Government activity from 22 December 2018 to 4 January 2019

On Saturday 22nd December, Mims Davies announced that tens of thousands of people will be given greater access to befriending services, community arts groups and support schemes through a new £11.5 million fund to tackle loneliness.
https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1062777/loneliness-christmas-elderly-government-acknowledges-crisis

On Sunday 23rd, the Prime Minister gave her 2018 Christmas Message to the Armed Forces and wished servicemen and women and their families the very best this Christmas.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/12/24/theresa-may-pays-tribute-armed-forces-syria-salisbury-christmas/

Also on Sunday, David Rutley confirmed a ban on third party sales of puppies and kittens, following a public consultation from which there was over 95 per cent support for a ban.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6524049/Ministers-press-ahead-plans-ban-party-sales-puppies-kittens.html

Also on Sunday, Damian Hinds announced that thousands more adoptive families and special guardians are set to benefit from additional support after the Adoption Support Fund was increased by £12million – taking the total investment to £149million since 2015.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/12m-to-help-adopted-children-build-happy-lives-mhd956f96

Also on Sunday, Gavin Williamson announced that the British Army have taken delivery of the first four cutting-edge bomb disposal robots following rigorous trials.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2018/12/23/british-army-deploy-advanced-bomb-disposal-robots-55m-deal/

On Monday 24th, Rishi Sunak and Caroline Dinenage set out proposals requiring new shopping centres, stadiums and theme parks and plans for over 100 NHS hospitals to provide Changing Places toilets for severely disabled people.
https://www.itv.com/news/2018-12-24/2m-to-be-invested-in-improving-disabled-toilets-across-nhs-england/

On Wednesday 26th, Jake Berry launched a £675 million Future High Streets fund to transform high streets and town centres and make them fit for the future.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/12/26/town-centres-receive-675m-cash-injection-government-plans-save/

Also on Wednesday, Jeremy Hunt announced a global review into persecution of Christians.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46682411

On Thursday 27th, Michael Gove announced that the 5p plastic bag charge will be extended to all retailers and increased to 10p to cut their use further, as Damian Hinds challenged schools to go single-use plastic free by 2022.
https://news.sky.com/story/plastic-bag-charge-to-be-doubled-to-10p-in-all-shops-across-england-11592314

Also on Thursday, Greg Clark announced that new laws to protect consumers who have already paid for products but not received them when businesses go bust will be considered by the government.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/customers-promised-more-rights-when-stores-go-bust-95dgmhg30

On Friday 28th, Matt Hancock set out plans for widespread changes to replace outdated and frustrating IT systems in GP practices with modern technology.
https://www.itv.com/news/2018-12-28/health-secretary-announces-major-shake-up-of-gp-it-systems/

Also on Friday, David Gauke announced that more prisoners will get in-cell phones to help maintain their family ties which can cut reoffending by 40%.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/dec/28/prisons-with-in-cell-phones-to-rise-to-50-under-10m-expansion

On Saturday 29th, Damian Hinds launched a 'passport' of activities to enrich children's experiences and skills, backed by the Scouts, Girlguiding and National Trust.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8078878/government-ditch-gadgets-children/

On Sunday 30th, Matt Hancock announced that mothers and new babies will be offered better support as part of plans designed to make the NHS one of the best places in the world to give birth.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6539979/Major-new-maternity-package-make-NHS-best-place-world-birth.html

Also on Sunday, Michael Gove set out plans to create greater protections for trees in urban areas, ensuring councils can’t cut down street trees without first consulting communities.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/trees-councils-fell-chop-down-residents-rights-urban-areas-michael-gove-a8703546.html

On Monday 31st, Sajid Javid announced that two Border Force cutters, currently operating abroad, are to be brought back to the UK to help patrol the Channel.
https://news.sky.com/story/border-force-vessels-brought-back-to-patrol-channel-amid-migrant-crossings-11595795

Also on Monday, Michael Gove appointed a new Food Surplus and Waste Champion to help drive forward the government’s plans to cut food waste.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/12/31/food-waste-moral-scandal-michael-gove-says-calls-families-businesses/

Also on Monday, James Brokenshire announced that thousands of extra homes will be made available for vulnerable Londoners at risk of becoming homeless.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/dec/31/london-boroughs-join-forces-to-alleviate-homelessness-crisis

Also on Monday, Chris Skidmore set out £26.6 million of investment to build micro robots that will help repair the UK’s vast underground pipe network, prevent disruptive roadworks and use robotics in hazardous work environments to avoid workplace injury.
https://www.itv.com/news/2018-12-31/futuristic-micro-robots-could-make-roadworks-a-thing-of-the-past/

Also on Monday, Michael Ellis announced that the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst that overlooks Parliament has been upgraded to Grade II* to commemorate the centenary of women’s suffrage in the UK and the election of the first female MP.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/31/emmeline-pankhurst-statue-given-protection-victory-campaigners/

On Tuesday 1st January, the Prime Minister in her New Year message said that 2019 can be the year we put our differences aside and move forward together.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46721508

Also on Tuesday, the Prime Minister and Claire Perry announced that the government’s energy price cap which comes into effect today will save 11 million people an average of £76 a year.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46720908

Also on Tuesday, Greg Clark announced that new regulations coming into force today mean that, for the first time, the UK’s biggest companies will have to disclose and explain every year their top bosses pay and the gap between that and their average worker.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/you-just-right-find-out-13796752

On Wednesday 2nd, Chris Grayling announced measures to slash fares for a generation of rail passengers, including a brand new rail card that extends half-price child rail fares to 16 and 17 year olds.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-6545783/Millennial-railcards-sale.html

Also on Wednesday, Jeremy Hunt spoke in Singapore on Britain's role in a post-Brexit world and announced the Partnership for the Future.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46735381

On Thursday 3rd, Damian Hinds stressed the importance of basic life-saving skills and first aid, under plans for health education to become compulsory in all schools.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-6552031/Children-taught-lifesaving-skills-school.html

Also on Thursday, Stephen Hammond announced that the NHS is better equipped for winter through a £420 million fund which is allowing hospitals and social care services to increase their winter capacity and improve their resilience.
https://inews.co.uk/news/health/nhs-england-winter-crisis-extra-money/

Also on Thursday, Michael Gove spoke at the Oxford Farming Conference and highlighted the world of opportunity for British agriculture if we embrace the opportunities outside the EU and the wider technological revolution.
https://www.thescottishfarmer.co.uk/news/17333538.oxford-farming-conference-michael-gove-building-a-healthy-future-farming-sector/

On Friday 4th, Lucy Frazer announced that more than 150,000 people used online justice services in the past 12 months taking the total number to over 300,000 in the past four years.