UK childcare sector on ‘brink of collapse’

An emergency bailout of the UK’s childcare sector is needed if nurseries and child-minding centres are to reopen, allowing parents to return to work, according to the Trades Union Congress.

In a report published on Thursday, the main umbrella group for unions said parents faced a “massive childcare challenge” in the coming months, since some nurseries would fall victim to the economic crisis, while others would only be able to open safely on reduced hours or with fewer places under social distancing rules. Many parents, women in particular, could lose their jobs or pay as a result, it said.

“Our childcare sector is on the brink of collapse — and it’s putting women’s jobs on the line,” said Frances O’Grady, TUC secretary-general.

The closure of schools and childcare settings has had a bigger impact in the UK than in many countries because an unusually high proportion, 70 per cent, of

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Coronavirus: British zoos ‘at risk of extinction’ after being told to remain closed | UK News

Zoos across the UK who have been told to remain closed despite the easing of some lockdown measures say they are at “risk of extinction” as fears continue to grow for animals and staff.

Some of the biggest animal attractions in the country have revealed they are losing as much as £1 million a month as they wait for the green light to reopen.

Chester Zoo, the UK’s biggest such attraction which is home to 35,000 animals, has already lost £5m due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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There are ongoing fears for animals and staff at zoos across the UK

London Zoo and Whipsnade have also revealed their futures “hang in the balance” and need a “significant injection of cash” to survive.

Other zoos, including at Colchester and Twycross, say the public’s support is “critical – now more than ever” as they continue to appeal for donations to keep afloat.

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Johnson pledges apprenticeship to every young person

Boris Johnson on Wednesday promised an apprenticeship to every young person, as the government braces for a wave of youth unemployment in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The prime minister confirmed the government was drawing up a strategy for tackling widespread job losses caused by the virus, including through major investment in skills and training.

“In dealing with the fallout of coronavirus, we will be as activist and interventionist as we have been during the lockdown,” said Mr Johnson.

He added there would be investment in infrastructure and green technology — including electric cars — and that people would be given the skills they needed to work in the post-Covid-19 economy.

Mr Johnson said young people faced the highest risk of losing jobs and being out of work for a long time, raising the spectre of 1980s-style unemployment. “Young people, I believe, should be guaranteed an apprenticeship,” he added.

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Johnson urges UK public not to flout lockdown rules

Boris Johnson appealed to the public not to flout the lockdown rules on Wednesday as the head of the NHS “test and trace” programme was strongly criticised for failing to provide any data on how the system is operating.

The prime minister warned the country not to take social gatherings indoors as the weather worsens, speaking of the need to keep coronavirus under control while lockdown restrictions are eased.

Government scientists cautioned the alert level remains at four, which denotes “high” transmission of the virus, with an estimated 8,000 new cases occurring in the UK every day.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street briefing, Mr Johnson said: “As the weather threatens to take a turn for the worse some of you may be tempted to move the gatherings that you have been enjoying outdoors indoors, out of the rain.

“I really urge you — don’t do that. We relaxed the

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