Kevin Poulter joined the BBC Radio London breakfast show on 27 September 2021 to discuss the day's news with host (and former Strictly Come Dancing competitor) Vanessa Feltz. Here’s a summary of what we discussed, at the start of National Inclusion Week and on the day when the petrol pumps ran dry across the capital’s forecourts.
Do not squander cycling gains made during pandemic, labour says (Guardian)
Cycling has boomed during lockdown, when tubes were reserved for key workers and we were told that stuffed buses were Covid-19 danger zones. Official statistics released last week showed there was a 23% increase in the number of “stages” of a journey cycled during 2020 compared with the previous year.
The Department for Transport further found that two-thirds of adults in England think it is too dangerous for them to cycle on the roads, with women seen as more likely than men to be put off by road danger.
In my own experience as a lock-down cyclist, the roads in London are increasingly dangerous as greater numbers of cyclists take to the rush hour roads, dealing with uneven surfaces, disrepair and all too often other cyclists who have no awareness (or regard) for the Highway Code, personal or pedestrian safety.
Strictly Covid chaos - there’s a McFly in the ointment (widely reported)
It has been announced that Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden have tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss a week of competition. The fact that no one else has been reportedly affected is a testament to the BBC’s strict protocols and shows the importance of maintaining a safe working environment to ensure that businesses remain in operation. There’s a long wait until we see who is the Strictly champion, but also which companies are well-prepared to survive the tumult of autumn and winter 2021.
End of Covid job schemes still leave US, EU and U.K. short of workers (FT)
This week the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to an end. It is estimated that over a million workers are still relying on the business support scheme, which has cost £70bn since its introduction in March 2020. The scheme supported around 9 million people at its peak but the government has been adamant it will not continue beyond 30 September, insisting there are jobs out there.
In order to meet the demands of their businesses, companies are raising wages, paying for additional training and relaxing job requirements in order to find and secure staff.
HGV Drivers may be in the news today, but it’s widely acknowledged that there are pre-existing shortages across hospitality, health and social care, agriculture, retail and other professional sectors. It’s no longer a case of securing future talent and resources, but keeping hold of those you already have.
Prison gender pronoun badge criticised (Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail)
In preparation for National Inclusion Week, HMP Isle of Wight has been offering ‘pronoun badges’ to staff, visitors and inmates.
The badges give wearers the option to display him/he, she/her and they/them pronouns and include a mix of non-binary options, including one that simply reads: ‘Ask me!’
The displaying of pronouns has become a common practice on email footers and social networking sites, yet has still caused ‘outrage’ amongst some. Displaying pronouns can help people avoid hurtful misgendering, according to charity Stonewall, but it also allows individuals to be comfortable in the workplace, avoid any unintended confusion and resulting awkwardness and create an environment free from hostility and fear.
Listen to the clip from Vanessa at BBC Radio London on BBC Sounds and the BBC Sounds app, from 46:30.
Petrol, pandemic pedalling, pronouns and paso doble