7 Days

No tax back William Hague announced a rethink of the Tories' "tax guarantee", which had promised lower taxes under the next Conservative government. The Tory leader responded to criticism of the guarantee by saying that public spending would take priority over tax cuts in the event of a recession.

Crime rise The new crime statistics to be published on 18 July will show a 3 per cent increase in crime over the past year and a 10 per cent jump in violent crime. Ministers fear that the public is losing faith in the government's ability to secure law and order.

Pension crackdown The government launched an attack on early retirement due to ill health in the public sector in an attempt to cut a £1bn-a-year pensions bill. A report to be published by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Smith, will claim that the system is being abused.

The row is over British Nuclear Fuels Ltd agreed to pay Japan £40m in compensation in a dispute over a shipment of nuclear fuel and also agreed to transport the fuel back to Britain. The row was sparked last September, when BNFL admitted that some of its workers had falsified safety records of reprocessed plutonium sold to Japan from its Sellafield plant.

Aids summit Researchers attending the 13th International Aids Conference in Durban warned that the HIV virus is becoming increasingly resistant to drugs. Clare Short, the Secretary of State for International Development, accused the Catholic Church of being a "burden" in the battle against the disease in Africa.

Correction: In his column last week, Paul Routledge stated that, when Tom (now Lord) Sawyer became the general secretary of the Labour Party, he received a "big pay-off" from his former job with Nupe. Lord Sawyer has asked us to say that he left the union in the normal way, with no pay-off whatsoever.

This article first appeared in the 17 July 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Special Report - Lost souls in the city in the sky