Brexit

Telegraph
The EU has more to lose from Brexit than the UK, the Governor of the Bank of England has said as he admitted that Britain’s economy will defy his own gloomy forecasts and grow at a faster rate than expected. Mark Carney conceded that Brexit is no longer the biggest domestic risk to Britain’s economy after issuing a series of dire warnings about the consequences of a leave vote in the run up to the EU referendum. The Bank of England is now “very likely” to improve its economic forecast next month, Mr Carney said as he said he was “surprised” that the economic slowdown that he forecast has not materialised. He said: “In the run up to the referendum we felt that it was the largest risk [to the economy]. There were a series of things that could have happened that would have had financial stability consequences. Of course having got through the night the day after the scale of the immediate risks around Brexit have gone down.”

Times
The Bank of England will upgrade its UK growth forecast next month, Mark Carney has signalled as he warned that Brexit could trigger a worse financial crisis on the Continent than in Britain. The governor told MPs that the recent slew of solid economic data had made it likely that the Bank would raise its forecast for UK growth for the second time since the referendum. He claimed that Europe’s dependence on London for finance services put it at greater risk of a banking crash and an economic slowdown than the UK in the event of a hard Brexit with no transition arrangements.

Sky News
Brexit is no longer the biggest risk to the UK financial system, the Bank of England Governor has declared, adding that the current strength of the economy implies it may soon have to upgrade its forecasts for the coming year. Speaking to the Treasury Select Committee of MPs, Mark Carney said that the economy was growing more strongly than he or the rest of the Monetary Policy Committee had expected in the wake of the referendum. Pressed by committee chairman Andrew Tyrie on whether Brexit remains the biggest domestic risk to the financial system, as he warned before the vote, Mr Carney said: “Strictly speaking, the view of the committee is no”, adding: “In the run up to the referendum, we felt it was the largest risk because there were things that could have happened which had financial stability implications.

Independent
Chancellor Philip Hammond has urged German politicians to collaborate with the UK in the upcoming Brexit negotiations, warning the country’s top chief executives and lawmakers that “a lot is at stake”. Speaking at a conference in Berlin, Mr Hammond tried to ease tensions between Britain and Germany
He said that the two nations combined have been responsible for more than half the economic growth and three quarters of the employment growth in the EU since 2010, thanks to the “policies and philosophies that guide the economic management of our two countries”. Mr Hammond said: “I understand Germany will approach the challenge with the priority of protecting the integrity and unity of the EU. But this does not have to be a negative sum game. A lot is at stake,” Hammond said.

Express
FEARS have been raised that a “rearguard action” by the Treasury will keep Britain in the EU’s Custom Union and stop the country from making new free trade deals around the world. Senior Tory sources have told the Daily Express that a new cabinet rift involves Chancellor Philip Hammond is leading efforts to keep the UK in the Customs Union and allow Brussels to control British trade. The development would be a blow to Britain’s Brexit boom at a time when 50 countries around the world have expressed an interest in a free trade deal with the the UK and the US has made a deal with the UK a top priority. The row comes as Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has ditched his country’s close ties with the UK and joined hardliners in Brussels in calling for the UK to be punished for Brexit. He said the UK should get a “fair” deal but an “inferior” one to being EU members.

NHS

Telegraph
The head of the NHS is embroiled in a row with the PrimeMinister over funding for the health service amid a mounting Accident & Emergency crisis. Simon Stevens said Theresa May was “stretching it” to say that the NHS had been given more money than it asked for, and said that the figure was actually less than had been requested. He also denied her suggestion that the crisis was caused partly by poor management of hospitals, saying that hospitals were not “feckless”. No 10 responded angrily, pointing out that Mr Stevens had given a fulsome welcome to a £10 billion NHS cash boost when it was awarded, and added: “The figures speak for themselves.” The row comes as the NHS faces a growing crisis. Figures on Wednesday showed that the number of patients visiting A&E wards was at a record high and the number of elderly patients being left waiting on trolleys had trebled.

Times
A rift between the head of the NHS and Downing Street deepened yesterday as Theresa May was accused of “stretching” the truth over funding. In a combative appearance before MPs, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, accused the prime minister of “pretending” that cash shortages were not causing problems and attacked her cuts to social care. He contradicted Mrs May directly, saying that the NHS got “less than we asked for” from the government. On Sunday the prime minister told Sky News: “We gave them more funding than they required so funding is now at record levels for the NHS.”

Independent
Jeremy Hunt is expected to face a grilling in the Commons later today amid reports that relations between NHS bosses and Downing Street have soured. It comes after Labour secured an all-day debate in Parliament, demanding that the embattled Health Secretary and Downing Street come up with a solution to the crisis in the NHS. Just last week the British Red Cross called the situation in NHS hospitals a “humanitarian crisis” – a claim the Government has rejected. Mr Hunt’s appearance in the Commons also comes after reports in the Times of tensions between Downing Street and the chief executive of the NHS Simon Stevens. According to the newspaper senior aides had expressed irritation with his “unenthusiastic” approach.

Guardian
More than 20 hospitals in England have had to declare a black alert this week after becoming so overcrowded that they could no longer guarantee patient safety and provide their full range of normal services. Unprecedented numbers of patients requiring care has led to at least 23 hospital trusts declaring they cannot cope since Monday, inquiries by the Guardian have established. Struggling hospitals have been forced to take highly unusual steps in order to manage a surge in demand for care. They include cancelling cancer operations, treating adults in children’s wards and even closing a birthing centre to help cope with a sudden influx of patients who need to be admitted for treatment.

Mirror
The crisis gripping the NHS may signal the end of the health service as we know it, MPs were warned tonight. NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson sounded the stark alert after Theresa May was accused of being “in denial” about the depth of the NHS’s woes. Today at Prime Minister’s Questions Mrs May insisted money was not the only answer. But addressing the Commons Public Accounts Committee, Mr Hopson – who represents cash-strapped hospitals across the country – said the lack of cash was his biggest concern. And he warned the NHS’s entire purpose of universal care free at the point of use was under threat. “I don’t wish to sound dramatic because I don’t think it’s appropriate,” Mr Hopson said at one point. But he told MPs: “We have reached the point in the NHS where we can no longer deliver everything that has been asked of the NHS.

Morning Star
A TODDLER rushed to A&E had to be treated on a blanket placed on two plastic chairs pushed together as no beds were available, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn revealed yesterday. He laid into PM Theresa May during Prime Minister’s Questions, saying she was “in denial” about the severe NHS crisis spiralling out of control and had ignored the medical organisations warning her of the chaos. MPs were stunned into silence as Mr Corbyn recalled that an NHS worker called Sian had contacted him to describe the treatment that her 22-month-old nephew received in A&E. Mr Corbyn said: “Do the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary think this is an acceptable way of treating a 22-month-old?” Ms May admitted that there were “a small number of incidents of unacceptable practice” before claiming that the government had promised the NHS some extra cash.

Foreign aid

Mail
Britain’s foreign aid cash handouts are routinely falling into the wrong hands because politically correct officials are failing to tackle fraud and bad practice, a Government watchdog warns today. More than £1billion has been given away since 2011 in countries such as Pakistan, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. But a report today exposes ‘recurrent’ abuse of the schemes, including women in Nigeria who faked urine samples to get payments meant for those who are pregnant. The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), which scrutinises aid spending, said in some cases British officials were reluctant to tackle problems ‘head-on’ because of fears of upsetting the governments receiving aid money.

Sun
AID ministers are turning a blind eye to foreign governments potentially misspending millions in taxpayers cash direct handouts, an aid watchdog has warned. The Independent Commission for Aid Impact has accused DFID of “tolerating weaknesses” in a controversial £201 million scheme that transfers cash payments directly the world’s poorest. They have given an “Amber/Red warning” for how Ministers scrutinise British taxpayers cash sent to foreign governments to distribute to up to six million people. The ICAI said the scheme does not have systems in place to “adequately monitor and assess the results” of the handouts in some countries. The colour coded warning system points to: “Unsatisfactory achievement in most areas, with some positive elements.”

Labour Party

Guardian
The shadow defence secretary, Nia Griffith, was said by sources to be “absolutely furious” on Wednesday night after a spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn appeared to question the recent decision to send British troops to Estonia. Briefing journalists after prime minister’s questions, in which Corbyn pressed Theresa May over the health service, the spokesman suggested both sides, Russia and Nato, had to share the blame for the recent souring of relations. Asked whether Labour supported the government’s decision to send 800 troops to Estonia as part of a Nato taskforce, he said: “Jeremy has expressed concerns about that being one of the escalations of tensions that have taken place.” Griffith, who has visited the troops in Estonia and had earlier used an interview with Forces TV to express staunch support for Nato, was said to be “absolutely furious” about the remarks.

Tidal lagoon

BBC News
Plans for a £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay will be backed in a government-funded review on Thursday. Charles Hendry will publish his independent report into the viability of the renewable energy technology later, recommending the UK builds the lagoon to capture energy from the sea. There are hopes of developing a network of larger lagoons around the UK coast. The UK government still needs to agree on a deal and a marine licence would also need to be approved. Former UK energy minister Mr Hendry has been gathering evidence for nearly a year for his independent inquiry, including visits to all the potential sites and discussions with industry. Speaking ahead of the report, Mr Hendry said: “If you look at the cost spread out over the entire lifetime – 120 years for the project – it comes out at about 30p per household for the next 30 years. That’s less than a pint of milk. 
“That’s where I think we can start a new industry and we can do it at an affordable cost to consumers.”

Press freedom

Mail
Tens of thousands of people have voted to oppose the implementation of unfair new libel laws that would muzzle the free Press. More than 140,000 people have responded to a Government consultation on whether to implement Section 40 (s.40) of the Crime and Courts Act, which could force newspapers and websites to pay libel costs even if they win a defamation case. While the Department for Culture Media and Sport has not given a breakdown, newspaper industry sources are confident there was a clear majority in favour of the repeal of s40. The consultation closed yesterday and it is believed at least 50,000 members of the public‎ responded online calling for repeal of s40 and tens of thousands more submitted the same in postal responses. Analysis of social media views also suggested up to 65 per cent are also in favour of repealing s40.

French elections

Breitbart
Marine Le Pen has overtaken centre-right candidate François Fillon to be the frontrunner in France’s presidential election, according to the latest poll by Ifop-Fiducial. Le Pen is leading the race for the first time in the campaign as the Republicans candidate Fillon struggles with working class voters who supported Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012. The Front National icon is currently attracting between 26 per cent and 26.5 per cent of the vote while Fillon, who became the candidate of the right and centre having battled through a primary, oscillates between 24 per cent and 25 per cent, reports
Paris Match.

Englishness

Star
A CASH-strapped council has been slated for scrapping its St George’s Day celebrations. Town hall bosses in Derby said they could not afford the £10,000 cost of a parade. The annual bonanza draws more than 10,000 people to the city every year to honour the English patron saint with dancing, crafts and sing-alongs. Supporters say it gives a huge boost to businesses. 
But the city council said this year’s event, planned for April 22, would be too expensive. A parade of 2,000 Beavers, Cubs and Scouts is expected to take its place. Councillor Chris Poulter slammed the Labour-run authority and said pen-pushers failed to understand the day’s cultural significance. He added: “For the sake of a relatively small investment of only £10,000, a full day of celebration of Englishness will be lost and the vitality and vibrancy of our city centre will be further neglected.

Breitbart
English patriotism is on the rise, with increasing numbers of people identifying as predominantly English rather than British, a survey has found. According to the recent YouGov poll, nearly one-fifth of those questioned described themselves as English instead of British – a rise of 5 per cent on 2015 figures. Last year, just 18 per cent of those surveyed said they felt only British or more British than English, but 35 per cent said they were English not British or more English than British. The number of people saying they feel equally English and British rose from 35 to 38 per cent between 2015 and 2016. Numerous polls during and after the European Union (EU) referendum showed that those who felt mostly English were more likely to vote for Brexit. Speaking to
The Telegraph shortly after his election, UKIP leader Paul Nuttall described how he aimed to appeal to this renewed sense of Englishness, particularly following the devolution of other UK nations.

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