- NewsThe Telegraph
Nicola Sturgeon is under pressure to top up a £500 "thank you" bonus for NHS and social care workers after her challenge to Boris Johnson not to tax the money backfired spectacularly. One of Scotland's most eminent economic think tanks said the best way for workers to receive the entire sum would be for the Scottish Government to pay a higher "gross" amount, which would reduce to £500 on payment of income tax. The Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI), based at Strathclyde University, said there would be no additional cost to the Scottish Government as it controls income tax on earnings north of the Border, so the additional money would be paid back to them. In her SNP conference speech on Monday, Ms Sturgeon challenged Mr Johnson to create a special tax exemption for the payment, saying the Covid "heroes" deserve to pocket "every penny". After the Treasury pointed out SNP ministers had the power to "gross up the payment", Ian Blackford, the SNP's Westminster leader, accused the Prime Minister of trying to "punish" NHS and care workers. But the FAI said the SNP's exemption demand "opens the possibility of endless future lobbying for tax-exempt bonuses" and "would gift higher rate taxpayers a significantly larger tax break than basic rate taxpayers." In a damning intervention, they said there was a "healthy dose of politics" in Ms Sturgeon's challenge to the Prime Minister and what the Scottish Government "really wanted" was an example of the devolved tax powers "apparently not working."
- PoliticsThe Independent
Outgoing president will not even invite successor to White House
- BusinessThe Telegraph
Sir Philip Green is under mounting pressure to lay out his financial exposure from the collapse of Arcadia as demands grow for the tycoon to plug a black hole in its pension scheme. Accounting experts and MPs called for Sir Philip to set out details of any loans he may be due to recover from the failed retailer as it goes through administration - and to use his personal wealth to help staff who face a major blow to their retirement income. Topshop owner Arcadia's pension fund has an estimated shortfall of £350m, meaning that now the company has collapsed its members are likely to be placed into the Pension Protection Fund lifeboat. As a result, as many as 10,000 savers will lose up to 20pc of their expected retirement income. Labour MP Lucy Powell, shadow minister for business and consumers, said: "He has a significant personal wealth of his own and he should step in and do the right thing.” Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “Having extracted so much wealth from Arcadia, “[Sir] Philip and [Lady] Tina Green owe a moral debt to its workers, and should have to meet the cost of the pension shortfall”. Arcadia failed earlier this week, putting 13,000 jobs at risk. Deloitte has been appointed administrator and will keep stores open while it seeks a buyer.
- HealthThe Independent
I developed chills and a mild fever, and I was elated. This was it! But then reports about the data led me on an emotional rollercoaster. As I prepare to get my second dose, I’m reflecting on how far we’ve come
Health Secretary Matt Hancock fought back tears as he revealed his step-grandfather caught Covid-19 in Liverpool and died on November 18. The Health Secretary told MPs of the death within his family as he concluded the six-hour debate on the new tier restrictions to be implemented in England from Wednesday to replace the national lockdown. He told the Commons: "In my family, as in so many others, we've lost a loving husband, a father, a grandfather to this awful disease". The Health Secretary added "from the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you to everyone in Liverpool for getting this awful virus under control". "It's down by four-fifths in Liverpool", he continued, "that's what we can do if we work together in a spirit of common humanity. We've got to beat this, we've got to beat it together." .
- NewsYahoo News UK
Council with one of lowest COVID infection rates legally challenges government over ‘irrational’ Tier 3 lockdown
Stratford-on-Avon District Council has urged the government to place it in Tier 1 or 2.
- NewsThe Independent
Detention comes amid crackdown on online self-expression