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Britons face higher taxes to pay for eco pledges

“Britons face new taxes or reduced public spending to pay for the country’s rapid transition to net zero, the Treasury warned yesterday, as splits emerged at the top of government over the costs of decarbonisation. Boris Johnson pledged that Britain could meet its ambitious net zero targets “without so much as a hair shirt in sight” as he set out a cross-government plan to realise the country’s climate change ambitions. But a separate document published by Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, warned that, even under the existing plans, the government would have to deal with a £37 billion-a-year black hole in its finances because of loss of revenue from fuel duty.” – The Times

  • Pubs and restaurants face ‘terrifying’ price rises – Daily Telegraph
  • Global Investment Summit: Bill Gates gives £200m to turn UK green – The Times
  • Half of journeys in towns and cities must be walked or cycled by 2030, the Government has said – Daily Telegraph
  • Boris Johnson’s Net Zero plans could leave £100bn-a-year blackhole, Rishi Sunak warns – The Sun
  • Plan includes ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, powering the UK with “clean” electricity by 2035 and tripling the number of trees planted every year – Daily Telegraph
  • Sunak under pressure not to hike fuel duty ahead of Budget next week – The Sun
  • Build Back Greener plan says there will be more LTNs in future – Daily Mail

Analysis:

  • What is a heat pump and how much do they cost? – The Times
  • Cop26 climate change: Net zero achievable without a hair shirt in sight, declares PM – The Times

Political sketch:

>Today:

Philip Johnston: Boris is courting political disaster by trying to guilt us into going green

“If ever there was a slow motion political car crash unfolding before our very eyes, it is Boris Johnson’s drive towards a zero-carbon future. Over the past 30 years or so, it has become customary to liken any similarly looming fiasco to the Poll Tax, but this will make the public backlash to the rates replacement pale into insignificance. It, too, involves saddling millions of households with additional expenditure for unknowable benefits in an unfair way. Proponents may argue that this is justified to save the planet; but if the world’s worst polluters are just carrying on regardless then our sacrifice is pointless. Moreover, if we are merely outsourcing our own CO2 emissions to other countries – such as China and India – through imports it is also hypocritical.” – Daily Telegraph

Lorry driver shortage ‘to drag on for another year’

“The lorry driver shortage could continue for a year amid “terrifying” increases in food and drink prices, MPs have been warned. Official figures released yesterday show that driver numbers have plunged by 53,000 over the past four years. The Road Haulage Association has estimated that the industry is short of about 100,000 drivers, with problems poised to continue for 12 months. Duncan Buchanan, the association’s policy director, told the Commons business committee: “Things are not visibly getting better, and I know there are a number of measures that have been put in place . . . but on the ground that isn’t having much of an effect.”” – The Times

Sir David Amess 1) Tougher prison sentences for terror plotters who want to kill

“Terrorists who plot to kill at least two people or travel to war zones will face a minimum of 14 years in jail under tougher sentencing guidelines published today. Dominic Raab, the justice secretary and deputy prime minister, said that the new powers would send a message to “those who kill and maim in the name of warped and fanatical ideologies”. The advice for judges is an attempt to close what some critics see as loopholes that have allowed those planning terrorist attacks to receive relatively short sentences. The Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act 2021 introduced tougher sentences for “serious terrorism offences” and the Sentencing Council has confirmed it will advise judges that the starting point should be a minimum of 14 years in prison.” – The Times

  • The Home Office must take greater responsibility for how deradicalisation programmes are working with potential terrorists, a review will recommend – The Times
  • Death threats to British Somalis after MP’s murder – The Times
  • Detectives examine phone to see who suspect Ali Harbi Ali contacted – The Times

>Today:

Comment:

Sir David Amess 2) ‘David’s Law’ on online anonymity won’t work, say privacy campaigners

“A proposal to introduce a law prohibiting anonymous social media accounts after Sir David Amess’s murder has been criticised by privacy campaigners. Mark Francois, a Conservative MP, called on the government to “toughen up” its Online Safety Bill to stop trolls from hiding behind anonymous accounts. He said that a “David’s Law” would ensure that people in public life “can no longer be vilified or their families subject to the most horrendous abuse” from people who “hide behind a cloak of anonymity with the connivance of the social media companies for profit”. Francois, who paid tribute to Amess, in the Commons on Monday, said that his colleague had been “appalled” by the “vile misogynistic abuse which female MPs had to endure online” and had “wanted something done about it”.” – The Times

Comment:

Gove mobbed by Covid anti-vaccine protesters in Westminster

“Michael Gove was bundled into a government building by police after being confronted and surrounded by anti-vaccine protesters in Westminster. Officers had to hold back activists who encountered the secretary of state for levelling up as they marched through central London yesterday. Many came within inches of Gove, 54, calling him a “f***ing idiot” for implementing “illegal lockdowns”. One activist threw what appeared to be a scrunched up leaflet at the cabinet minister, hitting him on the head. Gove took shelter behind the revolving glass doors of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on Horseferry Road as nearly two dozen officers stood between him and the group of about 200 protesters.” – The Times

Coronavirus 1) New Covid variant may be more transmissable than Delta strain

“A new coronavirus variant that appears to be even more transmissible than the fast-spreading Delta strain is being closely monitored, the government has said. The variant — known as AY.4.2 — is a descendant of the Delta strain, which is dominant across the world. Early analysis suggests that it may be 10 to 15 per cent more transmissible than Delta, which itself is estimated to be about seven times as transmissible as the first form of the coronavirus identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in January 2020. After being first identified in June, AY.4.2 is now estimated to account for almost 10 per cent of UK Covid cases. However, it has not achieved the same explosive growth seen when Delta first arrived in Britain from India early this year.” – The Times

  • Everything’s under control, says PM, despite rising Covid cases – The Times
  • Fall in Covid cases in Scotland could be good news for England – The Times

>Today:

Coronavirus 2) Javid – Winter will be challenging as we face Covid & flu – there can be no complacency

“LAST winter the eyes of the world were on a Coventry hospital as Margaret Keenan, 91, received the world’s first  approved Covid-19 vaccine. Since then our vaccination programme has protected people  across the country. Four in five of those eligible have now had two doses. This winter we are better protected thanks to the hard work of our scientists, NHS staff and volunteers and the public coming forward for the jabs. But there can be no complacency.The next few months will be challenging as we face both Covid and flu. The winter months suit the virus so we need to keep reinforcing our wall of defence. That’s why we’ve launched the biggest flu programme in history, with more people now eligible than ever before. I had my flu jab last week and urge you to come forward and do the same.” – The Sun

Coronavirus 3) Covid boosters being snubbed by older people, NHS chief complains

“Older people are not coming forward for booster jabs quickly enough, the head of NHS England said yesterday amid mounting claims of administrative problems. Amanda Pritchard insisted that there was “plenty of capacity” in the NHS for Covid boosters and claimed the problem was people not booking appointments as quickly as they did last winter. She was contradicted, however, by some older people who said they were desperate to get a booster jab, had heard nothing from the NHS and had been unable to book appointments despite being eligible. It was also reported that two thirds of care home residents are still waiting for a booster jab, as a growing number of GPs stop vaccinations in an effort to clear a growing treatment backlog.” – The Times

  • NHS ‘in need of 5,000 more medical students’ – The Times
  • Booster jabs rollout in care homes falling short as deaths begin to rise – Daily Telegraph

Analysis:

  • How Britain’s vaccine programme went from world-beater to laggard in less than a year – Daily Telegraph

News in brief: