The Prime Minister is planning on pledging £5 billion in a bid to create jobs, skills and infrastructure for the UK post-coronavirus.
Tonight, Mr Johnson is expected to deliver a speech in the West Midlands where he will outline the government’s post-covid ‘build build build’ plan.
Part of the plan sees a £5bn ‘New Deal’ pledge, which promises to deliver jobs, skills and infrastructure to the UK.
The UK has been the hardest hit of the G7 major industrialised nations by the virus, with the economy shrinking by 20.4% in April.
It is expected there will be £1.5bn set aside for hospital maintenance, eradicating mental health dormitories, enabling hospital building, and improving A&E capacity.
According to the BBC, Boris Johnson is set to use the coronavirus ‘crisis to tackle the country’s great unresolved challenges of the last three decades’.
The PM added: ‘To build the homes, to fix the NHS, to tackle the skills crisis, to mend the indefensible gap in opportunity and productivity and connectivity between the regions of the UK.
“Too many parts of this country have felt left behind, neglected, unloved, as though someone had taken a strategic decision that their fate did not matter as much as the metropolis.
“And so I want you to know that this government not only has a vision to change this country for the better, we have a mission to unite and level up.”
Some of the projects expected to be outlined include:
- £560m and £200m for repairs and upgrades to schools and colleges
- £1bn will be set aside for funding of ten-year school rebuilding that will start 2020-21 with work beginning September 2021
- 101 selected towns will be given deals of between £500k and £1m to spend on projects such as park, high street and transport improvements
- £142m will be spent on upgrading around 100 courts and £83m will be set aside for prison maintenance and youth offender facilities.
- £900m for ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects and £96m investments in town centres and high streets
In terms of investment in the environment, Boris Johnson has called for a ‘build back greener’ approach, however, environmentalists have considered the response of his pre-released summary as inadequate.
Boris claims he will plant 75,000 acres of trees every single year by 2025.
Furthermore, he is expected to promise £40m to boost local conservation projects which in turn will create 3,000 jobs such as Conservation Rangers and safeguard a further 2,000.
According to reports, Boris is expected to say: “Too many parts of this country have felt left behind, neglected, unloved, as though someone had taken a strategic decision that their fate did not matter as much as the metropolis.
“And so I want you to know that this government not only has a vision to change this country for the better, we have a mission to unite and level up- the mission on which we were elected last year.”
Director of Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Henri Murison, said: “The Prime Minister in his speech tomorrow will join those of us including his Chancellor, our Metro Mayors and Northern business leaders who believe it is vital to put front and centre the work to level up and unite the country in the recovery.
“The scale of ambition of this ‘Roosevelt’s New Deal’ cannot merely be rhetoric, but must also be met by the full commitment of necessary public and private resources.
“The £10m towards completing the Northern Hub in Manchester will help curtail delays for trains crossing West to East as far as Newcastle and Hull.
“But there is a need to accelerate projects like the TransPennine Route Upgrade electrification and start building HS2 from Leeds to the Midlands, including related upgrades and the new Northern Powerhouse Rail line through Bradford.
“£900m for shovel-ready projects is not enough for the number of jobs which could be generated by accelerating delivery in our cities and wider regions across the North alone, which is why releasing local investment capacity of up to £5bn at the local level is so necessary.
“History teaches us that the New Deal only worked because the scale of its aspiration was met by spending on the ground to match.
“If this is a start in that direction and not the limit of what is to be built then it is to be welcomed.
“Otherwise, the Deal will not meet the promises made of closing the North-South divide made previously by the Prime Minister when he first took up his office.”
Boris Johnson is expected to make the speech today, June 30th.
Around 20 people involved in mass brawl ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens
The violence spilled out into the street
A large group of people were involved in a mass fight ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens last night.
Around 20 people were caught up in the large brawl on Monday evening, and according to reports some were armed with knives.
The fight took place outside Morrisons on the end of Oldham Street, and happened around 9:30pm.
Witnesses reported seeing some of the suspects carrying knives, although police didn’t recover any from the scene, and busses were forced to stop as the violence spread out onto the road.
Someone who witnessed the fight said on Twitter: “Piccadilly gardens is the roughest place on earth… a lovely night out helping ruined by a group of young kids kicking each others faces in”.
Officers responded to the incident, but no arrests were made or serious injuries reported.
This incident was the third of serious violence in just a few days.
Saturday afternoon saw another incident outside Morrisons in Piccadilly Gardens, in which a man was slashed in the face.
And on Sunday a brawl involving two tables at Barca bar in Castlefield happened, with some involved arming themselves with weapons like bar furniture and a baseball bat.
Leading scientists call for end of face masks and social distancing by June
Do you agree?
Leading scientists have written to the UK government calling for social distancing and face masks to be scrapped from June.
In total 22 scientists have signed the communication, saying that these measures should finish on June 22nd – the same date limits on social contact are set to be scrapped in England.
One of the scientists who has added their name to the letter is Dr Roland Salmon, the former director of the communicable disease centre in Wales.
Dr Salmon told BBC Radio Wales: “I am not venting my frustration but I do think some dialogue is well overdue.
“I have always felt that there has been little credible evidence benefit for many of the measures that we take.”
According to him, the letter was written to encourage the government to focus on protecting vulnerable people rather than the masses as we move forward.
Dr Salmon said we need to deal with the ‘here and now’ when asked about the threat of variants, going on to add that the vaccine has shown it helps prevent severe disease and death.
He added: “We can’t stop living forever while we wait for things to happen”.
Scientists who’ve signed the letter include Prof Robert Dingwall from Nottingham Trent University, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG).
There’s also Prof Anthony Brookes, a geneticist and health data scientist at the University of Leicester, and Prof Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University.
The letter reads: “We are being told simultaneously that we have successful vaccines and that major restrictions on everyday life must continue indefinitely. Both propositions cannot be true.
“We need to give more weight to the data on the actual success of the vaccines and less to theoretical risks of vaccine escape and/or surge in a largely vaccinated population.”
It continues: “Covid-19 no longer requires exceptional measures of control in everyday life, especially where there have been no evaluations and little credible evidence of benefit.
“Measures to reduce or discourage social interaction are extremely damaging to the mental health of citizens; to the education of children and young people; to people with disabilities; to new entrants to the workforce; and to the spontaneous personal connections from which innovation and enterprise emerge.”
Boris Johnson is regarded as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters
It follows weeks of allegations against the PM
According to a new poll Boris Johnson is seen as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters in Britain, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer seen as more trustworthy.
The poll from Ipsos MORI was shared by the Evening Standard, and comes after weeks of leaks and allegations about sleaze aimed at the prime minister.
The research found that Mr Johnson is trusted by just 35% of voters and deemed untrustworthy by 59%, while Sir Keir is seen as trustworthy by 42% and is untrusted by 41%.
Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: “On honesty Boris Johnson is clearly trumped by Keir Starmer, so this is an area of potential risk for him.
“However, his own supporters still trust him, and the public overall have never seen it as one of his strongest attributes … and as previous leaders such as Tony Blair have shown, you don’t have to be ahead on trust to win elections.
“The key question is whether and if these stories continue and start to change the public’s overall view on him as PM.”
The poll was taken following weeks of reports about murky donations being used to refurbish the prime minister’s flat, as well as disclosures about covert lobbying.
However, it was undertaken before the most recent allegations that Mr Johnson said he’d rather see ‘bodies pile high’ than have another lockdown, so those reports won’t have been taken into consideration by those polled.
Despite all the recent controversy, the prime minister and government’s net satisfaction hasn’t changed much since March, with both Mr Johnson (44 satisfied/50 dissatisfied) and Sir Keir (36/46) having net negative ratings.
Ipsos MORI interviewed 1090 adults across the UK by telephone from April 16th to the 22nd – you can find full details here.