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Five million public sector workers to get pay rise in budget

“More than five million public sector workers will get across-the-board pay rises next year, after Rishi Sunak moved to end a wage freeze imposed during the Covid pandemic. Faced with an increased cost of living, the chancellor will announce that from nurses, teachers and service personnel will see average pay increase from April. However, Sunak has yet to set a figure on the rise and there are concerns that inflation could eat into it. The Treasury said money for the pay rises would have to be found from the departmental budgets that are due to be set out in the spending review tomorrow. Each department will then submit evidence on what it can afford to independent pay review bodies that set the pay of most frontline workforces.” – The Times

  • Budget boost for low-earners as minimum wage rises by 6.6 per cent – The Times
  • But how will the UK afford it? – Daily Mail
  • Crippling shortages and rising prices hit the economy – FT

>Today: Richard Holden MP’s column: Tomorrow’s Budget must show a return to traditional Conservative economics of fiscal responsibility

Speaker berates Chancellor for briefing on budget details

“Past chancellors would have resigned for revealing details of the budget before the official statement, the Commons Speaker has told MPs, expressing fury at the briefing of a slew of measures to be announced on Wednesday. In a veiled reference to the former Labour chancellor Hugh Dalton, who resigned after telling a journalist about tax changes just before his 1947 budget, Lindsay Hoyle accused the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, of “riding roughshod” over MPs. The Treasury has committed to almost £26bn of spending in a rush of announcements before Wednesday’s budget and spending review. On Sunday, Sunak conceded that of £7bn to be pledged in the budget on rail, tram and bus projects outside London, part of the “levelling up” agenda, just £1.5bn is actually new money.” – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Conservative backbenchers will have four days to express any worries they may have about the Budget

No guarantee extra billions will clear NHS backlog, Javid warns

“Sajid Javid has admitted ministers cannot guarantee that NHS backlogs caused by Covid-19 will be cleared within three years despite billions of pounds of new investment to be announced in the budget tomorrow. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, will provide a further £5.9 billion in capital funding to help to speed up diagnostic tests and operations to clear record waiting lists. That comes on top of £12 billion a year for the next three years announced last month from rises in national insurance payments. Javid, the health secretary, said yesterday it was “impossible to know” whether it would bring down waiting times. “I’ve been very open about this, it’s going to go up before it comes down,” he said. He could not say how much of the backlog would be reduced in three years. There are 5.6 million people on NHS England waiting lists.” – The Times

  • No targets for NHS recovery – Daily Mail
  • Stop seeing new patients, union tells GPs as it hits out at Health Secretary – Daily Telegraph

Johnson reluctant to trigger Covid Plan B after being warned it will cost economy up to £18bn

“Boris Johnson has been warned triggering his Covid Plan B would cost the economy up to an eye-watering £18 billion over the winter. The PM is reluctant to bring back masks and working from home and imposing vaccine passports over the sky-high cost to businesses. And he’s been warned be scientists that those measures might only make a marginal impact on the spread of the virus anyway. Business minister Paul Scully said the Government is aware of the cost of “stop start” lockdowns and doesn’t want to “stifle” the recovery. Leaked papers drawn up officials at the Cabinet Office and Treasury predict Plan B would cost up to £3.6bn a month. Whitehall mandarins are working on the “assumption” new restrictions would stay in place until March next year.” – The Sun

  • False Covid test results not cause of surge in south-west England, says No 10 – The Guardian
  • Christmas will ‘go ahead as normal’, says Javid – The Sun
  • Mask-wearing at the heart of the great British Covid divide – FT
  • Vaccine passports could fuel Covid and cost venues millions, says leaked government report – Daily Telegraph

Environment 1) Furious recycling industry claims Johnson has ‘completely lost the plastic plot’

“Boris Johnson has been accused of having ‘completely lost the plastic plot’ after telling schoolchildren that recycling ‘doesn’t work’ as a means to ease the climate crisis. The Recycling Association reacted with astonishment at the Prime Minister’s remarks during a Downing Street press conference for pupils, saying they were ‘very disappointing’. Number 10 had to tell the public to continue recycling after Mr Johnson said ‘recycling isn’t the answer’ and stressed the need to reduce the amount of plastic that is used… Simon Ellin, the chief executive of the Recycling Association trade body for independent waste paper processors and their equipment suppliers, was shocked at the remarks.” – Daily Mail

  • Thatcher is to blame for Glasgow being dirty, says council leader – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Number 10’s climate conference for kids should be the last

Environment 2) Peers to demand water companies cut raw sewage spills

“The government will come under renewed pressure tomorrow to prevent raw sewage spilling into rivers, with peers expected to support an amendment requiring water companies to reduce the pollution. The Duke of Wellington, a crossbench peer, has submitted a revised amendment amid growing concerns among Conservative MPs that the government has failed to respond sufficiently to public concern about contamination of rivers and the sea. Raw sewage spilled into water courses more than 400,000 times last year and this was a major reason why 84 per cent of rivers and lakes in England failed to meet the government’s target of good ecological status. MPs who voted against the duke’s previous amendment last week have faced a backlash on social media.” – The Times

  • Sewage vote outcry prompts Tory MPs to defend decision on social media – The Guardian

Comment:

  • MPs create a stink on England’s coasts with environment vote – Miranda Green, FT

Frost says EU close to breaching Brexit deal over science programme

“A fresh Brexit row has been blown open with Brussels after David Frost accused the EU of being close to breaching the trade deal struck last Christmas. He said the UK was “getting quite concerned” about Brussels delaying ratification of the UK’s participation in the €80bn (£67bn) Horizon Europe research programme, costing British scientists their place in pan-European research programmes. Lord Frost said the UK had “not made a great deal of this” but patience was running out… The UK committed to gross funding of £2bn a year to the programme last December but this is not now being paid in as British scientists cannot be formal participants in the programme despite historically leading on many projects.” – The Guardian

  • Northern Ireland requires balance, insists Brexit minister – The Times

More:

  • France plans ‘go slow’ strategy on British lorries in retaliation over fishing row – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Grant Shapps MP in Comment: Labour’s solution to HGV driver shortages is simplistic and wrong. Here’s what the Government is doing.

Davis vows to lead rebellion against judicial review changes

“The former cabinet minister David Davis has pledged to lead a rebellion against the government’s changes to judicial review, calling them a worrying assault on the legal system and attempt to avoid accountability. Before the first major test of the judicial review and courts bill when it is debated in the Commons on Tuesday, Davis wrote in an article for the Guardian that ministers’ plans would “tip scales of law in favour of the powerful”. He cited the power of judicial reviews to give “a voice to victims”, pointing to the overturning of the Parole Board’s decision to release the serial rapist John Worboys. The Haltemprice and Howden MP also praised the campaigner Gina Miller for challenging the government’s position at the start of the Brexit process that article 50 could be triggered without parliamentary authorisation.” – The Guardian

>Today: Suella Braverman MP in Comment: The Government will ensure judicial review can’t be used as a political tool by those who’ve lost the arguments

News in Brief:

  • Whose WHO? – Henry Hill, CapX
  • Macron’s pointless fish war – Jonathan Miller, The Spectator
  • Who judges the judges? – Maya Forstater, The Critic
  • The Democrat who could bring down Biden – Blake Smith, UnHerd