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Spring Cleaning Britain

Behind the Headlines News

The Daily Mail is not everybody’s favourite newspaper but one thing it deserves credit for is the campaign launched last Saturday for people across the country to mobilise on a ‘Spring Clean Britain’ effort.

It is of course, not the only publication to highlight the shocking amount of litter scattered around the UK and in last Saturday’s edition of the paper, former Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman wrote an article in which he pointed out that the responsibility for carelessly discarded waste lies with one source – people.

Referring to plastic manufacturers, Paxman said, ‘…Litter isn’t their problem. It’s ours. It is not the manufacturers who chuck empty bottles into the roadside. It is us.’

As was often the case when presenting Newsnight, nobody is spared Paxman’s blunt words.

For sale - One Pint or More

The latest example of the UK being for sale to the highest bidder is the acquisition by foreign interests of Fuller’s London Pride beer. The buyer in this case is Japanese drinks giant, Asahi and the deal includes the historic Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, West London.

Fuller, Smith and Turner, to give the beer-maker its full title, was founded in 1845 but the Griffin Brewery dates back to the time of Oliver Cromwell in the 1600s.

As has been the case for so many other examples of British industry, yet another piece of the UK’s history has been asset-stripped away.

Changing the taste of food

The signs of a backlash against ‘nanny-statism’ are spreading from ordinary people to the food industry. A raft of measures to tackle obesity included calorie guidelines announced last spring by the Government’s health agency, Public Health England (PHE).

Manufacturers and retailers have said that the guidelines are ‘unworkable’ and the wrong response to the obesity crisis. Dozens of popular food products, including Hummus cheese, hollandaise sauce and sweet potato chips face being changed ‘beyond recognition’, if the calorie count is reduced. The industry has accused PHE of basing their targets on an oversimplified model that in practice does not work, as for many products, the only way to reduce the calorie count is to remove a vital ingredient. Manufacturers are saying that by doing so, the taste and consistency of the foods will be drastically altered.

PHE is expected to publish final guidelines this spring and the food industry will be expected to have met them by 2024.

No GPs here

The NHS has received another battering in a report that ranks the UK in sixteenth place out of twenty-one countries for GP coverage. In figures released by Eurostat, only Spain, Latvia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Greece were placed lower, putting the UK behind Malta and Romania for the number of GPs per person.

Based on these figures, Portugal, in first place, had more than three times as many GPs than the UK, with 253 General Practitioners per 100,000 people.

Although international healthcare systems vary widely, experts have suggested that this is more evidence that the UK is sleepwalking into a crisis. More than 1,000 GPs have left the NHS since 2015, putting the blame on unmanageable workloads and increased demand and health bosses have admitted that four in ten GPs are quitting the NHS within five years of completing their training.

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