Referendum

Sky News reports that a former head of the British Army will be named tomorrow to the board of the In Europe

A former head of the British Army will be named on Monday to the board of the group which hopes to run the official campaign to keep the UK in the European Union.

Sky News understands that General Sir Peter Wall, who retired as chief of the general staff last year, will be a director of the In campaign being chaired by Lord Rose, the ex-Marks & Spencer boss.

The appointment of General Sir Peter comes several months after he warned that finding common ground on defence policy with European allies would be “more difficult still were we outside the EU”.

He will join Baroness Brady, the Apprentice star, the Innocent Drinks co-founder Richard Reed, Lord Mandelson and Danny Alexander, the former chief secretary to the Treasury, on the campaign’s board.

The other directors, sources said on Saturday, will include Jenny Halpern, a public relations boss, and Jude Kelly, the artistic director of London’s South Bank Centre.

Three prime ministers are to fight for ‘yes’ to Europe, says the Sunday Times.

BRITAIN’S three living former prime ministers, the ex-head of the army and a panellist on Loose Women will be unveiled today as the faces of the campaign to keep Britain in the EU.

The “in” campaign, to be called Britain Stronger in Europe, has the backing of Sir John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and has recruited Sir Peter Wall, the former chief of the general staff, as a member of its board. It will be chaired by Lord Rose, the former boss of Marks & Spencer.

The campaign, which brings together the political, business, education, culture and military establishments, has also sought to add a dash of glamour by recruiting June Sarpong, the former MTV and T4 presenter who is now a panellist on ITV’s Loose Women.

And the Guardian reports that pro-EU campaigners fear four million young people will be barred from voting.

At least four million young people aged between 18 and 24 face being locked out of voting in the EU referendum because they are not on the electoral register.

Last night the head of Labour’s campaign to keep the United Kingdom in the EU, former home secretary Alan Johnson, said he was concerned that “a whole generation” could be excluded.

The issue of missing young voters – made worse by changes to the registration system introduced by the government last year – is a particular problem for those campaigning for the UK to stay in, because this age group is far more positive about membership than older generations.

The In campaign will officially launch its campaign tomorrow and will put National Union of Students’ president Megan Dunn on its board in an attempt to promote interest among young voters.

Johnson said that pro-EU campaigners now needed to step up efforts to get young people to register as voters under the new system of “individual electoral registration” (IER). “Unless we do more about this, a whole generation will be left off,” he said.

Another board member, former TUC general secretary Brendan Barber, said it was crucial to energise student and other young voters to turn out.

NHS

The Express claims a secret NHS plot to slash costs could see your prescription drugs axed.

THE Government is plotting a huge review of medicines available on the NHS which could see life-saving drugs axed, Express.co.uk can reveal.

Some pills currently used for treating conditions including cancer and Alzheimer’s could have their state funding reevaluated as part of a root and branch inquiry to help achieve budget cuts.

Top secret ‘discussions’ reveal that the assessment, which would form part of the Government’s overarching spending review, will encompass some “products currently available under pharmaceutical remuneration”, including prescriptions.

As a result some drugs and medicines currently available on the NHS could be judged on their effectiveness and value for money, with a view to axing those which do not make the grade.

The explosive revelations are contained in emails sent by Department of Health officials and seen by Express.co.uk.

And the Mail reports a top hospital chief’s astonishing outburst in a bombshell letter to the Government

ONE of Britain’s leading hospital chiefs has accused Jeremy Hunt of misleading Britain by claiming he can deliver more round-the-clock NHS services despite the organisation’s crippling financial crisis.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, who leads the group of chairmen running England’s top teaching hospitals, said there wasn’t a ‘cat’s chance’ of successfully putting on more seven-day services when the NHS was ‘struggling’ so badly.

He said that unless Ministers invested billions more of taxpayers’ money, doctors would be forced to start charging patients for a raft of vital services – ending almost 70 years of an NHS which is ‘free at the point of delivery’.

Sir Thomas, who is chairman of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, has demanded a crisis summit with the Prime Minister and Health Secretary Mr Hunt.

The Independent claims that delayed discharges from hospital are costing the NHS more than £300m

The extent of “bedblocking” in NHS hospitals has worsened over the past six months, new figures have revealed.

Delayed discharge from hospital, fuelled by the lack of beds for patients needing social care, is costing the NHS more than £300m. In August this year there was the equivalent of 93,083 hospital bed days lost because of delayed discharge, an increase of 68 per cent from August 2010, when there were 55,332 days lost.

The figures were published after it emerged that the NHS has amassed debts of nearly £1bn in the last three months, leaving it in its worst financial position for a generation. NHS regulator Monitor warned that the health service is heading for a £2bn deficit for this financial year.

The BBC reports a union’s claims that more maternity units are closing their doors.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said a shortage of midwives was having a major impact and mistakes would “almost certainly be made”.

Some 42% of units shut down temporarily in the past year, its survey found.

The government said it was determined to ensure “every mother and baby gets the highest quality care”.

A poll of 83 heads of midwifery at NHS trusts found there had been a rise in the number of units that had closed their doors, with 33% having closed the previous year.

The RCM said budget cuts were also affecting services, with midwives struggling to cope with a rising birth rate and increasingly complex births.

Its chief executive Cathy Warwick said: “All of this shows a system that is creaking at the seams and only able to deliver high quality care through the efforts and dedication of its staff.

“When services are operating at or beyond their capacity, safety is compromised and mistakes can, and almost certainly will be made, through no fault of the dedicated staff delivering the service.”

She said the government was responsible and was “letting down women, babies and their families”, along with “the staff they purport to value”.

On average, each unit closed its doors on 4.8 separate occasions in 2015, with the most a single unit shut temporarily being 23 times.

And the Morning Star reports that doctors won’t lie down and take a pay stitch-up

MARX and Engels, in 1848 pamphlet The Communist Manifesto, had much to say on how capitalism had reduced the status of skilled professionals. “The bourgeoisie,” they write, “has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.”

These prescient words remain relevant. During the 1980s Margaret Thatcher employed the wealth and muscle of the state against the unions. David Cameron seeks to continue in her footsteps to break the backs of the working class and its defenders and roll back years of hard-won rights using austerity as an excuse to implement the neoliberal ideology he shares with his mostly wealthy supporters.

We are told that we are all in it together but some are, of course, more in it than others. The British Medical Association (BMA), representing over 156,000 doctors, is now the facing the consequences of such “austerity.”

In October 2013 talks began between the BMA’s junior doctors committee (JDC) and NHS England — an “executive non-departmental public body of the Department of Health” — to negotiate a new contract for junior doctors for the first time in 13 years.

Negotiations broke down a year later after the JDC felt the government’s proposals would adversely affect doctors’ working patterns and thus place patient care at risk. The British government then asked the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) to make recommendations pertaining to new contractual arrangements.

Education

The Mirror reports that thousands of teachers are quitting the classroom.

The number of disenchanted teachers who quit the classroom last year has soared to a record 50,000, shocking new figures reveal today.

The figure is the highest since records were first kept in 1997 and means the country will need an extra 160,000 teachers over the next three years to stave off a staffing crisis.

Applications to teach fell by 21,000 compared to last year as the number of those wanting to join the profession plunged in every region of the country.

Experts estimate that the problem could leave the nation short of 65,000 teachers by 2018. But the number of primary and secondary school pupils is expected to grow by 582,000 by 2020.

In the 12 months to November 2014, a total of 49,120 teachers left the job, according to an analysis carried out by Labour of official Department for Education statistics.

The record figure is an increase of 3,480 teachers on the previous year and presents a major recruitment headache for Education Secretary Nicky Morgan as the number of teachers who quit last year outnumbered those who joined the profession.

Among the subjects worst hit by the staff shortages were english, maths and computer science.

Education chiefs have now been forced to recruit teachers from overseas to plug their staffing gaps.

Illegal migration

Breitbart claims the number of illegal entry attempts to the UK between January and June has doubled since the same period last year and is over four times higher than in 2013.

In the first six months of 2014 there were 12,980 stopped illegal entry attempts to the UK, and just 6,238 in 2013. This year figures obtained by the Daily Express show 27,755 stopped illegal entry attempts in the same timescale, reinforcing those critics who say the European Union’s ‘open door policy’ had resulted in an uncontrolled migrant crisis.

Opponents of EU asylum policies predict that as bad as the situation seems, worse is yet to come. UKIP’s spokesman on migration and financial affairs, Steven Woolfe MEP said:

“These numbers show what those of us who regularly travel through key European ports know all too well – Britain is under siege from economic migrants camped along the French and Belgian coasts.

“It is a siege that is going to get far worse over the months and years to come. Given the extraordinary numbers of illegals travelling across the continent from Turkey and Mediterranean entry points, we can be sure the number of attempts to enter Britain will rise inexorably.”

Following the chaos experience on both sides of the Channel throughout summer 2015, Home Secretary Theresa May pledged, alongside the French government, to spend more on policing the border at Calais. Although higher volumes of migrants are certainly a factor in the increase, improved detection may also have played a role.

Stormont

Sky News reminds us that in Northern Ireland, Stormont is not a settled place. 

Four ministers from Northern Ireland’s devolved government have resigned a total of 22 times in a month.

They quit on a weekly basis but are reinstated within seven days to prevent other parties claiming the vacant positions.

The Democratic Unionists say there can’t be business as usual while the IRA stands accused of the murder of a man in August.

But the party hasn’t given up on Stormont, according to Simon Hamilton, who’s been appointed health minister five times in four weeks.

He said: “We don’t want to walk away from the institutions completely because we believe the devolved institutions here at Stormont are the best thing for the people of Northern Ireland.

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