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UK news in brief

09 March 2018


Paul Flowers banned from financial-services industry

THE Financial Conduct Authority has banned the former chairman of the Co-operative Bank, Paul Flowers (above), from the financial-services industry. “Mr Flowers’ disregard for the standards he is expected to meet demonstrates a lack of integrity and . . . any future involvement by Mr Flowers in the financial services industry risks undermining consumer and market confidence,” a statement said. This included using his work email account to send and receive sexually explicit and otherwise inappropriate messages, and to discuss illegal drugs. After stepping down as chairman in 2013, Mr Flowers was convicted for possession of illegal drugs (News, 22 November 2013, News, 9 May 2014).


Marriage rates lowest on record, ONS reports

MARRIAGE rates for opposite-sex couples in 2015 were the lowest on record, ONS reported last week. Rates were lower for all age groups, except for men aged 65 and over, and women aged 55 and over. The number of religious ceremonies, which made up 26 per cent of all marriages between opposite-sex partners, dropped by eight per cent on 2014, compared with a 1.6 per cent drop in civil ceremonies. The percentage had fallen from 85 per cent in 1900, to 50 per cent in 1980, and, since 1992, civil marriages have increasingly outnumbered religious marriages every year. The average age at marriage for men was 37.5 and for women, 35.1. Only 0.7 per cent of same-sex marriages took place during religious ceremonies.


Lord Williams opposing lifting of schools faith cap

THE former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams is among the 70 signatories to a letter to The Daily Telegraph that urges the Government not to lift the cap on faith-based schools admissions (News, 19 January). “It is difficult to bring to mind a more divisive policy, or one more deleterious to social cohesion and respect, than one that allows schools to label children at the start of their lives with certain beliefs and then divide them up on that basis,” the letter says. Other signatories include the chief executive of Humanists UK, Andrew Copson.



Online troll targets staff at C of E primary school

FAKE profiles on pornography and escort websites have been created for staff at St John’s C of E Primary School in Canterbury, by a mystery “troll”. At least three members of staff have been targeted and police have been investigating for more than a year, the Daily Telegraph reports. “This is online bullying and will not be tolerated,” the head teacher, Jo Warnock, said. “We are absolutely desperate to find out who is responsible and to see them prosecuted. It’s also important for children to know that it’s not right and we do something about it. It is extremely distressing for the staff involved and their families.”


Archbishop Welby backs schools project

FINANCIAL education should be compulsory in schools, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Just Finance Foundation said on Saturday. One of the Foundation’s projects is the LifeSavers programme for schools, launched in 2016 with the aim of reaching 30,000 children by the end of this year (News, 2 December 2016). “Research has shown that habits and attitudes to money are already being formed at the age of seven,” Archbishop Welby said.


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