If you are looking at voting intention or best Prime Minister figures to judge how well an opposition leader is doing, the first thing to note is that they are relative. It’s not just about how well the opposition are doing, it’s about how well the government are doing. Indeed, it’s probably mostly how well the government are doing – I am a great believer in the old truism that oppositions do not win elections, governments lose them. A really good opposition leader can pick holes in a government and force them into political errors, but primarily it’s a job of waiting for them to make a mistake, and making sure that when they do, you look like a plausible enough alternative for the public to place their trust in you.

Many of Starmer’s internal Labour party critics start with the absolute assumption that the Government are incredibly unpopular and that Labour should therefore be ahead of them. The reality is the Government’s figures really aren’t that bad and, on corona vaccination – the issue that currently dominates the agenda – are strikingly good. Looking at the Ipsos MORI polling this week, 38% think the government are handling corona well, 46% badly (negative, but not overwhelmingly so). 86% think they are doing well at securing vaccine supplies, 78% that they are doing well in rolling it out. For better or for worse, Boris Johnson has also delivered on his main election promise – getting Brexit done – and his own approval ratings appear to have bottomed out at the end of last year and have improved slightly since then.

As such, we’ve seen the Conservative party creep back ahead in the polls over recent months. At the tail end of last year the polls were broadly neck-and-neck. The Tories now clearly have a small lead again. Opinium and YouGov’s polls this week show a 5 point Tory lead, Survation a 6 point lead, Ipsos MORI earlier this month a 4 point lead. This is likely more a reflection of the Conservative Government’s recovering fortunes than anything Labour have or haven’t done. If we want to get a decent measure of public attitudes towards Keir Starmer, we need to look at figures asking directly about Starmer himself, rather than his relative position to the Government.

If we do that, then on the whole, Starmer’s ratings are at least acceptable. During the early part of his leadership there were very solid indeed, but over the last few months they have declined. His approval ratings are fairly neutral (Opinium’s last poll had 32% approving, 30% disapproving; Ipsos MORI has 40% satisfied, 35% dissatisfied; YouGov 39% good job, 37% bad job). These are significantly better than Boris Johnson’s current ratings, and better than his predecessors Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn.

Looking at polling on perceptions of Starmer, YouGov gives him positive ratings on being strong, likeable, decisive and – especially – competence (42% see him as competent, 21% incompetent). Ipsos MORI finds strongly positive ratings for him on being decisive, and moderately positive figures on leading opinion and demonstrating a clear vision.

MORI also ask a regular question on if the opposition leader looks ready to be Prime Minister. 33% of people think Starmer does, 37% think he does not. Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband got figures ranging between 17%-31% thinking they looked ready to be Prime Minister, but consistently got in excess of 60% saying they did not. The positive figures may not be that different here, but Starmer’s negatives are far, far less than his predecessors. YouGov have a similar question, and found 33% think Starmer looks like a Prime Minister in waiting.

It is clear from the polling that Keir Starmer is seen by the general public as much more of a competent, plausible Prime Ministerial figure than his two predecessors. Whether that is enough is a different matter. I’ve frequently compared Starmer’s figures in this article to Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn. By that yardstick they’re not bad at all. But compare them to Tony Blair, or even to David Cameron, the last two leaders of the opposition to actually go on and become Prime Minister, and they look less positive.

It’s also worth underlining that the direction of movement for Starmer is currently negative. Lots of leaders have positive ratings to begin with (think of how positively rated Theresa May was to begin with, for example). At the moment it looks as if the way that Keir Starmer presents himself has chimed enough with the public for them to give him a serious hearing and to remain open-minded on whether he’d make a good Prime Minister. It looks as if Starmer has managed to win the opportunity to be heard, but having that opportunity doesn’t mean he won’t fluff it.

Obviously Keir Starmer is not yet in a position to win a general election. We won’t know until after the boundary review exactly what sort of lead the Labour party would need to win an election, but to get an overall majority on a uniform swing then without some degree of political realignment they’d need a very substantial lead indeed and at this point, Starmer has no lead at all. I suppose for those within the Labour party, it depends exactly how much one can reasonably expect from leader who inherits a party that has just suffered one of its worst ever general elections, its fourth in row, and has spent the last five years busy in internecine warfare.


2,990 Responses to “How well or badly is Keir Starmer doing?”

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  1. There’s a policy blitz coming in a few days…

  2. Welcome back Anthony. :D

  3. @ Oldnat
    (A belated response as I was waiting to see if Lady Valerie would respond.]

    (1). “You are confusing legislation with ordinary discourse. That is one of the factors that makes resolving a complex issue of competing right harder.”
    Tosh. I wasn’t confusing anything. I noted that the more congruence between the two the better, & that calling women who give birth “persons” in legislation served no useful purpose, either in legislation or ordinary discourse. Of course in this case I was transgressing SNP policy, a matter of great significance to its loyal supporters but of utter indifference to me.

    (2) “Still, your ability to read the minds of others [i.e., Lady Valerie] and to discern their intention is quite astounding, and I yield to you on that front.”
    More tosh. The irony, which obviously escaped you, is that your post did EXACTLY what you just criticised me for in the quotation above! i.e., you attributed views & intentions to Lady Valerie which she didn’t hold or express, as she confirmed in her later (rather anguished) post.
    A further irony is apparently that she didn’t muddle her Howards at all, if indeed she is correct that TOH is posting under multiple identities. I wonder if the two Howards are the same age.

  4. Thank goodness you are still around AW.

    We really needed a new thread.

  5. Thank you AW, excellent write-up as always

  6. Colin,

    Yes a new thread is good, but it will only improve things if the Trevs and Danny don’t post screeds on Covid!

    I have my doubts!

    Peter.

  7. Boris has taken a year to get settled into government despite having caught Covid 19.
    Now we have shown the whole of Europe how to organise the purchase of vaccines and distribute them at speed to the first 15 million of the most vulnerable.
    At 3 million a week most of the population should be vaccinated by June.
    Soon we will see the proposals to build back better and improve the lot of not only the north of England but the whole of the UK.
    We shall soon begin to see the benefits of Brexit and all the new free trade Deals which have been signed over the last year.
    Hopefully we will regain the loss of 9.9 % of GDP over the next year and then start to repay the loans which had to be taken to pay to protect as many jobs as possible.
    Boris is already ahead of Starmer in the latest polls.

  8. Thank you, AW, for your usual first-class and perceptive analysis

    The first two paragraphs are key to Starmer`s ratings, IMHO. The UK public have had a daily diet of news on the daily rise in vaccinations, and how the UK is world beating, and are forgetting, or simply not reminded of, the increasing problems for the Tory government.

    Sunak will have to act soon on taxes, or else UK debts will become enormous. Tax rises whether on fuel, income or sales, will be a sharp shock to many of the public that think he and Johnson are heroes.

    And lots of workers will lose their jobs soon due to Brexit, and companies become bankrupt. The untruths about no border or customs checks in the Irish Sea can only be solved by Johnson by a loss of face, and he moving the UK into quasi-acceptance of CU/SM practices.

  9. I take back my claim the site is moribund.

  10. Robbie,

    Howard does not post under multiple identities to mislead like our old friend Roland did, sometimes his name rather than his handle appears for some reason.

    Key line in Anthony’s piece for me as a party member is:

    ”It looks as if Starmer has managed to win the opportunity to be heard, but having that opportunity doesn’t mean he won’t fluff it.”

    It’s about timing and I do wonder if some negative publicity recently is bringing forward a ‘policy blitz’ too soon? I suppose with Elections in May the party have to offer something beyond competent opposition but I hope they don’t over-reach this far ahead of a GE.

  11. New Threads

    Do they really make a difference?

    Starmer Position

    The polls basically say exactly the problem for anyone in a situation that he is in.

    Firstly politicians follow the crowd, they are often not the information providers. The crowd says they like Conservatives and they don’t really much care about the negatives especially as they see themselves on a war footing which to me is very interesting.

    In that sense I also think as I have said before that one of the advantages of Covid for Starmer would be that we did not have so much of a right wing press looking for a moniker and a approach to rubbish him. Indeed a bit like the problem that Trump has with Biden is that Starmer has nothing that you can really rubbish. The field for old ponies was the best that the daily Mail could do and mostly Johnson was basically building a straw man to to knock down and I would point to TREVOR WARNE has now stopped attempting to use a moniker on Starmer because I think what people recognise is that he is competent.

    Where does he fail. I think part of where he fails is that you can only show so much competence without power. I suspect the issues that will hurt the Conservatives are the covid inquiry which I suspect would show a delayng of making crucial decisions and a lack of agreement in the Cabinet where I think Sunak and other were fighting for much more aggressive opening of the economy. I also think that the Brexit will slowly haunt the UK as in order to become a success we need to see some big wins whereas at the moment I suspect people are not cheering brexit which is why EU strategi mistake on Article 16 is being played for all its worth.

    My view is that not talking about Brexit cannot continue because at some point you have to talk about the what you have lost and how you are going to pursue gains. That needs more than competence it needs a vision.

    I also believe that the real problem is not Starmer or Labour policies but actually how you associate Labour as a brand it has been sold as a party that has terrible policies until you separate the policies form the party.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7lsRbDKOXg

    I keep using this as the real problem that Labour has with regards themselves. Most people will say Labour policies are sensible but when they associate them with Labour they say they say they cannot be sensible indeed the same people would argue that they are not rationale just based on who says the policies

    Where I agree with some of those on this site is that Johnson is not an ideologue, he is a win by any means. Indeed as some would suggest I don’t think he has a view on policy at all. Much of the policy success that we attribute to him actually was put in place before him. I particularly love his selling of the rent a bike scheme which he inherited from Livingstone as Boris bikes. yet the whole idea of fares fair is never really associated with Ken Livingstone and I suspect one of the sad reality of those that believe in collectivism is that often many of the gains are taken for granted. For example we do not associate NMW with Labour it is ‘normal’ but was fought against tooth and nail by conservatives before its introduction I suspect by many of the RoC commentators on tis site.

    Where I think there is going to be an interesting problem for Labour is that for many working class people Labour has been a success. Just think of movement due to education as an example this has been much pushed by reforms pursued by Blair. Indeed his big successes was the in my view the pushing of money to local councils and the idea of extending schooling and combined child care with sure start. How does any Labour Leader capture that sort of vision. In truth Blair rebranded Labour rather than festooned it with policies. The problem is that I don’t feel that labours policies are bad indeed I suspect that even Corbyns policies would have been acceptable but I suspect the real issue is how you create a political brand. how do you create a feeling of wanting to belong and the giving the answer of why should I belong.

    I have said the world is move to the left to a more collective more inclusive society this happens because people get used to what they are exposed to. I remember a friend that visited South Africa during apartheid she was there for 3 months and she said what scared her most was that you got used to it all. She was white very left wing but she noticed what she was getting used to. I am not sure how Labour takes advantage of the natural drift

  12. “I take back my claim the site is moribund.”

    Nice to see a new thread, but the vast length of the old one seems to demonstrate that people will keep posing here regardless of whether Anthony Wells provides new editorial comment or not.

    Those 12,033 comments on the last thread have been piling up at a steady rate of around 7 per hour (day and night) for the past two-and-a-half months. Which is much the same as for shorter threads.

  13. Peter Cairns.

    Your list is predictably incomplete.

    Mr. Verbosity has already appeared as you can se e, attempting to upstage Our Genial Host.

  14. As well as local government election of various kinds in England, there are General Elections in Wales and Scotland.

    In Wales, Llafur hope to remain in power. In Scotland, SLab hope to get into a distant 2nd place, but edge ahead of SCon.

    Any “policy blitz” from Starmer on England-only issues will have resonance in Scotland and Wales but, if designed to attract support in England, may be counter-productive elsewhere.

    Any UK-wide policies (especially on Brexit issues) may hit the same problem.

    The problem of what to say, when, where and what about may be something that exercises those within UK Labour whose horizon extends beyond England.

  15. Robbie,

    “Howard does not post under multiple identities to mislead like our old friend Roland did, sometimes his name rather than his handle appears for some reason.”

    Thanks. Not being a regular I didn’t know that & hence thought that Lady V has confused her Howards.

    In fiction of course everyone — artificially — has different names, so the reader/viewer does not get confused.
    When I was at Uni in the 1st year, everyone was called Pete. As I mentioned once they all had to have a handle: Fat Pete, Tall P, Denim Pete, Pete the C, Drunk Pete, etc. All worked fine until a certain Pete discovered he was called Dealer Pete.

  16. Catalonia: GAD3 exit poll shows pro-independence parties winning a combined 54% vote share, the first time parties advocating secession from Spain would have won a majority of the popular vote. (Europe Elects)

    As Prof McHarg points out – “So violent suppression as a means of preventing secession working out just as well as one would expect.”.

  17. Colin: Mr. Verbosity has already appeared as you can se e, attempting to upstage Our Genial Host.

    Ah, first sour personal comment of the new thread. That took just under two hours…

  18. @ Colin “I should have left him undisturbed in his little bubble of grievance, victimhood and obsession.”

    Ha ha. Excellent self-description. All criticism is self-criticism.

    You always remind me of Mr Pooter in Diary of a Nobody. Do you know it? V funny: never out of print & was the first? fictitious diary. Pooter is fussy, dated, pompous, self-important: contemptuous of people below him but obsequious to those he sees as his superiors, whose interests he values more than his own. Think Capt. Mainwaring: indeed A. Lowe recorded the Audio version.
    @ Warne is another one happy to insult people, who oddly come back for more of the same, while toadying to the boss class. Uriah Heap. What Lenin (?) called the …. No let’s no go there.

    @Alec on the other hand is the site’s Chekovian, combining 2 of Chekov’s invariable characters. The (aging) “eternal student”, a restless intellectual, railing against social sclerosis, bursting with reforming ideas, maybe a bit naive. He usually ends up killing himself; & the optimist, usually a Doctor (as Chekov was of course), a technocrat who has visions of an idealised future of peace & prosperity.
    Like this site, after much drama & turmoil, at the end of the plays, everything & everyone is completely unchanged.

  19. @ Lady Valerie.
    Don’t let the OCDs & assorted hacks bully you off this site. I find yr posts pithy & funny & it’s a sad comment on the site that no one was gracious enough to respond to yr exit speech.
    Besides, you said you would be back when there is a new thread & hey presto . . .

  20. I’d like to add my thanks to Anthony for the new thread. very welcome!

    @James E

    “Nice to see a new thread, but the vast length of the old one seems to demonstrate that people will keep posing here regardless of whether Anthony Wells provides new editorial comment or not.”

    Maybe, but I think (and hope!) a new thread will bring a wider range of voices from occasional posters. The old thread was being increasingly dominated by perhaps 3 or 4 posters who mostly kept rehashing variations on old arguments.
    ———————
    Starmer’s relative lack of unpopularity is because he hasn’t really said or done anything yet, IMO.

  21. Pete B

    I think it is a fair comment on Starmer. But he cannot really do anything else what he is doing (for the time being).

    The UK vaccinated 15 million – it has to be recognised as success. Should hr bring up that the two dose per population in the UK is one of the lowest in the continent? He obviously cannot and it would be wrong as well.

    I really don’t know what would be the policy announcements during the week, but I think it is wrong to bring out anything. There is no election wind, the uncertainties of the last year are very high and it would affect any policy.

    He could continue to challenge government policies as he did occasionally and it was meaningful. It helps to preserve the VI, but I really don’t think he is the position to outline an alternative to the government trajectory. He could question the corrupt elements in the government policies, but I really don’t think that the public was interested in those. However, they can be returned to later.

  22. @Robbiealive – well given the choice, I’d take Chekovian of Mr Pooter.

    Thought that was rather a good post, by the way. Entertaining.

  23. Colin,

    Maybe we should have an unwritten rule that you can’t have a post longer than the Thread Title Piece
    !

    Peter.

  24. Laszlo
    I agree with what you said about Starmer. He can’t really do much yet, but it does mean he’s largely invisible to those who only take a passing interest in politics (i.e. most voters). He just pops up on telly occasionally to say that he agrees with the government but that they could have done something a bit quicker or slower or slightly differently.

    To be fair I do think that there is an element of public-spiritedness there. I’m probably naive but I’m prepared to believe that he genuinely thinks that it is a time to pull together.

  25. I think it is a fascinating bit of social science that voters appear to reward the UK government for leading on vaccines, while declining to punish them for having a truly awful record on covid deaths.

    It may well end up that the UK has one of the worst records on covid outcomes, while voters give the government credit for sorting it out. That’s the strange world of forgiveness t Conservative administrations that Andy Becket wrote about some time ago. Despite being responsible for some of the gravest errors in British government going back decades, voters (in Englnad, at least) seem perpetually willing to forgive them.

    One other potentially interesting observation: given declining infections across most of Europe, the vaccine roll out gathering pace and beginning to nudge 5%, with good levels of second doses, and with better weather coming, it’s really quite possible that most of the EU comes out of lockdown or sees this phase of the pandemic dissipate in a similar timeframe to the UK. France and Italy are still struggling at present, although with much lower deaths than the UK, but Germany is now down to 7000 cases a day.

    For all the fuss about the rapid vaccine roll out, the outcomes still look like being substantially worse here than in most other countries, and they seem likely to catch up with vaccination in due course, having suffered far less.

  26. @Peter Cairns – “Maybe we should have an unwritten rule that you can’t have a post longer than the Thread Title Piece”

    Maybe we should have an unwritten rule that we shouldn’t post snarky comments about other posters and then try to pretend that we’re one of the good guys?

  27. Alec
    Surely you can be more negative than that? You’re slipping.

  28. Nice to see a new thread.

    For me, the main positive is that Starmer isn’t Corbyn, McDonnell, Momentum, Unite etc.

    It’s a long way back for Labour, but wanting outlining a positive agenda will help. I still can’t think of a single Starmer policy, although I can name quite a few of his Shadow Ministers.

    I still suspect he has a policy of feeding lots of rope out to the Tories.

  29. @Pete B – :)

    I do find it quite interesting that the UK is lagging behind many EU countries on the second vaccine, having now even been taken over by the laggardly France on this measure.

    We’ve now got scientists warning that single jabs only give partial protection and that releasing lockdown too soon will lead to a big fourth wave, so I think we need to tone down the vaccine crowing a little until we see just what the overall effects will be.

    I just feel that for a variety of reasons, the exit from lockdowns and return to normal won’t perhaps be that different between UK and Europe, and that the UK will still end up with more deaths.

  30. @PTRP

    New Threads

    Do they really make a difference?

    This one seems to have started pretty well – 16 or 17 different posters in the first half a page or so of comments, and no carryover of lengthy entrenched arguments from the old one yet.

    And for those (like @PROFHOWARD and @LADY VALERIE?) who may have been concerned that our host had given up entirely on this place, the mere presence of a new thread is cause for a little positivity too! :-)

  31. Johnson describes the Trump impeachment as “a kerfuffle”.

    Perhaps not the most sensible comment on US affairs from a UK PM who seems somewhat lacking in good sense?

  32. On the rising numbers for the government… I wonder if we’re being a bit hasty in assuming it’s down to vaccine stories. I take the point that their numbers on the vaccine are very positive, and on COVID handling in general I think are improving, but I wonder if Brexit may be a significant factor too?

    Not so much people giving them credit for delivering on it, I’d imagine most of those people were with them anyway, but people who were so achingly fed up with the whole thing that they instinctively resented the government for them still having to hear and read and talk about it four years after the vote.

    Or indeed people who were for Remain and who were inclined to be more negative about the people taking us out whilst it was something high-profile happening now, rather than a thing going somewhat into the rearview mirror?

  33. EOR

    “it was something high-profile happening now, rather than a thing going somewhat into the rearview mirror?”

    Perhaps polling might give some insight into whether that is particularly true in English cities who have not, thus far, been affected?

  34. I think Starmer and Labours problem right now is that Brexit has meant that 40% of the electorate have committed themselves to the only real Brexit Party now that it’s been delivered.

    For all the Brexit issues, those that wanted it seem to be prepared to stick with it come what may. Almost like a steadfast determination to see it through or a refusal to accept they might have got it wrong.

    We seem to have a relatively poor government with no sense of direction which none the less is maintaining it’s support largely because it’s seen as “Backing Britain!”

    People like that even if it is as vacuous as “Taking Back Control!”

    Government by slogan can be popular and succeed if it catches a public sentiment but that doesn’t, and rarely does, make it good Government!

    You could level the same charge of course at the SNP; their main appeal seems to be “Standing up for Scotland” while although steady with some progress we haven’t been that impressive in Government.

    Perhaps we’ve rebalanced to conviction politics without the ideology, where most of the public have decided who they want to represent them and the left right debates on here and elsewhere just pass them by!

    In this case Starmer wrapping himself in the flag or the left calling for “Radical Policies” might not change things!

    If you look across at America, Trump delivered very few of his promises and those he did like the Tax or Regulatory cuts, achieved few if any of their aims, but “America First!” And “Making it Great Again” we’re and are hugely popular with Republican voter!

    May you live interesting times!

    Peter.

  35. @OLDNAT

    I’d expect local variation of course, especially in areas where physical impacts like port delays (or the effects on specific industries) are receiving more coverage, tho I’m not aware of any polling that would give us that degree of detail.

    From both your summaries and the data I’ve seen, it appears Conservative support in Scotland is in decline in recent months, so in conjunction with their improvement in the English-dominated GB polls that would imply a predominantly English effect, if indeed one exists at all?

    (hard to read the upward shift in Wales given the more specific unfolding UKIP/BXP effect there, we’ll probably need the Senedd constituency results to make retrospective sense of polling movements now)

  36. EOR

    “it appears Conservative support in Scotland is in decline in recent months”

    I find it hard to discern any trend to or away from any party in Scotland in any FPTP polling over the last year or so. While individual polls might suggest movement (and there may be a lot of churn going on) trends don’t develop.

    Polldrums – as Amber would have said! It looks as if VI is relatively unaffected here by events that us geeks think really should move it, but they don’t seem to.

    Some issue arising close to polling day might change things – who knows?

  37. From the Telegraph:

    Vaccines are working, new figures suggest, with deaths in the over-80s dropping twice as quickly as in the under-65s.

    New research by the University of Oxford shows that since the peak in January, the case fatality rate (CFR) in the over-80s has fallen by 32 per cent.

    In contrast, it has dropped by just 14 per cent in the under-65s in the same period.

    The CFR measures the number of people dying after testing positive. The new figures suggest that even where people are contracting the disease, fewer people are now dying.

    The Oxford team from the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM) said results were “tentatively consistent with the impact of vaccination”.

  38. ”On Sunday, Professor Tim Spector of King’s College London said that the single dose jabs of vaccination appeared to be providing 67 per cent protection against infection, based on data from the ZOE Covid Symptom Study App.”

  39. Carfrew.

    Someone will tell us that Oxford Uni. Is a ROC. elitist institution, and Spector is a Tory stooge and Scotland isn’t properly represented.

  40. Good news on efficacy of vaccine.

    Regarding the relative popularity of Labour and Tory.

    Starmer’s decision to be mini me on brexit and big brother on covid restrictions hasn’t added a single supporter.
    The concept of ” the traditional Labour voter” who hasn’t voted Labour in reality since Thatcher ” has yet again obsessed the leadership.

    This time abandoning its genuine core voter, educated anti Brexit voters has left a large group effectively disenfranchised, might account for the rise in Green support.

    Regarding the significance of “getting brexitdone”
    Because of the insular focus on covid by the media and frankly a pack of unchallenged l!es by the government over the impact it’s difficult to ascertain the actual political impact.

    As a method of hiding the shambles it’s difficult to imagine anything more effective than the pandemic. No doubt the regime will continue to.use it for cover if recovery in the UK lags behind the European union.

    I suspect the political impact of brexit will not be fully apparent until later this year if Starmer maintains his effective support for a stupid action then Labour are unlikely to benefit significantly.

  41. Given that were all currently stuck in these islands with amongst the highest death rate from covid in the world it’s essential that the regime gets something right.

    Allowing the NHS to run roll out of vaccines rather than their normal.policy of giving the wonga to their relatives and political chums to f it up has been significant.

  42. Robbie Alive.

    Pleased you agree my depiction of Mr. Davwel..

    Disappointed with the depth of your literary references for me though. I rather think a Winston Smith fits the bill, in this Oceania here on UKPR.

  43. @Colin

    …and that your comment is too long! Meanwhile in France… Indy has a headline about “Hospitals ‘told to go into crisis mode’”.

  44. “Allowing the NHS to run roll out of vaccines rather than their normal.policy of giving the wonga to their relatives and political chums to f it up has been significant.”

    ——-

    Similarly, keeping the EU out of it may also have been significant. And securing production of several vaccines here.

    We shall see how significant the investments in the Vaccine innovation centres will turn out to be. Not just the Oxford Centre but they also put another £100 million into the Catapult Centre in Essex.

    They’re also putting an “additional £4.7 million for new training facilities and an online learning platform to boost vaccine and cell and gene therapy skills”

  45. They also boosted our already substantial genome sequencing ability with additional funding to try and cut the time to sequence new variants.

    ”NEW YORK — The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium on Saturday said that it has been awarded £12.2 million ($16.1 million) in new funding to expand its SARS-CoV-2 surveillance efforts.

    COG-UK was established in March with £20 million from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and other public health and research organizations to perform sequencing-based studies of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and evolution. To date, it has generated and made publicly available more than 100,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes.

    With the new funding, COG-UK aims to increase its sequencing capacity and reduce the turnaround time from patient sample to genome sequence as SARS-CoV-2 case numbers rise in the UK.”

  46. “World’s first COVID-19 vaccine alternating dose study launches in UK”

    https://www.nihr.ac.uk/news/worlds-first-covid-19-vaccine-alternating-dose-study-launches-in-uk/26773

    “The study will examine using different approved vaccines for the two doses, as well as different intervals between doses, and is backed by £7 million of government funding.”

    “Matthew Snape, Associate Professor in Paediatrics and Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said: “This is a tremendously exciting study that will provide information vital to the roll out of vaccines in the UK and globally.

    “If we do show that these vaccines can be used interchangeably in the same schedule this will greatly increase the flexibility of vaccine delivery, and could provide clues as to how to increase the breadth of protection against new virus strains.””

  47. Carfew

    As no doubt you are aware roll out of vaccine in a country is the country’s decision the European union has a roll in purchasing and distribution to countries but it’s the nation’s decision how to roll it out.

    Incidentally while the uk NHS has done a good job and ordering six times the required amount of vaccine appears to have been a sensible move it might be worth noting that in terms of fully vaccinating people with both doses that the UK isn’t first in Europe but around about eighth.
    Also holding on to hundreds of millions of doses if that proves to be the case later in the year while large areas of the world go unvaccinated is nuts from a disease control perspective but would probably play well in the pages of the daily mail.
    And of course our pro.rata death rate from covid is still, though thankfully falling, the highest in Europe/ world.

  48. @Steve

    “As no doubt you are aware roll out of vaccine in a country is the country’s decision the European union has a roll in purchasing and distribution to countries but it’s the nation’s decision how to roll it out.”

    ——-

    I was just pointing out a variety of useful things they did that didn’t necessarily involve their mates. It goes beyond the NHS.

  49. @Steve

    ”Incidentally while the uk NHS has done a good job and ordering six times the required amount of vaccine appears to have been a sensible move it might be worth noting that in terms of fully vaccinating people with both doses that the UK isn’t first in Europe but around about eighth.”

    ——-

    Not news that is it, what matters is the efficacy of our approach which is showing some promise.

    E.g. deaths falling in the over-80s as posted earlier.

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