INDEPENDENT 2024-04-07 01:04:08


Israel says body of hostage recovered during overnight Gaza raid

Israel says it has recovered the body of Elad Katzir, a man who was taken hostage during the 7 October Hamas attack on southern Israel.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement that Mr Katzir’s body was recovered from Gaza overnight and brought back to Israel.

“The body of the abductee Elad Katzir, who according to intelligence was murdered in captivity by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organisation, was rescued overnight from Khan Younis and returned to Israeli territory,” the IDF said, adding that the victim was identified by medical officials and that his family has been informed.

Mr Katzir, 47, was abducted along with his mother Hanna Katzir from Kibbutz Nir Oz on 7 October when Hamas and other affiliated Islamist groups attacked southern Israel, killing an estimated 1,200 Israelis and taking more than 250 people hostage.

Ms Katzir was among the hostages released by Hamas in November as part of a series of temporary ceasefire agreements and prisoner swaps, while his father was murdered in Nir Oz.

“Our mission is to locate and return the [remaining] abductees home,” the IDF said, adding that they were “working in full coordination with the relevant national and security bodies and will continue until the task is complete.”

The Israel-Hamas war has dragged on for more than half a year, becoming one of the deadliest conflicts of the century.

Since the 7 October cross-border attack by Hamas, Israeli forces have invaded and pummeled Gaza, causing the deaths of tens of thousands of Palestinians and the displacement of millions.

More than 33,000 Palestinians, including over 13,000 children, have died since the war began, according to estimates that come from the Israeli military, the Gaza health ministry, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The UN has warned that the Gaza Strip is on the brink of famine, with families in the besieged northern part of the strip forced to survive on “less than a can of beans a day.”

International agencies have accused Israel of severely limiting the flow of food aid into Gaza, something Israel has denied. Seven aid workers, including three Britons, were killed in an Israeli air strike on Monday, an incident which has led to global condemnation and the firing of two senior military officers.

Even though a vast majority of Gaza’s population has now fled to the southernmost city of Rafah, over 300,000 people are still believed to be trapped in the north, which has seen the worst of the Israeli bombardment.

Israel has said it intends to launch a ground offensive into Rafah next, though its closest ally the US has urged it to reconsider doing so.

Meanwhile, Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel from Gaza while Hezbollah and other militant groups are doing so from southern Lebanon. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are both still believed to hold hostages taken during the 7 October raid, as well as the bodies of those who died in captivity, with no end in sight to the conflict.

Government failures denounced at anniversary vigil of Windrush scandal

The government has been urged to quickly pay compensation to all the Windrush generation victims at a rally commemorating the scandal’s sixth anniversary.

Several speakers addressed the public event in Windrush Square, Brixton, in South London, including immigration lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie, Bishop Desmond Jaddoo, campaigner Glenda Caesar, activist Patrick Vernon, Black Cultural Archives chair Lisa Anderson, and church leaders.

Candles were also lit as part of a vigil, attended by more than 50 people, held in remembrance of Windrush pioneers and people who have died since the scandal erupted, as spoken word poetry and prayers were delivered.

Jacqueline McKenzie, who has worked with more than 400 Windrush victims, said progress is being made through successful Windrush Compensation Scheme claims, though the Home Office has a lot more to do, while the lengthy application process remains complex, the system is fraught with delays and a number of applicants die without resolution.

“We’re seeing some good outcomes but there’s still some issues such as major delays and people dying because it’s an elderly cohort,” she told The Independent.

The partner and head of immigration and asylum law at the firm Leigh Day also said solicitors are battling against a perfect storm of misinformation around eligibility and Home Office failures to effectively engage with all affected communities about their rights.

“I also think the problem with the space is that so many people don’t really understand the compensation scheme, so there’s a whole lot of videos being circulated on platforms like Tiktok, wrongly informing people that they can apply, and people who aren’t entitled to awards submit applications which clog up the system.

“And then the Home Office originally thought, from census data and statistical modeling, that 50,000 people of Caribbean heritage could have been affected by the Windrush Scandal. Well, only around 7000-8000 have received their papers, so why aren’t the Home Office doing more outreach?”

The compensation scheme has been in place since April 2019 in the government’s purported bid to “right the wrongs” of the scandal, which emerged a year earlier and saw many British citizens, mostly from the Caribbean, denied access to healthcare and benefits and threatened with deportation by ministers despite having the right to live in the UK.

Despite growing concerns around the number of people dying before receiving payouts, the Home Office has so far resisted demands for such reforms, warning that changing how the system is administered could disrupt claims being processed and lead to delayed payments.

Activist Ros Griffiths, chairperson of Friends of Windrush Square which co-organised Saturday’s event, told The Independent: “We cannot give up in our pursuit of justice for the Windrush generation, and the dismantling of oppressive systems, because they paved the way for us.”

This rally was planned by a cross section of community groups including The Windrush National Organisation (WNO), Friends of Windrush Square, Churches Together England and more.

Former Met Police superintendent Leroy Logan was also in attendance at the event and told The Independent: “We need to be here to honour those who have passed and ensure that the Windrush scandal doesn’t happen again to future generations.”

Mr Logan also praised the church’s role in today’s vigil, adding: “I’m glad to see the churches coming forward; they have a role to play, not only in political lobbying but also to give that people the spiritual support that they need.

“I’m really pleased that we’re seeing clergy being present at this vigil. I’ve been to previous vigils and they’re lacking in numbers. So, better late than never.”

Bishop Desmond Jaddoo, founder of the Windrush National Organisation (WNO), hosted the afternoon’s proceedings.

Speaking after the event, he told The Independent: “Today is an opportunity for our voices to be heard, it’s the commencement of a journey towards change. What we have to do is use today not just to level the playing field, so that our children don’t face these issues anymore, but ensure as well, that we create tomorrow’s leaders.”

Campaigner Patrick Vernon said: “The government always uses the rhetoric of ‘right the wrongs’ of the scandal but they’ve not actually listened to the concerns of survivors, campaigners and lawyers.

“This has been borne out by the fact that they’ve reneged on their commitments to carry out recommendations from the Windrush Lessons Learned Review.

“Hopefully, when a General Election is announced and politicians are canvassing the votes, people will ask prospective candidates if they’ll commit to giving automatic citizenship to the victims of the scandal,  revamping the scheme and removing it from the Home Office – these are some of our key demands.

Anthony Brown, who launched advocacy group Windrush Defenders after successfully resisting a wrongful deportation attempt by the Home Office, travelled from Manchester to attend the Brixton event.

“I’m here because this is an important, national issue,” he told The Independent. “It’s not just people here in London who are affected by the scandal; it’s people all around the country.

“Our voices are there. To quote Frederick Douglas “power concedes nothing without demand”. So we have to mobilise and we have to demand what we want, as opposed to what the government has said that they can offer”.

This event comes after the government’s compensation scheme for victims of the Windrush scandal was branded a failure by campaigners who urge ministers to overhaul the payout process five years after it was launched.

Critics of the scheme have repeatedly called for the Home Office to be stripped of responsibility for determining and handling payments to victims and said it should be turned over to an independent body instead.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The government is committed to righting the wrongs of the Windrush scandal and making sure those affected receive the compensation they rightly deserve.

“We have paid more than £80 million in compensation and over 82 per cent of claims have received a final decision.

“We continue to make improvements so people receive the maximum award as quickly as possible, whilst providing extensive support to help people access and apply to the compensation scheme.”

Parents reveal item which could provide key to finding Jack O’Sullivan

The devastated mother of a missing 23-year-old university graduate has begged anyone who might have found his phone to come forward.

Jack O’Sullivan’s mother Catherine said finding his phone would give police an indication of where he disappeared over a month ago in Bristol.

Mr O’Sullivan was last seen at around 3.15am on Saturday 2 March in the area of Brunel Lock Road, Bristol, after attending a birthday party with friends.

His mother said: “It just doesn’t make any sense. My appeal really would be if somebody picked up a phone for whatever reason or passed a smashed phone or anything, that would give us an indication of where that phone went.”

Avon and Somerset Police said at 3.24am he tried to make a call to a friend who was still at the party, but when the friend called back ten minutes later, Mr O’Sullivan answered but only managed to say “hello” before the line cut out.

Mrs O’Sullivan said the friend left the party soon after. “She tried and tried to get hold of him but couldn’t. She sent messages to him saying, ‘Please let me know where you are, please let me know you’re OK’ and ‘’please let me know when you get home’.”

His mother has been returning to the spot every day in the hope of finding out more information on the whereabouts of her son.

She told BBC Breakfast: “We have tried to retrace his steps because we have footage of him. We have come out at three o’clock in the morning into the area to walk the route we know he took. We wanted to see how well-lit it might be and to search for an answer really.”

Specialist divers from Avon and Somerset Police have been searching the River Avon and the Cumberland Basin area for Mr O’Sullivan.

Police describe Jack as white, around 5ft 10ins tall, of slim build, with short, brown hair. He was wearing a quilted green/brown Barbour jacket, a beige woollen jumper, navy chinos and brown leather trainers with white soles.

Speaking at the site of Jack’s last confirmed location, senior investigating officer DI Jason Chidgey said: “This is an incredibly difficult and distressing time for Jack’s family and friends and we are continuing our efforts to try and find him.

“It has been one month since Jack was last seen down in the Cumberland Basin area and we continue to appeal for anyone who may have been driving along these roads and may have seen something, or have dashcam footage if they did not see it themselves.

“If you live in the area and have CCTV or video doorbells, please check back to Saturday 2 March and see if you notice anything or anyone meeting Jack’s description.

“The smallest bit of information could make a huge difference in our investigation so, even if you don’t think it is important, we encourage people to still get in touch with us.

“We are keeping an open mind about where Jack is but this is very out of character for him and we have been working hard to track his movements that night.

“Detectives have carried out extensive CCTV trawls, house-to-house enquiries, we have deployed a specialist dive team to search the basin and the wider River Avon – due to Jack’s proximity to the river when he was last seen – and have been looking at his phone and why that was active after his last confirmed sighting.”

Anyone who spots Jack is asked to call 999 and give the reference 5224055172 to the call handler.

If you have any other information about his whereabouts, or have some footage which could aid the investigation, call Avon and Somerset Police on 101 or get in touch on the website.

Lord Cameron warns of famine in Gaza as Royal Navy ship deployed in aid effort

A Royal Navy ship will be deployed to help get more aid into Gaza, the UK has announced.

Alongside the vessel, which is not being named for operational security, the Government announced a £9.7 million package for aid deliveries, logistical expertise and equipment support for a humanitarian corridor in the eastern Mediterranean.

It came as Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron warned the “prospect of famine is real” in Gaza.

He said the UK and its allies needed to “explore all options” including sea and air deliveries to “ease the desperate plight of some of the world’s most vulnerable people”.

News of the UK’s support for the international aid effort came as Israel marked six months since the October 7 attacks in which Hamas killed more than 1,100 people and kidnapped about 250.

It is also nearly a week since an Israel Defence Forces air strike killed three British aid workers in Gaza, in an attack the IDF later admitted was a “grave mistake”.

The UK Government continues to call for further safety measures to protect aid workers on the ground in Gaza from being caught up in the fighting.

Lord Cameron said: “The situation in Gaza is dire and the prospect of famine is real. We remain committed to getting aid to those who so desperately need it.

“Along with the US, Cyprus and other partners, we are setting up a new temporary pier off the coast of Gaza to get aid in as quickly and securely as possible.

“Land access remains crucial to deliver aid at the scale now required. The opening of Erez and the Port of Ashdod is hugely welcome and something the UK has long been calling for.

“Israel has also agreed to increase the number of aid trucks entering Gaza to a minimum of 500 a day.

“But we need to continue to explore all options, including by sea and air, to ease the desperate plight of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”

The British armed forces have dropped 40 tonnes of aid into Gaza in recent weeks to tackle the bottleneck in supplies reaching Palestinians.

The five air drops have seen supplies including water, flour and baby formula parachuted into the territory.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said the RAF had played a “central role” in delivering aid.

He added: “We are now going further, working with international partners to set up a humanitarian maritime corridor from Cyprus to Gaza.

“A new temporary pier on the coast of Gaza will be critical to supporting these efforts, by hosting cargo ships to deliver aid by sea.”

Netflix’s Scoop manages to buck TV’s worst trend

Right now, TV is in thrall to five little words: “Based on a true story”. Events that have barely had time to, well, happen are immediately snapped up by production companies and turned into shows that are forgotten almost as quickly. Scammers, court cases, celebrity scandals: they’re all fodder for the content mill (and a great excuse for beautiful actors to experiment with dodgy prosthetics). We’ve had a drama based on the Wagatha Christie trial, Kenneth Branagh in horrifying Boris Johnson cosplay for Michael Winterbottom’s Sky series This England and a whole spate of shows about start-ups gone very, very wrong (see Apple’s WeCrashed and FX’s The Dropout). And that’s just a tiny, tiny cross-section.

It has all got so out of hand that whenever anything remotely newsworthy happens, everyone on social media makes the same joke: that ITV is on the verge of casting Sheridan Smith in a three-part ripped-from-the-headlines drama (aptly, it’s a gag that was quite engaging the first three times, but now just feels a bit derivative). So forgive me for rolling my eyes when Netflix commissioned one-off drama Scoop, depicting the events leading up to Emily Maitlis’ notorious Newsnight showdown with Prince Andrew in November 2019. It is based on a memoir by Sam McAlister, the Newsnight booker who secured that fateful interview, who’s played by Billie Piper, alongside Gillian Anderson as Maitlis and Rufus Sewell as the prince. And it’s ended up proving my preconceptions wrong, showing that, when they’re done well, true-story dramas can bring nuance and new perspectives.

Initially, I’d wondered: did we really need a TV reconstruction of… a TV interview? Wouldn’t it be a bit “inside baseball”? Hasn’t every possible meme about Woking Pizza Express been made? The fact that Amazon then announced their own drama called A Very Royal Scandal, with Michael Sheen and Ruth Wilson in the palace hot seats, just seemed to further prove the industry’s mania for true-story IP (and lack of fresh ideas). This rival project, a three-part series, is being produced by Maitlis, so will inevitably be geared towards her personal experience.

But once you get past the eye-catching wigs, the fake jowls (apparently Sewell spent about four hours in the makeup chair to transform into Andrew) and the fact that, several years post-Crown, Anderson’s voice still has an uncanny touch of the Thatchers about it, Scoop is actually much greater than the sum of its parts. The film bucks this trend of turning recent events into bland streaming fodder, by re-framing an incident we think we know inside out: it takes out much of the sensation and sniggering from a story that, thanks to all those jokes about that branch of Pizza Express and the prince’s miraculous inability to sweat, has become a bit of a punchline.

In that infamous interview, Andrew was being questioned over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier and convicted sex offender, as well as allegations that he sexually assaulted Virginia Guiffre on three occasions, when she was aged 17 (the prince has always denied the allegations, and the case was settled out of court in 2022)From the start, Scoop gestures towards Epstein’s victims. We see paparazzi photos of young girls leaving his New York home, which act as a reminder of the human cost and, as they re-appear throughout the film, of the urgency behind McAlister’s quest for an exclusive.

In the feverish aftermath of the Newsnight interview, especially the online scramble to have the hottest take or to make the best joke about Andrew’s bizarre pronouncements, the victims often seemed to become an afterthought. It was as if, collectively, we all conveniently forgot that this was a story about alleged abuse, not “straightforward shooting weekends” and excesses of adrenaline. Scoop goes some way to re-address that. Perhaps it helps that a good few years have elapsed since the interview, allowing the writer and producers to wade through the hysteria and see things in a different, clearer light.

And although Sewell’s Andrew has plenty of screen time (did we really need that shot of him in the bath?), the story has been re-framed to focus on the women who made the interview happen. We see the sacrifices that McAlister has to make in service of a job that exhausts and exhilarates her, and there are gestures towards the inscrutable Maitlis’ motivations, too: screenwriter Peter Moffat imagines that her failure to grill Bill Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky during a past interview might have galvanised the presenter to push Andrew for answers. Keeley Hawes is especially strong in the tricky role of Amanda Thirsk, the prince’s private secretary who became McAlister’s contact at the palace. In different hands, it might’ve been easy to play up the “what was she thinking?” angle or present her as a caricatured simpering courtier. But instead, Hawes plays her as someone who has perhaps over-invested in her job and become blinkered to reality.

Of course, some of the clichés of the based-on-a-true-story industrial complex are still present and correct. Personally, I could’ve done without the self-congratulatory scene towards the end, when the Newsnight editor played by Romola Garai rallies the troops to deliver a speech about how the programme tells “stories that need to be told” while Anderson and Piper nod approvingly. I’m yet to work in or hear of a newsroom where this sort of Hollywood set-piece moment actually happens (we’re all too busy refreshing Twitter and thinking about what to have for lunch).

But for the most part, it’s refreshing to be reminded that the true story drama doesn’t have to be a case of flat re-enactments and diminishing returns – it can make us re-interrogate the stories we think we know. And when Prince Andrew seems to be cropping up at royal events despite his apparent retirement from public life, that interrogation feels particularly important. Now the pressure will be on for Amazon’s drama to top it: Sheen and Wilson, the ball’s in your court.

Your 5-step money audit: effective ways to boost financial fitness

The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. This information is from an independent third party, these are their own views and do not necessarily constitute the views of American Express.

It can be easy not to think too much past your next pay cheque when you’re young – but the sooner you start getting smart about money, the more you’ll be able to enjoy life not just now, but in the future, too. So, when it comes to your financial health, are you in peak condition and on top of all your vitals? Or slightly sluggish and not quite sure why?

If you’re more in the latter camp, the good news is that it’s never too late to get on top of your finances and implement simple, effective ways to get them in shape.

“When it comes to money, the sooner you start engaging with it, taking control and becoming more confident about your finances, the better,” says Ellie-Austin Williams, founder of financial wellbeing community ‘This Girl Talks Money’ and author of Money Talks: A Lifestyle Guide for Financial Wellbeing.

“Sometimes, when we don’t have a lot of money, feel like we don’t understand it or have a grip on it, it can be easy to stick our heads in the sand. But tackling your finances needn’t be scary, difficult or time-consuming. Even just sitting down for an hour or two and crunching some simple numbers around incomings and outgoings will put you in a better position. And once you’ve got some simple foundations in place, you’ll feel more engaged and on top of things. It sets you up to succeed financially, and be in the best place to navigate any changes in circumstances.”

Here, Ellie shares her top five tips for fixing your finances in 2024, from budgeting to saving and spending…

Understanding your own relationship with money and the emotional drivers behind it is the first step to getting to grips with your finances. “Money is fundamentally a tool that is there to facilitate other things in your life,” says Ellie. “It shouldn’t be the end goal, so being excessive at either end of the scale – either as an extreme spender or an extreme saver – can suggest some deeper rooted issues within your relationship with money.”

Ultimately it’s all about balance. Spending in an out of control fashion or beyond your means isn’t good – but neither is holding onto money for the sake of it or feeling guilty any time you buy something for yourself.

“There is a real fine line,” says Ellie. “Sometimes people think they’re really great with money because they hardly spend anything, but the accumulation of money is not the end goal in life for the majority of people. For most, money is about reaching a certain level of security, and then using money to facilitate things they enjoy, or that bring happiness to others around them.”

Taking some time to look at where your money is going, identifying what your emotional triggers with money are, and assessing whether you’re too frivolous or too cautious, is an important first step in taking control of your finances.

“It’s important to challenge your own behaviours, and beliefs about those behaviours on either end of that scale,” says Ellie. “Ask yourself where it comes from – were your parents good or bad with money? Did you pick up behaviours from them? And realise that you can change your approach to money. With some simple tweaks, you can have a much happier relationship with it.”

To get a handle on your finances and feel instantly more in control, sussing your monthly incomings and outgoings is crucial. “For some, the idea of a budget can sound restrictive,” says Ellie. “So I would reframe it as having a plan for your money so you can get it to do what you want it to do.”

The traditional ratio for budgeting is 50/30/20 – with 50 per cent of your income going on needs (so bills and living expenses), 30 per cent on wants (your disposable income) and 20 per cent on savings. “Obviously this will differ from person to person, and with the current cost of living, and high rents and mortgages, this isn’t always feasible. It can be a helpful framework to aim towards, but don’t stress if you’re not fitting those numbers perfectly.”

You don’t have to have a budget that is super restrictive, either. “Just knowing how much you’ve got coming in and how much you’ve got going out will give you information that you need to be able to make better spending and saving decisions, and to feel like you are going in the direction that you want to be financially. It doesn’t have to mean sitting at home with a spreadsheet. There are so many great apps now that you can use to easily analyse your spending and create and stick to a budget – Moneyhub and Emma are good ones to try. Finding something that you like using, so you can sustain this, is key.”

Even if you can’t afford to put much away each month right now, the important thing is building the habit. “Ideally you would aim to put a minimum of 10 per cent, and up to 20 per cent, of your post-tax income away into savings, but if that’s not possible please don’t worry about it,” says Ellie. “If you can only save £20 a month at the moment, that’s still a start.”

The easiest way to do it is to treat your savings like a bill that has to be paid each month. “Set up an automatic payment so that when you get paid or when all your bills go out on the first of the month, then your money also goes into savings,” says Ellie. “That way you’re not relying on your willpower.”

Put it somewhere that you can’t see or access it easily. “I always think out of sight, out of mind, so it’s easier to forget that it’s there, which is what you want with your savings,” says Ellie. ”Set up a different account to the one you use every day and look for a high interest rate – it really does add up. Make sure that you’re not just putting it away into an account that you’ve had for years where you’re earning 0.1% interest.”

Ellie recommends working towards having an emergency fund – ideally three to six months worth of expenses – in case you suddenly need it. Once you’ve saved that you can put additional money into fixed accounts with a higher interest rate, where you can lock the money away.

“If you’re saving up for a house deposit, look at a Lifetime ISA, which is a specific type of account for first-time buyers, where the government tops up the amount that you contribute by 25 per cent,” says Ellie. “There are caveats to it, including certain criteria you have to meet and a property price limit of £450,000, but for a lot of people it’s a great scheme.”

Investing can feel like a scary prospect, but it can also be a great way to grow your money further. But where do you even start?

“The first thing I say to people when they’re thinking about investing is, are you paying attention to your pension?” says Ellie. “Because your pension is an investment. It’s a long-term retirement savings account which is invested and the benefit is that, if you’re employed, you’re getting employer contributions, and it’s tax efficient. In that sense, a lot of people are already investing and don’t realise it, which makes the concept a little bit less scary. So making sure your pension is on track is a priority.”

If after that you’d like to try investing elsewhere, a stock and shares ISA is the most tax efficient way to start investing. “But the key really is just getting yourself comfortable with the basics of investing and how it works,” says Ellie. “You don’t have to be an expert, but understanding the risk, the reward, the compound interest, why investing is different to saving, and the opportunity that it can have… This gives you the confidence to get started and understand your own risk appetite.”

There are countless books, podcasts and Facebook groups aimed at beginner investors that will help you to understand the foundations – but you’ll learn as you go, too. “You don’t need to be an expert before you start. The majority of beginner investors are not picking companies stocks, they’re using automated robo-advisors where it’s all set up and done for you. It costs a little bit more in fees, but it’s a good way to get started. And you don’t have to start off investing with thousands of pounds. You can start with £5 or £10.”

There’s inherent risk in investing, so a cautious approach can get you comfortable with the up-and-down nature of it. “Starting out small can really help to build up your confidence. You can then increase the amount that you’re investing once you feel like you understand how it works and how your money is performing.”

Naturally, one of the best ways to boost financial fitness is by increasing your salary, but it’s something many of us struggle to do.

The easiest place to start, Ellie suggests, is in your current job. “Being proactive about salary negotiation is important at any stage of your career,” says Ellie. “Don’t think you need to wait to be offered a pay rise because you could be waiting a long time. Make sure you’re doing things like keeping track of your achievements, milestones and positive feedback so that when it comes to performance reviews you’ve got everything you need to make a good case for promotion or for a pay rise.”

If you haven’t had a pay review for a long time, speak to your line manager and see if you can get a sit-down in the diary. “Make sure that they know that you are proactively looking to advance.”

There are also options to bring in extra income outside of your job – but taking on a side hustle isn’t for everyone, and can lead to burn-out if you’re not careful. “But if you are in a situation where you want or need some extra money, then think about ways that you can apply the skills that you already have to earning extra income,” says Ellie. “Use the skills you’ve already got in your toolbox because you’ll be more likely to be able to charge a better rate for something you’re already experienced in. Try to find something that’s flexible and you can work around your main job. And ideally that you’ll get some enjoyment out of as well.”

Also look for other easy ways to bag extra cash. “When used well, credit cards can help you to manage your money and allow you to tap into lots of benefits,” says Ellie. “Understanding how to use a credit card is the starting point, especially knowing that it’s important to clear your balance every month to avoid paying interest. Then know how the rewards schemes work and make sure that you’re getting those perks like cash back or travel points.”

Using a credit card in place of a debit for everyday purchases can help maximise these rewards, so long as you use it sensibly. “Choose the amount that you’re going to spend on that credit card each month, so that you know how much you need to have in your current account,” says Ellie. Then set up a direct debit to clear the balance. “That way you’re spending on the card to get the benefits and you know that you’ve got money to pay it off. It’s an easy way to make a credit card work for you.”

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Western leaders face hard choices to help Ukraine resist Putin

The overwhelming majority of the British people stand with the Ukrainian people in their time of need. The Ukrainians’ brave resistance against Vladimir Putin’s aggression meets all the tests of a just war, and it is in our national interest that Putin should not succeed.

Now, however, we are coming to the hard part. Two years have passed since the Russian attempt to take Kyiv, and the balance of the war has started to shift in Putin’s favour. Ukrainian forces have had to retreat from Avdiivka, close by Donetsk, the capital of one of the eastern provinces claimed by Putin.

How should Ukraine and its allies respond to this setback? The Independent carries two exclusive articles that point the way. One, by Lord Sedwill, the former cabinet secretary, argues that Britain and its European allies must increase defence spending. The other, an interview with Maksym Zhorin, the Ukrainian commander who led the retreat from Avdiivka, sets out a warning about what will happen if we do not.

What the history of ‘honeytraps’ tells us about MPs’ security

The Conservative MP William Wragg has said that he surrendered the personal telephone numbers of fellow MPs to someone he met on a dating app because he was “scared” that the man had “compromising things on me”. Wragg has apologised for betraying their confidence, and he’s been widely praised for his openness as a victim of a nasty crime.

At least 12 men in political circles have received unsolicited WhatsApp messages: some were sent explicit images, and two MPs were apparently sent images of themselves. The recipients are reported to include a government minister, political advisers, and journalists at Westminster. The incident has heightened concerns about cybersecurity – particularly the phenomenon of “spear phishing”, which can lure people into situations in which they are vulnerable to blackmail…