Face masks and other social distancing measures will no longer be compulsory after July 19th, new reports are claiming today.
The wearing of face coverings in a range of public settings, including in shops and on public transport, has been required since the start of the Covid pandemic last year.
But now, the end could very well be in sight – despite a number of delays over the last few months.
New reports claim that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing for the lifting of mask laws in almost all settings to help get life ‘as near to normal as possible.’
As a part of a new ‘freedom plan’ that is expected to be published by Johnson in the coming days, ministers have scrapped the idea of ‘Covid passports’ for mass events such as festivals. Last night, it also emerged that nightclubs will be allowed to reopen on July 19th without the need to test customers at the door.
Key social distancing measures, including the one-metre rule, the rule of six and the thirty person limit on the size of outdoor gatherings, are also set to become voluntary.
Asked whether the requirement to wear a mask in shops and offices would go on the revised ‘freedom day’, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We aim to remove as many restrictions as is safe to do so.”
This comes after a spike in Covid cases across the country, something which chief medical officer Chris Witty says has no negative affect upon the NHS.
A source said Professor Whitty had suggested that ‘we should get as much open this summer as possible before winter, which will be much more difficult.’
Labour pledges to renationalise railways and hire thousands of doctors and nurses
The party’s shadow transport secretary said the conservative’s ‘disastrous rail system’ has ‘catastrophically failed us all’
The Labour party has pledged to bring the nation’s railways back into state ownership if it wins the next general election.
Speaking at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool today, Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said putting ‘failing private operators in the hands of the public’ would ‘improve services and lower fares’.
Haigh added that the government’s ‘disastrous rail system’ has ‘catastrophically failed us all’ and turned railways into a ‘cash machine for companies and foreign governments’.
She cited the recent Avanti West Coast disruption as an example, slamming it as ‘the worst performing operator in the country’ over its long delays and service disruptions.
During its conference, the party also promised a recruitment drive for thousands more NHS doctors, nurses and midwives by reversing the Conservative party’s abolition of the 45p tax rate for top earners.
The scrapping of the 45p tax rate – which is paid for by those who earn over £150,000 a year – has received huge backlash from both Labour and Conservative MPs, many of whom say the move is only set to benefit the wealthy.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said the billions of pounds saved on reversing this cap would deliver ‘one of the biggest expansions of the NHS workforce in history’, instead of handing financial rewards to the UK’s top earners.
She announced that under Labour’s plan, the money saved would pay to double the number of district nurses qualifying every year, train 5,000 more health visitors, and create an extra 10,000 nursing and midwifery each year.
She also said that the number of medical school places would be doubled from 7,500 to 15,000 to ‘make sure that everyone who wants to train as a doctor in Britain can’.
Reeves said: “Our priority is not tax cuts for the wealthiest few – it is securing our public finances and investing in our public service.
“I can tell you: with a Labour government, those at the top will pay their fair share. The 45p top rate of income tax is coming back.”
Boy, 15, arrested after teenage boy stabbed to death outside school
He’s the second person to be arrested
A teenage boy has been arrested following the murder of a 15-year-old on Wednesday.
The suspect, also 15, was picked up by police after student Khayri McLean was stabbed to death in Huddersfield.
He has now been arrested in connection with the murder.
He’s the second person to be arrested as police investigate Khayri’s death outside his school.
West Yorkshire Police said: “Police investigating the murder of 15-year-old Khayri McLean in Huddersfield have arrested a second youth in connection with the incident.
“The 15-year-old male was arrested yesterday and is currently in custody. A 16-year-old male who was arrested yesterday also remains in custody.
“Officers from West Yorkshire Police’s homicide and major enquiry team (HMET) are continuing to conduct enquiries into the death of Khayri, who died after being stabbed on Woodhouse Hill, Huddersfield, on Wednesday.”
Kwasi Kwarteng scraps cap on bankers’ bonuses in first mini-budget as Chancellor
NEWS JUST IN
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng gave his first mini-budget in the House of Commons this morning.
He began by discussing the government’s plan to support people with the cost of energy, including freezing domestic bills at £2,500 and giving out the £400 rebate.
There’s also unit price limits for companies.
Kwarteng said he believes the UK needs a ‘new approach for a new era’ to achieve growth of 2.5%, saying the three important parts of his mini-budget are reforming the economy’s supply side, tax cuts and a responsible approach when it comes to public finances.
As part of this, the Chancellor announced a new bill to overhaul planning restrictions, saying this will ‘unpick the complex patchwork of planning restrictions and EU-derived laws’.
He revealed that benefit claimants will see their benefits reduced if they do not fulfil their job searching commitments.
Kwarteng also confirmed that the cap on bankers’ bonuses will be scrapped, following reports that he would make this one of his first moves.
As well as that, the planned corporation tax increase has been cancelled, and will remain at 19%, with the Chancellor also setting out a series of tax cuts for businesses.
This includes tax cuts for businesses in designated tax sites for 10 years, accelerated tax reliefs for buildings, and no business rates to pay for newly occupied business residences.