The winter of strikes finally appears to be drawing to a close this week as unions back a new pay deal for more than a million NHS staff in England.
The offer, which covers almost all NHS workers except for doctors, includes a one-off payment of at least £1,655 as well as a 5% pay rise from April. Unions have agreed to suspend strike action while their members vote on the deal.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt told LBC that the government hoped the negotiations breakthrough “will be the start” of a wider settlement of public sector pay. The deal was announced shortly after he delivered his first Budget, which includes plans to extend free childcare and remove the cap on tax-free pension savings. The government’s energy price guarantee is being extended too, for another three months from April to June.
In other financial news, Switzerland’s central bank was forced to throw a $54bn (£45bn) lifeline to the country’s second-biggest bank, Credit Suisse, following a sell-off by spooked investors amid broader concerns about the global banking sector..
To find out how closely you’ve been paying attention to the latest developments in the news and other global events, put your knowledge to the test with our Quiz of The Week
1. Who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at the 95th Academy Awards?
- Angela Bassett
- Kerry Condon
- Jamie Lee Curtis
- Stephanie Hsu
2. What has Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Statement been dubbed?
- The “levelling up” Budget
- The “back to work” Budget
- The “inflation buster” Budget
- The “future building” Budget
3. UK ministers and civil servants have been banned from having which social media app on their work phones?
4. A US man with the world’s longest tongue has set another Guinness record by using it to do what?
- Remove five Jenga blocks from a stack in 55.526 seconds
- Lick his elbow 72 times in 30 seconds
- Lap up a litre of ice cream in 94.45 seconds
- Seal 84 envelopes in 60 seconds
5. Which popular holiday destination wants to swap British holidaymakers for “higher quality” tourists?
- Gran Canaria
6. Which annual sports event declared a “war on wee”?
- Royal Ascot
- London Marathon
- Cheltenham Festival
- Six Nations
7. Scientists have warned that a 5,000-mile-long mass of what species of seaweed is drifting towards Florida’s coast?
8. The newly revealed format for the 2026 World Cup features a total of how many matches?
9. A property dubbed “Britain’s loneliest home” after being put on the market is located where?
- Yorkshire Dales
- Outer Hebrides
10. The UK Space Agency has given £2.9m to Rolls-Royce to develop what for a future Moon base?
- a thermal battery system
- a lunar exploration buggy
- a nuclear micro-reactor
- a hovercraft for collecting samples
1. Jamie Lee Curtis
Bassett was considered the front runner for the gong, for her role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but lost out to Everything Everywhere All at Once star Curtis, in one of the biggest upsets of the night at Sunday’s awards ceremony.
2. The “back to work” Budget
Presenting his first Budget to Parliament on Wednesday, Hunt laid out a range of measures intended to encourage economic growth by boosting employment, including extending free childcare and lifting a cap on tax-free pension savings.
The ban on using the Chinese-owned video app on government devices follows a review by the National Cyber Security Centre and brings the UK in line with the US, Canada and the EU, amid worsening relations with Beijing.
4. Remove five Jenga blocks from a stack in 55.526 seconds
California resident Nick Stoeberl also uses his record-breaking tongue, which measures 3.97in (10.1cm), to paint pictures.
The head of Lanzarote’s local government told a tourism trade fair in Berlin that the Canary island’s resorts had become overly reliant on “mass market” holidaymakers from the UK and should be focusing on visitors from Germany, “who spend more when they are here”.
6. Cheltenham Festival
In a bid to prevent racegoers from urinating in public during this week’s meeting, Cheltenham Council provided liquid-repelling hydrophobic paint to residents and businesses. Officials in the Gloucestershire town also produced a poster showing a man and a woman peeing against a tree, with the slogan: “Have fun this race week but remember our town isn’t your toilet.”
The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt extends from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico and is on course to reach Florida during the region’s busiest summer months. As well as wreaking havoc on local ecosystems, after coming ashore the rotting seaweed emits toxic fumes that may be harmful to humans. Find out more with The Week Unwrapped podcast.
Football’s global governing body Fifa has confirmed that the tournament – being co-hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico – is expanding from 32 to 48 teams, which will require 40 games more than the 64 played in Qatar last year.
9. Yorkshire Dales
Estate agent Fisher Cooper has slashed £50,000 off the original £300,000 asking price for 3 Bleamoor Cottages, which isn’t accessible by car and is seven miles from the nearest town, Ingleton.
10. a nuclear micro-reactor
Engineers and scientists at the British engineering giant are aiming to create a small and lightweight nuclear micro-reactor to provide power needed for humans to live and work on the Moon.