Displaying items by tag: Government
Lord, we ask you to bring comfort and healing to the family of Sir David Amess, and for peace and wisdom to reign in all our political leaders as Your protection surrounds them. May Your Kingdom's purpose for our nation thwart every strategy of the enemy. We also pray for the proposals, planning and preparation for the 27 October autumn budget that will set out the next stage of ‘Building Britain Back Better’. We pray particularly for Rishi Sunak and all who work in the treasury. Father, give them heaven’s wisdom. Anoint with sound judgment those making decisions on employment tax changes, and give insights to what is needed when investing in NHS, education, infrastructure and housing while delivering on Brexit plans. May all decisions made be according to Your intentions for the nation’s economy as funds are appropriately injected where they are most needed and ministers steward wealth wisely.
Sajid Javid, the health secretary, is to review guidance on transgender patients, following a newspaper investigation which discovered that male sex offenders who self-identify as women are placed on female-only wards. Despite instructions from the Department of Health to eliminate mixed-sex wards, guidance from hospitals states that patients should be admitted based on the gender they identify with and can choose which ward, lavatories and facilities they use. A whistleblower nurse warned, ‘If patients question why there is a male-bodied person on a female-only ward, medics are told to say that there are no men present. Staff raising safeguarding concerns may be threatened with disciplinary action. The NHS is influenced by the controversial LGBT charity Stonewall.’ See
CARE has urged ministers to curb internet pornography, to prevent more cases of sexual violence. During proceedings at the Old Bailey this week, it emerged that rapist and murderer Wayne Couzens viewed ‘brutal pornography’ before committing his crimes. A former colleague noted his attraction to ‘brutal sexual pornography’. The Government’s own research in February found that the majority of frontline workers spontaneously mentioned pornography as an influential factor for harmful sexual behaviour towards women and girls. CARE campaigned successfully for legislation to curb porn sites and restrict access by children. However, these measures were scrapped by the Government in 2019. CARE said that the Couzens case is an example of where porn obsession can lead. If we want to avoid more such cases, the Government must stop men accessing sites which glorify rape and violence.
Retailers and hauliers say the government's plan to offer temporary visas to foreign lorry drivers will not solve supply chain issues. The transport secretary said there is ‘plenty of fuel’ in the refineries and 47 storage centres, but ‘the Royal Haulage Association triggered panic buying by reporting a shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers. To limit disruption before Christmas the Government will give temporary visas to 5,000 lorry drivers, encourage HGV licence holders back into the industry, and use MOD examiners to increase testing for new drivers. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-58698998 These measures will not fix the short-term problems caused by panic buying, so the business secretary said 150 soldiers will be delivering fuel. The managing director of fuel supplier Portland Fuel said the UK was over the worst of the situation and that sending in the army would ‘generate more panic’.
Shortly after UK armed forces minister James Heappey had warned of an imminent terror attack, and had called on those queuing outside Kabul airport to move to safety, two explosions rocked the area on 26 August, leaving a number of casualties and throwing evacuation efforts into more turmoil, days before President Joe Biden's deadline for the USA to leave the country. At least 13 people including children were killed and many others were injured in what Taliban sources described as a suicide attack. Defence secretary Ben Wallace said a ‘better option’ for fleeing Afghans would be to travel across the land border. Christian charity CARE said that the current situation in Afghanistan is a recipe for a human trafficking disaster. Afghan women, fearful of life under new political leadership and aware of attacks on their rights, will want to escape oppression and may, in desperation, turn to illegal means of leaving the country. Many who are promised a better life will end up falling into modern slavery, whether that means commercial sexual exploitation, forced labour, or domestic servitude. See
Taiwan is administering its domestically developed Covid-19 vaccine, amid criticism that its approval was rushed. The Medigen vaccine had not completed phase three trials when it was granted emergency approval by regulators. Medigen said there were no major safety concerns, and antibodies created were no worse than AstraZeneca's vaccine. It is expected to complete the final round of trials being held in Paraguay later this year. Taiwan's vaccination efforts have been hampered by delivery delays and hesitancy amongst its population. President Tsai Ing-wen led the way in receiving the Medigen jab on 23 August. The objections have mainly come from the opposite political party, the Kuomintang, who say it is unsafe. More than 700,000 people have already signed up for the vaccine, which requires two doses 28 days apart. Less than 5% of Taiwan's population is fully vaccinated: around 40% have received just one dose.
Five people, including a three-year-old girl, were killed during a six-minute shooting spree by gunman Jake Davison on 12 August. Two others were injured during the incident before the 22-year-old turned the gun on himself. Tens of thousands of pounds have been raised online for the victims and their families. Pray for the community to have God’s comfort and peace as they pull together and support each other in these trying times; pray especially for the relatives and friends of the victims. Churches and schools are open, to give people opportunities to open themselves to God and to each other. Davidson’s gun licence was suspended following a criminal charge for assault, but it was returned to him in July. The Government has asked police forces to review procedures for issuing and returning firearms licences, and to check whether it is necessary to revoke any licences already issued.
The COP26 climate change summit will be held soon in Glasgow. Just a few hundred miles away in the North Sea, a particularly thorny problem is developing. Approval for developing the Cambo oilfield was given twenty years ago, and a regulator is due to give final approval, releasing approximately 800 million barrels of oil for Shell and Siccar Point Energy. Ministers and advisers insist that the approval of Cambo is entirely in the hands of the oil and gas regulator. But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is accusing Boris Johnson of delivering a cabaret of soundbites rather than the global leadership necessary to make the climate change summit a success. There is a near-impossible balancing act for the Government to protect its credibility while urging other countries to increase emission reduction.
In a letter to Boris Johnson, cabinet ministers and the NHS England chief executive, the NHS Providers group says demands on staff are rising. Many chief executives are saying that the overall level of pressure they are now experiencing is different in shape, but similar in scale to what they saw in January when the NHS was under the greatest pressure in a generation. The letter calls on the Government to make ‘the right decisions’ as it finalises NHS funding for the second half of the financial year. Hospital pressures include going ‘full speed’ to address the backlog of mental health and community care services, and record demands for urgent and emergency care. There are growing hospital admissions for Covid, along with more than a million cases of long Covid and people suffering poor mental health. Hospitals are currently running enhanced infection control measures, leading to ‘significant loss of capacity’, with staff self-isolating or suffering stress and mental health issues.
A £1.6bn strategy to improve the lives and opportunities of disabled people was announced by the Government. It aims to tackle shortages of suitable housing, inaccessible public transport and barriers to education and work. Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey said the government was listening and consulting. The shadow minister for disabled people said the consultation process failed to consult properly with disabled people or organisations; many critical areas were ignored. Disabled Tory peer Lord Shinkwin said the plans did not go far enough. He said the document was a ‘broken promise’ and he did not believe it would prevent disabled people from being shut out of society. ‘The Department of Work and Pensions, which has led on the development of this strategy, does benefits but it doesn't do equality. It shows this government doesn't understand the desire and potential of disabled people to be seen as more than just recipients. We are contributors, we are all people.’