Sheffield campaigner Jane Thomas reacts to the news that Transport for the North’s budget has been cut by 40 percent, a harsh blow to dreams of levelling up the north. “If the government does not support this through proper funding of local authorities, and through deeper devolution, the levelling-up agenda will never happen.”
Author: Jane Thomas
Jane is an experienced campaigner and former university politics lecturer. She was head of the England team for Friends of the Earth and more recently coordinated the Brexit Civil Society Alliance. Jane is a committed devolutionist - she helped set up the campaign for the English regions and was director of Campaign for Yorkshire until 2004. Jane has three grown up children and lives in Sheffield with her husband, where she is involved with Sheffield’s Fairness Campaign.
Jane Thomas analyses Keir Starmer’s latest speech and a change of tone from the leader of the opposition. “Starmer is right – in 2021 we need to write a new chapter, and we do need to build back better. But in the meantime we need to protect the most vulnerable and have a viable exit strategy for the awfulness that currently envelopes the country”.
For a country so hell bent on taking back control of its borders, it appears that there are absolutely no controls for Covid-19, allowing this deadly virus the freedom of movement denied to so many of us now we have left the EU.
The vaccine programme that was to form a central part of our route out of Covid-19 has been thrown into total disarray, following a series of chaotic government announcements. With its ‘mix ‘n match’ approach and delayed schedule, the government is no longer following the science.
Yesterday, Independent Sage called for a 5-point plan to tackle the immediate coronavirus crisis. This echoes what the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus called for 2 months ago. Yet still the government fails to take effective action.
Jane Thomas reviews the impact of the French blockade on UK ports, following the UK’s warning of a more virulent strain of Covid-19 now out of control in London and the South East.
The Lords environment sub-committee yesterday heard concerns about the increased paperwork, the lack of vets to sign off health certificates, and the impact on foodstuff with likely delays at the ports. Jane Thomas summarises what was said.
Jane Thomas looks ahead to Operation Capstone, a dry run for a no deal Brexit, and the problems facing the government. Already companies are bracing for a potential no deal, and Operation Capstone may well reveal significant gaps in the current preparations.
With just about 14 working days to go to the end of the transition, a food trade organisation boss attacks the “chaos and confusion” surrounding the NI protocol and the lack of preparedness for new trading arrangements starting in January, saying “If you are still trying to negotiate a deal 14 working days before it actually is supposed to come into effect, even the most brilliant communication is not going to work … You would need a Vulcan mind-melt to make it work, if it’s going to work in time”.
Brexit, not coronavirus, may be about to dent many people’s holiday season. By choosing to leave the single market and the customs union, we are making huge structural changes to the transportation of our goods because of the new customs arrangements now necessary at the border. For just-in-time produce such as food that is perishable, or medicines, or manufacturing components (where timing is everything) the delays could be catastrophic.
Jane Thomas examines the impact of Brexit and the coronavirus to the economy of Sheffield, speaking to local business leaders in the city. The two crises are perfectly suited to each other, with Brexit impacting the few businesses who have escaped relatively unscathed from the pandemic.
Jane Thomas breaks down the announcement of Tier 3 for much of Yorkshire, and the impending chaos of the UK’s departure from the transition period. Will there be a national lockdown to help ease the congestion at ports on New Year’s Day? We’ll have to wait and see.
During the covid crisis, the government has spent millions of pounds of taxpayer on firms owned by their associates, often without experience of providing what they had been offering, and often without a competitive tender process. Jane Thomas presents a catalogue of corruption.
Another day, another parliamentary select committee hearing just how unprepared we are for Brexit. On Monday, it was the turn of the Lords EU goods subcommittee to hear evidence from industry experts. This is the same committee that last week heard industry experts express concerns that the Brexit Customs Declaration Service will not be ready […]
We are in the grip of the second wave of the pandemic. Yesterday, the government announced another 24,962 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and a further 168 deaths within 28 days of a positive test. Average daily deaths in the last seven days are now 413 per day, with a total of 51,934 deaths since the […]
Whether or not a deal comes good with the European Union, one thing is certain – the government has failed to prepare despite the fact the decision to leave was made over four years ago.
A new report on Brexit, from the Institute for Government, shows that business readiness is our biggest problem as we leave the European Union (EU) and that delays at the GB–EU border are now inevitable in January. Even if a deal is reached at this late hour it will be no magic bullet, as most […]
The one thing this pandemic has shown us is how much we rely on our emergency services – not just the NHS, but all those who are keeping us safe during these Covid times. So, news that one of our key emergency services – the fire service – has shed more than a thousand workers […]
Today’s news that Downing Street is understood to be considering a month-long form of lockdown is no big surprise. But this latest move is already generating a reaction – from those who urged the government to move faster and earlier, to those who do not want to see further restrictions for fear of untold harm […]
In less than a week, the government’s Job Retention Scheme will end, putting as many as five million people’s jobs at risk, according to Sheffield’s Festival of Debate organisers. The Cliff Edges and Safety Nets online debate, organised for 29 October, will bring together Citizens Advice Sheffield and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to discuss the […]
It should be welcome news that the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca has been shown to work as planned, as reported by Sky News last Thursday. But in the light of Brexit it is somewhat bitter sweet. On 16 October, Richard Torbett, chief executive of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries […]
Today it was announced that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to update the Job Support Scheme, which replaces furlough in November. This will give support to Tier 2 businesses that have seen demand collapse without being formally required to shut. But as Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy […]
It’s time to take back control, before it’s too late. The sense that something is being done to us, not by us and not even for us, and the anger that this imposition evokes, is palpable today in South Yorkshire. As George Monbiot said in the Guardian, “if you are not incandescent with rage, you […]
It used to be a Mexican standoff but now its nearer to home – in Manchester. Leaders in Greater Manchester, including Mayor Andy Burnham, have rejected a move to England’s tier 3 alert level (very high). At the heart of their resistance are demands for better financial support from central government. And as ever, it […]
Yesterday was D Day, the deadline that Prime Minister Boris Johnson set for an agreement with the European Union (EU) on trade. But as reported in the Huffington Post on Wednesday, it seems that it has now slipped, leaving that absolute immoveable deadline as – well – moveable. Apparently, Johnson will make an assessment after […]
A disorderly exit from the European Union’s (EU) single market without a trade agreement would have a “major negative impact on trade and jobs”, says a new survey published on Wednesday. We will face a double-whammy economic hit if the effects of the pandemic are coupled with the effects of a disorderly exit without a […]
We may be in the clutches of the worst public health crisis for generations, but there was something very British in the way that the public took to Twitter as Boris Johnson was making his statement on the latest restrictions. As the North was going into collective meltdown, and northern politicians of all persuasions were […]
As we head for a second lockdown here in Yorkshire it’s hard not to reflect on the abysmal decision by the government to brief details of the lockdown to national newspapers before putting the measures to local leaders, or even members of parliament. Just when the government needs the North most, Boris Johnson appears to […]
With fewer than 90 days to go before we complete the transition period and leave the EU completely, the government has finally published its Border Operating Model to explain how the borders will work for freight after Brexit. The 138-page densely packed document details the paperwork and formalities that will be required due to Brexit. […]
If ever there was a case for proper devolution – that is, a settlement with appropriate powers, decision-making, and accountability at either city or regional level – then news today that an announcement of further lockdowns for the North of England is expected within days has just made the strongest of cases. Despite gestures towards […]