Boris Johnson has been criticised by the British press for his government’s failure to provide tests for NHS staff working on the frontline against coronavirus. Thursday’s newspaper front pages were hostile towards the Prime Minister after it was revealed that only 2,000 of the URead More »
Prime minister says new measures will focus on rail links and pub closures. Boris Johnson has announced another election package costing hundreds of millions of pounds for neglected towns, some of which will be spent in marginal constituencies. Concentrating on rundown high streets, the closures of pubs and post offices and the restoration of rail links, the prime minister has claimed that the measures will build upon the £3.6bn towns fund first announced in July. Towns that have been singled out in the new measures include Cleveleys, near Blackpool, where the Conservatives are defending a majority of 2,023, and Willenhall in Walsall North, where they hope to improve on a 2,601 majority. Labour said last night the Conservatives were responsible for the destruction of the high streets they are now claiming they will help. Andrew Gwynne, the shadow communities secretary, said: “The Tories are destroying our high streets and towns. A decade of vicious cuts to the services that people in our communities rely on has taken 60p in every £1 from council budgets.” Johnson said a future Conservative government would extend the retail discount on business rates to 50% next year. For businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000, this will mean an increase on the current retail discount of 33% in 2020-21. This would amount to “an effective £280m tax cut” for small businesses, the party claimed. A new £1,000 business rates relief for pubs would also be introduced under a Johnson majority government – an £18m tax cut for next year, it is claimed. The Conservatives said they would also introduce a £150m fund that will help groups trying to take over and run pubs and post offices threatened with closure. Following on from previous pledges to reverse rail cuts recommended by Dr Richard Beeching in the 1960s, Johnson has also pledged to set up a £500m Beeching Reversal fund. Towns such as Ashington, Seaton Delaval and Blyth, with a combined population of 100,000, will receive cash following a request from Northumberland council for £99m to reinstate stations, the Tories claimed. Willenhall and Darlaston in the West Midlands will receive £18m to reopen stations – a further £10m has already been provided by the government, the party said. Investment will also be provided to connect Skelmersdale to Liverpool and Manchester. A disused railway line will be funded to improve transport connections for Thornton-Cleveleys and Fleetwood. In a statement last night, Johnson said: “For too long, too many towns and villages across Britain have been overlooked and left behind. When the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, many communities felt their voices had been heard for the first time in decades and that their lives would improve. “We will invest in these communities and help people put the heart back into the places they call home.” One organisation representing retailers said Johnson’s plans did not go far enough to revive the UK’s troubled shopping districts. Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation at the British Retail Consortium, said the majority of the UK’s 3 million retail workers were employed in businesses that would not benefit from today’s announcement. “It is essential that the next government scraps ‘downwards transition’, which costs retailers £1.3bn, freezes next year’s rates increase, and introduces an improvement relief to encourage investment in our high streets. “To ensure the long-term vitality of our town and city centres, the next government should follow the recommendations of the treasury select committee and commit to wholesale reform of our broken business rates system,” he said. The Conservatives have been accused of using public money to boost their election prospects after it emerged that funding from the towns fund was going to wealthier Tory marginals. An analysis by the Times found this week that a third of the 100 towns due to receive some of the £3.6bn pot were not among the 300 most deprived towns. These included Loughborough, which was won by Nicky Morgan, the culture secretary, at the last election, with a majority of around 4,000. Kirby was not on the list.
Boris Johnson has praised the "inspirational" NHS as he stood on his doorstep during self-isolation and clapped for the key workers fighting coronavirus.The Prime Minister joined people all across the UK in applauding the NHS workers on the front line of the fight against Covid-19.
Jeremy Corbyn has described the lack of testing of frontline NHS staff as "ludicrous", as the outgoing Labour leader took aim at the government for being too slow to scale up COVID-19 testing in the UK. Mr Corbyn, who will stand down as the Labour leader on Saturday, said Mr Johnson told him at a meeting three weeks ago the government was going to rapidly scale up coronavirus testing from 5,000 tests a day but had failed to follow through. "It seems to me that the facilities of government to get that testing done have simply not been effective," he told Sky News in his final sit down interview as Labour leader.
Coronavirus is God's judgement after Northern Ireland legalised abortion and same-sex marriage, a DUP councillor has claimed.John Carson, who represents Ballymena, Co Antrim, said the pandemic arrived because an “immoral and corrupt” Government changed the law.
Boris Johnson ignored expert evidence on preventing a pandemic when he failed to crack down early enough on coronavirus, a former chief scientific adviser says.In a devastating attack, David King also warned that “underfunding” of the NHS by the Tories had undermined efforts to fight back against the outbreak and save lives.
Boris Johnson shows Covid-19 symptoms still and may stay in isolationPM has been self-isolating at No 11 for six days and still has temperature * Coronavirus – latest updates * See all our coronavirus coverage
A majority of the public believe Boris Johnson’s government acted too late in imposing stringent restrictions on British public life to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll has found.It comes as the latest figures from the Department of Health and Social Care showed 2,921 people have died after contracting the virus in the UK while over 33,000 have tested positive.
Boris Johnson is preparing to stay in isolation for longer than he hoped after appearing poorly in a video message from his Downing Street flat.The prime minister was due to go back to his office on Friday – seven days after being diagnosed with coronavirus – but still “has symptoms”, No 10 acknowledged.
Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan has told Sky News a lack of protective equipment for NHS staff is an "abomination" after she increased the hours she is spending at her local hospital as an emergency doctor. The Tooting MP, who is standing to be elected Labour's next deputy leader, has taken on more shifts at St George's Hospital in her constituency during the coronavirus crisis.
Boris Johnson is still showing coronavirus symptoms, Downing Street has confirmed.Mr Johnson spoke from isolation on Thursday, addressing the criticism aimed at the Government in recent days for low testing rates for NHS staff and other key workers, as well as the equipment healthcare workers are using when treating patients for coronavirus.
Labour MP Dawn Butler says she is "devastated" and "angry" as she revealed her uncle died in hospital after catching coronavirus.Ms Butler, who represents Brent Central, said her relative had gone into hospital following a fall - at which point she said he did not have Covid-19.
Boris Johnson restates pledge to boost UK coronavirus testing capacityPrivate facilities offer to help in Dunkirk-style effort as PM says testing is ‘way through’ crisis * Coronavirus – latest updates * See all our coronavirus coverage
Another 563 people have died in the UK after contracting coronavirus - bringing the total number of deaths to 2,352 - as Boris Johnson admitted the UK needs to "massively ramp up" testing for the virus. The prime minister, who is self-isolating in Downing Street after being diagnosed with COVID-19, said testing was "how we would unlock the coronavirus puzzle" and "defeat it in the end". NHS staff have expressed frustration that they are being forced to self-isolate just as they are most needed, because tests are not available to show whether they are clear of the disease.
Voting in the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party chief ends today ahead of a new leader of the opposition being announced at the weekend.Those eligible to vote have until midday to make their choice before the new leader is revealed on Saturday.
Boris Johnson has given an update on the UK's fight against coronavirus from self-isolation as the number of patients who died in hospitals reached 2,352.Speaking in Downing Street, Mr Johnson said that testing must be ramped up as it is the way the UK "unlocks this coronavirus puzzle".
Boris Johnson has vowed to "ramp up" testing for Covid-19 in the UK and said it will be key to "unlocking the puzzle" of stopping the deadly virus.The Prime Minister filmed the update from Number 10, where he has spent the past five days in self-isolation after contracting Covid-19.
The vast majority of police officers did not know that Boris Johnson was going to announce a nationwide lockdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak, and learned about it at the same time as the public, a senior officer has said.While national police leaders were informed of the impending measures shortly before the prime minister’s address to the nation on 23 March, there was no time to pass the message down to the rank and file.
Boris Johnson must face a “virtual Prime Minister’s Questions”, MPs have said, amid fears that he is escaping scrutiny of his handling of the coronavirus crisis.With parliament shut down for four weeks, and with no guarantee it will return on 21 April as planned, pressure is growing for officials to set up a form of remote oversight.
The Government will hold its daily briefing today to update the nation on the latest measures and developments in the UK's fight against coronavirus.Prime Minister Boris Johnson or another member of the Government will address the country via a live broadcast, which can also be viewed on news channels and YouTube.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick is one of the senior politicians chosen to lead some of the Government's daily press briefings on the coronavirus pandemic.Prime Minister Boris Johnson or another member of the Government addresses the nation every day with the latest measures and developments in the UK's fight against Covid-19.
The scale of the coronavirus crisis exposes how pointless the Brexit cause isBrexiteers’ war on imaginary threats now looks parochial and self-indulgent – history may judge them harshly * Coronavirus – latest updates * See all our coronavirus coverage
Jeremy Corbyn has demanded better protective equipment for NHS staff battling Covid-19 and a higher coronavirus testing rate in the UK.The leader of the opposition set out his demands in a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday.
Brexit will make it harder to fight future pandemics and reap the benefits of new clinical trials in the EU, Jeremy Hunt is warning.The current proposals for the UK’s full divorce will have “a significant impact on health and social care”, a letter sent by the head of the Commons health committee states.
Boris Johnson has warned his top ministers the coronavirus crisis "is going to get worse before it gets better" at the first cabinet meeting in history to be held entirely on a video call. Only Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill and a small number of officials were in the cabinet room in 10 Downing Street itself. Mr Johnson, who is currently self-isolating at 11 Downing Street after testing positive for COVID-19, used the meeting to tell his ministers: "The situation is going to get worse before it gets better - but it will get better."