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Johnson ‘to break triple lock pension pledge’ for overhaul of social care

“Boris Johnson is expected to break two manifesto commitments on the same day next week by increasing national insurance to fund health and social care and limiting a rise in the state pension. The prime minister is facing criticism from cabinet ministers and Tory MPs for his plans to increase national insurance by a percentage point, raising £13 billion to overhaul social care and address NHS waiting lists. One cabinet minister has compared the triumvirate of Johnson, Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, and Sajid Javid, the health secretary, who are making the decision, to a “cabal”. The three men are working out the final details this weekend, with Johnson favouring a cap on individual care costs of £50,000 while Sunak wants a less generous £86,000. Javid has been pushing for a rise of more than one percentage point in national insurance to allow more funding.” – The Times

  • Ministers close to agreement… – FT
  • …but face backlash over proposal to hike National Insurance – Daily Mail
  • Economists fear proposals will drive down wages and raid billions from businesses – Daily Telegraph
  • Care workers in England leaving for Amazon and other better-paid jobs – The Guardian

Analysis:

  • Sunak set for battle as he tries to rein in spending – The Times
  • Gamble could be end of the Prime Minister’s career – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • Johnson has totally lost touch with conservatism – Camilla Tominey, Daily Telegraph
  • Brexit Britain has taken a sharp turn to the left – Matthew Parris, The Times

Johnson hatches plan to extend Covid powers for another six months

“Boris Johnson has sparked fresh fears of a winter lockdown with plans to extend “draconian” Covid powers for another six months. The PM will face a revolt from furious Tory backbenchers over his bid to keep the legal underpinning for restrictions. Raging rebels are worried scientists could bounce him into reimposing curbs if the NHS comes under strain this winter. No 10 insisted it would be “irresponsible” to let the powers expire. The vote on extending them is set to be the first major parliamentary battle after Parliament returns from recess next week. Boris wants to keep the Coronavirus Act enshrined in law until March 2022, when it will automatically lapse after two years in force. The legislation gives authorities and police sweeping powers to restrict public gatherings, close premises, and force people to self-isolate.” – The Sun

  • Tory MPs threaten rebellion over ‘crazy’ extension – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Our survey. Johnsons’s rating for dealing with Covid moves back up.

Child Covid vaccines rollout to be pushed through by ministers

“Plans to vaccinate millions of schoolchildren against Covid are expected to be given the green light despite the Government’s scientific advisers failing to recommend a mass rollout. On Friday, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) delivered its long-awaited verdict, saying the “margin of benefit” of jabbing 12 to 15-year-olds was “considered too small” and citing the low risk to healthy children from the virus. However, Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, has instructed Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, to look again and see whether there is a wider benefit to society from vaccinating youngsters. Mr Javid said he wanted Prof Whitty and the chief medical officers from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to “consider the vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds from a broader perspective”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Government expects Whitty to give green light – Daily Mail
  • Children set to receive Covid vaccine from early next week – The Times
  • Hunt says UK should ‘get on with Covid boosters’ and not wait for JCVI decision – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The race for booster jabs

Ministers preparing crackdown on second homes

“Ministers are preparing a triple clampdown on second homes amid warnings that they are squeezing the life out of holiday hotspots. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick is planning a range of reforms that will give councils powers to ban the creation of new second homes if they are deemed to be damaging to the local community. They would be able to impose such bans without having to first hold and win a local referendum on the issue. Councils will also get new rights to insist developers build more starter homes, instead of focusing on properties likely to be attractive to ‘incomers’ seeking a holiday home. And ministers are considering changing the rules to require owners of a second property to get planning permission before renting it out as a holiday let.” – Daily Mail

  • Housing developers ‘should be forced to plant rows of trees and flower beds immediately’ – The Sun

Housing Afghan refugees will cost £2.5billion over a decade, leaked government report says

“Housing Afghan refugees in Britain will cost £2.5billion over a decade, a leaked government report says. And it claims Rishi Sunak needs to stump up more cash to plug a multi-million black hole. Ministers are scrambling to find places for thousands of Afghans to resettle. Some 8,000 were evacuated from Kabul last month while a further 20,000 are expected over the next five years. The Government is giving local councils £10,500 per refugee but the Whitehall document seen by the BBC says this needs to be doubled. According to the paper – discussed by ministers on Wednesday – the Chancellor has earmarked £400million for the resettlement scheme. But it reckons this falls short by £557million and so more money is needed “urgently”. Boris Johnson wants to avoid putting up Afghan families in hotels to properly integrate them into the UK and “help them build a new life”.” – The Sun

  • Labour councils house eight times as many asylum seekers as Tory areas, analysis finds – The Guardian

>Today: Luke Stanley in Comment: Somewheres, Anywheres – and Somewhere Elses. How to help migrants learn English.

>Yesterday: David Burrowes in Comment: As we prepare to welcome Afghan refugees, we must learn the lessons of Syria

Urgent inquiry into UK’s chaotic handling of Afghanistan

“Senior MPs have launched a major inquiry into Britain’s “catastrophic” withdrawal from Afghanistan. In an escalation that could blow the bitter Whitehall blame-game wide open, the Foreign Affairs Committee today announced an investigation. It will drill down into the frantic pullout and likely see ministers and military chiefs summoned to Parliament. Boris Johnson has previously refused calls for a judge-led inquiry into the 20-year conflict, forcing MPs to take it into their own hands. Outlining the scope of their probe, the committee said: “This inquiry will examine the FCDO’s role in the withdrawal, including how effectively it planned and coordinated with other powers… Questions over embattled Dominic Raab’s luxury holiday to Crete as Kabul fell could be revisited.” – The Sun

  • We can’t help you, embassy staff told Britons trying to cross border – The Times
  • One out of 125 embassy guards promised help to leave Afghanistan made it to UK – The Guardian

More:

  • Foreign Secretary visits Islamabad for talks on Afghanistan co-operation – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘All these people abandoned. It’s a punch in the gut’ – Interview with Tom Tugendhat, The Times

>Yesterday: Profiles: The Foreign Office, damaged by the retreat from Kabul, but free at last of Blairite illusions

Weeds are just plants in the wrong place, environment minister tells gardeners

“Gardeners should stop trying to kill weeds and instead treat them as plants “in the wrong place”, an environment minister has said. Rebecca Pow, the Tory MP for Taunton Deane, also urged gardeners to cut the grass for only four weeks to bring all UK carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. A former TV reporter specialising in environmental issues, Ms Pow also told of her anxiety of driving to Cornwall in her electric car amid concerns that its charge might run out. Ms Pow’s comments came after Allegra Stratton, the Government’s spokesman on the upcoming Cop26 climate change conference, urged families not to rinse plates before putting them in the dishwasher. In an interview with The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast, which you can listen to using the audio player above, Ms Pow said: “A weed is just a plant in the wrong place. We have to open our minds to a different thought process on what weeds are.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Regulator to lower grid connection costs for EV charging – FT

>Yesterday: Christian Wakeford MP in Comment: Why we need a Cabinet Minister for Net Zero

Starmer headache as Corbyn vows to attend Labour conference

“Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to attend the Labour party conference in Brighton at the end of the month, prompting a headache for leader Keir Starmer on how to deal with his controversial predecessor. Corbyn was suspended from Labour in October 2020 for suggesting that concerns about anti-Semitism in the party had been exaggerated. A month later his suspension from the party was lifted but Starmer did not give him back the whip, meaning the former leader now sits as an independent MP. The fact that Corbyn remains a Labour member makes it hard for the leadership to prevent him attending the annual gathering of Britain’s main opposition party… The event will be an important moment for Starmer to seek to revive his flatlining leadership, as Labour remains behind the Tories in the polls, and set out his vision for the future.” – FT

  • Opposition urges Johnson to tackle rising gas bills – FT

SNP warned by NATO chief over Trident

“The SNP were warned about their plot to scrap Trident by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who once described Britain’s nuclear deterrent as “important” to the alliance. The Scottish National Party (SNP) has long been against Trident, arguing that nuclear weapons are “immoral, ineffective and expensive”. This week it was reported that the UK Government has hatched secret plans to move its Trident nuclear submarine bases from Scotland to the US or France in the event of Scottish independence. It was also reported that should Scotland secede from the UK, the Government would consider a “nuclear Gibraltar” option – a reference to the British Overseas Territory bordering Spain. This would mean Trident could be housed at the Royal Navy’s existing bases off Scotland’s west coast, which would remain British territories within Scotland.” – Daily Express

  • Sturgeon is rapidly running out of options in Scotland – Chris Deerin, FT

Buckingham Palace ‘furious’ at Queen’s secret death plans being leaked

“‘Furious’ Buckingham Palace aides have launched a mole-hunt after detailed papers for the Queen’s death sensationally leaked today. Top officials are said to be on the warpath, with a probe into who revealed the documents under way. The secret blueprint for Operation London Bridge – the codename for the plans – reveals every detail of the official response, from Charles’ ‘mourning tour’ of the UK to what royals will post on social media. It also details fears that London will be “stretched to breaking point” as millions of mourners head to the capital. The top-secret document was handed to a political website in a shocking breach. And aides are now tracking the person responsible after the plans made headlines around the world.” – The Sun

  • Government says there is ‘major appetite’ to uncover Whitehall mole – Daily Mail

Neil delays his GB News return amid talk of rift

“Andrew Neil is ready to quit GB News amid increasingly strained relations with senior management at the fledgling news channel. The former BBC broadcaster, who helped to launch the channel, had been expected to return on Monday but it is now likely that he has presented his final show. Neil, who also serves as chairman of GB News, has been in talks about his return without a resolution. GB News said last month that it was “looking forward” to welcoming him back in September, but the channel did not repeat this statement when approached for comment yesterday. He has not presented his 8pm show since June 24, telling viewers that he was taking a break only two weeks after GB News was launched. At the time, Neil said he would be “back before the summer is out”. Colin Brazier, the former Sky News presenter, and Alastair Stewart, the former ITV News anchor, have provided cover for Neil.” – The Times