Hancock: Our NHS plan means more money, but spent better

‘The money matters: so last year we announced we would be giving the NHS an extra £20.5bn a year over the next five years. But money alone is not enough. Every penny we put in has been earned by a taxpayer. So it is right that taxpayers know how their hard-earned money is being spent. Today we are setting out a plan for the next ten years, shaped by thousands of clinicians and staff who know best and with patients right at the heart of care. The big principle is that prevention is better than cure. England is made up of communities and that’s where we must start, doing more to promote good health, with more GP services – the bedrock of our NHS – and stronger community services. These will see the biggest uplift, with a funding injection of £4.5billion nationally. The experts who’ve written the plan say that will prevent 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases over the next ten years. And that through earlier detection and better treatment, 55,000 more people will survive cancer each year. We’re committed to care that is personalised and bolstered by cutting-edge medicine and technology.’ – Matt Hancock, Daily Telegraph


>Yesterday: WATCH: May launches her long-term NHS plan

MPs raise safety concerns as mob intimidates Soubry outside Parliament

‘Police faced mounting criticism last night after they stood by when a pro-EU MP was verbally abused by protesters outside the Commons. Anna Soubry, who supports a second Brexit referendum, was forced to stop talking during a BBC interview while people off camera shouted: ‘Soubry is a Nazi’. The MP for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire then made her way back to Parliament, pursued by a yellow vest wearing mob shouting ‘Anna, you’re a fascist’. While protesters crowded around her, pointing and yelling in her face, Soubry pointed out the presence of two police officers across the road – who do nothing to help her. Even as she reached the gates of parliament she is blocked from entering by the group, which included far-right activist James Goddard, as further officers stand mere yards away without intervening.’ – Daily Mail

  • Police are accused of doing nothing to help – Daily Telegraph
  • Oddly there has been no outrage when pro-EU protesters heckled MPs for months – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • ‘Passenger’ peers criticised for hardly ever turning up to the House of Lords – Daily Mail
  • £17,000 in Parliamentary restaurant and bar bills written off – Daily Telegraph

Opponents of the Prime Minister’s proposed EU deal are wooed at Downing Street drinks party…

‘Theresa May threw a drinks party for some of her biggest critics on her backbenches – including Boris Johnson – as she tries to win their backing for her Brexit deal. The PM laid on the charm as she hosted Tory MPs and their spouses to Number Ten for the exclusive soiree. She is desperately trying to convince her warring MPs to vote for her under-fire Brexit deal in the Commons in just eight days’ time. But more than 100 Conservative MPs are publicly opposed to her plan, and the PM is widely expected to suffer a humiliating defeat when the Commons votes on it on January 15. Mr Johnson, who has become one of the PM’s biggest critics since quitting her Cabinet in fury at her Brexit deal last year – was among those who turned up to the bash. Fellow Brexiteers Iain Duncan Smith and Theresa Villiers also arrived at the party tonight, as did the Tory Party’s vice chairman James Cleverly.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Brexit: The Uncivil War. Graham gives us Cummings Agonistes – and a Tory work of art.

…while a timely leak suggests defeat next week might see an attempt to extend Article 50…

‘British and European officials are discussing the possibility of extending Article 50 amid fears a Brexit deal will not be completed by March 29, the Telegraph can reveal. Three separate EU sources confirmed that UK officials had been “putting out feelers” and “testing the waters” on an Article 50 extension, even as the Government said it had no intention of asking to extend the negotiating period. The discreet diplomatic contacts, described by one source as officials “just doing their homework”, emerged as a minister broke ranks for the first time to raise the possibility of extending the talks. Margot James, the digital minister, admitted that “we might have to extend Article 50” if Theresa May loses next week’s Parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal. Downing Street said Ms James was wrong, but her comment sowed suspicion among Brexiteers that ministers were trying to soften up MPs for the possibility that Brexit will have to be delayed.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Ireland blocks progress, and offers only a reassuring letter – The Sun
  • Vague reassurance about the backstop won’t cut the mustard – The Sun Says
  • Here’s how the deal could be improved – David Henig, Daily Telegraph
  • Norway-style Brexit would offer advantages – Nicky Morgan, FT
  • Business group set to abandon its support for May’s proposal – The Times
  • Shinzo Abe looks likely to back her approach – FT
  • The battle to be the last plan standing – Robert Shrimsley, FT

>Today: Greg Hands on Comment: “The power is with us.” The two EU officials who want to punish Britain, crafted the deal – and claim they are winning.

…and Remainer rebels attempt to use the threat of a Trump-style ‘shutdown’ to prevent No Deal

‘Theresa May faces a Brexit ambush today as a group of rebel MPs launch a plot to sink her No Deal plans. Labour is today set to throw its weight behind a move to push a Donald Trump-style shutdown of the Government, which would make it much harder to leave with no agreement in place at all. Around a dozen Tory MPs are set to team up with Jeremy Corbyn to BAN ministers from spending money on No Deal unless MPs openly vote for it, we get a deal passed, or Article 50 is delayed. The plan is backed by Remainers including Labour’s Yvette Cooper, Tory Nicky Morgan, Hilary Benn and Sir Oliver Lewtin. And a second amendment, tabled by Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable and the Greens, would stop the Treasury from raising income or corporation tax unless parliament approved a Brexit deal. Brexit boss Steve Barclay said this morning it was “illogical” for MPs to vote to trigger Brexit and then vote against both Mrs May’s deal and No Deal.’ – The Sun

>Today: Henry Newman’s column: An end to free movement and forced payments to Brussels. Is the backstop really so bad?

>Yesterday: MPs ETC: The 22 Conservative MPs who have signed Spelman’s letter opposing No Deal

Fiscal drag will see one in five households lose Child Benefit

‘The number of families hit by curbs to child benefit will surge to more than one in five as 1.4million households lose some or all of the payout by 2022, new analysis reveals today. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said a million households would lose all of their child benefit with 400,000 losing some of the cash. Child benefit is currently worth £1,079 per year for the first child and £714 for each subsequent one… The income threshold has been frozen since it was first introduced meaning it catches more households every year as inflation and wages rise. In the first year, the curb hit 13 per cent of families – about a million, of whom 700,000 lost all the money. The IFS said: ‘In other words, the number of families with children who are affected will have risen by about 36 per cent, or 370,000, in just six years.” – Daily Mail

  • Universal Credit roll-out could be delayed even further – The Sun
  • A further 1.6 million people will automatically migrate to the new system – The Sun
  • Pension auto-enrolment is working, but there’s more to do – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Universal Credit. Noble aim, thorny problems – and Rudd’s decision. If the scheme is to work properly, it must be paid for.

Rental trap crushes any hope of buying a house for over a million families

‘More than a million young families are trapped paying costly rent forever as they will never afford to buy, a damning new report reveals today. A total of 1.2 million households don’t qualify for council houses, and at the same time aren’t able to scrape together a deposit to get on the housing ladder. Instead, they are forced to paying spiralling private rents – with lower earners in the trap losing an eye-watering 67% of their wages to landlords. The alarming findings come in a landmark cross party commission convened by the housing charity Shelter, whose proposals are published today. Its members – which include former Labour leader Ed Miliband, ex-Tory Treasury minister Lord O’Neill and Baroness Doreen Lawrence – also call for Theresa May to begin a massive new state building programme to erect 3.1 million new homes to solve the crisis. Paying less rent on a council house would give the average struggling family £380 a month more to save for a deposit, the commission also found.’ – The Sun

Javid promises tough rules for migrants crossing the Channel illegally

‘Migrants attempting to seek asylum in Britain by crossing the Channel in boats face tougher rules that could bar them from the UK, Sajid Javid warned last night. The Home Secretary said Britain had the right under international and domestic legislation to reject migrants who failed to claim asylum in the first safe country they reached including France. He told MPs that he wanted to send a “clear message” as a deterrent to migrants that “if you have passed through a safe country – and that includes France – that we would seek to make your claim inadmissible and you should think twice about making that journey.” He disclosed 25 migrants had attempted to cross the Channel since New Year’s day, following more than 500 during 2018, of which 80% had tried in the last three months of 2018. These included eight migrants and a smuggler detained on Monday in Kent.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Italian ministers back French yellow vests – EU Observer

>Yesterday: Chloe Westley’s column: As a migrant to Britain, I say: what’s wrong with patriotism, borders and control?

Clarkson: ‘Up itself’ BBC makes programmes for ‘seven people in Islington’

‘Jeremy Clarkson has launched a bitter tirade against the BBC, claiming it’s now so politically correct men don’t stand a chance of getting top jobs. The star – who was dropped by the broadcaster in 2015 after he hit a Top Gear producer – said ‘anyone who has got a scrotum’ won’t be hired by the corporation. Describing himself as a ‘big old dinosaur’ he said: ‘If I ran the BBC, it would be better. I’d make programmes for everybody, not just seven people in Islington. It’s become so up itself, suffocating the life out of everything with its nonsense need to be politically correct.’’ – Daily Mail

  • The Corporation plans to improve the iPlayer to compete with Netflix – The Times

A fifth of the Army cannot be deployed

‘Army staffing is at a “worrying” level because a fifth of personnel cannot be sent overseas or have medical issues. A freedom of information (FOI) request by The Times has indicated that 7,200 troops are not fit to be sent abroad because of health matters while 9,910 more are limited in the roles and tasks they can perform on exercises and operations in other countries. Staffing levels are already 5,000 below the target of 82,000. Army chiefs and Capita, the outsourcing company contracted to provide recruitment services, accepted fault last month for failing to hit recruitment targets in every year since 2012. On top of the 17,110 troops who have deployment restrictions on medical grounds, untrained personnel and under-18s cannot be sent abroad on operations, limiting Britain’s ability to field a frontline fighting force.’ – The Times

News in Brief