• Sun. Sep 26th, 2021

Britain faces ‘permanent’ food shortages, trade body boss warns

ByAmeerah O'Connor

Sep 11, 2021
Britain faces 'permanent' food shortages, trade body boss warns

A shortage of lorry drivers has left some supermarket shelves empty this summer – Getty

Britain faces “permanent shortages” of food in supermarket shelves, the boss of the Food and Drink Federation has said.

Ian Wright claimed the shortage of lorry drivers was a structural issue that meant shoppers would never again have unspoiled choice of what to eat and drink.

“It’s going to get worse, and it’s not going to get better after getting worse any time soon,” Mr Wright told an Institute for Government event. “I think we will see we are now in for permanent shortages.”

People would not run out of food, but items would have to be prioritised, reducing choice, he added.

“The UK shopper and consumer could have previously have expected just about every product they want to be on a shelf or in the restaurant all the time. That’s over, and I don’t think it’s coming back.”

However Downing Street insisted the UK food supply chain was “highly resilient”.

“We don’t recognise those claims,” a No 10 spokesman said. “We know there are some issues that are facing the sector. We will continue to speak and liaise those involved in those industries to try to ensure we can help them as much as possible.”

Pressed on whether people will have a “normal Christmas”, Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “I believe so, yes.”

​​Follow the latest updates below.

03:06 PM

And that’s it for another day….

As Maros Sefcovic’s two-day trip to Northern Ireland draws to a close, exactly what the European Commission’s vice-president achieved remains unclear.

But judging by comments made by Sir Jeffrey Donaldson this afternoon, there are at least some in the region who feel talks have stalled at best, and are at risk of receding.

The DUP leader has called on Boris Johnson to intervene as “a key player”, but thus far the Prime Minister has shown little inclination, preferring to delegate it to Lord Frost and Michael Gove.

Sir Jeffrey’s hope that the problems with the protocol will be resolved within weeks appears all too unlikely at this juncture.

Closer to home, the Prime Minister is perhaps giving some thought to two gloomy polls that suggest his popularity is on the wane, after a week in which a further two manifesto commitments – the triple lock and no more tax rises – were broken. The looming threat of empty shelves will no doubt do little to help.

And our readers believe he should be worried, with 81 per cent warning his policies could drive voters away. Just 19 per cent agreed with Lee Anderson, who told The Telegraph’s Politics Live the PM’s problems will be resolved by getting him back on the road.

For more on that, and the rest of the day’s news, read below.

02:57 PM

Brussels boss not seeking ‘political victory’ on Northern Ireland protocol

Maros Sefcovic has insisted he is not looking for “any political victory” on the Northern Ireland protocol but is looking for a “win/win” deal for both the EU and UK.

Concluding a two-day fact-finding mission to Northern Ireland, the European Commission vice-president called for a “mutual spirit of cooperation” in talks to resolve the stand-off over the post-Brexit trading arrangements for the Irish Sea.

Reflecting on his talks with Stormont politicians in Belfast, he told a press conference: “We are indeed working 24/7 to look at it from all the angles, so we can hammer out the solutions which would actually contribute to the positive developments and not to take us to the direction of uncertainty and instability.

“After five years of going through this difficult period we should now look to the future, close this chapter and look how can we achieve together the joint prosperity.”

However his comments have not gone down well with DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson – see 3:33pm and 3:49pm for more.

02:49 PM

Boris Johnson is ‘key player’ in resolving protocol issues, says DUP leader

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has made a personal appeal to Boris Johnson to protect Northern Ireland’s place in the UK’s internal market, after the DUP’s request to have the protocol renegotiated was rejected by the EU today.

Sir Jeffrey, who yesterday threatened to collapse the Stormont Executive, said the UK Government had given “a firm commitment” more than 18 months but measures to prevent trade barriers down the Irish Sea have not been taken.

He added: “The Prime Minister is a key player in all of this. The Prime Minister promised that there would be no border in the Irish Sea.

“The Government… gave commitments to take action to address and resolve the difficulties and remove the barriers to trade and remove the Irish Sea border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

“If the EU vice-president believes that the solution is to drive a border down the middle of our country then I’m afraid we need to engage further and disabuse him of that notion. That is not the solution.”

02:42 PM

Analysis: Michel Barnier’s Frexit outburst is a plea for attention more than anything else

Michel Barnier doesn’t want Frexit, he only wants to be loved, writes James Crisp.

Struggling with an impossibly uphill task to become France’s next president, Mr Barnier has reached for the Vote Leave playbook and committed the cardinal sin, in Brussels at least, of calling for a referendum.

The former Brexit negotiator has suggested a halt to all non-EU immigration into France, with the exception of all students and asylum seekers, for up to five years.

He compounded this populist ploy by demanding that French courts take back their sovereignty from European judges on matters to do with migration.

Read more from James here.

02:33 PM

DUP leader hits out at Brussels boss for dismissing unionist concerns

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has hit out at Maros Sefcovic for dismissing the concerns of unionists over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Speaking to the media after the European Commission vice-president spoke in Belfast, Sir Jeffrey said Mr Sefcovic was “of course entitled to his view”, noting that a resolution to issues posed by the Northern Ireland protocol would carry “enormous difficulties” with it.

“But I think it’s unfortunate that Mr Sefcovic would be so dismissive of the real and genuine concerns that there are out there,” he added.

“The meeting that we had yesterday with him was much more constructive and what I had to say yesterday reflects the concerns of many people in Northern Ireland. It is not mere rhetoric, it is articulating the views and concerns of unionists.”

See posts at 10:29, 10:38, 10:45am for more

02:24 PM

20 years of turmoil: How 9/11 shaped our world today

Everyone remembers where they were when the Twin Towers fell. Twenty years later, the world is a very different place.

It is not often that it can be reasonably argued a single event changed the course of history.

The fall of Afghanistan is the latest reminder that the events of September 11, 2001, are still being felt today.

In six chapters, through six perspectives, we attempt to tell the story of what happened next after the planes struck and the world changed forever.

Explore how 9/11 shaped our world in this powerful series of articles.

02:17 PM

Have your say: Should Boris Johnson worry about his waning popularity?

With grassroots Tories preparing to make their feelings known to ministers this weekend, and the possibility of further upset at the Party Conference, the health and social care levy rammed through this week appears to be causing some structural damage to the PM’s popularity.

A poll conducted for The Telegraph reveals that Boris Johnson would lose his 80-seat majority if there were a snap election held tomorrow, while a YouGov poll has given Labour the edge over the Tories for the first time since January.

But is it a temporary blip that he can overcome at the next election – or has Mr Johnson got a real problem on his hands? Have your say in the poll below.

02:14 PM

‘My goodness’: Boris Johnson reacts as Chile President reveals plans to jab three-year-olds

Boris Johnson and the President of Chile Sebastian Pinera, - AFP

Boris Johnson and the President of Chile Sebastian Pinera, – AFP

Boris Johnson said “my goodness” when the President of Chile revealed his country will begin vaccinating children as young as three against Covid.

The UK is expected to formally decided whether to go ahead with vaccinations for 12-15 year olds, and who to give booster jabs, next week.

During a photo op around his bilateral with Sebastian Pinera, the Prime Minister congratulated his counterpart and raised the question of when Chile would start vaccinating younger people.

Mr Pinera said the programme was poised to begin jabbing three to 11-year-olds “because we have already vaccinated all the adult people”.

Mr Johnson responded: “My goodness – right.”

02:08 PM

Friday Q&A with Lee Anderson: Crime, immigration and cancel culture are the key issues

The Telegraph’s Politics Live talks to Lee Anderson, Conservative MP for Ashfield.

What are the biggest issues your constituents face? Do you think the Government has a full understanding of the problem and is able to address it?

My constituents want to see us getting tougher on crime, put more police on the streets, lock criminals up for longer, sort out immigration and to stop the cancel culture.

The Government does understand this as I feed back on a regular basis, but good decision-making is based on getting the priorities right for the whole nation, which does not necessarily mean every constituency will agree.

A perfect example is HS2, great for jobs in some areas but means absolutely nothing in other areas.

02:02 PM

The Telegraph weekly news quiz: What colour have Big Ben’s hands been painted?

In the week that we saw the hike in National Insurance contributions and dividend taxes confirmed, The Telegraph’s news quiz is here to find out how closely you have been paying attention to the headlines.

In a “genuine mistake,” gaffe-prone Gavin Williamson confused football Marcus Rashford and which England rugby player?

And a certain animal, reportedly called Daisy, caused disruption on the M25 during rush hour after escaping from a nearby field this week. What animal was it?

If you’ve been reading this week’s Telegraph Front Page newsletters you will have come across all of the answers to the quiz. If you haven’t, sign up here.

01:54 PM

NHS in Wales under huge pressure again, warns First Minister

The NHS in Wales is under huge pressure owing to a rise in coronavirus infections, First Minister Mark Drakeford has warned.

He said the peak of the third wave of the Delta variant would come before the end of September and urged people to get vaccinated as that was the best way to avoid serious illness.

According to Public Health Wales there are now 522 cases for every 100,000 people in Wales – a higher rate than at the start of the year.

“Following the rapid spread of coronavirus in our communities, pandemic pressure on the NHS is increasing once again,” he said.

“The modelling suggests we could be heading to 100 new cases every day of people falling so ill with the virus that a hospital is the only place they can get the care they need.

“These will include many who will need to be in hospital for a long time and many who will need intensive care.”

01:41 PM

Friday Q&A with Lee Anderson: Boris Johnson must reconnect with public to solve biggest challenges

Boris Johnson on the campaign trail earlier this year - Reuters

Boris Johnson on the campaign trail earlier this year – Reuters

The Telegraph’s Politics Live talks to Lee Anderson, Conservative MP for Ashfield.

What do you think are the biggest challenges the Prime Minister faces this autumn? What would you like to see from him?

As we come out of the pandemic, I would like to see the Prime Minister out and about in every constituency doing what he does best and that is connecting with the British people which will help solve his biggest challenge which is ensuring that the country knows we are on track to build back better.

I know he can do this better than anyone else and it would give the whole UK a massive lift.

01:32 PM

Privatising Channel 4 will cut jobs and growth, warns report

The privatisation of Channel 4 could result in around £2 billion being lost in the creative sector, of which half would be from outside London.

The new report, which was created for Channel 4 by accountancy firm EY, said the £2 billion decrease in funding for the cultural sector would represent a 29 per cent reduction in the broadcaster’s contribution to its supply chain.

The number of jobs supported by Channel 4 outside London is estimated to decline by 35 per cent, or 1,250 jobs, for each of the next 10 years.

“Given Channel 4’s current level of spend with external producers outside London, privatising Channel 4 and removing the publisher-broadcaster model could have a disproportionate impact on the wider creative economy in the nations and regions,” the report said.

A spokesman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport said the report’s findings are “welcome”.

“However it makes a number of unevidenced assumptions about the choices a potential buyer might make,” he added.

01:17 PM

Exclusive: Boris Johnson would lose majority in snap election, poll reveals

Boris Johnson would lose his 80-seat majority from 2019 and endure a hung parliament if the country went to the ballot box tomorrow, exclusive polling for the Telegraph has revealed.

A series of surveys carried out this week by Electoral Calculus and FindOutNow, sampling 10,000 people, found Conservative support had slumped eight per cent in less than two years. On that basis, the Tories would win just 311 seats – below the 326 required for a Commons majority.

For more on this story, sign up for Chopper’s Politics newsletter.

01:04 PM

Sadiq Khan backs ‘experienced and strong’ Cressida Dick

Sadiq Khan and Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, haven't always seen eye-to-eye - Rex

Sadiq Khan and Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, haven’t always seen eye-to-eye – Rex

Dame Cressida Dick will provide “experienced and strong leadership” as London emerges from the pandemic, the Mayor of London has said.

Sadiq Khan, who has been criticial of some of the policing of the pandemic in recent months, backed the Met Police chief’s reappointment, which will see her stay in the role until April 2024.

He added: “The Met Commissioner has the most difficult policing job in the country, overseeing the safety of more than 10 million people living, working and visiting our global city.

“The last four-and-a-half years have also presented significant additional challenges for the Met, including terror attacks, the tragedy of Grenfell Tower, rising public order incidents and policing challenging Covid-19 restrictions.”

Mr Khan pledged to “hold her to account” as the two look to reduce serious violence and “increase trust and confidence in our police force among London’s diverse communities”.

12:48 PM

Social care levy will see Government ‘rewarded’, insists minister

A Cabinet minister has sought to play down growing unhappiness over the Government’s health and social care levy, insisting voters will “reward” them at the ballot box.

Labour has taken the lead in opinion polls for the first time since January, as Boris Johnson’s Tories slid five percentage points in the wake of the tax rise, according to a YouGov survey for The Times. Some 49 per cent of respondents said it was unacceptable for the Government to break its manifesto pledge – a view held by 41 per cent of Conservative voters.

It comes as Tory associations unhappy about the levy prepare to give ministers a piece of their mind.

But Oliver Dowden played the findings down, saying “opinion polls come and go” and that “in the end, the electorate will reward governments who take difficult decisions”.

The Culture Secretary told Sky News: “The Government is taking the long term decisions in the national interest. At the next election, which is some time away, people will weigh that up.”

He added: “We take decisions in the national interest. I hate putting up taxes, any Conservative hates putting up taxes, but the alternative would have been to mislead the public… People will ultimately recognise that.”

He said told Times Radio: “The real test is general elections and in my experience, the electorate rewards… governments for taking difficult decisions.”

12:43 PM

Priti Patel extends Dame Cressida Dick’s contract until 2024

Priti Patel has extended Dame Cressida Dick’s tenure as head of the Metropolitan Police Service until April 2024 – despite critics urging the Government not to do so.

The two-year extension to Dame Cressida’s current fixed-term appointment – which was due to end in April 2022 – was granted by Her Majesty the Queen after the Home Secretary’s recommendation.

Ms Patel said: “I am pleased to announce that Dame Cressida will continue to lead the Metropolitan Police until April 2024 and wish to thank her for her service to date.

“Her extension will provide continuity and stability as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and recruit 20,000 additional police officers.

“Londoners know there is more to do to keep our capital safe, including by driving down violent crime, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Commissioner and Mayor of London to protect the public.”

12:27 PM

Lobby latest: No 10 gives lukewarm reassurances on Christmas supplies

No 10 has given a lukewarm reassurance that supermarket shelves will return to normal by Christmas amid a shortage of lorry drivers.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister, asked whether Boris Johnson agreed with the Food and Drink Federation’s assessment that the current supply chain issues being experienced could become permanent, said: “We don’t recognise those claims.

“We have got highly resilient food supply chains which have coped extremely well in the face of challenges and we believe that will remain the case.”

The Downing Street official said the Government knew “there are some issues” in the haulage sector to do with driver shortages but that it was working to “get more into the industry”.

Pressed on whether people will have a “normal Christmas”, Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “I believe so, yes.”

12:25 PM

Reshuffle klaxon (of sorts)

The long-awaited reshuffle might not have materialised this week but Boris Johnson has just confirmed the reappointment of Suella Braverman as attorney general, following her maternity leave.

Ms Braverman, who attended Cabinet this week, had been covered by Michael Ellis, who now returns to his previous role of solicitor general.

Lucy Frazer, who had covered for Mr Ellis, returns to her role as prisons minister.

Simon Hart can come out of hiding now…

12:10 PM

Make careers advice compulsory if serious about levelling up, Tory MP tells ministers

Careers advice should be made compulsory for all children throughout secondary education is needed if the Government is “serious about levelling up”, a Conservative MP has said.

Mark Jenkinson, the member for Workington, introduced a private member’s bill calling for all secondary schools to have to provide careers guidance to pupils throughout their education, something academies are not currently required to do under the law.

He told the Commons: “If we are serious about levelling up, giving all children access to careers advice is one of the most important weapons in our arsenal. Young people need support to understand their options and to act on them.”

Education minister Gillian Keegan praised Mark Jenkinson’s “successful” Bill, as she offered her full support.

12:02 PM

Lobby latest: UK vaccinating at home and abroad, No 10 insists

Downing Street said it agreed that the UK needed to provide protection from coronavirus both at home and abroad, after the woman behind the Oxford vaccine suggested the booster programme be held off to allow those in other countries to get their first jabs.

Asked about the comments made by Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert during an interview with The Telegraph, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said it was for the JCVI to decide, noting the committee’s previous advice recommending boosters for those who are immuno-compromised.

The spokesman added: “I agree with the principle we should provide protection both here in the UK and also to those overseas… the Prime Minister committed us to providing 100 million in total, 30 million of those will be before the end of year.

“I would say we are doing both – we have demonstrated our commitment to providing protection to those overseas and we’ll continue to provide protection to the British public as well.”

11:50 AM

Lobby latest: Boris Johnson to mark 20th anniversary of 9/11 ‘at home’

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the attacks that shook the world - AP

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the attacks that shook the world – AP

Boris Johnson will mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York from his official country residence, Downing Street has said.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said Mr Johnson would not be attending the memorial in New York in person on Saturday, but would “mark the anniversary at home” as he works from Chequers this weekend.

Asked whether Mr Johnson was invited to visit New York – the city of his birth – as part of commemorations, the spokesman said: “I believe our ambassador in Washington will attend the memorial event in New York and lay a wreath.”

11:42 AM

Regional disparities in Covid cases return

The percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 is estimated to have increased in north-east England, remained level in London and south-east England but decreased in north-west England, the ONS said.

The trend for all other regions is uncertain.

North-east England had the highest proportion of people of any region likely to test positive for coronavirus in the week to September 3: around one in 45.

Eastern England had the lowest estimate: around one in 90.

11:41 AM

Have your say: Should Boris Johnson worry about his waning popularity?

One swallow doesn’t make a summer, just as one bad poll doesn’t mean the end of a Government. But the problem facing Boris Johnson is arguably bigger than just one poll.

With grassroots Tories preparing to make their feelings known to ministers this weekend, and the possibility of further upset at the Party Conference, the health and social care levy rammed through this week appears to be causing some structural damage to the PM’s popularity.

It’s not just the tax rise: the erosion of civil liberties, high spending and some of the culture wars that have been waged from Downing Street appear to be upsetting voters. The breadth of the problem can be seen by the range of parties people are flocking to as alternatives.

But is it a temporary blip that he can overcome at the next election – or has Mr Johnson got a real problem on his hands? Have your say in the poll below.

11:32 AM

Friday Q&A: Covid recovery and migrant crossings are our biggest challenge, says MP

The Telegraph’s Politics Live talks to Lee Anderson, Conservative MP for Ashfield.

What do you think are the biggest challenges the party faces going into the conference?

The biggest challenge is getting to country back to a pre-Covid setting where we were all excited about the levelling up agenda, especially in the Red Wall seats, to give our new voters the confidence that we are delivering.

The next challenge and probably the one that the UK public are most vocal about is the illegal migrant crossings in the Channel. We need to get a grip on this right now.

11:23 AM

How much NHS resource is eaten up by bosses’ pay, asks Tory MP

A Conservative MP has questioned why it is that some NHS bureaucrats will be earning twice the salary of the Prime Minister, amid concerns that soaring salaries will be paid using the levy signed off this week.

Just as MPs voted to back the health and social care levy it emerged that a string of executives were being hired with incomes of up to £270,000. Boris Johnson earned just over £157,000 last year through his MP and PM salaries.

Joy Morrissey, MP for Beaconsfield, said: “How can salaries of some public sector bureaucrats be justified? If they are ‘starved of resources’, what amount of those resources are eaten up by their pay packets?

“If the ‘buck stops’ with the government how can it be routine for them to earn twice the salary of the PM?”

11:15 AM

Will Cop26 conference require vaccine passport, Scottish Labour asks

Scottish Labour has questioned whether Cop26 attendees and anyone taking part in climate protests will need a Covid vaccine passport.

The Cop26 summit opens on October 31 and Glasgow will welcome world leaders, scientists and environmental activists to agree action to tackle the climate emergency. But from the start of October, new Scottish Government rules will require people attending large events to prove they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Scottish Labour’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport spokeswoman, Monica Lennon, has tabled a written question asking whether all delegates and protesters will need to have been vaccinated.

“Under the Scottish Government’s proposals, it’s unclear whether those attending official Cop26 events in Glasgow or protesting nearby will be expected to prove their vaccination status,” she wrote. “SNP and Green ministers must urgently clarify what their vaccine passport rules will mean for participation in Cop26.”

Details of the plan are due to be revealed next week.

11:06 AM

In pictures: Boris Johnson welcomes Chile’s president to Downing Street

Boris Johnson waits to welcome the President of Chile - AP

Boris Johnson waits to welcome the President of Chile – AP

Boris Johnson has welcomed Chile’s president to Downing Street today.

Sebastian Pinera joined the Prime Minister for a bilateral meeting this morning.

Sebastian Pinera (R) poses with Boris Johnson outside Downing Street - AFP

Sebastian Pinera (R) poses with Boris Johnson outside Downing Street – AFP

Sebastian Pinera, Chile's president, arrives for his bilateral meeting with Boris Johnson -  Bloomberg

Sebastian Pinera, Chile’s president, arrives for his bilateral meeting with Boris Johnson – Bloomberg

10:48 AM

Fraser Nelson: A new Tory awkward squad is forming. Can it save Conservatism?

For years, Boris Johnson will have dreamed of wielding the kind of power he holds today, writes Fraser Nelson.

This makes it all the more baffling to see him re-enacting the Blairite agenda he was lambasting 20 years ago.

Tory MPs have been stunned by the recent events. As befits the regal nature of Johnson’s No10, even his Cabinet were not given advance warning of his plan – yet all MPs were asked to vote on it the day after the announcement.

They weren’t going to vote against. There was no time to organise (No10 had seen to that) nor was it clear what they’d be rebelling against given how vague the Government’s plans were. They knew the politics: blame the pandemic and talk about the NHS backlog, even though the real aim of the tax rise was to further nationalise social care.

They also knew the internal politics: Conservative whipping has improved and those who defy the government can expect an indelible black mark against their name.

But it was interesting to see who abstained. Read more from Fraser here.

10:39 AM

Today’s cartoon from Bob: Con Men

Bob 10 Sept

Bob 10 Sept

10:32 AM

Friday Q&A with Lee Anderson: Vaccine passports aren’t such a big deal

"No to vaccine passports" protest in London - Anadolu Agency

“No to vaccine passports” protest in London – Anadolu Agency

The Telegraph’s Politics Live talks to Lee Anderson, Conservative MP for Ashfield

Some of your colleagues have threatened to boycott the conference if Covid vaccine passports are required. Will you be joining them? What about the wider question this has posed on civil liberties?

I am not a supporter of mandatory Covid vaccine passports, but I do not always buy the civil liberties argument.

Daily we are asked to show ID, we are all logged on to social media accounts oblivious to the fact that we are blindly sharing more information than a Covid passport would.

Is it such a big deal showing someone that you have been jabbed or are Covid free? I don’t think so and would gladly show a passport.

That said I would not support mandatory passports.

10:28 AM

Friday Q&A with Lee Anderson: Conference will be time to get members’ views on our work

The Telegraph’s Politics Live talks to Lee Anderson, Conservative MP for Ashfield

We are now gearing up for what will be your first in-person party conference since becoming an MP – what are you expecting?

I am looking forward to getting away from the Westminster Bubble and meeting some grassroot Conservative Party members from all over the UK to get their views on the job we are doing.

I will be speaking at a few fringe events on subjects that are close to my heart so that will give me a chance to see if I am saying the right things and in touch with party members.

10:20 AM

Ryan Bourne: Libertarian Tories will rue waving through social care tax trick

We already have income tax, employees’ national insurance contributions and employers’ national insurance contributions, writes Ryan Bourne. And now, as part of the Government’s health and social care plan, we have yet another tax on earnings: the “health and social care levy”.

The Government says the £12bn initial annual revenues from its new levy will be “ring-fenced and sent directly to” the NHS and social care system – but this is a meaningless promise. As the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ Helen Miller explains, tax hypothecation is “an illusion”, as money is fungible. Health and social care budgets were already 11.5 times the revenue this levy will raise and nobody believes that the promised expenditure from it will fluctuate if the tax take proves volatile.

As with national insurance, this new tax is therefore ultimately just another source of general revenue.

Read more from Ryan here.

10:12 AM

Friday Q&A with Lee Anderson: Triple lock pledge should remain in place

The Telegraph’s Politics Live talks to Lee Anderson, Conservative MP for Ashfield

The pandemic has clearly rendered some of the manifesto commitments – foreign aid, the triple lock, tax rises – harder to deliver. Do you feel promises can be restored before the next election?

We should do our very best to stick to our manifesto pledges as that was a promise we made to the British public.

That said the public are fully aware of the massive amount of money that has been thrown into the economy to safeguard jobs, businesses and whole communities and realise that some parts of the manifesto may now be much harder to deliver.

For example, the reduction in foreign aid was broadly welcomed across the UK but tinkering with the triple lock [will] not be welcome. We should make sure this remains in place.

10:02 AM

Friday Q&A with Lee Anderson: It’s been a whirlwind since becoming MP

Boris Johnson and Lee Anderson last autumn - just before the MP for Ashfield tested positive for Covid - Twitter

Boris Johnson and Lee Anderson last autumn – just before the MP for Ashfield tested positive for Covid – Twitter

The Telegraph’s Politics Live talks to Lee Anderson, Conservative MP for Ashfield

You became MP at what has turned out to be the most turbulent time in living memory. How difficult has it been to navigate?

As I have never been an MP or been to Parliament before then I have sort accepted the current situation and all the challenges it has presented as being our ‘normal’.

I guess what I mean is that we have not known any different, so we have just got on with the job. It has been a whirlwind of a time, but we have had to learn quickly and been part of making some very difficult decisions through a very difficult time.

It’s not been too difficult to navigate but it has been frustrating not being able to spend as much time in Parliament debating important issues and asking difficult questions in the Chamber.

09:56 AM

Metropolitan Police Federation ‘fully supports’ Dame Cressida Dick

Dame Cressida Dick is 'ethical, courageous and highly competent' the federation said - PA

Dame Cressida Dick is ‘ethical, courageous and highly competent’ the federation said – PA

The Metropolitan Police Federation has backed Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick following calls from critics for her to be replaced.

A number of high-profile figures signed an open letter to the Prime Minister accusing Dame Cressida of “presiding over a culture of incompetence and cover-up” after reports she had been offered a two-year extension to her contract.

In a statement, the federation said it “fully supports” the contract extension, adding: “It is easy to comment and criticise from the sidelines.”

The statement said: “Whilst the federation does not always agree with the commissioner – the same goes for anyone who holds that post – we think she is doing a good job in difficult circumstances… We have worked with this commissioner for a number of years now and believe she is still the best candidate for the role.

“We know her to be an ethical, courageous and highly competent police leader who genuinely cares about London, its citizens and her officers.”

09:45 AM

Renegotiating protocol would cause ‘instability, uncertainty and unpredictability’

Renegotiating the Northern Ireland protocol would cause “instability, uncertainty and unpredictability”, Maros Sefcovic has said.

The European Commission vice-president told an audience in Belfast that the EU had been “engaging constructively” with the UK Government to limit the impact of the protocol on everyday life in Northern Ireland.

He added: “The UK government negotiated, agreed and signed the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland. Its Parliament ratified it. The exercise of sovereign right to enter into international agreements goes hand in hand with the responsibility to respect them once they are concluded.”

The focus of talks now should be “on those issues that matter the most to the people of Northern Ireland, and not on requests, such as removing the role of the European Court of Justice”, he added.

“Instead, let’s see what can be done to further ease the supply of goods, and let’s see how to involve the people of Northern Ireland in our discussions on the implementation of the protocol.

“A renegotiation of the protocol – as the UK Government is suggesting – would mean instability, uncertainty and unpredictability in Northern Ireland.”

09:38 AM

Protocol must be ‘properly implemented’ to realise post-Brexit benefits, Maros Sefcovic says

The Northern Ireland Protocol must be “properly implemented” to ensure Northern Ireland benefits from its special post-Brexit status, European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic has said.

As part of the Withdrawal Agreement, Northern Ireland has effectively remained in the EU’s Single Market, as well as the UK – although the crux the problem with the protocol is that goods are checked as they arrive from Britain.

Delivering a keynote speech at Queen’s University in Belfast, Mr Sefcovic attempted to paint a positive picture, saying: “The implementation of this agreement will continue to require compromise from both sides. While the negotiations were difficult, their outcome now presents a real opportunity for Northern Ireland.

“Enormous benefit can be extracted from its unparalleled access to two of the world’s largest markets with more than 500 million consumers – a powerful magnet for foreign investment, translated into jobs and growth.”

He added: “But if we are to turn this opportunity into reality, the protocol must be properly implemented.”

09:29 AM

Ditching Northern Ireland protocol will not make ‘problems disappear’, says Maros Sefcovic

Removing the Northern Ireland protocol “would not make problems disappear”, European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic has said.

During a speech at Queen’s University in Belfast, he stuck firm to the Brussels line, saying the protocol was “not the problem. On the contrary, it is the only solution we have”.

He added: “I am, of course, acutely aware of how some in Northern Ireland feel about the protocol, in particular in the unionist community. That is why my team and I have been actively engaging with political representatives, stakeholders, civil society and people in Northern Ireland from all communities since the beginning.”

Mr Sefcovic, who is on his second day in the region, stressed the EU was “seeking solutions that work for all, including those opposed to the protocol” that would work “for the long run”.

He added: “I know it is possible for us to work together, if rhetoric on both sides is dialled down.”

09:18 AM

Have your say: Should Boris Johnson worry about his waning popularity?

One swallow doesn’t make a summer, just as one bad poll doesn’t mean the end of a Government. But the problem facing Boris Johnson is arguably bigger than just one poll.

With grassroots Tories preparing to make their feelings known to ministers this weekend, and the possibility of further upset at the Party Conference, the health and social care levy rammed through this week appears to be causing some structural damage to the PM’s popularity.

It’s not just the tax rise: the erosion of civil liberties, high spending and some of the culture wars that have been waged from Downing Street appear to be upsetting voters. The breadth of the problem can be seen by the range of parties people are flocking to as alternatives.

But is it a temporary blip that he can overcome at the next election – or has Mr Johnson got a real problem on his hands? Have your say in the poll below.

09:02 AM

DUP threatened to pull out of Stormont to prevent talks lasting ‘months if not years’

The DUP leader threatened to pull his ministers out of the Stormont executive because he feared that negotiations between the EU and UK Government over the Northern Ireland Protocol would be “dragged out” for years.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson told the BBC’s Nolan Show that he had been working on the strategy for months.

He said: “I have been reasonable, I have given people time to take the action that I feel is necessary to remove this Irish Sea border. I have worked with the Government, I have engaged with the EU, I have put forward proposals and suggestions in terms of how we can address these issues.

“There reaches a point where, with the decision taken to extend the grace periods indefinitely, that it appears to me that this will be dragged out for months, if not years, and we simply can’t afford that.

“The harm that is being done to our economy every day is not sustainable.”

08:52 AM

Chopper’s Politics: Special relationship has had ‘wobble in confidence’, says defence minister

The special relationship between the UK and the United States has experienced a “wobble in confidence”, a senior Government minister has said in the wake of the hurried withdrawal from Afghanistan.

James Heappey, a defence minister, told Chopper’s Politics podcast, that the criticism of the US swift pull-out had meant that Washington was nervous about how to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Saturday.

The US was now having “a real crisis in confidence about its role in the world”.

He added: “There’s a wobble. But it’s not an institutional wobble. It’s a wobble in confidence. It’s a wobble in ‘mojo’. And I’m really worried about that.”

Listen to the interview in full above.

08:45 AM

Protocol solution expected ‘within weeks’, says DUP leader

The DUP leader has said he hopes the Northern Ireland protocol will be replaced “within weeks” after he yesterday threatened to collapse the Stormont Executive over the deadlock.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson told the BBC he was seeking a quick solution to the problem that was costing “somewhere in the region of £850 million a year” as well as the constitutional issues.

“I am hoping that within weeks we will get solutions that will help us to remove the Irish Sea border and restore our place within the UK internal market,” he added.

“I was encouraged by the two meetings I’ve had this week with Lord Frost in London and with Maros Sefcovic in Belfast yesterday. I think there is now a realisation that we can’t go on dragging this out interminably. There does need to be action and I’ve heard that clear language.

“We want to see what that means in practice from people.”

08:39 AM

Health and social care levy ‘absolute mess of a policy’, says Tory MP

It’s not just voters who are showing their displeasure over Boris Johnson’s health and social care levy.

Marcus Fysh, one of the Conservative MPs who abstained on this week’s vote, says it is “an absolute mess of a policy that hasn’t been properly thought through”.

The Yeovil MP told Spectator TV the National Insurance increase was a “a bit of a wheeze that someone has thought up” to make the most of the “goodwill” towards the NHS “to force through a tax rise but call it something else”.

Mr Fysh recently wrote a column for The Telegraph outlining his argument: Our PM is losing sight of what it means to be Conservative

08:33 AM

Social care reforms will ‘disproportionately’ benefit wealthy southerners

Sources say people in the South East will on average be just under £400 better off than those living in the North East - PA

Sources say people in the South East will on average be just under £400 better off than those living in the North East – PA

Boris Johnson’s social care reforms will “disproportionately” benefit the wealthy and people living in the South, the Government’s own analysis shows.

The Government is yet to publish an impact assessment showing how different groups and parts of the country will benefit from the plan, amid claims that the £86,000 cap on lifetime care costs will skew state support towards wealthier pensioners.

However, The Telegraph understands that modelling conducted by the Department for Health last year suggested people living in the South East stand to be on average hundreds of pounds better off than those in the North East.

Read more on that story here.

08:21 AM

MI5 boss: Allied withdrawal has emboldened extremists

There is “no doubt” that the allied withdrawal from Afghanistan will have “emboldened” extremists, the head of MI5 has said.

Ken McCallum said it was “difficult to give a simplistic answer” to whether the UK was safer, or less safe now from the threat of terrorism since 2001, because while reducing large-scale terror events there had been a growth of inspired terrorism”.

Isis had “managed to do something that al-Qaeda did not” by inspiring more smaller-scale plots, he told Radio 4’s Today programme, and these inspired” terrorist acts were “by volume” the biggest threat posed to the West.

“There is no doubt that events in Afghanistan will have heartened and emboldened some of those extremists and so being vigilant to precisely those kinds of risks that my organisation is focused on along with a range of other threats,” he said.

He said that although the Government had pledged to judge the Taliban by their actions, the UK security service and its partners would plan for the chance that “more risk, progressively may flow our way”.

08:05 AM

MI5 boss: We prevented six ‘late-stage’ terror attacks during pandemic

The threat of terrorism in the UK is “real and enduring,” MI5 director general Ken McCallum has said as he reveals that authorities have prevented six “late-stage” attack plots during the pandemic.

“We do face a consistent global struggle to defeat extremism and to guard against terrorism – this is a real problem,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.

“In the last four years, working with the police, my organisation has disrupted 31 late-stage attack plots in Great Britain. That number includes mainly Islamist attack plots but also a growing number of attack plots from right wing terrorists.”

And even during the pandemic “we have had to disrupt six late-stage attack plots,” he said. “So, the terrorist threat to the UK, I am sorry to say is a real and enduring thing.”

07:59 AM

How that YouGov polling looks…

Oliver Dowden is right, of course, that polls will rise and fall many times before the next election.

However, after 149 consecutive leads, the Conservatives are now trailing Labour for the first time since January.

And looking at the movement – with Labour up just one percentage point while the Tories have fallen five points – it seems reasonable to conclude that it is less a win for Sir Keir Starmer and more a loss for Boris Johnson.

Here’s how it looks:

07:53 AM

World is ‘closer to another 9/11’ after Afghan withdrawal, says former chief of defence staff

The former chief of the UK defence staff has said we are closer to “another 9/11” in the wake of the US and UK’s withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the resurgence of the Taliban.

Speaking ahead of the 20th anniversary of the attacks, General Lord Richards told LBC: “I fear the Taliban and some extremist jihadist groups are, whatever they like to say, in each other’s pockets, scores will be settled, debts will have to be repaid and there will be ungoverned space opened up in Afghanistan which those groups will exploit and the ability of the Taliban to actually manage them will be minimal.

“I think we are [closer to another 9/11]. We’ve now been pitched back into a dark period which we somehow have to manage.”

07:51 AM

Politicians should ignore polls on long-term policy decisions, says Tony Blair

Politicians must not pay attention to polls going “five points up here or five points down there” when making difficult policy decisions, Tony Blair has said.

The former prime minister was speaking the prospect of needing “boots on the ground” in Afghanistan – but given today’s polling on the social care levy, his comments have a wider significance.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “You can’t make policy through an opinion poll, where when you delve deep into people’s opinions about issues like this it’s much more complicated. It’s the job of politicians not to think whether it’s five points up here or five points down there but if we are trying to protect people long term, and protect our allies, what is the right way of doing it.”

Mr Blair said he was “totally sympathetic to people in Government today” but did not say whether he thought they were “up to it”, adding: “Part of the problem you have with today’s politics is there is so much small politics in big political parties, that for people to concentrate on long term strategic problems is hard, it’s tough.”

07:42 AM

Government will not ‘endanger lives’ through pushback plans, minister insists

This week saw another daily record of migrants attempting the crossing - Getty

This week saw another daily record of migrants attempting the crossing – Getty

The Government will not “endanger lives” if it presses ahead with controversial “pushback” tactics to prevent migrants crossing the Channel, a minister has said.

Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, stressed those making the perilous journey were “coming from a safe country” in which they could remain, and that it was a “persistent problem”.

He added: “The Home Secretary is rightly exploring every possible avenue to stop that. We have said that that will include looking at turning migrants back, but that will only be done in accordance with international law and clearly the safety of migrants is absolutely paramount.”

“We would not do anything to endanger lives, clearly, but I think the public at large would expect us to be taking measures to prevent people from travelling from the safe country of France to England, and I think it is right to consider all measures.”

07:37 AM

Chancellor shrugs off lower-than-expected growth figures

The UK’s economy slowed its expansion rate in July, but continued a six-month growth streak, the Office for National Statistics has said.

The ONS revealed that gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.1 per cent in July, a slowdown from the one per cent growth in June. An average of economist predictions, compiled by Pantheon Macroeconomics, had forecast a 0.5 per cent rise to GDP.

Rishi Sunak put a positive spin on the figures, saying: “Our recovery is well underway thanks to the success of the vaccination rollout and the roadmap, with more employees on payrolls that at any point since last March.

“I am confident that – supported by our plan for jobs – we’ll continue to recover from the pandemic, we’ll see more new jobs, and we will build back better.”

07:30 AM

UK has ‘moral’ obligation to help vaccinate world, says Oxford Group boss

The UK has a “moral” obligation to help vaccinate other countries around the world, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group has said.

“We’re not seeing the rapid evolution of new variants that are threatening the world today but that may well happen in the future and it’s as likely to emerge in vaccinated populations as unvaccinated populations,” Professor Sir Andrew Pollard told the BBC’s Today programme.

“They key thing for vaccinating people in other countries is because they need to be protected.

“There is such a big risk, morally from our perspective, there’s a risk to trade, there’s a risk to economies, but also these are our friends and colleagues who need to be protected and we are losing them every day that goes by.”

07:23 AM

Minister: No ‘current’ plans to make vaccines compulsory outside health workers

There are “currently” no plans to extend mandatory vaccinations to roles where there is not a “clinical need”, a Cabinet minister has said.

Joe Biden, the US President, has warned all employers with more than 100 workers that their staff will be required to be vaccinated or face weekly testing for the virus, affecting about 80 million Americans.

But Oliver Dowden told Sky News there was no similar plan for England

“In care homes we are already mandating it; we just announced yesterday a consultation for wider NHS workers – that is because they are in contact with very vulnerable people,” he said. “At the moment, we have no plans to extend it to wider government.

“All I would say is that during this Covid crisis, you never know what is going to happen, but currently at the moment we have no plans to do that.”

07:19 AM

UK ‘not an outlier’ on booster programmes, insists minister

A Cabinet minister has insisted the UK is “not an outlier” in pressing ahead with a booster programme this autumn, after the woman behind the Oxford vaccine told The Telegraph it was less of a priority than vaccinating those in the developing world.

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert said immunity is “lasting well” and boosters would not needed for everyone, and the doses would be better spent preventing outbreaks elsewhere.

But Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, told Sky News there was “a range of opinion among scientists” about the booster programme, adding: “We are committed to 100 million jabs going by 2022, we have already delivered nine million, so it is not an either/or – we are doing both of those things.”

Guidance from the JCVI is expected “very shortly”, Mr Dowden said.

He added: “Pretty much all nations are looking at doing a booster programme – Israel are already doing it – so we are not an outlier in doing this.”

07:11 AM

Vaccine passports could be required in more venues, minister admits

A minister has hinted that vaccine passports could be required in more venues than currently expected.

Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, said the Government still planned to impose certification for nightclubs and large events in just a few weeks.

“We will be looking at bringing in certification for nightclubs at end of the month,” he told Sky News.

“If there is a need to further extend that certification according to the public health need, we will look at doing so but we’re always reluctant to impose more restrictions on businesses unless we really need to.”

06:54 AM

Seize the moment, Burnham tells Starmer

Andy Burnham: Is the King of the North making a move on Westminster? - AFP

Andy Burnham: Is the King of the North making a move on Westminster? – AFP

Andy Burnham has told Sir Keir Starmer he must set out an alternative to the Government’s social care plans, as he warned Labour could miss the “biggest opportunity for some time” to take on Boris Johnson.

Mr Burnham, the Manchester mayor who is widely tipped to be the next Labour leader, said Sir Keir should “not leave it too long” before setting out his stall on social care and should “catch the wave” of anger directed at Boris Johnson’s National Insurance rise.

His comments come as Sir Keir prepares to address the Labour conference in Brighton, while Tories and hard-Left backbenchers accuse him of failing to take a stance on the most pressing political issues.

On Thursday night, the Labour leader came the closest yet to endorsing a new tax on wealth, dividends and landlords to pay for an alternative social care plan, but stopped short of giving any details.

06:52 AM

Good Morning

The Government is in bunker mode as ministers dig down and try to ride out the fall-out from the social care levy.

But this is not the only challenge facing Number 10 as we head into the weekend, with the Prime Minister coming under pressure to set out his plan for the coming months if Covid cases begin to get out of control (again).

Here is today’s front page.

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