tv BBC News at Ten BBC News April 29, 2021 10:00pm-10:31pm BST
tonight at ten — campaigners vow to fight a new law which could leave hundreds of thousands of people facing huge bills for fire safety renovations on their homes. the new fire safety bill came into force today. the government says it will save lives. critics say it could leave many who own flats with flammable cladding facing bankruptcy. millions of people across this country are affected by this. you are ruining people's lives. we don't have the funds to fix this problem that was not of our making. the new law comes in the wake of the grenfell tower tragedy in 2017, which claimed the lives of 72 people. the fire safety bill, which has received royal assent, will actually help to save lives by changing some of these awful regulations and guidelines that existed previously, and this will help save lives.
also on the programme tonight... under intense scrutiny — but borisjohnson plays down more questions about the refurbishment of his downing street flat, insisting there isn't "anything to see here". one hundred days into his presidency — joe biden sets out ambitious plans to spend trillions of dollars to rebuild the us economy. astonishment as some patients with a rare inherited eye condition discover a new gene therapy actually improves their eyesight. and cavani picks up the pieces again. and a thrilling night for manchester united as they fight back against roma in the europa league. and coming up in the sport, on the bbc news channel — three—time winner mark selby is among the challengers as the semi—finals of the world snooker championship get under way in sheffield.
good evening. people facing huge bills to replace flammable cladding on their flats have criticised a new fire safety law which came into force today. the new law is aimed at making homes safer following the grenfell tower fire, in which 72 people died. but campaigners argue it does nothing to help current leaseholders whose homes have dangerous cladding and are having to bear the huge cost of removing it from properties. the government has set up a £5 billion fund to help pay towards the costs — but only for the tallest buildings. others are now being offered loans. our business correspondent sarah corker reports. who should pay to fix britain's dangerous buildings? from london to leeds, merseyside to manchester, hundreds of thousands of leaseholders are living in flats wrapped in flammable materials. after grenfell, they never thought they'd have to foot the bill.
we are determined that no leaseholder should have to pay for the unaffordable cost of fixing safety defects that they didn't cause and are no fault of their own. i have spent days and weeks crying about it. leaseholders were hoping the fire safety bill would protect them from costs, but it hasn't, and now it's law. rachel and her partner in manchester fear they'll face life—changing bills. declaring bankruptcy at this age, you know, what does that do to us for our future? it decimates it. so, yeah, it's... yeah, it's terrifying. and these are real discussions about bankruptcy that you're having now? yes. yeah, obviously, it's not the wisest thing to do, but we have, you know, we've sat there at night and had the fire safety bill strengthened regulations following the grenfell tower fire. the legislation clarifies that building owners must manage and reduce the fire risk. the fire safety bill, which has received royal assent,
will actually help to save lives by changing some of these awful regulations and guidelines that existed previously. there are thousands of buildings around the country that are being supported through government funds and government finances right now in terms of taking remediation action against cladding. this is the scale of the problem. there are over 2,500 applications for money from the government's building safety fund. the vast majority have been rejected. just 469 are part of the fund, including 180 private—sector blocks where work has started or being completed. minister. and that's why this week, peers in the lords and some conservative back bench mps tried five times to make changes to the bill to protect flat owners from financial ruin. those attempts failed, the bill became law today. it's shameful, shameful what the government's done. i'm shocked and astonished. you can tell i'm upset about it. we've fought, we've done everything we possibly can.
the government has allocated £5 billion for the removal of dangerous cladding on the highest risk blocks and there are also plans for a low interest loan scheme forth smaller buildings, but ministers have also repeatedly said that building owners have a responsibility to make sure their buildings are safe. millions of people across this country are affected by this. you are ruining people's lives. we don't have the funds to fix this problem that was not of our making. this isn't just this isn'tjust a problem about cladding. there is currently no funding to cover the costs of fixing other types of fire safety faults and across britain flat owners are facing tough choices about their futures. sarah, a lot of anger. who's taking responsibility? there is growing pressure on the construction industry and building owners to step up and take responsibility for their role in all of this. some home—builders have set
aside money for the removal of dangerous cladding, but other developers are hard to trace and in some cases have gone bust. some builders say they were following the regulations in place at the time when they built these developments and the government has said it plans to introduce a levy on future developments for developers going forward on these high—rise blocks and that could raise £2 million over the next decade. but of course it will take some time to build up that pot of money and cladding campaigners say they can't afford any more delays. they say this just doesn't go far enough, given the scale of this issue for site sarah corker, thank you. borisjohnson has again tried to play down concerns about how the refurbishment of the downing street flat was paid for today, saying, there isn't anything to see here. the government has yet to reveal exactly who paid the initial bill — after days of questions. today, the prime minister said the conservative party will comply with the outcome of an electoral commission investigation into the matter.
labour says the government's response has become a "ridiculous farce". 0ur political correspondent chris mason reports. the apparently simple can sometimes take a while to work out. borisjohnson was asked again today about his downing street flat and who initially paid for its makeover. he was repeatedly dismissive of what he described as a farrago of nonsense. i don't think there's anything to see here or to worry about. i don't think that this is the number one issue for the people of our country, indeed, by several orders of magnitude. the prime minister insists he paid what he owed for sprucing up the living quarters here and will declare what he needs to, but he won't say if he borrowed the money, and if so, from whom, and all of this is meant to be published. the matter is keeping a lot of people busy. earlier this week the country's top
civil servant, simon case, told mps he was conducting a review at the request of the prime minister into how the refurb was paid for. the electoral commission, which regulates the money spent in politics, has launched a formal investigation, saying there were reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred. it has the power to issue fines or refer matters to the police. and it's the first big job for lord geidt, newly appointed as the independent adviser on ministers�* interests. he'll examine if the prime minister has received any donations he is required to declare. three separate inquiries into how the face—lift of the famous flat was funded. i think this is getting a bit farcical. i think the prime minister could actually deal with this very, very quickly. all he's got to do is answer a very simple question, which is who paid initially for the redecoration of your flat?
and to furnish his point somewhat, sir keir decided to pay a visit to the department store john lewis today. playing political games, claimed the conservatives. lord geidt, the new independent adviser on ministers�* interests, spent ten years working for the queen. labour say he should have more power, such as being able to launch his own investigations and notjust do ones asked for by the prime minister. he will publish his findings into borisjohnson, but mrjohnson has refused to say if he will abide by those conclusions. there now could be a fourth investigation into what's going on. labour mps have asked the parliamentary commissioner for standards to look into it. there is every prospect there are more revelations to come. chris mason, bbc news, in downing street. and let's talk to chris now, because a development tonight on who
actually has access to the prime minister's phone number. yes. actually has access to the prime minister's phone number. yes, it turns out boris _ minister's phone number. yes, it turns out boris johnson's - minister's phone number. yes, it| turns out boris johnson's personal turns out borisjohnson's personal phone number is freely available on the internet and has been for the last 15 years when it was published in a press release. so a little awkward, not awkward that at then backbench mp might publicise his mobile details when promoting a cause, that happens regularly, but awkward that all these years later it would still be the number that he uses and particularly awkward in the context of all of these questions around lobbying, with his critics are saying he has been far too casual in sharing his number, giving advantage to those who have it, a disadvantage to those who don't, and that just the time disadvantage to those who don't, and thatjust the time we know there have been people in government suggesting he should be much less willing to hand out that number and that's before they knew it was floating around on the internet. add into that the obvious security
implications as well. tonight, no response from downing street. i think there is one thing we can definitely conclude, the prime minister is about to get a new number. , a, ,., ., ~ minister is about to get a new number. , ., ~ i. the government's latest coronavirus figures show there were just under 2,500 new infections in the latest 24—hour period, so on average 2,259 new cases were reported per day in the last week. just over 1,500 people are in hospital. 22 deaths were recorded in the last 2a hours — people who'd had a positive covid—19 test within the past 28 days. on average there've been 22 deaths per day in the past week. the total number of uk deaths is now 127,502. 0n vaccinations, more than 3a million people have now had their firstjab, and the number who've had their second jab is more than 1a million. president biden has marked his first 100 days in office by launching radical and ambitious proposals
for america — a "once in a generation" investment plan — as he called it. if enacted, it could be transformational. but it comes at a huge cost, a $4 trillion price tag. much of it would be paid for by tax rises for corporations and for the most wealthy. the american families plan aims to cut child poverty and put a cap on childcare costs. joe biden wants to create millions ofjobs through a massive programme of investment in infrastructure, broadband and green energy. and he plans to address those key issues of police reform and gun control. but he faces a battle in congress, especially over those higher taxes. 0ur north america editorjon sopel is at the white house. sophie, the obsession with the first 100 days in office is peculiarly american. it dates back to 1933 and
clint eleanor roosevelt, the president after the great depression, and introduced the new deal, a raft of welfare measures that saw government grow. 90 years onjoe biden won't mind too much if people start comparing him to fdr. the president of the united states. applause. because of covid and social distancing, the audience was much smaller. but the pandemic has givenjoe biden the space to come up with a set of radical proposals that are a break with a0 years of economic orthodoxy. big government, tax and spend are back. but one thing is totally new. madam speaker, madam vice president... applause no president has ever said those words from this podium, no president has ever said those words, and it's about time. a lot of people thought the 78—year—old would be a transitional president. wrong. he's set on transformation. with his plans for european style
welfare policies, a green agenda, and the thing he kept on repeating last night — creating newjobs. that's why i propose the american jobs plan. a once in a generation investment in america itself. this is the largestjobs plan since world war ii. a lot of those jobs will be found in the construction industry. he wants to spend $2.1; trillion on a rebuild of america's motorways, airports and railways. there can be no argument that america's crumbling infrastructure is in urgent need of repair. butjoe biden's ambition goes well beyond roads and bridges. it's about welfare, it's about the role of the state, but republicans say he's more interested in social engineering than civil engineering. and in congress, he spelt out who was going to have to foot the bill. those earning under $100,000 a year would be untouched. but the wealthiest would see their taxes rise.
but it's time for corporate america and the wealthiest 1% of americans to just begin to pay theirfair share. just theirfair share. i think you should be able to become a billionaire and a millionaire, but pay yourfair share. this is the first major set piece in congress since the january 6th riots. but the president wanted to turn a page, exhorting americans to come together. folks, as i told every world leader i've ever met with over the years, it's never ever been a good bet to bet against america, and it still isn't. we're the united states of america. there's not a single thing, nothing, nothing beyond our capacity. joe biden also made a plea with lawmakers to work together to get things done. let's agree on what we can, he told them. fine words, but in divided america they're likely to fall on deaf ears. jon sopel, bbc news, washington.
the russian opposition leader alexei navalny has appeared in court in moscow via videolink — the first time he has been seen in public since ending his 2a day hunger strike. he launched a scathing attack on president putin calling him an emperor with no clothes whose crown was slipping. at the same time, another court in moscow was clamping down on mr navalny�*s supporters, as sarah rainsford reports. his head close shaven and face gaunt, this is the first glimpse of alexei navalny since his three—week hunger strike. the opposition politician transformed as a prisoner. this video link to court is now his only platform. the one official camera won't film his speech but audio does get out. and today navalny denounced vladimir putin as a president whose
only care is clinging to power eternally. but since navalny�*s arrest, the pressure on his supporters has intensified. irina used to run his office in st petersburg. they've cleared out because the prosecutor now wants the whole navalny network banned as extremists. translation: the risks are high i because we just don't know how this law will be applied, how hard they want to crackdown. destroying our movement is already a huge thing. but they can still come after whoever they want, and that's frightening. the door here is shuttered, the office is empty, it's as if alexei navalny�*s team were never even here. and it's the same story now right across this country, as a whole opposition movement, the most prominent, the most organised in russia, has suddenly vanished from sight. last august, alexei navalny nearly died on a flight from siberia, poisoned with a nerve agent. when he recovered and returned to russia defiant,
he was arrested on arrival. since then his offices have been raided constantly, team members targeted with searches and arrests. despite it all, crowds took to the streets throughout russia once again last week demanding navalny�*s release. this was the response in st petersburg. history tutor alexander was one of more than 800 detained. a week later we returned to the spot. alexander told me the price of dissent is rising now. they punched me with electro shock. navalny�*s supporters, he insists, though, want peaceful change. of course extremist for our government, for the putin's people who want to fight with him in political things. people like navalny, the man the kremlin wants silenced and forgotten, and any attempt to challenge
that is obliterated. sarah rainsford, bbc news, st petersburg. bafta has tonight suspended the actor noel clarke just weeks after he received one of its top awards — following newspaper allegations of sexual harassment. he denies the allegations. in a statement, bafta said it made the decision "in light of the allegations of serious misconduct" in the guardian. the kidulthood, bulletproof and doctor who actor was presented with the outstanding british contribution to cinema award this month. 0ur correspondent tim muffettjoins me. noel clarke is a hugely successful actor and film—maker, making his first tv appearance more than 20 years ago, he has appeared in doctor who and is currently starring in the itv drama viewpoint and a perhaps best known for kidulthood and adult hood. earlierthis best known for kidulthood and adult hood. earlier this month he received an outstanding contribution award from bafta, one of the highest
accolades and this evening bafta issued a statement saying, in the light of allegations of serious misconduct regarding noel clarke in the guardian bafta has taken the decision to suspend his membership and the outstanding british contribution to cinema award immediately and until further notice. this comes following a series of allegations in the guardian concerning the actor's behaviour. noel clarke has said he vehemently denies any allegations. he has said in a statement that in a 20 year career i've inclusivity and diversity at the forefront of my work and have never had a complaint against me. i intend to defend myself against these false allegations. tim muffett, thank you. northern ireland's democratic unionist party has begun the search for a new leader after arlene foster announced she was standing down at the end of may. unrest in the party over her position on brexit has prompted her departure. 0ur ireland correspondent emma vardy reports. we say never!
never! reverberating through the decades, the party's uncompromising brand of unionism. democracy was done to death in downing street. defending northern ireland's place as part of the uk... when you think about bullying me, think again. ..while sharing power with diametrically opposed adversaries. it is a difficult balancing act. to be the next dup leader you have to appear hard line but you also have to be pragmatic, because loveless marriage or not, you have to do business with sinn fein. i'm a proud northern ireland man, i love its people... _ the next first minister could be this man. edwin poots, first to officially declare his running. declare he is running. the current agricultural minister, he is seen as even more socially conservative than arlene foster, with a track record of vehemently opposing gay marriage, same—sex adoption and abortion.
westminster mp sirjeffrey donaldson and gavin robinson are also believed to be contenders. getting things done here depends on political partnership between unionists and nationalists. the dup's recent tactics of standing in the way of brexit arrangements and other things has already angered the nationalist parties, so there's uncertainty here about what approach a new leader might take to the tricky business of power—sharing. critics of arlene foster felt she should have defended the dup's core ideals more strongly. unionists feel undermined by the new brexit arrangements, a trade border separating northern ireland from the rest of the uk. i think there's a feeling that the party has moved away from its traditional roots. i think there is a desire for the dup to take a stronger stance on the protocol. i think they want the dup to be a bit more aggressive with the protocol, maybe be
disruptive. but a harder line approach risks losing more moderate unionist voters. elise is 18. i come from a very unionist background and so there would be no other party that i would feel would be able to represent me. what do you think about the idea of edwin poots being the next first minister? he is very kind of olden times and would not maybe appeal to younger voters such as myself who would be more inclined to vote for someone a wee bit more open and, like, less religious. whoever succeeds arlene foster, the tensions over brexit remain. how they deal with them will be the first test for the new leader of unionism in northern ireland, with implications for the whole of the uk. emma vardy, bbc news, belfast. with just over a week to go before elections for welsh parliament, the leaders of five political parties vying for votes have been taking part in tv debates this evening. the welsh government's handling of the pandemic, and the state of the economy, are among the issues facing voters.
hywel griffith has been watching the debate from cardiff. they have already dismantled the set behind us, the politicians will hope they have made a more lasting impression. inevitably, the pandemic has dominated the debate here. just a couple of months ago people questioned whether this election could even take place, and even now there are concerns about turn out next week. tonight then an opportunity for the leaders to try and cut through. hey, thanks for the support, yeah? connecting with voters, pressing the flesh, the usual campaign choreography has been constrained by the pandemic — making it hard for the parties to be heard. tonight's televised debate brought the leaders into people's living rooms, a chance to turn up the volume. we pay taxes in wales too, you know? we pay taxes... we pay taxes in wales too. yes, we do, but... over the last 22 years, wales has been under a labour government, but its leader was keen to focus on here and now and how he's tackling covid.
wales has the lowest rate of coronavirus anywhere in the united kingdom. and our vaccination programme is the most successful of any of the four uk nations. and i don't take kindly to people who suggest to us that things in wales cannot be controlled by people who live, work and vote in wales. but with waiting lists for treatment up 19% on last year, others say the welsh nhs is suffering from chronic underinvestment. one of the absolute priorities has to be plugging those shortages. they've been there for too long, ten years of a lack of an investment, mark, while your health minister, your first minister as well... the pandemic has shown how the welsh government's decisions can define daily life. others say it's made a case for scrapping the senedd. why do we have mps and assembly members,
both of whom are doing half a job and getting a full pay packet? why is that happening? because... why are we squandering money, mark, on vanity projects? the question of welsh independence kept returning. some see it as a distraction that could cause real harm. a strong union benefits wales, and wales benefits the union. so this break—up that adam wants to see and the constitutional chaos that would come from that referendum that he wants to put on the table over the next five years would detract from the work of the nhs and rebuilding after covid. with just one lib dem in the last senedd this election is existentialfor some. their message tonight, all about revival. i make one promise to you, that the welsh liberal democrats will put recovery first — recovery of our economy, recovery of our mental health, recovery of our planet. after a year of keeping our distance, the parties hope people are now ready to re—engage. they've just seven days left to win over the voters. hywel griffith, bbc news.
it's a rare inherited eye condition which eventually causes severe tunnel vision. scientists have been using a new form of gene therapy on patients to try to halt further loss of sight. but they've been astonished to find that it has also improved their vision as well. here's our medical editor fergus walsh, and just a warning, his report includes images of an operation. jake has been gradually losing his sight since birth but no longer — thanks to a ground—breaking gene therapy. i've just been able to see facial features on my own face. it's something that i never used to be able to do. jake, from county durham, has a rare inherited condition which means his central vision is largely a blur. since his right eye was treated a year ago his peripheral vision has improved. i'm in the best place i've probably been in 2a years of life. last year for a lot of people was a dark and miserable year
but for me it was probably the best year of my life. after a year's delay due to covid, jake has now had his other eye treated at moorfields eye hospital in london — which it is hoped may further stabilise and perhaps improve his vision. the one—off gene therapy, called luxturna, is delivered via injection. it costs £600,000 but the nhs has agreed a discounted price with the manufacturer novartis. the injection delivers working copies of a faulty gene, rpe65, into the retina at the back of the eye. the dna is encased in a harmless virus which breaks into the retinal cells. once inside the nucleus the replacement gene kick—starts production of the rpe65 protein essential for healthy vision. this is really transformational. it provides an opportunity,
hope for people, not only with this specific condition, but people with other similar conditions, hope that they can protect their sight in the long term. i keep noticing subtle improvements. i noticed one today coming into this park. i noticed that there are railings above the entrance to the gate. matthew from london has the same rare inherited condition and has had one eye treated. the second operation is next month. aged a8, his vision had already deteriorated much further than jake's. i lost my central vision about ten years ago and it had a really severe impact on how i live and who i am. if the treatment means that it puts off another decline like that then that's going to be amazing. matthew's wife has noticed he is more independent. he doesn't have to ask me every little thing. is this on the right setting? the washing machine, the coffee machine — you know — those things that are just everyday people take for granted
matthew can now do himself. around a dozen people in the uk have received the gene therapy, including several children — who stand to benefit most, as it may halt their sight loss before permanent damage is done. fergus walsh, bbc news. there's been an astonishing night of football at old trafford tonight as manchester united came from behind to beat roma resoundingly in their europa league semi—final. arsenal were also in action, as andy swiss reports. it might be europe's second best competition, but for manchester united the pressure was on. after four semifinal defeats in barely a year, this time roma stood in their way although not in bruno fernandes'. he puts manchester united ahead! a perfect start for united, but it didn't last. a handball against paul pogba allowing lorenzo pellegrini to level things up, and come the break