Rishi Sunak warns: 'I cannot save every business, I cannot save every job'

Rishi Sunak has warned of "difficult decisions ahead" as he unveiled his latest package of measures to try and prop the economy up over the coming winter. 

The Chancellor warned that coronavirus and the ensuing restrictions would last "at least" six months, stressing this was in contrast to the Government's hope it would be "temporary" in March. 

That is why the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), which is replacing the furlough scheme, will only support "viable" jobs that will still exist next year, he explained. 

“I cannot save every business, I cannot save every job," he said. 

The Chancellor praised predecessors in an apparent reference to the austerity measures since 2010 for getting the economy into a shape that meant "when problems like this come along you can throw a lot at them".

"I will obviously have to make similar difficult decisions in the future as we get on a path back to sustainability, but right now the priority is supporting the economy, throwing everything we have got at protecting people's jobs and that's what I will continue to do."

He added: "It is right that the state steps in to provide the support that we have done to people around the country and the businesses that employ them - and indeed our public services.

"We are dealing with something of unprecedented scale in how many people it affects, it affects the whole country, the severity with which it affects them, and indeed it is the state that is putting restrictions on all of our activity in order to suppress the virus to our collective benefit.

"That does mean the state has a slightly different role to play versus peace time."

Follow the latest updates below.

And that's it for another day: 55 per cent of readers back Rishi Sunak

Boris Johnson was out and about in Northamptonshire today, but it was his Chancellor who took the limelight. 

Rishi Sunak announced a new set of economic measures designed to protect "viable" jobs from redundancy during tighter restrictions over the winter. 

The wage subsidies push more responsibility onto business and their employees, with the state shouldering less of the burden than the furlough scheme. 

But he said it was right that the state stepped in to support people in this crisis, saying "the state has a slightly different role to play versus peace time, if you want to make that analogy."

Labour and some unions have argued it is too little too late, but 55 per cent of voters in today's poll said it was the right time and the right approach. 

I'll be back tomorrow from 8am, to bring you the latest from Westminster and beyond. 

Unemployment forecasts 'don't make for good reading', says Sunak

Rishi Sunak has said the independent forecasts "don't make for good reading", but stressed the country would come through the other side. 

The Chancellor said there was no Treasury forecast for the unemployment level, but pointed to others which predicted it would reach "high single digits by the end of the year". 

But this was not something that is starting to come, "it's already happening", he said. "That is why it is my number one priority," he added.  

"From the beginning of this crisis I was determined to protect as many jobs as possible... it will be a difficult few months but I am confident we will get through it and get through it together."

Rishi Sunak: Early signs of progress in the economy - but from a low base

Rishi Sunak is then asked what his message is for people who are still currently on furlough. 

The Chancellor says for those who are still not working, which is down from around nine million at the peak, most people should feel reassured that that could come back on a part-time basis. 

"We are making it as easy as possible to bring those last remaining people back into their workplaces," he adds.

The best thing people can do now is "follow the guidelines", he adds. 

If everyone does what they need to do "we can protect much more of our economy as possible". 

There is "early sign of progress" he adds, although admits it is from "a low base". 

Rishi Sunak: It is right for the state to step in during crisis

The Telegraph's Gordon Rayner asks that given the long-term pressure on finances if the state should be shrunk to "do its bit".

Rishi Sunak says "it is right that the state steps in to support people" and the public services. 

"We are dealing with something of unprecedented scale.. that is putting restrictions on all our activity."

The state has "a slightly different role than it does normally in peace time," he adds. 

Longer term it is "generally a good thing" for people to keep more of their own money, but in the short term it is "right that we give the support that we do," he adds. 

Rishi Sunak rejects suggestions that Eat Out scheme spread coronavirus 

Rishi Sunak is asked about the impact of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme on the spread of the virus. 

He points to other countries saying it is similar and therefore "simplistic" to say the rise could be caused by any one thing. 

"More broadly, I don't think it's the wrong thing for the Government or people to want to get their lives back to normal... we all want to live life as normally as possible, recognising that it is an iterative process," he adds. 

Asked what business reaction is to the new scheme, and the risk of "fire and hire" practices, the Chancellor said the company would be paying more now "on the basis that their employee is working" for part of the time. 

The rest is a "fair share" between the Government, businesses and staff, and says "most companies want to invest in their people - they don't want to let them go". 

Sunak swerves question about economic modelling of second lockdown

Asked if the Treasury has modelled the economic cost of a second lockdown, Rishi Sunak says the country needs to do "our bit" to control the virus. 

He echoes the "stitch in time" comments made by Boris Johnson earlier this week, saying our hope is that measures will protect the economy. 

But "if we need to put in place more restrictions, we will have to do that," says Mr Sunak. 

However he dodges the question about the economic modelling. 

Rishi Sunak: Must be mindful of the cost of coronavirus support

Rishi Sunak is asked how the country will "pay the bill" in the long term. 

The Chancellor says he is delighted by the question, and says it is not "sustainable" to keep supporting people to the extent they have been. 

This is why measures are more targeted because "we have to be mindful" of how much it is costing. 

"Over time, and as the economy recovers, we absolutely need to have an eye on our public finances," he says, paying tribute to his predecessors for "repairing" public finances which meant he could "throw everything we've got" at this crisis. 

Asked about the total cost, he says that will be published later in the autumn and it will be costed by the OBR.

Roughly VAT cut will cost £800m, on top of the existing estimate, he says. 

Loan and tax deferrals are "slightly complicated", he adds. 

The jobs support scheme is "very tricky to be precise because we don't know the exact take up", but he gives an estimate of £300m per million per month, he says. 

Sunak: I stand ready to do more as the situation evolves

Asked if he will announce further measures if the situation requires it, Rishi Sunak says he is "acting in advance" of a difficult period, which should help people through the winter months. 

"But we always stand ready to do what is necessary," he adds. 

The crisis demands "creative" responses, he adds, saying the scheme announced today has never been tried before. 

"Of course" he is ready to more as the situation evolves, he adds. 

Sunak: There are difficult times to come

Asked if he can say with any guarantee if unemployment won't go above four million, Rishi Sunak says he would be "lying" if he tried to give specific figures. 

He also dodges a question about whether people will be back in work by Christmas. 

The Chancellor says unemployment will continue to rise, saying it is "a complete tragedy... which is why I am doing everything I can to protect.. jobs across the economy."

Mr Sunak says some action, such as the KickStart scheme, are already starting to bear fruit "but there are a lot of difficult times to come". 

Sunak: New support will help hospitality sector in particular

Rishi Sunak is asked why furlough has been pulled from specific sectors despite being restricted by the Government. Are those businesses just the price that has to be paid, he is asked. 

The Chancellor stresses that the hospitality industry is not paying any business rates, and have been provided with cash grants, as well as the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. 

"That represents a considerable amount of support for that industry," he says, as well as the new scheme. 

"They are open and operating but have depressed demand," and this scheme will help with that problem precisely he says. 

Sunak: I can't promise people will go back to the job they had

The Chancellor is asked again about viability, saying people are anxious about whether their jobs are viable. 

Are jobs where trading has fallen off completely, such as city centre sandwich shops, viable?

Rishi Sunak dodges the question again, saying it is not for him to decide. 

Coronavirus is going to be "a fact of life for some time to come", he says, adding: "I can't promise people will go back to the job they had,"

He points to other schemes designed to help people get training and support into new jobs instead. 

Sunak: We want people to be supported to do the right thing

Rishi Sunak is then asked what his message for employees who are being penalised by the restrictions who won't be able to get support on the new scheme. 

The Chancellor says he doesn't want people to be disadvantaged and points to improvements in the welfare system, and a hardship fund for local authorities, saying there is "a range of things for the most vulnerable". 

There is also support for those self isolating on low income, he adds. 

"We want people to be supported to do the right thing."

Burden of new scheme shared by Government, employer and employee, says Sunak

Rishi Sunak says the scheme is more targeted than furlough, pointing to the "sensible and right" move to make larger firms demonstrate a fall in revenues before they can qualify. 

The burden is also shared by the Government, employer and employee he says, stressing "we are all in this together". 

And there is the furlough bonus on top, which provides an additional incentive, the Chancellor says. 

Viability of future jobs will be tested by whether staff can work some hours, says Chancellor

Rishi Sunak takes questions from journalists, starting with the BBC, who asks which jobs he thinks will no longer be viable because of the pandemic. 

He says it is "impossible to predict the exact shape of the labour market". 

The Chancellor says the take up of the furlough scheme surprised everyone, but he thinks take up of this new scheme will also be good. 

However he refuses to "make pronouncements about what job is viable and what job is not", but support must be "concentrated on jobs that have a genuine prospect of being viable", he says. 

The "test" of a minimum period of work "is the way to think about viability", he says. 

Rishi Sunak: Plan has evolved because crisis will be here for next six months

Rishi Sunak has started the press conference, telling people "the economic plan is evolving, because the situation is evolving". 

In March, the Government had thought it would be a "temporary situation" but it is now clear that for at least the next six months, restrictions will be in place, he says. 

That means he needs to adapt the measures in place, the Chancellor says, including allowing businesses to keep staff on fewer hours rather than make redundancies. 

He goes on to outline the other parts of the measures he announced in the Commons earlier today. 

Watch: Boris Johnson defends the new winter economy plan

Boris Johnson defended the Chancellor's new winter economy plan today, saying he "fully supports the package of measures we have jointly drawn up". 

Speaking during a visit to Northampton Police Headquarters, he urged everyone to "follow the guidance" and self-isolate if asked. 

The Prime Minister also defended the new NHS contacting tracing app. 

Watch below. 

Row brews over contact tracing app that cannot be downloaded on old phones

The rollout of the new contact tracing app in England and Wales has been hit by complaints from some users that they are unable to download it because of the age of their mobile phone.

Users took to social media on Thursday to express their frustration at being unable to use the app because their device was not compatible.

The NHS Covid-19 app requires Apple iPhone users to be running the iOS 13.5 version of the firm's software, released last year but available to devices several years older, while users of Google's Android require version 6.0, which was rolled out in 2015.

This morning Matt Hancock said he could not be expected to ensure people without the appropriate technology would be able to download the app, but he urged those who could do to so. 

Tory MP apologises for breaching parliamentary rules 

A Tory MP has apologised to the Commons after he breached parliamentary rules on paid advocacy.

David Morris last year asked a question and sent a follow-up email to the Business Secretary relating to a firm which had given him a £10,000 donation the previous month.

An inquiry by the Committee on Standards ruled that Mr Morris had inadvertently breached the Code of Conduct for MPs on two occasions and recommended that Mr Morris apologise to the Commons by means of a personal statement.

The Morecambe and Lunesdale MP today said: "I'm very sorry for these breaches. I did not intend to and now I understand the rules and how they should be adhered to. I had received a £10,000 link donation to my campaign fund from Aquind Limited in September 2019.

"Mistakenly I thought that by drawing attention to my register entry when asking a topical question about EU regulation that could affect Aquind I was complying with the rules.

"I was mortified to realise my topical question and my follow-up email were not allowed under the paid advocacy rules. I realise that any breach of the paid advocacy rule is a very serious matter indeed.

"I am very sorry for this and I can assure you (deputy speaker Dame Rosie Winterton) and the House that I never intended to commit any breach of any of the rules and I was always endeavouring to protect my constituents' interests and adhere to the rules of the House."

UK has held 'detailed discussions' about concerns over Russian gas pipeline, says Raab 

The UK will maintain "solidarity" with Germany as it considers what to do about the gas pipeline running from Russia to Europe across the Baltic Sea, Dominic Raab has said. 

During a debate about Belarus, Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, asked the Foreign Secretary what his current thinking was about the Nord Stream 2 project, which he said was "allowing the Russian government to salami-slice our Eastern neighbours and friends one by one".

The MP for Tonbridge and Malling said: "What we're seeing in (Belarus) could easily happen in others."

Mr Raab confirmed he had held "a detailed discussion" with Heiko Maas, his German counterpart, as well as France's foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, making clear "our reservations and our concerns about Nord Stream 2, both from the point of encouraging European energy dependence on Russia but also the impact on Ukraine".

Mr Raab added: "It's quite important that given the lead Germany has taken with Alexei Navalny and in relation to the work we're doing on Belarus, we maintain European solidarity, but those points are well made and of course our European partners know the UK position."

Further 30 people die with coronavirus

A further 30 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 29,838.

Patients were aged between 18 and 101 years old. All except two - aged between 53 and 82 - had known underlying health conditions.

The date of death ranges from 17 September to 23 September 2020.

The North West was the worst affected region, with 12 deaths, while the South West continues to see zero. 

'Tory divisions preventing a coup against AWOL PM'

Boris Johnson's decision to go to Northampton rather than sit next to his Chancellor today has not gone unnoticed by Conservative backbenchers, who are bemoaning a lack of joined-up thinking on Downing Street. 

One senior Tory told me the Prime Minister was "AWOL" and that it is a "Government with no strategy... a Government of third-rate hangers on and sycophants."

There is general unease on the backbenches but the party is too split to force a change through a "coup".

"Every faction is hoping he quits after he gets Brexit done... but it would require a left-right pincer movement to take him out and each side hates the other too much". 

In pictures: Boris Johnson's trip to Northamptonshire Police Headquarters

Boris Johnson has visited Northamptonshire today, to check out the training that some of the new police recruits are undergoing at the local police headquarters.

We are expecting a clip from him shortly - but in the meantime here are some pictures of him in action. 

Boris Johnson watching police trainees at work Credit: AFP
Boris Johnson sits in a police vehicle during a visit to Northamptonshire Police Headquarters Credit: Reuters
Boris Johnson and Northamptonshire Deputy Chief Constable Simon Nickless Credit: Reuters
 Boris Johnson talks with police officers during a visit to Northamptonshire Police Headquarters Credit: Reuters
Boris Johnson and Northamptonshire Deputy Chief Constable Simon Nickless Credit: Reuters

Chancellor's plan will leave creative industries 'with grim future', says senior Tory

Back to the winter economy plan announced by Rishi Sunak earlier today, which a senior Conservative MP has warned will leave many "with a grim future". 

DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight said while he broadly welcomed the measures, it would leave "many hundreds of thousands of workers in events, arts and cultural parts of the economy" without support. 

“The truth is, three times as many people in these sectors are currently on furlough than the national average, which suggests that the Job Support Scheme may not be able to stop unprecedented redundancies and many organisations from facing extinction," he added. 

Sanctions could be imposed on Alexander Lukashenko himself, suggests Dominic Raab 

The UK Government is considering sanctions on Alexander Lukashenko himself, Dominic Raab has signalled. 

Labour's Lisa Nandy told the Foreign Secretary she supported his "efforts to work with allies to impose Magnitsky sanctions on those involved".

But she asked whether those sanctions would be deployed against the man whose "fraudulent" election and inauguration Mr Raab had condemned, as well as "whether he has made any progress in ensuring that corruption is in the scope of the Magnitsky legislation".

Mr Raab said the Government was "considering the whole range of potential individuals".

"And she mentioned also corruption - she'll know that corruption is not currently covered by the Magnitsky sanctions, they deal with a slew of the most serious human rights violations, although they do cover those who might profit from those human rights abuses.

"But I can tell her I am looking very carefully at how we extend the next step of the Magnitsky sanctions to corruption and similar types of offences. I'll say more about that in due course."

UK to impose sanctions over Lukashenko's 'fraudulent' election

While reaction to the Chancellor's winter economy plan is still filtering through, back in the Commons the Foreign Secretary has confirmed that the UK does not recognise Alexander Lukashenko's "fraudulent" election.

As a result, Britain is preparing sanctions against those responsible for the "serious human rights violations" in Belarus.

Making a statement to MPs Dominic Raab said: "We do not accept the results of this rigged election. Second, we condemn the thuggery deployed against the Belarussian people."

He added it is "absolutely critical" that those responsible are held to account, explaining: "We are willing to join the EU in adopting targeted sanctions against those responsible for the violence, the repression and the vote-rigging, although the EU process has now been delayed in Brussels.

"Given that delay, given [Lukashenko's] fraudulent inauguration, I have directed the FCDO sanction team to prepare Magnitsky sanctions for those responsible for the serious human rights violations and we're coordinating with the United States and Canada to prepare appropriate listings as a matter of urgency."

Protests after Alexander Lukashenko held his presidential inauguration in secret Credit: AFP

Rishi Sunak using plaster on 'gaping wound', claim unions

TUC general secretary France O'Grady might have given the Chancellor her backing, but union bosses have accused him of using a plaster to cover a "gaping wound" while jobs have already been lost.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union said the furlough scheme should have been extended beyond next month.

"The Chancellor's measures are akin to using a plaster to cover a gaping wound," he said. "The Tories' ideological opposition to increased state intervention is hurting the economy and costing people their livelihoods right now."

Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) leader Manuel Cortes said: "Better late than never but the Government's indecision has already seen jobs lost in droves and caused huge needless anxiety among millions of workers." 

He added: "We have called for bold action from government and remain concerned that six months is too short to really stabilise businesses and jobs, which so badly need support and would like clarity over who decides which businesses are viable."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady stressed there was "still unfinished business", urging the Government to introduce "high-quality retraining, so workers are prepared for the future economy."

Business groups back Chancellor's 'bold steps'

Business leaders praised the Chancellor's "bold steps", saying hundreds of thousands of jobs will be saved.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI, who was pictured on the steps of 11 Downing Street this morning, said it was right to target help on jobs with a future.

"These bold steps from the Treasury will save hundreds of thousands of viable jobs this winter," she said. "The Chancellor has listened to evidence from business and unions, acting decisively. It is this spirit of agility and collaboration that will help make 2021 a year of growth and renewal."

Stephen Phipson, chief executive of Make UK, added: "The priority right now has to be saving as many jobs as possible and this is a bold and brave move which industry will welcome."

Paul Everitt, chief executive of aerospace trade group ADS, said: "The impact of the sharp and sustained fall in demand for aviation threatens the future of many businesses. The scheme announced today will help minimise the damage and help companies retain valuable skills and experience."

Rishi Sunak, Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC and Dame Carolyn Fairbairn Credit: Reuters

Have your say on: The Chancellor's winter economy plan

Rishi Sunak has delivered his winter economy plan, saying the new package recognises that the coronavirus will be with us for some time yet. 

As reported this morning, wage subsidies are being brought in to replace the furlough scheme, which the Chancellor and Prime Minister have repeatedly ruled out extending.

In the Commons his package was broadly welcomed by Conservative backbenchers, but in private there are  grumblings that this should have come sooner.

Indeed Labour and other opposition MPs bemoaned the fact that it came after redundancy consultations had already begun, while others complained that the three million excluded will continue to be so. 

So has ministerial dithering cost jobs - or has the Chancellor acted as fast as he could in the circumstances? Have your say in the poll below.

Sajid Javid praises 'decisive, creative' successor Rishi Sunak 

Sajid Javid, Rishi Sunak's former boss and predecessor, says: "I know what it is like to postpone a much-anticipated Budget", but praises him for "doing whatever it takes to protect this economy". 

The Chancellor has shown "decisiveness, resilience and creativity" throughout the crisis, Mr Javid adds. 

He asks Mr Sunak to publish the delayed National Infrastructure Strategy as soon as possible "so we can get on with levelling up this country". 

Mr Sunak thanks "my friend" and says he is "absolutely right" about the need for infrastructure spend, and he promises to deliver on the strategy, and publish it this autumn. 

And that is it, the Chancellor's statement is over

Rishi Sunak says interventions have made biggest difference to those on low incomes 

Asked about the rising use of food banks, and what support is on offer for those who have lost their jobs already and those who are likely to in the coming months, Rishi Sunak says it is a tragedy that so many have been made redundant. 

His focus is on "finding new opportunities", pointing to the incentives given to firms taking on new staff, as well as the "wrap around support" for those without incomes. 

SNP MP Neil Gray says the Chancellor has "failed to live up to his own rhetoric", claiming that businesses have been rendered "unviable" by the restrictions.

Mr Sunak  points to a range of support on offer, saying the interventions have made "the most difference to those on lowest incomes". 

No change on eligibility for self-employed, says Rishi Sunak

Asked again about the self-employed who have been excluded, Rishi Sunak says the eligibility will "remain the same with some refinements". 

The reasons have been discussed "many times", he adds. 

Asked again about people who are unable to pay their mortgages because of this, the Chancellor points to the mortgage holidays that have run for six months. 

Rishi Sunak says new support recognises 'virus is here for some time to come'

Nickie Aiken, Conservative MP for Cities of London and Westminster, welcomes the support for hospitality firms "grappling" with lost income and asks Rishi Sunak to meet West End representatives to support the industry. 

The Chancellor says he would be "delighted" to meet her and see what can be done. 

Labour's Chris Bryant says the package is "good but only in part". The Government has "a moral duty" to help those businesses who cannot work because of restrictions and asks about future grants, about the three million excluded and the "massive flooding" in South Wales back in February, saying "we really need financial support". 

Mr Sunak apologises for not having replied to his original letter, saying he will get the reply "that he deserves". 

He adds: "That this virus is something we are dealing with for some time to come - is is not something that is here and then gone, and that changes what we should do."

Rishi Sunak agrees to consider extending Universal Credit minimum income floor suspension

Stephen Crabb says "implicit" in Rishi Sunak's comments about viable jobs and businesses is the threat of redundancies and firms going under. He asks for more detail. 

The Chancellor tells the former DWP minister that he will understand how important the support is  and talks about "a significant amount of support of the most vulnerable in our society". 

Stephen Timms then asks about the suspension of the minimum income floor on Universal Credit and whether this can be extended beyond the middle of November. 

Mr Sunak says that is a decision for DWP "but I will happily reflect on the point the gentleman makes". 

Rishi Sunak: New support for firms with 'genuinely secure future'

North Down MP Stephen Farry asks about support for businesses for whom paying a third of salaries "is not an option" such as in the creative industries and aviation. 

Rishi Sunak says the creative industries has had more than £1.5bn support, but now "support is focused on those who can provide viable jobs with a genuinely secure future for their employees". 

The new scheme "gets that balance right", he adds. 

Rishi Sunak challenged over support for aviation

Rachel Hopkins, Labour's MP for Luton South, asks about targeted support for the aviation sector and asks why the Government waited until after so many large aviation companies have started consultation on redundancies. 

Rishi Sunak says the response "will continue to evolve" and he has "every sympathy" with the aviation sector, but stresses support has made a different so far. 

The new scheme will be "particularly well suited" to aerospace firms, he adds. 

Peter Aldous, the Conservative MP for Waveney, asks about further support for the property market following the stamp duty holiday. 

The Chancellor says as well as that, there is the "Green Homes Grant",  which will help subsidise people to insulate their homes. 

Rishi Sunak fends off suggestions of 'levelling down'

Charlotte Nichols, Labour's MP for Warrington MP, asks about additional support for those under further restrictions. 

She suggests that without that, rather than levelling up, the Government will be "levelling down". 

Rishi Sunak stresses there is additional support such as the £500 for those on low income. "This Government remains committed to our ambitious levelling up agenda," he adds. 

Rishi Sunak rejects call to extend furlough

Rishi Sunak is asked by SNP's Alison Thewlis about extending the furlough scheme, which he rules out, stressing the need to support "viable jobs". 

He adds: "That means a new approach - extending the furlough, and allowing people to be at home full time is not the right approach at this stage in the crisis."

But he insists many of those on furlough will be supported through the new package of measures. 

Mel Stride asks about those who have 'fallen through the gaps'

Mel Stride, chair of the Treasury Select Committee "broadly and warmly" welcomes the new targeted jobs scheme. 

He says he is encouraged by the announcement on loans too, and that the self-employed will have their scheme extended. 

But he points to the "considerable concern" about the number of people who have fallen through the gaps, and asked if that will be "ironed out" with the new measures. 

Rishi Sunak says the measures to defer income tax "will be of particular importance" to self-employed small business owners, but agrees to meet him to discuss further details. 

Rishi Sunak: Number one economic priority is to protect jobs

Rishi Sunak hits back at Labour, saying he had hoped the party would have given more fulsome support because they have called for further measures. 

He says he will work with the party - if only they know what they wanted. 

He then turns to her specific questions, confirming the new scheme "has conditionality that is appropriate for this stage of our response", including that firms will not be able to make people redundant while on the scheme. 

Training will also be emphasised, he says to provide "valuable in work training" for young people. 

"My number one economic priority is to protect people's jobs," he said. 

Labour says Government has 'lagged behind' on many issues

Labour's Anneliese Dodds then claims it is "only necessary" to impose more restrictions because of failings in the Test and Trace system. 

She calls on the Chancellor to "work on this as well" as his colleagues. 

The shadow chancellor then turns to the fact the autumn Budget has been cancelled, despite the looming end to transition. 

"This Government has lagged behind on Test, Trace and Isolate, its lagged behind on wage support, it's lagged behind on support for those who have to self-isolate... for these and other reasons it looks like our recovery will lag behind those of other countries," she says. 

Labour hammers Chancellor over delay on new financial support

Labour's Anneliese Dodds responds by saying she has called for further support 40 times, and been rebuffed 20 times.

"It is a relief the Government have U-turned now but we must be open and honest - that delay in introducing this new scheme will have impact on business confidence," the shadow chancellor tells the Commons. 

The deadline for redundancy consultations "came and went last week, without a word from this Government", she says. 

If the package can help support businesses and jobs, Labour will support it, she says. "There is much we do support," Ms Dodds adds. 

"But we must ensure these measures are as effective as possible.... we must wait for the detail to be revealed."

UK must 'learn our new limits' as we learn to live with coronavirus, says Rishi Sunak 

The final step announced by Rishi Sunak is to support hospitality and tourism, two of the sectors "most affected" by the pandemic. 

The planned increase of VAT will be scrapped until March 31 next year, he says - to cheers from backbenchers. 

The new measures are "an important evolution in our approach", he tells MPs. 

"Life means more than simply existing... people were not wrong for wanting that meaning, for striving for normality," said Mr Sunak. 

It is now about "learning our new limits as we go" because the responsibility "cannot be held by Government alone". 

The cost is "paid by all", he adds. The price is wider than just the health impact, the Chancellor says. 

"We need to bear all of those costs in mind... it would be dishonest to say there is some risk-free solution... It is on all of us and we must learn to live with it, and live without fear."

Rishi Sunak unveils further business support 

Rishi Sunak says protecting jobs this winter, the second major challenge is cash flow. 

He announces four further steps to those already taken. 

Bounceback loans, which have given £38bn to small businesses, will be paid back through "pay as you grow", extending loans from six to 10 years. 

Businesses who are struggling can make interest only payments or suspend payments completely for six months. 

Other loan schemes will also have terms extended to 10 years, the Chancellor confirms. 

A new "successor" loan guarantee programme will begin in January. 

Businesses will be given more time and flexibility on their tax deferrals, he says. They are currently due in March, but now the VAT bill can be spread over 11 smaller repayments, he says. 

Rishi Sunak announces new jobs support scheme 

Rishi Sunak has announced a new jobs support scheme, supporting people who are in work "on shorter hours rather than making them redundant". 

Employees must work at least a third of their normal hours and be paid as normal. The Government will then top up, covering two-thirds of pay lost by reducing hours. 

The employee will then keep their job, he says.

Firms medium and small will be to access support, although larger ones will have to show turnover has fallen. 

Businesses who have  not yet used the furlough scheme can access it he, adds. It will not affect those who want to claim the furlough bonus. 

The self-employed grant has been been extended on similar terms.

Rishi Sunak warns coronavirus restrictions will last for 'at least' six months

Rishi Sunak highlights what support the Government has given so far but it is clear that "for at least the next six months the virus and restrictions are going to be a fact of life". 

As a result the economy will now undergo a more permanent evolution. 

The plan needs to adapt and evolve in response, he says. 

"There has been no harder decision than to end the furlough scheme," he says. It provided short term protection during the "acute" phase of the crisis, but it is "wrong" to keep jobs going that can only survive in furlough. 

Instead people should be supported in "viable" jobs. 

Next phase of economic response must be different to what came before, says Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak is now giving his statement to the House of Commons, setting out his winter economy plan. 

He says these plans have been developed to "strike the finely judged balance between managing the virus and protecting the jobs and livelihoods" of people across the country. 

Despite fears, he says there are reasons to be optimistic because we are in a fundamentally different position to the spring, noting that the NHS is better protected. 

There have been three months of growth and millions have moved off furlough, eh says. 

The task is now to "nurture" the economy by protecting jobs through the "difficult winter months", and that is why the response "must be different to what came before".  

Suella Braverman defends attacks over Internal Market Bill 

The Attorney General faced calls to resign as she defended controversial Brexit legislation which enables the UK to break international law earlier this morning.

Suella Braverman told MPs it is "entirely proper, entirely constitutional and lawful in domestic law" to enact legislation that may operate in breach of international law or treaty obligations. 

Former minister Sir Desmond Swayne challenged her on whether it would break the law, to which Ms Braverman replied: "Consideration of and voting for this Bill does not constitute a breach of the law."

However she conceded there were powers would enable a breach of international law. 

The SNP's Stuart McDonald accused Ms Braverman of "putting her political loyalties, her Brexit fanaticism ahead of her loyalty to the rule of law, when it should be the other way round".

Shadow solicitor general Ellie Reeves asked if all the former prime ministers, including Theresa May, were wrong to have criticised the bill.  

Ms Braverman said it was a question of "political debate, not legal argument", saying her position was "founded on a robust legal footing."  

MPs will have general debate on Covid restrictions, Jacob Rees-Mogg confirms

MPs will take part in a general debate on Covid-19 following demands from Tory MPs for more scrutiny on Government-imposed restrictions.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg confirmed the debate will take place on Monday September 28, two days before MPs will be asked to renew powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020.

The emergency legislation was approved in March in response to the Covid-19 outbreak and granted ministers, councils, police, health professionals and coroners increased controls.

The United Kingdom Internal Market Bill will undergo its final stages on Tuesday September 29 while a backbench debate on planning reform and house building targets has been scheduled for October 8, Mr Rees-Mogg said.

Boris Johnson arrives in Northamptonshire to meet police recruits

The Prime Minister has arrived at Northamptonshire Police HQ to meet new police recruits.

Boris Johnson sat in one of the force's new interceptor cars before heading to a sports hall where he watched some fo the recruits practise first aid.

"I should have my mask on shouldn't I," the PM told one of the recruits as she delivered CPR to a dummy.

Mr Johnson's visit comes a few days after his speech in which he announced tougher punishments for those who flout the Covid-19 restrictions.

Boris Johnson and Northamptonshire Deputy Chief Constable, Simon Nickless Credit: PA

Business Secretary 'interfering with witnesses' on OneWeb committee hearing, Labour MP claims

Business Secretary Alok Sharma has been "interfering with witness" who have been called by the Beis Committee, it has been claimed in the Commons. 

Valerie Vaz, Labour's shadow Commons leader, claimed Mr Sharma had "intervened and did not authorise a witness to attend" a hearing about the OneWeb deal. 

The Government in July used £400m of public money to take a stake in the distressed satellite constellation operator. 

Ms Vaz told the Commons: "Select committees have the power to send for persons, that is an unqualified power."

However she asked her counterpart Jacob Rees-Mogg for a debate on the deal if witnesses were to be prevented from appearing before the committee.  

The Commons leader said there are "sometimes good reasons why officials can't be present at select committees". 

Rishi Sunak poses with business group head and union boss on way to deliver winter economy plan

The Chancellor has left Downing Street to make his way to Parliament for the winter economy plan statement. 

Although it's not a Budget, Rishi Sunak has given a Budget-esque photoshoot on the steps of Number 11. 

Rishi Sunak holds his Winter Economy Plan as he poses with Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)(R)and Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress Credit: AFP

Instead of standing alongside other members of the Treasury team, he has been joined by CBI boss Carolyn Fairbairn and TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady, which suggests he will fall back on both business and union support for the package. 

And instead of brandishing the usual red box,  Mr Sunak had a decidedly more on-brand slick-looking brochure. 

Rishi Sunak poses with his 'Winter Economy Plan' outside 11 Downing Street Credit: AFP

Sacked Labour PPS defends decision to break whip

Last night Sir Keir Starmer effectively sacked three shadow PPSs after they broke the party whip to vote against the Overseas Operations Bill, after MPs had been told to abstain. 

One of the three - Nadia Whittome - was live on Peston when she found out that she had "resigned" from the role, and her surprise was visible as she said she had thought it was only a one line whip, on an issue that many in the party felt strongly. 

She has this morning put out a statement defending her decision to vote against the bill, which you can see below. 

Rishi Sunak to give press conference this afternoon

Rishi Sunak will host a press conference in Downing Street later on Thursday, Number 10 has said.

The Chancellor is expected to take questions from journalists following a statement to the House of Commons, in which he will set out his winter economy plan. 

I understand it will be mid-afternoon - and will bring you more when we are able to. 

Rishi Sunak to give press conference this afternoon Credit: AFP

Matt Hancock: Coronavirus app will help trace transmission between strangers

The long-awaited contact tracing app for England and Wales has been launched today, with Matt Hancock saying this morning that " downloading the app is part of doing your bit".

The Health Secretary said "everyone who can should download the app", as it could identify close contact with strangers - such as sitting next to someone on a bus - who may have tested positive, and that it would be an important tool to help keeping the coronavirus transmission level down.

Watch the video below for more. 

 Ministers meeting social media giants to tackle Covid misinformation, Oliver Dowden says

Ministers have met with social media companies about tackling Covid-19 misinformation online, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said. 

His Labour counterpart Jo Stevens asked what the Government was doing to slow the spread of anti-vaccination content.

Mr Dowden said ministers were "engaging with social media companies so that we have necessary measures in place to deal any misinformation should it arise at the time of a vaccine."

Mr Dowden announced that Tory former minister Lord Livingston of Parkhead, who was chief executive at BT Group from 2008-2013, will lead a task force to look at increasing diversification in the UK telecoms sphere.

He told the Commons: "We are committed to introducing the telecoms and security bill this autumn so it will have a clear and enforceable timetable to zero for Hauwei in our 5G networks by the end of 2027.

"And just to update the House, alongside that we will also publish our telecoms diversification strategy and I'm pleased to confirm that Lord Ian Livingstone will be chairing a task force of industry experts to drive that forward."

Minister unable to give 'definitive timescales' on support for sectors facing 'potential extinction event'

The Government has said it is unable to give "definitive timescales" for the reopening of sports and live entertainment, as well as other measures that could prop up the struggling culture sectors. 

Conservative MP Julian Knight, who chairs the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said the return of coronavirus was "a body-blow to sectors facing, what is in no small terms, a potential extinction event".

He asked minister Nigel Huddleston to consider "issuing of no earlier-than date with three months' notice, better, wider testing and funds specifically targeted at allowing adaptations to be made for safer reopening".

But Mr Huddleston responded: "I wish I could stand here and give definitive timescales for what we'd be able to do. We live in such uncertain times though, I'm unable to do so.

"But I can assure him we will try and endeavour to give as much guidance and notice as possible and I look forward to working with him further."

UK's elderly population rose to record high last year, says ONS

The UK's elderly population reached a record high last year, with the number of people aged 100 rising 11 per cent in 2019, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates.

There were 605,181 people aged 90 and over in 2019, a 3.6 per cent rise on the previous year and the highest level on record.

There was a 62 per cent rise in the number of 99-year-olds alive in 2019 compared with the previous year - a result of a birth spike after the First World War. The number of males aged 105-plus has more than doubled in the last decade, while the number of females of this age has risen by around half.  

Rose Giddings, from the ONS's Centre for Ageing and Demography, said: ""Despite a low number of births 100 years earlier, we saw an uptick in the number of people aged 100 years and over in 2019, due to medical advances and improvements in public health during their lifetime.

"The birth spike after World War One has resulted in an unusually large birth cohort who are aged 99 in our latest figures."

However this is expected to be affected by Covid, the ONS added. 

Exercise classes exempt from 'rule of six', minister confirms

Outdoor and indoor exercise classes are exempt from the 'rule of six' and can continue to take place in larger numbers, the Government has confirmed.

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston told the Commons that while adult indoor team sport cannot take place from tomorrow, "organised outdoor team sport, outdoor and indoor exercise classes and outdoor licensed physical activity are still exempt from the rule of six and can continue to take place in larger numbers."

Indoor exercise classes are exempt from the rule of six Credit: Getty

BBC should 'do more to support older people', says culture minister

The BBC needs to do more to support older people during the pandemic by keeping free TV licences for the over 75s, a minister has said.

During this morning's DCMS questions Labour's Gerald Jones, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, told junior minister John Whittingdale to "stop hiding behind the BBC, take another look at this policy and stick to his manifesto commitment and keep free television licences for over 75s until 2022?"

But the culture minister replied that "the Conservative manifesto did say that we believed that it should be funded by the BBC".

He added: "It is the case that those on low incomes and eligible for pension credit will continue to receive a free licence and I hope that all those who may be eligible make sure that they are receiving pension credit.

"And the Government continues to believe that the BBC does need to do more to support older people."

Join Allison Pearson and Liam Halligan to debate the stark warning over surging cases

This week the "two chiefs", Sir Patrick Vallance and Prof Chris Whitty gave a stark warning, that left unchecked coronavirus rates could surge to 50,000 a day by the middle of October. 

But Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology at the University of Oxford, argues it is impossible to predict that path for the virus and "wrong" to have put out such a warning.

Speaking to Allison Pearson on the Planet Normal podcast, she said: "I was quite surprised that such a graph would be presented to the public. It was qualified even by them as being not even a prediction, so it's very hard to understand the logic of that. Why would you present something that's not even a prediction?

Camilla Tominey: After months of over-promising and under-delivering, Number 10 has finally changed tack

Remember when Boris Johnson had to apologise for being "unnecessarily boosterish" about coronavirus?

That was back on March 19, when an upbeat Prime Minister told the daily Downing Street press conference that the next 12 weeks could "turn the tide of this disease".

Fast-forward to today, the PM's marked change in tone as he this week told the public to prepare for six more months of restrictions undoubtedly also has a political dimension.

For, after months of over-promising and under-delivering, argues Camilla Tominey, No 10 has finally decided to change tack.

Follow the rules to 'shelter our economy', urges Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has urged people to "follow the rules" as the country renews its fight back against this virus, in order to "shelter our economy and save many more lives".

It's a shift from the original message from back in the spring, which was of course to protect the NHS, and shows how the mindset on Downing Street has changed somewhat.

Have your say on: The Chancellor's winter economy plan

Rishi Sunak is due to deliver his "winter economy plan" early this afternoon, with Cabinet colleague Matt Hancock saying it will follow his own "winter health plan".

It is thought wages subsidies will be brought in to replace the furlough scheme, which the Chancellor and Prime Minister have repeatedly ruled out extending. You can read the full details of what we are expecting to see here.

But there are grumblings on the backbenches that this should have come sooner, amid reports the package was only finalised last night. 

So has ministerial dithering cost jobs - or has the Chancellor acted as fast as he could in the circumstances? Have your say in the poll below.

Labour slams Sunak for 'last-minute response' on economic support

Labour's shadow chancellor has attacked Rishi Sunak for bringing forward a "last-minute response" to the new restrictions. 

In a taste of what is likely to come in the Commons today, Anneliese Dodds told BBC Breakfast Labour wanted to see targeted support for hospitality and other sectors who have been particularly affected by the latest measures.

But she argued that many jobs had already been lost, saying: "We can't have this kind of last-minute response again.

"We've had it around wage support today it seems, we had it around support for self-isolators - we need to have much more future planning from the Chancellor."

Ms Dodds, asked what Labour's plan for targeted measures would be, said it was not for the party to determine "exactly how that works".

What's on the agenda today?

It's shaping up to be another busy day today, with the centrepiece Rishi Sunak's not-Budget. 

First up in Parliament, we will have DCMS questions from 9:30am, then questions to the Attorney General Suella Braverman from 10:10am.

Crispin Blunt has tabled an urgent question for Women and Equalities Minister Liz Truss on gender self-identification, followed by Jacob Rees-Mogg, who will set out the business for the week ahead.

The Chancellor will come after all that, from around 12pm. While the detail of the package will be newsworthy in itself, I'm told Labour sees this as their opportunity to try and chip away at the enamel of the most popular Cabinet minister, so you can expect them to take a fairly robust stance on the fact this support is coming so late in the day. 

This afternoon, Parliament's gaze will turn beyond these shores and includes debates on Belarus and Yemen. 

Outside of SW1, I gather we are expecting to see the Prime Minister himself on a visit to the Midlands, perhaps making up for the one he had to scrap last week over the Internal Market Bill rebellion. 

Coronavirus app does not have legal underpinning on self-isolation, says Matt Hancock

People could be asked multiple times to self-isolate by the new NHS tracing app, Matt Hancock has conceded,  although he confirmed it would not be a legal requirement.

Speaking to Times Radio, the Health Secretary said: "If the app tells you to self-isolate, then you should self-isolate. But if an NHS Test and Trace contact tracer tells you, then you must by law."

Asked whether that was complicated to understand, he said: "Not really, it is really straightforward."

Pushed on whether people could be told to self-isolate more than once by the app, Mr Hancock said: "If you didn't have symptoms first time round then you're just as susceptible to getting infected, so unfortunately yes, you have to."

He denied a report in The Times that issues with Bluetooth, the technology used by the app, around its ability to be interfered with by nearby objects meant one in three people told to self-isolate will have been given a "false positive".

"No, nobody who gets an alert saying they should self-isolate will have not been in close contact with someone else who has the app," the Cabinet minister said.

Boris Johnson still listening to Whitty, Matt Hancock says

Boris Johnson is still listening to Prof Chris Whitty when it comes to setting coronavirus guidance, Matt Hancock has said.

Asked if the PPM has lost faith in Chris Whitty, after it emerged that No. 10 was briefed by Sweden’s controversial anti-lockdown epidemiologist Anders Tegnell in the run-up to Tuesday’s announcement of limited new measures, the Health Secretary stressed that ministers listened to advice "across the board". 

He added: "The role of Chris Whitty is to try and synthesise all of the scientific advice, and what he thinks is the best possible scientific analysis. 

"We take decisions based on that advice, and listen to advice across the board," he added. 

Matt Hancock defends furlough scheme changes

Matt Hancock has defended the decision to wind down the furlough scheme as new restrictions come into place, saying new support will be "more targeted" in line with "health interventions". 

He told the Today programme: "The health interventions we announced on Tuesday are more targeted than the lockdown we had in March, April and May... the strategy here is to suppress the virus until a vaccine or another full solution comes along, while protecting the economy and education."

The Health Secretary stressed it would not be a cliff edge when the scheme is wound up in October, noting: "We have already introduced an element of the employer contributing to furlough."

He added: "I am not going to say anything at all about what the Chancellor is going to unveil today, except to say that having put in the unprecedented support we are going to continue to support he economy as much as we can... We are not able to protect every job and every business, but we are trying to put in the absolutely maximum support possible."

Sir Patrick Vallance 'abided by the rules' on Glaxo shares, says Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock said he did not know that Sir Patrick Vallance had shares in a drug company contracted to develop a coronavirus vaccine for the Government until reading about it in this newspaper, but stressed he had "abided by the rules".

As revealed in today's Telegraph, the chief scientific adviser holds a deferred bonus of 43,111 shares in GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) worth £600,000 from his time as president of the multinational drug company.

Asked whether there was a conflict of interest, Mr Hancock told LBC radio: "No, there are rules around these kinds of things and I'm sure that Sir Patrick has been fully advised by them."

The Health Secretary added: "The thing about the vaccine is actually the Oxford vaccine is being developed by AstraZeneca which is one of GlaxoSmithKline biggest competitors so I think if you know Sir Patrick Vallance as I do, any suggestion that he is doing anything other than his level best to try and tackle this virus is wrong."

Asked when he found out about the shareholding, Mr Hancock said: "Well, I didn't know about it until I read it in the newspapers."

Pushed on whether the Health Secretary should have been alerted, he continued: "No, no particularly. I think there are rules around this and it is important he abided by the rules."

Sir Patrick Vallance Credit: Downing Street

Downloading coronavirus app is 'good for your community', says Matt Hancock

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has made an impassioned plea for people to download the new coronavirus app, saying it would be good "for your community".

He added: "The more people who download this app, the more effective it will be."

Mr Hancock stressed the "vast majority" of people had the right software, adding that some may need to upgrade their phone's operating system.

The app would tell people if they had been in close contact with somebody infected with Covid-19 and whether they needed to self-isolate, he told the BBC.

"Now, that self-isolation is voluntary, unlike at the moment, where it's mandatory to self-isolate if you are told to by NHS Test and Trace.

"But if you need the support the financial support to self-isolate, then you can click through and declare that."

Students may have to stay at universities over holidays, Matt Hancock signals 

Students in universities with outbreaks may have to stay on campus over holidays, Matt Hancock has said. 

It comes as Glasgow University has reported a major outbreak, with 124 students testing positive.

The university said the actual number of infected students was "likely to be higher", and added that 600 people were self-isolating.

The clusters are centred on two halls of residence in the city.

Asked if students could be asked to stay at their university rather than return to their homes for breaks, the Health Secretary told BBC Breakfast: "I don't rule out anything. If you have had the last nine months I have had, you would understand why.

"It is not something I would want to do but of course it is important to keep people safe."

Matt Hancock urges people to know 'the boundaries' on casual sex

Matt Hancock has said people needed to "be careful" when it came to having sexual relationships outside of "established relationships" during the pandemic.

During an excruciating conversation about official guidance that means only "established" couples can have sex, he told Sky News: "In these rules that we have to bring in, there have to be boundaries, to coin a phrase.

"If you're saying that two households shouldn't mix, which we are in some parts of the country - in the North East, the North West, in Scotland, in parts of Wales - then you have to then define what is the boundary of that."

He added: "I think we should stick to the letter of it, which is it is okay in an established relationship. It just means that people need to be careful, they need to be sensible.

"If you're in a relationship that is well established... what it means is people realising that coming into close contact with people from other households, then that is how the virus spreads."

Mr Hancock joked that "I know I am in an established relationship" with his wife.

Nearly 10,000 people contracting coronavirus daily, says Matt Hancock

Almost 10,000 people a day are contracting coronavirus but this is still fewer than the "100,000 per day" estimated during the spring peak, Matt Hancock has said.

The increase in testing capacity meant that the current official figure of just over 6,000 was much closer to the actual number, despite it being broadly in line with the published number of cases during the spring peak, the Health Secretary explained. 

Speaking to Sky News, he said: "The massive testing capability we've got helps to find where the virus is so, if you think about it, yesterday we had a figure that there is over 6,000 people who have tested positive in the previous 24 hours.

"And that is comparable to the highest levels in the peak in terms of the number of people who were tested positive but back then we estimate through surveys that over 100,000 people a day were catching the disease, but we only found around 6,000 of them and they tested positive.

"Now we estimate that it is under 10,000 people a day getting the disease - that's too high but it is still much lower than in the peak - and through the mass testing we have and the quarter-of-a-million capacity, we found yesterday over 6,000 of them."

Winter economy plan under development since summer, says Matt Hancock

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the economic support to replace the furlough scheme, due to be announced later today by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, had been set in train since the summer.

He told Sky News: "The Chancellor is going to set out the details in the House of Commons later and I'll let him do that.

"What you've seen over the past nine months since this crisis started, you've seen an unprecedented amount of economic support to keep jobs going, to support businesses that have been terribly hit by this, and we're determined that that should continue."

Asked why the Chancellor has waited until nearly October to announce the measures, Mr Hancock said: "We've said throughout that sadly we're not able to protect every job and every business.

"But I think in terms of the timing of this, we've been working on the winter plan for the economy and options in case cases started to go up again since the summer and with the Prime Minister having set out the next steps in terms of the health side on Tuesday, now the Chancellor is coming to the House today - two days later - to set out the economic package for the winter plan that goes with that."

'Passport to Kent' is latest attempt to prevent border chaos

Police patrols will turn away lorries entering Kent without a special access pass to ease border chaos caused by a no-deal Brexit on January 1, the Government admitted for the first time on Wednesday. 

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove, said police officers and number-plate recognition software would be used to enforce the Kent Access Permit once the transition period finishes at the end of this year.

It would minimise the risk of huge queues tailing back from the port of Dover, he said, but critics accused him of creating an "internal border" in the UK.