Javid announces record rise in the National Living Wage

‘The National living wage will rise by 51p to help struggling Brits begin the new year with an imminent pay rise. Today, Chancellor Sajid Javid made the announcement of an increase in minimum wage from £8.21 to £8.72 an hour in April. The 6.2% hike is double the rate of average annual wage growth and also twice the current rate of inflation, as well as the legal minimum’s biggest cash rise ever since it came into force in 1997. It will deliver an extra £930 a year into the pockets of almost three million who earn it. Writing for The Sun today, Mr Javid says the move is the start of an array of action by the newly elected Tory government that will make 2020 “the year of levelling up”.’ – The Sun

Social media firms are to have a statutory ‘duty of care’ to users

‘The government is to publish next month its response to a consultation on policing social media companies such as Facebook and Google after Britain leaves the European Union. Ministers want to place the companies under a statutory duty of care, which will be enforced by Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog. The government is also expected to introduce a “senior management liability”, under which executives could be held personally responsible for breaches of standards. US tech giants would be required to appoint a British-based director, who would be accountable for any breaches of the duty of care in this country. More draconian powers included in the original consultation, such as asking internet service providers to block websites or apps from being used in Britain, are likely to be dropped.’ – The Times

EU trade commissioner predicts Johnson will extend the transition period

‘Boris Johnson will abandon his pledge not to extend the post-Brexit transition period beyond the end of next year, the EU’s new trade commissioner has said. In an interview Phil Hogan pointed to how the prime minister had broken his promise to take the UK out of the EU on October 31. Mr Hogan told The Irish Times: “We saw the way the prime minister promised to die in the ditch rather than extend the deadline for Brexit, only for him to do just that. “I don’t believe prime minister Johnson will die in the ditch over the timeline for the future relationship either.” Mr Johnson this month introduced a clause in legislation ruling out an extension of the transition period beyond December 31 next year. Mr Hogan said it was “very odd indeed”.’ – The Times

  • Carney – trade deals will be made harder by global strife – The Sun
  • How Britain can prosper after we leave the EU – FT Leader
  • NFU sparks chlorinated chicken war with the government – Daily Telegraph
  • Macron considers awarding London a medal – The Times
  • Migration Watch warn against breaking immigration promise – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: The year in which the British people forced the pro-Remain Ascendancy to “come to heel”

Rayner’s allies caution her against backing Long Bailey for leader of the Opposition

‘Neither Ms Rayner nor Ms Long Bailey has formally announced her intention to run but in setting out her pitch yesterday, Ms Long Bailey announced that she was supporting Ms Rayner to become deputy. However, Ms Rayner is being urged by her allies not to reciprocate when she announces her own campaign. One source said: “It’s clear what Rebecca gets out of Angela’s support but not clear what Angela gets out of it. She’ll walk deputy either way. But if she backs Rebecca she’ll be dragged into the hard-left warfare.” Ms Long Bailey had appeared set to be anointed as the left’s leadership candidate but Ian Lavery, the party chairman, is now also considering standing. Yesterday Ms Long Bailey made her first serious intervention since Labour’s dismal election result, saying that the party must champion “progressive patriotism”.’ – The Times

  • They need to change ideology, not just leader – The Times Leader
  • Corbyn-supporters can’t suddenly claim to be patriots – The Sun Says
  • Long Bailey’s backers are accused of planning to shorten the contest – The Sun
  • Some Labour MPs fear Lavery’s candidacy is designed to make Long Bailey look less extreme – Daily Telegraph
  • “Lavery is keeping options open in the same way I am keeping my options open for Sienna Miller” – FT

Wallace: Labour’s position is more precarious than they realise

‘You should take claims of Labour’s terminal illness with a pinch of salt. The odds are that it will recover; we just don’t know when and how. Its immediate problems will pass. The question of whether to leave the EU will be resolved. Jeremy Corbyn is going to retire to a mountain-top hermitage to polish his halo. The next Labour leader may be as bad, worse, or better. Maybe they’ll go through a few… But just as it would be a mistake to predict Labour’s demise, it would be an error to assume its path back to power will be smooth. The election result suggests things might get worse before they get better.’ – Mark Wallace, the i paper

  • It’s been ‘quite a year’ for Labour, Corbyn says in New Year message – Daily Mail
  • Blair’s message puts the boot in on Corbyn – Daily Mail
  • The Labour Party must adapt to coalitions – Jeremy Gilbert, The Guardian
  • Limited surprise as Sturgeon plans to use 2020 to campaign for independence – Daily Telegraph

Raab speaks out about possible miscarriage of justice in Cypriot court case

‘Dominic Raab has expressed “serious concern” about the potential for a miscarriage of justice after a court in Cyprus convicted a British teenager of lying about being gang-raped on holiday. The Foreign Secretary will raise the case with the Cypriot authorities after the 19-year-old, who told police she was raped by up to 12 Israeli youths in her hotel room, was left facing up to a year in jail while her alleged attackers were allowed to return home. The alleged victim had withdrawn her complaint two weeks after the alleged incident, but says she was “forced” to do so by police who left her “scared for my life” and who did not record the interview, meaning it was her word against theirs in court. In a significant hardening of the Foreign Office’s stance on the case, sources said “all options are on the table” if there appears to be a miscarriage of justice. Mr Raab, a former lawyer who spent time on secondment to the human rights group Liberty, is understood to have followed the case closely and “takes issues of access to justice extremely seriously”, sources said.’ – Daily Telegraph

Growing pressure to cut aid to India and China

‘Boris Johnson was under pressure on foreign aid last night after cash help for fast-growing China and India soared. The two countries, which are rich enough to mount missions to the Moon, received £151million between them last year. UK taxpayer money paid for schemes to cut salt from diets, to send text alerts to problem drinkers and to find whether yoga can halt diabetes. The 12 per cent rise in spending on China and India flew in the face of vows to stop sending cash there. The total foreign aid budget grew £493million from 2017 to hit £14.6billion last year, official figures show. Andrew Mitchell, a former international development secretary, warned our money should go to the poorest and giving it to China had brought aid spending into ‘disrepute’.’ – Daily Mail

Thousands trapped by wildfires in Australia

‘Thousands of stranded people will be rescued by army helicopters as deadly bushfires turned the skies blood red on Australia’s southeast coast. Around 4,000 people were trapped on the beach in Mallacoota, Victoria – ready to jump into the sea as the terrifying infernos were fanned by record-breaking heat. Haunting images show locals and holiday-makers trapped on New Year’s Eve as the devastating wildfires continued to burn – turning daylight into an eerie red. Aircraft including Black Hawks and Chinooks are being brought in to evacuate people from coastal areas, with many already taking to boats to escape the inferno. It comes as the death toll from the fires continue to climb with a third volunteer firefighter, 28-year-old Samuel McPaul, killed while battling a fire in Green Valley. It’s believed that the 10-tonne fire truck the father-to-be was inside rolled after being hit by “fire tornado”.’ – The Sun

  • We’ve just lived through the best decade in history, and growing efficiency helps the environment – Matt Ridley, The Sun
  • Garlic could reduce cows’ emissions – The Times
  • York to ban private cars – The Guardian

News in Brief

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