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Food supply staff freed from Covid quarantine during pingdemic

“Supermarket depot workers and suppliers will be exempt from quarantine regardless of their vaccination status as ministers try to avoid food shortages amid mounting pressure over the Covid-19 “pingdemic”. Workers in 2,000 warehouses and supermarket distribution centres who are identified as contacts of people with coronavirus will be allowed to take daily tests at work instead of self-isolating. It represents a retreat by the government after Boris Johnson said that only a “very small” number of people would be allowed to use testing to avoid quarantine. Up to 10,000 staff are expected to qualify for the scheme. The change comes after supermarkets warning about food shortages and images of empty shelves left ministers urging people not to panic-buy.” – The Times

  • Johnson backs emergency plan to avoid disruption to UK food supplies – FT
  • Full list of workers exempt from self-isolation rules from today – The Sun
  • The ‘critical’ industries that could be exempt from pingdemic self-isolation – Daily Telegraph
  • Ellwood: we may have to call in the Army – The Times
  • Top firms demand an end to ping peril – Daily Mail
  • Public warned ‘don’t panic buy’ – The Sun

Public consent for test and trace in England at risk, says Hunt

“The government “risks losing social consent” for its test-and-trace programme if it does not immediately allow fully vaccinated people to avoid isolation, the former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said. His comments came as it was revealed that a record 618,903 people in England and Wales were sent self-isolation alerts in the week to 15 July. Conservative MPs were in open revolt on Thursday as reports and pictures emerged of empty supermarket shelves, blamed on the hundreds of thousands of people “pinged” or contacted by NHS test and trace and told to stay at home because of the rapidly rising number of Covid cases, which are at their highest level since January.” – The Guardian

  • Ministers urge public not to delete Covid app – FT

>Today: Raghib Ali in Comment: Systemic classism, not racism. Why the main factor in health and educational inequalities is deprivation, not race.

Tory MPs threaten conference boycott if they have to use vaccine passports

“A growing number of Conservative MPs are threatening to boycott this year’s party conference if they are forced to have vaccine passports as a condition of entry. Lockdown-sceptic Tories are incensed at suggestions that only people who are double jabbed with a Covid vaccine will be allowed into the gathering in Manchester in October. The news came as Cabinet ministers said there had been a big increase in over-18s coming forward for jabs after Boris Johnson threatened to make them a condition of entry at nightclubs from September… Tories on the party’s libertarian wing were spooked by the Mr Johnson’s announcement on Monday that he would change the law to require proof of two doses of a Covid vaccine for entry into nightclubs and “other venues where large crowds gather” by the end of September – just before the start of the conference.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Zahawi insists they are the way forward – The Times

More:

  • Forcing children to isolate is ‘needless’, Oxford University study says – Daily Mail

Police declare no confidence in Patel after wage freeze

“Rank and file officers have announced they have no confidence in Priti Patel, the home secretary, after the government froze police pay. The head of the Police Federation of England and Wales said the move was the “final straw” for officers and said they were angry with the government and would no longer support the pay body responsible for setting police wages. Patel confirmed yesterday that officers earning more than £24,000 would be affected by the freeze. Those earning less will be given an annual rise of £250… The federation’s announcement is humiliating for Patel, who has made investment in frontline policing a cornerstone of her tenure. A recruitment drive to replace 20,000 officers lost to austerity since 2010 was a flagship Conservative general election policy as the party moved to restore its image as the party of law and order.” – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The fall in rape prosecutions. What’s behind the statistics?

Planned national insurance hike to pay for social care opens split in Cabinet

“Plans to hike national insurance contributions to pay for social care have opened a split in the Cabinet. Kwasi Kwarteng claimed the move would break the Tories’ election manifesto pledge. The Business Secretary spoke out as anger erupted over the mooted £10billion raid on wages to pay for elderly care costs and to help clear the NHS backlog. Mr Kwarteng said that he believes a social care plan will come “by the autumn”… The Government was also on the backfoot after claims an NICs rise could be used to fund the three per cent pay rise for nurses. Furious nurses said the rise was not enough and did not rule out striking. Other public sector staff, such as teachers and police, will see only their lowest-paid get a boost in wages, putting ministers at war with most of the public sector.” – The Sun

  • NHS budget could increase to pay for doctors’ pay rise, Number 10 suggests – Daily Telegraph
  • Ministers force NHS England to cover part of three per cent staff pay rise – The Guardian

More:

  • Health Service shares English hospital data with dozens of companies – FT
  • Data watchdog chief ‘passionate’ about whistle-blowers despite raids to catch sources for Hancock story – The Sun

MPs’ pay rises could outstrip public sector under watchdog’s plans

“MPs could get pay rises above those of public sector workers from next year, according to plans set out by the independent expenses watchdog. The news comes in a week that tens of thousands of public sector workers across the country have seen their pay frozen, despite nurses receiving a three per cent rise. The proposal, from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), suggests it takes new powers “to vary the [annual pay] award below or above” public sector pay. A four-week consultation will lead to conclusions in the autumn and any announcement would come in the spring. Ipsa could have the new powers to set MPs’ pay in the 2022/23 financial year.” – Daily Telegraph

DUP threatens to stymie ‘unacceptable’ Brexit deal

“Northern Ireland ministers will unilaterally suspend checks on goods crossing into the province from Britain if the prime minister signs up to an “unacceptable” new Brexit deal, the leader of the DUP has warned. Sir Jeffrey Donaldson told The Times yesterday in his first newspaper interview since being elected head of the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland that the DUP was “not going to be in the business” of implementing the protocol if it continued to damage the province’s relationship with Britain. He also warned the Irish government that his party could suspend key parts of the peace agreement if a compromise could not be reached. His comments came as Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, rejected Boris Johnson’s call to renegotiate the deal on Northern Ireland after a phone call.” – The Times

  • Arrangements saw Ulster facing food shortages recently – Daily Telegraph
  • Northern Ireland set to lose access to 2,000 medicines – FT
  • Merkel snubs Johnson’s Brexit demands after call last night – Daily Express

More:

  • Ministers accused of ‘dodging’ tough trade-offs in post-Brexit trade deals – FT

>Yesterday:

Sharma urges Russia and China to act on climate change

“The man desperately trying to pull together ­leaders from around the globe to act now says there’s no time to waste — but adds that big polluters such as China, Russia and India must do their bit too, if the world is to avoid disaster. Alok Sharma, in charge of the global COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November, says it is the world’s last chance to keep 1.5 degrees of warming within reach, or risk landing future generations with a ­climate nightmare — and a huge bill to pay for the consequences. With the summit drawing nearer Mr Sharma revealed he hopes to visit China beforehand, and won’t shy away from heaping huge pressure on the big global ­emitters to cut their greenhouse gases.” – The Sun

  • Street asks Johnson to put him in charge of boiler replacement – The Sun

Comment:

  • Holyrood and Westminster must work together to save the planet – Ian Murray MP, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: Andrew Carter in Local Government: The Prime Minister’s net zero promise is brave but right

‘Whitewash’ claims after Greensill review finds no need for lobbying reform

“Boris Johnson has been accused of orchestrating a “whitewash” over the Greensill lobbying scandal after an official review defended the actions of David Cameron despite finding that Lex Greensill enjoyed “extraordinarily privileged” access to ministers. Nigel Boardman, a lawyer, said that lobbying was “vital for the proper functioning of democracy” as he revealed that employees of Greensill Capital contacted nine different departments in an effort to sell the firm’s supply chain finance products to government before the company collapsed this year. In his review, Boardman reserved only mild criticism for those involved in the lobbying scandal, saying that Cameron “could have been clearer” about his work for Greensill, an Australian financier. Labour said the report was a “classic Boris Johnson cover-up”.” – The Times

  • Cameron ‘understated’ his Greensill relationship during lobbying – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Richard Ekins in Comment: The Government’s judicial review legislation is welcome, but could go even further

English football requires independent regulator, says MP’s report

“A review has found that English football needs an independent regulator after the European Super League debacle when a breakaway competition backed by the country’s biggest clubs collapsed following strong backlash. In a letter to UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden, Tracey Crouch MP, who is leading a review into football governance, said “pre-emptive action” was required to stop the threat of an “existential crisis in the years to come” in the sport amid financial pressures due to the coronavirus pandemic. An independent body would address financial regulation, corporate governance and ownership, said Crouch, along with other requirements such as cost controls, “real time” financial monitoring and independent non-executive directors on club boards.” – FT

  • Rugby world cup in doubt as Australia and New Zealand pull out – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: David Skelton in Comment: The new snobbery. How football fans and Brexit voters were demonised as racists.

Starmer will not rule out alliance to defeat Tories

“Sir Keir Starmer has declined to rule out forming a pre-election coalition with other parties such as the Liberal Democrats before the next election. The Labour leader said that there was “a majority broadly against the Tories in the country” when he was asked about the prospect of forming a political pact with smaller parties. “We’ve got to do a lot more work,” he told the ITV podcast Calling Peston. “Obviously, going into the next general election . . . there will be a question of what we do. “There’s a majority broadly against the Tories in the country and we’ll have to see how we go into the next general election. But we’re rebuilding our party, putting out our arguments and going hell for leather for that election.” Privately, shadow cabinet ministers have taken heart from the Chesham and Amersham by-election on June 17, when the Lib Dems won the previously safe Tory seat with a majority of 8,028.” – The Times

  • Butler booted out of Commons for calling Johnson a ‘liar’ – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Rees-Mogg brands Labour a ‘party of people traffickers’

News in Brief:

  • Now what? The government’s Covid optimism is fading fast – Katy Balls, The Spectator
  • In a battle of values with China, getting good things built matters – Henry Hill, CapX
  • Cuba: BLM supports a brutal dictatorship – Noel Yaxley, The Critic
  • The Olympics deserve better heroes – Tom Holland, UnHerd