Britain could threaten to halve corporation tax if Brussels is unwilling to offer a good Brexit deal, it emerged yesterday. Downing Street has discussed the plan to cut the rate from 20 per cent to 10 per cent as a ‘nuclear option’ if the EU blocks a free trade deal or refuses to give UK financial services firms access to the European market. The drastic move – which has been talked about in Number 10, but not agreed on – would encourage firms to stay and make the UK a magnet for new companies, as Ireland and Singapore have become. It came as a think-tank said EU firms would lose out more than those in Britain if no free trade deal is reached. Civitas said firms on the continent will face tariff costs of almost £13billion a year on exports to the UK, while British companies will face a £5.2billion bill for sales to the other 27 states under ‘hard Brexit’.
IMPOSING tariffs on British trade would cost firms in the EU a massive £8bn more than British companies will have to pay, it has emerged. Exporters on the continent stand to be hit with a £12.9 billion bill if Brussels tries punish Britain by taking away the current free trading regime after Brexit. German companies alone – such as car makers BMW – would have to pay an extra £3.4bn a year, the think tank Civitas has calculated. But at the same time, British exporters to Europe face a far lower bill of £5.2bn a year if tariffs are enforced when we leave the EU. The findings emphasise the self-defeating blow that EU bosses hit themselves with if they try to hit back at Theresa May for insisting on border controls.
A Cabinet minister has said he is “convinced” Britain will have tariff-free trade with the EU post-Brexit because it is in the interests of both sides. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling also played down concerns a troubled trade deal between Brussels and Canada casts doubt on the UK securing an agreement after leaving the bloc. Frantic efforts have been under way to salvage the EU-Canada trade pact, which has been seven years in the making, after the proposals were blocked by a regional administration in Belgium. The hold up has been caused by the parliament in Wallonia, although the region’s leader has indicated the impasse could be resolved within days. Backers of Brexit and those against have both highlighted the protracted negotiations to support their own positions.
Government minsters could cut corporation tax by half if Brexit negotiations do not go as they hope, sources suggest. The proposal to reduce the levy on big businesses from 20 per cent of profits to 10 per cent could be given the go-ahead if EU member states block a free trade deal with the UK or refuse to give British financial services companies access to the European market, according to the Sunday Times. An unnamed source told the paper: “People say we have not got any cards. We have some quite good cards we can play if they start getting difficult with us. If they’re saying no passporting and high trade tariffs we can cut corporation tax to 10 per cent.” The UK already has one of the lowest corporation tax rates in the EU but ministers believe a further cut could help keep companies in the UK and attract new investment. Other EU states could fear losing business to the UK should Britain allow companies to keep more of the profits they create.
Theresa May is to include Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the Brexit process. The prime minister will offer the devolved nations a “direct line” to Brexit Secretary David Davis. Mr Davis will chair a new forum bringing together representatives from Westminster, Holyrood, Cardiff Bay and Stormont for regular talks on the situation. Monday will see the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) meet for the first time since Britain voted to leave the EU. The devolved administrations are keen to secure continued participation in the single market and want to hold votes on Mrs May’s approach before she triggers Article 50, formally beginning the Brexit process. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already demanded Scotland be an “equal partner” in Brexit negotiations . Mrs May will also come under pressure from her Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones and Northern Ireland’s leader Arlene Foster at the Downing Street meeting.
Theresa May will on Monday offer the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the chance to formally feed into her Brexit strategy as the Prime Minister looks to engage the increasingly restive Scots and other regional leaders. Ms May is convening a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee to offer Holyrood, Cardiff Bay and Stormont a “direct line” into David Davis, the Brexit secretary in a bid to make good on her promise to engage the devolved administrations in her EU exit plans. The move comes as Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon dials up the pressure on Ms May to offer the Scots a “flexible” Brexit deal so they can, if they choose, retain access to the European single market.
Theresa May has offered to involve Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in regular formal talks on the Brexit process but she has ruled out allowing special deals for the devolved nations. But Michael Russell, Scotland’s Brexit minister, has warned that Nicola Sturgeon believes “full independence has got to be on the table”. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Nicola Sturgeon has been absolutely clear that we must keep all options open. It would range from independence and other options would be available too. Of course independence has to be an option. It would be ridiculous to say it shouldn’t be. We have been put in a situation we didn’t ask to be in.”
The prime minister is to offer the leaders of the three devolved governments a “direct line” to Brexit Secretary David Davis ahead of the UK’s negotiations to leave the EU. Theresa May is due to hold talks with the first ministers at Downing Street. The Scottish and Welsh leaders want the devolved legislatures and Parliament to all have a vote on Mr Davis’s approach. Mrs May says she is “ready to listen” to their ideas but the final position must work for the whole of the UK. The issue will be discussed as the joint ministerial council, bringing together the top politicians from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, meets for the first time since 2014.
Theresa May will offer the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland a “direct line” to the Brexit secretary, David Davis, to allow them to help shape the UK’s strategy for leaving the EU. The prime minister is hosting talks on Monday at the joint ministerial committee (JMC) with the leaders of the UK’s devolved administrations for the first time since the Brexit vote on 23 June . May will on Monday make the offer of a new official forum – which would be chaired by Davis and meet at least twice before the end of the year – to Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, the Welsh first minister, Carwyn Jones, Northern Ireland’s first minister, Arlene Foster, and her deputy, Martin McGuinness , and insist “it is imperative that the devolved administrations play their part in making [Brexit negotiations] work”.
BREXIT Secretary David Davis has been warned he is being spied on by every other government in the EU, The Sun can reveal. The Cabinet minister was told as soon as he took up the crucial post that he should expect all other 27 member states to be trying to intercept his phone calls and overhear his private conversations. The warning was issued to him by Whitehall mandarin Oliver Robbins, the top civil servant in Mr Davis’s ministry, the Department for Exiting the European Union. Mr Davis has told a friend that Mr Robbins – a former Deputy National Security Adviser who oversaw intelligence – told him he was now “a painted man”. Ex-SAS reservist Mr Davis is one of just a handful of people who will know Theresa May’s secret negotiating hand once it is drawn up.
Children are continuing to arrive in the UK from the migrant camp in Calais, with another three coach-loads expected in Croydon, south London. They have been coming since Monday – some with family in the UK and others without relatives here, but judged to be vulnerable. French officials say around 200 children have left the so-called Jungle migrant camp for the UK this week. The camp is due to close on Monday and its estimated 7,000 occupants moved. About 10,000 leaflets are being handed out by the French authorities, telling people to report to a reception point where they will be taken to other parts of France and given the opportunity to claim asylum. But there is concern that some migrants will refuse to go because they still want to get to Britain.
The clearance of refugees and migrants from the “Jungle” camp in Calais has begun. Residents have starting the process of getting registered and bussed to temporary accommodation elsewhere in France. Crowds queued in the pre-dawn dark to register for accommodation centres in France after they were told they must leave the camp or face the risk of arrest or deportation. Many of those queuing said they had no idea where they were going. Demolition of the camp is expected to begin on Tuesday.
SICK Brits will be able to access life saving new drugs and technology four years quicker under a major shake up of the NHS’s approval system. Britain lags behind other Western countries in signing off new scientific leaps. Patients and doctors have been forced to wait more than a decade for some crucial treatments, sparking uproar. But a new assault on bureaucracy and a process streamlining unveiled by health chiefs today will make the UK “a world-leader”, ministers have pledged. The developments have been recommended by a review lead by ex-Department of Health boss Sir Hugh Taylor.
Dozens of MPs have signed a joint letter, organised by a group that aims to hold leave campaigners to their pre-referendum promises, which calls on the government to uphold the most infamous Brexit promise of all – £350m more a week to be spent on the NHS .The letter, signed by 41 MPs, mainly from Labour but also some Liberal Democrats and Caroline Lucas of the Greens, demands that the chancellor, Philip Hammond , make the pledge in his autumn statement a month from now. The £350m pledge was a key element of the Vote Leave campaign’s promise to voters, billed as money that would be saved after leaving the EU which could instead go to health spending. In the wake of the 23 June referendum many leading pro-Brexit figures began to distance themselves from the idea , a process highlighted in a new Vote Leave Watch video to accompany the letter.
The case for Heathrow expansion is now “overwhelming”, according to the man who led the government-commissioned review of airport capacity. Sir Howard Davies, chair of the Airports Commission, said Brexit underlined the need for a “clear strategic decision” in favour of Heathrow by ministers. The government will choose which scheme to back on Tuesday , ending more than a year of uncertainty since the Davies Commission came out in favour a third runway at Heathrow. Davies dismissed the idea of expanding both Heathrow and Gatwick – and hinted that Birmingham could be the next in line for a new runway once capacity in the south-east had been expanded. Transport secretary Chris Grayling has acknowledged that any of the three options on the table – new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick, or extending an existing runway at Heathrow – would be controversial but would “open up new opportunities for Britain” as it adjusted to Brexit.
Town hall bosses want urgent talks with the government on how they can rapidly build homes where they are needed. The Local Government Association is asking that councils in England be freed from restrictions on the ability to borrow to fund new home building. It is also calling for powers to replace every council home that is sold off, as quickly as possible. The government said it was delivering on its commitment to replace all properties sold on a one-for-one basis. But in a submission to the Treasury, the LGA said the scale of the housing crisis demanded that action to fix the lack of affordable housing was taken immediately. “The government’s recent announcement of an additional £5bn investment in the form of loans to private sector organisations and for building homes on surplus public land is a welcome step,” the LGA said.
New statistics from mass-migration magnet Germany shows average citizens are increasingly fearful of public spaces, the news coming after a year of intense reports of crime committed by migrants in public spaces across Europe. The new statistics collected in Germany by pollster YouGov show fear of being a victim of crime in particular public spaces is surging, with women more likely to be afraid than men. Standing out among those Germans most fear is railway stations and subway trains, as well as what the survey termed “large outdoor events” such as festivals and carnivals.
IMMIGRATION detention centres have been ordered to offer tastier sandwiches to suspected illegal immigrants. The short-term holdings centre for suspected illegal immigrants at Gatwick Airport has been blasted by inspectors for serving up ”unappetising long-life sandwiches”. A report into the north and south terminals, and the Lunar House short-term holding facility in Croydon, by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons said the long-life sandwiches should be ditched. The report stated: “Detainees have a right to eat a reasonable quality of food during their time in custody.”One report into the Gatwick South detention centre stated that DCOs (Detainee Custody Officers) had to go to shops and cafes at the airport – which included Costa, WH Smith and Whistlestop Food and Wine – to buy sandwiches when detainees refused to eat the sandwiches on offer.
NICOLA STURGEON’S relentless threat that Scotland will have a second independence referendum if Britain leaves the European Union has been blasted as economic vandalism. Lashing out at the First Minister’s refusal to accept the democratic vote to leave Brussels on June 23, Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said it would be farcical to force another referendum on the Scottish people. She added most Scots want to stay in a union with the United Kingdom and holding a second vote now would divide the nation even further. Ms Dugdale also said Ms Sturgeon’s job was to represent all Scots, which means respecting the No vote from 2014. Ms Dugdale told Sky News’ Murnaghan programme: “The First Minister needs to represent all Scots and that includes those Scots who voted no just two years ago.
HUNDREDS of millions of taxpayers’ cash allocated for improving flood defences is biased towards wealthier areas such as London and parts of south-east England, research revealed yesterday. The flood defence spending allocation system is based on the value of property to be defended — and, as property prices in London and south-east England are higher than anywhere else in Britain, that region benefits most. The bias was revealed in the Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management manual, which advises appraisers on how to assess flood defence schemes. It has prompted calls for a fairer system to protect poorer households from floods, which are predicted to increase through climate change.
A MYSTERIOUS hidden planet so big it tilts the entire Solar System will finally be found next year, astronomers have revealed. Space boffins claimed to have found evidence of a long-fabled ninth planet up to 15 times the size of Earth in the dark outer reaches of the Solar System back in January. They named the icy giant – which takes 20,000 Earth years to orbit the Sun – “Planet 9”. As evidence of the new planet mounts, scientists now expect to finally see it down by winter 2017. Planet 9 is so gigantic its gravitational field is actually causing the Sun itself and the entire Solar System to tilt on a six-degree angle, astronomers now believe. Conspiracy theorists have been warning a massive hidden planet – called Planet X or Nibiru – will wipe out life on Earth for some time. They were roundly mocked – until scientists at the California Institute of Technology found evidence that suggested the prophesy might actually be true . They noticed some objects in the Kuiper Belt – a band of asteroids, comets, ice balls and space rocks at the edge of our Solar System – had weird orbits. This would only make sense of there was another “Super Earth” out past Pluto.