All care home residents to be vaccinated by end of the month, Johnson says
Members of the liaison committee will put questions to the government’s vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, along with the prime minister as the latest NHS figures showed more than two million people had received a jab so far.
Meanwhile, the bosses of leading UK supermarkets wrote to Michael Gove warning food shortages in Northern Ireland will get worse as the current system becomes “unworkable” when a three-month “grace period” — allowing shops to phase in new customs checks — comes to an end.
‘No thanks to you’: Hancock challenged on Free School Meals U-turn
Matt Hancock had a rough start to the morning as Good Morning Britain presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid turned to grilling him on his opposition to extending the government’s free school meals scheme last Summer, and his subsequent U-turn.
“Let’s be honest, you got shamed into it by a football player … with a conscience,” said Mr Morgan in want of an answer from the health secretary.
Liam James13 January 2021 09:41
Free school meals: Government urged to give parents cash instead of food vouchers
Charities and campaigners have urged the government to offer impoverished families “dignity and respect” by providing them with financial support instead of “appallingly inadequate” food parcels, or vouchers, Vincent Wood reports.
The government was forced to accept food provided for children from low income families during lockdown was “completely unacceptable” after pictures began to circulate online of meagre offerings given out through the scheme.
Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, a campaigner on women’s equality and human rights and director of think tank Women’s Budget Group told The Independent: ”I’m concerned about this idea that somehow poor people can’t be trusted to make good decisions for themselves – that what you need to do is give people vouchers because otherwise they will spend the money on other things. It’s both deeply patronising but also really bad policy – it’s really inefficient.”
Liam James13 January 2021 09:35
Telegraph co-owner Sir David Barclay dies at 86
Sir David Barclay, joint owner of The Daily Telegraph, has died after a short illness at the age of 86.
The newspaper reported the billionaire — who built a huge business empire alongside his twin Sir Frederick — died “unexpectedly” on Sunday.
According to the Telegraph, he was close to former prime minister Margaret Thatcher and her trusted advisers, including Sir Gordon Reece, Sir David English and Lord McAlpine.
Prime minister Boris Johnson, who used to be a columnist for the newspaper, paid tribute to Sir David on Twitter and said: “Farewell with respect and admiration to Sir David Barclay who rescued a great newspaper, created many thousands of jobs across the UK and who believed passionately in the independence of this country and what it could achieve.”
My colleague Kate Ng has more:
Liam James13 January 2021 09:21
Labour to set out economic plan for ‘jobs-rich recovery’
The shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, will use a speech this evening to set out the Labour Party’s prospective plan for the economy in the wake of the pandemic.
Ms Dodds will announce a “cast-iron commitment” to giving taxpayers better value for money if Labour win power by allowing external scrutiny of government spending.
At the annual Mais lecture to City University’s Business School, Ms Dodds — the first woman to hold the title of shadow chancellor — will say: “If we are to deliver a resilient, jobs-rich recovery from this crisis and a stronger, better future for the 2020s and beyond, we must make effective use of all economic policy-making levers at our disposal.
“That means an independent Bank of England setting monetary policy; a responsible government using fiscal policy to ensure public money is spent effectively and wisely; and action to improve resilience, including in the face of the climate crisis, and to deal with challenges to our economic competitiveness.”
Liam James13 January 2021 09:06
Boris Johnson to face grilling on vaccine plan
Boris Johnson will face questions from MPs on the vaccine rollout after warnings over compliance with lockdown restrictions were stepped up to ease pressure on the NHS.
The prime minister will be grilled by the liaison committee this afternoon after facing Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs. The committee will also focus on issues surrounding Brexit and the UK’s place in the world.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi will also face questions, as will health bosses involved in the rollout.
Liam James13 January 2021 08:43
Food shortages in Northern Ireland will get worse, supermarkets warn
Heads of UK supermarkets have written to Michael Gove saying “urgent intervention” is needed to prevent further food shortages in Northern Ireland.
They warn that the movement of goods across the Irish Sea will become “unworkable” if further checks are introduced after the “grace period” allowing supermarkets three months before being required to comply with all the EU’s certification requirements.
The chief executives of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Iceland, Co-Op and Marks & Spencer wrote to the cabinet office minister.
A government spokesperson said: “A new dedicated team in government has already been set up and will be working with supermarkets, the food industry and the Northern Ireland Executive to develop ways to streamline the movement of goods in accordance with the protocol.”
Liam James13 January 2021 08:32
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of the latest developments in Westminster and beyond today.
Liam James13 January 2021 08:14