NHS

ITV News
Cost-cutting plans that could lead to A&E and hospital closures are being kept secret from the public, a leading think tank has warned. NHS England has told local health officials not to reveal the plans to the public or the media before they are finalised and have been approved first, according to published documents and new analysis by the King’s Fund. The public body even told local managers to refuse applications from the media or public wanting to see the plans under the Freedom of Information Act. Health officials in 44 areas have been ordered to draw up the strategies setting out how they will cut costs and improve care in the wake of a record £2.45 billion deficit. The sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), some of which have already been published or leaked, could see services like A&E units, maternity units or even whole hospitals close, with other services being merged.

Mirror
Opposition to a landmark decision by a Tory-led council to award a £700m NHS contract to a private firm was growing yesterday. The Daily Mirror told yesterday how the council handed Virgin Care the contract to run more than 200 NHS services. Bath and North East Somerset councillors voted in favour of the proposal, which will see adult social care delivered by a private firm for the first time. The landmark deal would be the first time that a council’s core adult social work services are run by a private company. Health bosses claim the contract will deliver a more joined-up approach and “seamless communication,” yet the “prime provider” contract could see Virgin subcontract services.

Times
A “secretive” plan to reorganise the NHS risks failing patients, a report warns. Widespread bed cuts, closures of accident and emergency units and even shutting hospitals have been proposed by NHS bosses who are often more focused on saving money than improving care, the King’s Fund think tank says. Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, has conceded that managers in many areas are not up to the job of implementing his vision for the health service and is warned today that it risks failure in most of the country.

Telegraph
Stealth NHS plans for sweeping closures of hospitals and Accident and Emergency departments are “potentially catastrophic” and could put lives at risk, leading doctors have said. The warning came as a major report by the King’s Fund lambasted health officials for ordering the suppression of proposals which will affect millions of people. The respected think tank suggests the NHS plans – being drawn up behind closed doors in every part of England – may be doomed to fail patients. Secrecy about the process, combined with “breakneck” timescales and a lack of funding for new services means patients could bear the brunt of brutal cuts, they suggested. Two weeks ago, The Daily Telegraph revealed that half of NHS leaders are planning bed cuts, with one third intending to close Accident & Emergency departments.

Mail
Health chiefs are secretly planning to close hospitals, a report warns today.Casualty and maternity units would also be axed to tackle a budget crisis. The King’s Fund said NHS England was considering ‘contractions’ and closures across the country. The respected think-tank said even some of those drawing up the proposals feared they were a recipe for disaster. Patient groups, doctors and nurses have been excluded from key meetings and NHS bosses have tried to stop details being given out under freedom of information laws. One manager described the level of secrecy as ludicrous. Another said: ‘Where are the real people in this?’ For south-west London, the ‘sustainability and transformation’ plans call for one of five hospitals to be axed: St George’s, Kingston, Croydon, Epsom and St Helier.

Morning Star
AN NHS cuts programme that could force hospital and A&E closures has been kept from the public, according to a King’s Fund report released today. And the think tank criticises the lack of involvement of front-line staff and patients in these sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), with one local manager saying: “I’ve been in meetings where I’ve felt a little bit like, you know, ‘where are the real people in this’?” The report reveals the lengths NHS England has gone to keep the bad news under wraps, including passing on instructions to actively reject Freedom of Information Act requests to see draft plans. It told its 44 local health leaders not to share the drastic plans for £22 billion of “savings” needed to balance the NHS books by 2020 with the public or the media until they were approved by its own officials.

International trade

Reuters
The British government will be “unashamedly pro-business” as it seeks to forge the country’s future role outside the European Union, but business must also act responsibly, Prime Minister Theresa May will say on Monday. In a speech at Mansion House in the City of London financial district, May will say Britain must be the strongest advocate for free trade, but also manage the forces of globalization so that everyone benefits from them. Discontent among those seen as “left behind” by globalization was considered a key driver of Britain’s June 23 vote to leave the European Union. “The government I lead is unequivocally and unashamedly pro-business … We will do everything we can to make the UK outside the EU the most attractive place for businesses to invest and grow,” May will say, according to extracts of the speech released in advance by her office.

Sky News
Theresa May will tell the City of London Britain is well-placed to do “new business with old allies” as the Prime Minister looks to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the US. The Prime Minister will insist the UK is the “global champion of free trade” in an effort to reassure business. However, Sky News understands she will not provide any more detail about the sort of trade deal she might be looking for. Mrs May’s attempts to forge a special relationship with the new President-elect were overshadowed during the weekend by Nigel Farage, who became the first British political leader to have an audience Donald Trump.

Guardian
Britain must “adapt to the moment and evolve its thinking” to become a global leader in free trade, Theresa May is to say. The prime minister will pledge to lead the charge in remaking globalisation, days after Donald Trump was elected US president on the promise of protecting American industry and ending a string of free trade agreements. May’s speech will be seen as an attempt to reposition the UK after the Brexit vote and the US presidential election and as a response to Nigel Farage becoming the first UK politician to meet the president-elect over the weekend. Not standing inflexibly, refusing to change and still fighting the battles of the past, but adapting to the moment, evolving our thinking and seizing the opportunities ahead. That is the kind of leadership we need today,” May will tell the lord mayor’s banquet in London.

BBC News
Post-Brexit Britain has a historic opportunity to take on a new role as the global champion of free trade, Theresa May will say. The prime minister will make her first foreign policy speech at the Lord Mayor’s banquet in the City of London. She will also say more needs to be done to ensure communities are not left behind by the forces of globalisation. Labour said her actions have betrayed her words and she simply represents more of the same failed politics. Mrs May envisages a stronger role for government in developing an industrial strategy aimed at spreading wealth more evenly across the country. She will tell her audience that after Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election, “change is in the air” and it will be essential to help those who have experienced downsides of globalisation.

Illegal immigration

Express
BRITAIN was urged last night to follow Donald Trump’s vow to deport illegal immigrants. President-elect Mr Trump outlined his tough stance to root out the millions who are in the country illegally, particularly criminals. Mr Trump said that once the border was “secure”, immigration officials would take a decision over what action to take with remaining migrants. But he also said deportations would take place “immediately” after he entered the White House . He said: “What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate. “But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally.” He said a “determination” would be made about remaining illegal immigrants. He said: “After the border is secure and after everything gets normalised, we’re going to make a determination on the people that they’re talking about who are terrific people, they’re terrific people but we are gonna make a determination at that.

Farage

Breitbart
Donald Trump’s victory in the Presidential race is comparable to the “counter-revolution elections” of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Nigel Farage has said. In an interview with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto on Saturday the interim leader of UKIP said that Brexit was the “first brick out of the wall,” but that Trump’s “dramatic victory” was the next brick to fall. It was the first real kickback against the liberal establishment that has dominated, with its friends in big business and big banks, the world for the past couple of decades,” Farage said. They’ve had everything their own way and my sense of it is that in Britain, America and elsewhere families at dinnertime have been saying: “what’s going on in this world? How are these people in charge?”What Brexit did was give ordinary, little people a chance to say what they thought and they want. And it’s now spread to America with this dramatic victory of Trump.

Breitbart
Sunday on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” Nigel Farage, interim leader of the UK Independence Party, weighed in on the 2016 presidential election, comparing it to his country’s vote in June to leave the European Union. 2016, it’s the year of political revolution,” Farage said. “I’ve always known that whatever our political class and their friends in the media and the big businesses, whatever they do and say and want is not the same as what ordinary hardworking taxpayers want. And what you’ve seen this year is just ordinary, decent people, the little people, who’ve said, ‘We’ve had enough. We want change.’”

NATO

Sky News
The head of Britain’s Armed Forces has told Sky News he is sure NATO will survive, despite US President-elect Donald Trump describing the organisation as “obsolete”. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the Chief of the Defence Staff, told the Murnaghan programme that Mr Trump’s election is just another moment in US history. And Sir Stuart is certain the new US commander in chief will support NATO’s commitment to provide security. “It is a very durable and enduring organisation,” he said.

Labour Party

BBC News
Ed Miliband has rejected calls for another referendum on Britain’s EU membership. The former Labour leader told ITV’s Peston on Sunday June’s Leave vote must be respected and there was “no question” of the UK staying put. Some Labour and Lib Dem MPs have said they will oppose starting formal Brexit talks unless ministers promise a subsequent vote on the eventual deal. Mr Miliband also called for curbs on freedom of movement rules in the UK. The government is appealing against a High Court ruling which stated that it must seek the consent of Parliament before it triggers Article 50 – the mechanism by which member states leave the EU. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said his party will not seek to “frustrate” the Article 50 process but several of his MPs have said they will oppose it if a vote is held in the House of Commons early next year.

Benefit fraud

Star
SHAMELESS benefit fraudsters becoming a “significant problem” in the UK have been warned they will caught, Daily Star Online can reveal. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has stepped up measures to snag handout rogues costing the country around £1billion every year. A report seen by Daily Star Online this week said both fraud and error are now “significant problems” for the UK Government — as scheming fraudsters are saying they live in the UK when they actually live abroad and others are lying about how many people they live with. It comes as blundering outside contractor Concentrix — tasked with reducing benefit fraud — has been axed because it had wrongly cut many claimants’ payments.

Energy costs

Sun
GREEDY Big Six energy firms are making profits seven times bigger than they claim, a secret report uncovered by The Sun reveals. Energy Secretary Greg Clark last night ordered a probe into the suppliers’ tariffs. The firms were accused of “punishing customers” by making up to 24 per cent profit on standard tariffs. The mark-ups — seven times bigger than the profits they claimed — were revealed in a secret report produced for Energy UK, which represents power firms. Furious Energy Secretary Greg Clark last night said he wanted to look at the evidence the report contains and would summon Energy UK for a meeting. He told The Sun: “This report appears to confirm my concern that the big energy firms are punishing their customers’ loyalty rather than respecting it. Customers who are loyal to their energy supplier should be treated well, not taken for a ride. They must treat customers properly — or be made to.”

Mail
The Big Six energy firms have been accused of misleading the public over profits with some reportedly making up to seven times the amount they declared. A secret report produced for Energy UK, which represents suppliers, suggests some companies are making up to 24 per cent profit, rather than the 3.3 per cent announced earlier this year. The report, seen by The Sun, shows the cost of providing fuel to an average household cost around £844 in 2016. But with many customers opting for standard variable tariffs, they can be paying up to £1,172 a year to some suppliers, leaving a profit margin of £272 or 24 per cent. Energy Secretary Greg Clark last night vowed to summon Energy UK for a meeting. ‘This report appears to confirm my concern that the big energy firms are punishing their customers’ loyalty rather than respecting it,’ he told The Sun.

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