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.

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Fears for tiers

Jane Thomas

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.

Covid chumocracy chugs along

Jane Thomas

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.

Brexit: prepare for the worst, hope for the best

Jane Thomas

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 […]

UK covid stats make for grim reading

Jane Thomas

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 […]

Government in denial over Brexit

Jane Thomas

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.

Johnson’s high-risk bid has failed

Jane Thomas
brown hourglass on brown wooden table

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 […]

Yorkshire isn’t ready for two national emergencies at once

Jane Thomas

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 […]

Stay at home instruction to the country

Jane Thomas

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 […]

Cliff edges and safety nets: we need a roadmap out of poverty

Jane Thomas

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 […]

AstraZeneca and Brexit: the hardest pill to swallow

Jane Thomas

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 […]

The King of the North speaks for us all

Jane Thomas

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 […]

The North is now incandescent with rage

Jane Thomas
pexels-photo-3952238.jpeg

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 […]

Manchester standoff

Jane Thomas

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 […]

Funding uncertainty looming large for many in the third sector

Jane Thomas

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 […]

Disorderly Brexit discouraged, says OECD report

Jane Thomas

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 […]

#ThanksChancellor

Jane Thomas

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 […]

It’s time for the North to take back control

Jane Thomas
city view at london

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 […]

Bordering on the ridiculous

Jane Thomas

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. […]

Grim Up North

Jane Thomas

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 […]

Shortages in supply chain “terrifying”

Jane Thomas

News that Roche has admitted that processing capacity has seen a “very significant” drop should ring alarm bells. They are the major provider of swabs and reagents to Lighthouse Labs, who are responsible for processing the majority of Covid-19 tests. This follows hard on the heels of the technical glitch that delayed the reporting of […]

Sheffield coronavirus cases triple in a week: where does the buck stop?

Jane Thomas

As Health Secretary Matt Hancock took to his feet yesterday to explain to parliament, again, what had gone wrong with the government’s ‘world-beating’ system to defeat the virus, it emerged that the number of those testing positive for Covid-19 in Yorkshire had risen sharply.  According to Yorkshire Live, analysis based on Public Health England (PHE) […]

There’s summit about flooding

Jane Thomas

The long-awaited flooding summit will convene at last on 8 October, following a concerted effort by Dan Jarvis, Barnsley MP and South Yorkshire mayor, and the Yorkshire Post. However, in what is a travesty for the rest of the region, the summit is for South Yorkshire and not the whole of Yorkshire. After being pressed […]

The circuit breaker has just fused the system

Jane Thomas

As the test and trace fiasco unfolds there is more unwelcome news: we may be two years off a mass vaccination programme for the whole country. The i reported yesterday that the mass rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK could be delayed for two years by the government’s failure to get to grips […]

Test and Trace failing to either test or trace

Jane Thomas

As if to confirm what most of us already know, tonight’s BBC Panorama programme, Test and Trace Exposed, will reveal the extent to which test and trace simply is not working. Alex Lee, who worked for the BBC four years ago, is the programme’s on-screen reporter. Lee was hired as a clinical contract caseworker to […]

From Operation Moonshot, to Project Overshot

Jane Thomas

Many were gripped by the shenanigans in parliament on Monday, and as the details unfolded so too did the government’s dilemmas. While I doubt they’re talking much about the internal market bill down the Dog and Duck, it’s certainly giving the government a headache – and one very much of its own making. The political […]

Rebels with a clause: now the fun and games will start

Jane Thomas

Ester Weber, reporter at The Times told twitter this morning: “One Tory MP in a big Leave constituency tells me: ‘In a patch like mine I think almost anything would be tolerated in the name of Brexit … Except fly-tipping.’” This may well be true, and the expectation that the government is about to fall […]

Jam tomorrow: Brexit, lorry parks and congestion planned for Hull

Jane Thomas

Spare a thought this weekend for Hull, with the news that ministers will be using new powers to buy land to provide Brexit lorry parks and customs facilities, to deal with the extra border checks around the Humber. In a case of “no shit Sherlock”, the government has finally woken up to the fact of […]

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