Just Stop Oil protesters have blocked off the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace in London, PA Media reports. PA says:
Around 30 activists started sitting on the road at 8.45am wearing orange high-visibility jackets and holding Just Stop Oil banners.
One taxi driver shouted at them: “Fucking load of wankers. Go and get a real fucking job.”
One Scottish man on a bike shouted words of support. He said: “Go on the protestors, you’re doing great work. Stay strong.”
Emma Brown, 31, who lives in Glasgow and is one of the Just Stop Oil protestors currently blocking The Mall, said that the activists “would walk 500 miles” to “just stop oil”.
Brown said that the protesters had come down from Scotland and that this was her first demonstration.
She said: “We’ve come down because the government is pressing ahead with over 100 new fossil fuel licences. And that is literally a death sentence for all of us here and for all of you. So we can’t allow this to continue. We have to have a cut-off somewhere. We’ve seen the effects already on our doorstep. We’re seeing the effects all over the globe. And this madness has to stop.”
Criminal barristers have voted to accept the government’s pay deal on legal aid fees and end their indefinite strike, my colleague Haroon Siddique reports.
As my colleague Peter Walker reports, Sajid Javid, the Conservative former chancellor, today became the latest senior figure in the party to call for benefits to be uprated in line with inflation.
Good morning. As my colleagues Aubrey Allegretti and Patrick Butler report in their overnight story, Liz Truss is on the brink of performing what would amount to a U-turn over uprating benefits for next year in line with inflation.
While this might not count as a technical U-turn, because Truss never explicitly said that benefits would not be uprated in line with inflation (the usual practice, and also what Boris Johnson’s government promised), she made it clear that she was seriously considering uprating in line with earnings instead, which could save the Treasury roughly £5bn.
Victoria Prentis, a Department for Work and Pensions minister, was giving interviews this morning and she gave a strong hint that Truss is backing down and giving into the demands of Tories from all wings of the party who want benefits to be uprated in line with inflation.
Prentis said that her boss, Chloe Smith, the work and pensions secretary, had to wait for earnings figures, out tomorrow, and inflation figures for September, out on 19 October, until she could make the decision about uprating benefits for 2023-24. Prentis said the decision would probably be announced before the end of November.
But, in an interview with Sky News, Prentis went on:
It’s really important that we make sure that we target the government resources at the most vulnerable.
This sounded like a clue as to the direction in which the debate in government is going. In the short time it has been in office, the Truss administration has not generally prioritised targeting government resources at the most vulnerable. Half of the tax cuts in the original mini-budget would have benefited the richest 5%.
A climbdown over benefits would be just one of several concessions to her critics coming from Truss. She has appointed a prominent Rishi Sunak supporter, Greg Hands, to a vacant ministerial post, she is planning extensive meetings with backbenchers, and she is scheduled to address the 1922 Committee this week. I will post more on these moves shortly.
Here is the agenda for the day. The Commons is still in recess, with MPs returning tomorrow.
10am: The Institute for Fiscal Studies holds a briefing on its green budget, its proposals for what should be in the next budget.
10.30am: Shona Robison, the Scottish government’s social justice secretary, Mairi Gougeon, the rural affairs secretary, and Humza Yousaf, the health secretary, take part in a panel discussion at the opening of proceedings on the final day of the SNP conference in Aberdeen.
11.30am: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.
3.15pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, gives her speech at the close of the SNP conference.
And Keir Starmer is on a visit today in the East Midlands, where he will be giving interviews.
I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.
If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.
Alternatively, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org