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Politics latest news: I don't want NHS managers to be paid 'unacceptable' salaries with health tax funds, says care minister




  • In World
  • 2021-09-08 23:14:05Z
  • By The Telegraph
  • NHS spends millions hiring an army of £200,000 bureaucrats

  • The hidden catches: it could cost some pensioners hundreds of thousands

  • DUP threatens to collapse Stormont power-sharing over Brexit protocol

  • 'The Conservative Party will need to rediscover what it stands for'

  • 'Council and prison funding' faces squeeze as Sunak clamps down on spending

  • Coronavirus latest news: Compulsory vaccines for NHS staff is 'admission of failure'

Health bosses should not receive salaries at an "unacceptable level", a minister has said, after it emerged that the NHS is hiring a swathe of new executives earning as much as £270,000.

More than £9 million will be spent employing dozens of managers on new integrated care boards, each of whom will earn more than the Prime Minister.

Helen Whately, the care minister, gave a lukewarm defence, telling Sky News: "We do want to have really top people to have the responsibility for driving these reforms."

But she noted they were on "significantly more than I earn", and that the Government will keep "a close eye" on NHS manager pay as a result.

"I don't want to see NHS managers be paid at an unacceptable level," she added. "We want as much of the funding as possible to go to the frontline," she added.

Speaking later to LBC radio, she stressed there would be "fewer people doing bigger jobs", but said those higher incomes "should be scrutinised".

Ms Whately said: "I am not going to set out whether the NHS should or shouldn't be doing this... they are going to be taking on great responsibility. I do want them to be really helping us retain and recruit nurses - that will be an important part of their job."

​​Follow the latest updates below.

11:58 AM

It was 'not possible' to meet Afghan emails deadline, admits minister

A minister has been forced to extend the deadline by which the Government will respond to emails about people left behind in Afghanistan, admitting it was "not possible" to meet the original date.

Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab had both promised that every single email would be dealt with by Monday this week. But this morning Foreign Office minister James Cleverly announced all correspondence from MPs will be dealt with by next Thursday, September 16.

"It is just not possible to open, analyse and respond to 200,000 emails in the same timescale that we would normally be able to do," he said, although insisted the commitment had been "discharged" because all MPs had received "a response so they could know that their email had been received".

But Chris Bryant, the Labour MP for the Rhondda, said it was "a complete and utter shambles", saying the Government "have let us all down in this". Shadow Foreign Office minister Wayne David said: "Commitments have been broken."

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he was "very, very concerned" by the matter. "I know you've been inundated but the fact is people should be brought in to make sure MPs at least get the acknowledgement they deserve," he said.

11:44 AM

Scotland to mandate vaccine passport for events of more than 500 people

Attendance at large events will require a vaccine passport from October 1, under Scottish Government plans.

A paper released just hours before MSPs are due to vote on the scheme stated there would be a legal requirement for businesses to "take all reasonable measures" to ensure compliance, while ministers are also considering if there is a need for an offence to stop the "misuse" of the certificates.

The scheme will make a QR code available through a smart phone app, which will be scanned before entry is allowed to nightclubs or similar venues, adult entertainment, unseated indoor events with more than 500 people, outdoor unseated events with more than 4,000 people or any event with more than 10,000 in attendance.

Regulations will be introduced by the Scottish Government and reviewed every three weeks, with the rules to be revoked when they are deemed no longer necessary.

People under 18, those who are medically exempt, participating in vaccine trials or who are employees within venues will not have to show certification to gain entry.

11:36 AM

Lobby latest: Downing Street rejects 'blackmail' claims over migrant crisis

Downing Street has rejected a French minister's suggestion that the UK is attempting to "blackmail" the nation in helping deal with the migrant crisis.

Priti Patel has threatened to withhold some of the £54m pledged to help France prevent people making the crossing, and has sanctioned the use of controversial "pushback" tactics.

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin this morning tweeted: "France won't accept any behavior that breaches maritime law, or any financial blackmail. Great Britain must honor its commitment. I said this clearly to my counterpart, @pritipatel,"

But the PM's official spokesman said the Government has "provided our French counterparts significant sums of money previously, and we've agreed another bilateral agreement backed by millions of pounds".

He added that no "single approach is going to solve this challenge" and stressed that the UK Government "want to work with our French counterparts, and indeed, the wider EU, on a range of options to address this long-standing problem."

11:31 AM

Lobby latest: DUP threat shows 'real pressures' protocol is causing

The DUP's threat to collapse Stormont over the Northern Ireland protocol underscores the "real pressures" it is causing, Number 10 has said.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said Sir Jeffrey Donaldson's comments also demonstrated "the lack of cross-community support for the current arrangements".

He added: "Without this support, the protocol cannot be sustainable for the long term. That's why we've published a command paper setting out the significant changes needed to put the protocol on durable footing, and we're engaging with talks with the EU to determine whether a constructive process can be established that addresses these issues."

He added: "We believe that the challenges the DUP and others have set out illustrates that the protocol in its current form is simply not sustainable."

See 11:27am and posts from 9:38-9:58am for more.

11:28 AM

Lobby latest: Government testing 'range of safe and legal options' to deal with migrants

The Government is looking at a "range of safe and legal options" to deal with migrant Channel crossings, Downing Street has said.

Asked whether the Prime Minister had approved "pushback" plans to turn around boats headed for the UK and send them back to France, his official spokesman said: "Without getting into operational matters, as part of our ongoing response we continue to evaluate and test a range of safe and legal options to find ways of stopping small boats making this dangerous and unnecessary journey."

He added: "I think Border Force have a range of safe and legal options available to them to deploy, I'm not going to comment on operational tactics in more detail."

He said that the UK's activities "comply with international and domestic law".

11:27 AM

Some 1.6m people remain furloughed with weeks remaining

Rishi Sunak and team this morning - Steve Back 2021
Rishi Sunak and team this morning - Steve Back 2021  

Rishi Sunak has said it is "fantastic" that the number of people on furlough has fallen to the lowest levels since the scheme was created.

Around 340,000 people have moved off furlough across the UK over the course of July.

However, most recent figures show 1.6 million people remain furloughed, with just three weeks before it is due to be wound up.

The looming deadline did not appear to faze the Chancellor, however, who said: "It's fantastic to see furlough levels at their lowest since the start of the pandemic with young people in particular getting back to work and kickstarting their careers as the UK gets back to business."

10:59 AM

'Put that face mask on,' SNP MP urges Jacob Rees-Mogg

An SNP MP has asked for a debate "for just what exactly is going on in this chamber", claiming that constituents are "dumbfounded" by the party split on wearing face masks.

Pete Wishart told the Commons that judging by the split on the issue it appears "somehow that being a Tory MP makes you exempt from contracting and spreading Covid", and was particularly damning of the crowded divisions.

Few Tory MPs wore their face mask during this week
Few Tory MPs wore their face mask during this week's crowded debates - PA  

He claimed that Jacob Rees-Mogg had said during a recent meeting he would wear a mask to encourage the rest of his colleagues, adding: "Put that face mask on, Leader of the House... Tory MPs can be as cavalier as they want with their own health, but when it comes to the colleagues and people who work in this House that should be a matter for all of us. "

Mr Rees-Mogg said he knew the SNP MP would be "a bit grumpy this morning" because it is the anniversary of the Battle of Flodden "which was not Scotland's finest hour".

Guidance is for people to wear face masks "in a crowded space with people you don't normally meet" and they should make their own decision.

10:52 AM

Jacob Rees-Mogg wishes Labour MP 'extremely well' ahead of debate about murdered sister

A Conservative minister has wished a Labour MP "extremely well" ahead of her maiden speech, which will be given during a debate in memorial to her murdered sister.

Kim Leadbeater, the MP for Batley and Spen, will give her first Commons speech during a debate on the legacy of Jo Cox this afternoon.

Thangam Debbonaire, the shadow leader, said it would be an opportunity to remember their "much-missed colleague", who was killed in 2016, and said Ms Leadbeater would be cheered on "as she makes her own unique and inspirational contribution" as Ms Cox's successor.

Responding, Jacob Rees-Mogg said: "I know how important this afternoon's debate is and I wish her extremely well in making her maiden speech."

Such speeches were "a difficult occasion for all members, but doing so in memorial to one's sister must bring a particular pressure," he added. "I am sure it will be a brilliant speech, and I would like to wish her extremely well."

10:42 AM

'Labour has run away from historic background' supporting NHS, says Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg has defended the timing of the debate on the Health and Social Care Bill, saying there has been "more than an hour per clause" dedicated to it.

"It is being done in a completely proper and sensible way and is respectful of the procedures within this House," he says. "I am intrigued that the opposition doesn't want the NHS to get more money and seems to oppose it and think giving the NHS more money is a bad idea.

"It does prove the point nowadays that the Conservative party is the party of good health service and the Labour party has run away from its historic background."

10:38 AM

Health and Social Care Bill to be 'rammed through' in one day

The Government will push through all stages of the Health and Social Care Bill in a single day, Jacob Rees-Mogg has confirmed.

During his business statement this morning the Commons Leader told MPs that the legislation would be debated on Tuesday of next week.

Thangam Debbonaire, his shadow, said Boris Johnson was trying to "ram the bill through in just one day", and questioned why it was so urgent given the tax rise doesn't come in until next spring, reiterating her suggestion that the Prime Minister was trying to "bounce" MPs into backing something that will not resolve the social care crisis.

"No minister can guarantee the money raised from the tax hike will actually go to social care," she noted. "It's a tax rise, not a plan."

10:34 AM

Three Tory MPs braced for one-day Commons suspension

Three Conservative MPs are expected to have a one-day Commons suspension imposed on them for attempting to influence legal proceedings involving a former party colleague.

The House of Commons will be asked on Thursday to endorse recommendations from the Committee on Standards in connection with Natalie Elphicke (Dover), Sir Roger Gale (North Thanet) and Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet).

It will bar the three MPs from attending the Commons on Friday.

The timing of the suspension means they will only miss consideration of legislation proposed by backbench MPs - with Friday sittings traditionally not well attended - rather than a busy day when any crucial Government business will be debated.

10:27 AM

Ulster Unionists will not 'retreat to the trenches' on protocol

The Ulster Unionists will not withdraw from the Stormont Executive, after DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson threatened to collapse the power-sharing executive this morning.

Party leader Doug Beattie said he was also opposed to the protocol, but he wanted to provide "pragmatic solutions and engagement", rather than "threats leading to instability and further harming our people".

He added: "We simply cannot afford to have the Stormont institutions collapse and people, not least those hundreds of thousands on waiting lists, won't thank us for it."

Instead his party would "engage constructively", Mr Beattie said, noting that there was a "potential pathway out of the protocol mess".

He added: "Unionism needs to show confidence in its own abilities. Now is not the time to retreat to the trenches."

See posts from 9:38-9:58am for more.

10:20 AM

Migrant pushback plans are 'recipe for something dreadful', says former Royal Navy admiral

Priti Patel's plan to use controversial "pushback" tactics to intercept and turn round migrants' small boats mid-Channel is "a recipe for something dreadful happening", a former Royal Navy admiral has warned.

Lord West, who served as a Home Office minister under Gordon Brown, said the "sheer mechanics" of turning boats around was "quite high risk" even if France was willing to take migrants back but it would be far more dangerous without support.

But he said it was "Clueso-eqsue" that the French had accepted £54m while insisting there was nothing that could be done, telling Sky News claims that the coast was too long to be properly policed was not correct.

He added: "This is just not a very good idea - we have got to have an agreement with the French. Why aren't they wiling to let us return them? The RNLI could take them back... but this is very messy, people don't want to do it.

"This measure has the risk of something dreadful happening... it is a recipe for something dreadful happening."

He noted that "the people who encouraged more vessels to pick them up are encouraging them to come", suggesting responsibility for hundreds of deaths lay with those individuals.

10:08 AM

Planet Normal: 'We no longer have a Conservative government'

"Welcome to tax-and-spend Toryism", Allison Pearson tells her fellow columnist and Planet Normal co-host, Liam Halligan on this week's edition of the podcast. "

This is no longer a party of low taxes and high growth. Boris Johnson has gone full Labour on us with his health and social care levy."

Liam Halligan explains why very little of the new National Insurance hike will actually go towards solving the social care crisis.

'This is really about a massive tax rise to pay for this NHS backlog, which in part is caused by Covid lockdowns, and it's wrapped in the guise of a long-term solution to our social care dilemma, which it most certainly is not."

Listen to the podcast in full using the audio player above.

09:47 AM

MPs launch second Commons inquiry into Afghan withdrawal

A second Commons inquiry has been launched into the UK's withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The defence select committee, chaired by Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, has announced plans to run a review of the planning and execution of the evacuation of British nationals and eligible Afghans, as well as the geopolitical implications of the move.

It looks like much of the focus will be on the Ministry of Defence, while the foreign affairs committee is focusing on the work of Dominic Raab and the FCDO.

Mr Ellwood said the resurgence of the Taliban has been "a dark and troubling time for the West and supporters of democracy and human rights worldwide".

He added: "This inquiry will focus on defence's contribution, examining the Ministry of Defence's role in the withdrawal and evacuations, in terms of both strategy and execution. The inquiry will examine at the UK's role in decision making, and the extent of our collaboration with the US."

09:39 AM

Joined up thinking? Scottish Tories to vote against vaccine passports

In Scotland today, MSPs are expected to vote on legislation mandating the use of Covid vaccine passports.

Should the proposals be approved, only people who have been fully vaccinated will be allowed into nightclubs, major sporting events and many concerts and festivals.

Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Tories, has said his party will be voting against the plan.

However just yesterday Nadhim Zahawi was (very reluctantly) insisting the UK Government will be ploughing ahead with its own proposals this month - and he was unable to answer many of the points Mr Ross raises in his tweet below.

09:26 AM

England's NHS waiting list hit record high

The number of people in England waiting for hospital treatment has reached a new record high.

A total of 5.6 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of July, according to new figures from NHS England.

This is the highest number since records began in August 2007 and includes those waiting for hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery.

The number having to wait more than 52 weeks to start treatment stood at 293,102 in July 2021, down from 304,803 in the previous month, but more than three times the number waiting a year earlier, in July 2020, which was 83,203.

Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, has said he was warned the NHS waiting list could reach 13 million without the action proposed that will be funded by the new health and social care levy.

09:06 AM

Journalism 'under vicious attack' in Afghanistan, says Tory MP

Two Afghan journalists have been left with ugly welts and bruises after being beaten and detained for hours by Taliban enforcers for covering a protest in the Afghan capital.

The pair were picked up at a demonstration on Wednesday and taken to a police station in the capital, where they say they were punched and beaten with batons, electrical cables and whips after being accused of organising the protest.

Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative MP and chairman of the foreign affairs committee, has shared images on Twitter, saying that journalism is now "under vicious attack".

09:06 AM

Journalism 'under vicious attack' in Afghanistan, says Tory MP

Two Afghan journalists have been left with ugly welts and bruises after being beaten and detained for hours by Taliban enforcers for covering a protest in the Afghan capital.

The pair were picked up at a demonstration on Wednesday and taken to a police station in the capital, where they say they were punched and beaten with batons, electrical cables and whips after being accused of organising the protest.

Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative MP and chairman of the foreign affairs committee, has shared images on Twitter, saying that journalism is now "under vicious attack".

08:58 AM

DUP is 'flexible' on solution but 'implacably opposed' to status quo

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said the DUP is "flexible as to the precise nature of the solution, [but] we are implacably opposed to the current arrangements".

Checks on goods entering the EU is acceptable but "we don't need to be checking goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland - that is unacceptable and will always be unacceptable."

A timeline must be set to ensure talks do not run forever, he says, adding: "Time is short."

Sir Jeffrey says there is "always a way" to find a solution - but this must be done through the Northern Ireland Assembly.

08:53 AM

Protocol could be replaced through agreement, says DUP leader

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says the DUP's preference is that the protocol is replaced "through agreement".

"It is neither our wish to undermine the EU's single market, nor is there any possibility of any hardening of the border on the island of Ireland," he adds.

But there are some in the EU who are "only alive to nationalist concerns".

The DUP leader notes that "some seem to have forgotten the protocol is not a means in itself, but a means to end" and one that is "not working, undermining both business and politics in Northern Ireland".

08:48 AM

EU should not believe protocol 'anger has receded', says DUP leader

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says it would be "an act of absolute folly to believe the anger has receded" since the protests earlier this year.

The protocol is having "real world impacts on our economy", the DUP leader says, highlighting a recent estimate that it will cost £850m a year. "This is money we simply cannot afford to lose."

He says he is "alarmed" by the constitutional implications, but it is "assuredly not simply a unionist issue - business leaders tell us it is an existential threat".

It is also "utterly reprehensible and irresponsible" of the EU to block medical supplies.

08:44 AM

DUP leader: Northern Ireland's political institutions may not survive unless protocol changed

The Northern Ireland protocol "threatens to provoke the most serious constitutional crisis since our formation 100 years ago", the leader of the DUP has said.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says "a new balance must be found", as the "constitutional guarantee" underpinning Northern Ireland's status "has been fundamentally undermined" by the protocol.

"This is unacceptable," he adds.

"I say this not as a threat, but as a matter of political reality that our political institutions will not survive a failure to resolve the problems that the protocol has created.

"Neither will they survive an indefinite 'stand still' period."

08:38 AM

Sticking with Northern Ireland protocol is 'a path we will not tread'

The Northern Ireland protocol has "fundamentally undermined" prosperity of Northern Ireland and its role within the UK, the leader of the DUP has said.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said it should "come as no surprise to anyone" that the protocol must be dropped, saying it threatens the prosperity of Northern Ireland as well as the nation's status within the United Kingdom

During a key speech, the MP said it was "a path we will not tread" as he stressed the need to "grasp the nettle and deal with the problems now".

The stakes could not be higher, Sir Jeffrey added.

08:29 AM

Do not extend Cressida Dick's contract, Boris Johnson told

The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence and the widow of Leon Brittan have signed an open letter calling for Boris Johnson to replace Dame Cressida Dick as Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

The letter - signed by Baroness Doreen Lawrence and Lady Diana Brittan - accuses the police chief of "presiding over a culture of incompetence and cover-up".

It said: "Dame Cressida Dick ... must not have her contract extended and must be properly investigated for her conduct, along with predecessors and those in her inner circle, who she appointed and who have questions to answer."

The letter, published in the Mail this morning, added she "should be replaced by an appointee outside of London via a truly independent and transparent process".

It comes after reports suggested Dame Cressida, the first woman to lead London's force, had been offered a two-year extension to her contract. Her current tenure is due to end in April next year.

08:29 AM

Do not extend Cressida Dick's contract, Boris Johnson told

The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence and the widow of Leon Brittan have signed an open letter calling for Boris Johnson to replace Dame Cressida Dick as Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

The letter - signed by Baroness Doreen Lawrence and Lady Diana Brittan - accuses the police chief of "presiding over a culture of incompetence and cover-up".

It said: "Dame Cressida Dick ... must not have her contract extended and must be properly investigated for her conduct, along with predecessors and those in her inner circle, who she appointed and who have questions to answer."

The letter, published in the Mail this morning, added she "should be replaced by an appointee outside of London via a truly independent and transparent process".

It comes after reports suggested Dame Cressida, the first woman to lead London's force, had been offered a two-year extension to her contract. Her current tenure is due to end in April next year.

08:19 AM

Have your say: Should the Government intervene on NHS salaries?

As MPs waved through Boris Johnson's health and social care levy, it emerged that the NHS is hiring a string of new executives earning sums that would bring tears to the Prime Minister's eyes.

Sums of up to £270,000 are being splashed around on, with a total cost of £9m.

A minister this morning said the majority of new funding should go to the frontline, but while she suggested those on top incomes should be "scrutinised", she stopped short of suggesting the Government intervene.

Should there be a cap on this kind of public sector pay - or should the Government allow the free market to do its thing? Have your say in the poll below.

07:59 AM

Sir Andrew Dilnot backs Boris Johnson's social care plan

The author of a report which laid bare the problems with Britain's social care system a decade ago has backed Boris Johnson's health and social care levy.

Sir Andrew Dilnot told LBC that "structurally, quite a lot of" his recommendations appeared in the Prime Minister's plan to reform the sector.

"Of course there's always still more to be done but I feel that the situation we've had for several decades now of families in this country facing complete uncertainty, and an inadequate system... should be a thing of the past once these reforms are introduced."

07:56 AM

Are booster jabs saving lives or just 'trying to control spread' of virus, asks JCVI member

A decision about whether to start giving out the booster jab this autumn must be weighed against the fact that the developing world has low vaccine rates, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Professor Adam Finn told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Although there's waning against mild disease, we're not clear that we're seeing waning against severe disease, and the programme is really driven by trying to keep people out of hospital and stop people dying rather than by trying to control the spread of the virus."

Prof Finn raised concerns about the limited global supply of the vaccine, adding that "each dose going into the arm of someone who's immune is not going into the arm of someone who's got no immunity at all".

The World Health Organisation has previously urged developed nations to delay their booster programmes until developing nations have been able to catch up and jab 10 per cent of their population.

07:37 AM

The hidden catches: 'Capped' social care could still cost some pensioners hundreds of thousands

Boris Johnson has hinted that people will need to take out insurance to avoid selling their houses so they can afford care home fees.

During a heated exchange during Prime Minister's Questions with Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, Mr Johnson refused to answer questions regarding whether or not people would be forced to sell their homes to fund care home stays.

Experts have already warned that the "misleading" new £86,000 social care cap announced this week will fail to cover all care costs, meaning many people will still be paying £200,000-£400,000 to pay for their care, and have to sell their homes to fund it.

However, now the Prime Minister has suggested for the first time that the insurance market would step in and help people avoid selling their homes.

Read some the catches hidden in the small print here.

07:33 AM

Vaccine refuseniks could be redeployed to back-office roles, says minister

Vaccine refuseniks who work in health and social care could be moved to back-office roles such as manning the 111 phone line, a minister has said.

Helen Whately, the care minister, told Times Radio there would be exceptions made for those who were medically exempt from having the vaccine.

But those who are choosing not to get the jab may be "deployed", she said.

"For instance, in a role that doesn't involve frontline work, or doesn't involve being physically in the same setting as the patient - whether it's, for instance, working on 111, something like that," Ms Whately said.

"So we could look at alternative roles for individuals, these are exactly the sorts of things that we can investigate."

07:30 AM

Minister 'honestly doesn't know' if Gavin Williamson is racist or incompetent

Marcus Rashford, Maro Itoje and Gavin Williamson
Marcus Rashford, Maro Itoje and Gavin Williamson  

A minister has said she "honestly" doesn't know whether Gavin Williamson was being racist or incompetent when he confused two sportsmen.

The Education Secretary claimed to have met England footballer Marcus Rashford on a Zoom call, but it later transpired he had spoken to rugby player Maro Itoje. Mr Williamson put out a statement saying it was a "genuine mistake".

Asked if she thought her colleague was incompetent or racist, Helen Whately told LBC: "Honestly, I don't know. All I know is that Gavin has put out his explanation, and there's really nothing more that I could say about it."

Asked if she thinks he is racist, the care minister said: "I can't believe for a moment he is, I think that's highly unlikely."

When it was put to her that the alternative was incompetence, she told the interviewer she was being presented with a "false choice", adding: "You are trying to put me in a trap."

07:17 AM

Tory MPs made 'difficult decision' to raise taxes, says minister

Conservative MPs "made a difficult decision" to raise taxes, but it was the right thing to do, the care minister has said.

Helen Whately told Sky News: "As a Conservative voting for a tax rise, it's not something you do lightly. We want people's money to be in their pockets."

She highlighted the current waiting lists of more than five million people, and projections that could rise to 13 million - saying that would be "a terrible position to be in".

She added: "Governments for decades have not been able to work out the way to fund that, to move that forward. So what we've got here is a package that means we can both treat all those people who need treatment under the NHS, and we can embark on those once-in-a-generation social care reforms."

07:13 AM

NHS must justify top salaries, says minister

The NHS must justify instances where unusually high salaries are paid, a minister has said.

Helen Whately, the care minister, was asked about one particular role - a diversity executive without frontline responsibilities - carrying a salary of £71,000.

She would not be drawn on individual roles, but told Times Radio she was concerned about "exceptionally high levels of pay".

She said: "I think the NHS does really need to set out its arguments for when it is paying higher-than-expected levels of pay, there has to be a really good reason, but I also recognise you do clearly need to pay people the appropriate amount for roles that involve a lot of responsibility."

07:10 AM

Compulsory vaccines for frontline workers 'admission of failure', says JCVI member

Making vaccination compulsory for frontline healthcare staff would feel "like an admission of failure", a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said.

The Government opened a six-week consultation on plans to make Covid-19 and flu vaccinations mandatory for frontline health and care staff on Thursday.

But Professor Adam Finn told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that compulsory jabbing would imply messaging was not effective enough.

"It's a kind of an admission of failure. It's like saying you can't either find the time or find the ability to explain to people why it makes sense and create the culture in which everybody does it because they understand why it's important," he said. "If you build a culture, it becomes the norm and everybody does it."

07:09 AM

Plans to push back migrants will 'deter' migrants, says minister

The Government is looking at "all the options" for dealing with migrants, a minister has said - including controversial "pushback" tactics to intercept and turn round migrants' small boats mid-Channel to prevent them reaching the UK.

Priti Patel has secured legal advice for Border Force vessels to start redirecting migrant boats away from UK waters and back towards France.

Asked repeatedly about this plan, Helen Whately told Sky News: "The Government looks at all the options, but a really important thing, of course, is you wouldn't want to put people in any greater danger, they're taking a dangerous journey as it is, and what we want to do is actually deter them from starting that journey in the first place."

07:05 AM

Care work 'won't be the right thing' for those who resist vaccination, says minister

A minister has said care work "won't be the right thing" for people who continue to refuse Covid vaccinations.

Asked if care home staff would be out of a job if they weren't fully vaccinated by Nov 11, Helen Whately told Sky News: "We have given guidance to care homes about how to support staff through this.

"Of course I recognise some people really don't want to get vaccinated [but] for some people, continuing to work in a care home won't be the right thing for them."

Asked about plans to introduce the same rule for the NHS, the care minister told Times Radio: "If we bring it in.. there will be clinical exemptions and there are alternative ways somebody could be deployed in a role that doesn't involve frontline work."

06:50 AM

NHS spends millions hiring an army of £200,000 bureaucrats

The NHS is hiring an army of 42 new executives on salaries of up to £270,000 each as Boris Johnson faces mounting anger over his tax rise to fund healthcare.

More than £9 million will be spent employing dozens of chief executives of new integrated care boards, each of whom will earn more than the Prime Minister.

Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, promised on Wednesday he would be "watchful for any waste" of the £12 billion a year tax revenue, but has yet to fully explain how the money will be spent.

On Wednesday night, senior Tories said they were "appalled" by the decision to hire the new executives, saying workers on low salaries would struggle to understand why they were having to pay more tax to fund "mega" pay packets for a legion of new managers.

It came as Mr Johnson faced a grassroots backlash over the tax rise, with Tory activists, donors and former party chairmen all expressing their dismay.

06:50 AM

Good Morning

Last night MPs waved through Boris Johnson's health and social care levy - but might some of them be regretting doing so this morning?

Just five Tories rebelled with a further 37 abstaining, but the Prime Minister's majority ensured an easy victory, passing with 319 to 248 votes.

However, since the tax raid was approved, the scale of some NHS managers' salaries has since emerged.

Here is today's front page.

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  • 2021-09-27 11:00:00Z

Married couple Jeni Pearsons and Michael Store aren't wealthy.

UK gas stations are running dry due to panic-buying and a supply-chain crisis. Boris Johnson may deploy the military to drive extra supplies.
UK gas stations are running dry due to panic-buying and a supply-chain crisis. Boris Johnson may deploy the military to drive extra supplies.
  • World
  • 2021-09-27 09:46:35Z

A post-Brexit shortage of gas truck drivers has sparked nationwide panic-buying, emptying out the pumps.

Bharat bandh: Farmers intensify protest against reforms
Bharat bandh: Farmers intensify protest against reforms

The year-long standoff between PM Modi's government and some 40 farm unions continues.

Politics latest news: Military drivers being
Politics latest news: Military drivers being 'trained in the background', amid fears they lack skills to load fuel
  • World
  • 2021-09-26 23:17:06Z

Plans for the Army to help ease mounting fuel crisis Gas king gives Britain stark winter warning Social Democratic Party narrowly wins in race to succeed...

Flat owners pin hopes on Gove to fix Britain
Flat owners pin hopes on Gove to fix Britain's cladding crisis

Upon his appointment as the new Housing Secretary, Michael Gove's brief was made clear. The former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was told that the...

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