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Dozens of Tories prepare to rebel against Johnson’s social care reforms

“Dozens of Tories are poised to rebel today against Boris Johnson’s plan to make elderly care reforms less generous. A former Cabinet minister revealed yesterday he would vote against an amendment that will make poorer pensioners pay more, while a Red Wall MP warned the Prime Minister not to take his support for granted. Many more MPs were last night considering whether to break the party whip for the first time and waiting to see if ministers offered last-minute concessions to the proposals, which have been dubbed an ‘inheritance tax on the North’. They not only fear a backlash from their constituents if they support the Government, but also that they may end up regretting it again if No 10 is forced into another U-turn as it was over the Owen Paterson sleaze scandal.” – Daily Mail

MPs may be avoiding big tax bills on second jobs

“MPs have channelled hundreds of thousands of pounds in private consultancy work through personal companies in a move that may have significantly reduced their tax bills. An investigation by The Times has found that at least ten MPs have taken on outside work via their personal companies. There are several tax advantages to using a company to accept payments for consultancy work, including avoiding income tax of up to 45 per cent at source on the earnings. This is legal but there is concern about people in publicly funded positions arranging their finances in this way. Mark Pritchard, a Conservative MP, has used a company that he owns with his wife to take a total of about £400,000 in payments for at least seven of his outside jobs since 2013.” – The Times

Coronavirus 1) Booster vaccines could now be rolled out to all adults, says Javid…

“Booster vaccinations are being considered for all adults, the Health Secretary has said, as seven million over-40s are now eligible to book the jab. Sajid Javid said he has asked the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to assess offering the extra dose to all over-18s. From Monday, people aged 40 to 49 will be able to book their Covid booster jab through the NHS National Booking Service. There are around 7.1 million 40 to 49-year-olds living in England. Currently, almost 500,000 of those had their second dose at least six month ago, making them immediately eligible to get their booster. More than one million 40 to 49-year-olds will be able to pre-book their appointments from Monday.” – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 2)… as he dismisses compulsory jabs for the UK

“Britain will never consider compulsory vaccines, Sajid Javid has said. After Austria became the first European country to make vaccines mandatory, the health secretary said: “I don’t think that is something we would ever look at.” He told Andrew Marr on the BBC: “It is up to Austria, other countries, to decide what they need to do. We are fortunate that in this country, although we have vaccine hesitancy, it is a lot lower than we are seeing in other places.” He added: “On a practical level, taking a vaccine should be a positive choice. It should be something, if people are a bit reluctant, we should work with them and encourage them.” Germany is debating whether to follow Austria, with fines to enforce the mandate. The three parties that hope to form the next government under Olaf Scholz are believed to be planning to force workers in certain areas, such as hospitals and care homes, to get the jab.” – The Times

  • British lockdown is unlikely before Christmas, say scientists – The Times
  • Ministers fail to act on anti-vaxxer crowds at school gates as they refuse to implement exclusion zones – Daily Mail

Coronavirus 3) NHS waiting list hits record six million… and it’s only going to get worse

“The record NHS waiting list of about six million people will inevitably rise, the health secretary has admitted. Sajid Javid said that he expected the “unprecedented demand” caused by coronavirus to lead to further delays for those awaiting elective hospital treatment, as the health service struggled with the continuing pandemic and backlogs in care. His warning came as Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents health service leaders, said that a combination of underfunding, Covid-19 and failures in social care meant that there was now a “high degree of concern” about how the service would cope with the expected winter peak. He added that the NHS was “asking the impossible” of its workforce, and care quality was at risk.” – The Times

>Yesterday:

Coronavirus 4) Restriction protests in European cities turn violent

“Thousands of demonstrators poured onto the streets of European capitals at the weekend as governments stepped up restrictions to combat the latest Covid wave sweeping the continent. Police in Brussels fired water cannon and tear gas after being pelted with projectiles as 35,000 protesters challenged Belgium’s beefed up anti-Covid measures and vaccination campaign. Marching behind a banner stating “Together for Freedom”, the crowd included far right activists, LGBT+ rights campaigners and people carrying the Flemish flag. In the Netherlands, police made 19 arrests after riots in The Hague on Saturday night when officers charged protesters who set fire to bicycles. The Dutch authorities have imposed a three-week partial lockdown to curb cases, introduced a vaccine passport and banned New Year’s Eve fireworks.” – The Times

  • Germany set to make Covid vaccines compulsory – The Sun

Comment:

  • It’s no cause for Schadenfreude… but anti-vax Germany is paying a deadly price, Dominic Lawson – Daily Mail
  • Across the Continent Covid cases are rocketing – our biggest saving grace has been the jabs – The Sun

Coronavirus 5) Test and Trace is still spending £1 million every day on private consultants weeks after MPs labelled the scheme ‘eye-watering’, new figures show

“NHS Test and Trace is still shelling out more than £1million of taxpayers’ money daily on private consultants. The figure was published by the UK Health Security Agency weeks after MPs labelled the scheme an ‘eye-watering’ waste of money that is still failing to cut Covid-19 infection rates. Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UKHSA, which now runs NHS Test and Trace, said in July that there is a ‘very detailed ramp-down plan’ to cut the number of expensive contractors. They are paid £1,100 a day on average. But 1,230 consultants were still employed at the end of October, figures show. That equates to a £1,353,000 daily payout.” – Daily Mail

Surge in electric chargers to power Johnson’s green revolution

“Almost 150,000 new charging points for electric cars will be installed in England every year in an attempt to seize the opportunities of the “green industrial revolution”, Boris Johnson is expected to tell business leaders today. The prime minister will use a speech at the annual conference of the CBI to tout his government’s pledge that homes, supermarkets and workplaces built in England would be required to have electric vehicle charging points by law from next year. In addition, buildings that have more than ten parking spaces and which are undergoing major renovations will have to install charging points.” – The Times

  • Add costs of heat pumps to mortgages to hit net zero, suggests infrastructure tsar – Daily Telegraph
  • Sturgeon floats hydrogen exports in bid to power Scottish independence – Daily Telegraph

Channel migrants: Tory MP condemns migrant boat crisis as a failure of state

“The government’s inability to stop migrants crossing the Channel has been described by a Tory MP as a “state failure”. The claim emerged as it was suggested that the home secretary, Priti Patel, had said that her own department was not fit for purpose. Patel faces mounting frustration within her party over the crossings by small boats, with Conservative MPs often citing it as a leading concern among their constituents. About 24,500 migrants have crossed the Channel so far this year, almost three times as many as arrived last year. Boris Johnson has drafted in Steve Barclay, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to oversee cross-government attempts to find a solution. Barclay’s committee, which includes representatives from the Foreign Office, Home Office and Ministry of Defence, is to meet this week.” – The Times

  • Move to house migrants in Army barracks instead of hotels – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:

Violent crime against women gets the same status as terrorist attacks

“Violence against women and girls will be elevated to the same status as terrorism under a proposed government directive, The Times has learnt. Chief constables will be mandated to increase resources and combine capabilities in a drastic effort to drive up rape convictions, which have reached historically low levels. Violence against women and girls is set to be added to the strategic policing requirement, meaning that police will be required by government to treat it as a major priority. It is an acknowledgement by ministers that there is an epidemic of violence against women that needs to be one of the most urgent national crimefighting priorities. There has been a national outcry about the response to levels of violence against women since the Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens abused his powers to abduct, rape and murder Sarah Everard in March.” – The Times

Britain must ‘get back to being a dealmaking nation’, urges Trade Secretary

“Britain will once again become a “dealmaking nation” as it prepares to join the trans-pacific partnership and launch four more negotiations next year, Anne-Marie Trevelyan has declared. The International Trade Secretary vowed that 2022 will be a “five-star year” for her department, as she looks to commence formal negotiations on new UK deals with Canada, Mexico, the Gulf Cooperation Council and India. Her plan is to target countries and blocs that were worth £140 billion in bilateral trade last year, including securing accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – a major trade union of 11 Pacific nations. In an interview with The Telegraph, Ms Trevelyan set out her vision for “DIT [Department for International Trade] 2.0” after the “unenviable” era of Liz Truss, her predecessor, who secured 68 “rollover” agreements following Brexit.” – Daily Telegraph

Adults are wrong to criticise ‘woke’ children, says Benenden head

“The president of the Girls’ Schools Association believes that parents and teachers have a duty to “keep up” with young people and not mock them for being “woke”. Samantha Price will use a speech at the association’s annual conference to urge fellow head teachers to challenge anyone who “dismisses this generation as woke, being part of a cancel-culture or snowflakes”. Price, headmistress of Benenden School in Kent, is to say: “I am getting a little weary of hearing the older generation say, ‘You can’t say anything any more’. The fact is that times have changed, and we simply need to keep up with them. Being woke actually just means being awake to social justice.”” – The Times

Wakeford: Why I swore at Owen Paterson over sleaze row

“A Conservative MP who swore at Owen Paterson in a row over sleaze has admitted a mixture of “anger and codeine” led to the insult after he took painkillers for a broken ankle. Christian Wakeford, who was elected to Bury South in 2019, was reported to have called the former Tory MP for North Shropshire a “c—” during voting in Parliament earlier this month. Appearing on Times Radio, Mr Wakeford, who abstained on the vote over Mr Paterson’s suspension, was asked if the report of him approaching Mr Paterson was correct. “It is,” he said. “And it’s been a mixture of quite a lot of anger and codeine. I clearly have a broken ankle at the moment, it’s not the best mix. “But I do think it went to show the, I guess, the quantum of anger in the party and that’s still high now. “But the fact that after all that kind of marching up the top of the hill, not once was there gratitude from Owen, not once was there, kind of, apologies or repentance.” – Daily Telegraph

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