Newslinks for Tuesday 22nd June 2021

Policy Row 1) ‘Fury’ as Johnson axes key meeting to fix social care funding crisis

“Campaigners angrily accused Boris Johnson of cowardice last night after he again put off his promise to fix the broken care system. He was supposed to have held a crunch meeting with the Chancellor and the Health Secretary today to decide whether to finally bring in a cap on sky-high costs. But No 10 cancelled the meeting and it is not known when the trio will meet again. Charities warned that every week of ‘dithering’ means an extra 13,000 vulnerable pensioners being denied vital help. It is now almost two years since Mr Johnson stood in Downing Street on his first day as Prime Minister and promised he would sort social care ‘once and for all’. Yesterday he insisted his Government was still planning to bring forward ‘some good plans’ – but offered no timescale.” – Daily Mail

  • Prime Minister rules out slapping two pence in the pound on income tax to fix crumbling social care system – The Sun
  • His position is making it ‘extremely difficult’ for the Chancellor – The Times
  • Johnson slammed for delaying ‘do or die’ meeting – The Sun
  • Sunak was worried about Johnson’s handling of Covid, says Cummings – FT

Comment:

  • Long-overdue social care fix falls victim to Johnson’s empty rhetoric – Jon Ashworth, Times Red Box

Policy Row 2) We have a duty to build more homes, Jenrick tells Tory heartlands

“The Government has “a duty” to the next generation to build more homes, Robert Jenrick said on Monday as he faced down Conservative MPs who want him to water down controversial planning reforms. The Housing Secretary insisted that it was only fair that ministers should reform the current system so that young people could “aspire to own the keys to their own home”. The comments came after Tory MPs used a Commons debate to press the Government to water down planning reforms that were blamed for last week’s shock defeat in the Chesham and Amersham by-election… A new Planning Bill, due to be published in coming months, is likely to force local authorities to adopt new housing targets as part of the Government’s commitment to build 300,000 new homes a year.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Stop shoving more houses at voters, Prime Minister is warned by his own MPs – The Times
  • Conservative MPs put pressure on government to scrap planning reforms – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Planning reform could be Boris Johnson’s poll tax – William Hague, The Times
  • A Labour/Lib Dems alliance could defeat the Tories in seat after seat – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian

Editorial:

Policy Row 3) Treasury plots pension raid to balance the books

“The Treasury is drawing up plans for a tax raid on wealthy pensioners as it seeks to repair the nation’s finances after the pandemic. Officials are working on plans to cut the lifetime allowance, the amount people can build up in their pension pot before incurring punitive charges, from just over £1 million to £900,000. It would mean that more people face a 25 per cent levy on any additional income from their pension pot. The charge rises to 55 per cent if they choose to draw down a lump sum. The move is seen as more palatable than plans to cut tax relief for pension contributions by higher-rate taxpayers. Introducing a flat rate of relief — said to be 25 per cent — could raise an additional £4 billion a year but it is “very complex” and would take years to implement.” – The Times

  • MPs tell Chancellor a radical shake-up will fail to pass Parliament without cross-party support – Daily Telegraph

More:

  • Downing St vows to stick with pension ‘triple lock’ – FT
  • Covid-hit industries will need extra £50m after furlough ends, says Labour – The Guardian
  • Economic rebound improves health of UK public finances – FT

Editorial:

  • The Tories must end their fixation with tax and spend policies – Daily Telegraph

Johnson won’t rule out more lockdowns after July 19

“Boris Johnson today grimly refused to rule out imposing future lockdowns as he braced Brits for a “rough winter”. The PM stressed July 19’s new Freedom Day was “looking good” – but opened the door to reviving draconian restrictions if “some new horror” emerges in the coming months. On a visit to a Hertsfordshire lab the PM hailed science as the “great liberator” paving a path back to freedom. He said ministers were pressing ahead with their “cautious but irreversible” roadmap. Yet grilled about the prospect of future lockdowns, the PM said: “You can never exclude that there will be some new disease, some new horror that we simply haven’t budgeted for, or accounted for… Last week the cautious PM delayed Freedom Day by four weeks so more Brits can be vaccinated before flinging off the restraints.” – The Sun

  • Covid quarantine rules will be dropped for double jabbed – The Times
  • Cummings: It’s the blind leading the blind in No 10 – The Times

More:

  • Flu could be bigger danger than Covid this winter, Britons told – The Times

Comment:

  • I can no longer support this irrational lockdown – Iain Dale, Daily Telegraph

Truss targets free trade deal to open markets in Pacific

“Ministers will begin talks today to join one of the largest free trade blocs, claiming it is a “landmark moment for the UK as an independent trading nation”. The government said negotiations with the 11 members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership would open new markets for British goods and lower tariffs. Members of the CPTPP had a joint GDP of £9 trillion in 2019 with British exports to those countries set to increase by £37 billion in nine years. Trade experts said the economic advantages of joining the group would be limited as the UK has free trade deals with most members of the CPTPP. These include Canada, Japan, Mexico and Singapore, plus Australia, which agreed a deal in principle with the UK this month.” – The Times

  • Negotiations on £9trillion Oz trade pact begin today – Daily Express
  • It is a trade agreement between an area populated by half-a-billion people – Daily Mail

More:

  • Brexit poll shows ‘limited enthusiasm’ for UK-EU trade deal – FT
  • Tory MP calls for ‘key’ foreign investment to ‘level up’ the North of England – Daily Express
  • Britannia replacement will be paid for out of defence budget – Daily Telegraph

MPs blast ‘major social injustice’ that has seen generations of ‘forgotten’ children ‘neglected’ by teachers

“Schools that teach ‘white privilege’ could be breaking the law by contributing to the ‘systemic neglect’ of deprived children, MPs have found. White working-class pupils are one of the worst-achieving groups in the country, and ‘feel anything but privileged’, they said in a report. It found they are behind many of their similarly disadvantaged peers of other ethnicities at ages five, 16 and 18. The Commons education committee’s report, published last night, said ‘politically controversial’ phrases such as ‘white privilege’ may have contributed to poor white pupils being forgotten ‘for decades’. It also warned against ‘pitting different groups against each other’ and suggested schools which promote ideas of ‘white privilege’ could be in breach of the Equality Act 2010.” – Daily Mail

  • Halfon gives three reasons white privilege is ‘wrong’ – Daily Express
  • Tory MPs accused of adding fuel to ‘culture war’ in education report – The Guardian

Comment:

  • This Windrush Day, Tories must find their voice on racism – Siobham Aarons and Steve Baker MP, Times Red Box

Judge hints juries could be cut in size to tackle trial backlog

“Juries could be cut in size to help tackle the growing backlog of crown court trials, the most senior judge in England and Wales has indicated. Lord Burnett of Maldon, the lord chief justice, has hinted over the last year that jury numbers could be slashed as a result of the crisis in the court system that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. In April 2020 Burnett said that reducing the number of jurors in individual cases from twelve to seven was a possibility. He has now reiterated his backing for smaller juries as one measure of increasing the number of trials that could take place. He told The Daily Telegraph that “an opportunity was missed to introduce a temporary reduction in jury size” at the beginning of the pandemic.” – The Times

  • Lord Chief Justice: ‘Waiting years for trial, not knowing what’s going on, it’s deeply damaging’ – Daily Telegraph
  • In March 2020 the crown court backlog stood at around 40,000, but has risen – Daily Mail

Donaldson seeks leadership of DUP after Poots resignation

“Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has declared his candidacy to lead the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) and said he will seek to unite Northern Ireland’s unionists in a campaign against the Irish Sea border. The Lagan Valley MP made the announcement on Monday, confirming his status as the favourite to replace Edwin Poots, a short-lived leader who resigned last week after an internal revolt. Donaldson said he would work to restore confidence and faith in the DUP, which is reeling from infighting, and reach out to other unionists. “Now, more than ever, we need to unite in the face of the threats posed to Northern Ireland by the protocol. Make no mistake, this is the number one issue facing our country, our people and our place in the United Kingdom.”” – The Guardian

  • Failure to fix Northern Ireland Protocol will threaten power-sharing agreement, says MP – Daily Telegraph
  • His leadership bid is likely to be unopposed – FT

Bercow asked Corbyn for a peerage after No 10 snub

“John Bercow lobbied Jeremy Corbyn to secure a peerage and wrote his own reference for his nomination, leaked emails have revealed. The former Speaker secretly met the then Labour leader’s team in the week after the 2019 general election to discuss his nomination to the House of Lords after being snubbed by Downing Street. He then wrote to Corbyn’s office with a reference in which he boasted of his four honorary degrees, “no fewer than five shadow ministerial roles”, a stint as deputy leader of the Tory group on Lambeth council, and experience as a tennis coach. Bercow, who frequently clashed with Theresa May and Boris Johnson on Brexit, was the first Commons Speaker in living memory not to be nominated for a peerage by the government when he stepped down in 2019.” – The Times

Sturgeon slaps down Burnham for ‘cooking up spat about Scotland’s travel ban to boost leadership ambitions’

“Huffy Nicola Sturgeon today slapped down Andy Burnham for cooking up a lockdown spat to boost his Labour leadership bid. The First Minister told the Manchester mayor to “grow up” after he raged about her travel ban from Scotland to the Covid-struck city. Mr Burnham had kicked up a stink about Ms Sturgeon imposing tough restrictions “out of the blue” and demanded compensation cash for affected Mancs. But this afternoon she batted away his wish-list – and shrugged off his outrage as plain posturing ahead of a future leadership run… Emboldened Mr Burnham has thrown his hat into the ring to replace under-fire Sir Keir Starmer on the back of his reelection last month. His profile has ballooned during the pandemic after picking fights with Westminster over local lockdowns and rescue packages.” – The Sun

  • Travel ban tramples my constituents’ civil liberties, says Mayor – Daily Telegraph

More:

  • Civil servants to stop investigating complaints against Scottish ministers – The Guardian

Stephen Kerr and Meghan Gallacher: Why we’ve relaunched Conservative Friends of the Union

“Our elected officials at all levels must be robust in tackling the poisonous narrative of division that the nationalist peddle every time they have a platform. But we need to ensure that the message spreads well beyond the people watching BBC Parliament. We must mobilise and train our activists to be as effective as possible at spreading the positive Unionist argument to a wide audience. We must dominate both the conventional media channels and social media with the Union’s many success stories, both past and present. We must also mobilise resources across the UK to get Conservative’s elected across the Union. Conservative Friends of the Union has been set up to deliver exactly this. We will be at the forefront of the movement to champion the virtues of the Union, as well as supporting the election of more Conservatives everywhere in the UK.” – Times Red Box

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Author: Conservative Home


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