Britain’s economy will slow down but should not go anywhere close to a recession, according to economists at credit ratings agency Moody’s, while growth in the rest of the world is also “stabilising.” Although markets dived on the referendum result in June, stock prices have recovered and now economists also believe the impact of the vote will be relatively modest, compared with some early fears. The lower pound should support economic growth in the UK, Moody’s said, while the government is expected to loosen the purse strings to shore up GDP. Moody’s economists predict growth of 1.5pc this year and 1.2pc in 2017.
British households have recovered from a loss of confidence about their finances after the country voted to leave the European Union, a survey showed on Wednesday, another sign consumers are taking the referendum result in their stride. Financial data firm Markit said its Household Finance Index for August reversed July’s plunge and edged above its level in June at 44.9, its highest reading in four months. “Concerns seem to have eased in line with the removal of some of the immediate political uncertainty arising from the shock referendum result, combined with a strong monetary policy response from the Bank of England,” Markit senior economist Jack Kennedy said in a statement. Concern about job security eased in August after reaching its highest level in three years in July, although income from employment was the weakest in three months, the survey showed.
Nicola Sturgeon told an audience of EU nationals “you are human beings, not bargaining chips”, and described herself as heartbroken after hearing an Italian mother describe the painful uncertainties faced by her family since the Brexit vote. Condemning the UK government’s refusal to guarantee the status of EU citizens living in the UK as “disgraceful”, Sturgeon told the public meeting at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange on Wednesday morning: “You’re not bargaining chips, you are human beings with families, jobs, friends and lives here. I believe you have a right to certainty and peace of mind.” About 450 people had signed up to attend the event, organised by the Scottish government to allow concerned EU nationals to question the first minister on the impact of the leave vote. Italian national Caroline Magohao described through tears the feeling of “having to live with our bags half packed”. She said her teenage son, who had been called a “scrounger” by classmates during the referendum campaign, now worried about whether he would be able to stay in the country long enough to complete secondary school.
The British Olympics Association has threatened pro-Brexit campaign group Leave.eu with legal action after they posted a video on Twitter in support of the British Olympics team. The thirty second video contrasts suggestions made by anti-Brexit campaigners during the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union that Britain is “too small” and needs “to be in the EU”, with photos of successful British Olympians. Among those featured are Andy Murray who took gold in the tennis, and Mo Farah, who won gold in the 10,000 metres running race, before the picture cuts to the Olympics medals table showing Britain in second place. The video concludes with the Team GB lion and Olympics rings logos, followed by the Leave.eu logo.
Theresa May was urged to push ahead with Brexit last night as new figures revealed record numbers of migrants working in Britain. The Office for National Statistics yesterday said foreign-born workers now hold one in six jobs – a record 5.4million of the total labour force of 31.8million. The statistics also showed that the number of foreign workers from Poland and seven other eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 has soared past one million for the first time. The figures piled pressure on Mrs May before Brexit negotiations begin, when curbs on the free movement of workers from the EU is set to be the major issue. The failure of David Cameron to secure restrictions in his EU renegotiation deal was a key reason millions of people voted to quit the swollen Brussels bloc on June 23.
A new campaign is targeting advertisers in a bid to shut down newspapers that report crime committed by migrants, rather than covering it up. The Stop Funding Hate campaign is urging companies to pull advertising from the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Express, claiming that they use “fear and division to sell more papers”. The campaign’s founder, Richard Wilson, called the newspapers’ reporting of migrants “toxic”. Wilson, an NGO worker, believes Stop Funding Hate will be successful because the public don’t want to be “inadvertently complicit” in “hate campaigns”, which he compared to the BNP. The group’s first campaign seeks to persuade Virgin Media to “take a stand against racism” by pulling advertising from the Sun. A petition to Virgin Media’s CEO by the campaign charges the Sun of “misleading reporting” and “playing off one group against another in pursuit of a divisive political agenda”.
Hate preachers will be banned from entering mosques and universities under plans by Theresa May to ensure Anjem Choudary’s radicalisation of young Britons can never be repeated. Ministers are looking at whether they can order blanket bans to stop extremists addressing large groups in public as an additional measure to clamp down on radicalisation. The government is also considering what more can be done to force social media sites to take down extremist messages and videos posted online. The changes go further than anything brought into law by David Cameron and could form the centrepiece of a new Extremism Bill due to be placed before Parliament by May.
A boy of five radicalised by Anjem Choudary shouted ‘shame’ whenever he saw a woman in a dress who was not entirely covered up, it was revealed yesterday. A court ruling detailed how the child fell under the hate preacher’s spell at meetings of the banned extremist group Al-Muhajiroun (ALM). He and three siblings were taken to the meetings in school hours by their mother, where they were photographed by police holding hands with convicted terrorists. The boy’s 13-year-old brother expressed ‘terrible views’ about the Paris attacks, telling a teacher that IS was ‘simply implementing Islamic law’, the judgment revealed. The children are the nephews and niece of Siddhartha Dhar, from Walthamstow, north-east London, who fled to Syria to replace Jihadi John as IS executioner. Their mother tried to take them to Syria, but they were stopped close to the Turkish border.
Tough measures to tackle obesity have been axed after Theresa May overruled the health secretary and insisted that the economy must take priority. Restrictions on advertising and promotional deals on junk food have been removed from a plan published today. This is despite Public Health England’s insistence that such steps would be the most effective way to prevent children getting fat. “It’s been castrated,” one Whitehall source said. Experts and campaigners also reacted with outrage at the move. A push by Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, for “draconian” action was rejected by No 10.
Ministers were accused last night of caving in to the junk food lobby after they abandoned plans to force companies to reduce sugar in children’s food. The Childhood Obesity Strategy, published today after a year of delays, will instead ‘challenge’ the food industry to cut sugar levels by 20 per cent before 2020. The Government insisted its actions will slash the number of children and teenagers who are overweight within a decade. But critics said the plan contains nothing that will force companies to act, relying instead on voluntary action and goodwill. One campaign group described it as a ‘shocking abdication’ of the Government’s duties. The strategy also ditched plans for an expected ban on junk food TV adverts before the 9pm watershed, and there is no ban on so-called ‘guilt-aisles’, in which shops put sweets at check-outs. Campaigners had also expected an end to the use of cartoon characters on unhealthy food, and new restrictions on multi-buy deals in supermarkets.
The Government is set to kickstart its long-awaited campaign to combat obesity amid an outcry from health campaigners that is “feeble” compared with what was expected, and protests from the food and drinks industry that it is far too tough. The announcement will include a target for food manufacturers to reduce the level of sugar in food and drink by 20 per cent in five years – but it will be voluntary, and will not include many of the measures demanded by health campaigners, such as curbs on advertising. Theresa May is understood to have overruled what she considers to be symptoms of a “nanny state”. But she has given the go-ahead to a levy on sugary drinks that was trailed in George Osborne’s Budget in March, despite vehement protests from the industry that it will be ineffective and will destroy thousands of jobs.
Black and ethnic minority people still face “entrenched” race inequality across many facets of life in modern Britain, a watchdog claims. An “alarming picture” exists in areas including education, employment, housing, pay, health and criminal justice according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The reported “underlines just how entrenched and far-reaching race inequality remains” across the UK, the body’s chair said. David Isaac, body chairman, said Britain must “redouble” its efforts to stem race inequality or risk growing divisions across society and racial tensions increasing. “If you are black or an ethnic minority in modern Britain, it can often still feel like you’re living in a different world, never mind being part of a one nation society”, he said.
TERRORISTS could target the Thames Barrier in a bid to flood London, police have warned. The barrier – which spans 520 metres across the Thames – protects the capital from tidal surges. If the site was destroyed it could cause up to 125 square kilometres of the city to be submerged underwater. It would also leave thousand of people homeless and cause billions of pounds worth of damage. Army and police bomb disposal teams met with Thames Barrier officials at an emergency meeting last week. A counter terrorism source told the Mirror: “Crippling the barrier would have a terrible and long-term effect on the capital and on the rest of the country. “As well as the obvious trade in terror such as killing as many people as possible, the UK’s critical infrastructure is a priority for terrorists.”
GREEK prime minister Alexis Tsipras has stepped up his country’s demands for Germany to hand over more than £230billion in Second World War reparations. In a threat to Berlin, the left-wing leader vowed to do “whatever is necessary” to extract the staggering sum of money – including taking legal action. A group of Greek MPs, who have looked into the issue of compensation payments linked to the Nazi occupation of Greece between 1941 to 1944, are set to demand Germany coughs up €269bn (£234bn) in damages. The parliamentary committee will reportedly recommend the country uses diplomatic means to recover the huge sums but – “if necessary” – pursue legal action through international courts should talks between Athens and Berlin fail. Their 77-page report will be discussed in the Greek parliament early next month. Mr Tsipras signalled he will back their demands by issuing a defiant message to German chancellor Angela Merkel. Speaking during a visit to Kommeno on the 73rd anniversary of a Nazi atrocity in the northwestern village, he said: “Greece will do whatever is necessary, mainly at a diplomatic level, and if necessary, at a legal level.
OWEN SMITH was mired in controversy yesterday after suggesting that Isis should be invited to peace talks aimed at ending the Syrian civil war. The Labour leadership contender said that “all the actors” must be brought round the table to end the brutal conflict, including the notorious terror group. Mr Smith rapidly rowed back on the comments, which he made during a televised hustings with Jeremy Corbyn, after being condemned by figures from the left and right of politics. Asked by host Victoria Derbyshire whether Isis should be involved in negotiations, Mr Smith referred to his time as a special adviser to former Northern Ireland secretary Paul Murphy. He said: “Ultimately all solutions to these sorts of international crises do come about through dialogue so eventually, if we are to try to solve this, all of the actors do need to be involved. “But at the moment Isil are clearly not interested in negotiating.” Asked the same question, Mr Corbyn said: “They are not going to be round the table. No.”
The Labour leadership hopeful said “at some point” it would be necessary to “get people around the table”. Owen Smith today called for Britain to negotiate a peace deal with murderous terror group Islamic State. The Labour leadership hopeful said that “at some point” it will be necessary “to get people around the table” if the West’s battle with the Islamic militants is to be resolved. Mr Smith’s controversial proposal was made during a live TV hustings on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show. By contrast his rival Jeremy Corbyn said IS are “not going to be around the table” as the conflict in Iraq, Syria and Libya is thrashed out.