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Sunak 1) Chancellor will announce £2 billion jobs fund for the young

“Rishi Sunak will announce plans today to pay the wages of hundreds of thousands of young people on work placements for six months as he warns that they must not “bear the brunt” of the coronavirus crisis. The chancellor will use his summer economic update to publicise a £2 billion “kickstart” work placement scheme in which the state will cover the minimum wage for young workers, with employers able to top up pay packets. Each person will receive about £5,500 from the government over half a year, while businesses will receive £1,000 for taking them on.” – The Times

  • Tomorrow Sunak will phone to Britain’s big employers urging them to take young people on – FT
  • Chancellor will drop plan to make employees pay for Coronavirus tests – Daily Telegraph
  • Poor foreign language skills are costing the economy billions, warn academics – The Times
>Today:
>Yesterday:

Sunak 2) Stamp duty holiday to start

“Home buyers will  on Wednesday be offered an emergency stamp duty holiday as the centrepiece of the government’s coronavirus recovery plan to be unveiled by Rishi Sunak. The Chancellor is expected to raise the threshold for the tax and temporarily exempt the first £500,000 of any property price to boost the economy and save buyers up to £15,000 The move, which is part of a multi-billion pound package to revive the post-Covid economy and create thousands of jobs, will benefit seven out of ten house buyers in England and Northern Ireland. It will come into effect immediately.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Revelation about Chancellor’s plans has “sparked anger” and “a leak inquiry is underway” – Daily Mail
  • Government infrastructure adviser calls for huge council house expansion  – The Times
  • Ministers to press ahead with liberal licensing laws to boost economy – Daily Telegraph

Sunak 3) Plans to relocate civil servants to the north

“Lord Agnew of Oulton, the Cabinet Office minister charged with overseeing the relocation of civil servants, said that decisions should be made “in the places that the people are affected”. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, is expected to announce further plans to relocate civil servants to the north of England in his budget today. Lord Agnew told the public administration and constitutional affairs committee yesterday: “One of my jobs is to get civil servants out of London over the next five years. I want to see decision-making made in the places that the people are affected.” – The Times

Daniel Finkelstein: There’s a flaw at the heart of Johnson’s big idea

“In 1998 Richard Florida met Gary Gates in an encounter he later described as a “real stunner”. And the results of that meeting lead me, as Rishi Sunak gets ready to deliver his statement on jobs today, to ask: is the idea that underpins the government’s entire economic policy tenable? By the late 1990s Florida, an American urban theorist, believed that the conventional wisdom about cities was wrong. Planners thought that cities needed to attract companies “because companies create jobs and people go where the jobs go”. This led to the construction of high-tech office parks, offering deals to companies to relocate and building vast convention centres.” – The Times

Johnson under pressure to apologise to care homes…

“Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to apologise for accusing care homes of failing to follow proper coronavirus procedures, with unions calling it “an insult” and Labour accusing the prime minister of “trying to shift the blame” for his own failures. After Johnson’s remarks prompted outrage from the care sector, both Downing Street and the health secretary, Matt Hancock, brushed aside calls for an apology, insisting that the prime minister had been misunderstood. During a visit on Monday, Johnson said coronavirus had highlighted issues with the care sector, adding: “We discovered too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have, but we’re learning lessons the whole time.”” – The Guardian

Coronavirus 1) … as dozens of them are investigated over Covid safety fears

“Dozens of care homes have been urgently investigated over “serious concerns” that staff and residents were left dangerously exposed to coronavirus, The Telegraph can disclose. During lockdown, urgent inspections were carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on around 50 homes where managers allegedly failed to follow safety procedures around coronavirus. Meanwhile, providers are now facing scores of compensation claims from families who blame negligence for the deaths of loved ones, it can be revealed. It comes after Boris Johnson provoked a major backlash when he suggested “too many” care homes did not properly follow procedures during the coronavirus pandemic.” – Daily Telegraph

  • 16 care homes given £1,000 to take Covid-positive hospital patients – Birmingham Live

Coronavirus 2) Hunt – SAGE gave “wrong” advice at start of pandemic

“Jeremy Hunt, the UK’s longest-serving health secretary, has accused the government’s scientific advisers of giving ministers the “wrong” advice in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to the FT’s Payne’s Politics podcast, Mr Hunt — who now chairs the House of Commons health select committee — said that the scientific advisory group on emergencies (Sage) had failed to propose a test and trace strategy for combating the spread of disease. Such strategies have now been adopted in many countries, including the UK. The prime minister put the country into lockdown on March 23 and restrictions have been eased gradually over the past month as the NHS introduced a test and trace scheme. Mr Hunt, who oversaw the health service from 2012 to 2018, said this strategy should have been pursued from the start.” – FT

Coronavirus 3) Brain inflammation sparks fear among specialists

“A rare form of brain inflammation is one of several neurological disorders that appear to be tied to coronavirus, researchers have said. Specialists in London said they had seen a “concerning increase” in cases of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (Adem), which involves a swelling of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include weakness in the arms or legs, unsteadiness and drowsiness. Nine cases were identified in Greater London in five weeks, all in adult patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus. The condition usually affects children the most; that number of adult cases would usually be expected over five months.” – The Times

  • One in four parents to keep children at home despite September fines – The Times
  • Free parking ends for NHS staff – Daily Mail

Coronavirus 4) Leicester’s coronavirus infection rate drops to early June level

“Leicester’s rate of new Covid-19 cases has dropped to a level last seen nearly a month ago, new figures suggest. The equivalent of 106.4 cases per 100,000 people were detected in the city in the seven days to July 4, according to the latest data published by NHS Digital. This is the lowest level since 101.1 cases per 100,000 were recorded in the seven days to June 11. The rate peaked in the seven days to June 25, when 159.1 cases per 100,000 were recorded. Some parts of the country currently have no new cases per 100,000 population, including Bath and North East Somerset, the City of London and Portsmouth.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Three pubs in England close doors againFT
>Today:

Coronavirus 5) Hancock – Another review underway for face masks

“Matt Hancock today revealed the government will look again at whether people in England should wear face coverings or masks while out in public. Speaking in the House of Commons, the Health Secretary replied ‘yes’ when asked whether officials would reconsider the existing advice in England. Current rules say people must wear a covering over their nose and mouth when they are on public transport — but they aren’t mandatory anywhere else. In many countries, and increasingly so in Europe, people must wear them all the time when out in public. But Britain has resisted bringing in a wider policy. Scotland has its own rules and coverings are compulsory in shops there, while Wales and Northern Ireland have the same rule as England but Welsh ministers are ‘actively considering’ changing it.” – Daily Mail

Coronavirus worldwide:
  • Over 100 “red listed” countries have lower Covid rates than destinations approved by Government – Daily Telegraph
  • 725,000 downloads of Ireland’s new contact-tracing app – The Irish Times
  • Australia reveals plans to limit arrivals into the country – FT
  • Bangladesh flight to Italy with 36 cases was “viral bomb” – The Times
  • Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus after dismissing it as a “little flu” – The Times
  • Virus on retreat in Spain despite flare-ups, says health chief – FT
  • Israel in dangerous place as virus infections surge – FT

Tories will not back “anti-Brexit” Mandelson for WTO leader, as Fox remains “in the frame”

“The British government has told Peter Mandelson it will not back him as a potential candidate to lead the World Trade Organization because of his anti-Brexit views, but Liam Fox, the Eurosceptic former Tory trade secretary, remained in the frame on Tuesday night. Lord Mandelson, a former EU trade commissioner and UK business secretary in the Labour government of Gordon Brown, might conceivably have secured some support from EU governments for the WTO’s top job given his previous role in Brussels. But the peer was abruptly told by Liz Truss, international trade secretary, on Monday that the British government would not back him because he was “not a Brexiter”.” – FT

Cummings to “drop in on Britain’s most secret defence installations”

Boris Johnson’s controversial adviser Dominic Cummings will tour some of Britain’s most highly classified national security sites as part of his plan to radically shake up the military amid a major turf war in Westminster over how Britain will defend itself in the future. According to internal correspondence obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age the Prime Minister’s top adviser requested visits to five classified sites including facilities that specialise in defence intelligence. Such are the high-stakes of the review, due for publication from September, that Defence Minister Ben Wallace expressly forbade ministry officials from talking to Number 10 or Cummings directly about the itinerary for his planned trip.” – The Sydney Morning Herald

Home Office will urge police to prosecute shoplifters who steal items less than £200

“The Home Office will write to police chiefs urging them to prosecute shoplifters who steal less than £200 of goods, in a bid to tackle violence against shopkeepers. The news comes as it was suggested supermarkets and convenience stores may be resorting to private prosecutions to pursue thefts after complaints they are being ignored by police. The move is the result of information provided by nearly 3,500 retailers, trade associations and unions which suggested abuse towards shop staff had increased, with a ‘significant number’ saying they did not report incidents to the police.” – Daily Mail

Government asked to apologise after health scandals report

“The government should offer an immediate and fulsome apology to victims of three separate healthcare scandals, a damning report says today. Parents had raised concerns about two drugs leaving children with lifelong disabilities, and women complained about mesh implants that caused debilitating pain. But their concerns were “dismissed, overlooked and ignored”, according to a review. The healthcare system moved at a “glacial” pace and was defensive when challenged over the implants, the epilepsy drug sodium valproate and hormonal pregnancy tests such as Primodos.” – The Times

China 1) China asks if British people would welcome three million HK immigrants

“China has demanded Downing Street ask the British people if they would welcome three million Hong Kong immigrants before allowing some citizens from the former colony to work and settle in the UK. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on No. 10 to ‘think twice’ before making a final call on an offer to help British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders relocate from the Far East. Boris Johnson last week unveiled firm plans for the country to take in up to three million Hong Kong residents in defiance of China’s draconian new clampdown on Hong Kong protesters. Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson from the Chinese foreign ministry, said at a press briefing today that the UK had better think twice and seek opinions from the British people.” – Daily Mail

  • Beijing’s role in nuclear power plants is “under review” – Daily Mail

China 2) Former diplomat “worked on China’s dirty tricks dossier”

“A former diplomat has revealed that he was a contributor to a controversial dossier on China’s alleged attempts to influence Britain’s elite. Charles Parton spent more than two decades of his diplomatic career in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, or in roles covering them. He is now a senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), and yesterday revealed his role in part of the 86-page report China’s Elite Capture. The dossier claims that Beijing uses influence tactics in the UK and has developed extensive links with politicians, businesspeople and academics to build a presence in Britain’s critical infrastructure.” – The Times

  • Osborne “linked to pro-China 48 Group Club” – The Times

Brexit 1) Barnier hints at access for City firms as Brexit talks resume

“Michel Barnier opened the door for City companies to access EU markets after Brexit as one-to-one negotiations with David Frost got under way in London. The prime minister’s chief Brexit negotiator invited Mr Barnier for dinner in Downing Street last night where he was served halibut — the largest flat fish caught in British waters. Today the two teams will meet in Whitehall for further rounds of informal talks designed to bridge the differences that stand in the way of a deal. Boris Johnson has said he wants to conclude an outline agreement by the end of the month but so far neither the UK nor the EU has moved substantially on the key areas of disagreement.” – The Times

Brexit 2) Edinburgh threatens to defy London on post-Brexit legislation

“The Scottish government has threatened to defy proposed UK legislation allowing Westminster unilaterally to set food and environmental standards, setting the stage for the biggest constitutional stand-off between London and Edinburgh since the 2016 Brexit referendum. Michael Russell, cabinet secretary for constitutional affairs, told the Financial Times that the Scottish National party government was prepared to fight in the courts over legislation that would give London unilateral control over the UK “internal market”. The bitter dispute over the Conservative UK government’s efforts to ensure it has a free hand in post-Brexit trade negotiations with other countries highlights the far-reaching constitutional implications of leaving the EU.” – FT

Britain will resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia

“Britain will resume its arms sales to Saudi Arabia despite fears that UK-made weapons could be used by Riyadh against civilians in Yemen. International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said a fresh analysis of alleged violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) involving Saudi air strikes in Yemen had concluded any breaches were ‘isolated incidents’. In a Commons written statement, she said the Saudis had a ‘genuine intent’ to comply with IHL and that military exports could resume. The decision – coming the day after the UK imposed sanctions on 20 Saudi nationals linked to the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi – has been condemned as ‘morally bankrupt’ by campaigners whose legal action forced the Government to halt arms sales to the Saudis in June 2019.” – Daily Mail

Armed forces must stamp out “laddish” culture, warns Chief of Defence Staff

“‘Laddish culture’ is driving out talented female and minority ethnic personnel from the Armed Forces, Britain’s most senior military officer has warned today. General Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said such culture needed stamping out and it was ‘simply unacceptable’ that they had so far failed to ‘move the dial’ on the issue. The comments come after a review last year concluded that the forces were led by a ‘pack of middle-aged white men’ resulting in unacceptable levels of bullying, sexism and racist behaviour. But Gen Carter has today promised a series of ‘really tough commitments’ to deliver change within the Armed Forces.” – Daily Mail

Umunna joins Edelman as head of ESG

“Former MP Chuka Umunna is to join communications company Edelman as executive director and head of environmental, social and governance consultancy, drawing a line under his turbulent political career.  The former frontbencher, once touted as a future Labour party leader, will be advising the capital markets and financial services arm of Edelman on topics such as audit, embedding ESG factors into decision-making and managing corporate transactions. “Whereas in politics you do the theoretical side, I wanted to roll my sleeves up and get involved at the coalface,” Mr Umunna told the FT. “I’m a capitalist but we need a different model for capitalism.”” – FT

Charlie Elphicke trial continues

“A former Conservative MP accused of sexually assaulting a woman while singing “I’m a naughty Tory” texted her a few days later to say that he had enjoyed himself and wanted to meet again, a court was told. The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed Charlie Elphicke had chased her around his home while his children were in bed and that she had run to another room and locked herself in. Days later, she told Southwark crown court, he texted her to say “something like, ‘I enjoyed the other night, we should do it again’. I was like ‘my God, no’. I was like 100 per cent no.”” – The Times

Ex-Labour MP faces prison over child abuse footage of baby

“A former MP and army officer is facing a jail sentence after he admitted making an indecent image of children as young as one. Eric Joyce, 59, of Worlingworth, Suffolk, pleaded guilty yesterday to possessing a film on an electronic device that depicted several children. He was the Labour MP for Falkirk between 2000 and 2012 and then sat as an independent until 2015. Joyce had spent 21 years in the army, rising to the rank of major. He was arrested in November 2018. Judge Emma Peters at Ipswich crown court said the single 51-second film “depicts a number of children”.” – The Times

News in brief:

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