Sunak ‘bows to Tory critics’ with jobs bailout for Covid-hit firms

“Rishi Sunak will pledge today to pick up a greater share of the wages of people forced to work part-time by Covid-19. The chancellor will move to calm a revolt by Tory MPs and councillors by bolstering the replacement to the furlough scheme, which ends next week. He will tweak the job support scheme announced in his so-called winter economy plan last month, which is aimed at helping businesses that are open but subject to restrictions. There has been criticism that the scheme does not do enough to encourage companies to keep workers on shorter hours. Presently staff have to work at least a third of their hours, which the company pays them for. The government picks up another third and the remaining third is lost. Mr Sunak will today promise firms that the government will pick up a greater proportion of cash.” – The Times

  • Chancellor to pledge extra help for pubs and restaurants in Tier 2 areas – Daily Telegraph
  • Failure to act on Covid ‘circuit breaker’ will cost billions, claims Labour – The Guardian
  • Government borrowing balloons to £1bn a day – Daily Mail


  • Shelved UK spending review provokes cabinet unrest – FT
  • Defence Secretary warns Russia and China won’t pause attacks while Sunak sorts economy – The Sun


  • To be Prime Minister, Sunak must dare to be unpopular – Iain Martin, The Times
  • It’s the young who will have to pay – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • Aggrieved young are targets for populists – David Aaronovitch, The Times

>Yesterday: Alex Morton in Think Tanks: How Sunak can save £30 billion a year

‘Rule breaker’ Cummings pushed for tougher UK Covid fines

“Boris Johnson’s most senior political adviser, Dominic Cummings, was one of the leading advocates of tougher fines for breaches of Covid-19 restrictions introduced in the summer, despite claims he flouted England’s lockdown rules during the first wave of the virus. According to two people with knowledge of the discussions, Mr Cummings pushed hard for higher fines when meetings were being held between government departments and within Downing Street to determine the level of the punishments. One colleague of Mr Cummings said the prime minister’s aide was the most “hawkish” in meetings held to discuss new Covid-19 regulations in the run-up to new quarantine rules, introduced in early June, and again ahead of a batch of tough new curbs in September.” – FT

  • Police will not fine people over ‘confusing’ new Covid-19 rules – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: PMQs sketch: Johnson may have no right to feel confident, but for some reason he does

Johnson rules out half-term circuit breaker lockdown ‘for good’

“Boris Johnson ruled out a half-term circuit breaker for good yesterday as he accused Labour of trying to “turn the lights out” with a national lockdown. He stood firm after Sir Keir Starmer again insisted on the short break despite medics saying it would not work. Hours earlier, an expert warned MPs of tens of thousands of deaths if Britain stuck with the PM’s three-tier system. But the PM said it would be wrong to shut down the whole country when infection rates in South West England and parts of the South East are minuscule compared with the North. His decision to stick by his regional approach appeared vindicated when Nicola Sturgeon extended Scotland’s circuit breaker after figures revealed it failed to quash Scotland’s second wave.” – The Sun

  • Letting the young go back to normal would be a disaster, says Sage – The Times
  • Warning of tens of thousands of deaths in England from Covid-19 second wave – The Guardian
  • Lockdowns ‘kill more Britons than they save’, claim leading economists – Daily Mail


  • Prime Minister forced to ditch public spending master plan – FT
  • Scottish pubs and restaurants ‘sacrificed’ by Sturgeon after u-turn – Daily Telegraph


Law to ban carers from multiple sites as fears grow over outbreaks among elderly

Staff will be banned from working in more than one care home in an attempt to halt the spread of coronavirus. The Telegraph understands the Government is drawing up legislation that will make it illegal for care homes to employ staff working at multiple sites. It follows concerns repeatedly expressed by Government scientists that outbreaks within the sector are “seeding” infections across whole communities, with agency workers singled out. But care home chiefs warned that the ban could backfire, forcing some homes to close entirely amid widespread staff shortages. The sector is heavily dependent on agency workers, with a quarter of staff on zero-hours contracts… Last week, the care minister Helen Whately said there was evidence in April that outbreaks were being fuelled by staff working in multiple homes.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Social care on brink of collapse as it faces £7bn-a-year shortfall – The Times


  • We can tackle this social care crisis… if the Treasury has the courage – Jeremy Hunt MP, Daily Mail

Burnham accused of ‘showboating’ over Greater Manchester funding deal

“Andy Burnham has been accused of “showboating” over the Greater Manchester funding deal as it was forced into Tier 3 restrictions. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick claimed the Mayor put on a show of “finding out” the Government would not cave to his financial demands on live TV but he had actually been told on the phone two hours before. Mr Burnham blew up a deal with the Government after he refused to accept an offer of £60million to help Manchester cope with Tier 3 restrictions. He wouldn’t budge any lower than £65million, but was angling for as much as £95million. During a live press conference yesterday, Mr Burnham was shown a message by another local leader saying Manchester would only receive No10’s initial offer of £22million after talks collapsed and Boris Johnson forced the city into Tier 3 restrictions.” – The Sun

  • Manchester young Tory hits out at Johnson over Covid restrictions – The Guardian


  • Rayner apologises after branding Tory MP ‘scum’ in Parliament – The Times


Christopher Snowdon: How come it’s the people with the least to lose who keep calling for more lockdown?

“Being furloughed during the sunniest spring on record was more agreeable to those who had a large garden than to those who were stuck in a tower block with an abusive partner. The lockdown greatly exacerbated equalities in housing, employment and personal circumstances. White collar managers on Zoom meetings were waited on by delivery drivers, shop assistants and other blue collar workers for whom lockdown never happened. People working in precarious, low-paid jobs bore the brunt, socially and economically, particularly when the schools were closed. A study published this week found that 43 per cent of working-class women saw their hours cut to zero in April compared to just 20 per cent of women in professional or managerial roles.” – The Sun

  • Manchester should mark the beginning of the end for senseless lockdown mania – Liam Halligan, Daily Telegraph
  • Why blustering Boris had to call grandstanding Andy’s bluff – Simon Walters, Daily Mail
  • Johnson’s refusal to seek compromise will be his undoing – Martin Kettle, The Guardian


  • Starmer railed against Tier 3 hardships, but wants to impose them on everyone – The Sun

>Yesterday: Toby Williams in Comment: Lockdown has presented huge challenges for the children of alcoholics. Here’s how we can help.

Brexit trade negotiations to restart after Barnier says deal ‘within reach’

“A Brexit trade deal could be done in a fortnight after the European Union caved to British conditions in a “significant” shift that led to negotiations being restarted in London on Thursday. Michel Barnier said the new free trade agreement “was in reach” and UK sources said it could be struck in “two to three weeks”. Both sides have agreed a schedule of daily, intensive talks up to the EU’s deadline at the end of this month. Lord Frost was convinced Brussels was bringing a “fundamental” change of approach to the stalled negotiations after Mr Barnier gave a conciliatory speech in the European Parliament in Brussels… Mr Barnier’s explicit admission that the EU, as well as the UK, would have to compromise on its red lines and that British sovereignty would be respected brought the breakthrough.” – Daily Telegraph

  • ‘Prepare now’ says Malthouse as Brexit deal talks face total collapse – Daily Express
  • EU carmakers call on Brussels to ‘reconsider’ Brexit stance – FT
  • UK’s foreign policy ‘adrift’, says select committee report – The Guardian

Home Office:

  • Patel rejects her own immigration advisers’ calls to open Britain’s borders to cheap foreign brickies after Brexit – The Sun
  • Foreign rough sleepers face deportation from UK post-Brexit – The Guardian


  • Boris is right to stand up to EU bullies – Andrea Leadsom MP, Daily Express

MPs ‘kick out’ call to extend free meals

“A war of words between Marcus Rashford and a Conservative MP has ended in defeat for the footballer after the Commons voted against extending free school meals over the holidays. Labour brought a motion to provide food vouchers for poorer families until Easter but it was defeated by 322-261. Rashford wrote on Twitter: “A significant number of children are going to bed tonight not only hungry but feeling like they do not matter because of comments that have been made today. “I don’t have the education of a politician but I have a social education having lived through this and having spent time with the families and children most affected.” The Manchester United striker had criticised Ben Bradley, the MP for Mansfield, after he said that free school meals were “freebies” that increased “dependency on the state”.” – The Times

  • Footballer warns MPs not to ‘turn a blind eye’ to vulnerable children – The Sun

>Yesterday: Interviews: Goodhart says Johnson understands better than Starmer that a graduate meritocracy alienates manual workers

Gove pledges to reset relations with devolved capitals

“Boris Johnson’s government is to seek to patch up its working relationship with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland after a bruising period in which they have clashed over the handling of the coronavirus crisis. Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, told the Financial Times that a review of intergovernmental structures would be accelerated in order to put relations between London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast on a “firmer basis”. Other steps will include more regular meetings of UK ministers with their counterparts from the devolved administrations, with all sides able to place items on the agenda. This has been a key demand from the Welsh administration in particular. However the changes — described by one UK government insider as institutional rather than statutory — are likely to stop short of granting significant new powers to the devolved administrations.” – FT

  • Sturgeon extends Scotland’s circuit-breaker and booze ban for another week – The Sun

>Yesterday: Matt Smith in Comment: An unenforceable travel ban. No NHS transmission data. 30,000 lost jobs. But where is the media scrutiny of Labour in Wales?

London faces cuts to transport services amid funding battle

“The mayor of London has warned the government that train and bus services will be slashed if ministers fail to provide £4.9bn over the next 18 months in a rescue package for the capital’s transport authority. Sadiq Khan has told the Department for Transport that he is prepared to plunge Transport for London into “section 114”, a process for public authorities that is the equivalent of a company going bust. That in turn would trigger strict spending restrictions and the withdrawal of many TfL services, according to allies of Mr Khan. Speaking on LBC radio on Wednesday, the mayor said: “If a deal isn’t done, TfL will have no choice but to reduce the services we provide to make sure we can pay our bills and that means fewer Tubes running, fewer buses running, fewer trams running, fewer Overground trains.” Fewer services mean buses and trains would be more crowded during the pandemic, he pointed out.” – FT

>Today: Shaun Bailey in Local Government: The Mayor of London should build up opportunity – rather than knock down statues

News in Brief:

  • Xi’s world: Covid has accelerated China’s rise – Rana Mitter, The Spectator
  • The UK has a vital role protecting the Blue Belt – Daniel Kawczynski MP, CapX
  • Local government is threatened and needing renewal – Nicholas Gardner, 1828
  • Is the Women’s Equality Party really for women? – Josephine Bartosch, The Critic
  • Wales has never been a nation – Polly Mackenzie, UnHerd