In the Commons Neil O’Brien, the health minister, is responding to an urgent question tabled by Labour about the procurement of PPE during the pandemic.
The question was tabled by Angela Rayner, the Labour deputy leader, tabled the question. It was inspired by the Guardian story saying documents indicate that the Conservative peer Michelle Mone and her children secretly received £29m originating from the profits of a PPE business that was awarded large government contracts after she recommended it to ministers.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons speaker, started by saying that MPs are not allowed a criticise a member of the House of Lords unless they are debating a motion specifically referring to that peer. And he says MPs should not say anything that might prejudice legal action.
In his opening statement, O’Brien did not mention Mone, but just stressed how the government had to procure PPE equipment very quickly. He said there may be lessons to be learned from the prices that were paid, but he said “we must not lose sight of the huge national efforts that took place to protect the most vulnerable”.
Madeleine Sumption, head of the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, wrote a blog earlier this week explaining why non-EU migration was so high. She says although the post-Brexit immigration rules introduced by the government “is likely to have had some impact on non-EU visa grants” (which have gone up), mostly other factors are involved. She says:
Three factors have come together to make the number of visas granted to non-EU citizens unusually high. The largest single factor is the introduction of visa routes for Ukrainian refugees and Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) status holders. Together these two routes contributed 45% of the 467,000 increase in visa grants between 2019 and the year ending June 2022 (excluding visitors and short-term study).
The rest of the increase results from students (39% of the increase) and work visas (23% of the increase). Skilled workers, particularly in the health and care sectors, were the main factor behind the increase in work visa grants.
This is from Jay Lindop, director of the Centre for International Migration at the Office for National Statistics, commenting on today’s figures.
A series of world events have impacted international migration patterns in the 12 months to June 2022. Taken together these were unprecedented. These include the end of lockdown restrictions in the UK, the first full period following transition from the EU, the war in Ukraine, the resettlement of Afghans and the new visa route for Hong Kong British nationals (Overseas), which have all contributed to the record levels of long-term immigration we have seen.
Migration from non-EU countries, specifically students, is driving this rise. With the lifting of travel restrictions in 2021, more students arrived in the UK after studying remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. However, there has also been a large increase in the number of people migrating for a range of other reasons. This includes people arriving for humanitarian protections, such as those coming from Ukraine, as well as for family reasons.
These many factors independent of each other contributing to migration at this time mean it is too early to say whether this picture will be sustained.
Mark Easton, the BBC’s home affairs editor, says the latest annual net migration figure is the highest on record.
The Office for National Statistics has released figures showing that net migration – the number of people arriving in the UK to stay long term, minus the number leaving – reached an estimated 504,000 in the year ending in June this year. This is the highest figure on record.
And the number of long-term immigrants arriving in that period was 1.1 million, the ONS says.
These figures represent a big increase on previous years, but the ONS says that is partly due to some “unique” factors. It says:
The period leading up to June 2022 was unique, with simultaneous factors coinciding to affect long-term immigration; this included the continued recovery in travel following the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, a number of migration events including a new immigration system following transition from the EU, and the ongoing support for Ukrainian nationals and others requiring protection.
These have all contributed towards relatively high levels of total long-term immigration at an estimated 1.1 million in the year to June 2022.
The estimated 435,000 increase in total immigration compared with a year earlier was driven by non-EU nationals (up 379,000 to 704,000 in the YE June 2022); increasing arrivals of international students and people travelling from Ukraine under the visa support scheme were all contributing factors.
Overall, net migration continued to add to the population in the YE June 2022, with an estimated 504,000 more people arriving long-term to the UK than departing; net migration of non-EU nationals was estimated at 509,000 in the YE June 2022, compared with negative 51,000 and 45,000 for EU and British nationals respectively.
Here is the graph showing the immigration figures.
And here is the graph showing the net migration figures.
Dominic Raab is reportedly facing multiple fresh complaints from senior civil servants in multiple government departments over allegations of bullying behaviour. My colleague Geneva Abdul has the story here.
Good morning. Years ago, at least until the late 1980s, one of the best jobs in journalism was to be the industrial editor. Strikes were always in the news, they covered loads of stories (and often took precedence of the political correspondents covering the Labour party, which was then largely run by the unions). But after the Thatcher government’s union reforms, plus mass unemployment, union membership fell, the number of days lost to strikes shrunk, and now the industrial correspondents have now almost all gone. Which is a shame, because today we really need some.
Here is a quick round-up from on-strike Britain.
And here are some picture from the CWU union Twitter feed.
And Mick Lynch, the RMT general secretary, is preparing for a meeting with Mark Harper, the transport secretary, to discuss what might be done to avert more strikes planned for December and January. Lynch gave an interview to ITV’s Peston last night and he called for a new, ‘transactional’ approach from the government. He said:
We need the government to get its act together and be a facilitator. We’ve had so much disruption, where Grant Shapps was frankly just going around being bellicose, accusing me of being some kind of medieval baron, evil Marxist mastermind and all the rest of it. It’s just not appropriate.
If Mark Harper wants to come in there and calm stuff down, and say let’s get on with the business, let’s do transactional business across the table – they get a bit, we get a bit, our members benefit, the public benefits – happy days, let’s get on with the deal, we don’t have to have strikes.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: Mark Harper, the transport secretary, takes questions in the Commons.
11.30am: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.
11.45am: Harper is due to hold a meeting with Mick Lynch, the RMT general secretary.
I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions and, if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.
If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.
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