Newslinks for Tuesday 14th July 2020

14 Jul

Wear mask in shops or face a £100 fine

“Facemasks will become compulsory in shops from a week on Friday, with £100 fines for those who do not cover up. Boris Johnson brought an end to days of confusion last night by announcing that police would get “tools of enforcement” as scientific evidence on the potential benefits of masks increased. Shops will not be expected to enforce the measures themselves. Ministers will make wearing masks compulsory under public health powers already used on public transport. Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt. Earlier Mr Johnson said that masks “have a great deal of value in confined spaces where you’re coming into contact with people you don’t normally meet.” – The Times

  • Shoppers must wear face masks – Daily Telegraph
  • Public must mask-up – Daily Mail
  • Public told to wear masks in shops – FT
  • Public split on wearing face cover – The Times
  • Queen and Attenborough may be asked to set face mask example – The Times
  • Shoppers are coming back to the high street – The Times
More virus news
  • Police hunt for infected picker who fled farm – The Times
  • Most too scared to fly for fear of infection – The Times
  • Where the latest cases have spread – The Times
  • Second Covid wave ‘could see twice as many deaths’ – Daily Telegraph
  • UK experts fear up to 120,000 Covid-19 deaths this winter – The Guardian
  • Hancock promises ‘biggest flu vaccination programme in history’ this winter – The Independent
  • California back in lockdown – The Times
Comment
>Today:

China dispute 1) Tory backlash at seven-year wait to scrap Huawei 5G

“The prime minister will hold a meeting of the National Security Council, which is expected to agree that telecoms companies will be barred from buying new Huawei equipment from January next year. However, under plans that will be considered by ministers today, the Chinese company’s technology will not be entirely removed from the 5G network until 2027. Sir Iain Duncan Smith described the delay as “unacceptable” and has called for Huawei to be removed from the network by 2025. In a letter to Mr Johnson, ten Tory MPs warned against “unreasonable delay”. – The Times

  • Johnson to bow to pressure with Huawei 5G ban next year – Daily Telegraph
  • BT sounds alarm over prospect of UK ban on Huawei – FT
  • U-turn fails to satisfy rebels – The Guardian
  • Britain to confront China with new carrier – The Times
  • Inflation rise warning in trade war with China – The Times
Comment

China dispute 2) Hong Kong migration to UK could hit 200,000

“About 200,000 Hong Kong citizens with British passports could come to live in the UK over the next five years, according to internal Foreign Office estimates, one of the biggest non-European migrations into Britain in recent times. Dominic Raab, foreign secretary, this month confirmed that Britain would give a “route to citizenship” to around 3m Hong Kong citizens with rights to “British National Overseas” passports, in response to China’s security crackdown on the territory. The offer infuriated Beijing but was warmly welcomed by MPs from all parties at Westminster, despite the recent heated debate in Britain about immigration. The issue of “border control” was one of the key factors in the 2016 Brexit referendum.” – FT

Brexit 1) Patel outlines post-Brexit immigration rules

“Persistent pickpockets and shoplifters will be deported under a post-Brexit immigration policy that will make it easier to get rid of EU criminals. From January, ministers will have the power to exclude or remove foreign offenders who are repeatedly convicted of low-level crimes such as theft as well as those receiving a sentence of 12 months or more. The policy will also apply to migrants from the EU who have been given settled status to stay after Brexit. The rules, announced yesterday, are part of a new immigration system that will treat EU citizens in broadly the same way as those who come from outside the bloc.” – The Times

  • Row erupts over exclusion of social care workers from health visa – Daily Telegraph
  • Post-Brexit visa rules exclude low-paid foreigners – Daily Mail
  • Post-Brexit border checks to cost businesses £13 billion – The Times
Comment
>Yesterday:

Brexit 2) Sturgeon accuses Johnson of power grab with new trade bill

“Boris Johnson is facing a clash with Nicola Sturgeon over plans to force the devolved administrations to accept Westminster’s standards on food, the environment and animal welfare. The government will publish legislation on Thursday to underpin an “internal market” in the UK when the Brexit transition period ends on December 31. It includes a “mutual recognition” regime designed to ensure that goods flow freely within the UK even if Scotland or Wales choose to impose their own standards. The white paper means that the devolved nations must continue to accept goods and services from England.” – The Times

  • Johnson risks a disunited UK over state aid clash – FT
Comment

Sylvester: Failing Grayling is the wrong man for the job

“It’s like replacing James Bond with Johnny English. The prime minister’s decision to make Chris Grayling chairman of the powerful intelligence and security committee (ISC) has been greeted with ridicule in parliament and raised eyebrows in Whitehall. As a cabinet minister Mr Grayling was constantly doing the political equivalent of getting his tie stuck in the sushi conveyor belt or accidentally blowing up his fellow agents. There was the ferry company with no ferries that was given a contract in the event of a no-deal Brexit and the disastrous privatisation of the probation service that had to be reversed.” – The Times

Comment
  • Sunak’s ascent not assured, Robert Shrimsley – FT

Labour MPs ‘silenced’ over antisemitism report

“Opposition MPs were told not to speak out and “prejudice” the investigation into antisemitism in the party last night as Sir Keir Starmer confirmed that he had received the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s draft report. The watchdog has sent its findings after a year-long inquiry. The Times understands that Labour received the report last week and that it is expected to become public in the first week of August. In an internal email David Evans, the party’s general secretary, warned MPs not to comment because they could prejudice party interests and the final outcome.” – The Times

Moore: Time for a white-haired revolt against the BBC

“With due apologies to readers whom this may annoy, I have always been against free TV licences for the over-75s. They began life as a transparent electoral bribe by Gordon Brown. There was never a good reason why all old people (as opposed to poor old people) should get special treatment. My main objection, however, is that the period of free licences let the BBC feel even freer than usual to ignore the voice of the old. If they’re not paying, it said to itself, what does it matter if they complain? Now that it desperately needs the money of the over-75s, it will have to listen a bit harder.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

Newslinks for Monday 13th July 2020

13 Jul

Hertfordshire farm locks down after 73 workers test positive for Coronavirus

“The entire workforce of a farm in Herefordshire has been quarantined after 73 employees tested positive for coronavirus, leading to concern that a resurgence of cases is imminent. Local authorities told all 200 vegetable pickers and packers at the family-run farm AS Green and Co that they could not leave while widespread testing for staff is arranged. Herefordshire is said to be the first place in the UK to experience an outbreak of this kind, but health officials claim it was “not unexpected” given the close quarters working conditions and “global trend” of large food producers experiencing outbreaks.” – The Times

  • Police guard the exits of vegetable farm – Daily Mail
  • Local lockdowns are being dealt with “swiftly and silently”, says Hancock – Daily Telegraph
  • Over 100 flare-ups are being handled per week – Daily Mail

Hancock: By acting collectively to test and trace, we will keep Covid cornered

“It has been a real thrill to see so many of the experiences that brighten our lives returning to the UK over the past few weeks. First shops, then pubs, haircuts and restaurants, and now we’ve been able to announce that gyms, swimming pools, sports facilities and outdoor theatres will soon be able to open. This careful restoration of our national life has only been possible due to our shared success in slowing the spread of this virus. We protected the NHS in the peak. And now we can take more targeted local action and less national lockdown, to restore the freedom of the majority while controlling the virus wherever we can find it.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today:

Gove: Wearing a face mask shouldn’t be compulsory

“Michael Gove has spoken out against rules that would make wearing facemasks in shops mandatory, apparently putting himself at odds with government policy. Ministers are considering changes in England within weeks but Mr Gove said “it’s always better to trust people’s common sense”. When asked if face coverings should be compulsory to help to slow the spread of Covid-19, the Cabinet Office minister told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One: “I don’t think mandatory, no.” But he did say that wearing them in enclosed public spaces was “basic good manners, courtesy, consideration” and urged people to do so.” – The Times

  • State-owned factories have capacity to deliver five million face coverings a week – Daily Mail
  • Immunity to Covid-19 may be lost in just a few months – Daily Mail
  • UK has “second-worst record” for healthcare worker deaths – FT
  • Theatres must embrace tech, warns Government cultural commissioner – The Times
  • “Sexist” beauty salon rules mean reopening might not be worth it – Daily Telegraph
>Yesterday

Increase in end-of-life cases at care homes

“Almost 8,000 more people than usual have died at home since the start of May, amid warnings that patients are too scared to go to hospital and struggling to get the support they need. Between May 2 and June 26, 18,263 deaths were recorded in private homes, 42 per cent higher than the average over the past five years. Of these deaths, 690 were due to Covid-19. Deaths in hospitals were 2,192 lower than the five-year average, despite almost 9,000 hospital Covid deaths. GPs have written more than double the usual amount of prescriptions for some drugs used in end-of-life care, according to analysis by The Times“. – The Times

  • Coronavirus antibody treatment could protect elderly – The Times
  • Coronavirus survives in the air for more than an hour, says SAGE expert – Daily Telegraph

Government to launch £93 million information campaign today for post-Brexit travel

“Millions of Britons whose passports are due to expire in the next year are being urged to apply for a new one now, as part of a stepping up of efforts to prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period. Holidaymakers travelling to popular European destinations from Jan 1 will be required to have six months validity on their travel documents, which is likely to cause a stampede of renewals at UK passport offices. It’s estimated that some five million UK citizens have passports which are valid for less than a year, meaning they should act now in order to travel in the new year. Those who do not renew in time will “not be able to travel to most EU countries” as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Britain risks losing over £731 million of state aid, caution councils – FT

Patel 1) Thugs who assault police or emergency service workers should face longer jail time

“Thugs who assault police or other emergency service workers should face longer in jail, Priti Patel says today. Writing exclusively for the Daily Mail, the Home Secretary reveals details of plans to double the maximum sentence for criminals convicted of attacking 999 staff. She will today launch a review that recommends increasing the maximum jail term to two years, fulfilling a commitment in last year’s Conservative election manifesto. Miss Patel highlights recent shocking cases of disorder in which anarchists hijacked a Black Lives Matter protest in Westminster last month and far-Right thugs went on the rampage. ‘A minority of despicable individuals still seem to think they can treat emergency services workers as punchbags,’ the Home Secretary writes.” – Daily Mail

Patel 2) Home Secretary to detail post-Brexit immigration plans today

“The home secretary is to unveil further detail on the future of immigration in the UK on Monday in an attempt to prepare businesses and organisations for the biggest overhaul of the system in decades. The Home Office has previously revealed the core principles behind the forthcoming points-based system, which is meant to be introduced when the transition period from leaving the European Union ends on 1 January. Under the system, UK borders will be closed to so-called non-skilled workers and applicants will be have to show a greater understanding of English. Applicants must also have a job offer with a minimum salary of £25,600 a year, with a few exceptions. But the most significant change is the end of freedom of movement for EU nationals, who will be treated equally to arrivals from outside the bloc.” – The Guardian

Patel 3) Britain and France join forces to stop Channel illegal migrant crossings

“Priti Patel and her French counterpart have signed an agreement to create a “joint intelligence cell” to tackle migrants crossing the Channel. The home secretary met Gérald Darmanin, the French interior minister, to discuss intelligence sharing. Yesterday the authorities in France prevented about 200 migrants from crossing the Dover Strait and the Home Office said that Britain intercepted almost as many. A search and rescue operation was launched as Border Force and agencies including the Coastguard and Kent police responded to several incidents off the British coast.” – The Times

  • Foreign crime gang boss wins deportation battle with Home Secretary – Daily Telegraph
  • Closed borders leave 200,000 merchant sailors stuck at sea – The Times

Hunt: We Tories must keep our word – and fix the social care crisis now

“Ending the crisis in social care has been a long-held ambition of those who enter Downing Street from whichever party – and was certainly one of mine as health secretary. But coronavirus has removed any possible excuse for the delay, as it has brutally exposed the fragility of the sector – alongside the bravery and service of those who work in it. As we grasp the nettle of social care reform and prepare for a second wave, we must learn the lessons of recent months. When the peak of the pandemic approached and NHS beds were desperately needed, vulnerable people were discharged from hospitals into care homes without proper testing.” – The Guardian

Johnson “sets up clash with Scotland and Wales over control of state aid”

“Boris Johnson’s government is planning to withhold power to control state aid from the UK’s devolved nations when the Brexit transition ends, in a move that will outrage Scotland and Wales. The state aid proposal, which would give Westminster statutory powers to control policies for the entire UK, is expected to appear in a bill this autumn laying the legal foundations of a new internal market, according to two people familiar with the plans. The legislation would further fuel accusations in Edinburgh and Cardiff — which insist that industrial subsidies are a local matter — of a post-Brexit “power grab” by London.” – FT

Trump aide flies to Europe for Huawei crisis talks

“President Trump’s national security adviser flies into Paris today for talks on China, heaping more pressure on Boris Johnson to strip Huawei from Britain’s 5G network. Robert O’Brien will be in France for three days, during which Sir Mark Sedwill, Britain’s most senior security official, will travel to meet him. The visit comes as the prime minister prepares to chair the National Security Council (NSC) tomorrow where he is expected to finalise a U-turn on Huawei’s participation in the network.” – The Times 

  • UK turns to “Five Eyes” to find Huawei alternative – FT

Karl McCartney, the Tory MP, threatens legal action against Clive Betts of Labour

“It’s a chance for a kickabout to fundraise and let off some steam for those in the Westminster pressure cooker. But now an extraordinary row has erupted over the parliamentary football team after a Tory MP threatened to take legal action against a Labour MP. It comes after Conservative Karl McCartney seized the chairmanship – and with it became captain of the team – when he took over from veteran boss Labour’s Clive Betts in February. He launched a surprise bid for the job and brought several colleagues along and Mr Betts chose not to challenge him. But Labour politicians have cried foul. They are now withholding their support from the team – which needs one Labour MP to survive.” – Daily Mail

Students at British universities should not expect automatic tuition fee refunds

“Students at British universities should not expect automatic tuition fee refunds for disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, according to MPs, despite complaints from thousands of those affected. The MPs on parliament’s petitions committee said while many students had lost out as a result of campus closures and the switch to remote learning, at least some universities had made “enormous efforts” to provide effective teaching. In a report, the committee concluded: “While students do have a right to seek a refund or to repeat part of their course if the service provided by their university is substandard, we do not believe that there should be a universal refund or reimbursement of tuition fees to all university students.”” – The Guardian

Introducing Johnson, Hancock and Cummings’ new Red Wall-friendly Labour-style NHS

13 Jul

At the end of May, NHS England announced that dentists could re-open as of the start of next week.  The decision was not made by Ministers.  It was not even cleared by them.  Almost immediately, dentists themselves began to protest that they didn’t have the personal protective equipment necessary in the time of Coronavirus.

But NHS England didn’t get the consequent kick in the teeth.  Ministers did, because they’re held responsible for what happens to health services, regardless of whether or not they have decision making-powers.  And Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and Dominic Cummings have had enough of it.

Stand ready for the most remarkable change in NHS policy for over 30 years – and a U-turn on what has been the trend in healthcare policy-making during that period.  Its core principle has been to stress competition rather than co-operation.

Enter the first of the three main actors: Ken Clarke.  In 1988, with the health service’s finances, as so often, in deep trouble, the then new Health Secretary came up with the idea of dividing the two, and putting purchasing power in the hands of doctors themselves.  He drove GP fundholding through his party and Parliament.

Travel on to the New Labour era, and meet our second player: Alan Milburn.  A Blairite reformer, he adapted the concept of foundation hospitals from Spain, envisaging NHS trusts with managerial and financial freedoms.  The Coalition abolished their private patients income cap, but they must do most of their wok for the NHS.

That era brings us to our third figure: Andrew Lansley.  David Cameron thought that his first Health Secretary would deliver evolutionary change.  Instead, he aimed for radical reform: “a reorganisation so big you can see it from outer space,” as David Nicholson, then NHS Chief Executive, put it.

Despite a Liberal Democrat revolt and a humiliating “pause” to his legislation, Lansley got much of what he wanted – including the elements that now so frustrate Johnson and Hancock.  The former Health Secretary envisaged politicians removed from the day-to-day management of the NHS.

Hence NHS England, its powerful Chief Executive, Simon Stevens – and the dentists’ episode that we report above: only one instance of many in which Ministers feel they have been let down by NHS institutions during the Covid-19 outbreak, especially over a quick national roll-out of testing.

But it’s important to grasp that the frustration of Ministers with the system hasn’t simply been sparked by the Coronavirus.  Jeremy Hunt presaged their discontent – operating with an A1 piece of paper pinned to his office wall detailing that week’s NHS “never events”: serious mistakes with patients that should never have been made.

Hunt had an activist view of the Health Secretary’s role, writing on this site three years ago about how he introduced a programme of “Ofsted-Style ratings and special measures into the NHS”.  But he was forced to operate within the framework that Lansley had established.

Then came Hancock.  His period at the Department of Health has been so consumed by the virus that it’s easy to forget he was there before it came – indeed, that he was in place before last December’s election.  Which is when he took up the Health Select Committee’s cry of “collaboration not competition”.

Hancock threw his support “behind an integrated commissioning framework which prioritises collaboration rather than choice and competition”, according to one report last October. “We have to make it easier for people to work together across the siloes,” he said.

So there is a bit of recent history to reports that the Prime Minister wants Ministers to “regain much of the direct control over the NHS they lost in 2012” – in other words, as a consequence of the Lansley reform.  A taskforce is meeting.  A Bill is planned.  Even foundation status may go.

We doubt that last will happen – but Johnson, Hancock and Cummings will want to get a move on.  The fear in Number Ten is that the Coronavirus will ebb during the summer, but return during the winter – and that the Government will once more get it in the neck, as they see it, for mistakes not of their making.

“Bevan said that ‘the sound of a dropped bedpan in Tredegar should reverberate around the Palace of Westminster’.  But the problem is that when NHS England drops it, Ministers get the blame,” one source told ConservativeHome.

That suggests legislation fast.  This site is all for public service reform – a theme absent, on a large scale at least, from Michael Gove’s recent speech about change among civil servants and Ministers.  But it would come in this case with at least two consequences.

First, Labour will attack any significant change as “Tory privatisation of the NHS”.  Never mind that Milburn’s changes were written up at the time as “a sort of halfway house between the public and private sectors”.  Or that the reforms the Government wants sounds suspiciously like…Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto.

“We will repeal the Health and Social Care Act and reinstate the responsibilities of the Secretary of State to provide a comprehensive and universal healthcare system,” it declared.  But what Johnson actually does will make next to no difference.  A Bill will also risk hostility from the doctors’ trade union, the British Medical Association.

Second, major structural reform of the system, entirely absent from last year’s Conservative Manifesto, will also come under fire from the Prime Minister’s right – at least if it is structured in the way that the leaks and briefings from government suggest.

Central control of the system is the problem, not the solution, the right-wing thinks will queue up to argue. And they will have a point.  If we want a more responsive healthcare system, don’t we need a more mixed, better funded, locally-led one – like Germany’s, Andrew Gimson has argued on ConservativeHome.

Back in Downing Street, Johnson and Cummings won’t mind at all if free marketeers, libertarians and classical liberals line up to roast their ideas.  For if the Government becomes seen as the champion of the NHS, they will think, so much the better for its electoral prospects.

More money for the health service, an Australian-style immigration points system, and tax cuts for lower paid workers have long been a Cummings triple theme, together with more funding for the police.  Not to mention a curb on abuses of security and control claimed in the name of human rights and delivered by judicial review.

Johnson’s own recent health history, suffering with Covid-19 in an intensive care ward, sets him up credibly as a defender of the Bevan’s creation.  The claim that the Conservatives are reinventing themselves a populist, Brexity Hezza-type, Red Wall-friendly party needs no introduction.  Here is its latest manifestation.

Calling Conservatives: New public appointments announced. Trustees of the National Citizen Service – and more

13 Jul

Eight years ago, the TaxPayers’ Alliance reported that “in the last year, five times more Labour people were appointed to public bodies than Tories”.

It currently reports that almost half of avowedly political appointees last year owed their allegiance to Labour Party, compared to less than a third for the Conservatives.

Despite the selection of some Party members or supporters to fill important posts, over time, the Conservatives have punched beneath their weight when it comes to public appointments.  One of the reasons seems to be that Tories simply don’t apply in the same number as Labour supporters.

To help remedy this, each week we put up links to some of the main public appointments vacancies, so that qualified Conservatives can be aware of the opportunities presented.

– – – – – – – – – –

NHS England – Non-Executive Directors

“The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is looking to make two Non-Executive Director (NED) appointments to NHS England. NHS England leads the National Health Service in England and sets its priorities and direction. It is responsible for arranging the provision of health services and for more than £150 billion of funds. The primary role of Non-Executive Directors is, as a team, to lead in developing the strategy for, and overseeing the work of NHS England by participating fully in the work of the board, both in the context of the board meetings themselves, and more widely. Non-Executive Directors also play a part in representing NHS England externally, alongside the Chief Executive, the Chair and the wider Executive team.”

Time: 2-3 days per month.

Remuneration: £7,883 (£13,137) per annum.

Closes: 16 July

– – – – – – – – – –

Scottish National Investment Bank – Non-Executive Directors

“The Scottish National Investment Bank Act (‘the Act’) received Royal Assent in February 2020, paving the way to establish the Bank as a public limited company and public body accountable to Scottish Ministers who own and set its strategic missions. The Act sets out how the Bank should operate in order to meet missions which will be set by Scottish Ministers as the sole-shareholder. In response to these missions the Bank is required to develop an Investment Strategy which will help create and shape future markets, spark innovation and tackle socio-economic challenges in Scotland. Additionally, the Bank will have a key role to play in Scotland’s emerging economy post Covid-19.”

Time: Up to 25 days per annum.

Remuneration: £21,250 per annum.

Closes: 24 July

– – – – – – – – – –

UK Trade Remedies Authority – Non-Executive Directors

The TRA as a statutory body would perform an independent function, investigating and recommending to Ministers when to impose trade remedies measures in response to injury caused by unfair trading practices, such as dumping, subsidies, or unforeseen surges in imports. Ministers would decide whether to agree the TRA’s recommendations. The TRA will also carry out reviews of those existing EU measures transitioned into the UK system to ensure that they are specific to the UK market, in line with WTO rules. The TRA will also be responsible for providing support and assistance to DIT on trade… The TRA Board sets the strategic direction and priorities of the organisation, monitoring its performance against its objectives and holding the Chief Executive and executive team to account.

Time: Approx. 15-20 per annum.

Remuneration: £15,000 per annum (additional £3,000 for the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee).

Closes: 24 July

– – – – – – – – – –

Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel – Chair

“The chair is responsible for leading and managing the Panel. They must lead development and implementation of a strategic vision for the Panel and ensure the reviews under their supervision identify improvements safeguarding partners or others should make to better safeguard and promote the welfare of children…Successful applicants will demonstrate the ability to: provide strong strategic leadership; chair high level meetings; effectively manage team dynamics and maintain the confidence of others, including child safeguarding professionals, Ministers and the public. The right candidate will also demonstrate a strong understanding of multi-agency child safeguarding arrangements, policy and frontline delivery.”

Time: 6-8 days per month.

Remuneration: £500 per diem.

Closes: 31 July

– – – – – – – – – –

College of Policing – Chair

“The Chair of the College of Policing is appointed by the Home Secretary to ensure the long-term success of the College. Together with the College Board of Directors, the Chair (who must not have a background in operational policing) will set the College’s strategic direction and aims against budgets and priorities. They will provide the College Chief Executive and team of Executive Directors with the necessary leadership, support and monitoring that will help them to meet the College and Home Secretary’s goals. The College plays a critical role in helping to increase the diversity within the police to reflect the communities they serve.”

Time: 1-2 days per week.

Remuneration: £135,000 pro rata.

Closes: 03 August

– – – – – – – – – –

Equality & Human Rights Commission – Chair

“The Secretary of State for International Trade and Minister for Women and Equalities is seeking a strong, strategic leader who will continue to develop the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and set the Commission’s overall direction to reflect its crucial role as an equality body and National Human Rights Institution. This appointment fulfils the requirement of the Equality Act 2006 that the Secretary of State should appoint a Chair to the Commission. Although the Commission is an independent organisation, the Chair is accountable to the above sponsoring Minister. You will develop and maintain high-value relationships with Ministers, influential partners, governments at home and abroad, opinion formers, industry and others, demonstrating judgment, integrity and resilience in the face of challenge.”

Time: 1-2 days per week.

Remuneration: £500 per diem.

Closes: 03 August

– – – – – – – – – –

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – National Citizen Service Trustees

“National Citizen Service (NCS) is a youth programme that runs across England and Northern Ireland. We exist to engage, unite and empower young people, building their confidence so they can go out there and achieve their dreams, no matter where they’re from or what their background is. Our programme is managed and supported by NCS Trust, our central team who are constantly working to make sure we deliver the most impactful experience we can to as many young people as possible. National Citizen Service is seeking three Trustees with experience and skills at a senior level in the following areas: experience and demonstrable senior leadership in the parliamentary/public sector (1 Trustee); human resources specialist with commercial experience and a particular focus on people strategy, culture and coaching high performance teams (1 Trustee); [and] an education leader with strong links to schools and young people (1 Trustee).”

Time: 5-10 days per week.

Remuneration: “Reasonable expenses”.

Closes: 09 August

– – – – – – – – – –

Home Office – Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner

“The Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner role aims to promote police compliance with the rules on the collection and retention of DNA, fingerprints and surveillance cameras respectively. The roles were created by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (POFA), which set out the regime for police use of DNA, fingerprints and the regulation of surveillance cameras. We have decided to appoint a single person to both roles because of the confluence of existing and emerging regulatory issues around police use of automated facial recognition. The post will cover the duties of the Biometrics Commissioner and the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, while the Government is considering reforms in this area.”

Time: Full-time.

Remuneration: £125,000 per annum.

Closes: 09 August

Newslinks for Sunday 12th July 2020

12 Jul

Sunak ‘plans Brexit tax cuts’ to save the economy

“Taxes and red tape will be slashed in towns and cities across the country next year, under government plans for a post-Brexit and post-coronavirus ­economic revolution. Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, is preparing to introduce sweeping tax cuts and an overhaul of planning laws in up to 10 new “freeports” within a year of the UK becoming fully independent from the European Union in December, The Telegraph can reveal. The disclosure comes as Michael Gove declares the reasons for Brexit are “stronger than ever”, in a rebuke to Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, who last week said he saw no “added value” from leaving the bloc… Ministers are dramatically stepping up plans for the end of the transition period, with less than six months until the UK leaves the EU’s customs union and the single market.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • ‘Bonfire of red tape’ expected – Mail on Sunday
  • White‑collar staff face silent cull as firms cut back – Sunday Times
  • Gauke: tax rises and cuts only way to pay for Covid-19 – The Observer
  • Primark won’t take Chancellor’s £30m – Sunday Times

Transport:

Analysis:

  • Sunak swoops to save Boris Johnson from a holy mess – Tim Shipman, Sunday Times

Comment:

  • Sunak is borrowing his way out of this crisis, but we’ll all have to pay it back – David Gauke, The Observer
  • It’s our patriotic duty to eat, drink, and shop – Theresa Villiers MP, Sun on Sunday
  • Workers’ rights will count for little when there’s no work – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph
  • The liberal Left now view white British workers as their enemy – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: Polling snapshot. How Johnson reinvented the Conservatives after they had recently formed governments three times

BBC facing £1bn crisis as ministers ‘set to push ahead with decriminalising licence fee’

“The BBC is facing a black hole in its finances after government sources suggested that it will push ahead with decriminalisation of the licence fee. The move comes as the results of a consultation into whether the licence fee should remain as an enforceable tax on every household with a television licence are due to be published shortly. The Corporation estimates that it will lose £1 billion in five years as a result of not being able to threaten non-payers with criminal action for the £157.50 annual charge. However, with thousands joining a Defund the BBC campaign over allegations that its political coverage is biassed, critics suggest the cost could be even greater. A Downing Street source confirmed decriminalisation “is still on the agenda” and a minister has told the Sunday Express “this will happen.”” – Sunday Express

No-deal Brexit border force ‘to cost £700m’

“Ministers are to spend more than £700m beefing up border security, and will launch a public information campaign tomorrow to get people ready for new Brexit rules from January. Michael Gove is spending the money on new border guards, IT systems and other infrastructure at Dover and other ports of entry, as the UK prepares for the possibility of a no-deal departure. A source said: “It’s a big package of infrastructure, technology and personnel.” The government is planning an ad campaign to ensure businesses and tourists are ready for regulations that will kick in after the Brexit transition phase ends on December 31. Brexit talks are deadlocked, despite face-to-face meetings of both sides’ chief negotiators last week.” – Sunday Times

  • Vast Brexit customs clearance centre to be built in Kent – The Observer
  • ‘Senior Brexiteers’ warn that Withdrawal Agreement amount to ‘poison pill’… – Sunday Telegraph
  • …which ‘could undermine sovereignty and cost £165bn’ – Sunday Express
  • Brits to stump up for £16m revamp of EU Parliament – Sun on Sunday

Michael Gove: Outside the EU, a bright future awaits Britain

“Taking back control of the money we send to Brussels means we can spend it on our priorities: investing in the NHS, spreading opportunity more equally across the UK and strengthening our Union. We can build a trading relationship with our European neighbours that serves all our interests and develop new economic partnerships across the world. The deal the Prime Minister struck last year, and which the country backed in the general election, ensured we left the EU in January and means we can look forward with confidence to the end of the transition period on December 31. But, just like a house move, we need to make sure all the practical arrangements for our new future are in place.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • We must declare to the world that Britain is open for business – Priti Patel, Sun on Sunday

Johnson warned to remove Huawei components from UK’s 5G network ‘without delay’

“Boris Johnson was warned to remove Chinese tech giant Huawei’s components from the UK 5G network “without delay”. The Government, which agreed in January the firm could supply non-“core” elements, will outline its U-turn after a National Security Council meeting this week. Tory rebels, who include Iain Duncan Smith, have indicated they could live with a 2025 exit date, but want a timetable. The move, which comes amid continuing fears that Huawei is a potential national security danger, could begin this year. US sanctions mean Huawei cannot use American components, which will mean the firm would have to use untrusted technology. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said the US action will hamper Huawei’s ability to act as a 5G network provider.” – Sun on Sunday

  • Firm urges Britain: Don’t drop us till after next election – Sunday Times
  • Ministers fear China will blitz UK with a devastating ‘cyber 9/11’ – Mail on Sunday
  • UK would take ‘golden shares’ in Chinese-owned nuclear companies – Sunday Telegraph

Comment:

  • Nobody should be surprised about China’s bullying tactics – David Davis, Sun on Sunday

Thousands of British Troops to be ‘compensated’ by Johnson for Sturgeon tax hikes

“Whitehall is having to step in to protect Scottish Armed Forces personnel from “SNP tax hikes”. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has agreed to permanently reimburse 7,000 armed forces personnel who have been subject to higher tax rates in Scotland after an initial two year pilot. An annual payment will now be permanently provided to serving personnel earning £28,443 or more a year with an average annual payment of £850. Mitigation of between £12 and £2,200 will be paid, with payments grossed up to take account of income tax and national insurance. This would be provided regardless of where the soldiers are deployed or where their families are based, the MoD said. It comes after concerns were raised by the department that the Scottish Government tax rates, which are higher than in England, could create low morale.” – Sunday Express

Patel ‘believes fear of being called racist’ stopped police from tackling ‘slave’ sweatshops

“The Home Secretary is understood to think that ‘cultural sensitivities’ prevented the police from tackling Leicester’s ‘slave’ sweatshops. Priti Patel is said to have raised concerns behind closed doors that government agencies turned a blind eye to the factories where staff were paid less than the minimum wage and worked in poor conditions, as reported by The Sunday Times. Ms Patel is thought to now be considering new laws on modern slavery after fears the current legislation is no ‘fit for purpose’. A source close to the Home Secretary told the newspaper: ‘This scandal has been hiding in plain sight and there are concerns cultural sensitivities could be in part to blame for why these appalling working practices haven’t been investigated.'” – Mail on Sunday

  • Home secretary believes police and council turned a blind eye – Sunday Times

More:

  • Deportation promise ‘thrown into doubt’ by new failures – Mail on Sunday

Electoral Commission can’t be allowed to ‘mark its own homework’, says Tory chairman

“Conservatives have raised “serious concerns” about the leadership and accountability of the elections watchdog after its chief executive confirmed plans to hand itself powers to prosecute parties and campaign groups. In a highly unusual intervention, Amanda Milling, co-chairman of the Conservative Party and Cabinet minister, warned that the Electoral Commission should drop the proposals, as she hit out at the body’s “botched handling” of recent cases. The move puts Boris Johnson’s Government on a major collision course with the watchdog, as it attempts to hand itself new powers. Senior Tories insist that the body is “not trusted to be impartial” based on previous investigations and past comments by board members and Louise Edwards, its director of regulation, who is leading the work.” – Sunday Telegraph

Prime Minister ‘plans radical shake-up of NHS’ in bid to regain more direct control

“Boris Johnson is planning a radical and politically risky reorganisation of the NHS amid government frustration at the health service’s chief executive, Simon Stevens, the Guardian has learned. The prime minister has set up a taskforce to devise plans for how ministers can regain much of the direct control over the NHS they lost in 2012 under a controversial shake-up masterminded by Andrew Lansley, the then coalition government health secretary. The prime minister’s health and social care taskforce – made up of senior civil servants and advisers from Downing Street, the Treasury and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) – is drawing up proposals that would restrict NHS England’s operational independence and the freedom Stevens has to run the service.” – The Observer

  • Johnson’s obesity blitz ‘thrown into chaos’ by Sunak’s half-price meal deal – Sun on Sunday
  • Hancock ‘sued over care home deaths’ – Sunday Times
  • Crisis leaves patients facing two‑year wait for new knees and hips – Sunday Times

Comment:

  • There’s no such thing as a free social care system – Robert Colvile, Sunday Times

>Today: Richard Walton in Comment: The Government must act to prevent Coronavirus fraud

Rumour that Cummings will ‘wield axe’ over Cabinet ‘leakers’ Truss, Wallace, and Buckland

“Cabinet Ministers suspected of leaking to the media are at the top of Boris Johnson’s hit-list in his next reshuffle, as adviser Dominic Cummings increasingly flexes his political muscles. International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland are all nervous about their chances of staying in the Cabinet after the reshuffle, which is expected in the autumn. The rumoured appearance in No 10 of a whiteboard used to write out the names of those on the move has not helped to calm nerves. Friends of Ms Truss are feeling particularly pessimistic about her career prospects after she was called in to No 10 on Thursday morning for what one source described as ‘a total b******ing’ by Mr Cummings.” – Mail on Sunday

Labour boycotts Facebook ‘to back Black Lives Matter’…

“Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, has launched a “complete boycott” of party advertising on Facebook in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Labour spent more than £1.2m on advertisements on the social media giant during last year’s general election. However, the firm has been accused of failing to do enough to remove hate speech and racist conspiracy theories following the death of George Floyd, the black man killed by police in Minnesota in May. According to Stop Hate for Profit, the American campaign behind the boycott, 98% of Facebook’s $70bn (£55bn) in revenue last year came from advertising. Labour made the decision to join the likes of Coca-Cola, Lego and Adidas in suspending all adverts on the site last week, although it has not been announced publicly.” – Sunday Times

  • Competent, likeable, decisive: Starmer beating Johnson ‘on all counts’ – The Observer

More:

  • Labour tax raid ‘would cost hard-working Brits around £2,500 a year’ – Sun on Sunday
  • Brown advised Labour to stop comeback of ‘useless’ Ed Miliband – Sunday Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The “equalities” industry has entrenched division. It must be swept away.

…and calls for immediate publication of inquiry into Patel bullying claims

“An inquiry into allegations that the home secretary, Priti Patel, bullied staff must be published immediately amid claims the inquiry’s chief is resisting pressure from Downing Street to exonerate her, Labour has said. The shadow home secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, wrote to the Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, on Saturday, saying the delay in publishing the findings is unacceptable. A Cabinet Office investigation was launched in March following claims that Patel, who denies all the allegations, mistreated staff and clashed with senior officials in three departments, including in her current role as home secretary. It is understood that the report has been completed.” – The Observer

  • Starmer urged to discipline 16 MPs for ‘consistently failing’ pro-Israel constituents – Sunday Express
  • Labour frontbencher forced to apologise for second time in a month – Sunday Times

>Yesterday: Book Reviews: Bevin, the working-class John Bull who stood up to Stalin and has no successors in today’s Labour Party

Tory MPs join campaign to halt the £300m sale of Newcastle United to Saudis

“Football-loving MPs have mounted a campaign to halt the £300million sale of Newcastle United to oil-rich Saudis. They want the Premier League to block it over human rights abuses, and what they see as “blatant piracy” of our national game. Footie chiefs are considering whether to let the Saudi Arabia ­Public Investment Fund, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, buy an 80 per cent stake in the Toon. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has listed 20 Saudis who committed “the gravest human rights violations”… Tory Mike Wood, vice chair of the all-party group for football, said: “It’s hard to see how the Investment Fund meets any fit and proper person test.”” – Sun on Sunday