Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared

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Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared

The UK’s national living wage is to increase from £8.91 to £9.50 in this week’s Budget, the Treasury has confirmed, with Conservatives claiming full-time workers will earn an extra £1,000-a-year as a result.

Previously known as the national minimum wage, the change will apply to workers aged 23 and over, with a lower rate in place for younger workers.

Ministers have already pledged to raise the adult rate to two thirds of median earnings by the end of the Parliament – around £10.40 – with Labour saying it wants a minimum wage of at least £10.

But the wage rise comes at the same time as the government increases national insurance contributions for low earners and cuts universal credit (UC) payments. “This is a good thing to be applauded,” tweeted left-wing commentator Owen Jones, “but it’s offset by a cut in UC that leaves many low-paid workers in poverty.”

Elsewhere, Sajid Javid, the health secretary, admitted it is “impossible to know” whether the NHS backlog will be cleared within three years, despite the Treasury pledging £6bn to help solve the problem as part of Rishi Sunak’s autumn Budget.

Follow our live coverage below

Key Points

  • National living wage ‘set to rise to £9.50 an hour’
  • Sunak to hand NHS £6bn to tackle waiting lists and boost tech
  • ‘Impossible to know’ whether NHS backlog will be cleared in three years, Javid says
  • Johnson admits he is ‘very worried’ Cop26 could fail to deliver key climate action
  • Former police chiefs warn controversial Policing Bill could ‘exacerbate’ serious violence
  • Frost grilled on NI Protocol: ‘We worked hard on these agreements’

07:48 , Conrad Duncan

Hello and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of UK politics today.

Sunak to hand NHS £6bn to tackle waiting lists and boost tech

07:56 , Conrad Duncan

A £5.9bn funding package for tackling NHS waiting lists in England will form part of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s autumn Budget, the Treasury has said.

The spending announcement comes after the latest NHS figures showed that the number of people waiting for routine hospital treatment in England had hit 5.6 million – the highest number since records began in 2007.

Our reporter, Adam Forrest, has the full story below:

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent

Rishi Sunak to hand NHS £6bn to tackle waiting lists

Staff shortages should be tackled as part of NHS investment, expert says

08:05 , Conrad Duncan

Staff shortages should be tackled as part of investment into the NHS as funding for equipment will not solve all of the health service’s problems, the chief executive of The King’s Fund has said.

Richard Murray told BBC Radio 4’s Today show that Rishi Sunak’s Budget looked like it would target some of the “big issues” now facing the NHS but more needed to be done.

“We have very few MRI or CT scanners in the United Kingdom compared to other countries,” Mr Murray said.

“There are many gains we have made through Covid about the use of technology, so this is certainly welcome, but the real challenge is as we build these new facilities will we have any staff to put in them, to actually work them?

“This is only three parts of the overall capital spending for the NHS and we still don’t know what’s happened to the rest.”

He added: “There are already very deep shortages across the NHS and that includes in some of the key areas of diagnostics, so great to have the kit and it does need to be updated, but there are shortages even as we speak, so expanding NHS capacity, you’ve got to go hand-in-hand with the facilities.

“It’s increasingly odd that as we look towards the future this one great big keystone- how we’re going to handle NHS workforces and health and social care staffing – is still the missing piece.”

Javid insists NHS investment will start making difference ‘pretty quickly’

08:20 , Conrad Duncan

Some of the £6bn NHS investment will start “making a difference pretty quickly”, with more than £2bn going to community diagnostic centres for tests and scans to tackle waiting lists, health secretary Sajid Javid has said.

Mr Javid insisted on Monday that funding would be made available for the issue of staff shortages, when asked about NHS Confederation figures showing the health service was short of 80,000 workers.

“This £6bn is about sort of capital investments, so… physical things like beds, IT equipment, scanners and things,” he said.

“But the staff investment is actually the announcement… I made just a few weeks ago, and that is the investment of an additional £12bn a year into the NHS and social care, and a large chunk of that is the staff and the day-to-day running costs of the NHS and that includes of course, training costs.

“You’re right to point out that we need more people, it is a big challenge. In the last year, I’m pleased that we’ve seen I think 3,000 more doctors, 9,000 more nurses, but we do need a lot more, we need them for a long-term.”

Javid says expectant mothers should be ‘reassured’ they will get care they need

08:34 , Conrad Duncan

Health secretary Sajid Javid has insisted that expectant mothers should be “reassured” that they will get the care they need following reports that maternity services are near breaking point.

The Guardian reported on Sunday night that the NHS could be unable to deliver necessary care for women giving birth if Covid cases continue to rise.

When asked about the report, Mr Javid replied: “Of course, I can reassure… no expectant mum should have that kind of concern.

“I’m not going to say for a second that the NHS is not under huge pressure, everyone can see what’s happening and throughout the pandemic we’ve seen the NHS rise to a huge challenge – and that challenge continues.”

You can find his comments in full below:

Health Secretary Sajid Javid says he can “reassure” expectant mothers that they will get the care they need, but admits the NHS is under “huge pressure”.

Get live updates: https://t.co/4JJJQQClEk pic.twitter.com/rGDTI9ZnwN

— Sky News (@SkyNews) October 25, 2021

Health service needs more than £6bn funding offer, NHS official says

08:45 , Conrad Duncan

The NHS needs “a little bit more” than the £6bn funding which is set to be given to the health service to help tackle the waiting list backlog, an NHS official has said.

Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, told Times Radio: “£6bn is a lot of money, especially in the current economic climate.

“While it will be really helpful, particularly in addressing the backlog, we need to remember that the NHS does need a little bit more than that in order to properly restore services and work through the additional expenses that have been created by Covid-19.

“So certainly that money will go a long way, but I think that we will also need to see investment in other areas.”

‘Impossible to know’ whether NHS backlog will be cleared in three years, Javid says

08:55 , Conrad Duncan

It is “impossible to know” whether the NHS backlog will be cleared within three years despite billions being pledged to help solve the problem, health secretary Sajid Javid has said.

Mr Javid said on Monday that the waiting list was currently at 5.7 million people but he estimated that it could be as high as at least 7 million.

“I’ve been very open about this, it’s going to go up before it comes down,” the minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today show.

“I’m not going to put a number on it – it’s impossible to know because I don’t know how many people will eventually come back to the NHS.

“With this investment, this £6bn investment in capital, in equipment, alongside the investment we’ve announced through the levy of £12bn a year going into the NHS and care systems – this is what’s going to drive down that waiting list and make sure more people get seen as quickly as possible.”

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent (AP)

ICYMI: Sunak admits £7bn transport pledge has only £1.5bn of new money

09:09 , Conrad Duncan

Chancellor Rishi Sunak admitted on Sunday that his £7bn pre-Budget pledge for new transport projects contains only £1.5bn of new money.

The extra spending on train and tram upgrades in England’s cities comes as ministers attempt to fend off protests that pledges to the North and Midlands are being broken.

Our reporter, Adam Forrest, has the full story below:

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent

Rishi Sunak admits £7bn transport pledge has only £1.5bn of new money

Starmer: ‘Let’s see what small print says on Budget announcements’

09:32 , Conrad Duncan

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he will “wait and see what the small print is” for Rishi Sunak’s Budget this week, following a string of funding pledges for infrastructure and the NHS.

When asked about reports of £6bn being allocated for the health service, Sir Keir told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “Well let’s wait and see what the small print is because I’ve seen this many times where money that has already been allocated is re-announced…

“Money for the NHS is always welcome but let’s see what the small print is on Wednesday.”

You can find his comments in full below:

Labour leader Sir @Keir_Starmer reacts to the news that the NHS in England will receive nearly £6 billion extra in the Chancellor’s budget.

He tells @ranvir01 that while the announcement is good, the staffing issue within the NHS is the ‘bigger problem’ that needs to be sorted. pic.twitter.com/PjaVFgwDBR

— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) October 25, 2021

Exclusion zones outside schools an ‘option’ to tackle anti-vaxxers, Javid says

09:45 , Conrad Duncan

Exclusion zones outside schools are an option to prevent “idiot” anti-vaxxers spreading “vicious lies” to children, Sajid Javid has said, following reports of teachers and parents being harassed and intimidated.

“There are options, in terms of whether it’s an exclusion zone or potential action, I think it’s got to be done at local level, with local police,” Mr Javid said, when asked about the issue on Monday morning.

Our political correspondent, Ashley Cowburn, has the full story below:

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent

Exclusion zones outside schools ‘option’ to tackle ‘vicious lies’ of anti-vaxxers

Former police chiefs warn controversial Policing Bill could ‘exacerbate’ serious violence

10:07 , Conrad Duncan

A controversial Policing Bill that has prompted widespread protests could further undermine trust in forces and “exacerbate” serious violence, former police chiefs have warned.

The group of ex-police leaders, senior officers and advisers has written to home secretary Priti Patel this week to express their concerns about some of the proposals in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – which the House of Lords will continue to consider on Monday.

“As experts on police use of force, racial profiling, and stop and search, we believe that this Bill has dangerous implications for the fight against serious violence, an issue that demands police work in service to, not against, the communities facing its harms,” the letter said.

The group warned that placing a legal duty on police and public bodies, such as councils, health and fire services, to tackle serious violence and share intelligence and data could “negatively affect relationships” between the police and the public.

“Ultimately, these proposals will hit marginalised groups the hardest, disproportionately impacting Black men and communities of colour with whom the police need to rebuild trust,” the letter added.

“The duty may actually exacerbate people’s experiences of alienation, exclusion, and isolation – some of the root causes of serious violence.”

A Home Office spokesperson responded by insisting that the Bill would “make our country and streets safer by equipping the police with the powers and tools they need.”

10:14 , Conrad Duncan

Our political correspondent, Ashley Cowburn, has more details below on Sajid Javid’s warning that the NHS backlog may not be cleared in the next three years:

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent

‘Impossible to know’ if NHS backlog will be cleared in 3 years, Javid admits

Cabinet ministers’ seats in line for millions of development cash in new ‘levelling up’ row

10:39 , Conrad Duncan

Seats held by seven cabinet ministers are in line to receive major development cash despite previously being judged as not needing the funds, sparking a new row over alleged bias in the government’s “levelling up” agenda.

The constituencies of Rishi Sunak, foreign secretary Liz Truss and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Stephen Barclay are all on a list of “priority places” for the new £1.5bn annual fund.

Our deputy political editor, Rob Merrick, has the full story below:

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent

‘Prosperous’ cabinet ministers’ seats in line for millions of development cash

Prices at petrol pumps have reached all-time high, data shows

10:53 , Conrad Duncan

Prices at petrol pumps reached an all-time high over the weekend, with diesel just a little short of its previous record, according to new data.

The average UK price of petrol hit 142.94p a litre on Sunday, beating the former record, set in April 2012, by 0.46p.

Meanwhile, diesel prices reached 146.5p a litre on Sunday, short of its all-time high of 147.93p.

“Whether it’s down to oil producers, market speculators, Treasury taxes or struggling retailers trying to balance their margins, record pump prices must be saying to drivers with the means that it is time to make the switch to electric,” AA fuel price spokesperson Luke Bosdet said.

“As for poorer motorists, many of them now facing daily charges to drive in cities, there is no escape.

“It’s a return to cutting back on other consumer spending, perhaps even heating or food, to keep the car that gets them to work on the road.”

Record petrol prices a ‘dark day for drivers’, RAC says

11:06 , Conrad Duncan

The record rise in petrol prices in the UK is a “dark day for drivers”, the RAC has said, as the country’s fuel crisis continues.

“This is truly a dark day for drivers, and one which we hoped we wouldn’t see again after the high prices of April 2012,” RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said.

“This will hurt many household budgets and no doubt have knock-on implications for the wider economy.

“The big question now is, ‘where will it stop and what price will petrol hit?’ If oil gets to 100 dollars a barrel, we could very easily see the average price climb to 150p a litre.”

Mr Williams added: “Even though many people aren’t driving as much as they have in the past due to the pandemic, drivers tell us they are just as reliant on their cars, and many simply don’t have a choice but to drive.

“Those on lower incomes who have to drive to work will seriously struggle to find the extra money for the petrol they so badly need.

“We urge the government to help ease the burden at the pumps by temporarily reducing VAT, and for the biggest retailers to bring the amount they make on every litre of petrol back down to the level it was prior to the pandemic.”

11:21 , Conrad Duncan

The UK’s national living wage is set to be increased from £8.91 per hour to £9.50 following a recommendation from the Low Pay Commission, according to ITV’s Robert Peston.

Mr Peston reports that business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has accepted the advice, with the rise expected to be formally announced in the Budget on Wednesday.

The national living wage is set to be increased from £8.91 per hour to £9.50 I understand, on the advice of the Low Pay Commission. The recommendation has been put to the business secretary, @KwasiKwarteng, who is the minister responsible for the Commission. The 6.6%…

— Robert Peston (@Peston) October 25, 2021

People living in poverty ‘hit harder by gas and electricity bills’, new data shows

11:36 , Conrad Duncan

Poorer households have been found to pay as much as 50 per cent more on their energy bills than those that are wealthier, according to data analysed by the Labour Party.

The figures show Britain’s poorest 10 per cent of households pay on average £756 a year per person for electricity, gas and other fuels, compared with an average of £504 per person for the richest households.

Our reporter, Sam Hancock, has the full story below:

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent

People living in poverty ‘hit harder by gas and electricity bills’, new data shows

Johnson admits he is ‘very worried’ Cop26 could fail to deliver key climate action

11:57 , Conrad Duncan

Boris Johnson has admitted that it is “touch and go” whether the Cop26 climate conference will be a success, adding that he is “very worried” about the event.

The prime minister, who was answering questions from schoolchildren in Downing Street on Monday, said: “We need as many people as possible to go to net zero so that they are not producing too much carbon dioxide by the middle of the century.

“Now, I think it can be done. It’s going to be very, very tough, this summit. And I’m very worried, because it might go wrong and we might not get the agreements that we need. It’s touch and go.”

World leaders will begin gathering on Sunday for the conference in Glasgow.

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent (REUTERS)

‘Far from clear’ that Cop26 will bring progress on climate change, PM says

12:01 , Conrad Duncan

Boris Johnson has said it is “far from clear” that Cop26 will deliver the progress needed to tackle climate change as he welcomed Australia’s target for reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

“That was actually very difficult for Australia because Australia’s very heavily dependent on coal, on lots of carbon-producing industries and they’ve done a heroic thing, the Australians, in getting to that commitment,” Mr Johnson told schoolchildren in Downing Street.

“I hope that they will be joined by lots more countries in that region for the Cop summit.”

The prime minister added that there was a lot of “peer pressure” at the summit, with countries following the example of friends and neighbours.

However, he warned that it was “very, very far from clear that we will get the progress that we need”.

12:11 , Conrad Duncan

Boris Johnson has joked that feeding people to animals could help to rebalance nature, as part of his press conference with school-children today.

WWF UK’s Tanya Steele, who was appearing alongside the prime minister, noted in the conference that “97 per cent of the mass of mammals” on Earth was now humans or domestic animals.

Mr Johnson then replied that this was “so sad”, adding: “We could feed some of the human beings to the animals.”

This press conference with children has taken a turn. The PM just suggested “we could feed some of the people [in the world] to the animals” to rebalance nature. Which I’m fairly sure wasn’t in his ‘lines to take’ book…

— Kate McCann (@KateEMcCann) October 25, 2021

PM claims ministers ‘don’t want to support new coal mines’

12:20 , Sam Hancock

More from Boris Johnson’s press conference now, which has left political pundits baffled.

The PM claimed he does not “want to support new coal mines”, as ministers face pressure to prevent a site opening in Cumbria.

Asked if he will continue to support new coal mines being created in the UK, Mr Johnson said somewhat ambiguously: “We don’t want to support new coal mines but what we want to do is to continue our progress to a zero-carbon future.”

Johnson ‘managing down’ expectations for Cop26 ‘big-time’

12:22 , Sam Hancock

Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick reports the following about Boris Johnson’s claims this morning:

Boris Johnson on Cop 26…..”I’m very worried”

Says planet-saving action needed might not be achieved

— Rob Merrick (@Rob_Merrick) October 25, 2021

PM has said twice that the Cop26 aim is for the world to agree to aim for ‘net zero’

But it isn’t….it is for the big emitters to take action to cut CO2 by the end of the decade !

— Rob Merrick (@Rob_Merrick) October 25, 2021

“It’s very very very far from clear that we will get the progress that we need.”

PM has left it late to manage down expectations for Cop26…..but is doing that big-time today

— Rob Merrick (@Rob_Merrick) October 25, 2021

PM admits Cop26 ‘might go wrong’

12:28 , Sam Hancock

Boris Johnson has admitted the crucial climate summit “might go wrong” and said reaching an agreement with world leaders could be “touch and go”.

The downbeat comments — just seven days before the Cop 26 summit kicks off — comes after the Russian president Vladimir Putin said he would not attend and amid uncertainty over whether Xi Jinping will attend, reports Adam Forrest.

Hosting children at No 10 for a “press conference” on the climate, the prime minister said the UK needed to persuade as many countries as possible to “go to net zero”.

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent

PM admits climate summit ‘might go wrong’ and reaching agreement ‘touch and go’

National living wage ‘set to rise to £9.50 an hour’ – reports

12:33 , Sam Hancock

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will reportedly announce a rise in the so-called national living wage in Wednesday’s Budget.

The news follows reports by BBC News and ITV’s Robert Peston. Here’s the latter with a lengthy thread on the topic:

increase in what is the minimum wage for all those over 22 years old has been accepted by Kwarteng. It will be formally announced by the Chancellor, @RishiSunak, in the budget on Wednesday. The rise is inflation-busting, and will go some way to compensating the low paid…

— Robert Peston (@Peston) October 25, 2021

UK businesses borrow £800m in Covid recovery loans

12:54 , Sam Hancock

More than 5,000 businesses have tapped into a government scheme to help them recover from the pandemic, in a slow take-up of new support compared with what was offered in the early days of lockdown.

The British Business Bank said £822.8m had been borrowed by 5,137 businesses across the UK since the Recovery Loan Scheme was launched in April.

About 1,000 more firms have been told they can borrow up to £200m, but have yet to tap into the money, analysis by the PA news agency shows.

The 76 banks that are part of the scheme are funnelling money into the recovery much more slowly than when they were trying to rescue businesses from collapse last year.

At this point in the life of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), which launched in March 2020, the banks had approved £15.45bn of loans to 66,585 companies.

The need at this point is much lower than it was as companies tried to stave off potential collapse after being forced to close, industry experts say.

Watch: Javid ‘leaning towards’ compulsory Covid jabs for NHS

12:55 , Sam Hancock

Closer look: Billions more for NHS but where are staff to work?

13:05 , Sam Hancock

As Rishi Sunak pledges billions to the NHS, our health correspondent Shaun Lintern asks what good that can do when there aren’t enough health workers to make it worthwhile. He writes:

Successive governments have dodged the biggest challenge facing the NHS – and that’s the lack of enough staff to deliver the care patients need. As Rishi Sunak prepares to write another big cheque for the health service, this unaddressed question is looming larger than ever.

The new £6bn capital investment to help set up an additional 56 community diagnostic hubs on top of the 44 already in train is the right thing to do to cut the huge waits for CT scans and X-rays.

NHS waiting lists have hit a record level of 5.74 million, with thousands of patients waiting more than a year. The challenge is huge and comes on top of existing day to day demands.

So, who will do this extra work? Read the full report here:

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent

Billions more for the NHS but where are the staff to do the work?

National living wage to rise from £8.91 an hour to £9.50

13:14 , Sam Hancock

The national minimum wage for adults is to rise to £9.50 in this week’s budget, it has been reported.

The rate, also know as the national living wage, is currently at £8.91 – meaning a 6.6 per cent increase.

Follow our policy correspondent Jon Stone’s breaking report here:

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent

Minimum wage to rise in 2021 budget

National living wage rise ‘offset by cut to Universal Credit,’ says Jones

13:15 , Sam Hancock

Author and Guardian columnist Owen Jones pours cold water on the government’s claim to be increasing the national living wage in Wednesday’s Budget.

1) This is a good thing to be applauded, but it’s offset by a cut in Universal Credit that leaves many low-paid workers in poverty.

2) Labour are committed to a minimum wage just 50p higher after an election which is up to 3 years away. Utterly humiliating. https://t.co/6v51IWoSXN

— Owen Jones 🌹 (@OwenJones84) October 25, 2021

Scottish Labour councillor moves to Tories over party’s ‘weak’ stance on indyref2

13:25 , Sam Hancock

A member of West Lothian Council criticised the Scottish Labour Party for being “weak on the union” as she announced she would be leaving the party to join the Scottish Conservatives.

Angela Doran-Timpson claimed some Labour councillors would “even be happy” for Scotland to have a second independence referendum, so-called the indyref2, and accused the party of not being strong enough in standing up to the SNP.

Ms Doran-Timpson, who represents the Broxburn, Uphall and Winchburgh area, said:

“Over and over again, Labour have been weak on the union and not strong enough in standing up to the SNP. At council meetings, they have not been prepared to oppose the SNP. Some in the Labour group would even be happy to see indyref2.

“I am joining the Scottish Conservatives because they are the only party strong enough to stop the SNP and the only party that stands up for Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom every time.

“As a work coach, I firmly believe we must be absolutely focused on creating more jobs and helping people back into work above all else. Our top priority has to be Scotland’s recovery, not another referendum.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said Ms Doran-Timpson’s move “proves once more” his party is the “real alternative for working people across Scotland who want to remove the SNP”, adding: “More and more ex-Labour voters, just like Angela, have decided to vote Scottish Conservative in recent elections.”

13:37 , Conrad Duncan

Our reporter, Matt Mathers, has more details below on the warnings for drivers today over the rising price of petrol in the UK:

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent

‘Dark day for drivers’ as petrol prices hit record highs

Labour dismisses government’s ‘underwhelming’ national living wage increase

13:47 , Conrad Duncan

Labour has dismissed what it calls the government’s “underwhelming offer” on pay, after it was announced that the national living wage is set to rise to £9.50 per hour.

“Much of it will be swallowed up by the government’s tax rises, Universal Credit cuts and failure to get a grip on energy bills,” Bridget Phillipson, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said.

“It’s clear that Labour is the only party serious about improving the prospects of working people.”

This works out at £1,000/year less than Labour’s existing plans for at least £10 an hour for people working full-time.

Much of it will be swallowed up by the Tory’s tax rises, UC cut & failure on energy bills.

Only Labour is serious about improving the lives of working people. https://t.co/dcUBb7ijzI

— Labour Press (@labourpress) October 25, 2021

Workers will be ‘bitterly disappointed’ with impact of pay rise, Lib Dems say

14:05 , Conrad Duncan

Workers will be “bitterly disappointed” when they see “almost half of any rise [in income] snatched away by the Treasury before it even reaches their bank accounts”, the Liberal Democrats have said.

“Instead of a fair deal, families across the country are facing a Budget nightmare with a soaring rise to the cost of living paired with tax hikes left, right and centre,” Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Christine Jardine said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Rishi Sunak increased National Insurance Contributions for workers by 1.25 per cent to help pay for NHS and social care reforms and also ended the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift.

Sturgeon warns world leaders of ‘entirely justified anger’ over climate progress

14:23 , Conrad Duncan

Nicola Sturgeon has warned that Cop26 needs to see “significant uplift” in the pledges to cut carbon emissions as world leaders must recognise growing levels of anger at the inaction over climate change.

Speaking to an audience of students and young people in Glasgow, Ms Sturgeon called on leaders to take “credible action” to achieve net zero.

Our environment correspondent, Harry Cockburn, has the full story below:

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent

Sturgeon warns of ‘entirely justified anger’ from young on climate

Cop26 president says he understands ‘deep frustration’ at climate finance failures

14:42 , Conrad Duncan

Cop26 president Alok Sharma has said it is understandable that developing countries feel “deep frustration” over the failure by wealthier countries to reach a $100bn (£72bn) a year funding target to tackle climate change.

A report published on Monday found that wealthy nations would not deliver the long-promised $100bn a year in climate finance for poor countries until 2023, three years late.

The pledge, which was first made in 2009, has become a key commitment for international climate action to support countries which have done the least to contribute to the crisis but are most vulnerable to its impacts.

You can find Mr Sharma’s comments in full below:

“This has been a source of deep frustration for developing countries.”

COP26 president Alok Sharma says a pledge to channel $100bn a year into helping poorer countries tackle climate change will not be met until 2023, three years later than hoped.

More: https://t.co/rbBgoCSyxO pic.twitter.com/dYKsPyrR5k

— Sky News (@SkyNews) October 25, 2021

15:02 , Conrad Duncan

Our deputy political editor, Rob Merrick, has more details below on the reports that wealthy countries will not achieve the $100bn climate finance target for poorer nations until 2023:

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent

$100bn climate crisis fund for poor nations will be three years late

‘Government must sets its sights higher’ on pay, TUC chief says

15:18 , Conrad Duncan

The government “must set its sights higher” on the issue of pay, TUC general-secretary Frances O’Grady has said, after the Treasury announced it would be raising the national living wage to £9.50 per hour.

“With Britain in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, boosting the minimum wage is vital. But the government must set its sights higher,” Ms O’Grady said.

“We need a £10 minimum wage now and we need ministers to cancel the cut to Universal Credit.

“This increase won’t come into effect until next spring, by which time many household budgets will have been hammered by rising bills and the Universal Credit cut.”

On reports that chancellor Rishi Sunak would also end the public-sector pay freeze in the spending review this week, she added: “The pay freeze won’t be over unless the chancellor fully funds pay rises above the rising cost of living.

“Otherwise, he will force departments to choose between pay cuts or service cuts.”

Small businesses body calls for increase in support after living wage rise

15:28 , Conrad Duncan

The Federation of Small Businesses has called on ministers to increase the small business Employment Allowance as the national living wage rises to prevent higher wage bills leading to job losses.

“The Treasury must play its part to secure wage increases – the taxman will gain almost £500 for every worker whose pay increases to £9.50 an hour,” Mike Cherry, the Federation of Small Businesses’ national chair, said.

“Larger-than-expected increases in the Living Wage must be matched by support for those who will struggle to afford to maintain jobs – these are the smallest employers, up and down the country, who need to see the extension of the small business Employment Allowance, which covers the first £4,000 of Employer NICs (National Insurance Contributions).

“Without an increase in the EA, the combination in April of higher wage bills and higher tax bills will see many more than the forecast of 50,000 people added to unemployment queues.”

Mr Cherry added: “After pre-briefed announcements to help the banks with their tax bills, and to help international companies to invest here, there needs to be a clear offer from this government to small businesses, too.”

ICYMI: Johnson says ‘recycling doesn’t work’ and plastic use needs to be cut down

15:42 , Conrad Duncan

Boris Johnson has insisted that recycling plastic “doesn’t work” as he told a press conference with schoolchildren in Downing Street that the answer was to cut down our use of the material.

“It doesn’t begin to address the problem. You can only recycle plastic a couple of times, really. What you’ve got to do is stop the production of plastic,” Mr Johnson said.

Our reporter, Holly Bancroft, has the full story below:

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent

Boris Johnson says ‘recycling doesn’t work’ and plastic use needs to be cut down

Commons Speaker suggests ministers should resign over Budget briefings

15:57 , Conrad Duncan

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has suggested that ministers should resign for briefing out details of the Budget in advance.

Sir Lindsay said on Monday that Dame Eleanor Laing, the Deputy Speaker who oversees the Budget proceedings, was “very upset” by the government opting to brief to the media several announcements ahead of Wednesday’s statement from chancellor Rishi Sunak.

“At one time ministers did the right thing if they briefed before a Budget – they walked,” Sir Lindsay said.

Following shouts of “resign” in the Commons, he added: “Yes, absolutely, resign. It seems to me we’ve got ourselves in a position that if you’ve not got it out five days before, it’s not worth putting out.

“I’ve got to say, members are elected to this House to represent their constituents, those constituents quite rightly expect the MP to hear it first in order to be able to listen to what the Budget is about, but also for the days following that to be able to hold them to account.

“It’s not acceptable and the government shouldn’t try to run roughshod over this House, it will not happen.”

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle tears into the Government & calls for Ministers to resign if they leak info to the press before Commons announcements:

“At one time, Ministers did the right thing if they briefed before a Budget. They walked… Yes, absolutely resign! It’s not acceptable.” pic.twitter.com/lgPwWrbeoW

— Adam Schwarz (@AdamJSchwarz) October 25, 2021

Frost grilled on NI Protocol: ‘We worked hard on these agreements’

16:07 , Sam Hancock

Some Brexit news now as Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, is grilled on the progress of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Responding to questions by the Commons’ European Scrutiny Committee, Lord Frost reiterated that the government wants to ensure the future relationship between the UK and EU is “not ultimately policed by EU institutions including the courts of justice”.

“What we’d like to see instead is an arbitration mechanism which is normal in these sort of treaties, it is exactly what we have in the trade and co-operation agreement,” he said. “The arrangements in the TCA are good arrangements … we worked very hard on them all last year and would be a good model in this case too.”

He insisted the UK is not interested in any arrangements which keep the court by some other name, telling MPs:

“It’s highly unusual in an international treaty to have disputes settled in the court of one of the parties and that is the fundamental principle that we take into this, and the fundamental thing we need to remove from the arrangements going forward.”

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent Lord Frost in the House of Lords (House of Lords)

Watch live as David Frost grilled on NI Protocol

16:07 , Sam Hancock

EU not going ‘far enough’ to rectify Protocol issues – Frost

16:20 , Sam Hancock

More from Lord Frost now as he tells MPs the government welcomed aspects of the European Commission’s proposals to reform the Northern Ireland Protocol, but argued some of the ideas suggested by the bloc were “problematic”.

The Brexit minister told the European Scrutiny Committee it was “now understood on both sides that there are problems with the current situation”, adding Brussels’ proposals “do, for the first time, acknowledge they might be willing to change their own laws in order to deal with the special situation in Northern Ireland”.

But, the Tory peer added:

“The problem with them is that they don’t go far enough.

“I’m not sure they would quite deliver the kind of ambitious freeing-up of trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland that we want to see, but what we’re trying to test is whether they could find the basis to go further than what they have put on the table.

“That’s the kind of discussions we have been having and it has been quite constructive so far, but the gaps between us remain significant, and there is a lot of working through to go.”

PM jokes about ‘feeding humans to animals’ at press event

16:27 , Sam Hancock

Following our posts about this earlier, here’s Tom Batchelor with more detail on some of the bizarre remarks made by Boris Johnson during a climate press conference with school children.

Mr Johnson joked that feeding people to animals could help solve the biodiversity crisis facing the planet, while discussing the challenges facing the natural world.

The off-script remark came after the PM surprised environmental campaigners by claiming recycling plastic “doesn’t work”.

Budget 2021 news: National living wage to rise as Javid unsure when NHS backlog will be cleared
© Provided by The Independent

PM jokes about ‘feeding humans to animals’ during press conference for children

That’s it for today…

16:29 , Sam Hancock

That’s it from us on the politics blog for today, thanks for following along.

For more on the upcoming Cop26 climate summit, head to our pre-Cop blog.

Be sure to check back tomorrow morning for all the latest updates on what’s happening inside Westminster.

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