James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, is in Kyiv, where he has been meeting the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The Foreign Office says he has announced “a further £3m of support to the Partnership Fund for a Resilient Ukraine to rebuild vital local infrastructure”. It says:
Through this fund the UK is supporting the government of Ukraine, local officials and Ukrainian communities to rebuild vital local infrastructure. This is enabling people to return to normal life by clearing debris from Russian attacks, making areas safe and secure, and rebuilding schools and shelters in towns and villages. This new funding will be targeted to areas recently liberated from Russian control in southern Ukraine, including Kherson Oblast.
Pat Cullen, the Royal College of Nursing general secretary, told the Today programme this morning ‘“life-preserving services” and emergency care would not be covered by the RCN strikes in December. But she said exact details of what would be exempt were still being worked out. She told the programme:
What we will continue to provide is life-preserving services. And those essentially fall into emergency-type care …
We will have very, very detailed and worked-through plans that every single nurse that is taking strike action will be expected to adhere to.
And in each organisation that is subject to industrial action, we set up within that organisation a local strike committee, which is headed up by a senior member of my team, which will be a registered nurse and also then a number of clinical experts that will guide and direct all decisions that will be made.
Asked if nurses would be on cancer wards on strike days, she replied:
Services such as oncology will be derogated or exempt from any strike action. We have a number of services that we are working through at the minute that will be derogated on the day of strike, and we will release that list soon to employers.
Pressed on scans or cancer checks such as colonoscopies, she said:
All of the detail is being worked through. Those services that are not considered life-preserving or emergency services will not be derogated. Those that do fall into those particular descriptions will be derogated.
Humza Yousaf, the Scottish government’s cabinet secretary for health, has stressed that the proposed nurses’ strike will not cover Scotland.
Royal Mail workers and university lecturers are again on strike today in long running disputes over pay, pensions, jobs and conditions, PA Media reports. PA says:
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and University and College Union (UCU) walked out on Thursday for 48 hours, with more action planned in the coming weeks.
Picket lines were again mounted outside universities and Royal Mail centres across the country on Black Friday- one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Good morning. Another day, another strike, because overnight the Royal College of Nursing has set the date for two, 12-hour nursing strikes in December that will affect most of the UK. My colleagues Andrew Gregory and Jamie Grierson have the details here.
Pat Cullen, the RCN general secretary, accused Steve Barclay, the health secretary, of being intransigent. She said:
If Barclay wishes to meet with me, get round the table and stop the spin and start to speak, he can avert these strikes. My door is wide open night and day. I will make myself available, as will my team on behalf of our nursing staff. That option isn’t available to me at this time and consequently he has chosen strikes over speaking to me.
But in tweets this morning Barclay insisted that he was available for talks.
However, he also defended the pay offer already on the table as “fair”.
I’ll post more on this shortly. Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: MPs debate backbench bill, starting with Liam Fox’s electricity and gas transmission (compensation) bill.
10am: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, addresses the Poverty Alliance conference in Glasgow.
11.30am: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.
Lunchtime: Keir Starmer is doing a visit in Birmingham.
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