This week I've heard from public health officials who are very concerned about rising COVID levels. 

Please think carefully about household mixing during Christmas. Just because we can mix with other households, doesn't mean we should. We all need to work together to protect the NHS and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.

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I challenged the top civil servant at the Department for Education over the plans for schools returning in January.

I was astounded that the day before schools broke up for the holiday, the most senior education civil servant could not reveal any details whatsoever as no decision had yet been taken. 

The Government’s now rushed out further details, but schools have had no time to prepare. This is not good enough. I’ll continuing making the point to ministers and pressing the Government to involve school representatives in these decisions.

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This time last year the Prime Minister promised us an "oven-ready" Brexit deal. Instead, we're now looking at the failure of a No Deal Brexit. 

This is wholly irresponsible. 

Failure to secure a good trade deal with the European Union will mean higher tariffs on foods and exports, and so higher prices for businesses and consumers. I'll keep pressing against this and keep you updated. 

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Tomorrow at 10am, I'll be questioning officials from the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, UNISON, and Care England on how effective the Government was in supplying their frontline health and social care workers at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Watch the full hearing from 10am by clicking here

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Good news this week with the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine.

But there's still a long way between the approval of a vaccine and its roll-out, with plenty of logistical challenges. I'll continue pressing the Government to ensure it gets this right and, crucially, provides more detail about the logistics so we can all plan ahead.

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Due to the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chancellor abandoned plans for a long-term Comprehensive Spending Review (which would have allocated departmental spending for the next three years) in favour on a one-year spending review, allocating funding to government departments for the year from March 2021. The economic forecast, produced by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, made for grim reading. The UK is facing a 11.3 per cent economic contraction – the largest for three hundred years and the worst hit of the G7 (the seven largest economies).

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