Evening briefing: Today’s essential headlines
The big story: NHS backlog hits record amid tax rise
The tax rise to pay for clearing the NHS backlog and funding social care has been approved but the Government will be under no illusions about the difficulties lying ahead – and that is without taking into account mounting headaches on migration and Brexit (more on those in a moment).
New figures from NHS England show the number of people waiting to start hospital treatment has reached a new record high, as the chairman of NHS England warned the private sector should be enlisted to help cut the backlog.
This comes after the Telegraph revealed that the NHS is hiring an army of 42 new executives on salaries of up to £270,000 each.
A minister has said today that health bosses should not receive salaries at an “unacceptable level”.
Helen Whately, the care minister, noted they were on “significantly more than I earn”. Read on for details.
Ministers were already facing questions about whether the NHS would swallow up the rise in National Insurance aimed at reforming social care.
Now the UK Home Care Association has added more concerns, warning around a fifth of home care staff could leave if Covid-19 vaccines become mandatory for remaining staff.
The Government has launched a six-week consultation on making vaccination a condition of deployment for frontline workers in health and more social care settings.
It also emerged that tens of thousands of elderly people could still be forced to sell their homes to pay for care due to major gaps in the Government’s plan to tackle the crisis.
Experts have also warned that multi-generational households have been left behind under the social care reforms.
France attacks migrant plan
Also in the Prime Minister’s in-tray is the migrant crisis, which has seen more than 14,000 people reach the UK already this year, compared with 8,400 for the whole of 2020.
France has accused Priti Patel of “financial blackmail” and “posturing” amid a backlash over her “unworkable” plans to push back migrants mid-Channel.
Gerald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, tweeted that the French government would not accept “any practice contrary to maritime law, nor any financial blackmail” in a reference to the Home Secretary’s threat to pull the plug on a £54 million payment to France to combat migrants.
Yet the British government’s announcement that it will push back migrant boats trying to cross the Channel has striking parallels with tactics used by both Greece and Italy.
Nick Squires analyses how the UK is only following EU’s lead.
DUP cuts ties with Ireland
As if that was not enough for the Government to contend with in the coming days, then comes today’s bombshell from the DUP.
Its leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said the party will stop co-operating with the Irish Government and has threatened to collapse the Stormont Assembly “in weeks” unless Boris Johnson overhauls the Northern Ireland Protocol.
In a major intervention, Sir Jeffrey announced that his ministers “will immediately withdraw” from north-south meetings with Dublin because the protocol has undermined the province’s link with the rest of the UK.
The DUP leader has also given Lord Frost and his counterpart Maros Sefcovic a matter of weeks to fundamentally renegotiate the post-Brexit agreement, which requires Northern Ireland to continue following EU rules.
Comment and analysis
Around the world: Taliban flog Afghan journalists
An Afghan journalist has described “looking death in the face” as he was brutally beaten by the Taliban for three hours with cables and pipes. Twenty years since the Taliban’s hardline regime was ousted from Kabul, the regime is moving to demolish any opposition to their rule – despite promises of a more inclusive society. Severe welts were inflicted on the backs of numerous Afghan journalists after they covered protests in the country’s capital. These distressing images and video show their injuries.
The ultimate James Bond ranking
What makes a great 007 movie? Ahead of the release of No Time To Die, our experts rate the best for villains, gadgets, cars and more
Sport briefing: Raducanu’s semi-final – fifth Test doubt
Emma Raducanu takes on Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the US Open semi-final at about 1.15am tonight. Here is how to follow the match, while Thom Gibbs sets out why the 18-year-old’s arrival has been the most stunning teenage breakthrough since Wayne Rooney. In football, the bad blood between England and Poland following their stormy World Cup qualifier has continued with Zbigniew Boniek accusing Gareth Southgate’s side of “hypocrisy” in taking the knee. With the Premier League restarting this weekend, Sam Dean analyses the evolution of Cristiano Ronaldo. Meanwhile, England’s fifth Test against India is in doubt after a Covid outbreak among the touring party spread.
‘Mindless eating is not good’ | Just how does Cindy Crawford look so timelessly good?
Marvel vs China | Why even superheroes can’t beat Communist censors
Business briefing: Labour shortage boosts salaries
Salaries for new recruits have surged at the fastest rate in nearly a quarter of a century as companies battle against a shortage of labour. The amount of hiring increased again in August as businesses tried to take advantage of the recovery, yet firms were forced to cough up to attract staff. This graph shows the fresh high in starting salary inflation.
Tonight starts now
Mixing It Up: Painting Today, review | One of the mysteries of our digital age is why artists persist with the archaic custom of applying pigment to canvas using a brush. Perhaps it makes sense that the timeworn medium of painting thrived during lockdown, but, in fact, long before Covid, a renaissance in figurative painting was already a remarkable trend in contemporary art. This exhibition at the Hayward Gallery documents this phenomenon. Read why it is worth a visit.
Three things for you
And finally… for this evening’s downtime
Spielberg, Bruce the shark, my dad and me | The son of ‘Jaws’ star Robert Shaw is playing his father in a killer show about Steven Spielberg’s famous blockbuster. He talks to Tim Robey about how the film’s calamitous shoot inspired his play, which begins today.