I would never tell anyone that there are positives to experiencing homelessness. But equally, I think it’s important to look back at experiences of adversity, and consider what they taught us. Looking back, my experiences of homelessness made me far more resilient. They enabled me to look at tough situations as things I can get through rather than just things I have to accept. And they’ve taught me that to make it through, you have to truly believe you can find a solution.Resilience can take many forms, but broadly it means we develop coping mechanisms and maintain balance in what could otherwise be overwhelming situations. It means the ability to stay calm in the face of a crisis. Something I know about first-hand.It’s without a doubt terrifying when you don’t know where you will be sleeping from one night to the next, but when it’s your only option you have to just get on with it. Fight or flight takes over, and without knowing it you’re on autopilot.When you’re expecting to stay in the same place all weekend and then you’re told with half an hours notice you have to leave, there is literally nothing you can do about it. At first that lack of control is hard to deal with, but you realise that kicking off or trying to fight it will only make things worse for you. The only way to deal with it is to focus on the few things you can control, your attitude, your mindset, and getting through one hour at a time. You have to learn to accept the things you can’t control, including the unpleasant feelings and emotions that undoubtedly come with any experience of homelessness. You get to a point where you realise you can’t avoid them; you just have to let them pass. When you get put in a hostel with 18 other young people where drugs and antisocial behaviour are commonplace, it changes how you view the world.When you get put in a hostel with 18 other young people where drugs and antisocial behaviour are commonplace, it changes how you view the world. It makes you realise that while everyone is responsible for their own behaviour, they are not responsible for many of the often traumatic things they have been through, which have a direct affect on their attitudes, thoughts and actions. Often people have very few options, and you can never judge the choices someone makes when you don’t know what options they had to begin with. While you come to understand that everyone you’re living with is dealing with a tough situation the only ways they know how, it doesn’t make it any easier when you’re living it. You have to learn to live with the constant noise, arguments and fighting and the fear that brings, because what other option do you have? Things will kick off. It’s inevitable when so many young people are living under the same roof, so you can’t show weakness; it can and will be used against you – your sexuality, your mental health, the fact that your best friend died recently, anything that will get a reaction. At first you react. How could you not? Eventually you learn that whilst it’s hurtful, it’s also coming from a place of hurt – they want to get to you, but they don’t really mean it. It makes you more responsible for your own behaviour when you realise how much of an impact other people’s behaviour has on you. You have to respond positively and treat everyone how you want to be treated, even if it’s not reciprocated. You have to stand up for yourself otherwise people will walk all over you. Whether it’s saying no to drugs or lending someone money, people will take advantage of your kindness, but that doesn’t mean you should stop being kind.  At times the fear takes over and will continue to if you let it, but sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself will get you nowhere. You have to be proactive, come up with your own solutions and make the best of bad situations. It’s safe to say that the things I learnt whilst I was experiencing homelessness helped me massively during six months of lockdown.Services that are stretched beyond their means will give up on you; they will pass you off to the next charity. But it teaches you that no matter how many people give up on you, you must never give up on yourself. You have to have your own back even if no-one else does.It’s safe to say that the things I learnt whilst I was experiencing homelessness helped me massively during six months of lockdown. I was able to stay calm and develop coping mechanisms to deploy when my usual support networks weren’t available. I was also aware that many of the things I was seeing online we’re fuelled by fear as so many people we’re suddenly living in fight-or-flight, and I know what that’s like. I was used to the unknown, so I found not knowing how long I’d be stuck inside, or unable to see my friends for, easier than a lot of people. Resilience isn’t something you either have or you don’t, it’s something we can actively choose to build and work on.  It’s about coping in tough situations, but also about adaptation and positive growth.Anyone who has experienced homelessness will tell you that it doesn’t define them, however some of the thing’s homelessness teaches us, such as resilience, do and will continue to define us. It can be hard knowing that we can never forget tough experiences, and obviously I couldn’t choose not to experience it. Some days I wish more than anything I could forget, but I know I can’t, so I choose to use what the experience taught me as a force for good. Hannah Green is a writer, speaker and lived experiences specialist at the Centre for Homelessness Impact. Follow her on Twitter at @h_green21More from HuffPost UK Personal I’m An NHS Doctor. Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories Are Making Our Job Harder I'm Young, I Have MS, And I'm Worried How I Fit Into A Post-Covid World Pubs Like Mine Have Become Scapegoats For The Government’s Covid Failures
It is hard for me to start writing this piece because I have started writing it in my head a hundred times. I have tried to format it into a tweet, then a series of tweets; a long Instagram caption, a Facebook status.This now happens with nearly every thought I have. It pops into my head and, as it does, I try to come up with a way of expressing it on a social media platform. It is frustrating because that didn’t used to be the case. Well, it was the case for a long time, then it wasn’t, and now it is again.Like a lot of millennials hovering around 30, I grew up online and spent my early and mid twenties glued to my laptop and phone screen. a new app or website would launch and within months I would be hooked. I never really questioned it, and the constant technological innovations were too exciting to care anyway.With every bit of myself I throw into the online ether, I dissociate a little bit more from what is happening to us.First we tweeted by text, then Twitter got on our phones; suddenly there was Instagram, and filters, and Snapchat, and stories you could post, and gifs were everywhere, and Vine compilations were brilliant – and so on. Then something changed, around a year ago; maybe it was that we had hit a tech plateau, where new apps stopped being novel and bold.Maybe I just aged; I had spent years live-tweeting my every thought, accidentally becoming semi-prominent in the process, and the constant exposure had started to feel draining. I also noticed that a lot of my friends were slowly separating themselves from their online personas. One by one, they started to tweet only sporadically, set their Instagrams to private, and generally became more guarded online.I can’t pretend I’d gone off grid by the time the pandemic hit; I was still posting frequently, but had been making efforts to scroll less, read more books, and generally not look at my phone when I didn’t need to. It was a process I was working on. I knew letting go of such a deeply ingrained habit would take time, but I felt I was on the right path.That all came crashing down the moment lockdown started, of course. Suddenly, there was nothing to do but scroll, and no-one to share my thoughts with unless I tweeted them. I even kept up an Instagram presence.Looking back, it is impressive I managed to post so many pictures given how starved my life had become of things worth picturing. I soldiered on regardless; selfies, sunsets, buildings encountered on walks, close-ups of the plants I kept compulsively ordering online.Related... Your Self-Care Toolkit For Dealing With The Tough Months Ahead Instagram Was Affecting My Mental Health, So I Quit. Here's What I Didn't See Coming What saddens me is not that I became so hooked to social media again in lockdown – there was nothing else for me to do – but that I am yet to reverse the habit. Even at the height of the summer, when us Londoners were lucky enough to have most of our lives back, I remained glued to my screen.I used to find it rude when friends scrolled through Twitter while we had drinks, but suddenly I started doing it. On several occasions, I stopped walking in the street to take selfies because the light looked nice on my face, aware and mortified that passersby were clearly judging me.Some nights, I would go to bed, think of a quip and make myself leave my bed to tweet it because I knew I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep otherwise.I post pictures knowing that I will look at them again in a few months, and suddenly I am no longer stuck in the tedium of our current lives.Once again, social media is taking up a huge amount of space in my brain. I check my notifications on each app constantly and always in the same order, like a ritual, and I am frustrated if I have done something interesting on a Sunday afternoon but forgotten to post anything about it. I’d long wondered what it must be like to be a needy, angsty 13-year-old in the era of constant connectivity and now I know; at 28, I have become one.Still, I wonder if there is some deeper coping mechanism at work here. As middle-aged columnists used to claim, documenting our every move meant that we were not living our lives to the fullest. By obsessing over, say, the pictures we took on a night out, we forgot to actually enjoy said night out. I am not sure their worries were entirely founded – I’m fairly certain I did manage to have fun when I meant to – but perhaps they had a point.Every time I tweet a fleeting thought and post a picture from my daily walk, I break the fourth wall. I invite an audience into my head and welcome them into my life, and suddenly I am not alone anymore, nor am I living in the present.I post pictures knowing that I will look at them again in a few months, and suddenly I am no longer stuck in the tedium of our current lives. I’ve established a link to my future self, who will presumably want to remember what happened in the year of the plague, and scroll down her own Instagram for memories.With every bit of myself I throw into the online ether, I dissociate a little bit more from what is happening to us. Suddenly, my life becomes a performance; a show about a woman trying to keep going through life when everything is uncertain and she feels quite sad and small.Perhaps voluntary alienation isn’t the best way to go about all this and perhaps I should be feeling everything I need to be feeling so I emerge in one piece.But perhaps that prospect is too daunting to consider, and instead I will keep my face close to my screen, where everything is a little bit less real, until it is safe to go out and live fully again.Marie Le Conte is a freelance journalist.More in Opinion... 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People in Wales say a rule banning supermarkets from selling non-essential goods during the country’s 17-day “firebreak” lockdown is confusing – and could damage people’s mental health. On Thursday, the nation’s first minister Mark Drakeford said the rule was a “simple matter of fair play” for hundreds of small businesses that have been forced to close under lockdown restrictions. “We are looking to minimise the amount of time that people spend out of their homes during this two-week period,” he added. “This is not the time to be browsing around supermarkets looking for non-essential goods.”According to guidance published on Friday afternoon – just hours before the lockdown is set to begin – the list of “non-essential” supermarket aisles that must be closed off includes electrical goods, telephones and clothes. Toys and games, products for the garden and homeware products also made the list. A photo circulating on Twitter showed a supermarket shelf, seemingly stocked with bedding, being covered with plastic.  You absolute tool @[email protected] covering what YOU THINK are non essential items. So what happens if my child is sick or has an accident and I need to replace the quilt. #steptofar#lockdown#walespic.twitter.com/9gRtSN8w0P— Danielle Jones (@sullydano1) October 23, 2020But people living in Wales have slammed the new regulation as a “step too far”. Carl Twinney, who lives in Bridgend, told HuffPost UK it felt as if the government was “punishing” people during lockdown. “What’s more worrying to me is I think it’ll have a big effect on mental health,” the 27-year-old said. “Sometimes when you’re struggling to pass the time, you need things to help keep your brain active like DVDs, PlayStation or Xbox games or puzzles. “Or maybe you just fancy treating yourself to help cope with low mood – treating yourself may sound silly but it counts as self care and that’s one of the most important things to do to keep going during a lockdown.” Twinney also questioned how the move would protect small businesses, with people still able to order items online. “It’s just going to push people to order stuff from online retailers that deliver within 24 hours, so smaller businesses will suffer either way,” he said. A confused, last minute announcement that will simply send business to Amazon instead of the Welsh economy. Mark Drakeford thinks no-one needs to buy a hairdryer before 9 November but if mine blew up, I would! And now I’d buy it from Amazon.— Gill Phillips (@GillyMac99) October 23, 2020It’s a concern echoed by Gill Phillips, who called it a “confused, last minute announcement that will simply send business to Amazon instead of the Welsh economy”. “Mark Drakeford thinks no-one needs to buy a hairdryer before November 9 but if mine blew up, I would. And now I would buy it from Amazon.” Meanwhile, Susie – who is retired and lives in Prestatyn – said the new rule would hit the poorest in society the hardest: “Those with the least who have to live on day-to-day and for whom everything is a struggle at the best of times.”“It’s ok for people who can afford to order online when their child needs some new trousers because he’s ripped his or some pants or warm socks.” But for the poorest families, clothes from the supermarket are often the most affordable option, she said. Susie added: “I am just so angry at the Senedd thinking it can decide what is essential in people’s lives and yet classing alcohol as essential. So a bottle of designer gin is fine, a coat for a child isn’t?” The circuit-breaker lockdown in Wales – which is due to begin at 6pm on Friday and end on November 9 – comes amid a spike in coronavirus cases across the UK. On Friday, 20,530 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the UK – 761 of which were in Wales.As of Thursday, there were 546 coronavirus patients in hospital in the country, 47 of whom were on ventilators. As the second national lockdown for Wales loomed on Friday, Drakeford said the measures “are about saving lives, not Christmas”.“That’s the seriousness of the position we are in,” the first minister said. “Our ambition is we will not need to have this level of restriction again in Wales before Christmas.“I want shops to be able to trade. I want people to be able to prepare. I want to offer people some hope that, provided we all do the right things, then we will still be able to enjoy a version of the holiday that we would have otherwise enjoyed.” Related... Revealed: Number Of Covid Patients On Ventilators Nearing Pandemic-High At 4 NHS Trusts Hope As Coronavirus R Rate Drops Slightly To Between 1.2 And 1.4
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The number of coronavirus patients on ventilators is already nearing the figure recorded at the peak of the pandemic at a handful of NHS trusts in England, new data have revealed. Figures published by NHS England on Thursday show there are four trusts where the number of mechanical ventilation beds occupied by Covid-19 patients is approaching the highest figure recorded between April and the start of October. It does not mean these trusts are close to being overwhelmed – but it’s an indicator of how the second wave of the virus is developing in England. Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were among those where the number of mechanical ventilation beds occupied by coronavirus patients is at 75% or more of the highest recorded figure. Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust also made the list. NHS England said it was vital the public did everything they could to try and control the spread of the virus.Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Peak number of ventilator beds occupied with Covid patients during first wave: 14 (April 14)Number of ventilator beds occupied October 20: 12 (85.6% of peak)  Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation TrustPeak number of ventilator beds occupied with Covid patients during first wave: 27 (April 5)Number of ventilator beds occupied October 20: 23 (85% of peak)  Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS TrustPeak number of ventilator beds occupied with Covid patients during first wave: 21 (April 5)Number of ventilator beds occupied October 20: 17 (80.9% of peak)  East Lancashire Hospitals NHS TrustPeak number of ventilator beds occupied with Covid patients during first wave: 25 (April 7)Number of ventilator beds occupied October 20: 19 (76% of peak)  It comes as England faces a second wave of Covid-19, with swathes of the country under additional restrictions in a bid to get the virus under control. On Tuesday, 26,688 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in the UK – the highest figure since records began. Almost 23,000 of these cases were in England. According to government data, there were 601 coronavirus patients in England in mechanical ventilation beds as of October 23.Kevin McGee, chief executive of the East Lancashire Hospital, said that the “huge rise” in infection rates across the north-west was having an impact on the trust and its ICU. But he added: “Our critical care capacity is fluid and we have the flexibility to expand and contract as required, dependent upon the acuity of our patients.“We have robust plans in place which we have escalated to ensure we can accommodate the growing numbers and also to prepare effectively for the coming winter months.” McGee was quick to emphasise the importance of the public following coronavirus guidance, including social distancing, washing their hands, covering their faces and making space.“It is absolutely essential that everybody reading this understands the seriousness of the situation,” he said.  In a separate response on behalf of hospitals across Lancashire and South Cumbria – including Blackpool – McGee emphasised that while NHS services are “under a huge amount of pressure”, they remain open. “As a result of the increases in Covid admissions in our hospitals, it is important that we are continuing to provide services for our patients for treatments such as cancer and routine appointments and patient safety remains of the highest importance,” he said.“It’s important that anyone with concerns continue to come forward for help and treatment.” In a statement, a spokesperson for NHS England told HuffPost UK: “Coronavirus cases and hospital admissions are rising and so it is vital everyone does what they can to control the virus, particularly by following government guidelines.“Social distancing is the first line of defence, followed by the test and trace programme, but if infection still then spreads, the NHS has no choice but to activate local and regional escalation plans.” Related... Hope As Coronavirus R Rate Drops Slightly To Between 1.2 And 1.4 Has Boris Johnson’s Test And Trace Gone Beyond The Point Of No Return?
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Summary - A new market study, titled “Global Mobile Payment Technology Market Size, Status and Forecast 2020-2026” has been featured on WiseGuy Reports.Mobile Payment Technology market is segmented by Type, and by Application.Players, stakeholders, and other participants in the global Mobile Payment Technology market will be able to gain the upper hand as they use the report as a powerful resource.The segmental analysis focuses on revenue and forecast by Type and by Application in terms of revenue and forecast for the period 2015-2026.The key players covered in this study PayPal Boku, Inc Fortumo AT & T Vodafone Ltd Bharti Airtel Ltd Google Apple Microsoft CorporationMarket segment by Type, the product can be split into Proximity Payment Near field Communication (NFC) QR Code Payment Remote Payment SMS-based USSD/STK ALSO READ: https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/global-mobile-payment-technology-market-till-2026-latest-industry-scenario-trends-restrain-future-forecast-paypal-boku-inc-fortumo-at-t-vodafone-ltd-bharti-airtel-ltd-2020-08-25?tesla=yDirect Operator Billing (Credit/debit card-based) Digital Wallet Market segment by Application, split into Retail Hospitality & Tourism BFSI Media & Entertainment OthersMarket segment by Regions/Countries, this report covers North America Europe China Japan Southeast Asia India Central & South America FOR MORE DETAILS: https://www.wiseguyreports.com/reports/5157908-global-mobile-payment-technology-market-size-status-and-forecast-2020-2026 About Us: Wise Guy Reports is part of the Wise Guy Research Consultants Pvt.Ltd. and offers premium progressive statistical surveying, market research reports, analysis & forecast data for industries and governments around the globe.Contact Us: NORAH TRENT [email protected] Reports.com Ph: +162-825-80070 (US) Ph: +44 203 500 2763 (UK)
If you want to pick the brain of Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey about politics and the upcoming US election, put aside a good chunk of your time or consider it a no-go zone. On Wednesday night, the Hollywood star shut down Australian TV presenter Carrie Bickmore’s question about US president Donald Trump, saying he needed “a longer forum” to answer that to avoid his words being misconstrued.When Carrie asked “how he felt” about Trump ahead of the November 3 election, the interview on The Project took an awkward turn.“How do I feel about him?”McConaughey responded. “I want a fuller context and a longer form to talk about that.” “If I said something to you now, one line could be taken out of context and could be put into a headline, so I don’t want to take the chance for that.“I need a longer forum where I know it’s word for word [and] everything I’m saying is being broadcast.” “Well, let’s lock in that chat for another day!” Carrie then responded, looking a little taken aback by his response. Matthew McConaughey has led an unconventional life. He sat down with Carrie Bickmore and didn't skip a single detail, including being blackmailed at 15, resisting arrest after bongoing naked, and having 78 stitches sewn into his forehead by a vet. pic.twitter.com/yyiEdL81Ij— The Project (@theprojecttv) October 21, 2020Though he doesn’t speak much about politics, the 50-year-old answered a question about Trump while promoting his film ‘Gold’ in 2017.During a recorded sit-down chat with UK’s ChannelFI ― which was later taken down from YouTube ― the interviewer first suggested the film is about “redneck America sticking one up to the snotty East Coast and the elites” before directly asking Matthew for his views on Trump.“Every single American actor or arty type who comes over to London dumps on Trump. You all completely hate him. Do you think it’s time that maybe Hollywood and the cultural elite of America gave this guy a break?” the interviewer asked the actor.“They don’t have a choice now. He’s our president,” Matthew responded, before launching into a longer response.READ MORE: Matthew McConaughey Reveals What Led To Eight-Year Estrangement From His Mum Matthew McConaughey Reveals Dad Died While Having Sex With His Mum 19 Incredible Movie Transformations That Left These Hollywood Stars Unrecognisable
There is no doubt that Marcus Rashford is a hero. A 22-year-old playing professional football for his country, after growing up in child poverty is an incredible story.And, despite the ad hominem attacks by Tory MPs in Parliament – accusing Rashford of being a celebrity merely “virtue-signalling” – he has kept his head held high, expertly highlighting the humanity deficit in British politics by rising above their attempts to politicise poor children.Indeed, I myself grew up in child poverty on a council estate in Birmingham, and relied on free school meals at various points during my childhood to get by, so I know, first-hand, how vital they are. Related... Marcus Rashford Is Tweeting Out Every Place Offering Kids Free Meals No.10 Keeps Refusing To Praise Businesses For Offering Free Meals To Children That’s why the necessity of Rashford’s campaign horrifies me. That a footballer has to lead a campaign to feed hungry children because his government refuses to, that struggling businesses are stepping in to give what little they have to help our nation’s kids, is not and must not be seen as a victory for humanity – it’s a tragedy. We are currently facing the biggest global recession in history. Businesses up and down the country are struggling to weather the storm, and millions find themselves completely left out by the government’s economic support.And it is now these businesses that are having to step in to provide food for starving children with what little they have left. We’re also seeing underfunded local councils and authorities stepping forward such as Manchester and Birmingham – Rashford and I’s cities respectively – to try and help.These are areas that have publicly, and, at times, explosively, stated that they need more financial support than the government is offering to prevent a spike in poverty during the pandemic. Because, like Covid-19, child poverty in the UK is a national crisis.Related... Five Baffling Reasons Tories Have Given For Voting Against Free School Meals At present, 4.2 million children live in relative poverty in the UK – with 2.4 million in absolute poverty. It is becoming such an issue that the UN described it as “systemic and tragic” in 2019 – and that was before the economic crisis we’re in now.The government was failing our nation’s children even before the pandemic hit. But now they have compounded their moral bankruptcy by choosing to continue to ignore them.These children cannot vote, do not have a platform, and cannot speak for themselves. Indeed, it is this that led Rashford to say: “For as long as they don’t have a voice, they will have mine.”So, when I see Rashford tweeting constantly over the course of the last 24 hours with various places across the country that are offering to feed children, I can’t help but feel despair that this is happening in the sixth wealthiest nation in the world.So, while I support Rashford’s campaign, and all those sacrificing what little they have to help children, I also despair at its necessity.How is it that a 22-year-old footballer has more humanity than the House of Commons? And my despair is deepened by the rhetoric coming out of the government during this bleak and desperate time. Conservatives presented arguments against feeding children in the run up to the vote on free school meals, saying they can’t “nationalise children”, “create dependencies”, “wreck” the economy, or “take responsibility from parents”.Not only are these statements disingenuous, barefaced lies, they completely overlook the fact that 72% of children living in poverty are in working households. And have they forgotten that the state has a responsibility to ensure there is food for children, as outlined under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. But things don’t have to be this way – despite what the government says.Scotland this year announced its intention to enshrine the convention in Scots law, which would make it illegal for the government to stand idly by in the face of child food poverty.Nicola Sturgeon has announced that children will continue to be fed over the holidays, as well as the policy of parents being provided with £10 food vouchers per child. Let’s be clear: Rashford’s campaign is an emergency measure to prevent a catastrophe of the government’s making.Unlike the Conservative government, the Scottish Parliament show how the rights of children should not be an ideological game or political football; these are children’s lives, and futures.Statistics show that children in food poverty have worse outcomes; from malnutrition, to the ability to concentrate in the classroom, food insecurity has serious long-term social, economic, and health consequences. And, as Rashford says, child food poverty “is never the child’s fault”. So, while I support Rashford’s campaign, and all those sacrificing what little they have to help children, I also despair at its necessity.We must make sure the government do not see the kindness of the British public as an opportunity to continue their shameless and wanton negligence of their responsibilities to the nation’s children.Because, let’s be clear: Rashford’s campaign is an emergency measure to prevent a catastrophe of the government’s making. The enduring, structural change we need can only come from the top – from a government that puts the lives of children before their ideologically toxic and morally bankrupt approach to child food poverty.  Nadine Batchelor Hunt is a freelance journalist.Got a unique opinion on a news story that will help cut through the noise? We want to hear from you. Find out what we’re looking for here and pitch us on [email protected] in Opinion... 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Downing Street has refused to praise dozens of businesses that have offered to feed the country’s poorest children in response to Marcus Rashford’s anti-hunger campaign.Starting on Thursday night, the England footballer – who has spent months campaigning to stop child hunger through school holidays – shared posts from businesses and groups nationwide that are volunteering free food for children who may otherwise go hungry.From free sandwiches, sausages and curries to the offer of taxis to the nearest available foodbank, dozens of posts have now been shared online as millions of families face a half term of potential hardship. Some 322 Tory MPs on Wednesday voted down a motion to extend free school meals to the holidays.Asked whether Boris Johnson would praise those firms offering food, a No.10 spokesperson dodged the question and instead told reporters: “We’ve set out our position a number of times.“There’s no change.“As we have set out before we’re in a different position now with schools back open to all and the vast majority of pupils back in school.“And I believe the PM said during PMQs free school meals will continue during term time and he wants to continue to support families throughout the crisis and there is cash available to feed kids if they need to.”Asked whether the prime minister would applaud councils that have got involved of their own volition, he appeared to criticise them, saying: “Whilst schools continue to play an integral role in the community it’s not for schools to regularly provide food to pupils during school holidays.” And he added, again: “As we’ve said before, we’re in a different position now with schools back open.“But we have done a lot to make sure the most vulnerable in our society are protected and that has included extending free school meals to support those eligible when schools were partially closed during lockdown, increasing universal credit by £20 a week, and £63m funding for councils to provide emergency assistance to families with food, essentials and meals.”Pressed a third time on whether the PM would praise or applaud those offering meals, the spokesperson responded: “The PM’s answered this question himself on Wednesday. You’ve got his words from Wednesday.”The prime minister did not answer anything of the sort on Wednesday. Downing Street was referring to Johnson’s comments during prime minister’s questions, when he refused three times to agree to extending free meal support – as he did through a voucher scheme in the summer – over the coming holiday periods.“We support kids on low incomes in school and we will continue to do so,” he told MPs on Wednesday.“What I want to do is to make sure we continue to support families through the crisis.”When asked directly by Labour MP George Howarth whether he would support the plan to extend meals to next Easter, Johnson replied: “What we want to do is continue to support people on low incomes throughout the crisis and that’s what we are going to do.”Related... Five Baffling Reasons Tories Have Given For Voting Against Free School Meals Tories Voted Against Free School Meals In Revenge For 'Scum' Comment, Nicky Morgan Suggests Opinion: Angela Rayner Was Right To Give Scummy Behaviour The Name It Deserves
Clothing giant Gap says it is considering closing all of its stores in the UK next year.The US retailer this week revealed it is “reviewing options” for its Europe business at the end of the second quarter in 2021. The move could potentially put thousands of jobs at risk.As of July, there were 129 Gap-branded stores in Europe.Stores in France, Ireland and Italy could also close next summer under the plan, which would leave Gap with none of its own stores, just franchises in other shops, across Europe.On Thursday the company said it would be closing 220 stores (equivalent to one third of all branches) in north America by early 2024. It reported a £740m loss in the three months to May due to disruption caused by Covid-19.Mark Breitbard, CEO of the Gap brand – which was founded in 1969 – said: “As we conduct the review, we will look at transferring elements of the business to interested third parties as part of a proposed partnership model expansion. “Franchise partnerships are a strong and cost-effective way to amplify the brand. Through franchise, Gap brand reaches customers in 35 countries with more than 400 stores and 14 e-commerce sites.”He added: “We’ve been overly reliant on low-productivity, high-rent stores.”The moves come as Gap and other clothing retailers are trying to reinvent themselves during the pandemic, which forced many non-essential stores to temporarily close in the spring and early summer. The lockdown of the economy led many shoppers to shift more of their spending online, which many experts believe will be permanent.Related... 24,000 Jobs In The Balance As Peacocks And Jaeger Owner Appoints Administrators