UK coronavirus live: compliance with Covid measures 'high' over Christmas as 44% formed festive bubble – ONS




















Compliance with with measures “high” over Christmas – ONS

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Four in 10 adults in Britain formed a Christmas bubble – ONS

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Students affected by the Covid crisis deserve to receive money back on fees or rent, university leaders and the academics’ union say – and the government, not universities, should foot the bill.

Prof Steve West, vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England in Bristol, says the government should offer rebates by cutting the amount that students have to repay for tuition fee and living-cost loans for this year. “That would be a very powerful signal to students and society as a whole,” he says.

Students have criticised Boris Johnson on social media for failing to mention universities when announcing the national lockdown on Monday. A petition calling for a cut to tuition fees from £9,250 to £3,000 has reached 508,000 signatures. And as students face another term learning alone in their bedrooms, paying for accommodation they are not allowed to return to, many are demanding a rebate.




A sign in one the windows at Ranmoor/Endcliffe student accommodation at the University of Sheffield, taken in October 2020.

A sign in one the windows at Ranmoor/Endcliffe student accommodation at the University of Sheffield, taken in October 2020. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA









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Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine protects against new variants – study

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Marks & Spencer said its clothing sales dropped by a quarter over the key Christmas trading period as the retailer was hit hard by store closures on the back of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The outlook for trading “remains very challenging” because the latest lockdown could last until Easter, the retailer said.

Sales of clothing and homeware slumped by 24.1% in the 13 weeks to 26 December. The figure reflected a near halving of store sales, which was partially offset by a similar-sized surge in online sales. The restrictions on socialising over Christmas meant the big sellers were pyjamas and jogging bottoms rather than party outfits.

Marks & Spencer’s food halls fared better, with sales at stores open one year up 2.6%. That figure rose to almost 6% when the impact of the closure of its large network of in-store cafes was stripped out. On the same basis, sales were up 8.7% in the four weeks before Christmas when the impact of closures was removed.




Marks & Spencer says the outlook for trading ‘remains very challenging’ because the latest coronavirus restrictions could last until Easter.

Marks & Spencer says the outlook for trading ‘remains very challenging’ because the latest coronavirus restrictions could last until Easter. Photograph: Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty Images

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Concerns over South African variant prompted travel rules – minister

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