Johnson to begin biggest overhaul of the planning system since the Second World War

“New homes, hospitals, schools, shops and offices will be given an automatic “permission in principle” in swathes of the country, under Boris Johnson’s plan for the biggest overhaul of the planning system since the Second World War. The Prime Minister is preparing to slash red tape to produce “simpler, faster” processes as part of a “once in a generation” reform of the system. It will see the entire country split up into three types of land: areas designated for “growth”, and those earmarked for “renewal” or “protection”. Writing in the Telegraph, Robert Jenrick, the Housing Secretary, describes the country’s planning system as “complex and slow”.” – Sunday Telegraph

Jenrick: Radical and necessary reforms to our planning system will get Britain building

“During lockdown many readers will have spent more time at home than ever before; a home can be a haven, that provides financial security, roots in a community and a place that a family can call their own. But our country’s outdated and cumbersome planning system has contributed to a generational divide between those who own property and those who don’t. Half as many 16-34 year olds own their own homes, compared to those aged 35-64. While house prices have soared since the Millennium, with England seeing an increase at one of the fastest rates in Europe, our complex and slow planning system has been a barrier to building homes which are affordable, where families want to raise children and build their lives.” – Daily Telegraph

Conservative ex-minister arrested over rape

“A former minister has been arrested after a woman in her twenties accused him of rape, sexual assault and coercive control. The Conservative MP was taken into custody early on Saturday and was still in a police station in east London by late afternoon. The complainant, a former parliamentary employee, accuses him of abuse during a relationship last year. She alleges that the MP assaulted her, forced her to have sex and left her so traumatised that she had to go to hospital. The Metropolitan police said they had launched an investigation. They said: “On Friday, 31 July, the Metropolitan police service received allegations relating to four separate incidents involving allegations of sexual offences and assault.”” – The Sunday Times

> Yesterday:

“Rogue SAS Afghanistan execution squad” exposed by email trail

“Incendiary documentary evidence has emerged in a British court in which allegations are made about a “rogue” SAS unit accused of executing civilians in Afghanistan. The evidence had been withheld from earlier proceedings of the legal case, prompting a judge to demand a full explanation from Ben Wallace, the defence secretary. The cache of emails, notes and reports from inside the SAS — the like of which has never been seen before — reveal that special forces commanders were highly concerned about the killing of more than 33 people in the space of three months during night raids on their homes. There was a particular pattern in which men were captured and then killed when the SAS sent them back into their houses at gunpoint. The Sunday Times has pieced together the disturbing evidence, which raises serious questions about whether war crimes have been covered up.” – The Sunday Times

Coronavirus 1) Millions of over 50s could be told to stay at home and shield

“Boris Johnson has ordered officials to draw up “nuclear” plans to prevent another nationwide lockdown, which are expected to mean that millions more people over the age of 50 will be asked to stay at home if local crackdowns like the one in the northwest last week fail to curb a second wave of the coronavirus. The prime minister convened a war gaming exercise last Wednesday in No 10 that could also pave the way for draconian travel restrictions in and out of London and at Britain’s airports if the virus flares up in the capital. When the prime minister paused the lifting of the lockdown last week he compared the prospect of a full national lockdown to a “nuclear deterrent” that should be used only as a last resort.” – The Sunday Times

  • People aged between 50 and 70 would be given personalised risk ratings – Daily Mail
  • More people dying of bowel cancer than Coronavirus, statistics show – Mail on Sunday
  • WHO disease detective warns against return to national lockdowns – Daily Telegraph
  • Bradford’s Eid celebrations cancelled after “every street” has a death – Sunday Times

Coronavirus 2) Track and trace fails in 50 per cent of “easiest” cases

“The government’s £10bn contact-tracing programme failed to reach almost half the contacts named by infected patients in “non-complex” cases — including people living under the same roof. The outsourcing giants Serco and Sitel are being paid £192m to provide 18,500 call handlers who are responsible for tracing non-complex contacts referred to them. “Non-complex” cases, such as when the infected person came into contact with a friend, are dealt with by the two firms, while “complex” ones involving a potential outbreak in a school or workplace are referred to experienced Public Health England teams.” – The Sunday Times

  • Antibody coronavirus tests fail to work for a large number of people – because they only have a mild infection – Mail Online
  • Northern England witnessing “last ripples” but not a second wave – Sunday Telegraph
  • Hairdressers might be passing on Covid to customers because of “inadequate” visors, ministers warned – Sunday Telegraph

Coronavirus 3) Ministers “considering” a “part-time rota system” for schools in September

“Downing Street has moved quickly to try to reassure exasperated parents that schools will open full-time again in the autumn – despite reports that Ministers were considering introducing a ‘part-time rota system’ in September. Many working parents were left infuriated by mixed messages from Education Secretary Gavin Williamson over whether full-time schooling would return before the summer holidays, and now they’re left wondering whether it really will start again this year. Yesterday, it was claimed that there were ‘murmurings’ in Whitehall that schooling would still only be part-time when pupils returned from their holidays, as Ministers struggle to plan for what they fear will be a second wave of the virus. But a senior source said: ‘The Prime Minister is absolutely committed to the full re-opening of schools.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Pubs might have to close to control Coronavirus, says Sage adviser… – The Guardian
  • … as bar bosses warn ministers that new closures “will destroy jobs” – Mail on Sunday

Coronavirus 4) Care home testing pledge abandoned

“Ministers have abandoned a key pledge to test all people in care homes regularly throughout the summer, plunging the test and trace system into chaos. In a leaked memo sent to local authority chief executives on Friday night, Professor Jane Cummings — the government’s adult social care testing director — said “previously advised timelines for rolling out regular testing in care homes” were being torn up because of “unexpected delays”. Regular testing of almost two million residents and staff was supposed to have begun on July 6. But Cummings said it would not reach all care homes for older people and those with dementia until September 7.” – The Sunday Times

Truss “warned” she faces Tory rebellion unless she guarantees protections for British farmers

“Liz Truss has been told to beef up post-Brexit protection for British farmers or face a ‘brick wall’ of Tory rebellions. The International Trade Secretary was warned to expect a fresh revolt from Tory MPs unless she guaranteed ‘in law’ not to sell out the UK’s world-class food production standards in a trade deal with the US. The warning comes despite Ms Truss unveiling a commission last week to advise on forthcoming trade deals. It also follows repeated pledges from the Minister, a free trader, that she would never let down UK farmers by allowing in ‘unsafe’, cheaper US-made food – such as hormone-fed beef or chlorinated chicken – to secure a lucrative trade deal with Washington.” – Mail on Sunday

Gandhi to become first non-white person on British currency

“Mahatma Gandhi is set to be the first non-white person to feature on British money, the Telegraph can reveal. The Royal Mint Advisory Committee is working to create a coin featuring the anti-colonial campaigner, who led the protest against British rule in India. It comes as Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, on Saturday threw his support behind a campaign for BAME figures to feature on coins, saying their contribution to Britain should be recognised. In a letter to former Conservative candidate Zehra Zaidi, who is leading the We Too Built Britain campaign which has called for ethnic minority people to feature on currency, Mr Sunak said: “Black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities have made a profound contribution to the shared history of the United Kingdom.” – Daily Telegraph

Over-75s’ TV licence scheme in chaos as BBC demands to see bank statements

“The BBC’s move to make over-75s pay for television licences descended into farce yesterday after the website crashed as soon as the charge was introduced. Viewers trying to pay were greeted with a message that said the service was “temporarily unavailable while we update it for the changes to over-75 licences”, before the site was restored last night. The Labour peer Lord Foulkes of Cumnock described the situation as “farcical”. “We said this would be an administrative nightmare and that has proved to be the case,” he said. “It will also cause distress among some elderly people who are already worried about how they will pay.”” – The Sunday Times

The Met spent £1.5 million policing the Black Lives Matter and counter protests

“Black Lives Matter UK is to announce on Tuesday how it will spend the £1 million it has received in donations. A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign started by the activist group on June 2 has attracted more than 35,000 donations totalling £1.17 million. But BLM UK has revealed GoFund-Me is holding on to the money until it explains how it will be distributed. The group has been criticised for a far-Left policy agenda, which includes tearing down capitalism and abolishing the police, and its lack of transparency. Beyond founding member Joshua Virasami, 30, little is known of the identities of its ‘core’ leadership.” – Mail on Sunday

Carrie Symonds “stopped” fiancé Boris Johnson ditching transgender reforms, say Tory MPs

“Boris Johnson developed cold feet about scrapping reforms that would make it easier for people to change their legal gender after being influenced by his fiancee Carrie Symonds, Tory MPs have claimed. The Prime Minister had been expected to declare that the Government was abandoning moves to allow transgender people to change their birth certificates without a medical diagnosis. However, that announcement was postponed at the last minute earlier this month. It was a blow to Cabinet Minister Liz Truss, who has been fighting a ‘culture war’ within Whitehall to stop the rules being relaxed to allow biological males who identify as women to use female facilities such as lavatories.” – Mail on Sunday

Natalie Elphicke inherited Dover seat in “coup”

“Natalie Elphicke inherited her disgraced husband’s safe seat without an open selection contest in a move described by critics as a “House of Cards-style coup”. The Conservative MP ended her marriage of 25 years last week, only minutes after her husband, Charlie, was convicted of three charges of sexual assault and was told he faced prison. He is the first MP to be convicted of sexual assault since 1962. Elphicke defended her husband for 2½ years after the allegations emerged. She had claimed the Tories threw her husband “to the wolves”, before ultimately securing the candidacy for Dover and Deal, the 12,278-majority seat he had represented since 2010.” – The Sunday Times

Taxpayers lose millions on Trainline ticket sales

“The newly nationalised railways are losing tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money by paying the Trainline booking service up to 9% commission. Under the terms of the emergency state support at the start of the pandemic, all revenues generated by train companies go to the government, but this does not apply to commissions paid to Trainline. When a passenger books a ticket via Trainline, the Treasury receives less than if the passenger had booked direct with the rail operator. The revelation will put Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, under pressure to renegotiate its fees as he prepares to extend support for the railways beyond the current six-month deal. Industry sources expect emergency measures to stay in place until September 2022.” – The Sunday Times

Brexit peer Claire Fox still wants to abolish Lords

“Just 11 months ago, Claire Fox was still expressing her opposition to the House of Lords. Now, the former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), who has long bemoaned the unelected elites of the upper chamber, is set to don an ermine gown, one of the 36 new peers named by the government on Friday. Even on a controversial list, Fox stands out. She has moved from the RCP via the BBC to the Brexit Party, and will now become a non-affiliated peer. She said yesterday that she still wanted the Lords abolished, but would now make that case from inside the chamber.” – The Sunday Times


Unite sounds warning over Labour antisemitism payouts

“Labour’s biggest union backer will review its political donations in light of Keir Starmer’s decision to pay damages to ex-staffers who claimed the party had not dealt with antisemitism, its general secretary has warned. In an interview with the Observer, Unite leader Len McCluskey said there was “no doubt” the union’s ruling executive would be demanding a review of the millions it donates to the Labour party in the wake of the six-figure settlements. “It’s an abuse of members’ money,” he said. “A lot of it is Unite’s money and I’m already being asked all kinds of questions by my executive.”” – The Guardian

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon head for new showdown

“Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, is heading for a showdown with her former boss Alex Salmond, who is said to be prepared to release documents pointing to a conspiracy against him. The ex-SNP leader was acquitted of sexual assault charges in a trial earlier this year. Sturgeon is now set to testify under oath in a parliamentary inquiry into her administration’s flawed complaints procedures, which led to the prosecution. Sturgeon will be pressed on what she knew and when about complaints made against Salmond, whom she served as deputy first minister from 2007 to 2014.” – The Sunday Times

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