Hunt promises a new hospital every year…

‘The NHS has been promised a new hospital every year in the biggest infrastructure expansion for a decade. Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, who is pushing the prime minister for a ten-year NHS funding plan, said he wanted to “expand capacity for the future” with a host of new buildings. A £3.5 billion capital fund promised by Philip Hammond, the chancellor, in last year’s budget would allow a major project equivalent to a new hospital each year for the next five years, he said. Shrewsbury and Telford will receive £300 million this year to turn two hospitals into one “hot” emergency care hospital and one “cold” hospital for scheduled treatments and operations. It will be one of 40 modernisation projects to share £760 million this year as part of reforms laid out by Simon Stevens, head of NHS England.’ – The Times

  • Addenbrooke’s Hospital has run out of beds – Daily Mail
  • Scottish neurologist says he has to employ any candidate who makes it to interview – The Scotsman

…as the Prime Minister says a long-term funding settlement ‘can’t afford to wait until next Easter’

‘Theresa May pledged ten years of guaranteed cash for the health service as a 70th birthday present to the NHS. Backing Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the PM told MPs a “long-term plan” for NHS funding will be hammered out this year. It will be negotiated separately and beyond next year’s Whitehall-wide review into public spending for the next five years. Appearing before the powerful Common’s Liaison Committee, Mrs May admitted the health service “can’t afford to wait” until 2019. And she insisted that the Government needed to get away from annual top-ups of the struggling health service budget. Mrs May told MPs the doctors and hospitals are facing “serious cost and demand pressures” and “we can’t afford to wait until next Easter”.’ – The Sun

  • Great Ormond Street decides to keep the President’s Club money – Daily Mail

Gove: A deposit return scheme will help to protect the oceans from plastic waste

‘It’s important, if we are to save our oceans from further pollution, that we do far more to make it simpler and easier for people and businesses to recycle. That’s why earlier this month the Chancellor announced a call for evidence on single-use plastics and today I have announced we will introduce a deposit return scheme – subject to consultation – aimed at boosting recycling rates and reducing littering of drinks containers. Discarded bottles and cans are a particular problem. In Britain, 36million plastic bottles of all kinds are consumed each day, of which 16million do not reach recycling plants. They end up dumped on pavements, chucked under hedges and lobbed into rivers, lakes and the sea – all part of the many tonnes of plastic marine litter that make their way into our oceans each year. We need to see a change in attitudes and behaviour. And the evidence shows that reward and return schemes are a powerful agent of change.’ – Michael Gove, Daily Mail

  • The Government will consult on possible charges and rewards – Daily Mail
  • The scheme could apply to glass and metal containers, too – The Times
  • Coffey recently visited Norway to inspect their automated machines – The Times
  • Our Lenten plastics pledge is just the start – Rebecca Pow, The Times
  • Unions propose ten new nuclear power plants to get electric cars on the road – The Sun

Manchester’s emergency services ‘paralysed’ by poor decisions and policy mistakes following terror attack

‘Every firefighter in Manchester stood idle for two hours after one of the worst terrorist attacks in more than a decade because of a series of command and communications failures, an independent review has found. Visibly frustrated firefighters — many trained to respond to terrorist incidents — were relocated after the suicide bomb at Manchester Arena that killed 22 people and injured hundreds more last May, according to a report by Lord Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, commissioned by Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester. His review found that amid the chaos after the blast at an Ariana Grande concert only three paramedics were allowed into the foyer where the bomb had gone off to assess and treat casualties. A lack of supplies meant that stretchers had to be improvised from advertising boards and metal barriers and police officers were said to have “challenged” medics making their way to the worst casualties to get them to treat those with minor injuries instead.’ – The Times

  • Firefighters speak of their guilt – Daily Mail
  • Relatives’ helpline was a ‘catastrophic failure’ – The Times
  • ‘Intrusive’ press criticised for insensitive and overbearing behaviour – The Times
  • Survivor says the emergency services have ‘blood on their hands’ – Daily Mail
  • National Security Capability Review predicts returnees from Syria will make the terror threat even worse – Daily Mail
  • Life for driver who targeted Muslims – The Times
  • Make deradicalisation programmes compulsory – Raffaelo Pantucci, The Times


Brexit 1) May alarms Leavers by raising possibility of customs delays

‘Britain may not be ready to enter into a new customs arrangement with the European Union by the time its transition agreement runs out, Theresa May suggested yesterday. In an admission that is likely to alarm Tory Brexiteers, the prime minister said that when the detail of the administrative changes that might be needed was examined, the timetables that had been agreed so far might need to be revised. Mrs May was responding to comments made by HM Revenue & Customs officials who told the Treasury committee that a new customs partnership with the EU could take five years to set up. Her comments will increase speculation that a transition deal might have to be extended or that Britain might remain in an effective customs union with the bloc even after December 2020.’ – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Are Brexiteer MPs paper tigers?

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: May needs more brains in Whitehall as well as boots on the ground to make Brexit work

Brexit 2) ‘Whistleblower’ accused of vendetta against Vote Leave after they refused to commission him

A whistleblower was yesterday branded a ‘charlatan’ and accused of speaking out to pursue a vendetta against Brexit campaigners…Mr Wylie, who appeared before a Commons committee with pink hair and wearing a nose ring, later came under fire when asked whether he was trying to damage the credibility of Vote Leave because the lobby group had previously turned him down when he asked for a job…Tory MP Julian Knight questioned Mr Wylie on whether he had lifted the lid on Vote Leave because the group had turned him down. Mr Knight also likened Mr Wylie to a ‘failed Alexander Nix’ – the Eton-educated boss of CA who was filmed boasting about techniques such as using honey trap Ukrainian escorts to try to influence politicians…’You tried to set up in business as a type of CA, hawking your wares to Vote Leave and they said No, and now you are here in front of the committee, making suggestions about Brexit,’ Mr Knight said.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Robert Halfon’s column: In defence of populism

Councils gain the power to double the tax on empty properties

‘Homes left empty for two years will be slapped with double the rate of council tax as part of a drive to bring properties back into use. Local authorities will be handed powers to levy extra charges on houses that stand empty for two years or more. Ministers believe the tax hike could lead to thousands of properties being made available. Local government minister Rishi Sunak said: ‘It is simply wrong that while there are 200,000 long-term empty properties across the country, thousands of families are desperate for a secure place to call home. This new power will equip councils with the tools they need to encourage owners of long-term empty properties to bring them back into use – and at the same time tackle the harmful effect they have on communities through squatting, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.’ – Daily Mail

  • Landlords might be banned from hiking rents when fees are scrapped – The Sun
  • Northamptonshire will be taken over by Government commissioners – The Times
  • Housebuilding by small construction firms falls 80 per cent in two decades – The Sun

>Today: Guy Senior on Local Government: Keeping Council Tax low and serving our people well is still the key message in Wandsworth

Clarke speaks out on GKN takeover

‘The business secretary has intervened in the hostile takeover bid for GKN to demand it remains a British company. Greg Clark broke his silence to extract promises from Melrose concerning the workforce, pension schemes and its commitment to research and development should its £8.1 billion bid for GKN succeed. Mr Clark also raised concerns over national security because of GKN’s role in supplying the British armed forces. The engineering giant has been under hostile attack from Melrose, a London-listed company with a record of buying companies, breaking them up and selling them on. GKN, which was founded 259 years ago, is one of Britain’s biggest manufacturing companies and the country’s oldest intact engineering business.’ – The Times

More countries – and NATO – join in the expulsion of Russian spies

‘Theresa May told MPs today that 26 allies have now expelled Russian diplomats and spies in solidarity with the UK after the Salisbury attack. The Prime Minister told the powerful Liaison Committee in Parliament more than 115 Russians had now been sent home by allied nations. Ireland, Moldova and Belgium became the latest of Britain’s allies to expel Kremlin agents today in an unprecedented show of international defiance toVladimir Putin. Mrs May confirmed Nato’s announcement earlier today that it was shrinking its Russian delegation from 30 to 20…Trump’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, welcomed the move and said: ‘Here in New York, Russia uses the United Nations as a safe haven for dangerous activities within our own borders.’ – Daily Mail

  • The RAF plans to defend satellite networks from Russian attack – Daily Mail
  • Wealthy Russians could lose UK visas – The Times
  • Propaganda fightback to be launched – Daily Telegraph
  • Even more evidence on Skripal poisoning shared with allies – FT
  • We don’t want war, but Putin is waging it against us regardless – The Sun Says
  • He is reduced to opportunism – Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph
  • The expulsions send an important message – The Guardian Leader
  • Second Steele dossier says Kremlin thugs murdered Putin’s former media man in Washington – Daily Mail
  • Kim Jong-Un visits Beijing – Daily Mail

Labour urged to stop dragging its feet on 75 anti-semitism investigations

‘Labour is investigating about 75 members over alleged antisemitism amid calls for the party to review how it handles anti-Jewish behaviour in its ranks. Pressure was mounting on the party last night to expedite investigations that have been going on for more than 18 months. These include cases against Marc Wadsworth and Jackie Walker, who were separately suspended but deny the accusations. Both have yet to have a hearing in front of the national constitutional committee, which has the power to expel members. Senior Labour MPs sought to contain the fallout from the crisis by publishing a blueprint setting out how the party can get a grip on the problem. John Mann, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group against antisemitism, and Wes Streeting, chairman of all-party group on British Jews, called on Jeremy Corbyn to meet Jewish colleagues to send a message of solidarity with all Jews.’ – The Times

  • Mann says he knows of a further 130 cases not dealt with properly – Daily Mail
  • MPs demand action – The Sun
  • New allegations against campaign group of which Corbyn is patron – Daily Telegraph
  • Several notorious Labour-linked anti-semites attended Monday’s counter-demonstration – The Times
  • Corbyn’s son did not challenge a ‘Nazi cartoon’ posted on his Facebook page – Daily Mail
  • Mural creator admits he was warned about the anti-semitic image, and writes for David Icke’s website – The Times
  • McCluskey accused of breaching leadership election rules – The Guardian


>Yesterday: Sketch: Corbyn spurns Labour’s Jewish members, who demonstrate their sense of utter betrayal

News in Brief