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PM vows to ‘end era of retreat’ with biggest military investment since Cold War
Boris Johnson will “end the era of retreat” when he unveils what is being billed as the biggest programme of investment in Britain’s armed forces since the end of the Cold War. The Prime Minister is set to lay out a four-year financial deal for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to “transform” the military, developing cutting-edge capabilities in the future battlefields of cyber and space.

It will include the creation of an agency dedicated to artificial intelligence, and a “space command” capable of launching the UK’s first rocket by 2022.

The plan – to be announced in the Commons on Thursday – will see the MoD get an additional £16.5 billion over and above the Government’s manifesto commitment to a 0.5% real terms increase for each year of the Parliament.

It comes as the Conservative Party leader refused to rule out slashing the foreign aid budget by more than £4 billion as the Treasury looks to raise money to pay for the Government’s borrowing during the coronavirus response.

Mr Johnson, challenged at Prime Minister’s Questions over reports that plans are being drawn up to pare back the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on overseas aid to 0.5% in next week’s Spending Review, said only that the UK would “continue” to tackle global poverty.

The Prime Minister’s defence announcement will come as a relief for military chiefs, who have been pressing for a multi-year settlement to enable them to plan effectively for the future.

It is thought their demands were being resisted by the Treasury, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak holding out for a one-year deal – along with the rest of Whitehall – in next week’s spending review.

“I have taken this decision in the teeth of the pandemic because the defence of the realm must come first,” the Prime Minister said.

“The international situation is more perilous and more intensely competitive than at any time since the Cold War and Britain must be true to our history and stand alongside our allies. To achieve this we need to upgrade our capabilities across the board.

“This is our chance to end the era of retreat, transform our armed forces, bolster our global influence, unite and level up our country, pioneer new technology and defend our people and way of life.”

The spending commitments are set to be made despite reports that the Spending Review will reveal that the UK’s economy will contract by almost 11% in 2020, the worst annual performance for more than three centuries.

The Financial Times said, based on previous Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) and Bank of England statements, the Chancellor was likely to publish forecasts showing the country’s economy would still be reeling from the impact of Covid-19 by the time of the next general election in 2024.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson’s armed forces announcement marks the first phase of the Government’s Integrated Review of the UK’s foreign, defence, development and security policy, with the final conclusions due to be unveiled next year.

Officials said it would cement the UK’s position as the largest defence spender in Europe and the second largest in Nato.

As well as promising a new space command, the Prime Minister will also set out plans for a national cyber force to protect the country from attack.

Washington’s acting secretary of defence, Christopher C Miller, said in a statement the US “applauds the announcement”, which he added would ensure “the UK military continues to be one of the finest fighting forces in the world”.

“Their commitment to increased defence funding should be a message to all free nations that the most capable among us can – and must – do more to counter emerging threats to our shared freedoms and security,” Mr Miller said.

The move will be underpinned by an additional £1.5 billion investment in military research and development with a commitment to invest further in the Future Combat Air System to develop the next generation of fighters for the RAF.

Downing Street said that together, the various projects were expected to create up to 10,000 thousand jobs a year across the UK.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “This is excellent news for defence, and provides us with the financial certainty we need to modernise, plan for the future and adapt to the threats we face.”

Labour’s shadow defence secretary John Healey said: “This signals a welcome and long overdue upgrade to Britain’s defences after a decade of decline.

“Since 2010 the size of the armed forces has been cut by a quarter, defence spending was cut by over £8 billion and the defence budget has a £13 billion black hole.”

Published: 19/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

No deal in EU-UK trade talks would make country ‘less safe’, says terror chief
The UK’s top counter-terrorism police chief has warned a no-deal outcome in the trade talks with the European Union would make the country “less safe”. Negotiators are currently locked in intensive discussions in Brussels as they look to secure a post-Brexit trading arrangement before the transition period ends on December 31.

As the clock ticks down on the chance to strike a deal, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the country’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, said a failure to ratify fresh terms would have security implications.

He told Channel 4 News: “We’ve always been very clear in policing that to have no negotiated outcome at all in this and to lose the security tools that the EU brings would make this country less safe.

“We’ve been very clear with Government about that, the Government has listened, and I know the Government is doing what they can to negotiate that deal.”

Mr Basu suggested, however, that efforts to tackle terrorism would not be hindered in the same way by a no-deal outcome as compared with other police work.

He added: “I’m actually much luckier than my much wider policing counterparts because I work in counter-terrorism.

“That is a bilateral arrangement with countries, it is not necessarily an EU arrangement.

“We will be negotiating individual treaties if we have to with every single one of our EU partners.”

The red flag comes after Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister urged that a Brexit deal be agreed as she warned of a potential “organised crime bonanza” on the Irish border.

Naomi Long described “huge uncertainty” for justice agencies with just weeks to go until the end of the transition period.

She told Westminster’s Northern Ireland Affairs Committee: “It isn’t just the future security partnership that affects policing and justice in Northern Ireland, it is also the economic decisions that are made because if we have increased differentials in terms of tariffs and other issues around the border, then we will end up with a potential bonanza for organised crime.”

Meanwhile, the Government faced further defeats in the Lords over its controversial Brexit bill, amid accusations that it “brushed aside” the freedoms of the devolved nations.

The House of Lords backed a cross-party move by a 158 majority to ensure the administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland retained a voice and powers in the future operation of the UK internal market following the split from the EU.

The Government setback at the report stage of the Internal Market Bill follows two defeats in the upper house last week, with peers stripping out law-breaking powers that would enable ministers to override parts of the Brexit divorce deal – known as the Withdrawal Agreement – brokered with Brussels last year.

As the trade talks with the EU continue to drag on, former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott offered a boost to Boris Johnson on his chances of increasing Britain’s trade with members of the Commonwealth before the year is out.

He told MPs there was an “eagerness” on both sides to secure a UK-Australia free trade deal before Christmas.

Mr Abbott, who now acts as an adviser to the UK Board of Trade, said they hoped to get a deal with no tariffs and no quotas “as quickly as we can”.

Giving evidence to the Commons International Trade Committee, he said: “I know that on both sides there is an eagerness to try to get the Australia deal done before Christmas.

“Ideally a deal between Britain and Australia would involve no tariffs, no quotas, as full as possible mutual recognition of standards and qualifications, and as free as possible movement of people for well-paid work, not welfare.”

Published: 19/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Oxford Covid-19 vaccine produces strong immune response in older adults – study
The University of Oxford is expected to release data on the effectiveness of its coronavirus vaccine in the coming weeks, with the latest trial results suggesting it produces a strong immune response in older adults. The ChAdOx1 nCov-2019 vaccine has been shown to trigger a robust immune response in healthy adults aged 56-69 and people over 70.

Phase two data, published in The Lancet, suggests one of the groups most vulnerable to serious illness and death from Covid-19 could build immunity, researchers say.

According to the researchers, volunteers in the trial demonstrated similar immune responses across all three age groups (18-55, 56-69, and 70 and over).

The study of 560 healthy adults – including 240 over the age of 70 – found the vaccine is better tolerated in older people compared with younger adults.

Volunteers received two doses of the vaccine candidate, or a placebo meningitis vaccine.

No serious adverse health events related to the vaccine were seen in the participants.

The results are consistent with phase one data reported for healthy adults aged 18-55 earlier this year.

Dr Maheshi Ramasamy, investigator at the Oxford Vaccine Group and consultant physician, said: “Older adults are a priority group for Covid-19 vaccination, because they are at increased risk of severe disease, but we know that they tend to have poorer vaccine responses.

“We were pleased to see that our vaccine was not only well tolerated in older adults, but also stimulated similar immune responses to those seen in younger volunteers.

“The next step will be to see if this translates into protection from the disease itself.”

Study lead author Professor Andrew Pollard, from the University of Oxford, said: “Immune responses from vaccines are often lessened in older adults because the immune system gradually deteriorates with age, which also leaves older adults more susceptible to infections.

“As a result, it is crucial that Covid-19 vaccines are tested in this group who are also a priority group for immunisation.”

Researchers say their findings are promising as they show that the older people are showing a similar immune response to younger adults.

Dr Ramasamy added: “The robust antibody and T-cell responses seen in older people in our study are encouraging.

“The populations at greatest risk of serious Covid-19 disease include people with existing health conditions and older adults.

“We hope that this means our vaccine will help to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society, but further research will be needed before we can be sure.”

The study also found the vaccine, being developed with AstraZeneca, was less likely to cause local reactions at the injection site and symptoms on the day of vaccination in older adults than in the younger group.

Adverse reactions were mild – injection-site pain and tenderness, fatigue, headache, feverishness and muscle pain – but more common than seen with the control vaccine.

Thirteen serious adverse events occurred in the six months since the first dose was given, none of which were related to either study vaccine.

The authors note some limitations to their study, including that the participants in the oldest age group had an average age of 73-74 and few underlying health conditions, so they may not be representative of the general older population, including those living in residential care settings or aged over 80.

Phase three trials of the vaccine are ongoing, with early efficacy readings possible in the coming weeks.

UK authorities have placed orders for 100 million doses of the vaccine – enough to vaccinate most of the population – should it receive regulatory approval.

The Oxford findings come after Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their vaccine candidate has shown 95% efficacy, with a 94% effectiveness in those aged 65 and over.

Forty million doses of that vaccine have been bought by the UK, with rollout potentially starting in early December if the jab is given the green light by regulators.

Earlier in the week US biotech firm Moderna released data suggesting its vaccine is almost almost 95% effective.

Published: 19/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective and has passed safety checks, new data shows
The coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer – which is due to arrive in the UK before the end of the year – is 95% effective and has passed its safety checks, according to further data from the firm. The pharmaceutical giant and its partner BioNTech published interim results last week showing the jab could prevent more than 90% of people developing Covid-19.

That data was based on the first 94 volunteers to develop Covid-19, but further figures released on Wednesday are based on the first 170 cases of the virus in the clinical trial.

Of these 170 Covid-19 cases, 162 were observed in the placebo group versus eight in the vaccine group.

A good immune response was “consistent across age, gender, race and ethnicity demographics” and the jab was over 94% effective in those aged over 65, Pfizer said.

There were 10 severe cases of Covid-19 overall, with nine in the placebo group and one in the vaccine group.

The vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised.

The UK has secured 40 million doses in total of the vaccine, with 10 million due in the country by the end of the year if the jab is approved.

People will need two doses, meaning not enough vaccine has been secured for the entire UK population.

Another jab, from US firm Moderna, was shown this week in early data to be almost 95% effective.

The UK has ordered five million doses of that jab, and also awaits the results of the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine study – which is due to report soon.

Changes to the Human Medicine Regulations announced in October will allow the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorise temporary supply of vaccines, if one becomes available before 2021.

This means that if a vaccine is found to meet the safety, quality and effectiveness standards by the MHRA then vaccinations can begin without needing to wait for the European Medicines Agency.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the NHS will be ready by December 1 to roll out any jab.

The Pfizer vaccine has been shown to produce both an antibody and T-cell response in the body to fight coronavirus.

Pfizer and BioNTech expect to be able to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses globally in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion in 2021.

Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla said on Tuesday that the firm is preparing to file for emergency use authorisation within days from the US Food and Drug Administration.

On Wednesday, Mr Bourla said: “The study results mark an important step in this historic eight-month journey to bring forward a vaccine capable of helping to end this devastating pandemic.

“We continue to move at the speed of science to compile all the data collected thus far and share with regulators around the world.

“With hundreds of thousands of people around the globe infected every day, we urgently need to get a safe and effective vaccine to the world.”

Ugur Sahin, co-founder of BioNTech, said the data shows a high rate of protection against Covid-19 can be achieved “very fast” after the first dose.

Published: 18/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Jeremy Corbyn will not have Labour whip restored, Sir Keir Starmer says
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he will not restore the whip to his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn because he “undermined” work in restoring trust and confidence in the party’s ability to tackle anti-Semitism.

Mr Corbyn was reinstated as a party member on Tuesday – three weeks after being suspended in the aftermath of the damning Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into anti-Semitism.

But despite the move by the National Executive Committee, Sir Keir has declined to restore the whip to the former opposition leader – meaning he will continue to sit as an independent MP and will not be part of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Sir Keir said in a statement: “Since I was elected Labour leader, I have made it my mission to root out anti-Semitism from the Labour Party.

“I know that I will judged on my actions, not my words. The disciplinary process does not have the confidence of the Jewish community. That became clear once again yesterday.

“It is the task of my leadership to fix what I have inherited. That is what I am resolute in doing and I have asked for an independent process to be established as soon as possible.

“I’m the Leader of the Labour Party, but I’m also the Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s actions in response to the EHRC report undermined and set back our work in restoring trust and confidence in the Labour Party’s ability to tackle anti-Semitism.

“In those circumstances, I have taken the decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn. I will keep this situation under review.”

Sir Keir’s decision will likely prompt a furious backlash from the faction which remains loyal to the former leader, but will be welcomed by those who hoped to draw a line under the Corbyn era.

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said earlier that Sir Keir must refuse to restore the whip.

She said the decision to reinstate Mr Corbyn was an “absolute sham” and shows the Labour Party “have not learned anything at all”.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the former leader’s case has “clearly been rushed through and judged by a politicised panel stuffed with his own supporters”.

She added: “I hope this morning that Keir Starmer will have reflected on what has happened yesterday and make it clear that he is refusing to restore the whip.”

Mr Corbyn was suspended from Labour last month for his response to the EHRC report which found the party had broken the law in its handling of anti-Semitism complaints.

He claimed the scale of anti-Semitism in the party had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by opponents both inside and outside Labour, along with the media.

But he later attempted to clarify his comments in a statement to the party, saying concerns about anti-Semitism are “neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated'”.

The NEC’s move to reinstate Mr Corbyn sparked outrage from Labour MPs and Jewish leaders, and prompted reports that former minister Dame Margaret Hodge, who is Jewish, could quit the party.

She said on Tuesday evening she cannot “comprehend” why it is acceptable for Mr Corbyn to “be a Labour MP if he thinks anti-Semitism is exaggerated and a political attack”.

Dame Margaret tweeted: “This is a broken outcome from a broken system.”

Gideon Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, claimed Mr Corbyn’s suspension had been “nothing more than a media stunt to blunt the blow” of the EHRC report.

The Jewish Labour Movement said it appeared the former party leader’s case had been “expedited” by a “factionally aligned political committee”.

However, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, a close ally of Mr Corbyn, said the former leader’s readmission is the “correct, fair and unifying decision”.

Published: 18/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Head of NHS Test and Trace told to self-isolate by own service
Baroness Dido Harding, who leads the NHS Test and Trace programme, has revealed she is self-isolating after receiving an alert from the service she runs. The Tory peer tweeted a screenshot of an app notification on Wednesday which carried the message “you need to self-isolate” until the end of November 26.

She wrote above the image: “Nothing like personal experience of your own products …. got this overnight. Feeling well. Many hours of Zoom ahead.”

Her husband, Conservative MP John Penrose, has previously been told to self-isolate by the Test and Trace app, part of the operation overseen by his wife, after potentially coming into contact with someone who has coronavirus.

The news comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to answer questions at PMQs by videolink on Wednesday as he continues to self-isolate after a meeting with MP Lee Anderson, who tested positive for Covid-19.

Published: 18/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

The good, the bad and the rowdy: What you need to know about PMQs
Boris Johnson is set to make history by becoming the first leader to face the weekly ritual of Prime Minister’s Questions via videolink. The spectacle of baying MPs lining the House of Commons during the 30-minute slot is not always an edifying one, but many people insist it is an essential part of the UK’s democracy.

So how did all start and who asks the questions? Here is what you need to know.

– Where did it all start?

Like the office of prime minister itself, PMQs evolved over time, but an official slot was first given to them in 1881 under the name Questions to the PM.

It imposed time limits for questions and was scheduled for the last slot of the sitting so the prime minister of the time William Gladstone, then aged 72, could come to the house later in the day.

This remained the norm until 1953 during Winston Churchill’s second term, when Parliament agreed to submit questions only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

PMQs continued more or less in this format, with a 15-minute slot on each day, until 1997 when Tony Blair consolidated it into one 30-minute Wednesday session.

– Who gets to ask a question?

The leader of the Opposition gets the most opportunity to take the Prime Minister to task, being allocated six questions. The third-largest party, currently the Scottish National Party, gets two.

A further 15 questions are allocated to backbench MPs from any party – those with a question must table it by 12.30pm the preceding Thursday, these are then “shuffled” and 15 selected at random and entered on Wednesday’s order paper.

A week is a long time in politics and questions may be a little out of date by the time PMQs comes around, so some MPs will be allowed to ask supplementary questions if permitted by the Speaker.

– How far in advance does the Prime Minister get to see the questions?

MPs are under no obligation to inform Number 10 of the questions they plan to ask, but MPs from their own party might let the PM’s team know as a matter of courtesy so he is not caught on the hop.

MPs from opposition parties might raise an issue in advance if it concerns a matter specific to their constituency and they want a thorough answer, but probably would not if it was a question on Government policy.

The aim of PMQs is to hold the Prime Minister to account – they cannot pass or phone a friend – so most opposition MPs will want to see them squirm as much as possible.

If an MP’s question is not reached by the end of a session, the PM is supposed to give them an answer in writing.

– What do the public think of PMQs?

Research conducted in 2014 revealed only 12% of the public agreed with the statement “PMQs makes me proud of our Parliament”.

The Hansard Society, which researches, documents and provides advice on parliamentary affairs, found PMQs is the best-known aspect of Parliament’s work, but the words most commonly associated with it are “noisy”, “childish”, “over the top” and “pointless”.

One respondent to Hansard’s survey described PMQs as “noise and bluster and showing off – theatrical but not good”.

– What do prime ministers think?

It might be unruly, but champions of PMQs say it is one of the very few systems in the world that forcibly holds a leader to account without a veneer of spin or the support of a clutch of aides.

Tony Blair described PMQs as “the most nerve-racking, discombobulating, nail-biting, bowel-moving, terror inspiring, courage-draining experience” of his time as PM.

US President George HW Bush once told an interviewer: “I count my blessings for the fact I don’t have to go into that pit that John Major stands in, nose-to-nose with the opposition, all yelling at each other.”

David Cameron was apparently made of sterner stuff – when asked in 2011 what the most tedious aspect of his job was, he replied: “Waking up on Wednesday morning and realising it’s prime minister’s questions.”

– How was PMQs conducted during shutdown?

Holding PMQs via videolink is not completely new – at the height of the first lockdown MPs called upon to ask a question were able to do so from home.

The Prime Minister and leader of the Opposition, however, were still in the House of Commons.

Many people commented at the time that PMQs had lost its spirit without the rowdiness of a packed chamber.

Even when shutdown was relaxed, many MPs opted to continue to use videolink and PMQs is currently a much more subdued affair than it was in pre-Covid times.

Published: 18/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

People magazine announces its sexiest man alive
Michael B Jordan has been named People magazine’s sexiest man alive. The Black Panther actor, 33, was revealed as the winner during Jimmy Kimmel’s US chat show, entering the studio in a pandemic-appropriate yellow hazmat suit.

His voice was disguised while he answered a series of questions from fans at home, saying he worked in film, was not an Avenger, he is not married and has also not been in a relationship with Taylor Swift.

A viewer then correctly guessed Jordan’s identity and he removed the mask.

Award-winning singer John Legend was last year’s sexiest man alive, while previous holders of the title include Brad Pitt, Sir Sean Connery, Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, George Clooney and Idris Elba.

Jordan is best known for playing villain Erik Killmonger in Marvel’s superhero blockbuster Black Panther, as well as for his lead role in boxing drama Creed.

Speaking on Kimmel, he said it is a “cool title to have,” revealing he found out about the news while driving.

“It’s a cool feeling,” Jordan told People. “You know, everybody always made that joke, like, ‘Mike, this is the one thing you’re probably not going to get.’ But it’s a good club to be a part of.”

Jordan said the women in his family “are definitely proud of this one”.

Of the magazine, he added: “When my grandmother was alive, it was something that she collected, and then my mom naturally reads it a lot and my aunts as well. This is one that they’re definitely going to have a special place for.”

California-born Jordan had brief appearances in episodes of TV series Cosby and The Sopranos before bagging a small – but pivotal – role in The Wire, playing teenage drug dealer Wallace.

He joined US soap All My Children in 2003 and in 2009 started playing a quarterback in sports drama Friday Night Lights.

Jordan won critical acclaim and the tag of one to watch after playing a shooting victim in 2013’s Fruitvale Station, directed by Black Panther filmmaker Ryan Coogler.

His career hit a speedbump in 2015 when he starred as the Human Torch in the critically panned box office flop Fantastic Four.

Jordan bounced back later that year, again teaming up with Coogler to play Adonis “Donnie” Creed in Rocky sequel Creed.

He is next set to appear in Without Remorse, a Tom Clancy adaptation.

Published: 18/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Inflation jumps on back of rising cost of clothing and food
UK inflation bounced higher last month as the price of food and clothing jumped, according to official figures. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose to 0.7% in October from 0.5% in September.

It surpassed the expectations of analysts, who had predicted that inflation would stay flat at 0.5% for the month.

Deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS, Jonathan Athow, said: “The rate of inflation increased slightly as clothing prices grew, returning to their normal seasonal pattern after the disruption this year.

“The cost of food also nudged up, while second-hand cars and computer games also all saw price rises.

“These were partially offset by falls in the cost of energy and holidays.”

Published: 18/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans brought forward to 2030
Sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be phased out by 2030, Boris Johnson has confirmed as he set out his 10-point plan for a “green industrial revolution”.
The move brings the ban on new conventional cars and vans forward by a decade, from a planned date of 2040, though the sale of some hybrid vehicles will be allowed until 2035.

It aims to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles to cut climate emissions and local air pollution, as part of the 10-point plan to boost jobs and drive the shift towards cutting emissions to net zero by 2050.

The Prime Minister outlined new investment of £1.3 billion to accelerate the rollout of chargepoints in homes, streets, and on motorways, to make electric vehicles easier to charge up, and £582 million in grants for those buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles to help reduce the costs.

Nearly £500 million will be spent in the next four years for the development and mass-scale production of electric vehicle batteries, helping to boost manufacturing bases including in the Midlands and North East, he said.

The Government will also launch a consultation on the phase out of new diesel HGVs to clean up freight transport, though no date has been set.

Elsewhere in the 10-point plan, there are moves to have the UK’s first town entirely heated by hydrogen by the end of the decade, a renewed push on nuclear power and support for restoring nature and for walking and cycling.

Mr Johnson, who has already highlighted plans to power every home in the country by offshore wind within 10 years as part of his vision, said the moves would support up to 250,000 jobs.

The Government also said new investment formed part of £12 billion mobilised for the plan, though Labour said only £4 billion of the funding was new and called for a much bigger investment in a green recovery.

The UK has legal a target to cut greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050, requiring huge cuts to emissions and any remaining pollution from hard-to-treat sectors such as aviation “offset” by measures such as planting trees.

There is also pressure on the UK to set out ambitious action to tackle the climate crisis as hosts of the United Nations Cop26 summit which was delayed by the pandemic and is now taking place in Glasgow in November 2021.

The widely trailed move to bring forward the phase out of petrol and diesel cars comes in the wake of guidance from the Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change which said it should be implemented by 2032 at the latest.

The committee has also called for greater action in other areas such as cutting the carbon from heating homes, as the UK is off track to meet its climate-tackling goals.

Mr Johnson said: “Although this year has taken a very different path to the one we expected, I haven’t lost sight of our ambitious plans to level up across the country.

“My 10-point plan will create, support and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050.

“Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future.”

The areas the 10-point plan focus on are:

– Offshore wind: Producing enough offshore wind to power every home by 2030, supporting up to 60,000 jobs.

– Hydrogen: Creating the capacity to generate low carbon hydrogen for industry, transport, power and homes, and aiming to develop the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade.

– Nuclear: Advancing large scale nuclear plants and developing the next generation of small and advanced reactors, which could support 10,000 jobs.

– Electric vehicles: Accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, and transforming national infrastructure to better support the technology.

– Public transport, cycling and walking: Making cycling and walking more attractive ways to travel and investing in zero-emission public transport.

– Jet Zero and greener maritime: Research projects for zero-emission planes and ships.

– Homes and public buildings: Making homes, schools and hospitals greener, warmer and more energy efficient, including a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028.

– Carbon capture: Becoming a world-leader in technology to capture and store harmful emissions away from the atmosphere, with a target to remove 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030, equivalent to all emissions of the industrial Humber.

– Nature: Protecting and restoring the natural environment, including planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year.

– Innovation and finance: Developing cutting-edge technologies and making the City of London the global centre of green finance.

As well as investment in electric vehicles, the Government said there is an extra £1 billion next year for energy efficiency and up to £500 million to develop new hydrogen production facilities and trial homes using hydrogen.

An extra £200 million of new funding will go towards creating two clusters of carbon capture and storage infrastructure, there is a £525 million boost to nuclear power and £20 million for a competition to develop clean maritime technology.

But shadow business secretary Ed Miliband warned the funding did not “remotely meet the scale of what’s needed to tackle the unemployment emergency and climate emergency we are facing”.

He said only a fraction of the funding for the plan was new, adding: “We don’t need rebadged funding pots and reheated pledges, but an ambitious plan that meets the scale of the task we are facing and – crucially – creates jobs now.

“That’s why Labour called for the Government to bring forward £30 billion of capital investment over the next 18 months and invest it in low-carbon sectors now as part of a rapid stimulus package to support 400,000 additional jobs. “

Published: 17/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub


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