Matthew Taylor

Sunday shows round-up: ‘I’m not anticipating any more lockdowns’ says Javid

Sunday shows round-up: 'I'm not anticipating any more lockdowns' says Javid
BBC One's Andrew Marr show
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Sajid Javid – I’m not anticipating any more lockdowns

The Health Secretary was the main guest of the day on BBC One’s Andrew Marr show, hosted this morning by Nick Robinson. Robinson asked Javid about the likelihood that Christmas could be threatened once again by lockdown. Javid responded by saying that it was highly unlikely that the UK would see itself in a similar position to last year, even with an expected surge of the virus over this winter:

Vaccine passports will not go ahead

Last week, the Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi appeared to confirm government plans to introduce vaccine passports. A difficult vote had been anticipated towards the end of September, but Javid went back on the previous announcement, and suggested that the passports would only be kept ‘in reserve’: 

SJ: We just shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it… We’ve looked at it properly… and I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.

Government will end £20 universal credit rise in October

Trevor Phillips sought a direct response to the government’s approach to universal credit. The benefit was raised by £20 a week as a response to the pandemic, but it is due to end on October 6th. Opposition parties have called for the uplift to be made permanent, raising concerns about recipients finding themselves in debt once it is removed. Javid said this would not be happening: 

SJ: We’re going to end the temporary increase in universal credit… at the end of this month.

Government aims to scrap PCR tests for travellers

Javid also argued that having to take costly PCR tests, which are required when travellers return from abroad, should be abolished as soon as possible:

SJ: The PCR test that is required upon your return to the UK from certain countries – I want to get rid of that as soon as I possibly can.

Jonathan Ashworth – National Insurance hike is ‘punishing’ and ‘unfair’

The Shadow Health Secretary was also ready to weigh in with his two cents, and attacked the government’s new national insurance levy, aimed at bolstering health and social care. Ashworth critiqued the tax rise as unjustly punishing people who would never see the benefits of it, and suggested that there would still need to be increases to council tax bills over and above the new charge:

JA: It is a punishing and unfair tax rise, that won’t deliver the health care that is needed… There will still be thousands… who don’t get access to the social care they need.

‘Our social care system is broken’

Ashworth went on to detail the problems with social care in the UK as things stand. Robinson pressed him on Labour’s plans to reform the sector: 

JA: Our social care system is broken… We will have a reform programme to rebuild our broken care services… [to] allow people to stay in their home longer [and] raise quality.

Nicola Sturgeon – Indyref 2 in 2023 ‘right for the country’

Phillips interviewed Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. He inquired about Sturgeon’s plans to hold a new independence referendum in 2023:

NS: I think it’s right for the country… I’m very confident that when this question is next put, people in Scotland will vote ‘Yes’.

Gender Recognition Bill will not remove women’s protections

And finally, Sturgeon pledged that Scotland’s Gender Recognition Bill, intended to make the process of transitioning one’s gender easier, would not impact the rights of women, such as their rights to receive refuge from abusive partners in female-only spaces: 

NS: It does not in any way, shape or form, remove the legal protections of women, and that’s important to me as a feminist.