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Good morning. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, will be in the Commons later to deliver his fourth Covid support package in as many months. It is expected that a key feature of his announcement will be increased support for businesses that are affected by the tier 2 restrictions – such as pubs and restaurants getting less trade because people cannot meet up inside to eat or drink with friends.
Ministers have been under pressure to address this problem for week, because businesses have been suffering in the Midlands and the north of England in places where tier 2-style restrictions were imposed over the summer. (The three-tier system was only introduced last week.) Labour even staged a vote addressing this issue in the Commons yesterday. The government voted it down with a majority of 79. But you could read Sunak’s statement as evidence that, as the Corbynites would put it, Labour won the argument.
Alternatively, Sunak’s appearance in the Commons this morning may also be testament to the immense power of London over Westminster policy making. Hospitality venues in the north have been struggling for month. London only went into tier 2 on Saturday, and five days later – lo and behold – a rescue package is on its way.
On the Today programme this morning Andy Street, the Conservative mayor of the West Midlands, admitted that Sunak was addressing a problem that was “completely missed” when the three-tier regime was introduced. Businesses forced to close under tier 3 rules were getting help, but businesses losing custom because of tier 2 rules were not, he said.
The government have given incredible support to businesses, but clearly this particular point was just one that was completely missed in planning the tier 2 restrictions so I am really optimistic that they will respond.
The government didn’t expect us to be in a position through the autumn where we were having a rising level of the virus to this extent, so if you look at the design of the winter economy package at the time that seemed rational but clearly events have moved very quickly.
Here is the agenda for the day.
10am: Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, Steve Rotheram, the mayor of Liverpool city region, Jamie Driscoll, the North of Tyne mayor and Tim Bowles, the West of England mayor, give evidence to the Commons business committee about growth policy and levelling up.
11pm: NHS Test and Trace is due to publish its weekly performance figures.
Around 11.30am: Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, delivers his statement to MPs.
12.15pm: The Welsh government’s education minister Kirsty Williams holds a coronavirus briefing.
12.15pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, holds a coronavirus briefing.
1.05pm: Boris Johnson addresses the Great Northern Conference. Other speakers include the Sheffield city region mayor Dan Jarvis at 9.30am, the former chancellor George Osborne at 9.40am and Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, at 2.50pm.
2pm: Public Health England publishes its weekly Covid surveillance report.
2.15pm: Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, gives evidence to the public administration and constitutional affairs committee.
Politics Live has been doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog for some time and, given the way the Covid crisis eclipses everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will be covering non-Covid political stories too, like Brexit, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take precedence.
Here is our global coronavirus live blog.
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Source: The Guardian
Keyword: UK coronavirus live: senior Tory says Rishi Sunak will address funding flaw in three-tier Covid system | Politics