BRITAIN is facing a £160billion EU loans bill after Brexit — four times the size of the “divorce” settlement. Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement keeps the UK hooked to payments issued by EU agencies. The European Investment Bank and the European Financial Stability Mechanism have paid out hundreds of billions. It has gone to “investment projects” across its 27 members, some of them economically fragile. Britain’s share of liability is around 12 per cent. Experts reckon this could translate into £160billion of unpaid loans, four times Britain’s £39billion divorce deal. Covid could push the liability higher as economies and cash-backed businesses fail. Britain faces paying into the 2040s when the EU loan repayment terms end. Senior Tories have demanded the PM reopen the Withdrawal Agreement to remove Britain’s liability, giving a “clean break” from Brussels by December 31 when the transition period ends.
Liz Truss says that parliament is “entirely able” to block post-Brexit trade deals, despite warnings from Conservative MPs that their counterparts in Washington and Brussels will have more say. The international trade secretary said that MPs could resist free trade agreements by rejecting relevant laws and passing motions to halt their progress. Britain is chasing deals with the United States, Japan and the European Union. Ministers have sought to dampen concern about concessions made during negotiations, stating that they would not drop a ban on chlorinated chicken and that any deals “must protect our NHS”.
INTERNATIONAL trade secretary Liz Truss has said that MPs could resist free trade agreements by rejecting relevant laws and passing motions to halt their progress. The international trade secretary says that parliament is “entirely able” to block post-Brexit trade deals. This is despite warnings from Conservative MPs that their counterparts in Washington and Brussels will have more say. However, ministers say they would not drop a ban on chlorinated chicken and that any deals “must protect our NHS”. Britain is currently chasing deals with the United States, Japan and the European Union.
Spain embarked on a secret lobbying drive to push US congressmen into supporting a plan to strip Britain of sole sovereignty over Gibraltar, The Daily Telegraph can reveal. Seven current and former members of the House of Representatives told this newspaper the Spanish Embassy in Washington DC pushed back after they signed a resolution backing Gibraltar’s British status or visited the territory. Some congressmen said while diplomats should be allowed to argue their case the attitude of Spanish officials was perceived at times as “belligerent”, “forceful”, “aggressive” and “over the line”. One commented: “The Spaniards went nuts.”
The High Court has ruled against convicted terrorist Mohammed Zahir Khan who demanded to be released early from prison after he claimed that the government’s new rule which mandates terrorists serve the majority of their sentences was a breach of his human rights and discriminated against Muslims. Parliament passed emergency legislation in late February that ended the automatic release of terrorists halfway through standard time-limited sentences. Instead, terrorists must serve at least two-thirds of their sentence in jail before being considered for parole.
Developers and landowners will be required to pay more towards building schools, hospitals and local infrastructure under a major Government shake-up of the planning system. The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick will this week propose a new system of contributions from developers which will require them to handover more of the profits generated from rising land values. The Daily Telegraph understands that the plans involve overhauling Section 106 agreements and the Community Infrastructure Levy, the two primary mechanisms through which planning authorities seek to reclaim money for local communities.
Mass developments could be rushed through without full consultation from locals under the government’s radical overhaul of the current planning system, experts fear. Boris Johnson is planning to revolutionise the process as part of a ‘once-in-a-generation’ reform that will divide the country into three types of land: areas earmarked for ‘growth’, those for ‘renewal’ and others for ‘protection’. ‘Growth’ areas will see new homes, hospitals, schools, shops and offices given automatic approval for development. But experts fear the reforms could ‘sideline public consultation’ or put developers off all together as they try to understand the new, complex rules.
Local councils are to lose their powers to block individual housing developments under planning reforms to be unveiled this week. Ministers will announce what they describe as a planning revolution that will force authorities to allocate land for developments that will then not have to go through the full planning process. Critics said yesterday that the move would reduce democratic accountability and lead to poor-quality new houses being built in areas without adequate public services. CPRE, the countryside charity, said it would lead to a “gross oversimplification of the planning system” and was not the answer to the shortage of high-quality housing.
Pro-Brexit and right-wing professors face discrimination and are self censoring, a think tank has warned, amid fears that academic freedom is under threat. The Policy Exchange think tank has released a report claiming that higher education institutions and the Government must do much more to ensure that all lawful speech is protected on university campuses across the country. The paper, entitled Academic freedom in the UK, suggests there is a “structural discriminatory effect” against the minority of academics at British universities who identify as being on the right. Researchers warned that: “Hostile or just uncomfortable attitudes signal to those subject to such discrimination that they should conceal their views and narrow their research questions to conform to prevailing norms, if they wish to progress and enjoy a positive workplace experience,” it warns.
Academic freedom in British universities is in danger as the minority of academics with Right-leaning or pro-Brexit views feel they have to censor what they teach and discuss, a report has warned. A survey for the Policy Exchange think-tank found that political affiliations among academics in UK universities have changed in recent decades, with fewer than 20 per cent saying they voted for Right-leaning parties in the 2017 and 2019 elections. This compares with 75 per cent voting for Labour, the Liberal Democrats or the Greens. The paper, titled Academic Freedom in the UK, suggests there is a ‘structural discriminatory effect’ against the minority of academics at British universities who identify as being on the Right.
Pro-Brexit and right-wing academics feel forced to censor their political views, putting free speech at universities under threat, a report has said. Campuses are increasingly governed by unwritten rules that mean lecturers are under pressure to muzzle unfashionable opinions for fear of being ostracised or passed over for promotion, the Policy Exchange think tank said. A YouGov poll of 820 academics found that nearly a third — 32 per cent — of those who say their political views are “right” or “fairly right” have stopped openly airing opinions in teaching and research, compared with 13 per cent of those in the centre and on the left.
Government plans to reopen all schools in September were called into question by leading scientists and the head of a major teaching union last night amid signs that cases of Covid-19 are increasing again at an alarming rate. Despite imposing new restrictions on people meeting indoors in parts of the north of England on Thursday – and postponing plans to allow bowling alleys, casinos, skating rinks and other venues to reopen a day later – ministers insist that reopening schools fully early next month remains a top priority. But in a sign of growing concern and uncertainty about the strategy, Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT, which represents more than 300,000 teachers across the UK, said the government needed to take urgent action to convince parents and teachers that schools would be safe.
Teaching unions were last night urged to ‘stop playing political power games’ after trying to stall the Government’s school reopening plans next month. Two unions resumed their battle against children returning to classrooms after Boris Johnson‘s decision to pause lockdown easing on Friday. The NASUWT demanded more clarity over the plans, warning schools will need ‘time to review and, if necessary, adjust’ reopening measures. The National Education Union (NEU) issued a statement calling for a ‘Plan B’ in case lockdown restrictions increased. However, ministers insisted it remained the Government’s ‘absolute priority’ to get all students back to school with ‘face-to-face contact’ next month.
England’s schools will “definitely” reopen to all pupils in September despite fears of a second wave of coronavirus, a Tory minister has declared. Today’s pledge by Robert Jenrick raises the grim prospect of pubs, restaurants or other venues having to shut in return to keep the virus down. Mr Jenrick insisted there were “no plans” to shutter the nation’s pubs and restaurants in exchange for keeping kids at school. But he refused to rule out the move in future – and admitted “tough choices” will have to be made.
The government could be poised to seal off coronavirus-hit regions by imposing domestic travel bans, it emerged last night. The radical proposal is under discussion as Downing Street shakes up its crisis response in the wake of localised flare-ups. Keen to avoid another national lockdown and derail the economic recovery, a ‘flexible’ strategy to target areas with high infection rates are being hammered out in Whitehall. Ministers are apparently mooting the possibility of restricting movement to and from areas with high infection rates.
A major incident has been declared in Greater Manchester due to rising coronavirus infection rates across ‘multiple localities’. It comes just days after north west England was placed in a lockdown late on Thursday evening, preventing people from meeting up with others outside their household. The restrictions were brought in due to Greater Manchester making up more than a third of the nation’s worst affected local authority areas for Covid-19. The Strategic Coordination Group met this weekend to discuss regulations in the region. Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey, chairman of the Local Resilience Forum in Greater Manchester, explained that they had declared a ‘major incident’ in order to ‘respond as effectively as possible’ to the virus threat.
Entire cities will be tested for Covid to contain local outbreaks using on-the-spot tests that give results in just 90 minutes. Starting next week, the tests will be routinely used to check hospital and care home staff and patients, but there are plans for more than a million tests a day by the time winter arrives. Ministers believe the revolutionary new tests, which can be processed by portable machines, will see off the danger of another national lockdown by enabling them to test everyone living in towns or cities where there is an outbreak, swiftly isolating those who have the virus. Until now, tests have had to be sent off to laboratories, often by post, where they then take a minimum of four hours to process, meaning a 24-hour turnaround time is the gold standard.
Two new game-changing tests will be offered to millions of Britons in a major advance in the war on coronavirus. Hailed as ‘transformative’, the tests – which give results in 90 minutes – will start being rolled out from next week. One is so simple it could soon be deployed in airports, offices, schools, pubs and restaurants – bringing testing to the bulk of the population. Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night described the move as ‘lifesaving’ as the Government looks to avert a second wave of the disease, prevent the need for draconian lockdowns and restart the stalled economy.
Two on-the-spot tests that can detect coronavirus and flu within 90 minutes are to be rolled out across Britain this autumn, ministers have said. In a significant boost to the effort to control the virus as winter approaches, the government has approved the nationwide use of testing devices that are faster and more accurate than those presently being used. For the first time, the tests are able to identify coronavirus as well as winter infections such as flu and other respiratory viruses, potentially reducing the number of people asked to self-isolate.
Ministers have abandoned a key pledge to test all care home residents for coronavirus regularly throughout the summer, it has been reported. Government officials had promised to regularly test up to two million care home residents and staff in a bid to keep track of the virus. But in a move which could plunge the government’s test and trace system into chaos, officials now say they will axe the current timetable for the plans due to ‘unexpected delays’, according to the Sunday Times.
MILLIONS of care home residents and staff have been abandoned to their fate after the government dumped its pledge to carry out comprehensive testing for coronavirus over the summer. Labour accused the government of “negligence” today after the decision to drop the plan was revealed in a leaked memo from a civil servant to local councils. General union GMB has called for a public inquiry for the government ditching the testing programme, which was due to be launched in care homes on July 6.
Ministers faced a backlash on Sunday night over plans to extend the Government’s shielding programme to some over-50s this winter. Tory MPs and business leaders warned that telling over-50s to stay at home risks damaging the economy and runs contrary to Boris Johnson’s plea to get workers back to the office. The Prime Minister is expected to reintroduce shielding for those most at risk from coronavirus as long as the danger of a second wave remains, and will expand the list of people advised to take self-protection measures once the cold weather arrives. Anyone over 50 who is obese, overweight or in ill health is likely to receive an individually tailored letter in the autumn warning them they are at increased risk and advising them of steps to take to protect themselves.
MILLIONS of people over the age of 50 could be ordered to stay at home to help ward off a second nationwide coronavirus lockdown. Boris Johnson is considering introducing the drastic measure amid fears that Britain will be swamped by a second wave of the virus. Government nerves are jangling as cases have begun to soar in recent days while its top scientists have admitted the bug is out of control in some parts of the country. The Prime Minister is determined to avoid the “nuclear” option of another UK-wide lockdown because it would prove catastrophic for the economy.
Millions of overs 50s could be given orders to stay at home as part of Boris Johnson‘s ‘nuclear plans’ to avoid another national lockdown. The Prime Minister was forced to announce a slow down of the lockdown easing on Friday, with planned relaxations for the leisure and beauty sectors delayed after a rise in Covid-19 cases. It comes just days after around 4.5million people in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire were hit with fresh lockdown restrictions last week. The PM is thought to have held a ‘war game’ session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday to run through possible options for averting another nationwide lockdown that could put the brakes on a potential economic recovery.
BORIS Johnson has been urged to prioritise getting young people to follow social distancing rules. As Downing Street mulls whether to impose new shielding restrictions on millions of over-50s, the PM has been warned that such a policy would be “ageist” and “ill-thought-out”. In a bid to avoid another national lockdown, Brits aged between 50 and 70 could be given personalised risk ratings in a move that would add to the 2.2million people who shielded during the Spring peak, The Sunday Times reports.
Downing Street is investigating plans for a targeted Covid-19 risk register that could lead to more middle-aged people being asked to shield themselves in the event of a second wave of infection. Under proposals being drawn up for “flexible” lockdowns, the government is looking into whether the latest scientific evidence on those at most risk of serious illness can be incorporated into a new larger risk register. This would allow more targeted interventions if the virus re-emerges in the autumn or winter, while keeping as much of the economy open as possible.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has insisted talk of extending shielding to over-50s in the winter is “just speculation”, as the government faces a backlash over possible plans aimed at averting a second coronavirus wave. Reports on Sunday suggested elderly and vulnerable people could be told to stay at home again under new shielding proposals drawn up by the Cabinet Office. People aged between 50 and 70 may also be given “personalised risk ratings”, according to the Sunday Times, in a move that would add to the 2.2 million who were deemed most vulnerable during the spring peak.
Doubt has been cast on reports of fresh draconian new lockdown restrictions for London and talk of asking millions of people to shield was “just speculation”. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the reports which surfaced in Sunday newspapers were “just speculation”. His comments came after reports surfaced that Boris Johnson had ordered officials to work up a plan for avoiding a second national lockdown. The Times reported the prime minister held a “war game” session with Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday to run through possible options for averting another nationwide lockdown that could stall any potential economic recovery. Mr Johnson was said to be considering asking a greater number of people to take part in the shielding programme, based on their age or particular risk factors that have been identified since March, the Telegraph reported.
Foreign companies are being invited to take part in early plans to build new ships to support the Royal Navy, going against recommendations of the National Ship Building Strategy and angering maritime unions. The Ministry of Defence has asked potential suppliers to take part in “market engagement” about the estimated £1bn contract to build three Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ships that will help keep the Navy’s new aircraft carriers at sea, providing them with stores such as ammunition and food. The “prior information notice” on the MoD contracts website adds that it is open to “UK and international suppliers or consortiums offering a UK or international ship design, who are capable of either priming, providing a design and/or integrating or building FSS ships”.