Levelling up must be coupled with growth

Soaring inflation, moribund economic growth, enormous public debt: the UK ends the year in a somewhat precarious economic position, to say the least. Unfortunately, the situation could well worsen in the new year. The country faces a cost of living... Read more

Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard, review: huge amounts of wonder and a note of doom

Sir David Attenborough is someone you picture in the Amazon rainforest or on the plains of the Serengeti. But has he ever looked happier than he did in Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard (BBC One), in a quarry just outside... Read more

Boris Johnson to be ‘criticised’ over Downing Street flat refurbishment – but cleared of breaking rules

While Lord Geidt had formally cleared the Prime Minister of breaking any ministerial rules in of his initial probe, he decided to re-examine the matter in light of these revelations, amid critics’ claims that he had been misled by Mr... Read more

Workers should get limited pay rises to protect elderly from inflation, says Tory MP

Inflation-linked salary rises for the working population are not easily replicated for older adults, who “can’t go along to the pension payer and say: ‘Inflation’s gone up to five per cent, can I have five per cent more please?'”, he... Read more

Critical workers could be prioritised for Covid tests as cases hit another record high

Stephen Barclay, the Cabinet Office minister, is expected to chair a meeting of Whitehall’s Covid operations committee next week to assess sector shortages. One government source said: “There are plans to look at prioritising tests for critical national infrastructure and... Read more

Ports prepare for delays as post-Brexit customs checks kick in

From Saturday, full customs import declarations will be required on all goods at the time they enter Great Britain, and importers will have to prove goods arriving from the EU are allowed tariff-free entry under rules of origin arrangements that... Read more

Risk-averse Tories are squandering Great Britain’s Brexit opportunities

Please do stop using the word Brexit; that fractious period in our politics is now past, government officials are invited to believe. Instead, recently issued Whitehall guidelines instruct civil servants to use terminology such as “before 31 December 2020” –... Read more

Tough road ahead for Liz Truss with ‘Global Britain’ trade deals set to miss targets

The easy yards have already been made. But with a China deal politically fraught, and a lack of interest from the Biden administration pushing a prized transatlantic pact with the US into the long grass, it will be hard, probably... Read more

‘Cowards’ send ‘traitors hang’ death threat to Tory MP

A Conservative MP has shared a “traitors hang” death threat that she received and pledged to call out “cowards” seeking to intimidate her. Virginia Crosbie warned that “corrosive behaviour” was driving women out of politics after an image of a... Read more

Police investigate after anti-vaccine protesters invade Test and Trace centre

Priti Patel has confirmed that there will be a police investigation after anti-vaccine protesters invaded a Test and Trace centre. The Home Secretary condemned the incident, in which dozens of protesters entered the facility in Milton Keynes on Wednesday and... Read more

Nicola Sturgeon’s war on drugs deaths hit by resignation of key advisers

Nicola Sturgeon’s war on drugs deaths has descended into chaos after two key advisers quit, blaming pressure from SNP ministers. Catriona Matheson, an expert in substance misuse, and Neil Richardson, a former deputy chief constable, resigned from their roles leading... Read more

Stormont elections must not become referendum on Northern Ireland Protocol, warns Dublin

Next year’s elections for the Stormont Assembly must not be allowed to become a referendum on the Northern Ireland Protocol, Dublin has warned. Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, said that UK-EU negotiations over the protocol should not drag on past... Read more

Questor: our tip of the year turned up trumps, but our Swedish adventure has fallen flat

It has become traditional at this time of year to summarise our performance since New Year’s Day. Yesterday, we did so for our stocks and will look today at our investment trusts, but perhaps the most striking figure is the... Read more

Santander accidentally pays out £130m in Christmas Day blunder

Santander is racing to reclaim £130m after tens of thousands of customers woke up to a surprise bonus in their accounts on Christmas Day.  The bank is hoping to recover the cash from rivals after about 75,000 people and businesses... Read more

Our post-lockdown bubble: my parents have moved in next door to me

It is a phenomenon that Nilu Ahmed, a behavioural psychologist at the University of Bristol, has noted. “Being physically unable to spend time with loved ones because of social distancing really brought priorities into focus – if they were living... Read more

What shall we do this Christmas? File our tax return

Thousands of people filed their tax return on Christmas Day ahead of another trying year for the self-employed and freelancers. More than 31,000 taxpayers submitted their self-assessment tax return between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. A total of 2,828 did... Read more

How to survive the ‘year of the squeeze’ as bills and inflation soar in 2022

“Anything that makes our mortgage more expensive is not great,” says Felicity Meares, a 31-year-old architect from Surrey. “Luckily we have some time left on our fixed-rate deal. We also thought interest rates would not stay as low as they... Read more

House prices grew at fastest rate in 15 years in 2021

Just 10pc of London earners can afford to get on the property ladder in the capital, as house price growth across Britain rose at the fastest rate since 2006. Values increased by 10.4pc in the year to December, up from... Read more

Cheugy, brain ticklers, quaranteen: how many of this year’s new words can you decipher?

You’re at a Christmas party where the conversation is about buying NFTs; a quaranteen mutters ‘so cheugy’ at her aunt’s skinny jeans (and her criticism of the Metaverse). Any idea what’s going on?  Last year was unprecedented. 2021 has hardly... Read more

The experts’ guide to what we’ll be drinking in 2022

South African wine is hitting a few sweet spots at the moment. At the £20-plus level, producers in the Cape are making wines that are both interesting and impressive.  These are managing to attract the attention of collectors and wine... Read more

Gardening jobs in January: what to plant and tidy in your garden

Pick sprigs Pick the occasional sprig of winter scented shrubs lonicera, sarcococca and daphne and bring them indoors, where they will fill the entire house with their spring-like scents. Build up Get new garden infrastructure in now. I have put... Read more

Six simple tricks to improve your eating habits in 2022 and beyond

After a month of overindulgence it can be tempting, come January, to go cold turkey on sugar, carbs or alcohol, or to set yourself a big weight loss challenge. It’s a noble (maybe even a necessary) aim, but it can... Read more

Everything you need to know about the test that can tell you when you will get cancer

What if doctors could build a model of your organs inside a laboratory, then use it to predict whether or not you will develop cancer – and when? It sounds like the makings of a science-fiction film, but cancer researchers... Read more

Dry January? After the year we’ve all had, you must be joking

Even in the best of times, I’ve never been much of a fan of Dry January, despite it becoming so fashionable of late. But this year in particular, giving up drink altogether feels to me like the very last thing... Read more

It is time to recognise the Army’s role at home

Since the Government’s Integrated Review of foreign, defence, security and development policy was published in March, the emphasis has been on the away leg of this global match. The re-shaping of our Armed Forces to deliver the vision of a... Read more