Newslinks for Tuesday 14th September 2021

Whitty approves Covid jabs for children over 12

“Parents will be asked later this week if their children can be vaccinated after Chris Whitty said the decision was up to them. The chief medical officer for England and his counterparts in the other home nations have concluded that all over-12s should be offered vaccines to avoid disruption to their education, bringing to an end months of debate among scientists. Teenagers will get only one dose this year after Whitty said a decision on a second should be put off until next term. Most of the benefit comes from the first dose, while side-effects in teenagers have largely been seen after the second. Ministers are now expected to give the formal go-ahead for the vaccination of three million children aged 12-15 as Boris Johnson prepares to announce a Covid winter plan on Tuesday to control the virus without the need for lockdowns or other tough restrictions.” – The Times

  • What does the science say about whether children should get the Covid vaccine? – Daily Telegraph
  • Over-50s to receive booster Covid vaccine for winter – The Times
  • Programme is aimed at heading off winter rise in infections – The Guardian
  • UK cancels €1.4bn Covid vaccine deal with France’s Valneva – FT

Johnson will set out new coronavirus roadmap this week

“Boris Johnson will set out a new roadmap this week, when he will announce his “toolbox” for the country to cope with the pandemic through winter. Emergency Covid-19 laws were passed early in the pandemic to allow the Government to take drastic steps that curbed freedoms to stop the spread of a deadly virus then little understood. But with every adult in the country now offered a Covid vaccine, the Government is dropping parts of those emergency laws which it believes are no longer needed. That includes powers that temporarily close or restrict access to schools, detain infectious people, restrict events and gatherings or limit how large groups of people can gather. However the Public Health Act, under which lockdowns were legally enforced, will remain on the statute book, leading to criticism from lockdown sceptic Tory MPs.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Is another coronavirus lockdown coming? – The Times


  • NHS ‘is short of 50,000 doctors’ as bleak winter looms – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: As the Government u-turns on vaccine passports, how are we supposed to take the ‘Winter Plan’ seriously?

Council tax may soar because of manifesto-busting National Insurance hike

“Council tax bills could soar because of the Government’s manifesto-busting National Insurance hike to fund social care, Whitehall chiefs admitted last night. Mandarins said Government departments will get a whopping £2billion to cover the cost of the tax rise for “directly employed” staff like teachers. But councils that outsource a lot of services and staff — such as binmen and traffic wardens — could be left with a massive bill for National Insurance contributions (NIC). Cash-strapped councils are likely to whack up council tax to cover the cost, civil servant chiefs warned. Cat Little, who oversees public spending at the Treasury, told the Public Accounts Committee of MPs she “cannot commit” to compensation for outsourced workers. Tory MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown warned this was likely to mean higher council tax bills next year.” – The Sun

  • Conservatives’ loyalty tested over welfare and taxes – Politico



Johnson to support more North Sea drilling despite climate pledge

“Boris Johnson will face down calls to ban further licences exploiting Britain’s North Sea oil and gas fields, despite the UK’s commitment to reaching net zero by 2050. In a move condemned by environmental groups, senior government sources said that Johnson will back further developments in the North Sea over the next decade. A report commissioned by the government, before the Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow in October and November, has recommended that “no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects” should be made if the world is to hit its net-zero targets. Ministers are understood to have concluded that concerns about the UK’s energy supply and the need to protect existing jobs in the industry mean it is unrealistic to set a moratorium on new projects.” – The Times

  • More Brits are coming forward to become truck drivers, says Transport Secretary – The Sun
  • Job vacancies shoot past 1m for first time – FT
  • Many civil servants will work from home for good, says Whitehall boss – The Times

Yesterday: Trudy Harrison MP and Mark Jenkinson MP: It’s time for another ‘epoch making moment’ for nuclear power

Treasury pinpoints first targets of Sunak’s spending crackdown

“A tunnel between Scotland and Northern Ireland and a scheme that backs unemployed people to start their own companies have fallen victim to a crackdown as the Treasury grapples with self-imposed public spending limits. Boris Johnson’s plan to build “the world’s most stupid tunnel” linking Scotland and Northern Ireland — estimated to cost at least £15bn — has been described as “dead” by government officials briefed on spending negotiations ahead of Rishi Sunak’s Budget next month. The chancellor gave cabinet colleagues until Monday evening to finalise their bids for public spending and has warned them he wants to “put the public finances on a sustainable path in the medium term”. The other early victim of the Treasury crackdown is the New Enterprise Allowance, a programme launched a decade ago to great fanfare by David Cameron.” – FT

  • Treasury to bury Boris Johnson’s £15bn tunnel between Scotland and Northern Ireland – The Times
  • Highest-paid NHS managers could be cleared out in Treasury audit – Daily Telegraph
  • UK government fund invested in kombucha and luxury ship builder – The Guardian
  • Chancellor takes taxpayer stakes in more than 150 start-ups – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Johnson, Sunak, tax and spending. The former strains to soar skywards. The latter keeps tugging him back to earth.

Prime Minister backs Patel amid new claims she broke ministerial code

“Boris Johnson has backed Priti Patel over allegations that she has breached the ministerial code for a third time. The prime minister insisted that the home secretary did nothing wrong after it was claimed she met two airline executives and a billionaire Tory donor to discuss Covid-19 travel rules without Home Office officials present. He played down speculation that she will be sacked or demoted in his looming reshuffle as he praised her for doing an “excellent job” and said she would “continue to do so”. Sidestepping questions over whether he will soon change his top team, Johnson said: “I think people in this country are focused on bouncing through from Covid and the plan for jobs.” Ministerial rules state that government officials should be present or informed when ministers discuss government business.” – The Times

  • Minister under fire after suggesting people hit by benefit cut should work more hours – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Iain Duncan Smith MP in Comment: The Universal Credit uplift is an opportunity, not a problem. It helps to save taxpayers’ money and improve lives.

Government threatens to suspend Northern Ireland protocol

“The row over Brexit and Northern Ireland has escalated after the UK government issued a new warning to the EU that it will not shy away from unilaterally suspending the Northern Ireland protocol agreed by Boris Johnson last year. Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, told the House of Lords on Monday night that the EU should take the UK’s proposals to renegotiate part of the protocol “seriously” if it wanted to avoid the protocol collapsing. He said his July command paper had set out the tests the UK would apply to trigger article 16 of the protocol, which allows either side to suspend the protocol if it is deemed as having a significant impact on everyday life. “I urge the EU to take this seriously. They would be making a significant mistake if they thought that we were not ready to use article 16 safeguards, if that is our only choice to deal with the situation in front of us. If we are to avoid article 16, there must be a real negotiation between us and the EU.”” – The Guardian

  • Frost warned Brussels will be “making a significant mistake” if it underestimates No 10’s resolve – The Sun


  • Truss demands UK firms get ready for major new trade boost – Daily Express
  • EU Brexit controls are pointless bureaucracy, says M&S chairman – The Guardian

Starmer to pledge new deal for UK workers under a Labour government

“Sir Keir Starmer will promise a “New Deal for Workers” on Tuesday including a £10 minimum wage, a “right to work flexibly” and a ban on some controversial workplace practices under a future Labour government in the UK. The leader of the main opposition party will use his speech at the annual Trades Union Congress to promise full rights and protections from day one in a job to all workers — including holiday pay, parental leave and protection from unfair dismissal. Starmer will say that the commitment to strengthen employment rights would “reflect changes to the economy and the reality of modern working”. The pledges include a ban on “fire and rehire”, an end to zero-hours contracts and the right to work flexibly and request shifts that fit around family life.” – FT

  • Labour will deliver £10 minimum wage – The Guardian
  • Starmer calls for capital gains overhaul to fund social care – The Times

Neil quits GB News after just eight shows

“Andrew Neil has resigned as chairman and presenter of GB News, fuelling speculation that his departure could trigger an exodus of staff from the channel. The former Sunday Times editor and BBC interviewer confirmed weeks of speculation over his future by announcing he was stepping down from the fledgling news network. His decision came as reports said as many as three producers had left the station last week. Insiders said senior members of staff were now considering their positions following Mr Neil’s exit. The move is now expected to herald a swing to the right – a move Mr Neil resisted – as chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos attempts to shore up dwindling viewing figures by refashioning GB News along the lines of opinionated American television channels such as Fox.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Channel says he will continue to appear as commentator – Daily Mail
  • GB News in turmoil as producers quit – The Times

Sturgeon asks SNP to trust her on independence referendum strategy

“Nicola Sturgeon has told her ruling Scottish National party to trust her that a second referendum on independence was approaching — but gave no new details of timing or how she hopes to overcome UK government refusal to approve a vote. In her keynote speech to the SNP’s online autumn conference on Monday, the first minister reiterated plans for a “legal referendum” by the end of 2023, coronavirus crisis permitting, and insisted it was not up to the UK Conservative government to decide Scotland’s constitutional future. “People in Scotland have the right to make that choice,” Sturgeon said. “Trust me — the time for that choice is approaching.” However, many SNP members are privately deeply sceptical about the chances of holding in the next two years a rematch of the 2014 referendum, in which voters in Scotland backed staying in the UK by 55-45 per cent.” – FT

  • First Minister today claimed she has an ‘unarguable mandate’ for referendum – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • Why the NHS needs more bureaucrats – Sam Ashworth-Hayes, The Spectator
  • Social care debate shows how badly Brits need a ‘red pill’ moment – Ryan Bourne, CapX
  • The womb industry – Tom Farr, The Critic
  • Heroin will decide the Taliban’s fate – David Patrikarakos, UnHerd

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Author: Conservative Home

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