BORIS JOHNSON is set to tighten his grip on power on Scotland and could be set to hold more Cabinet meetings in a bid to hold Nicola Sturgeon to account, Express.co.uk has learnt tonight. It comes amid surging support for independence which has seen recent polls show that 54 percent of Scots are in favour of leaving the UK. Express.co.uk understands that he told a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that more ministers should be sent to Scotland to “show how strong Westminster is”. The UK Government’s base is located at Queen Elizabeth House, which opened last July and is home to more than 3,000 civil servants. The new hub houses the Scotland Office, the Competition and Markets Authority and HMRC and is designed to ensure that Westminster is at the heart of Scottish Capital and is near to St Andrews House, home of The Scottish Government.
Social care could be brought under the control of the NHS in England in a controversial move that would cause the health service’s budget to soar to £150bn, the Guardian has learned. Downing Street has drafted in David Cameron’s former policy chief Camilla Cavendish to help finalise proposals designed to honour Boris Johnson’s pledge to “fix the crisis in social care”. Under plans being examined by Cavendish and ministers, the government would take responsibility for social care services away from councils in England – together with the £22.5bn in annual funding – and hand it to the NHS, the Guardian understands. On Monday night the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) denied it had plans to merge the two public services.
Boris Johnson has ruled out higher taxes for the over-40s to help fund social care. The Prime Minister has dismissed reports claiming the Government was considering radical action to try solve the ongoing issue of how to pay for care for the country’s ageing population. The alleged plans are said to be supported by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and would see over-40s would have to pay more in tax or national insurance. However this afternoon the PM’s official spokesman rejected claims it was being looked at. He said: “No. It is not true that we are considering this policy.” A Whitehall source had claimed there was a fresh focus on coming up with ideas to solve the social care crisis.
Quarantine for people arriving from Spain and other countries with high levels of Covid-19 will be cut to 10 days under plans being finalised by ministers, The Telegraph has learnt. The Government hopes to announce this week a new policy of testing arrivals from high-risk countries eight days after they land. If they test negative they will be allowed to come out of self-isolation two days later, reducing the mandatory quarantine period by four days. The move will cut almost an entire working week off the self-isolation requirement, and ministers hope it will help salvage the summer holiday season for some of those already booked on flights abroad.
Britain is closely watching rises in coronavirus cases in other European destinations such as France and Germany after slapping a 14-day quarantine on travellers from Spain at the height of the summer vacation season. The imposition of a British quarantine on Spain is one of the starkest indications to date that Europe could face a second wave of economic turmoil as governments scramble to head off a rise in cases from the Mediterranean to the North Sea. Shares in airlines and travel companies – already on their knees due to coronavirus lockdowns – tumbled while Spain pleaded for Britain to exclude the Balearic and Canary islands from the quarantine.
Holidaymakers were warned yesterday that “no travel is risk-free” as concern grew that the quarantining of arrivals from Spain will be extended to other countries. Downing Street insisted that rules on overseas travel were under “constant review”, raising fears that the holiday plans of millions will be threatened. At least 11 European countries where quarantine-free travel is possible have suffered Covid-19 increases in recent days, with some reaching higher infection rates than the UK. In the past fortnight Croatia and Belgium have registered twice as many cases per head as Britain. Infections have climbed in France, Germany and Austria too.
QUARANTINE is set to be slashed to ten days for Brits coming home from Spain under Government plans. The two week self-isolation will be cut by several days after thousands of Brits’ holidays were thrown into chaos, The Daily Telegraph reports. It comes after confused holidaymakers now fear a ruined summer with trips facing the axe after an effective travel ban was slapped on Spain this weekend. The devastating blow came as long-awaited European holidays for thousands of Brits were thrown into chaos with families cancelling trips to Europe. It is believed new plans are being finalised to lessen the sting of the restrictions now in place.
Spain’s Prime Minister has blasted quarantine restrictions as ‘unjust’ and said tourists will be safer in his country than the UK as ministers prepare to slash quarantine from 14 to 10 days to salvage getaways for millions of families. Pedro Sanchez last night criticised the government’s sudden decision to force Britons returning from Spain to stay at home for two weeks and called on the government to reconsider its decision. Tourists braced to enter quarantine are worried the fortnight self-isolating could cost them paid work and there are fears the newly-imposed rules could kill off the summer holiday season.
A divisive new battleground has emerged in recent weeks between Britons who are angry at being forced to wear face masks, and those equally furious about non-compliance. Libertarians, massing under the banner ‘Keep Britain Free’, complain that covering up is an affront to civil rights, and largely pointless when pubs and restaurants are exempt. Pro-maskers, operating under the ‘mask it or casket’ slogan, brand the dissenters selfish, with some shops even installing mirrors which state: “We have provided this space away from everyone else where you can stare at your reflection, since apparently you’re the only person you care about.” Somewhere in the middle are those who grudgingly wear masks, but still feel a gnawing unease.
German biotech BioNTech and US drugmaker Pfizer said on Monday they are launching a pivotal global study to evaluate their lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate. If the study is successful, the companies could submit the vaccine for regulatory approval as early as October, putting them on track to supply up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and 1.3 billion by the end of 2021. Pfizer last year agreed to provide the US with 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine for $1.95 billion. Patients are each given two doses of the drugmakers’ vaccine to help boost immunity, so the first 100 million doses would vaccinate around 50 million people.
Hope were rising last night that an arthritis drug could prove to be a breakthrough treatment for coronavirus. Doctors say anti-inflammatory treatment tocilizumab could save lives by halting the immune system ‘storm’ that has killed thousands of virus patients. Results of a major global trial are expected this week. Doctors are confident the drug, which was originally developed as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, will stop the hyper-inflammation that happens when the immune system starts attacking the body. It could dramatically reduce coronavirus deaths – many of which are caused by the aggressive immune response rather than the virus itself. If successful, it would be only the second drug proven to save lives from the virus. So far the only one shown to work is the steroid dexamethasone.
GPs will prescribe bicycles under a £2bn plan to “shift gears” and overhaul couch potato lifestyles. Boris Johnson will launch the scheme, promising thousands of miles of new protected bike lanes, cycle training for those who want it as well and bikes on prescription. Pilot schemes will see GPs in areas with particularly poor health asked to prescribe cycling to unfit patients, with patients able to borrow bikes through their local surgery. A national e-bike programme will be created to improve access for those who are older, have to travel long distances or are less fit to take up cycling.
Bicycles will be prescribed on the National Health Service as part of the Government’s “biggest and boldest plans” to improve the nation’s physical fitness. Tens of thousands of people will get their bikes repaired free in the opening move of a £2bn-plus strategy to boost levels of cycling and walking across the United Kingdom. The cash will also be used to create thousands of miles of bike lanes and to offer free training for anyone who wants to get back in the saddle. The initiative – exclusively disclosed by i in May – attempts to sustain the increased levels of cycling and walking during the coronavirus lockdown both to improve physical health and to reduce air pollution.
Boris Johnson will promise cycle lessons for all as well as thousands of miles of new bike lanes as the coronavirus crisis continues to drive millions from public transport. GPs will also prescribe cycling as part of the push to get the nation fitter ahead of a possible second wave of the pandemic this winter. But under the plans, cycling schemes which “consist mainly of paint” or which make pedestrians and cyclists share the same space will not qualify for funding. Mr Johnson, himself a keen cyclist, has already announced plans to spend £2bn of new money to help more people in England cycle or walk to their destination.
A government scheme offering £50 bike repair vouchers will launch in England on Tuesday as part of plans to boost cycling and walking. An initial 50,000 vouchers will be made available online on a first come, first served basis. The prime minister also announced that bikes will be made available on the NHS as part of the strategy. But Labour said many of the government’s proposals were taking too long to come into effect. It comes after the government launched its obesity strategy on Monday. GPs in areas of England with poor health will be encouraged to prescribe cycling, and patients able to access bikes through their local surgery. Recent Public Health England research found that being overweight or obese puts people at greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19.
CYCLISTS can now get a free £50 voucher to help fix their bikes during lockdown. The scheme, which was initially announced by transport secretary Grant Shapps earlier this year, is now open for bike owners to sign up to. It will run until the number of allocated vouchers run out. It’s part of a £2billion package to get people to walk and cycle more. Number 10 has said the Government is “working closely” with the cycling industry to monitor its success. The scheme will then be adapted before it is rolled it out more widely.
Bicycles will be prescribed by doctors for patients and all Britons will be offered free training on how to ride in a £2billion drive to get fat Britain ‘on its bike’. Free repair vouchers worth £50 will be handed out and there will be a massive expansion of cycle lanes as part of a revolution unveiled today. Boris Johnson announced that GPs in obesity hotspots will be encouraged to prescribe cycling, with patients able to access bikes through their local surgery. Thousands of miles of new protected bike lanes and free cycle training for any child or adult will be offered under the Government’s ‘biggest and boldest plans’ to boost active travel. The creation of the UK’s first zero-emission transport city and a dozen ‘mini-Holland’ schemes – which prioritise cycling and walking – will also form part of the revolution.
Coronavirus may leave the heart with lasting, dangerous damage, two new studies suggest. It’s become clear that the respiratory virus also attacks the cardiovascular system, as well as numerous other organs, including the kidneys and brain, but the new studies shed light on worrying damage to the heart itself. One German study found that 78 percent of patients who recovered from COVID-19 were left with structural changes to their heart, and 76 of the 100 survivors showed signs of the kind of damage a heart attack leaves. A second study, also conducted in Germany, found that more than half of people who died after contracting COVID-19 had high levels of the virus in their hearts.
Wild camping patrols have been launched by police after amid a rise in illegal staycations during the coronavirus pandemic. Authorities across the country have reported a rise in people camping at beauty spots without permission, or parking their campervans in motorway lay bys. Last week the National Trust said it had seen a huge increase in so-called “fly camping”, where litter and the remains of campfires are left behind. Wild camping is generally illegal in England and Wales without the permission of the landowner. Trevor Beattie, chief executive of the South Downs National Park Authority, said he would encourage people to camp outside, but only at official campsites. Rangers have noticed a “sharp increase” in illegal wild camping during the pandemic at historic sites including Bronze Age barrows, he said.
A nationwide crackdown on illegal camping is under way after a warning cry from local authorities. As Brits best-laid summer plans are ruined by the health crisis many have been forced to make do with what is on their doorstep. At the same time many local councils have reported a rise in people “fly camping” across the UK, everywhere from clifftops to lay-bys to rugged beauty spots. Now so-called wild camping patrols are set to be stepped up by police and rangers following a rise illegal staycations during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. What’s worse is the number of reckless campers damaging wildlife and leaving a trail of destruction: litter, camping gear and burnt out campfire remains behind them. Wild camping is mostly illegal across England and Wales unless the landowner gives specific permissions, while the use of designated campsites is encouraged.
John Bercow, Tom Watson and Jeremy Corbyn’s former chief of staff Karie Murphy will be formally rejected for peerages this week when the Dissolution Honours are published. Whitehall sources said the trio – who were all nominated by Mr Corbyn – have been dropped from the final list following concerns raised by the House of Lords Appointments Commission, known as Holac. Former Conservative Party treasurer Peter Cruddas has also been left off the list, and two other major Conservative donors are in doubt. However, Holac has approved around 30 new peers, including the England Cricket legend Sir Ian Botham, former Tory chancellors Kenneth Clarke and Philip Hammond and former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson. The peerages follow the dissolution of parliament in November last year and have been under consideration by Holac for months. Sources said they were likely to be published this week.
An electric road system which could see a network of overhead charging cables along the UK’s major road network ‘would almost completely decarbonise UK road freight’, a report has found. The plan, which would cost an estimated £19.3billion, would see National Grid powered catenary cables charge 65 per cent of the nation’s lorries using an extendable rig known as a pantograph- similar to those used on an electric train. The proposal, which has the potential to pay for itself within 15 years, is believed to be ‘technically viable, economically attractive and could be achieved by the late 2030s’, according to the report by The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight. The ambitious move comes after engineering firm Siemens and the truck manufacture’s Scania successfully carried out demonstration trials of e-highway electric road systems in Germany, Sweden and the US.
Deep inside the Tower of London — over the moat, past thick stone walls and under a vast coat of arms — lives a small, tight-knit community made up of 45 families, almost as many pets, a doctor, a chaplain and 37 dashingly dressed yeoman warders, or Beefeaters. They live in apartments in the Tower’s former hospital, high-ceilinged homes in what was once a school and lopsided rooms in some of the site’s 13 towers. They exercise their dogs in the (dry) moat, where they share tips for laundering their ceremonial garb and marvel at daft questions from tourists — a favourite is: ‘Why would anyone build a castle under a flight path?’ They even have their own private pub, the Yeoman Warders’ Club, for nights off, birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas Day (before the Queen’s speech, which no one ever misses) and whenever else they feel like a pint of Beefeater Bitter or Yeoman lager, or a slug of Beefeater Gin. ‘There’s no Hendrick’s here,’ says Yeoman Warder AJ Clark, one of two female Beefeaters. ‘They look after us very well. Everyone does.’ Of course they do. Beefeaters have been part of the Tower of London since 1485, when they were established by Henry VII to guard the prisoners.
Rebel pensioners are this week launching a campaign to “gum up” the TV licences payment system in protest at plans to strip them of free licences. Thousands of outraged OAPs plan to disrupt the system once changes come in from Saturday. The curb will see an estimated 3.7 million over-75s have to pay £157.50-a-year to watch their favourite programmes. But the Silver Voices older people’s group is waging a revolt which could see a host of legal measures aimed at making it more difficult for officials to operate the licensing system. These could include stopping direct debit payments, “forgetting” to date or sign cheques and making out cheques for amounts slightly higher or lower than the precise fee. OAPs could even write cheques in other languages, including Cornish or Gaelic, to slow down the process.
The Ancient Egyptians daubed their armpits with spices and citrus oils and millennia later we still douse ourselves with perfumes and deodorants hoping to disguise our natural stink. Now scientists have finally unravelled the biological mechanism behind body odour. The breakthrough is not to be sniffed at: it could pave the way for a new form of deodorant that prevents pong at its source. The aroma is produced when odourless molecules are secreted into the armpits by a particular type of sweat gland. Bacteria living on the surface of the skin split these molecules into amino acids, which the bacteria consume, and a volatile compound known as thioalcohol.
Scientists have sniffed out the cause of body odour and say their discovery will help companies develop more effective antiperspirants. Researchers from the University of York have identified the exact enzyme which produces the pungent smell known as body odour, or ‘BO’, and say that it has existed for as long as humans have been on the planet. The study, published in Scientific Reports, highlights how particular bacteria have evolved a specialised enzyme to produce some of the key molecules recognised as BO. Researchers discovered the enzyme by transferring it to non-odour producing bacteria and found that it also began to produce a smell.