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UK news in brief

03 April 2020


Barclays bows to shareholder pressure

BARCLAYS has announced its ambition to become a “net-zero bank” by 2050, after pressure from shareholders, including the Church of England Pensions Board and Church Commissioners, to align with the Paris climate-change goals. The shareholder resolution was filed by the campaign group ShareAction in January. On Monday, after months of investor talks, the bank committed to “set, disclose, and implement a strategy, with targets, to transition its provision of financial services across all sectors (starting with, but not limited to, the energy and power sectors) to align with the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement.” Its board are to put the proposal to a formal vote at its AGM on 7 May.


Vulnerable children at risk of abuse during lockdown

TOO often, children are seen as “troublesome teenagers” when they may be victims of domestic abuse, grooming, and exploitation, the Children’s Society has warned. The charity’s policy manager, Iryna Pona, said: “Children experiencing domestic abuse in their families or through teenage relationships can be particularly vulnerable to criminal and sexual exploitation. . . It is a big worry that this risk may be heightened right now when the lockdown means that families affected by domestic abuse do not have the escape offered by work or school. . . We would urge schools and social care to ensure all children they know to be at risk can attend school.” She was responding to a report from the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird QC, published on Wednesday, which suggests that there is an overlap between children’s experience of domestic abuse and their offending behaviour.


Christian Concern to challenge against abortion change

THE campaign group Christian Concern has said that it will launch a judicial review of the Government’s decision this week to alter the abortion law to allow women to take abortion pills at home without travelling to a clinic. The move is temporary, limited for two years or until the coronavirus crisis is over. It applies for medical abortions up to the tenth week of pregnancy. Christian Concern is to argue that the decision to change the law was unconstitutional because the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, had told MPs the previous week that there were no proposals to change the abortion rules owing to Covid-19.

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