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No 10 defends Zahawi after reports he paid millions to settle tax dispute – UK politics live

Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson says PM has full confidence in Tory chairman despite allegations over his tax affairs

Huw Merriman, the rail minister, told MPs this morning that the government has lost more money due to the impact of rail strikes than it would have cost to settle the disputes months ago, PA Media reports. PA says:

Merriman told MPs the row has “ended up costing more” but insisted the “overall impact” on all public sector pay deals must be considered.

Ben Bradshaw, a Labour member of the committee, put it to Merriman that “we’re talking of a cost to the government of over a billion (pounds) so far” from the impact of strikes, which have repeatedly decimated services for several months.

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