All the bad news Boris Johnson’s government just tried to bury

The UK government has a cynical tradition of saving up bad news and dumping it into the public domain just as MPs head off for their summer break.

The seemingly deliberate strategy allows ministers to escape scrutiny by releasing embarrassing reports and policy changes all at once as parliament goes into recess.

As MPs broke for summer on Friday, parliament saw the usual flood of bad news, which arrived in the form of multiple written ministerial statements and delayed reports.

Here are some of the announcements Boris Johnson’s government may not have wanted you to see.

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced on Thursday that teachers and police officers earning more than £24,000 would have their pay frozen in the 2021/2022 financial year. Those earning less would receive a minimum increase of £250.

Teachers’ unions reacted furiously to the decision, saying it would amount to a real-terms pay cut of up to 4% once inflation was taken into account.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said, per the Guardian: “This pay cut risks further eroding leadership supply, and risks prompting an exodus of leaders when the pandemic finally lifts. A slap in the face doesn’t begin to describe it.”

The Police Federation of England and Wales said it no longer had confidence in Priti Patel as Home Secretary, calling the pay freeze an “insult,” The Independent reported.

2. Home Office showed “massive failure of leadership” over asylum-seeker camps

A report released on Thursday heavily criticized the Home Office for its treatment of asylum seekers living at two former military bases — Napier Barracks in Kent and Penally Camp in Pembrokeshire.

The report by the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration accused the department of “failures of leadership” and said that Home Office staff rarely attended either camp.

The report said “inadequate action” had been taken to address fire risks after a large fire broke out at Napier Barracks.

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