Missing Colyton woman found ‘safe’ by police

A 22-year-old woman who was reported missing has been found “safe” by police.

Sam Beamish www.devonlive.com 

Devon and Cornwall Police have announced that Hannah Widger has been found after concern was raised for her welfare.

She had last been seen in the Colyton area at around 6pm on Thursday, November 25.

Today (Monday, November 29) a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police revealed that Hannah has been found ‘safe’.

He said: “Hannah Widger, 22, who had been reported missing from the Colyton area today (November 29), has been found safe by police.

“We would like to thank members of the public for their help.”

Urgent appeal to find woman last seen four days ago: from Colyton

A young woman has been reported missing from the Colyton area of Devon.

Clare Busch www.devonlive.com

Devon and Cornwall Police said they are “increasingly concerned” for Hannah Widger’s welfare.

The 22-year-old was last seen in the Colyton area around 6pm on Thursday, November 25.

The police describe Hannah as “being white, of slim build, with long blonde hair and is 5ft 4ins tall.”

Hannah may be wearing blue jeans, a black coat and black and white Adidas trainers.

She may be driving a white Vauxhall Corsa with the registration number CX09YLR.

Hannah Widger, 22, was last seen in the Colyton area

Hannah Widger, 22, was last seen in the Colyton area (Image: Devon and Cornwall Police)

Police ask that anyone who has seen Hannah or knows of her whereabouts contact officers immediately on 999. The log number is 0192 of 29/11/21.

BREAKING : Masks to be worn in two places Tory MPs don’t go from 4pm Tuesday 

“This is because the crafty little virus really only targets places where poor people go,” newly promoted Tory Minister for Infections, Basil Toilet-Brush MP told LCD Views

lcdviews.com 

PICK ANY VARIANT YOU LIKE : GREAT NEWS TODAY FOR WORRIED BRITONS that the geniuses governing them will not see any appreciable impact on their own lifestyles by the changes to the rules in the tantric pandemic.

Designing the rules around the lifestyles of Tory MPs and donors has been a key plank of pandemic policy, especially when it comes to the time to discard the rules. Now from 4pm Tuesday masks will have to be worn on public transport and in the supermarket, but not anywhere fun, so that’s alright.

“This is because the crafty little virus really only targets places where poor people go,” newly promoted Tory Minister for Infections, Basil Toilet-Brush MP told LCD Views. “You know, those little crowded cans they shuffle back and forward in to the mill. Or to mill as a low value economic unit may say. Also to market. But fine dining, the pub and the sweaty private rooms of private members clubs will be immune from the inconveniences.”

The decision to give the new variant several days grace before the change in the rules has also been seen as displaying the PM’s sense of “sportsmanship” and “fair play”.

“There’s no suggestion we will need until late Tuesday to pick donors to throw lucrative contracts at,” the minister reassured.

Fears about non-compliance with the new rules have been eased too, especially in the knowledge that Tory MPs are incapable of adhering to basic rules which safeguard other people.

“There are two places Tory MPs simply do not go,” Toilet-Brush MP stated. “That’s the supermarket and on public transport. So there is no need to fear any of us being fined for non-compliance. We will be in full compliance with the law. The drones who serve us will have to fight for themselves in Tesco. Or on the tube. But that’s fine by us because we don’t care. Now. Another glass of pandemic? It’s a very good vintage this year.”

Planning applications validated by EDDC for week beginning 15 November

English social care “rapidly deteriorating”

Social care services across England are “rapidly deteriorating”, with waiting lists soaring and councils struggling with care home closures, social services chiefs have warned.

Robert Booth www.theguardian.com

Long-term waiting lists have almost quadrupled and 1.5m hours of necessary home care were not delivered in the three months to November, amid a deepening staffing crisis going into winter.

“Red lights are flashing right across our dashboard,” said Stephen Chandler, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass), which ran a survey of 85 councils. “Older and disabled people are suffering.”

Half of councils have had to respond to a care home closure or bankruptcy in the last six months.

The bleak assessment comes ahead of the government’s social care white paper, scheduled for Tuesday, which is expected to propose a new strategy for pay and career development for care staff amid an exodus of workers, who currently earn on average just over £9 an hour, to higher-paying employers including Amazon.

Downing Street is under growing pressure to deliver on Boris Johnson’s promise in 2019 that he would “fix the crisis in social care once and for all”. Last week details of a plan to cap care costs at £86,000 sparked a Tory backbench rebellion when it emerged that England’s least wealthy people would still face the sale of their homes to pay for care, while richer people would get to keep a greater share of their wealth.

Sajid Javid, the health secretary, promised council leaders last week the imminent reforms would mean everyone had the choice and control to live independent lives, everyone could access outstanding personal care, and that adult care and support would be there for everyone who needed it. But the government has so far only pledged £1.8bn a year in additional money for social care after the Covid pandemic exposed its fragility. MPs and care experts believes the sector needs an extra £10bn a year.

Adass’s snapshot survey covering the period from August to October suggests close to 400,000 people are now waiting for an assessment for their needs. The number waiting for six months or more has surged from 11,000 reported in September to over 40,000 now.

“This survey confirms our worst fears,” said Chandler. “The government must now acknowledge the scale of the crisis and step in with emergency funding and measures to ensure we can get through the winter ahead.” It is calling for urgent £1,000 bonus payments to retain exhausted care workers. £500 payments have already been made the devolved health and care authorities in Scotland and Wales.

There are well over 100,000 vacancies in England’s social care workforce, and tens of thousands of staff who declined to be double-vaccinated can no longer work under legislation making jabs a condition of employment. Not-for-profit care home chain MHA, which lost 150 staff to the vaccine mandate, is among operators to close some of its homes to new admissions because of staff shortages, which in turn blocks up the NHS discharge system.

A survey of care workers by the trade union Unison also found that staff shortages meant people were “dying without dignity” and in some cases there were not enough staff to sit with people in their final hours. A third of those surveyed said staffing levels were “dangerously low”.

Javid told council leaders last week that when the social care white paper is published, “people will see how serious we are about the workforce”, and he said “as the NHS was born out of the second world war”, the government wants to “make a change that lasts for generations”. He said he had been concerned to see a young care worker on a BBC TV documentary, fronted by Ed Balls, say he was planning to become a paramedic or nurse because of the lack of career paths in care.

A government spokesperson said: “We are committed to delivering world-leading social care. That’s why we are investing an additional £5.4bn over three years, which will allow us to build our comprehensive adult social care reform programme. Care homes and home care providers are already benefiting from the new £162.5m workforce retention and recruitment fund to assist local authorities and care providers in working together to ease workforce pressures in a variety of ways.”

Labour proposes watchdog for ministers’ ethics to stop ‘revolving door’

“If you break the rules there should be clear consequences. Our democracy cannot hinge on gentleman’s agreements; it needs independent and robust protection from Conservative corruption.”

Peter Walker www.theguardian.com 

Ministers would be barred from lobbying or other paid work connected to their government roles for five years after they leave office under a Labour plan to set up a new, independent watchdog for potential conflicts of interest.

The proposals, being set out by the party’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, in a speech on Monday, would establish a new organisation to enforce such rules that could also sanction ministers who breached wider regulations.

The planned integrity and ethics commission would replace several elements of the existing system, and would also have more powers, for example the ability to independently open investigations into suspected breaches of the ministerial code, the official rulebook for ministers.

It would replace the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, which decides on rules for ministers taking new jobs. However, Acoba cannot impose punishments, which are up to ministers.

Last week the Cabinet Office said it was taking no action against Philip Hammond, the Conservative former chancellor, who is now a peer, despite him being reprimanded by Acoba for using his government connections to help a bank he is paid to advise.

The new commission would also replace the independent adviser on ministers’ interests, a role currently occupied by the crossbench peer Christopher Geidt. He can only open investigations into suspected ministerial wrongdoing with the permission of Downing Street.

The adviser also has no power to mandate punishment for breaches of the ministerial code. In November last year, Geidt’s predecessor in the job Sir Alex Allan resigned after Boris Johnson declined to sack Priti Patel despite a formal investigation finding evidence that she bullied civil servants, a breach of the ministerial code.

Labour’s proposed new body could set binding sanctions, and former ministers would be obliged to apply to the commission before taking paid roles after they left office. It could also recommend changes to the ministerial code.

The body would also enforce rules banning former ministers from lobbying, consultancy or any other paid work linked to their former role for at least five years, ending what Labour termed “the revolving door” between government jobs and the private sector.

The plan is part of a wider Labour push on ethical issues following controversy about lobbying by former ministers and serving MPs, prompted by Johnson’s abortive attempt to stop the Tory backbencher Owen Paterson from being punished for breaking lobbying rules by rewriting the entire MPs’ disciplinary code.

Labour has already said that in office it would ban all second jobs for MPs, aside from limited exemptions for people such as medical staff or military and police reservists, and introduce stricter political funding rules, including on donations from opaque shell companies.

In her speech, Rayner will say: “The current system does not work and it has failed.

“It only works where there is respect for the rules and there are consequences for breaking them.

“If you break the rules there should be clear consequences. Our democracy cannot hinge on gentleman’s agreements; it needs independent and robust protection from Conservative corruption.

“Labour’s independent integrity and ethics commission will stamp out Conservative corruption and restore trust in public office.”

Opposition cooperation in a minority of seats (154) can remove Tories from power

New constituency-level analysis of polling across England reveals cooperation between opposition parties in a minority of English constituencies would be enough to remove the Conservatives from government at the next election.

www.bestforbritain.org

The data shows that fielding unity candidates between Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens in 154 battleground constituencies in England would relegate the Conservatives to just 254 of 533 seats in England, making it impossible for them to form a government, and leaving them 40 seats short of a majority even if they were to hold their 20 Scottish and Welsh seats and gain the support of the DUP’s 8 MPs.

(Chart 1: Change in seat share in England between the 2019 UK General Election and our MRP analysis prediction for an election in which Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Greens work together)

Senior Conservatives at risk from alliance

The move would also result in high profile electoral casualties for the Conservative party. In this scenario Jacob Rees Mogg would see a dramatic reversal of fortune in North East Somerset, losing by 2 percentage points compared to his previous 26-point margin of victory, Iain Duncan Smith would lose Chingford and Woodgreen by 3 points after winning it by just 2 percentage points at the last election, and Dominic Raab’s 4-point victory in Esher and Walton is transformed into a 4-point defeat. A unity candidate would also make for a close race in the Prime Minister’s own constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip where his lead narrows to just 3 points compared to 15 in the last election.

Chance for fairer system

The Labour Party would only need to step back in 26 seats where the Liberal Democrats have greater support. Regardless of whether or not the Liberal Democrats withdraw, there are 15 seats where the Green Party standing aside flips the seat from a projected Conservative win to a Labour win, including Tony Blair’s former seat of Sedgefield. Whether or not they can be persuaded to do this will depend on Labour’s willingness to deliver a fairer voting system in government.

The polling also dispels claims that Lib Dem voters are as likely to back the Tories if they are left with a choice between Labour and the Conservatives. The data shows less than 20% of Lib Dem voters would back the Conservatives in the average English constituency with 40% going to Labour. Similarly, Labour voters are overwhelmingly likely to back Lib Dem or Green candidates where the choice is between them and the Tories.

Naomi Smith, Chief Executive of Best for Britain a campaign group for the election of a more internationalist government said:

“In 2017 and 2019, parties on the right chose not to fight each other in key marginals, and will likely to do so again. This polling shows that opposition parties must do the same as non-aggression pacts only won’t cut it and there is no other route to power.

“Refusal by Labour and the Lib Dem leadership to cooperate, form government, and deliver change is failing the people and communities these parties seek to represent.

“In 1997, Labour’s NEC and the Lib Dem higher-ups, chose not to stand against the anti-sleaze candidate Martin Bell who beat the Conservative MP embroiled in scandal. Sleaze and corruption are back with a vengeance and opposition party cooperation should be too.

“As the saying goes, you can’t fatten a calf on market day and work to coordinate this strategy needs to begin now.”

Previous polling from Best for Britain, published in May 2021 shows that around 63% of people want like-minded parties to work together at election-time, rising to 70% support among Labour voters.

Such cooperation would only be necessary for one election if a new government introduced voting reform for future general elections because first past the post structurally favours the Conservatives.

The poll

This constituency-level analysis is based on a Number Cruncher Politics online poll of 12,816 UK adults, fieldwork 2nd to 17th August 2021 and further multilevel regression and post stratification (MRP) analysis by Focaldata for Best for Britain Ltd. With further analysis by Best for Britain. The work is based on current constituency boundaries because the new boundaries have not yet been published.

Constituency results mentioned above can be viewed as a data tables here.

All parts of Devon above covid average

Up for second week running

Joe Ives, local democracy reporter www.radioexe.co.uk

Covid infection rates across Devon have risen for the second week in a row, with all but one council area in the county reporting an increase in cases.

Figures for the week to Sunday, 21 November show 7,809 new infections across Devon, 13 per cent (923) more than in the previous week.

Levels are extremely high in parts of the county and every district has a higher infection rate than the UK average. The average infection rate across Devon is now 626 per 100,000 of the population. In comparison, the national average sits at 437.

The north of the county continues to see its already high case numbers grow. Last week cases in Torridge more than doubled to the highest infection rate in England. Numbers have risen again. In the last complete seven-day period, the district recorded 717 new cases, 112 (18.5 per cent) more than in last previous week. Torridge now has an infection rate of 1,043 per 100,000 of the population – almost two and a half times higher than the UK average.

It’s a similar story in North Devon which recorded 847 new cases, 138 (19.5%) more than in the previous week. The district now has an infection rate of 863 per 100,000.

The only council area with a decrease in cases was West Devon, which recorded 272 new infections, down 10 (3.5 per cent) on the previous week. West Devon now has an infection rate of 485 per 100,000.

Overall, the Devon County Council area, which excludes Plymouth and Torbay, saw 5,406 new infections, 610 (13 per cent) more than the previous week. The infection rate across its seven districts is now 667 per 100,000 of the population.

Cases rose significantly in Plymouth too. The city had 1,561 new infections, 272 (20 per cent) more than in the previous week – and an infection rate now at 594 per 100,000.

Torbay’s infections rose by four per cent, recording 842 new cases, 32 more than in the previous week. The rise takes the infection rate in the Bay to 618 per 100,000 of the population. 

Speaking this week, Steve Brown, director of public health for Devon County Council, said part of the rise in cases was because the county had a lower “natural immunity” compared to other areas which experienced higher levels of infection earlier on in the pandemic.

He added: “We are also seeing cases really being driven by primary and secondary-aged children.

“We are not seeing those cases in those older more vulnerable people who might end up in hospital.

“I wouldn’t want to worry people but our rates are much higher than last year but with the vaccination programme we are not seeing the same impact which is the important measure to look at.”

Mr Brown also said that more people were getting tested in Devon compared to many other parts of the country, leading to more cases being identified. 

Hospitalisations

As reported on Tuesday, the NHS in Devon has 168 patients in hospital with covid, up from 111 in early November.

It has not specified the numbers in each hospital. However available figures to Tuesday 16 November show that 40 per cent were in Plymouth, 34 per cent at Exeter, 15 per cent in Torbay and just over a tenth in North Devon.

Deaths

Deaths have increased, with one more recorded than in the previous week.

Nineteen people died within 28 days of receiving a positive covid test across Devon in the most recent complete seven-day period (to Sunday, 21 November).

Thirteen people died in the Devon County Council area, which excludes Plymouth and Torbay. Meanwhile, four deaths were recorded in Plymouth. A further two deaths occurred in Torbay.

Across Devon, a total of 1,342 people have now died within 28 days of a positive covid test.

Vaccinations

Eighty-seven per cent of people aged 12 and above have had their first dose of a vaccine in the Devon County Council area, which excludes Plymouth and Torbay, with 80 per cent receiving both doses.

In Plymouth, 83 per cent have had one dose, while 76 per cent have had both.

In Torbay, 85 per cent have received one dose, while 78 per cent have had both jabs.

This means that vaccination rates in Devon remain slightly behind the rest of the UK. Across the country, 89 per cent of people aged 12 and over have had one dose, while 80 per cent have had both jabs.

Distribution of infection across age groups: from the Devon Covid dashboard