Boris Johnson faces criticism over his handling of the energy and supply chain crises, as exclusive polling for The Independent has found two-thirds of voters say he has performed badly.
In addition, only 41 per cent of people polled for this website by Savanta ComRes said they were confident in how the government was handling the economy – just days before Rishi Sunak is due to set out his budget.
Earlier on Sunday the chancellor rejected a fresh plea from Marcus Rashford to extend free school meals, saying the government had already acted to help children and has now “transitioned to a more normal way of doing things” post-Covid.
Viewers of Mr Sunak’s Budget speech on Wednesday may not get many surprises because the Treasury has already trailed some £20bn of investment ahead of time.
The spending spree includes some £7bn to “level up” transport outside London, though not all of it is new money; £500m for family support including new children’s centres; and £5bn for health research and genome sequencing.
Labour demands government brings in Covid plan B restrictions now
Labour has called on Boris Johnson’s government to bring in its so-called “plan B” restrictions to tackle the surge in Covid cases, writes Adam Forrest.
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said ministers must listen to scientific advisers asking for tougher curbs – including the mandatory wearing of masks in public places and a return to work-from-home guidance.
“We think we should follow the science – if the scientists are saying work from home and masks, we should do that,” Ms Reeves said on The Andrew Marr Show.
Opinion: What’s really happening in the Budget? These are the signals so far
The autumn Budget is on Wednesday, when we will get the usual tsunami of numbers about the economy and public finances, together with a string of things that the government is spending money on, writes Hamish McRae.
That will be followed by a series of protests from the various lobby groups about the underfunding of their areas of interest, plus another set of protests from other lobbyists about the rising burden of taxes to pay for all this.
There is nothing wrong with all this. Quite the reverse, for it is a key part of the whole democratic process that public spending and taxation should be scrutinised in this way. But the noise of the competing interest groups drowns out the signals that might tell us what is really happening.
Will Rishi Sunak lose his battle to avoid winter lockdown?
There is a wearily familiar pattern to Boris Johnson’s public statements during the Covid crisis, writes Adam Forrest.
The prime minister tells us he hopes there will be no need for a lockdown, then belatedly bows to the data and announces another round of restrictions.
Will the same cycle play out during a fourth wave this winter? The astute political commentator Gary Neville is in little doubt about what happens next.
Opinion: The Budget is a golden opportunity to set out an economy that works better for consumers – they should take it
The strong economic recovery following the initial shocks of the pandemic defied most expectations, writes Rocio Conta.
Yet there are concerning signs that our bounceback is starting to falter. The economy remains smaller now than in February 2020, and the rate of growth has slowed considerably since earlier this year.
Some consumers have managed to increase their savings in the past 18 months, but many haven’t been so fortunate. For them, the result is an erosion of living standards, exacerbated by the recent rises in the price of fuel, energy and food.
Exclusive: Johnson’s government has handled energy and supply crises badly, say two-thirds of voters
Two in three people think Boris Johnson’s government has botched its handling of the energy and supply crises which have seen firms collapse and empty supermarket shelves, exclusive polling for The Independent has found.
The same survey found the majority of voters are “not confident” about the prime minister’s handling of the economy, as his chancellor Rishi Sunak prepares to set out his Budget plans next week, writes Adam Forrest.
Some 64 per cent of voters said the government has handled the country’s supply chain problems and lorry driver shortages “badly”, according to the survey by Savanta ComRes.
Conservative MP urges Johnson to deliver on devolution
Jake Berry, who chairs the Northern Research Group of Conservative MPs, called on Boris Johnson to deliver on his promise of devolution.
The Conservative MP for Rossendale and Darwen and former northern powerhouse minister spoke about foreign direct investment on BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend.
He said: “Frankly after the Covid pandemic, the government doesn’t have enough money on its own to make the commitment to level up these communities and we want to see new businesses with good highly paid jobs … locating in the regions of the UK.”
He added: “It’s really important the prime minister delivers on his promise of devolution, so you have mayors who can go out and talk to the world…
“I do think Andy Burnham has done a good job in Greater Manchester in the area of attracting foreign direct investment.”
Sunak reveals pre-Budget speech rituals
Rishi Sunak has revealed his “pre-game routine” will be to have a Twix and a can of Sprite before delivering his Budget on Wednesday.
The chancellor, who has a self-confessed “sugar problem”, and has previously said he was a “total coke addict” – before clarifying that he meant the fizzy drink, not the class A drug – was asked on Times Radio whether he had any rituals or superstitions ahead of the event.
And he said: “I have a general pre-game routine, pre-match routine, for when I have to do parliamentary things which is, look, I have a sugar problem so I tend to have a Twix and a can of Sprite, even though my favourite thing is Coke but I save that for afterwards.
“But I have a Twix and a can of Sprite which Lisa who runs my office always make sure is sitting there on my desk in parliament, so that is my immediate pre-game kind of booster.”
Mr Sunak also said his children “have a lot of input generally on the tie selection and I sometimes wear some bracelets that they make”.
Sunak won’t commit to wearing face mask in Commons
Rishi Sunak has refused to commit to wearing a mask inside the crowded Commons chamber.
The chancellor dodged questions on whether he though cabinet colleague Jacob Rees-Mogg was right to say Tory MPs did not have to wear face coverings because of they had a more “convivial, fraternal spirit” than Labour.
But he suggested it was “appropriate” for MPs to decide to go without a mask in the Commons. “The government guidance is for people to make decisions based on what they think is appropriate based on the circumstances they are in.”
“Every workplace is going to be different depending on how many people are there, how long you’re there for, whether you know the people or not.”
Nike suspends trainer recycling programme over Brexit costs
Nike has suspended its Reuse-a-Shoe recycling scheme in the UK as the recycling industry grapples with high costs related to Brexit, writes Kate Ng.
Customers looking to send their old shoes off for recycling can still collect a recycling bag from Nike stores to be sent to one of the brand’s four distribution centres in Belgium.
But now, they must pack the items themselves and pay for postage, which was previously paid for by Nike.
Vaccines minister insists Covid-19 ‘plan A’ is working
The new vaccines minister Maggie Throup says the government’s current approach to the surge in Covid-19 cases is working – refusing to say whether “plan B” measures could be introduced.
Speaking to LBC, Ms Throup refused to say whether further restrictions such as mandatory masks or work from home guidance. “The data right now shows that ‘plan A’ is working.”
Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, said earlier today that ‘plan B’ was not yet needed. However, some elements of the tougher measures are already in place – warning the public about the rising risk of coronavirus, and giving extra help to areas suffering “enduring transmission”.
Minister have thus far resisted more interventions, which would include mandatory face masks and advice to work from home.