MPs slam government for paying £7k a day to private sector Test and Trace consultants

Opposition MPs have slammed the government for paying £7k day rates to private sector consultants who’re helping the government to set up and run its testing system. Michael Gove has defended the practice. Sky News has reported that it had seen documents revealing Boston Consulting Group (BCG) was paid about £10 million for around 40 consultants to provide 4 months’ work. This was between the end of April and late August. The broadcaster said the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) received a 10 to 15% discount from BCG. Its day rates for public sector work reportedly range from £2,400 to £7,360. The report comes amid ongoing criticism…

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Government adviser on Islamophobia calls for unity in the wake of France attack

Everyone should “work together” to counter extremism following an attack on a history teacher in France, the government’s Islamophobia adviser has said. History teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded near Paris on Friday 16 October. Paty had previously been threatened for discussing caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed with his class, according to French police. The suspect, an 18-year-old Chechen refugee unknown to intelligence services, was shot dead by police. “We must not play into their hateful rhetoric” Qari Asim MBE, imam of Makkah Mosque and government adviser on Islamophobia, spoke out against the incident. He also urged Britons not to be divided by “hateful rhetoric”. Asim said: Such barbaric…

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Independent SAGE publishes ’emergency six-week plan’ after government ignores its last advice

We need your help ... The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads. Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion. We have been fighting against an…

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Test and Trace consultants paid ‘£7,000 day rates’ by government for ‘shocking broken system’

Private sector consultants are being paid day rates of around £7,000 by the government to help with its coronavirus test and trace system, according to reports. Sky News said it has seen documents revealing Boston Consulting Group (BCG) was paid about £10M for around 40 consultants to provide four months’ work between the end of April and late August.The broadcaster said the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) received a 10 to 15% discount from BCG, whose day rates for public sector work range from £2,400 to £7,360 for the most senior consultants.Its report comes amid ongoing criticism of the government’s £12bn Test and Trace system. (PA…

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Government failed to act and impose ‘circuit break’ to prevent need for longer lockdown

A member of the expert panel of scientists advising ministers through the coronavirus pandemic said a “circuit break” lockdown would have prevented the need for “intensive and long-term” restrictions later. At its 21 September meeting, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) suggested immediately introducing a national lockdown lasting between two and three weeks to halt the rapid spread of the virus – dubbed a “circuit break” lockdown. But the prime minister appeared to reject the idea when he laid out a tiered system of restrictions on Monday, placing only Liverpool City Region into the harshest measures of Tier 3, which includes the widespread closure of the hospitality…

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The government is legalising and extending this infamous spycop’s criminal actions. And you could be a victim.

Note: for almost 12 months during the Persons Unknown prosecution, the author’s home was placed under electronic surveillance by Special Branch. The author subsequently played a part in the closure of the 70-year-old blacklisting and espionage agency, the Economic League.The Tory government is progressing a bill to legalise the criminal activities of Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) who work with the police, MI5, and other state agencies. It passed its second reading on the 5 October, with Labour, under Starmer, mostly abstaining.But it is possibly one of the most dangerous bills to be put before the country in decades, legalising highly discredited practices. This article gives extensive background…

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Nigerian government officially disbands notorious police unit, but the fight against police brutality is far from over

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is a unit of the Nigerian Police Force. Over the years, evidence has mounted of SARS units unlawfully arresting and detaining young people across the country. That evidence includes accounts of kidnapping, extrajudicial executions, stealing property and extorting money. Since 2016, Amnesty International has documented at least 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment and extrajudicial executions by SARS. In a report published in June 2020, Amnesty found that: [T]orture is a routine and systemic part of police investigation in SARS; that many SARS stations use designated ‘torture chambers’ – special interrogation rooms commonly used for torturing suspects. In spite of all the evidence, the…

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Pandemic of Repression: Modi Government Crushes Dissent While Ignoring India’s 6 Million COVID Cases

In these times of elections, climate chaos and COVID-19, independent news is more important than ever. You turn to Democracy Now! because you trust that when we're reporting on the pandemic or the uprisings against police brutality—or the climate crisis—our coverage is not brought to you by the fossil fuel, insurance or weapons industries or Big Pharma. We count on YOU to make our work possible. Today, a generous supporter will DOUBLE your new monthly donation to Democracy Now!, meaning your gift will go twice as far. This is a challenging time for us all, but if you're able to make a monthly donation and provide us with…

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The government is quietly trying to destroy freedom of speech in our schools

The Department for Education has updated its PSHE guidance to schools with new restrictions banning resources from “extreme political stances”. PSHE stands for ‘personal, social, health and economic education’. It teaches children skills intended to prepare them for adult life, as well as knowledge about keeping themselves healthy and safe. But the new guidelines amount to a direct attack on freedom of speech. And many education professionals have expressed concern about how this will affect their freedom in teaching PSHE. The guidance The guidance, published on 24 September, includes an outline of appropriate resources for use in teaching about relationships, sex, and health. Part of the guidance reads:…

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Yet another government U-Turn as parliament drinking hours spark public backlash

UK businesses have criticised Boris Johnson’s new strict curfew for England’s pubs and bars during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. They’ve raised concerns that it may do more harm than good by forcing crowds into the streets at the same time. But the law caused even more protests when it emerged that MPs, lords and parliamentary staff would be able to continue drinking past the deadline in the Palace of Westminster. This was because its establishments are classed as workplace canteens. As a result, parliament has now said it won’t serve alcohol after the 10pm curfew. Yet another U-turn Johnson announced new regulations last week. They include exemptions that:…

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