Labour will tomorrow unveil plans to ensure every primary school child in England has access to fully funded breakfast clubs under a government led by Sir Keir Starmer.
Announcing the scheme on the final day of the party’s conference in Liverpool, Bridget Phillipson, the shadow education secretary, will say the policy will be paid for by reinstating the highest rate of income tax, which the chancellor scrapped in his tax-cutting mini-budget on Friday.
Labour has already said that half of the money saved by bringing back the 45% rate of income tax on earnings above £150,000 will be used to train more district nurses, health visitors and midwives.
The party says the breakfast plan will cost £365m a year, which includes funding to be sent to the devolved administrations.
Only schools in disadvantaged areas are eligible for the programme at present.
The scheme gets a 75% subsidy from the government.
‘Modern childcare system’
Ms Phillipson is expected to tell Labour delegates that the major extension of the scheme would be “the first step on the road to a modern childcare system”.
She will tell the main conference hall on Wednesday: “We need a fresh vision of that education. One that looks to the future, not the past.
“Labour will build a modern childcare system. One that supports families from the end of parental leave through to the end of primary school.
“As the first step on that road, we will introduce breakfast clubs for every primary school child in England, driving up standards in maths, reading, and writing, and giving mums and dads choices.”
Ms Phillipson is also expected to talk about ending tax breaks for private schools to widen access to the arts and build a modern careers advice and work experience system.
One child-poverty charity welcomed the breakfast proposal, but urged Labour to go further.
Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: “With four million children already in poverty and millions of parents struggling to stay afloat, now is the time to make this happen for families.
“We hope there is more to come – universal before and after-school activities for kids of all ages would make a crucial difference.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Hunger is a real concern for school staff who regularly see children arriving in the morning without having eaten, and therefore not ready to learn.
“A positive start to the day and a nutritious breakfast before school for those who need it could make a real difference. If properly funded and resourced this entitlement is something school leaders would support.”
A government spokeswoman said: “We have expanded access to free school meals more than any other government in recent decades, which currently reach 1.9 million children.
“We are also investing up to £24m in our national school breakfast programme, which provides free breakfasts to children in schools in disadvantaged areas.”
At Labour’s party conference on Tuesday, Sir Keir announced that a Labour government will create Great British Energy, a new, publicly owned company that will generate renewable sources “to cut bills, create jobs and deliver energy independence”.
The role of GB Energy will be to provide additional capacity alongside the private sector, to establish the UK as a clean energy superpower and guarantee long term energy security, the Labour leader said.
In another policy announcement, Sir Keir said Labour wants to increase homeownership and will set a target of 70%, offering a new mortgage guarantee for first-time buyers to help more people get on to the housing ladder.
Two bodies found in search for missing TV presenter Jesse Baird and his partner
Two bodies have been found in the search for a missing Australian TV presenter and his partner, who were allegedly killed by a police officer.
Jesse Baird, 26, and his flight attendant partner Luke Davies, 29, were allegedly shot dead in Mr Baird’s Sydney home last week.
Beau Lamarre-Condon, a police officer who was in a relationship with Mr Baird until late last year, was charged on Friday with the murders of both men.
Police said Lamarre-Condon provided them with information that led them to the bodies, which were found in a rural area around 124 miles southwest of Sydney.
The New South Wales force allege the 28-year-old officer and ex-celebrity blogger killed the couple at Mr Baird’s home in the Paddington area of the city on Monday and hired a white van to dispose of their bodies. Neighbours reportedly heard an argument at the property that morning.
Mr Baird was a presenter with Network 10 until December. Mr Davies was a Qantas flight attendant.
The Mardi Gras board said LGBT+ communities across Australia had been devastated by the loss of the couple, who had planned to celebrate at the annual parade on Saturday.
The incident has prompted Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras organisers to ask police not to march on the weekend, a move the police commissioner urges them to reconsider.
The board said police presence could “add to the distress within our communities”, which are “already deeply affected by recent events”.
“This decision was not made lightly, especially considering that many… police members who participate in the parade are also members of the LGBTQIA+ community and are navigating the impact of this tragedy alongside us,” the board added.
“However, we believe that their participation at this year’s event could intensify the current feelings of sorrow and distress.”
The alleged killer has been part of the parade in the past, the board said.
Police Commissioner Karen Webb, who has taken part in the annual march since 2006, said she will meet with the organisers in a bid to reverse their decision.
“We’re not dealing with a gay hate crime here,” she said. “We’re dealing with a domestic homicide and… I’m disappointed [by] the position that Mardi Gras board has taken on this issue.”
She added this time “more than any in our society” is “time to come together”.
We’re talking about inclusion, we’re talking about diversity and to exclude part of that community, I think, sends a wrong message,” she added.
Israel-Hamas war: Joe Biden says he hopes Gaza ceasefire can be agreed ‘by end of the weekend’
Joe Biden has said he hopes a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas can be secured by the weekend.
The US president made the remarks during an unannounced visit to the Van Leeuwen ice cream parlour, next door to 30 Rock in New York, on Monday.
Flanked by late night TV show host Seth Meyers, Mr Biden was asked by reporters on when a ceasefire in Gaza could start.
In a surprise turn, he said that he hopes it will take place “by the end of the weekend”.
“My national security advisor (Jake Sullivan) tells me that we’re close, we’re close, we’re not done yet,” he said. “My hope is by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire.”
Mr Biden’s comments come as Israel prepares to start a military operation in Rafah – which he has warned against without a “credible” plan to protect civilians.
Israel has said it will go ahead with an offensive on the city if hostages are not returned by 10 March, which is when Ramadan starts.
According to NBC News, Sky news’ US partner network, Qatar is mediating talks between Israel and Hamas this week, and ceasefire negotiations have taken place between US, Israeli, Qatari and Egyptian officials in Paris.
Should it happen, it would be the second ceasefire following one in November which saw several hundred Palestinians released from Israeli jails and about 100 hostages freed by Hamas.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu also said earlier on Monday that the Israeli Defence Force proposed a plan for the evacuation of civilians from “fighting areas” to the country’s war cabinet.
This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.
Please refresh the page for the fullest version.
Alexei Navalny was set to be part of prison swap before he died, claims ally
Alexei Navalny was set to be freed as part of a prisoner swap when he died, one of his allies has claimed.
The Russian opposition leader died at a penal colony within the Artic Circle on 16 February, while serving a 19-year prison sentence on charges his supporters said were politically motivated.
It has now been claimed that the prisoner-swap talks were in their “final stages” when Mr Navalny died.
In a video posted on the late Kremlin critic’s YouTube channel, Maria Pevchikh – who lives outside Russia – said: “Alexei Navalny could have been sitting here now, today. It’s not a figure of speech.”
Ms Pevchikh said she received confirmation about the talks just one day before Mr Navalny’s death was announced.
Ukraine-Russia latest: Kremlin dismisses peace talks as ‘laughable’
She claimed that Putin “wouldn’t tolerate” Navalny being freed and decided to “get rid of the bargaining chip”. She has not offered evidence to back up the allegation.
The circumstances of Mr Navalny’s death remain unclear – but several world leaders, including Joe Biden, have directly blamed Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.
Mr Navalny’s widow Yulia Navalnaya has also pointed the finger at the Russian president, claiming her husband could have been poisoned with novichok.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement in his death.
Ms Pevchikh said Mr Navalny and two US citizens held in Russia, whom she has not identified, were supposed to be swapped for Vadim Krasikov.
Krasikov is serving a life sentence in Germany for the 2019 killing of Zelimkhan “Tornike” Khangoshvili, a 40-year-old Georgian citizen of Chechen descent.
There are several US citizens in custody in Russia, including Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested on espionage charges, and Paul Whelan, a corporate security executive from Michigan, convicted of espionage.
Both men and the US government dispute the charge.
When asked about the swap claim at a regular news conference in Berlin, German government spokesperson Christiane Hoffmann said she could not comment.
Sports1 year ago
‘Storybook stuff’: Inside the night Bryce Harper sent the Phillies to the World Series
Sports11 months ago
MLB Rank 2023: Ranking baseball’s top 100 players
Environment9 months ago
Japan and South Korea have a lot at stake in a free and open South China Sea
Sports2 years ago
Team Europe easily wins 4th straight Laver Cup
Environment1 year ago
Game-changing Lectric XPedition launched as affordable electric cargo bike
Technology3 years ago
Game consoles were once banned in China. Now Chinese developers want a slice of the $49 billion pie
Politics2 years ago
Have the last few wobbly weeks seen a turning point for Johnson as PM?
Environment10 months ago
Tesla advances Powerwall pilot project with German electric company