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Prime Minister ‘hit by business backlash’

“Boris Johnson is facing a backlash from Brexit-supporting business leaders as they accused him of treating them like the “bogeyman” over labour shortages. The prime minister used his conference speech yesterday to promise to reshape the country after Covid and Brexit by unleashing Britain’s “unique spirit” and outlined his vision for “radical conservatism”. He said that the present stresses and strains in the economy, which have led to petrol shortages and warnings about empty shelves this Christmas, were part of the transition towards the high-wage, high-skill economy people voted for during the EU referendum. He warned businesses against using Brexit as an excuse for failing to invest in people and said that restricting low-skilled migration would ultimately make the country more prosperous. Business leaders warned, though, that restricting migration could lead to higher inflation as increased costs would be passed on to the consumer.” – The Times

  • He insists there will be no return to ‘old’ model of ‘uncontrolled migration’ – FT
  • Government cannot ‘patch and mend’ every supply chain issue – Daily Telegraph
  • Tory conference speech gets frosty reception – The Guardian
  • Is anyone else laughing? – Daily Mail

More:

  • Kwarteng under fire from frontbenchers over response to fuel crisis – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Churchill, walking with destiny. Johnson, winking at destiny.

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: “Levelling up works for the whole country” – the Prime Minister’s conference speech in full

Johnson hands teachers £3k ‘levelling up premium’ to move to poorest parts of UK…

“Maths and science teachers will get a £3,000 a year “levelling up premium” to move to the poorest parts of Britain, Boris Johnson has announced. The PM said the new policy will ensure more tutors go to the “places that need them most” as he slammed the deep inequality of opportunity in the UK. He said the funding will come on top of an extra £14 billion that the Government is putting into the education system. It will mean teachers, who typically start with a £30,000 salary, will be able to claim an extra £3,000 if they move to specific areas. Boris unveiled the new drive during his speech to the Conservative party conference in Manchester today… The policy will target teachers in years one to five who cover maths, physics, chemistry, and computing. Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said it will “support the recruitment and retention” of tutors where they’re needed most.” – The Sun

  • A £60million fund is targeted at recruiting maths, physics, chemistry and IT specialists – Daily Express

More:

  • Stop ignoring poor spelling, watchdog tells universities – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: A tale of two conferences – and the start of overdue debate about our economic future

…and signals softening of planning overhaul

“Boris Johnson has said houses should not be built on “green fields” as ministers abandoned proposals for a vast overhaul of planning rules. In a clear signal to Tory heartlands that he had heard their concerns, Mr Johnson used his Conservative Party conference speech on Wednesday to acknowledge fears that the countryside would be “desecrated by ugly new homes”. The Prime Minister’s comments reveal a change in strategy after a Tory voter backlash over planning reforms saw the party lose the safe seat of Chesham and Amersham in a June by-election. The Telegraph understands that the most controversial aspects of biggest overhaul of the planning system in 70 years have been effectively ditched, with ministers looking for changes that will be less radical but more palatable to Tory MPs. The new focus will be on boosting construction on brownfield sites, which have been previously developed and are less controversial locations for housebuilding.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Affluent Stoke Poges welcomes plan to ‘take pressure off’ by levelling up… – The Guardian
  • …which has been ‘seen as code for pouring cash into deprived parts of North’ – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Could planning be Boris Johnson’s Achilles’ heel? – George Grylls, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: “We will enable more and more young people to share the dream of home ownership” – Johnson

Javid commits to ‘drive down’ England’s record-high waiting list backlog

“Pretending the NHS is the ‘best at everything’ will not help anyone, Sajid Javid said today as he committed to driving down England’s record-high waiting lists. In his 100th day in the job, the Health Secretary said accepting the NHS’s flaws was the first step in chopping down the backlog that has amassed during the pandemic. Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference today, Mr Javid said that the health service was ‘staffed by some of the best people our country has to offer’. But he added: ‘But that of course doesn’t mean that as an organisation, it is the best at everything. It wouldn’t help anyone to pretend otherwise.’ The warning shot was aimed at NHS fat cats, who Mr Javid said face the sack if they fail to cut down waiting lists for routine operations. And he told the conference that responsibility for health and social care ‘begins at home’, despite another minister hinting at more tax rises.” – Daily Mail

  • Struggling NHS ‘must not rely on foreign doctors’ – The Times

Home Secretary announces independent inquiry into the ‘systematic failures’ of Met Police

“Priti Patel today announced there will be an independent inquiry into the ‘systematic failures’ that allowed Wayne Couzens to serve as a Met police officer and murder Sarah Everard. The Home Secretary said that ‘recent tragic events have exposed unimaginable failures in policing’. She said that the public ‘have a right to know’ why Couzens was able to be employed by the Metropolitan Police. Addressing the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Ms Patel said: ‘I can confirm today, there will be an inquiry, to give the independent oversight needed, to ensure something like this can never happen again.’ The inquiry will look at Couzens’ career in the Metropolitan Police and determine if red flags were missed to identify him as a threat. The probe is likely to be viewed as a warning shot at Met chief Cressida Dick who has faced calls to quit following the murder of Ms Everard.” – Daily Mail

  • Patel orders crackdown on middle class cocaine users – Daily Mail

Tory peer aims to challenge Government with vote on universal credit cut

“Boris Johnson faces a parliamentary challenge over the benefit cuts he has imposed on the country’s least well-off people, from a Tory peer who helped set up universal credit. Philippa Stroud, the chief executive of the rightwing thinktank the Legatum Institute and a former adviser to Iain Duncan Smith during his time as work and pensions secretary, said more than 800,000 people would be pushed into poverty, and threatened a vote in the House of Lords on the universal credit cut. “By our calculations, the decision today to remove this uplift will push 840,000 people into poverty – 290,000 of those are children – and so this is … a really bleak day for many, many families up and down the country,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. The prime minister has pushed ahead with his plan to remove the £20 uplift to universal credit, which was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic. The cut comes despite serious opposition – including on his own backbenches.” – The Guardian

  •  Ending Universal Credit uplift will help families escape ‘welfare trap’ says Raab – The Sun

Court ruling could ‘torpedo’ Sturgeon’s plans for second Scottish independence referendum

“A Supreme Court ruling that Nicola Sturgeon’s government exceeded its powers could “torpedo” her plans to organise an independence referendum without Westminster’s consent, legal experts have said. Five senior judges including Lord Reed, the court’s Scottish president, unanimously found that two Bills passed by MSPs in March were incompatible with the 1998 Scotland Act that underpins devolution. They said four parts of a Bill about children’s rights and two provisions in one about local government were outside the parliament’s legislative competence because they imposed duties on UK ministers in reserved areas. The Bills will return to Holyrood and can be looked at again by MSPs in a “reconsideration stage” to bring them into line with the court’s judgment. But Prof Adam Tomkins, the John Millar chair of public law at Glasgow University and a former Tory MSP, said the ruling “may well prove to torpedo any argument that Holyrood can legislate solo” for a second independence referendum.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Scotland’s first minister on independence: ‘I’ve got time on my side’ – FT
  • SNP’s vision for defence in an independent Scotland shows ‘the poverty and insularity of separatist thinking’ – Daily Express

Banks loses Court of Appeal fight with HMRC after UKIP failure

“Millionaire Brexit-backing businessman Arron Banks has lost his Court of Appeal fight over a six-figure inheritance tax bill on his donations to UKIP. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) assessed Mr Banks – one of the self-styled ‘Bad Boys of Brexit’ – as owing more than £160,000 on almost £1 million in donations to UKIP between October 2014 and March 2015. Donations to political parties which had two MPs elected at the last general election, or one MP elected and a total of 150,000 votes, are exempt from inheritance tax. Mr Banks has argued the decision is against human rights and EU law, despite being opposed to Britain’s EU membership. While UKIP received 919,471 votes across the UK in the 2010 general election, the party did not return a single MP to the House of Commons, prompting HMRC to bill Mr Banks for £162,945.34. Mr Banks challenged the decision at two tribunals, arguing that the law on political donations being exempt from inheritance tax breached his human rights and EU law.” – Daily Mail