Higher taxation is only way to address demands on buckling health service, thinktanks say
British households will need to pay an extra £2,000 a year in tax to help the NHS cope with the demands of an ageing population, according to a new report that highlights the unprecedented financial pressures on the health system.
Two thinktanks – the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Health Foundation – have said there can be no alternative to higher taxation if there are to be even modest improvements to care over the next 15 years, adding that demands on the health service will continue to rise.Continue reading...
There isn’t much about last year’s general election that Theresa May is in a hurry to revisit, least of all the plan to reform social care by a mechanism that came to be known as the “dementia tax”. The pitch was poor, but the concept deserved a fairer hearing. Outside the partisan frenzy of a campaign, it might have started a necessary conversation about long-term funding to meet the costs of an ageing population.
New research published today lays bare the challenge. A model developed by the Health Foundation, a charity, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies anticipates demand for spending on adult social care to rise by 3.9% a year over the next 15 years. Over the same period, the population over the age of 65 is expected to increase by 4.4 million; and the number over 85 by 1.3 million.Continue reading...
Individuals with severe eczema face a higher risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks, heart failure and strokes
People with severe eczema have an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, new research suggests.
About 10% of the population are thought to have atopic eczema, but evidence for a connection to cardiovascular problems had been mixed, said Dr Sinéad Langan, lead author of the research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The new study, she said, suggests such a link exists.Continue reading...
Earlier studies found links between excess body mass and seven different cancers, but new evidence has found five more
Obesity is linked to as many as 12 different forms of cancer, according to a major new report which advises giving up bacon and swapping sugary drinks for water as part of a 10-point plan for avoiding the disease.
Up to 40% of cancers are preventable, says the World Cancer Research Fund, launching its updated report on the reasons for the global spread. While smoking is still the biggest cause of cancer, WCRF says obesity will overtake it within a couple of decades in countries like the UK. The fund advises that our unhealthy modern lifestyle – and the promotion of junk food – has to end if people are to avoid the disease.Continue reading...
On Friday, Ireland will vote on whether to remove a single sentence which enshrines a near-total ban on abortion in the constitution, even in cases of rape and fatal foetal abnormality. The eighth amendment underpins the strictest controls in a western democracy, placing the “right to life of the unborn” on a par with the life of the mother.
This is, as it must be, Ireland’s decision. But its impact will not end there. It will be felt first in Northern Ireland, with its own punitive laws, and then globally. The influx of cash from foreign anti-abortion groups shows that the vote must be understood in the context of efforts to roll back rights, from the US to Brazil to Poland. A yes vote would hearten those resisting the pressure, a no vote embolden those trying to ban safe, legal abortions. Moreover, the amendment exports rather than halts abortions. In recent decades more than 150,000 Irish women have travelled to have abortions, mostly to England. Others use smuggled pills, risking prosecution if they subsequently need medical attention.Continue reading...
Polly Toynbee points to the dilemma facing politicians over paying for social care (The social care crisis drags on, thanks to May’s cowardice, 22 May). The legitimate human desire to pass on one’s hard-earned wealth – in the vast majority of cases one’s house – to the next generation clashes with the legitimate need for the state to draw on that wealth to pay for social care.
The case often put by my Leeds constituents was “We’ve paid for our house so why should we not be entitled to pass it on to our son or daughter.” The huge flaw in this argument is that the current value of the house to be passed on is way above what the person paid for it decades before, even including the addition of general inflation.Continue reading...
After Brexit and Trump I don’t give much weight to polls, so while I’m glad recent figures show that Ireland is on track to vote to repeal the eighth amendment to the Irish constitution (Report, 21 May), it concerns me that so many are still undecided on how to vote this Friday, or considering not using their vote. To do either is to say you are happy with the status quo.
Due to the bravery of so many who have spoken about the impact the eighth has had on their lives, we know what that will mean for the women and families of Ireland – a woman with a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality will be forced to travel to get the care they need; doctors can take a woman to court while she is in labour over the method of birth; a family may have to go to court to get their daughter’s/wife’s life support switched off if she was pregnant; a survivor of rape who is pregnant as a result will have the additional trauma of being forced to travel abroad; and our mothers, daughters, sisters and wives who can’t travel will continue to put their lives in danger and risk jail time by seeking out unsafe methods out of desperation. Surely no one wants to continue living in such an unsafe and cruel country?
Mairéad Ní Riagáin
London (previously Cork)
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs
There are flights available for ministers when they need them. The Voyager has been used on occasions when ministers have been carrying out business on behalf of the prime minister.
Boris Johnston says he would like a #Brexit plane to allow him to travel the world , telling everyone how great things will be in the post EU UK. I think I have found the perfect candidate , which is presently sitting on an Icelandic beach …. pic.twitter.com/R7mbYfF41V
Stagecoach knew they wouldn’t meet their revenue targets weeks after taking over the East Coast in March 2015; the company was in constant dialogue with the department about it. The secretary of state has been in post since July 2016 and must have known about this for that period of time. Why did he do nothing? Hasn’t this transport secretary been asleep at the wheel?
At a press conference in Chile Boris Johnson, the Brexiter foreign secretary, was asked about the Brexit minister Suella Braverman’s comment to a committee this morning that MPs will have to vote on a financial payments to the EU before a legally-binding agreement has been reached on the future trade relationship. (See 9.57am.) He played down the signifcance of this, telling journalists:
Article 50 makes it absolutely clear that the terms of the withdrawal have to be seen in the context of the future relationship. I just remind you of the basic fact of negotiations, which is that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
Here is some reaction to the HMRC evidence to the Treasury committee.
From George Parker, political editor of the Financial Times
Brexit just got crazier. Head of HMRC warns that the so-called "max fac" customs proposal being studied by the cabinet would cost business £17bn-£20bn a year. That is about double the UK's annual net contribution to the EU. So why are they even considering it?
What a bargain this is all turning out to be .... BBC News - Brexit: Technology-based customs system 'could cost £20bn' https://t.co/W6ICo5eE47
Chief executive of HMRC thinks "max fac" could cost companies up to £200bn over a decade: yet Eurosceptic Tory MPs still believe they are *pro business* https://t.co/b7ySOyjQs6 pic.twitter.com/Pja40dFjjT
HMRC offers hypothetical figure of £17-£20bn cost of customs
In the real world, former Swiss Foreign Secretary Prof Michael Ambuhl says the cost of customs is 0.1% of the value of trade for Switzerland - translates to around £500m a year for the UKhttps://t.co/SE6hUuELmq
And Jon Thompson, the HMRC boss, also explained why he thought the new customs partnership (NCP) proposal could cost business nothing once it was up and running.
The NCP would involve the UK collecting tariffs on imports at the EU rate on behalf of the EU and then reimbursing firms if the goods were only sold in the UK and if the UK tariff on said goods was lower than the EU one.
In a sense it is self-regulating. So if you assume that businesses are economically rational, and that they will only try to get their tariff differential back if it is worth their while, you could argue that it [the cost] must be zero or less. But that’s probably an unrealistic thing to say.
Downing Street has dismissed the HMRC figures about the cost of “max fac” as “speculation. These are from the Telegraph’s Jack Maidment.
Downing Street says HMRC estimate that max fac Brexit customs option could cost businesses £20bn is “speculation”.
Downing Street: “The Prime Minister has asked for work to be done on both customs models. That work is ongoing and therefore any speculation about implementation is just that.”
This is what Jon Thompson, chief executive and permanent secretary at HMRC, told the Treasury committee about the costs of “max fac” for business.
“Max fac”, or maximum facilitation, is the term currently popular in Whitehall to describe the highly streamlined customs arrangement - one of the two post-Brexit customs options being considered by the government. “Max fac” would involve using technology and trusted trader arrangements to keep customs checks to a minimum. It is strongly supported by Brexiters like Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg because they think the alternative, the new customs partnership (NCP) would be overly complicated and would keep the UK in the customs union, at least effectively or perhaps even for real.
We know that there were in 2016 almost 200m intra-EU consignments. So that is the base number. That has been audited by the NAO and is in a report on the customs declaration service.
The question is, how much does it cost to complete a customs declaration? We’ve done some work ourselves. There have been at least two independent reports, one by the University of Nottingham business school and one by KPMG earlier in the year. The answer to that question is it’s between £20 and £55. You can’t average it out because of weighting but for ministers we’ve settled on £32.50 per customs declaration.
This is what Nicky Morgan said when she was summing up.
I want to summarise where I think we are at the end of this session ... We are going to have a functioning but sub-optimal border on January 2021 where there will be a trade off between friction, revenue and security. It will take three to five years [to get new customs arrangements in place] depending on which of the two options [is chosen], but that can’t even start until a political decision has been made.
HMRS is recruiting about 5,000 people to make this happen, leaving aside people at the border.
Nicky Morgan, the committee chair, is now summing up the situation.
She says the “max fac” customs system would involve firms having to pay £32.50 per customs declaration. This would cost them up between £17bn and £20bn a year, she says.
Q: Have you been given permission to discuss this with your European partners?
Harra says that is not happening. All the discussions are with the European commission. But HMRC is having talks with foreign ports.
This is from the BBC’s business editor Simon Jack.
While saying its not for them to make the decision, HMRC seems to be coming down heavily in favour of customs partnership - but says it will take 5 years to implement from moment which one is decided upon.
Joe Owen from the Institute for Government thinktank has posted this about the HMRC revelation about the cost of “max fac”.
Thompson confirms that HMRC has asked firms to sign non-disclosure agreements before it discusses with them how customs arrangements might work after Brexit. He says firms have not complained about this. They are glad to have been consulted, he says.
Harra says that the non-disclosure agreements apply both ways. HMRC has been discussing policy options that go well beyond government policy, he says.
Thompson says setting up the NCP (new customs partnership) system would cost HMRC about £180m. The alternative highly streamlined customs arrangment (“max fac”) would cost it about £250m to set up, he says.
Thompson says the “max fac” system could cost business between £17bn and £20bn.
(The “max fac” is the model preferred by cabinet Brexiters.)
Harra says, if the UK opts for the customs partnership model, companies would need to invest in systems in order to apply twin tariffs (the EU ones the UK would be collecting, and the UK ones). He says they will not want to make that investment until they know that the tariff differentials will be, which will determine whether it is worth applying the new system.
Nicky Morgan, the committee chair, goes next.
Q: When do you need a decision in order to be able to hit the deadline of having a functioning border in 2021?
Q: You have said the “maximum facilitation” model could take up to three years to implement and the new customs partnership one up to five years. Is that still your view?
Broadly yes, says Thompson.
Back in the committee Thompson says HMRC has 1,100 staff working on Brexit.
In response to a question about whether HMRC is looking at just the government’s two preferred customs options, or whether it is looking at others as well, he says two is enough.
The Brexit department has today published two papers covering plans for the future UK-EU relationship - one covering science, research and innovation (pdf) and the other covering data protection (pdf).
As the BBC’s Adam Fleming points out, the government is promising to respect the remit of the European court of justice in relation to participating in EU programmes.
Here is the letter Thompson sent to the Brexit committee. There is a link here (pdf).
The highly streamlined customs arrangement (HSCA) is the “maximum facilitation” option.
DExEU committee has released the HMRC letter where Jon Thompson said it “would take a couple of years; and some could take around three years” to set up new customs arrangements pic.twitter.com/DdCMCH7bQy
Thompson tells MPs that HMRC does not have a view as to whether the “maximum facilitation” option or the alternative one, the customs partnership, would be best.
Jon Thompson, chief executive and permanent secretary at HM Revenue and Customs, is giving evidence to the Commons Treasury committee about Brexit.
At the Brexit committee hearing this morning Hilary Benn, the chair, said Thompson had written to his committee saying that the “maximum facilitation” customs plan - one of the two proposals being considered by the government for customs after Brexit - could take three years to put in place, which could mean it would not be ready at the end of the transition in December 2020.
Yesterday the BBC reported that ministers are considering repealing some aspects of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act - the hugely controversial legislation passed by the coalition government that reorganised the NHS and further entrenched marketisation in the service.
In an interview on the World at One George Eustice, an environment minister, appeared to confirm the story. When asked if bits of the 2012 Act would be abandoned, he replied:
I think what everybody recognises, and I see this myself in Cornwall, is that there are some instances where you need to effectively have more integrated approaches to different wings of the NHS. And in some areas there’s a little bit of fragmentation that needs to be addressed.
If you want to join up better your adult social care provision with A&E and other hospital provision as well, you probably need a single piece of oversight over that, and one organisation doing that. So in Cornwall - and this is happening with a number of care plans right across the country - you are getting the NHS working out how they can improve efficiencies by removing some of the duplication. And that’s a positive thing.
There are some elements were it requires them to go to tender when it might be sensible not to go to tender.
The long-awaited report of the SNP’s Growth Commission is due to be published this Friday. More than 18 months in the making, the report was commissioned back in September 2016 to produce a persuasive economic case for independence, after flabby arguments around currency and business were deemed to have contributed substantially to the loss of the last independence referendum in 2014.
n a flurry of pre-publication trails, SNP leader and first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the report “heralds the start of a debate based on hope and ambition about the future of the country, rather than on the despair of Brexit”.
In a point of order after PMQs Ken Clarke, the Conservative MP and father of the Commons, defended John Bercow, the speaker, over complaints that Bercow called Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, a “stupid woman” in muttered remarks from the chair last week. Clarke said:
Would you agree, Mr Speaker, if every time a member of this House has felt moved to say under his breath something rather abusive about another member, and action was taken, the chamber would be deserted for considerable quantities of time?
Would you not agree it’s best to leave this to the body that is now investigating it and perhaps hope that some common sense will be applied to this rather overheated subject?
This is what political journalists and commentators are saying about PMQs on Twitter.
Generally, neither May nor Corbyn seem to have made a particularly good impression.
This a v retro PMQs - May and Corbyn shouting NHS stats at each other
This PMQs a reminder of how keen Labour is to make the NHS the central issue in British politics, and why the Tories are so busy developing a defensive strategy. More on that in the coming @spectator
Corbyn doesn't need to talk about Conservative turmoil over the NHS in 1946 when he could talk about the row between Hunt and Hammond going on right now. Strange not to mention it. https://t.co/dbVIEKsYa3
Where are the doctors you promised? We’ve hired more than you did... blah blah etc. Tired old questions from Corbyn that illicit nothing from May but even more tedious responses. I’m calling it, this is the worst #PMQs ever.
Corbyn goes in on NHS, making it a pro forma PMQs...knows the issue plays well with voters but May easily equal to it...no wonder the Tory benches cried more at the end. Should have gone for Brexit for third week in a row...
Dire #PMQs. Labour seethe when Tories bring up the last Labour government's bungling. But Jeremy Corbyn gets a cheer for bringing up a vote 50 years ago.
After two good weeks it is back to the usual scatty Corbyn #PMQs technique.
Probably sensible for @jeremycorbyn to go on the NHS (which unites his MPs behind him) at #pmqs - had he returned to #BREXIT the PM would undoubtedly have quoted the views of the newly selected #Labour candidate for Lewisham East.
I honestly don't get why more MPs don't bring a book for this. #PMQs
I think I've seen this #pmqs before
This is terrible, on so many levels. #PMQs
Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, used his two questions to ask about immigration. He said immigration rules were hitting young people who could not afford to pay for visas. He called for fees to be scrapped, as they were being abolished for Windrush-era migrants.
May said a minor with indefinite leave to remain in the UK should be ineligible for fees.
May says the government is keeping the issue of tier two visas to doctors under review.
Luke Graham, a Conservative, accuses the SNP government of bullying M&S over the use of the word “British” in their stores.
May says it is “appalling” the SNP did not want to see the word British on M&S products.
Labour’s Luciana Berger asks about mental health treatment for young people.
May says the government is investing more money in this areas. She says she wants to ensure young people with mental health problems get the help they need. It is rising up the list of people’s concerns. She says she thinks that is partly because awareness of the issue has increased.
Peter Bone, a Conservative, asks May how the Brexit talks are going.
May says they are going with purpose and good intent on both sides. She is determined to get a good deal, she says.
Sir Vince Cable, the Lib Dem leader, invites May to thank Labour for their support in helping make Brexit happen.
May says she is not sure about that. They are talking about a second referendum, she says.
Philip Davies, a Conservative, says he believes in the free market and individual responsibility and is opposed to the nanny state. Is he still a Conservative?
May comes out with another one word reply. “Yes,” she says.
The SNP’s Deidre Brock asks May to admit that she does not have a clue how here Brexit backstop arrangement might work.
“No,” replies May.
Jeremy Lefroy, a Conservative, asks May to congratulate staff at the hospital in Stafford. They are meeting the 95% target (for patients seen within four hours at A&E) on a weekly basis.
May congratulates them for what they have done.
Justin Madders, the Labour MP, asks about plans to sell Wembley. Does May agree there is no need to sell it off?
May says that is not a matter for the government.
Priti Patel, a Conservative, asks about stem cell transplants. There are not enough donors from an Asian background, she says. Will May back a campaign to encourage more people to become donors.
May says she is aware of the need to get more people from BAME backgrounds to become donors.
Labour’s Jo Platt says NHS workers are on strike in her constituency. Why is the PM allowing backdoor privatisation in the NHS.
May says she addressed this when replying to Corbyn. The government is committed to the NHS, she says.
May says leaving the EU will allow the UK to become a great trading nation. But the government needs to provide certainty too, she says. She says it wants to keep trade as frictionless as possible.
PMQs - Snap verdict: Asking about the NHS at PMQs is a home game for a Labour leader (it’s a “Labour issue” as much today as ever) and today Corbyn notched up a creditable performance, but not quite the decisive win he had last week, or the week before. His questions had May on the back foot, particularly at the start when he was was pressing her on the detail of outsourcing. But towards the end his questions started to lose focus, and it felt very much as if he was attacking the record of the last eight years, rather than anything the government has done on health since May became prime minister. And, with the BBC reporting this week that May is poised to rip up parts of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, it was hard to see why Corbyn failed to challenge her to defend it, or to signal at PMQs (by refusing to defend it) that a U-turn is on the cards. May is uncomfortable on this territory, but she had a half-decent comeback on outsourcing (it is not increasing in England, but it is in Wales), and she was beginning to open up quite effectively a divide between Corbyn (who instinctively dislikes any mention of profit in relation to NHS) and more centrist figures in his party, like Jon Ashworth, who are more comfortable acknowledging some role for the private sector in health. May received very loud cheers from Tory MP at the end as she concluded with an (over-long) peroration. It sounded more like consolation applause rather than a recognition that she had won, but overall it wasn’t a great outing by either of them.
Corbyn says Ashworth has a good sense of the needs of patients. He will put their interests first. GPs are the bedrock of the service. We need more of them, he says. He quotes from someone who wrote to him about the care provided to her mother in a nursing home. What is the government doing about the sub-standard care provided by the private sector?
May says she wants people to be satisfied that they are getting good care. She says Corbyn said Ashworth recognised the needs of patients; that is why is backs the use of the private sector in some circumstances.
Corbyn says outsourcing to Capita has put patients at harm. Outsourcing of GP services has led to records being mislaid. Isn’t the government tearing up the founding principles of the NHS and putting private profit before care?
May says Labour has made claims about privatisation at every election. But after every election the Conservative government has protected the NHS.
Jeremy Corbyn says it is a year since the Grenfell Tower fire and still justice has not been done.
He says in 2010 £4bn of NHS services were outsourced to private services. How much is it today?
Nigel Huddleston, a Conservative, asks May to confirm that the government will ban inflammable cladding.
May says the deeply moving testimonies at the inquiry show the government must do all it can to stop this happening again. The Hackitt review did not recommend a ban. But the government is minded to go further and ban it.
Labour’s Kerry McCarthy says the UK has more children classed obese at the age of 11 than the US. Yesterday’s report showed the voluntary approach to getting manufacturers to reducing sugar in products is not working.
May says this is one of the great health challenges. Nowhere in the world is setting more stringent health targets, she says. It is not just about sugar reduction. But the government is making good progress on sugar reduction. An updated plan is being worked on.
Theresa May starts by referring to the start of the Grenfell Tower inquiry. Justice must be done, she says.
She says yesterday also allowed the nation to come together and remember the victims of the Manchester terror attack. That night saw the worst of humanity, but also the best, she says.
From Labour’s Emma Hardy
No cheers for the PM when she sat down today...#PMQs
PMQs is about to start.
Q: Recently officers were sent to an incident where someone had a huge pickaxe. He attacked them in their car. The nearest backup was miles away. It was a miracle the officers were not harmed. One of those officers was my wife. Do you agree that every officer who want a taser should be able to have one?
Javid thanks the questioner for sharing the story. He says “thank goodness” those officers are okay. It sounds like a miracle.
Javid is now taking questions.
Q: Your predecessor, Amber Rudd, said she had not seen a Home Office report saying there is a link between police cuts and rising crime. Have you?
Sajid Javid, the new home secretary, is addressing the Police Federation conference. This is his first major speech in his new job outside the House of Commons.
He has been lavishing praise on the police. These are from the Police Federation, the Guardian’s Jamie Grierson and the BBC’s Danny Shaw.
“Most Home Secretaries have time to prepare themselves, cement their views, hone their points. I haven’t had that luxury. I’m still in my first full month in the job. So there’s a lot for me to learn”, says @sajidjavid in his keynote speech to #polfed18
Sajid Javid says he knows police might be sceptical about what he has to say in his speech to the Police Federation.
.@sajidjavid tells #polfed18 delegates: “I’ve been told I’m the first Home Secretary with a police officer in my immediate family. I can’t blame you if you’re sitting there thinking to yourself – “this guy might talk a good game, but he’s just like every other politician.”
“And I’m sure some of you, right now, are thinking that there’s no way I understand policing. The work you do, the difference you make, the challenges you face. That I just don’t – and won’t – get it. But that’s where you’re wrong” - @sajidjavid in his #polfed18 keynote speech
.@sajidjavid: “Today I’ve got a confession. When I was younger, I was in a gang. A gang of two. It involved me and my brother. I was ten and he was eight. We were called The Crime Stoppers. Our mission: find crime and stop it” #PolFed18
Javid says he grew up on what was once labelled "Britain's most dangerous street" in Bristol.
.@sajidjavid: “I know the tricky situations my brother has been in. He’s been hospitalised more times than I know from being assaulted on duty. I remember him missing Christmas one year after having his jaw dislocated. I’ve seen the impact the job has on family life” #polfed18
Javid "was not prepared" for the abuse his police-officer brother received as he went on a ride-along with him.
“From physically taking on violent criminals, to breaking bad news to bereaved families.
You are there.
From handling tragedies like Grenfell, to providing security and peace of mind at celebrations like the Royal Wedding.
You are there”, @sajidjavid tells #polfed18 delegates
.@sajidjavid: “There is no greater testament to the bravery and honour of the police than the roll call of those who have fallen in the line of duty in the past year.
We are deeply indebted to these officers who made the ultimate sacrifice serving the public.” #polfed18
Very different tone & content in Sajid Javid’s speech. He tells #PolFed18 he gets it. He praises their work.
.@sajidjavid: “I see the #police as one of the institutions we can be - and are - most proud of in this country.
But I’m not arrogant enough to turn up here after three weeks in the job and tell you how to do yours.” #PolFed18
Javid speech so far heavy on praise and admiration for police service, could even detect a note of contrition also.
Q: What is the government’s position on the European Medicines Agency?
Walker says Theresa May has said the government wants a strong association with it after Brexit. The government will set out more on this in its Brexit white paper.
Labour’s Seema Malhotra goes next.
Q: When parliament votes on the withdrawal agreement in the autumn, will there be a reference to conditionality?
John Whittingdale intervenes. He quotes David Davis saying there will be conditionalities in the legal text, but saying he does not know what they are.
Braverman says that is correct.
Hilary Benn goes next. He says the committee is “struggling to understand” what Braverman is saying. Is she saying it is government policy to make payment of the financial contribution conditional on a future trade treaty?
Braverman says the joint report said the financial contribution was conditional.
The Labour MP Stephen Timms is coming back to the issue of conditionality in the withdrawal agreement.
Q: What do you want the financial payments to be conditional on?
Those two exercises will be going along in parallel.
Q: Let’s assume my view of the Irish government is right - that they are determined to do the work of the EU. Would the withdrawal agreement then have to be reconsidered, so the UK as a whole had to maintain regulatory alignment with the EU?
Walker says the UK and the EU have not yet reached agreement on this point.
Sammy Wilson, the DUP Brexit spokesman, goes next.
Q: How will the “duty of good faith” in the withdrawal agreement be enforced in relation to the financial settlement?
Braverman says there are about 800 statutory instruments that will have to be passed under the EU withdrawal bill.
The Conservative Jeremy Lefroy goes next.
Q: Once the EU withdrawal bill is passed, will parliament have enough time to pass all the secondary legislation needed to put EU law into domestic law?
Labour’s Stephen Kinnock goes next.
Q: David Davis says he thinks substantial progress can be made on the future trade relationship talks between October, when the withdrawal agreement is concluded, and March 2019, when the UK leaves? How will that be possible if the European parliament won’t ratify the withdrawal agreement until February 2019.
The Conservative MP Jonathan Djanogly goes next.
Q: Coming back to Douglas Hogg’s amendment to the EU withdrawal bill, what do you say to the charge that government delays have let to a scenario where parliament feels the need to step in to take charge of the Brexit process to avoid national embarrassment?
Richard Graham, a Conservative, goes next.
Q: The EU seems to be trying to push the UK out of the Galileo project? Do you think that is accidental or deliberate?
Brexit minister Robin Walker won’t say if white paper will - finally - contain government’s choice for future customs arrangements…..
Andrea Jenkyns, a Conservative, goes next.
Q: Does amendment 49 (the Douglas Hogg amendment) to the withdrawal bill really pose a risk to the bill?
Suella Braverman says what No 10 couldn't. There's no link between the Brexit bill and the future trade deal. “It does not contain conditionalities."
The SNP’s Peter Grant goes next.
Q: Steve Baker said that some of the Lords amendments to the EU withdrawal bill would undermine Brexit. What was he referring to?
McFadden says the ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ principle does not apply to the financial settlement. It will be agreed before the future framework is agreed.
Braverman says she does not accept that. If there is no agreement on a future framework, there will be a renegotiation.
Labour’s Pat McFadden goes next.
Walker says he does not accept that the agreement on future trade relationship cannot be agreed until the UK has left. It cannot be ratified until the UK has left, he says.
John Whittingdale, a Conservative, goes next.
Q: The EU says ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’. Does that apply to the future relationship? What conditions might be contained in the withdrawal agreement?
Hilary Benn goes next.
Q: How is it satisfactory that, nearly two years after the referendum, the cabinet is still trying to work out what customs arrangements it wants?
The Conservative Stephen Crabb is asking questions now.
Q: What would you say to people who think the government is not doing enough to prepare for a no deal Brexit?
The Brexit ministers, Suella Braverman and Robin Walker, have just started giving evidence to the Commons Brexit committee.
Asked to confirm that the government’s proposed customs options could be ready by the end of the transition period, Walker was unable to give that assurance.
Is it government policy that ‘backstop' be time limited??
Brexit minister Robin Walker: “Yes”
…..but that’s already been rejected by Brussels….https://t.co/rCtoIdrVLb
Cabinet ministers are supposed to have their arguments in private but, once they have agreed a policy, unite behind it in public. This government - partly because it is led by a weak prime minister, whose job security depends on maintaining a balance between rival factions in her party, and partly because it does not actually have agreed policy in key areas (the two factors are connected) - operates on a rather different basis, and frequently we see internal arguments conducted through the media.
And there is a great example today. After publishing plans for a relatively toothless post-Brexit environmental watchdog, which were criticised and which triggered a defeat in the Lords as peers voted for something tougher, Michael Gove, the environment secretary, has written a letter to cabinet colleagues saying it was all the fault of the chancellor, Philip Hammond. Gove wrote:
As I explained at cabinet on Tuesday, the short-sightedness of the Treasury has now led to an entirely predictable and avoidable defeat on the EU withdrawal bill and inflicted a damaging blow to the government’s environmental credentials ...
Defra argued that if we were to deliver the government’s promises our proposals must at the very least replicate the status quo - specifically the enforcement powers of the European Commission and maintenance of the principles in legislation.
This blue on blue war is putting our country and environment in jeopardy. The dinosaurs in the treasury are blocking action needed to enforce our green laws - and in doing so accelerating descent into environment-trashing #brexit: https://t.co/ov0H0xy2up
PM’s migration target publicly blasted by Ruth Davidson, Gove war with Hammond leaked for all, Saj ripping up Theresa’s approach to Police Fed. End of days stuff. Little obvious respect out there for PM, and she appears to have precious little authorityContinue reading...
Iowa passed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the industrialized world – and some think the state has moved too far to the right
Linda Madison is exactly the sort of voter Donald Trump relied on to win in the 2016 election. A 64-year-old Lutheran who lives in a small town in Iowa’s rural south-western corner, she was once a fervent Democrat. She even campaigned for one-time Democratic presidential contender John Edwards.
But, she began to feel Democrats lost their way, and switched parties. She and the two men she was chatting with in a parking lot in Atlantic, Iowa, all think Trump is doing pretty well. The stock market is rising, talks with North Korea could work out, Trump hasn’t messed up too badly, they said.Continue reading...
I feel scarred by the constitutional amendment that meant I had to travel to Britain for a termination
I’ve never been involved in politics or campaigned for anything. If you’d told me 10 years ago that I would one day be stepping up and speaking in public about liberalising abortion law in Ireland, I would have called you crazy. But all that changed on a warm autumn day in 2011.
The Irish abortion referendumContinue reading...
At 20 weeks pregnant, Siobhan Donohue knew her foetus wasn't going to survive, but the eighth amendment in Ireland's constitution meant getting an abortion was impossible. Before this week's historic referendum on whether to repeal the law, she describes a heartbreaking journey to UK to get a terminationContinue reading...
The Labour leader had the PM on the back foot over outsourcing, but May found a decent comeback
Jeremy Corbyn said that a year since the Grenfell Tower fire, justice had not been done. He said that in 2010, £4bn of NHS services were outsourced to private services. How much was it today?
Isn’t this the inevitable consequence of this government tearing up the founding principles of the NHS and putting private profit before public service?
We have protected the NHS, we have improved the NHS services, we have put more funding into the NHS and we have made sure we remain true to the founding principle of the NHS that it is free at the point of delivery.Continue reading...
Farmers take their lives at a rate higher than any other occupation, and at twice the rate of military veterans. Two bills to help farmers were included in the federal farm bill
In early May, Kansas farmer John Blaske is waiting for the rain to stop so he can begin planting. From the front door of his farmhouse, a green yard decorated with bird feeders slopes down to a series of fields where the corn will be planted. Beyond the fields, there’s a tree line and a small bridge with a creek running below. It’s peaceful here, and mostly quiet, except for the sound of the occasional car or tractor, or the cows calling from the paddock.
The waiting makes him restless, he tells me. And it’s not just the rain. He’s also waiting desperately for the opportunity to talk to fellow agrarians or to legislators about the stress, depression and suicidal ideation he experiences as a farmer.
You were in my dreams again last night. We were out in the front yard in the dark.
The spruce tree has been planted where the oak tree had been.Continue reading...
As the service responds to changing demand and medical advances, more staff – and new careers – are being developed
Seventy years ago the NHS launched with a workforce of around 144,000. Since then, the health service has grown to become the single biggest employer in the UK, with 1.7 million workers across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, making it the fifth-largest workforce in the world. It is probably the most diverse workforce in the UK – for instance, some 62,000 NHS staff in England are EU nationals. It’s not unusual to be treated by a nurse from the Philippines or India or seen by a doctor from Egypt, Korea or even Russia.
As the workforce demographic has changed there have also been huge advances in medicine. There has been a move towards more patient self-management in an integrated health and social care system, with more people looked after outside of hospital nearer home. At the same, time patient demand has soared, and it is anticipated that 190,000 more staff will be needed in England alone by 2027 if the current pressure on services continues apace.Continue reading...
During the past few decades, people working in the NHS have noticed the rise of a puzzling yet dangerous new syndrome. It cannot be found in any medical textbook, but the symptoms are more obvious each year. They include delusional behaviour, stress, memory loss, anxiety. Unlike most syndromes in the NHS, this doesn’t infect individual patients. It contaminates entire organisations. The experts call it: repetitive change syndrome.
It was first noticed by two professors working on different sides of the Atlantic. In Sweden, Nils Brunsson, of Uppsala University, had spent decades trying to understand how public sector organisations worked. He and his team spent years following the fate of reform programmes in city councils and railways and standard-setting bodies. They noticed a puzzling pattern: the media would point out some serious failings in a government service; politicians would cry out that something must be done; civil servants and consultants would come up with a plan, announced with great fanfare; the plan would be passed on to managers; and the politicians and consultants would make hay.
The Swedish railways would spend five years trying to become decentralised, and the next five becoming more centralised
Between 2010-11 and 2016-17, health spending increased by an average of 1.2% above inflation and increases are due to continue in real terms at a similar rate until the end of this parliament. This is far below the annual inflation-proof growth rate that the NHS enjoyed before 2010 of almost 4% stretching back to the 1950s. As budgets tighten, NHS organisations have been struggling to live within their means. In the financial year 2015-16, acute trusts recorded a deficit of £2.6bn. This was reduced to £800m last year, though only after a £1.8bn bung from the Department of Health, which shows the deficit remained the same year on year.Continue reading...
Ahead of the referendum, bands including Shrug Life, Sissy and Mongoose are making searing attacks on their country’s attitude to reproductive rights
‘Apart from the music, tonight is all about awareness,” says a young woman on stage at the Loft, a 200-capacity venue in the heart of Galway city. At charity gig Jamnesty, the room brims with a diverse mass of undergraduates whose informed optimism typifies the spirit that has seen Irish youth become torchbearers for change. Organised by the Amnesty Society of the National University of Ireland, tonight is about raising proceeds for Amnesty International’s It’s Time. Repeal the 8th Campaign, one of many high-profile drives opposing the Eighth Amendment, the divisive constitutional edict that bans abortion.
With more than 154,000 Irish women travelling overseas to obtain an abortion since 1980, the Eighth Amendment – which equates the right to life of a pregnant woman with that of an embryo or foetus, effectively criminalising abortion – goes against international human rights norms. But major changes have paved the way for the 25 May referendum. When the same-sex marriage bill passed in 2015, thanks to an enthused Yes campaign, it revealed how far modern Ireland had come. The result marked a break with a past in which church and state were essentially indivisible, and proved that power lay with the people. The Repeal campaign has channelled the momentum behind a similarly charged issue – and it’s a fight to which Ireland’s musicians have given voice.
Ill-equipped with unnamed burden
Options blocked for paths unplanned
At age 19, made to understand
Advice goes no further than the law will allow it
And you’re on your own if you need a way around it.
I hate the idea that a subject can’t be talked about because of the stigma around itContinue reading...
The health service has been through many changes since 1948 – as we hear from some of the people closest to it
The health service’s 70th birthday offers the chance to recognise the work of its staff. In these times of unprecedented demand and financial pressure, healthcare workers are the lifeblood of the NHS, and their goodwill is often credited with keeping the service running.
Those who use the NHS have also played a significant part in shaping it. Whereas in the past, the patient played a passive role in healthcare, they now have much more control over what happens, and are responsible for some aspects of their care.
Every time I go to Cardiff and see Aneurin Bevan’s statue, I look up and feel like crying
The NHS was started by the people for the people. It wasn’t created in Whitehall, it was created in Wales
Consultants were god-like figures. You wouldn’t ask questions. Now, I’m on first-name terms with the consultant and teamContinue reading...