tv BBC News BBC News March 21, 2021 2:00pm-2:31pm GMT
this is bbc news with the latest headlines... the government has warned the european union that any attempt to block the export of doses of coronavirus vaccine to the uk would be "counterproductive". as summer looms can britons start planning for foreign holidays? this — the response of cabinet minister, ben wallace. i think it would be premature to do that. it would be potentially risky. we are seeing growing variants and i think we have done a huge amount of work. the taxpayer, the nhs staff, my constituency has been in lockdown since september and i don't want ads to be thrown away. —— that to be thrown away. meanwhile the uk government's warned its decision to slash billions of dollars from its overseas aid budget is illegal. a snapshot of life in england,
wales and northern ireland — today's the deadline for millions of people to take part in a once—in—a—decade census. homes washed away in australia as heavy rain and flash floods batter the east coast, thousands of people are ordered to evacuate. more than a thousand people are allowed to ignore lockdown and social distancing restrictions at a music festival in the netherlands, despite the rest of the country being under lockdown. and at 2.30pm — bbc parliament looks back at the week in westminster. the government has warned the european union that any attempt to block the export of doses of coronavirus vaccine to the uk would be "counterproductive".
defence secretary ben wallace told the bbc there's a risk of reputational damage to the eu if it stops vaccine manufactured there from leaving. frustration is widespread in continental countries that they're not receiving the doses they need. here's our political correspondent, jonathan blake. jab afterjab, the uk's population is getting vaccinated against coronavirus. despite some delays, more than half of adults have had their first dose, and covid cases remain relatively low. but in europe, rising cases and slower take up of the vaccine has seen restrictions reimposed in some countries, led to a warning that the eu could block vaccine supplies being exported to the uk. alarmist language, according to one cabinet minister, who said it was time to work together. you know, if you're a country around the world and you see this type of language being deployed by the commission, it will be counter productive, and what we know about our manufacture
of our vaccine, it is a collaborative approach. the astrazeneca ip was developed oxford, parts of the supply chain are in europe, some of it is in india. i think, you know, trying to sort of balkanise or build walls around this would only damage both eu citizens and the uk. after a week of tension over this, from the eu side today a call for calm, but no going back on the threat to restrict supply. what's terribly important this week, as you say, there is an increase in infections across europe, alarming for everybody, but the leaders will meet this week and they will make an assessment of the current situation about the roll out of vaccines, and perhaps make decisions. but as the president of the commission said herself, everything is on the table but there is no decision. opening borders and allowing people to travel is one big reason why the vaccination programme is so important. if other countries continue to lag behind, the chances of foreign holidays this summer could be less likely. some already say it's unrealistic.
i think the government is right to say we should be guided by the science. i've been troubled by the fact that the prime minister privately seems to be saying to some of his rebels that he's keen to get this done quickly. we do need to be careful, we do need to be cautious and, you know, frankly i haven't booked a foreign holiday for this summer and i won't be doing so because i don't think we're there yet. ministers are stressing that the 17th may remains the very earliest it will be possible to travel abroad, and that booking anything now is risky. there's still hope that summer holidays can happen, but it's by no means guaranteed. jonathan blake, bbc news. that message about whether to book the summer holidays was reinforced today by ben wallace, who said that booking a holiday now would be premature and potentially risky. but lisa minot, who is the travel editor at the sun, believes that there is still hope for those hoping to get a sunshine break this year.
i very much hope we will be writing about a gradual slope resumption of international travel. it is too soon to say that we can completely write off the summer. we won't know anything until this april 12 date until the travel task force of the government will be put together and will be reporting back. i can see a summer of restrictions. there is going to be a lot of testing involved and we will see lots of countries coming on and off a corridor type list again. i do think there is hope that we could possibly see some sort of small amount of international travel again this summer. the government has been warned that its decision to slash billions of dollars from its overseas aid budget is illegal. the former top prosecutor ken macdonald said the commitment to meet a un target of spending 0.7% of national income on foreign aid was enshrined in domestic law. it comes down to the international
development act, existing law. the government says this allows for the target of 0.7% of national income on aid every year to be missed. but this judgment says yes, you can miss it inadvertently, by mistake, and come to parliament and explain why you made the mistake and what you will do to correct it. what the judgment says is what you cannot do is say, we are going to miss the target in future deliberately. we will reduce it down to 0.5. lord mcdonald says you cannot do that, only if you put new legislation through parliament and that is why it is unlawful. details of every adult and child in england, wales and northern ireland are being collected today as part of a once—in—a—decade census. by law, everyone has to be accounted for — in order to provide the government, local authorities and other organisations with information needed for future planning. the bbc�*s home editor,
mark easton, has the details. voiceover: the census builds a picture of your community. when you fill in yours, you help make decisions about services like local transport and healthcare. almost every decade since 1801, the uk has held a census, a detailed snapshot of our society that helps governments plan and fund the local services we need. schools, gp surgeries, roads, transport and housing. but for only the third time in its long history, part of the country will not be participating in this census day. in scotland it has been delayed for a year because of concerns the results would reflect the abnormal circumstances of the pandemic and prove less useful in the longer term. lockdown means people are not necessarily staying in their usual household, or have left the country during the health emergency. but the event goes ahead in the rest of the uk, with the justification that understanding the impact of life under covid will be vital in distributing funds where they are needed most after the pandemic is over.
it's easy to complete the census online. you can do it on a computer, you can do it on a tablet, you can do it on a phone. this census, for the first time, will be conducted primarily online. 90% of households will have received a letter with a i6—digit code to access a secure website page. but paper forms are available for those who need them. the 2021 census includes one new question, counting military veterans, and extra categories on sexual orientation and gender identity. it's a legal requirement to complete or be included in the census by the end of today, although officials will go door—to—door to offer support before prosecuting those who refuse to comply with a fine of up to £1000. mark easton, bbc news. lets find out why the census is important and why we do it. i'm joined by peter benton who is director of population and public policy operations at 0ns. he is responsible for
the delivery of census 2021. welcome to the programme. i have done mine. is it going smoothly? it is going really well. the responses are pouring in but i have to say, i will never be satisfied until we have every last one. so, thanks to all that have done it and please do keep going for those who haven't done it yet. the keep going for those who haven't done it yet-— keep going for those who haven't done it yet. the there are reports of --eole done it yet. the there are reports of peeple not _ done it yet. the there are reports of people not receiving _ done it yet. the there are reports of people not receiving their- done it yet. the there are reports| of people not receiving their goals what percentage are we talking about? ., what percentage are we talking about? ._ , ., what percentage are we talking about? , ., ., what percentage are we talking about? ., ., ., about? there may be a fraction that have not got — about? there may be a fraction that have not got a _ about? there may be a fraction that have not got a questionnaire - about? there may be a fraction that have not got a questionnaire or - about? there may be a fraction that have not got a questionnaire or a i have not got a questionnaire or a lecture in the post yet. if you haven't, don't worry. you can go on our website and put in your address and we will send you a code by text message so that you can fill it in. today, is census day. people need to try and record who lives there. if you don't get it done today at then
you don't get it done today at then you can do it tomorrow or tuesday. todayis you can do it tomorrow or tuesday. today is the deadline but, actually, it's not a deadline. it today is the deadline but, actually, it's not a deadline.— it's not a deadline. it absolutely is but we can — it's not a deadline. it absolutely is but we can recognise - it's not a deadline. it absolutely is but we can recognise that - it's not a deadline. it absolutely is but we can recognise that for| is but we can recognise that for some people, they may be unwell and they can't do it today but tomorrow is ok. but if you are able to do it, you need to do it. the census provides a unique snapshot. every local community, the ethnic mix, the age breakdown and that is essential for planning local services. winds what are the details? how to that thatis what are the details? how to that that is protected? we are familiar with sensors from history. they are locked away for 100 years. in 1921 census have not yet been released. all we will publish is statistics. the details of our names and addresses are never passed on to government or to local councils.
they are locked away securely. the statistics we publish paint a fabulous, rich picture of our local communities but the details are safely locked away. 50. communities but the details are safely locked away.— communities but the details are safely locked away. so, as you are sa inc, safely locked away. so, as you are saying. every _ safely locked away. so, as you are saying. every ten _ safely locked away. so, as you are saying, every ten years, _ safely locked away. so, as you are saying, every ten years, this - safely locked away. so, as you are saying, every ten years, this year| saying, every ten years, this year for the first time, military veterans and question on sexual orientation. how do you decide which new questions you want to incorporate?— new questions you want to incororate? ~ ., . , incorporate? we do an extensive consultation _ incorporate? we do an extensive consultation for _ incorporate? we do an extensive consultation for every _ incorporate? we do an extensive consultation for every senses - incorporate? we do an extensive | consultation for every senses and incorporate? we do an extensive - consultation for every senses and we invite the people that use the census statistics to tell us what information they need and for this census, that took place in 2015. we had really strong demand from government departments and local councils to understand the make—up of the population in all kinds of ways, of course, including to have the new questions on sexual orientation and gender identity. and the armed forces veterans questions
are there so that the government can hold the armed forces covenant for their families. hold the armed forces covenant for theirfamilies. the census is compulsory but there are three voluntary question. the question on religion which was added in 2001 and the two new questions on gender identity and sexual orientation. they are voluntary and they only apply to people aged 16 and over. when will you have this information sorted and ready to provide some sorted and ready to provide some sort of conclusion of the demographics of the country and which places might need more help than others? we which places might need more help than others?— which places might need more help than others? we aim to do it within the first 12 months. _ than others? we aim to do it within the first 12 months. that'll- than others? we aim to do it within the first 12 months. that'll be - than others? we aim to do it within the first 12 months. that'll be the i the first 12 months. that'll be the quickest we have ever done it and thatis quickest we have ever done it and that is made possible by the fact that is made possible by the fact that the vast majority of us are filling it in online, so the data is coming in rapidly. we bring in the paper questionnaire returns and we put it all into the mix. you
paper questionnaire returns and we put it all into the mix.— put it all into the mix. you are reaponsible — put it all into the mix. you are responsible for _ put it all into the mix. you are responsible for the _ put it all into the mix. you are responsible for the delivery i put it all into the mix. you are responsible for the delivery of| responsible for the delivery of this? is this scene is a great honour professionally or is this scene as a poison chalice because it is such a huge operation? it is described _ is such a huge operation? it is described as _ is such a huge operation? it is described as one _ is such a huge operation? it is described as one of— is such a huge operation? it 3 described as one of the government's biggest peacetime operations. all of us on the same day being asked to do the same thing and mobilising all of the same thing and mobilising all of the services and infrastructure that enable us to do that. me, personally, it is a real pleasure to do it. it comes around once every ten years and we'll look forward it. the census really is the bedrock of the statistical system. if you look at the analysis that we have done in the pandemic, where we say how many people per 100,000 have had an infection, that's per 100,000 requires you to know the number of people in the local area by age, sex and ethnic group. all of that comes from the census and this census will refresh those local statistics for the next ten years worth of planning. the next ten years worth of planning-— the next ten years worth of ”lannin. ., . .
the next ten years worth of ”lannin. ., ., ., planning. congratulations. good luck for the remaining _ planning. congratulations. good luck for the remaining few _ planning. congratulations. good luck for the remaining few hours. - in australia, thousands of people have been told they should be ready to leave their homes in low—lying suburbs of sydney because of the worst flooding the city has seen in decades. seven emergency shelters have opened across the state of new south wales. torrential rain and strong winds are forecast to continue, and floodwaters are not expected to subside until thursday. phil mercer reports. in new south wales, officials had warned sydney was potentially facing a rain bomb. torrential downpours have turned roads into rivers and fields turned into lakes. homes have been swamped, and emergency crews have responded to thousands of calls for help. for the first time in years, sydney's main reservoir is overflowing, putting suburbs at risk of flooding. we worry about do we escape or stay here? we don't know.
this is the worst i've seen it. last year, just after christmas it was pretty bad as well, but not this bad. there's going to be a lot. of people that maybe don't get their houses flooded, l but they won't get to work, the roads will be wrecked as well. across new south wales, australia's most populous state, residents in many low lying areas have been told to leave. communities to the north of sydney have been badly affected. i just want to say to everybody in new south wales who is experiencing that fear and anxiety, that our thoughts are with you and we'll get assistance to you as soon as we can, to help people communicate. near the town of taree a house was washed away down a river by floodwaters. it's a day the owners will never forget. they were supposed to get married, but the bride and groom were kept apart by the floods. the wild weather has delayed the roll out of covid—19 vaccinations. more storms are expected in the next few days. phil mercer, bbc news, sydney.
the headlines on bbc news... the president of the european commission, ursula von der leyen, has been criticised by the uk government for suggesting that exports of the astrazeneca covid vaccine outside the eu could be blocked. as summer looms can britons start planning for foreign holidays? this — the response of cabinet minister, ben wallace. meanwhile the uk government's warned its decision to slash billions of dollars from its overseas aid budget is illegal. ben wallace's responds to booking summer holidays would be that it would be risky. a music festival is going ahead in the netherlands this weekend, despite the rest of the country being under lockdown.
the two—day event is an experiment to see whether there's a safe way to allow large social gatherings without increasing the spread of coronavirus. 0ur correspondent anna holligan is in biddinghuizen, near amsterdam. iimagine quite i imagine quite a lot of people are wanting to get involved. the sense of elation here _ wanting to get involved. the sense of elation here is _ wanting to get involved. the sense of elation here is powerful. - wanting to get involved. the sense of elation here is powerful. you . of elation here is powerful. you might not think that partying in a pandemic is the most responsible way to try to emerge from lockdown but actually, the dutch government scientists are involved and you see the crowds. this is something they have not been able to do for one year. they are drinking, there is a mosh pit in there and, actually, surprisingly perhaps, the dutch government is supporting this and trying to use these events to gather research that might help events to get started again. it could be used as a prototype in the future. here is what has been going on. surreal as it might look, a reminder of what life was once like and an opportunity to pilot
a way back to this. i was really happy, we can go party again. what does it feel like? euphoric! 1,500 people managed to get a ticket for this and everyone here had to show a negative test before being allowed in. everyone is meant to be wearing a mask and as you can see they are not. either they have not realised or do not care. the risk with an event like this is when people stop following the rules that could potentially affect everyone outside this control environment. soon they were all mixing and the masks had mostly vanished. once you are into the mood of dancing and partying, they fly away in no time. they become a party hat. as all these people are tested and no negatives, of course this is not a normal situation.
you have to see them as test bunnies during an experiment. this is not normal life. there will be people who think it is unethical to use these young people like guinea pigs. what do you say to them? all these participants know there is a minor risk. they are well aware of it. we believe we can see the risk is not much higher than staying at home. these are motion sensors designed to track the group dynamics, and the government is paying for the scientific research. this event will inevitably raise eyebrows and questions about how ethical bases, especially when neighbouring nations are locking down. here in the netherlands the infection rate has gone up by 25% since last week. in what sense is this valuable when the risks are still so great?
yes, it will only give us the data to reopen the society if you plan it right, you can do safe things. this is not an unsafe event. the entertainment industry in the netherlands and around the world has been shut down by measures to stop our social interactions. the isolation has huge consequences, for businesses and our mental health. it might look as though people are behaving in an irresponsible way. partly their behaviour is being monitored. how long they spend around people. afterwards, they will be tested in five days' time and if this event has not turned into the source of a mass outbreak, it will be used as evidence by the entertainment industry to say that not just festivals here entertainment industry to say that notjust festivals here in the netherlands but all around the world
can be hosted in a covid—19 safeway. these people may be used as guinea pigs, none of them are complaining at the moment and the hope is that they will stick to the rules. when they will stick to the rules. when they go back into society, they have to avoid vulnerable people and they are tested again in five days' time and the results could be invaluable for them and for the rest of the entertainment industry. i imagine the one initial problem is the fact that they are not wearing masks there though. anna, thank you very much indeed. the french authorities say 72 migrants have been returned to france after their boats got into difficulty in the channel. 0ne boat had 38 people on board; the second was carrying 3a — including several women and children. the home secretary, priti patel, will outline changes designed to make the asylum system �*firm but fair�* later this week. over the past year, millions of people in england who were told they were clinically extremely vulnerable have been shielding at home to protect them against coronavirus. that shielding will now
end for nearly four million on the 1st april. 0ur north of england correspondent, judith moritz, has been speaking to two people who have been shielding. this is my kitchen. over here is my dining room. it's also my study. there's not much chance to get away from work. for the last year, these four walls have been philip's whole world. he started shielding last march and has barely been outside since. it's really frustrating being stuck inside when it's such a nice day. philip has the blood disorder aplastic anaemia, which makes him extremely vulnerable to covid. he has chosen to shield even at times when the guidance has been relaxed. i live by myself, i've had very little human contact over the past year. given that, what's it felt like? have you had cabin fever? ifelt really, you know, confined at the start of lockdown but i think it's something that i've gradually got used to. it's almost now, it's the anxiety of when i finally do go out
into the real world, i think that's preying —— playing on my mind more than being isolated for so long. for so many people, meeting online has been the only way of socialising. what fairy tale character has really long hair? rapunzel. well done. the vibe group in liverpool is for adults with additional needs, some of whom are shielding. the weekly quiz and karaoke gives them some much—needed time together. i love meeting new people in vibe. some days it's good to meet up and see everyone. love you all, love you all. i like to come to vibe very much. bye guys. bye. i'm escaping the house for five minutes to have a little walk round the garden. the size of rachel's world has also shrunk, as her severe asthma put her on the shielding list. today we are going to continue
to look at macbeth. rachel is a teacher. currently her pupils are at school and she's teaching them from home. ..on page 16 in your booklet. but over the last year, the advice to shield has changed several times, and she's had to change with it. i've ended up kind of jack—in—the—box shielding. it's difficult to get your head round how it's safe to be in the classroom one day, and then the next day it's not and you've got to shield, or like, currently, it's not safe for me to be in the classroom on 31st march but on 1st april, which is the last day of term, i can go into school, and the school will have done nothing different on either of those days. rachel can't wait to get back out into the world, and says despite it all she feels lucky. having lost friends to covid, she is just grateful to be safe. judith moritz, bbc news. essex has one of the highest rates
of suicide in england. but in the last year, more than 115,000 people in the county have taken part in mental health awareness training. the council is offering the training to everyone to try to identify and support those who are struggling during the pandemic. 0ur reporter chi chi izundu can tell us more. hello, my name is tina. tina runs her own business and a charity and describes herself as a confident person. but christmas was a tough time for her mental health. if i'd have been pushed much further, i'm not sure i would be sitting here talking to you today. was it really difficult to say, i need help? i didn't actually fully ask for it, it was sort of like thrust upon me from a great height because the other great thing is, is that these are people who are really good friends who'd actually seen there was something not right. so they actually came forward and then made me spill it out that there was a problem. tina was helped by people who'd gone through mental health awareness training. help other people to understand mental health and mental ill—health and what we can do about it.
it's designed for anyone and not only teaches about the different types of mental health conditions but also the different ways to approach someone who may be struggling and how to signpost them to help. my name's kirsty 0'callaghan and i work as head of- strengthening communities at essex county council. - the idea to get people trained came to kirsty after she lost her dog. i realised that people would respond to something on facebook group - in a way that they perhaps wouldn't to other things _ unfortunately, we had| a very difficult incident in essex where a young woman . took her own life, and we wanted a different way to work - hand—in—hand with communities. to reach people in essex, she contacted community groups online and said the council would pay for those who wanted to have mental health awareness training. started in south woodham ferrers, i trained about 400 people in a week, training took place in the local pub and we rolled out from there. - so to date, we've now trained - about 45,000 people across essex.
but training didn'tjust happen in pubs, it also took place in other settings like monkey business, hockley. hi, i'm simon, this isjames, and i'm from the never too late, mate facebook page and group. simon did his training here and set up the never too late, mate facebook group to help people get access to mental health resources. people now have the knowledge and the power to realise just how easy and simple an intervention can be. the happy hub in basildon right now only operates as a food bank and crisis centre but usually it welcomes people inside who may be battling with their mental health. there, they can get support from volunteers who've had the mental health awareness training. i think it's invaluable, i really think everyone should have it. i'd love everyone to have it at school, i'd love everyone to have it as an adult, ijust think it's really essential because we don't have that understanding of mental health in society that we should. it's difficult to measure the training's impact,
but essex city council said the people told them that the support from those trained had stopped them taking their own lies. now 47 other local authorities around england want to adopt this very model to help their own communities. people don't go forward and say, "i'm feeling really low at the moment". you have to recognise that. so it gives you that ability to know what to look for in people and also how, if you like, how to then deal with it, but also while protecting your own mental health. chi chi izundu, bbc news. buckingham palace is reviewing its diversity policies in all of the royal households. palace sources have told the bbc that although the work has been under way for some time, it would now include looking at the allegations of racism made by the duke and duchess of sussex in their recent tv interview. the sources said there are already policies in place, but there's an acceptance that more needs to be done. the work is said to have the full
support of the royal family. now it's time for a look at the weather with ben rich. yes, it absolutely is. beautiful s-urin yes, it absolutely is. beautiful spring sunshine _ yes, it absolutely is. beautiful spring sunshine out _ yes, it absolutely is. beautiful spring sunshine out there - yes, it absolutely is. beautiful spring sunshine out there for| yes, it absolutely is. beautiful- spring sunshine out there for most of us. cloud amounts do vary. it has been a bit of a struggle for some to break up the cloud. it has been quite cloudy across the south—west of england and also the north—east of england and also the north—east of scotland. in both of these areas, things have been brightening up at times. we will see some spells of sunshine through the afternoon. it is not quite as warm as it was yesterday. we got up to 18 degrees yesterday. we got up to 18 degrees yesterday. today, nine to 12 degrees. higher temperatures across parts of wales and south england. as we head through this evening, where we head through this evening, where we had those sunny skies by day, that will be translated into clear skies by night. eastern scotland, northern england, wales,
temperatures could get cold enough for a touch of frost. it is going to be a dry start to the new week turning wetter and windier and briefly a bit the end of the week as well. this is bbc news. the headlines... the government criticises the president of the european commission, ursula von der leyen for suggesting that exports of the astrazeneca covid vaccine outside the eu could be blocked. the uk government is facing more questions over whether or not people can plan forforeign holidays. the cabinet minister, ben wallace said summer travel abroad is looking increasingly unlikely. meanwhile the uk government's warned its decision to slash billions of dollars from its overseas aid budget is illegal. a snapshot of life in england, wales and northern ireland — today's the deadline for millions of people to take part in a once—in—a—decade census.
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