There is a disconcerting sense of deja vu in the pre-Christmas air

Since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, the Government has been at pains to insist that officials advise and politicians decide. Yet at the same time, Boris Johnson has always said he is “following the science”, somewhat contradicting the... Read more

BMW 545e review: this plug-in hybrid 5-Series ticks all the right boxes – yet misses the mark

In this mode it’ll decide for itself whether you progress under petrol or electric power, or a mix of the two; as with most plug-in hybrids, you can ask it to run or one or other exclusively, assuming there’s enough... Read more

Tuesday evening UK news briefing: Do not cancel Christmas parties, says Boris Johnson in wake of omicron variant

It comes as GPs have said they do not have time to administer booster vaccines on top of routine health checks.  Dr Farah Jameel, recently elected chairman of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, said that doctors needed to be... Read more

The Left has caught millions in its poverty trap

In the past 40 years Britain has pretty much defeated mass unemployment, and improved living standards beyond our parents’ and grandparents’ wildest dreams. Yet in spite of these victories, the problem of poverty remains unsolved. Poverty rates have hardly budged,... Read more

The economy might need an omicron bailout – but it must be more targeted

Next, fewer soft loans. The Treasury doled out billions in bounceback loans, and even more in rates rebates, and even invested in start-ups directly through the Future Fund. Some of it may have done some good, and kept decent businesses... Read more

As Covid curbs return, what better time for MPs to debate their favourite F-word?

The problem with masks, joked Sir Christopher Chope “is that very few people do wear [them] correctly. The World Health Organisation writes that as soon as you take off your facemask, you should wash your hands and you should discard... Read more

Masks aren’t a minor inconvenience. They’re dehumanising and controlling

I have succumbed. On the train to work yesterday I wore a mask for the first time since the prematurely designated “Freedom Day” back in July. Since then, we had been advised to continue covering our faces on public transport;... Read more

New ‘handyman’ repair service will help elderly stay at home

A “handyman-style” service will be established to make repairs and adaptations to elderly people’s houses so that they can stay at home under social care plans due to be unveiled on Wednesday. The Telegraph understands that several hundred million pounds... Read more

Omicron threat in Scotland may ‘diminish rather than increase’, says Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has predicted the threat from the omicron variant may “diminish rather than increase” after disclosing all the cases discovered in Scotland are linked to one event. Just one day after she demanded Boris Johnson impose eight days quarantine... Read more

Migrant crisis key doorstep issue in by-election, says Reform UK candidate

The migrant crisis has become a key issue on the doorstep in the Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election campaign, the Reform UK candidate has said, as he accused Tories of “warm words but nothing changes”. Richard Tice, the leader of... Read more

The gaffer picks the team, says Lisa Nandy in swipe at Angela Rayner over Labour reshuffle

While allies of the Labour leader have insisted he notified his deputy of the impending reshuffle, her aides are said to have maintained that she had been excluded from the detailed discussions and “knew nothing about it.” One aide is... Read more

End your ‘sausage war’ on British bangers, UK to tell EU

Northern Irish sausage makers can supply both the UK and EU markets thanks to the protocol, and many major supermarkets use domestic suppliers. But the prospect of British sausages being banned in Northern Ireland brought both sides to the brink... Read more

New Covid restrictions to last until March next year

Government accused of ‘tunnel vision’ approach to restrictions Tory MPs vented their fury about the potential for a repeat “pingdemic” over the festive period. Steve Brine, a former health minister, warned: “We are not just looking at a pingdemic in... Read more

Just 200 trapped homeowners rescued by City watchdog’s flagship mortgage policy

Only one in 1,000 homeowners have been helped by new City watchdog rules intended to make it easier for borrowers to switch to a better deal.  Tens of thousands of so-called “mortgage prisoners” have been stuck on expensive mortgage deals... Read more

Christmas crisis for homeowners as mortgages increase by thousands of pounds

Lenders began increasing rates in October ahead of an anticipated move by the Bank of England to raise its Base Rate the following month. The rise never materialised, but banks have continued to make mortgages more expensive in the weeks... Read more

The best shares to buy for 2022

Picking stocks based on what will happen in the next 12 months can be a humbling experience for investors, as the only true certainty is that something unexpected will determine the direction of financial markets. But there are a number... Read more

Questor: Britain’s energy market is in a mess, but this supplier is still smelling of roses

After nearly five years of holding Telecom Plus we have a paper capital gain of around 25pc, plus 268p in dividends per share that double our return, and last week’s interim results offer plenty of scope for believing the next... Read more

Want to buy your first home? These property hotspots offer the best value

Jordan Rogers, of Connells estate agents, said the share of first-time buyers has more than doubled from 15pc before the pandemic to 35pc to 40pc today. There has been an influx of buyers from Berkshire and Surrey who no longer... Read more

‘My £188,000 Isa is missing – four months later and I’ve still heard nothing’

Sally says: Transferring an Isa from one provider to another is supposed to be straightforward. In your case, you had already sold the investments held in your Interactive Investor equity Isa and wanted to switch proceeds to a Nationwide cash... Read more

Buy these stocks to protect yourself from omicron market falls

Move over inflation, the pandemic is once again top of investors’ worries.  The omicron variant is now setting the investment agenda as governments meet to discuss what measures they should take to control it. There are fears this variant could... Read more

Cost of builders, hairdressers and personal trainers hits all-time high

The rise in freelancer rates was down to increased demand for contracted work, the Ipse report said. Customers have also been hit as contractors passed on the cost of complex “IR35” tax rule changes, which came into effect in April... Read more

Petrol stations ‘must be investigated’ as drivers fund huge profits

Mr Williams said that before the drop in wholesale prices, retailers were making a 9p per litre margin, some 3p more than the long-term average. Unleaded is currently 148p a litre on average, super unleaded 160p a litre, and diesel... Read more

Top tips on how to pass your UK driving test as a learner in 2021

Heard the one about the learner driver who, in January 2021, passed his theory test at the 158th attempt? It’s actually true and the joke was on him because, at £23 a pop, it cost him £3,634 in tests alone.... Read more

The best yule logs for Christmas 2021, tried and tested

This year’s offerings are largely based on the traditional, tried-and-tested formula of soft spiralled sponge, chocolate buttercream and a thick coating of rich ganache. Vegan options are successful, however, while some creations star fresh cream for a lighter log. M&S... Read more

The best Christmas cakes for 2021, tried and tested

Beneath an elegant, snow-white layer of fondant icing the marzipan is generous and well-flavoured. The soft, pale crumb is moist and filled with plump, juicy fruit, not to mention large glacé cherries and rubbly nuts. Delicious. £11 for 900g, sainsburys.co.uk... Read more