Good morning. The coronavirus news agenda is likely to be dominated this morning by the Commons science committee, which is taking evidence from Prof Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical adviser, and Sir Patrick Vallance, its chief scientific adviser. But first Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, has been out giving interviews about the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill being unveiled today, and he dropped a hint that the final decision on a pay rise for NHS staff might be more generous than the 1% increase proposed by the government.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast he said:
The final recommendations have not yet been made. We have got to remember that in large other swathes of the public sector there will be a pay freeze save for the lowest paid. I don’t think at the moment we are at the end of this process.
I think that we need to see what the recommendations are and I very much hope that the outcome – whilst it might not be an outcome in these difficult circumstances that will result in pay rises that everybody would want to see – that the work that has been done by NHS workers will be recognised in a way that is appropriate, bearing in mind the constraints we are all under.
It is not for me to start to prejudge what the outcome of the negotiations is. I am simply pointing out that we are at the beginning of that process and we will have to see what the recommendations are.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: Prof Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical adviser, and Sir Patrick Vallance, its chief scientific adviser, give evidence to the Commons science committee.
9.30am: Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, gives evidence to the Commons health committee about the health white paper.
9.30am: The ONS publishes its latest weekly death figures for England and Wales.
9.30am: Boris Johnson chairs cabinet.
10am: Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, gives a speech on planning for pandemics. As my colleague Jessica Elgot reports, he will say ministers must start war-gaming the next pandemic and their plans should be independently audited to prove the UK is prepared for global health threats to come
10am: Nick Gibb, the schools minister, gives evidence to the Commons education committee about Covid and schools.
12pm: Downing Street is expected to hold its daily lobby briefing.
12.30pm: Labour asks a Commons urgent question about the publication of Covid contracts.
After 2pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, makes a statement to MSPs about Covid. She is expected to announce a limited easing on the restrictions on meeting people outside.
Politics Live is now doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog and, given the way the Covid crisis eclipses everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will be covering non-Covid political stories too, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take precedence.
Here is our global coronavirus live blog.
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