News in brief

NHS workers must pay to park again

Bills are going up for everyone this month. But for NHS workers, there is an added charge. Over 90% of NHS Trusts suspended parking fees for their staff in March 2020. As of the beginning of April, fees will start again.

The government says the scheme has cost it £130 million. But reintroducing the fees simply takes that money straight back out of health workers’ already depleted pay cheques. Health secretary Sajid Javid took the announcement as an opportunity to glibly ‘thank’ workers for their hard work through the pandemic. Some thanks!

Education recovery outsourcers ditched

A contract worth £32 million was handed to HR firm Randstad to outsource part of the government’s National Tutoring Programme for 2021-22. So far, the disastrous scheme has achieved just 15% of its target, it appears Randstad’s figures were even worse. It has been dropped for the next academic year.

One MP said the government had been “pouring taxpayers’ money down the drain”. It wasn’t poured down the drain, it was pouring into the coffers of Randstad, a company already trousering untold fortunes providing outsourced disability support for universities.

If the government was serious about educational recovery, it would seriously invest in the funding schools need, and keep the profiteers’ filthy fingers out of our children’s schools.

Government U-turn on abortion access

Women in England will be able to continue to access abortion pills through the post. A measure, introduced during the pandemic, was under threat when Maggie Throup, Tory public health minister threatened to scrap the scheme. Public outcry has forced the U-turn in a vote in Parliament. The scheme will give more women the right to choose, enabling access for those who, for example, have caring responsibilities, lack access to transport, or are in abusive relationships.