Newslinks for Monday 6th July 2020

Sunak 1) £1.5 billion bailout for struggling arts sector

“Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, has thrown a £1.5bn lifeline to Britain’s struggling theatres, music venues and museums, as he prepares to set out plans to avert a Covid-19 unemployment crisis. Mr Sunak accepted the argument made by Britain’s artistic leaders that the need for social distancing for the foreseeable future could devastate the cultural life of the country. The settlement, secured by culture secretary Oliver Dowden after weeks of detailed study of the problems facing the arts sector, includes £880m of grants for the financial year to April 2021. The money, to be shared out between theatres, music venues, heritage sites, museums, galleries and independent cinemas, will be supplemented by £270m of repayable loans.” – FT

Sunak 2) Plans being drawn up for stamp duty “holiday”

“Rishi Sunak has drawn up proposals to exempt most homebuyers from paying any stamp duty under plans to kick-start Britain’s economic recovery. The chancellor will reveal plans this week to lift the threshold at which people start paying stamp duty from £125,000 to as much as £500,000. The increase in the threshold, which is expected to be implemented in the autumn budget, is a temporary measure intended to stimulate the housing market. Mr Sunak will announce the plans on Wednesday as part of several measures to support the economy, including a temporary VAT cut for pubs, restaurants and cafés to help to protect 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality sector.” – The Times

  • £1,000 cash bonuses for companies to train young jobseekers – Daily Telegraph
  • Report co-authored by Neil O’Brien calls for “sweeping tax reform” – Shropshire Star
>Today:

Nick Timothy: Britain’s cosy establishment is the product of a dysfunctional political system

“Working in the Home Office after the riots in 2011, I took a phone call from one of David Cameron’s senior staffers. I was told it would be very helpful if Theresa May, then Home Secretary, could call certain named business leaders, as they were concerned about recovering the cost of damage to property they owned. Recognising the names as prominent Conservative supporters, I refused, and said the Home Secretary would deal with all businesses equally, irrespective of their political support. On another occasion, Conservative Campaign Headquarters hosted a lunch for party donors, and Mrs May was due to be the guest speaker. Perhaps a day before the event, we were sent a list of the donors who planned to attend.” – Daily Telegraph

Johnson claps for NHS on its 72nd birthday

“BORIS Johnson has joined millions of Brits to clap and cheer our NHS heroes today on the health service’s 72nd birthday. The PM stood beaming on the steps of No10 as he paid tribute to frontline workers and volunteers to commemorate their work fighting the coronavirus crisis. While a Spitfire with the message “Thank U NHS” painted on its underside took to the sky before flying over several NHS hospitals in the east of the country, finishing over Cambridge. Second World War veteran and NHS fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore joined the applause from his home in a video he shared on Twitter. The 100-year-old, who raised millions for the NHS, said: “Happy 72nd birthday NHS. Thank you for all that you do for us.” Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also clapped on her doorstep, saying in a tweet: “Happy 72nd Birthday, NHS. Thank you for everything.”‘ – The Sun

  • NHS chief warns PM to fix social care crisis within a year – The Sun

Comment:

Raab imposes sanctions on Russia and Saudis over human rights

“Dominic Raab, UK foreign secretary, will on Monday name the first foreign citizens to face visa bans and asset freezes for alleged human rights abuses under Britain’s new post-Brexit sanctions regime, with Russians and Saudis among those expected to be targeted. Mr Raab, a former human rights lawyer, has pushed for a tough sanctions regime in spite of misgivings among some in the Foreign Office over its likely impact on bilateral relations with some strategic allies with poor human rights records, including Saudi Arabia. Government officials have been working on targeting individuals in Russia, Saudi Arabia and North Korea under Britain’s version of the 2012 US Magnitsky Act, named after the Russian lawyer who died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after alleging officials were involved in tax fraud.” – FT

Security 1) UK expected to phase Huawei out of 5G networks

“Boris Johnson is this month expected to draw up plans to phase out Huawei from Britain’s 5G phone networks, after warnings that US sanctions have undermined the Chinese telecoms equipment maker’s ability to supply the UK market. An official security inquiry has raised “very, very serious” questions about whether Huawei can continue with its limited role as a supplier of 5G networks after the US announced sanctions in May, according to government officials. The sanctions were aimed at cutting off the company’s access to semiconductors made with US equipment, raising fears in London that Huawei would be forced to use alternative technology with new security risks.” – FT

  • Bar Huawei from our 5G, advises ex-security chief John Sawers – The Times
  • Proposed plan to cut Huawei out by 2029 is too slow, Tory rebels warn Johnson – Daily Telegraph
  • Hongkongers could offer £40 billion boost to UK economy – The Times
>Today:
>Yesterday:

Security 2) Royal marines and 20,000 troops cut to make way for space and cyber war

“Defence chiefs have drawn up plans to cut 20,000 troops from the military and reduce the size of the Royal Marines, replacing the MoD’s firepower with cyber warfare and space technology. Mandarins have suggested the scrapping of RAF air bases and a fleet of Hercules planes and Puma helicopters in a bid to save money, The Sunday Times reported. The Treasury has asked departments to make savings of 5 per cent or more as part of a wider review of Government spending, while Boris Johnson has appointed a history professor to personally oversee any cuts to UK defence capability. Draft plans suggest a significant chunk of the Royal Marines’ capability could be axed, including its artillery, engineers and landing craft. Money would instead be invested in new cyber and space warfare technology.” – Daily Telegraph

Hancock 1) Health Secretary warns of more lockdowns after “sardine Saturday”…

“Matt Hancock warned of more local lockdowns yesterday after social distancing was widely flouted when pubs reopened across the country. Thousands of people ignored the one-metre distancing rules as they packed into nightlife districts such as Soho in London and the centres of other big cities. While there were isolated incidents of violence, the widespread disorder predicted by some police did not materialise. Fears of a second wave of coronavirus were heightened, however, by images of crowded streets with drinkers hugging each other without wearing masks.” – The Times

  • Fears of widespread disorder unfounded as English pubs reopen – The Guardian
  • Lockdown easing in England threatens cautious approach of devolved nations – FT
  • Spain locks down more towns in Galicia and A Mariña after outbreaks – The Times
  • Young people at the heart of America’s Coronavirus infection explosion – The Times
  • Covid-19 may not have originated in China – Daily Telegraph

Hancock 2) … and threatens to lockdown Leicester factories for breaking Covid-19 rules

“The Government has “significant concerns” about clothing factories in Leicester opening behind closed doors and won’t hesitate to shut them down if they break the rules, Matt Hancock has said. The Health Secretary said the Government was monitoring concerns about employment practices at the factories, amid reports one paid its staff less than the minimum wage and not enforcing social distancing. “We have the authority to shut down businesses if they don’t follow the guidance,” he said. “We’re not just asking nicely.” The Health Secretary added businesses could face “very significant fines” if employment laws and Government workplace safety guidance were found to have been breached.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Leicester sweatshops face criminal inquiry on “slaves” – The Times
>Yesterday:

Coronavirus 1) Covid-19 survivors to get personal recovery plans

“The NHS is rolling out a personalised recovery programme for tens of thousands of patients suffering from the long-term effects of coronavirus. Your Covid Recovery is for people who are experiencing breathing difficulties, muscle damage from being on a ventilator or mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Patients will be given a face-to-face consultation with a rehabilitation team, which usually includes physiotherapists, nurses and mental health specialists. After their initial assessment, they will be given a personalised 12-week package of online aftercare.” – The Times

  • Scientists investigate cases of post-Covid-19 fatigue – The Guardian
  • Winter flu jab scheme will need to be biggest yet, warns NHS chief – The Times

Coronavirus 2) Extra 35,000 deaths from cancer expected next year

“Thirty-five thousand more people could die of cancer next year because of the impact of coronavirus, expert modelling has suggested. Research by Health Data Research UK, the national institute for health data science, warned that the overwhelming focus on Covid-19 was likely to cause 18,000 excess cancer deaths. It said that this could almost double to 35,000 in the worst-case scenario. It said that urgent referrals for cancer care had dropped and that treatments had been delayed or cancelled.” – The Times

Cash crisis leaves 13 universities on the brink of collapse

“As many as 13 universities could go bust as higher education faces losing a quarter of its annual income in the coronavirus crisis, a report says. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) estimated that universities would lose £11 billion as foreign student numbers fell and income from conferences dried up due to social distancing. The institute warned that pension deficits would rise steeply as investments dropped in value, putting universities under pressure to fund the shortfall. The think tank advised against propping up institutions, however. The government has already stepped in with support, bringing forward £2.6 billion of tuition fee payments to ease cash-flow problems. But universities are asking for up to £3.2 billion more help.” – The Times

  • Less prestigious universities most likely to face insolvency – FT
  • The Government is trying to shrink the university sector, says Jo Johnson – The Times
Comment:

Taxpayer may prop up train firms until 2022

“Train companies face being propped up by the taxpayer for up to two years amid warnings that passenger numbers may fail to return to pre-Covid levels. Emergency contracts between the government and train operators are set to be extended into 2022 to prevent companies going bust or walking away. Rail industry sources told The Times that it was feared that a fifth of passengers would fail to return “for the foreseeable future”, even after the end of the coronavirus crisis because of changes to working patterns. It is believed that many who have worked at home will not return to a daily commute.” – The Times

Labour wants wealth tax if the economy fails to recover

“Labour has called for the government to introduce a wealth tax if the economy fails to recover because “those with the broadest shoulders should be making more of a contribution”. Anneliese Dodds, the shadow chancellor, said it was fair that the “very best-off people” should help to pay for the cost of the coronavirus crisis if the economic recovery stalled. The Conservatives accused Labour of advocating a “tax raid on ordinary families” and targeting people’s homes and savings. Ms Dodds declined to say how Labour’s plan for a wealth tax would work, but did not deny that it could involve a tax on assets.” – The Times

Sturgeon urged to condemn “abhorrent” border protests urging English to stay out of Scotland

“Nicola Sturgeon is under pressure to condemn “disgraceful” border protests where nationalists in hazmat suits urged English visitors to stay away from Scotland. Jackson Carlaw, the Scottish Conservative leader, said he was concerned that the scenes on Saturday would deter people from coming to Scotland and cause further damage to the country’s tourism sector, which has been devastated by coronavirus. A handful of nationalists turned up at the border over the weekend, urging motorists to “stay out”. Waving saltires and SNP flags, they displayed a banner stating ‘keep Scotland Covid free’.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:

News in brief:

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