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Tax rise for 25 million to pay for social care

“Boris Johnson is next week expected to announce a manifesto-breaking tax hike to pay for the biggest overhaul in social care in a generation and bring down NHS waiting lists. In a major political gamble, the Prime Minister will reveal a rise in National Insurance that will see around 25 million people pay extra tax. In return, he will promise to cap the amount an individual will ever pay in social care costs – possibly at between £60,000 and £80,000 – and better protect people from having to sell their homes to meet care bills. However, Number 10 and the Treasury remain at loggerheads about how big the tax rise should be as negotiations on the specifics continue despite months of planning.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Cabinet split over plans – The Times
  • Johnson pushed for even bigger crippling hike – Daily Express
  • Prime Minister expected to unveil plan to fix social care in days – The Sun
  • Find out how much extra you’ll pay – Daily Telegraph

Fraser Nelson: Boris promised not to raise taxes. So why betray his manifesto now?

“If cash was the simple answer to education, then schools with the highest per-pupil funding would have the best results. Studies show this relationship just doesn’t exist in England (where per-pupil funding has varied wildly) and OECD studies show the same lack of relationship in the developed world. School leadership, culture, ethos, curriculum: all of this matters. But it’s something money can’t buy. Scotland offers perhaps the biggest cautionary tale in the limitations of extra cash. Its education spending, per person, is an almighty 28 per cent higher than England’s. Yet pupil attainment is lower, with teenagers less likely to make it to university (especially if they are poor). It is a national scandal. Why should all this be so, if cash works?” – Daily Telegraph

  • Sunak has strong fiscal cards waiting to be played – Chris Giles, FT

Raab hits back as Wallace says he knew ‘game was up’ in July

“Dominic Raab has hit back at his cabinet colleague Ben Wallace’s assertion that he knew the “game was up” in Afghanistan by July, escalating the tensions over intelligence failures between the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence. The defence secretary made several pointed comments in an interview on Thursday, where he contrasted his department’s handling of the Afghanistan crisis with that of Raab’s embattled Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. Labour called for an end to “unseemly infighting at the top of government” and said ministers should be less focused on trying to hang on to their jobs. Wallace said he first thought that “the game was up” in Afghanistan and the western-backed government would fall “back in July” – and that plans to remove British diplomats, Afghan interpreters and others had to be accelerated.” – The Guardian

  • Johnson insists the risk of rapid Afghanistan collapse was clear – The Times
  • Role of UK’s National Security Council in Afghan crisis questioned – FT
  • Britain won’t recognise Islamic Emirate for the foreseeable future, says Raab – The Sun

More:

  • Taliban declare China their closest ally – Daily Telegraph
  • US vehicles for Afghan forces taken to Tehran in new blow for Biden – The Times

>Today:

>Yesterday:

Afghan refugees to be taught about British values and culture

“Afghan refugees will be taught about British values, culture and civic duties under plans for a new integration scheme, The Times has learnt. Ministers want to emulate Italy, France and Germany, where newcomers are given hundreds of hours of language lessons, civic training classes and culture passes for museums and galleries. All new arrivals will be expected to enter a comprehensive programme to replace the patchwork of policies overseen by different Whitehall departments and local councils. The move comes as the UK offered a £30 million aid package for people who have “left everything behind” and fled Afghanistan for neighbouring countries. Government sources said they were intending to use the two resettlement schemes for Afghans fleeing the Taliban to test the plans. The package will offer an “enhanced level of English-language training”, more generous than any previous scheme, ministers have said.” – The Times

  • Home Office spent nearly £600,000 on deportation flights that never took off – Daily Telegraph
  • Benefits ban spells ‘destitution’ for migrants, says think-tank – FT

Williamson backs Covid jabs for 12-year-olds

“Gavin Williamson today piled pressure on the Government’s vaccine advisory panel to sign off on plans to jab children as young as 12 against Covid. During a round of interviews this morning, the Education Secretary said he ‘very much hoped’ the group would come down in favour of routinely inoculating youngsters aged 12 to 15. He suggested the delayed decision was making parents anxious about sending their children back to classrooms this week after the summer break. ‘I think parents would find it deeply reassuring to have a choice of whether their children should have a vaccine or not,’ he told BBC Breakfast. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) — an independent body which advises No10 on the Covid jab roll-out — is still weighing up the risks and benefits of vaccinating children.” – Daily Mail

  • Education Secretary ‘very confident’ schools won’t have to bring back class bubbles and face masks this winter – The Sun
  • UK decision on Covid jabs for children expected imminently – The Guardian

More:

  • Sturgeon accused of overseeing ‘shambolic’ vaccine passport plan… – Daily Telegraph
  • …but ‘spineless’ Greens will back it – Daily Express

>Today: ToryDiary: The race for booster jabs

Top A-level exam pupils could be given new A** grade

“A new grade of A** could be introduced at A-level, the exams regulator has suggested. Ofqual intends to run focus groups on how grades will be allocated next year. Far more teenagers achieved the top grades this year after teacher assessments were used instead of exams, and last year when an algorithm moderating results was scrapped. It meant almost 45 per cent of A-levels were graded at A* or A this summer, and 19 per cent at A*. Experts are now trying to decide how to return to normality without penalising any particular year group. Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, has spoken about a “glide path” back to more normal A-levels rather than a sudden change to grade boundaries next year, which would see far fewer school-leavers achieving the top grades. Experts are now trying to decide how to return to normality without penalising any particular year group.” – The Times

Dognapping to be made criminal offence with prison sentence

“A new criminal offence of pet abduction is to be introduced following a surge in thefts during the pandemic, as the government looks to crackdown on offenders. The new offence will recognise animals as companions and as sentient beings, rather than solely as property, as the law currently does. Justice secretary Robert Buckland said the changes would better reflect “full impact” of pet theft. “I think the message is going out loud and clear that this is a serious matter,” the cabinet minister told BBC Breakfast. Mr Buckland added: “I felt theft wasn’t an adequate way to described the impact of this particular crime on owners and indeed the pets themselves. It’s important that we work really hard on the way these offences are detected and investigated.” It follows the recommendation from the government’s Pet Theft Taskforce, launched in May in response to skyrocketing rates of pet abduction during the pandemic.” – The Independent

  • Patel seeks clampdown on laughing gas as party drug – The Times

UK proposal to rewrite section of Brexit deal wins lawyers’ backing

“Prominent EU legal experts have backed the British government’s demand to rewrite a controversial section of the Brexit withdrawal agreement that gives Brussels potentially sweeping powers over UK state-aid decisions.  The intervention by George Peretz QC of Monckton Chambers and James Webber of Shearman & Sterling supports arguments made in July by Cabinet Office minister Lord David Frost that article 10 of the Northern Ireland protocol was now “redundant” and should be removed. Expunging article 10 has long been a target of Brexiters in the Conservative party because it requires the UK government to refer any state-subsidy decision that might have an impact on goods trade between Northern Ireland and the EU for approval to the European Commission. Frost demanded its removal alongside other sweeping proposed changes to the Northern Ireland protocol, which outlines post-Brexit trading arrangements for the region and took effect in January.” – FT

Tory MSP apologises after accusing Sturgeon of being anti-English

“A Tory MSP has apologised to Nicola Sturgeon for accusing her of being anti-English after Holyrood’s presiding officer warned that she would be punished if she refused to do so. Ms Sturgeon was responding to a question in the chamber on anti-Irish racism, saying she considered Scotland to be home to anyone living there. Tess White interjected with words to the effect of “except the English”. Ms Sturgeon said she was “deeply offended” and “aggrieved” that any MSP would make such an “unacceptable” comment, adding that she planned to raise the matter with the presiding officer after First Minister’s Questions concluded. It is understood Ms White, elected in May’s Holyrood election, decided to apologise and withdraw the remark. But an official representing Alison Johnstone, the presiding officer, came to her office shortly after First Minister’s Questions to make clear there would be “repercussions” if she refused.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: If the DUP suffer an electoral collapse, it could bring Stormont grinding to a halt – again

Labour says Corbyn can attend party conference

“Jeremy Corbyn will be granted a pass to Labour’s conference in Brighton later this month and will be free to address fringe meetings despite currently sitting as an independent MP, a party spokesperson has said. The former leader, who had the whip suspended by Keir Starmer last year, has applied for a conference pass and accepted invitations to speak at several events, the Guardian understands. Amid a growing row about whether Corbyn should be allowed to attend, a spokesperson said: “He’s definitely not barred: of course he will be getting a conference pass.” The last time Corbyn attended Labour conference in 2019 – also in Brighton – it was as party leader, when the event was curtailed after the supreme court struck down Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament.” – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • The SNP’s four-day week gimmick is just the latest attempt to create a tartan utopia – Tom Harris, CapX
  • When Labour believed in Brexit – Richard Johnson, UnHerd
  • The fight for the future of the Church of England – Theo Hobson, The Spectator
  • Appeasing lawlessness – Owen Polley, The Spectator

And finally… Cummings sets sights on Biden in ‘blueprint for US’

“Dominic Cummings has set out a blueprint to take over US politics and is appealing for cash from Silicon Valley billionaires to find a candidate to beat President Biden. Writing on his subscribers-only blog on the platform Substack, Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser said that a “tiny and cheap” investment of £1.5 million to £2 million from venture capitalists could beat Donald Trump in Republican Party primaries and produce a president who would abolish the Pentagon and much of the federal government. Pointing to his takeover of British politics, Cummings argued that it was possible for a small team to capture a large party to enact radical reform of government. He insisted that he was not the person to lead the team, suggesting American bloggers he admires. He advised campaign staff to roam swing states living in pickup trucks.” – The Times