Audiences have praised Gary Neville this morning after he ripped into the government and a fellow guest on ITV’s Good Morning Britain over the removal of the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift
The removal of the uplift, which is worth £1,040 a year to claimants, comes into force today and is expected to affect around 6 million people across the country – many of whom use the benefit to support them as well as working in low-paid jobs.
First introduced by the government to help struggling families at the start of the pandemic at a cost of around £6bn a year, on GMB this morning the footballer turned pundit called the reduction “brutal.”
He also condemned the “divisive and dangerous” rhetoric surrounding the topic, hitting out at fellow guest Edwina Currie after she claimed that the uplift “does not make sense” as there are more job vacancies now.
Susanna also argued with the former politician, stating that: “‘Not everybody on Universal Credit doesn’t have a job.
“Forty percent of those already on Universal Credit are in work.”
Edwina replied: “Yes, but the majority of people on Universal Credit don’t have a job.”
She added: “What we have to realise is we’ve got something like a million vacancies being advertised in this country.
“It doesn’t make any kind of sense to pay people to stay at home.”
Pitching in, Neville retorted: “Well, let me just translate what Edwina has just said,”
“‘I’m ok here, we’re ok here’, which is the first thing a Conservative person does.
“They look after themselves.
“The language is always divisive, it’s not helpful. It’s really dangerous to remove Universal Credit payments at this moment in time, it’s brutal.”
He continued: “I trust the population of this country, I work on the theory that people aren’t sitting there lazy, they really want a good job.
“They want to get good pay, they want their mental health to be sorted.
“They’re not sitting there thinking, ‘I’m going to take the chancellors money and live off their money for the next 10-15 years.”
A number of charities, think tanks and unions having previously warned against the Universal Credit uplift removal, explaining that it will hit some of the poorest families the hardest at a time when energy bills are set to soar.
Many have also argued that it could hit the UK’s coronavirus recovery, as it will mean millions losing disposable income for spending on essentials.
All of this means that the government is still coming under increasing pressure this week to u-turn on its decision to abandon the benefit uplift, as it did with the free school meals debate in the summer.
Feature image – ITV
This hidden Manchester pasta and dumplings restaurant has just made the Michelin Guide
Michelin has just added some new additions to its guide, and one of our favourite Manchester restaurants has finally made the cut.
Loved by locals for its continental pasta and dumplings, gorgeous European wine list and sake collection, The Sparrows in the Green Quarter is something of a hidden gem – tucked in a disused railway arch on Red Bank.
It received rave reviews from local and national critics alike when it first opened in 2019 in a tiny space with room for just 12 covers. Since then, it’s relocated to a bigger home and its following has grown significantly.
After spending years wowing foodies in the know, the restaurant has made it onto the radar of Michelin’s inspectors at last – and we have to say, the accolade is well deserved indeed.
Front of house is headed up by Polish-born Kasia Hitchcock with her chef partner Franco Concli at the helm in the kitchen. Plates celebrate Franco’s Tyrolean heritage, with their signature dish spätzle, a rustic fresh egg pasta from which the restaurant takes its name, sitting front and centre.
Traditionally made by scraping dough from the wooden board straight into a pot of boiling water, these irregular-shaped delights translate from Swabian-German to mean “little sparrows.”
Served in multiples ways, they can be enjoyed either savoury or sweet – mixed with braised onions into a creamy gruyere and Emmental cheese sauce, as is traditional, or transformed into a pudding with a touch of cinnamon, brown sugar and butter.
Joining the now seventeen Manchester restaurants to be featured in the prestigious guide, its description reads as follows: “Nestled under the railway arches in Manchester’s Green Quarter is a restaurant whose name is (almost) the English translation of the word ‘spätzle’ – which gives some clue as to the style of food on offer here.
“The dumplings and assorted pasta dishes are all made in-house and include excellent pierogi. The focus on Eastern Europe carries through to the wine list, which has a leaning towards Polish wines.”
A welcome new addition, if you haven’t yet visited then we recommend you book in swiftly. No doubt the news of its conclusion in the Michelin Guide will send reservations filling up pretty sharpish.
Feature image – Google Maps
New DNA evidence could clear ‘innocent’ man who spent 17 years in prison for Salford rape
A man who spent 17 years in prison for a rape he has continued to claim he did not commit has now been granted a fresh appeal after DNA was linked to an alternative suspect.
57-year-old Andrew Malkinson from Grimsby was convicted by a jury verdict of 10-2 of strangling and raping a woman in Little Hulton in Salford back in 2003, and was jailed for life following a trial at Manchester Crown Court in February 2004.
The victim – who had been walking home alone in the early hours of 19 July 2003 – was sexually assaulted after being throttled until the point of unconsciousness, and also suffered a broken neck and a fractured cheekbone during the attack.
There was no DNA or other forensic evidence linking Mr Malkinson to the crime at the time, and the prosecution case relied mainly on identification evidence from eyewitnesses.
This is why he has always maintained his innocence and insisted it was a case of mistaken identity.
Mr Malkinson had twice been refused an appeal in the past after applying for his case to be reviewed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) – which is the body responsible for investigating alleged miscarriages of justice – but after being released on license from prison back in 2020, scientific techniques have advanced, and this has potentially lead to some new evidence.
The legal team at the charity APPEAL was able to commission new DNA testing that revealed the presence of unknown male DNA in samples taken from the victim and her clothing, and this “breakthrough” has therefore cast doubt on Mr Malkinson’s conviction.
APPEAL Director Emily Bolton said “the battle for justice is not yet over”, adding that the CCRC “will now form its own view of the fresh evidence and we hope they will agree that Andy’s conviction cannot now be regarded as safe.”
Mr Malkinson says he “finally has the chance to prove his innocence”.
“I am innocent,” Mr Malkinson questioned in a statement provided by his legal representatives.
“Finally, I have the chance to prove it thanks to the perseverance of my legal team at APPEAL. I only have one life and so far 20 years of it has been stolen from me. Yesterday I turned 57 years old. How much longer will it take?”
As well as the case having being referred back to the CCRC this week, in light of new information, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) confirmed last month that it had arrested a 48-year-old man from Exeter on suspicion of rape, but he has since been released under investigation.
Addressing Mr Malkinson’s case, CCRC chairwoman Helen Pitcher said: “The new results raise concerns about the safety of these serious convictions.
“It is now for the Court of Appeal to decide whether they should be quashed.
“New evidence can come to light years after a conviction, and in the ever-changing world of forensic science, it is crucial an independent body can undertake these enquiries and send cases of concern back to court.
“Following Mr Malkinson’s application, we used our special powers and expertise to re-examine this case, instructing experts to undertake state-of-the-art DNA testing.”