NEW border checks on EU goods entering the UK have been delayed for the second time amid concerns they could fuel further disruption for supermarkets and shops in the run-up to Christmas.
The UK Government said today that UK businesses have “faced a range of challenges” over recent months as they recover from the global pandemic which has impacted supply chains across Europe. Minister said it was being felt particularly by the “agri-food sector” where new requirements on importing products of animal origin were due to be introduced from next month.
The Government will now give businesses more time to adjust and delay the introduction of pre-notification regulations of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks until January 2022.
Meanwhile, the new requirements for Export Health Certificates, which were due to be introduced on 1 October 2021, will now be introduced on 1 July 2022.
However, full customs declarations and controls will be introduced on 1 January 2022 as previously announced.
A similar story may be read in the Guardian
Britain is to help fund a network of asylum reception centres in France as part of the £54 million aid package offered by the Government to counter the record surge in Channel migrants.
The Home Office is negotiating to help pay for the centres across France to accommodate migrants intercepted before crossing the Channel in order to prevent them making further attempts to reach the UK in small boats.
The centres will enable the French to transport migrants away from the north coast beaches to apply for asylum in France or a “safe” third European country through which they have previously passed.
Migrants are known to make multiple bids to cross the channel as smuggling gangs tell them it will take three or four attempts before they get to the UK. MPs complain that the French tend to release migrants caught on the beaches unless officers can arrest the smugglers in situ.
The multi-million pound scheme is similar to the EU’s deal with Turkey where it paid the Turks £5 billion to take back migrants returned from Greece, which has adopted the “push back” tactics that Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, wants to introduce in the Channel.
However, the plan is being held up by a war of words between Britain and France over the failure of the French to prevent more migrants leaving the beaches, and France’s refusal to take back those intercepted or “pushed back” by Border Force vessels.
Breitbart has a similar story.
Boris Johnson told weary Britons he could not rule out another winter lockdown yesterday as his doom-mongering advisors warned of a potential seven-fold increase in hospitalisations within weeks, despite cases currently remaining static.
Experts have told the PM he must be prepared to ‘go hard, go early’ if cases start to tick up, bringing back rules such as working from home with as little as a week’s notice.
Mr Johnson said compulsory masks and vaccine passports could still be rapidly imposed if the jab programme fails to hold the virus at bay.
The PM claimed the ‘smaller changes’ in a new ‘Plan B’ should mean ‘we don’t need to go back to the lockdowns of the past’.
But he refused to rule one out, saying he would do whatever was necessary to ‘prevent the overwhelming of the NHS’.
It comes as the Government’s scientific advisers warned the number of patients being admitted to hospital with Covid could rise to 7,000 a day within weeks.
Despite the recent flattening off in cases and little sign of a post-summer surge, modellers from a Sage sub-committee claimed daily hospitalisations could reach almost double their January peak.
Between 2,000 and 7,000 people a day could be hospitalised with Covid in England next month unless the government urgently implements a “basket of measures”, government scientific advisers have warned as Boris Johnson made clear he hopes to avoid fresh restrictions.
The prime minister confirmed on Tuesday that Covid passports, the return of mandatory mask-wearing and advice to work from home would be kept in reserve as the government’s “plan B”, to be introduced if the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed.
But newly published modelling from experts on the Sage advisory committee warn the government not to wait too long, with cases, hospitalisations and deaths all higher than a year ago despite the success of the vaccination programme.
Speaking alongside Johnson at a Downing Street press conference, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, also said experience of battling the virus showed “you have to go earlier than you think you want to, you have to go harder than you think you want to”. He said the UK was now at a “pivot point” where, if the situation worsens, it could do so rapidly.
THE government’s decision to offer a third vaccine to Britain’s over-50s is a slap in the face to the global South struggling to access a first dose, campaigners charged today.
Booster vaccines will be offered to people aged 50 and over, those in care homes and front-line health and social care workers from next week.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be used as the booster dose for around 30 million people, with experts saying it is safe to be given alongside the usual winter flu jab.
People will be able to get their Covid and flu vaccines on the same day, preferably with one shot in each arm.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the Commons that the NHS would contact all those who are eligible and was preparing to offer the jabs from next week.
Wales has also said it will begin a rollout of booster vaccines. Updates were expected from Scotland after the Star went to press.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended domestic vaccine passports, calling them a “game-changer”.
On Wednesday afternoon, Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that while vaccine passports for nightclubs and other large venues would not come into effect at the end of the month, the threat of their implementation would remain should England be overcome by a Winter wave of the Chinese coronavirus.
Asked during the evening press conference whether the July 19th pledge to introduce them was merely a means to coerce young people into being vaccinated, Prime Minister Johnson responded: “I really do defend these in principle. I think it was right to set out in July that we could go forward with those measures.”
Despite the prime minister now suggesting that the government “could” have gone forward with the measures, at the time, he gave a distinct impression that the plans were confirmed.
Johnson had said in July: “By the end of September, when all over-18s will have had their chance to be doubled-jabbed, we’re planning to make full vaccination the condition for entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather. Proof of a negative test will no longer be enough.”
The NHS app is collecting and storing facial verification data from UK citizens in a process which has fuelled concerns about transparency and accountability.
The data collection is taking place under a contract with a company linked to Tory donors called iProov, awarded by NHS Digital in 2019, which has yet to be published on the government website.
Privacy campaigners say the opacity of the relationship between London-based iProov and the government raises questions about how securely the information is held, with one saying they were “deeply concerned” about the secrecy surrounding the use of data.
An NHS spokesperson confirmed law enforcement bodies were able to request data, but that a special panel reviewed such requests, taking into account the health service’s duty of confidence.
The number of users reached 10m this year after the app was adapted to act as a Covid-19 passport. It is used to access medical records and book GP appointments, as well as obtain certificates which prove an individual’s vaccine status for overseas travel, or for entry to events such as football matches. The number of users has grown by six million since the Covid pass was introduced in mid-May. The app is separate from the official NHS Covid-19 app, which acts as a contact tracer.
Boris Johnson‘s £12billion tax raid to fund the NHS and improve social care has been passed by MPs in the House of Commons despite fierce Tory resistance.
The Health and Social Care Levy was backed by 307 votes to 251, a majority 56, as MPs supported the draft legislation which will enact the National Insurance hike.
Some ten Tory MPs voted against the legislation as it was given its third reading in the chamber today.
The legislation was crashed through the Commons in a single day, before it will go to the House of Lords for further scrutiny.
The new levy was backed despite significant Tory disquiet, with Conservative MPs warning raising taxes is ‘not what Conservatives do’.
They also urged Mr Johnson not to turn the Tories into ‘Labour-lite’ as they argued after the pandemic ‘we need to work our way out of this mess, not tax our way out’.
The ten Tories who rebelled against the government at the third reading were John Baron, Christopher Chope, Philip Davies, Dehenna Davison, Richard Drax, Ben Everitt, Marcus Fysh, Craig Mackinlay, Esther McVey and John Redwood.
A fake generational war over the climate crisis has distorted public thinking and political strategy, when in fact older generations are just as worried about the issue as younger people, according to new research.
The idea that young people are ecowarriors, battling against selfish older generations is a common trope in representations of the environment movement. It has been stoked by instances including Time magazine naming Greta Thunberg their person of the year in 2019, for being a “standard bearer in a generational battle”.
The stereotypes were further strengthened when generation Z, US singer Billie Eilish said: “Hopefully the adults and the old people start listening to us [about the climate crisis]. Old people are gonna die and don’t really care if we die, but we don’t wanna die yet.”
But a new UK study, Who Cares About Climate Change: Attitudes Across The Generations, has found that the generational divide over climate action is a myth, with almost no difference in views between generations on the importance of climate action, and all saying they are willing to make big sacrifices to achieve this.
The government is considering a scheme to pay homes to install new gas boilers, documents show – despite also planning funds to help people switch to low-carbon heating.
Official documents show the government is considering using taxpayer cash to install gas central heating in between 15,000 and 20,000 low-income homes between 2022 and 2026.
These plans come from the government’s Energy Company Obligation scheme, which aims to reduce fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency.
However, the UK is also imminently due to unveil its long-awaited strategy for cutting CO2 emissions from Britain’s homes. It is expected that this strategy will offer grants to help people make the transition to low-carbon home heating.
URSULA von der Leyen’s European Commission has dropped a bombshell which has been referred to as an “unsatisfactory situation for the EU and its citizens”.
Within a letter, she stated the Commision may not be able to pay out flood aid to Germany, amid concerns there are no reserves left to provide. The European Commission’s funds for aid after natural disasters has likely been almost completely used up this year, hence the unlikely payout.
The EU Commission had promised Germany aid after a devastating flood in July affected the region.
Storms with unusually heavy rainfall were to blame for the flood disasters during the summer, which saw areas being devastated by the effects of colossal amounts of water.
SNP ministers have been accused of “secrecy” in relation to spending “Union cash” from the UK Government to help tackle the COVID-19 crisis.
The Scottish Government says it has spent £8.8billion of £9.3billion allocated by the UK Government through the Barnett formula in 2020/21. But a report out today by Audit Scotland has called for better transparency around what is classed as COVID-19 spending across different government portfolios.
The report, produced by Stephen Boyle, Scotland’s Auditor General, noted over 300 individual spending measures have been made by SNP ministers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The largest volume of cash was allocated to business, health and social care, and local government.
A LEADING Yellow Vest activist has blasted Emmanuel Macron and French authorities for using excessive violence on protesters demonstrating against coronavirus health passes.
Last Saturday was the ninth consecutive weekend that demonstrators took to the streets across France to voice their opposition to the mandatory health measures, introduced in July. In Paris alone three to four separate protests were organised, all of which were supposed to end at the Place du Palais Royal. The square is home to two of France’s main institutions – the Constitutional Council (Conseil constitutionnel) and the State Council (Conseil d’État.)
However, as protesters approached the end of their march, they were confronted by tear gas and water cannons.
The Telegraph also covers the demo.
Water firms yesterday unveiled plans to build vast reservoirs and use canals to transfer supplies in response to climate change.
Many are also planning to step up the recycling of sewage water so it can be pumped back into the network to keep taps running in times of drought.
The situation is so serious that a scheme for a desalination plant to treat sea water on the south coast is also being considered – the sort of measure used by desert states.
The moves comes against the background of climate change, which is predicted to created hotter, drier summers with associated droughts and wetter winters.
Figures out this week suggest the number of countries seeing temperatures above a scorching 50C (122F) is rising and the number of days when this figure is breached has almost doubled since 1980.
The industry regulator, Ofwat, has set aside £500million to allow water companies explore a series of schemes to help maintain supplies in future decades.