one image
Boy, 11, left ‘zombie-like’ after taking drug
Is there a drug problem in Wrexham?
Steve Williams credits his residential treatment at the Phoenix Centre in Birkenhead, which has so far cost the taskforce about £20,000, as having saved his life.
“I was getting to the stage where my drug and alcohol workers wouldn’t put me through with the funding because I was high risk, then this scheme came along where I got the chance and opportunity to go.
“Because it was no good to me saying you can go on it but ‘do this course, do that course’ ‘cos it wouldn’t have happened, I’d have got deeper and deeper. This scheme took all that out, took me straight to what I needed and moved me onto this place – what saved my life – it has saved my life.”
Providing a “one-stop shop” of services also plays a part in the new approach.
Every Friday, a drop-in clinic is held, where a GP and nurses, housing professionals, drugs outreach workers, probation and benefits officers and third sector organisations can be seen without the need for an appointment.
People can access help and their condition can be monitored.
Craig Nikolic, 43, started taking drugs when he was 17. He is a regular at the drop-in centre where he accesses support, but says he doesn’t yet feel ready to take the next step into detox.
“All I know is drugs, that’s it, I’ve got no-one else except drugs. What’s holding me back is that, I’m proper scared of doing it,” he says.
The partnership approach has been operational for about a year and those behind the project say they are seeing results.
So far more than 19 people, like Steve Williams, have made it into the programme of detox or rehab. Others have started engaging with services for the first time.
Huw Jones, from Wrexham Council, said success will be measured on a case-by-case basis and justifies the cost, by claiming it makes financial sense too.
“This is preventative work and it’s an investment in the future. By spending money now and enabling these people to turn their lives around, we are reducing demand on health services, A&E, on ambulances and the police.
“So in the long term we are saving money and I think it’s important that people understand that.”
Some people’s lives are being changed in Wrexham, but there are many more who are still on Spice.
A recent audit carried out by the taskforce, shows that the amount of police time spent dealing with Spice-related incidents in Wrexham has dropped by 31% per cent since the programme began.
The North Wales force has also been carrying out targeted raids, but one of the biggest challenges that remains is trying to keep the drug off the streets.