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Test & trace consultants are paid £7,360 a DAY: Fury as private sector company is handed cash

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test trace consultants are paid 7360 a day fury as private sector company is handed cash

Private sector consultants are being paid £7,000 a day to help run the Government’s failing Test and Trace programme, it emerged last night.

The amount has been condemned as a ‘disgraceful’ use of taxpayer cash amid the already eye-watering expense of Covid testing.

Budgeted at £12billion, the scheme is seen as vital to the Government’s pandemic response, yet it is coming under severe strain as cases climb.

Last week, a major glitch saw 16,000 cases go missing, severely hampering the contact tracing programme and officials’ ability to track the spread of the virus. 

Private sector consultants are being paid £7,000 a day to help run the Government's failing Test and Trace programme, it emerged last night (stock picture)

Private sector consultants are being paid £7,000 a day to help run the Government's failing Test and Trace programme, it emerged last night (stock picture)

Private sector consultants are being paid £7,000 a day to help run the Government’s failing Test and Trace programme, it emerged last night (stock picture)

Even before that, the system was struggling to cope, with officials failing to trace a third of contacts who might have been exposed to Covid.

Last night, it emerged that senior executives from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) have been paid day rates of £7,360 – equivalent to an annual salary of £1.5 million – to advise on the running of the system. According to documents seen by Sky News, the Government paid BCG about £10 million for a team of 40 consultants to do four months’ work between the end of April and late August.

Labour MP Toby Perkins, raising the matter during a House of Commons debate on contact tracing yesterday, said: ‘You won’t find dedicated public servants being paid £7,500 per day, you won’t find them on £1.5 million, but what you will find is a basic competence, a knowledge of their area, a desire to make sure that the systems work before they are implemented.’

Referring to his previous career in the sales industry, Mr Perkins told MPs: ‘I never came across a customer nearly as naive as what we have with the Government.

The amount has been condemned as a 'disgraceful' use of taxpayer cash amid the already eye-watering expense of Covid testing (stock picture)

The amount has been condemned as a 'disgraceful' use of taxpayer cash amid the already eye-watering expense of Covid testing (stock picture)

The amount has been condemned as a ‘disgraceful’ use of taxpayer cash amid the already eye-watering expense of Covid testing (stock picture) 

‘I just wish that at some point in my life I could have come across a customer with as much money as the Government has, as willing to be so easily impressed as this Government is, and as willing to give it to people and then defend the people who let them down as a supplier.’

The vast Test and Trace programme was put together at rapid pace back in April and May, and is operated by a mish-mash of private companies, civil servants, health quangos and the NHS.

The Department of Health relied on private sector consultants to help set up and run the programme. More than 1,000 consultants from Deloitte are said to be working on the programme, at day rates of as much as £2,360.

The Government is reported to be recruiting even more consultants to work on its ‘moonshot’ programme of regular asymptomatic testing, with 165 new consultants drafted in to work on the programme until November.

Labour health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth said last night: ‘The figures being spent on this broken system are truly shocking. Testing and contact tracing is failing to keep the virus under control, which makes it even more disgraceful that such huge sums of money are being spent.’

The Department of Health said: ‘NHS Test and Trace is the biggest testing system per head of population of all the major countries in Europe. It’s processing 270,000 tests a day and nearly 700,000 people who may otherwise have unknowingly at risk of spreading coronavirus have been contacted.

‘It requires us to work with both public and private sector partners with the specialist skills and experience we need. Every pound spent is contributing towards our efforts to keep people safe as we ramp up testing capacity to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Top chef warns British fishermen face a ‘perfect storm’ this winter

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top chef warns british fishermen face a perfect storm this winter

Britain’s fishing fleet faces a ‘perfect storm’ this winter as demand from beleaguered restaurants and pubs plummets, chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall warned last night.

The new wave of Covid restrictions – including the 10pm curfew and bans on mixing with other households – has slashed orders of fish caught by the 4,000 boats in the UK’s small-scale coastal fleet.

These boats, which are typically under 30ft in length and are often owned by family businesses, supply premium fish such as turbot, bass and Dover sole, as well as crabs and lobsters, for restaurants across the UK and Europe.

Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Fishermen and women are used to experiencing hard times but I worry that they face a perfect storm this winter and many could go out of business.’

Britain's fishing fleet faces a ‘perfect storm’ this winter as demand from beleaguered restaurants and pubs plummets, chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (pictured) warned last night

Britain's fishing fleet faces a ‘perfect storm’ this winter as demand from beleaguered restaurants and pubs plummets, chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (pictured) warned last night

Britain’s fishing fleet faces a ‘perfect storm’ this winter as demand from beleaguered restaurants and pubs plummets, chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (pictured) warned last night

His remarks come as UK Brexit negotiators are understood to have proposed a ‘sweetheart deal’ to French President Emmanuel Macron, under which the UK would take back control of its fishing waters on January 1, 2021 – but the French will be allowed to catch up to their current quotas until after the 2022 presidential election.

In return, Mr Macron would relax his demands for the UK to follow EU rules on state subsidies for businesses. 

The aim is to protect the President from electoral damage at the hands of the powerful French fishing lobby.

His remarks come as UK Brexit negotiators are understood to have proposed a ‘sweetheart deal’ to French President Emmanuel Macron, under which the UK would take back control of its fishing waters on January 1, 2021 – but the French will be allowed to catch up to their current quotas until after the 2022 presidential election

His remarks come as UK Brexit negotiators are understood to have proposed a ‘sweetheart deal’ to French President Emmanuel Macron, under which the UK would take back control of its fishing waters on January 1, 2021 – but the French will be allowed to catch up to their current quotas until after the 2022 presidential election

His remarks come as UK Brexit negotiators are understood to have proposed a ‘sweetheart deal’ to French President Emmanuel Macron, under which the UK would take back control of its fishing waters on January 1, 2021 – but the French will be allowed to catch up to their current quotas until after the 2022 presidential election 

After 2022, the UK says EU countries will have to request access to UK waters and set quotas on an annual basis. The EU is demanding a review every five years.

Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall added: ‘As more pubs and restaurants are closing or are restricted in their trade, fish prices start to drop rapidly. 

‘Britain’s fleet of inshore fishing boats is a vital part of the fabric of this country and we must ensure these small family businesses… survive this incredibly difficult time.’

This map shows the extent of the UK's Exclusive Economic Zone - the waters Britain will take back control of after Brexit. At the moment the EEZ of every EU member state is merged into one large zone which can be accessed by fishermen from all over Europe

This map shows the extent of the UK's Exclusive Economic Zone - the waters Britain will take back control of after Brexit. At the moment the EEZ of every EU member state is merged into one large zone which can be accessed by fishermen from all over Europe

This map shows the extent of the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone – the waters Britain will take back control of after Brexit. At the moment the EEZ of every EU member state is merged into one large zone which can be accessed by fishermen from all over Europe

Industry sources say the fleet survived the first lockdown thanks to a jump in sales by fishmongers and via home deliveries. 

But the new round of Covid restrictions and economic uncertainty is having a devastating impact on prices. The price of a small bass has fallen from £9 per kilogram to £6 per kg.

In March, at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, Rodney Anderson, a former director of fisheries at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Terri Portman, a marine consultant, set up Call4Fish, a website where people can order seafood deliveries to their home.

‘The British public kept our fishermen going,’ Mr Anderson said. ‘But as demand falls again, there are skippers along the coastline worried about how they are going to keep their businesses afloat.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Prince Andrew working out ‘how he can serve the monarchy’ as he maps out return to royal duties

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prince andrew working out how he can serve the monarchy as he maps out return to royal duties

Prince Andrew is working out ‘how he can serve the monarchy’ as he maps out a return to royal duties, it was claimed last night.

The beleaguered Duke of York stepped back from his duties ‘for the foreseeable future’ following his car crash Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis last year.

Since then, the 60-year-old has faced a series of controversies leading sources to brand him a ‘busted flush’ with a ‘toxic’ presence.

Prince Andrew, pictured on Saturday, is working out 'how he can serve the monarchy' as he maps out a return to royal duties, it was claimed last night

Prince Andrew, pictured on Saturday, is working out 'how he can serve the monarchy' as he maps out a return to royal duties, it was claimed last night

Prince Andrew, pictured on Saturday, is working out ‘how he can serve the monarchy’ as he maps out a return to royal duties, it was claimed last night

PRINCE ANDREW’S NAME WAS MISSING FROM MAXWELL’S COURT DEPOSITION 

The Duke of York’s name was redacted from Ghislaine Maxwell’s court deposition documents.

Alleged victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre has accused Prince Andrew of having sex with her when she was 17 years old.

More than 400 pages became public on Thursday for the first time. Maxwell is currently in jail in New York awaiting a sex trafficking trial.

Speaking in her adopted hometown of Cairns in Far North Queensland, American Ms Giuffre said while she was happy the documents were unsealed,  she questioned why several names including that of the Prince were redacted.

She told ABC: ‘I feel very angry. 

‘I don’t understand why we are protecting someone who hides behind mummy’s skirt and says “I didn’t do it”. His name should have been out there in the deposition.’ 

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In the November interview, he attempted to ‘set the record straight’ by speaking about allegations that he had sex with 17-year-old Virginia Roberts three times, which he has strongly denied. 

But he was widely condemned for showing a lack of remorse over his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The interview triggered days of catastrophic headlines and caused a string of businesses and charities to desert him.

In March, the Duke of York hired PR expert Mark Gallagher, nicknamed ‘the backroom fixer’, to deal with the fallout from the scandal.

Now, nearly 12 months on, it appears the Prince is determined to return and resume a public role at some point next year if legal issues with US authorities investigating Epstein, who died in prison, can be resolved.

A source told the Times: ‘The duke is spending time working out how he can serve  his country and support the monarchy in the future, and what else he might want to do with his life.

‘He’s locked down at Royal Lodge [his home on the Queen’s Windsor estate], thinking about his future service and public role. He has some clear thoughts.

‘He’s very sensitive to the public mood and acutely conscious that the public are the  most important stakeholder. He feels he has support from the family, very much so,  including all his siblings and his parents.’

Buckingham Palace, however, is said to have distanced itself from the claims, insisting there are ‘no plans to review’ the Duke’s status. 

The beleaguered Duke of York stepped back from his duties 'for the foreseeable future' following his car crash Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis last year

The beleaguered Duke of York stepped back from his duties 'for the foreseeable future' following his car crash Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis last year

The beleaguered Duke of York stepped back from his duties ‘for the foreseeable future’ following his car crash Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis last year

n the November interview, he attempted to 'set the record straight' by speaking about allegations that he had sex with 17-year-old Virginia Roberts three times, which he has strongly denied

n the November interview, he attempted to 'set the record straight' by speaking about allegations that he had sex with 17-year-old Virginia Roberts three times, which he has strongly denied

n the November interview, he attempted to ‘set the record straight’ by speaking about allegations that he had sex with 17-year-old Virginia Roberts three times, which he has strongly denied

Any potential comeback would first have to be thrashed out in talks with the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, palace officials and the government, according to the paper.  

Another source insisted conversations had taken place but admitted the prospect of Andrew resuming an official role would be unlikely. 

The Prince wore a face covering yesterday as he was seen for the first time since bombshell Ghislaine Maxwell files were released on Thursday.

It comes as Maxwell’s family claimed she has been treated ‘vindictively’ and ‘cruelly’ by prison guards – leading to a bid to free her from jail.

The Duke of York was seen talking animatedly with a passenger as he drove his Range Rover away from his home in Windsor this morning.

On Thursday, a 418-page document was released detailing how Maxwell admitted she had an intimate relationship with Jeffrey Epstein

In the bombshell 2016 deposition she refused to discuss their sex life as she dodged questions about orgies, underage girls and Prince Andrew.

Buckingham Palace was approached for comment on claims the Duke was mapping out a return to royal duties.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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French square in Emily in Paris bears its name from medieval torture method

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french square in emily in paris bears its name from medieval torture method
File photo dated August 14, 2019 of Lily Collins shooting Emily in Paris TV show in Paris, France

File photo dated August 14, 2019 of Lily Collins shooting Emily in Paris TV show in Paris, France

File photo dated August 14, 2019 of Lily Collins shooting Emily in Paris TV show in Paris, France

In the hit TV series Emily In Paris, the square where the lead character lives is a picture-perfect setting for a young advertising executive’s romantic adventures in the chic heart of France’s capital.

But fans of the Netflix series may be surprised to learn that the location, the Place de l’Estrapade, bears a dark secret – it is named after a medieval method of torture once used on prisoners on the site.

The house where Emily – played by Lily Collins, 31 – lives is the Maison Moreau, named after a wealthy carpenter who built it in the 1770s just before the French Revolution. 

And it was in the quaint 5th Arrondissement Latin Quarter square it dominates where thousands of prisoners were maimed and put to death in the years leading up to the country’s violent upheaval of 1789.

The estrapade torture became popular in the Renaissance, with a tall, gallows-style wooden structure where victims perched with a rope tied to their wrists, behind their back.

On a given signal – and once a decent crowd had built up – the prisoner was dropped and pulled up just before they hit the ground, dislocating the arms, causing internal injuries and an inevitable, agonising death.

‘Thankfully, Paris has become a much nicer place since then,’ said local resident Aurélie Badeaux.

The estrapade torture became popular in the Renaissance, with a tall, gallows-style wooden structure where victims perched with a rope tied to their wrists, behind their back

The estrapade torture became popular in the Renaissance, with a tall, gallows-style wooden structure where victims perched with a rope tied to their wrists, behind their back

The estrapade torture became popular in the Renaissance, with a tall, gallows-style wooden structure where victims perched with a rope tied to their wrists, behind their back

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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