MICHEL BARNIER has overstepped his authority by offering up fishing rights concessions, a British fishing chief has said. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said the bloc would be willing to accept British demands for zonal attachment, dropping pressure to allow the UK to break from the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Giving evidence to the House of Lords on June 23, Mr Barnier appeared to offer a major compromise on fishing, which has been among the most contentious issues during trade talks. The transcript of the meeting was published on Monday, hours before he arrived in London for the latest round of post-Brexit trade discussions with David Frost. But Simon Collins, executive officer of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association, warned against viewing Mr Barnier’s words as a generous offer. He pointed out that under international law the UK is no longer bound to the CFP. Mr Collins told Express.co.uk: “Barnier is playing a bit to the gallery there. “It’s a bit like saying he’ll allow the sun to come up – which is very generous of him because it’s no longer in his gift actually.
A EUROPEAN fishing chief has outrageously claimed that Britain should not be allowed to sell any fish to EU countries unless foreign trawlers are allowed into UK seas after the Brexit transition period has ended. Uwe Richter, managing director of the Euro Baltic Fish Processing Company in Sassnit, Germany, said hundreds of fishermen from his own country risked going out of business if the UK stuck to its strict demands on access to its rich waters. He said fishermen in the UK “understand” that EU member states will not buy anything they land unless their own boats can continue to reap the same benefits they enjoyed before Brexit.
Angela Merkel said the EU should be prepared for a no trade deal Brexit on Wednesday, the day after Boris Johnson warned the German chancellor that Britain was “ready” to walk away without an agreement. “I will continue to push for a good solution, but we should also prepare for a possible no deal scenario,” Mrs Merkel said in the European Parliament in Brussels. “Progress in negotiations so far has been slim, to put it diplomatically,” she said as she set out plans for Germany’s six-month EU presidency.
British holidaymakers are pariahs in Europe at the moment, with many people on the continent wanting them to “stay away” this summer, according to a YouGov poll. It found that people in France, Spain, Italy and Germany were more opposed to British tourists than those from any other European country. Only visitors from China and the United States were less welcome than Britons because of the high coronavirus infection rate. The Spanish were particularly opposed, with 61 per cent wanting a ban on Britons entering the country.
France is bracing for a second wave of Covid-19 cases but cannot afford the “disastrous” economic consequences of another national lockdown, its new prime minister said on Wednesday. “We must be ready for a second wave, but we would not proceed with a [national] lockdown as we did in March, because we’ve learned… that the economic and human consequences of a total lockdown are disastrous,” Jean Castex told BFM television.
Britain is nominating former minister Liam Fox to be the next director-general of the World Trade Organisation, the government has announced. Dr Fox, who famously said the still elusive Brexit trade deal with the EU would be the “easiest in history”, would replace Roberto Azevêdo for an initial term of four years if elected. “As the world seeks to recover from the shared challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic, the role of free and fair trade has never been more crucial,” Boris Johnson said in a letter to the WTO.
Liam Fox, Britain’s former international trade secretary, will be nominated by the UK to be the next head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the government’s Department for International Trade has confirmed. Fox was a cabinet minister in Theresa May’s government between July 2016 and July 2019, and has been a Conservative MP since 1992. He is known as a prominent supporter of Brexit, and said in a 2017 interview that the UK’s free trade deal with the EU after leaving should be the “easiest in human history”.
Boris Johnson will today give gyms the go-ahead to reopen within days. The Prime Minister is expected to unveil details of the latest unlocking of the economy as coronavirus cases continue to decline. Ministers were last night finalising which sectors will get the go-ahead to restart, but Whitehall sources said health officials were satisfied that indoor gyms were safe to reopen, provided they take stringent measures to slow the spread of the virus. They will be allowed to reopen by ‘mid-July’, and possibly as soon as next week.
Indoor gyms could be given the green-light to re-open in a matter of days after being closed for nearly four months, according to reports. Health officials are satisfied it is safe to re-open gyms by mid-July, Whitehall sources are believed to have said. Last week, Boris Johnson promised to imminently reveal a timetable for when restrictions would be lifted on those sectors of the economy still left in the dark. And provided gym operators take stringent steps to prevent the spread of the killer bug, No10 is reportedly happy to let them get back to business – with many having frozen membership fees since March 23.
The chancellor’s latest £30 billion package of emergency measures has raised fears over a mammoth looming bill for taxpayers as experts also warned it may not be enough to boost the battered economy. Rishi Sunak insisted he will still get the nation’s finances on a sustainable footing in the medium-term, but the Treasury admitted emergency actions have already come at a “significant fiscal cost”. The new Jobs Retention Bonus alone will cost the government up to £9.4 billion, with the VAT cut adding another £4.1 billion, the stamp duty cut an extra £3.8 billion and the eating out discount scheme £500 million.
Britain’s finance minister promised an additional 30 billion pounds to head off an unemployment crisis on Wednesday, funnelling money to employers, homebuyers and beleaguered hospitality firms to drive a recovery. Rishi Sunak, who was already on course to take state borrowing to World War Two levels with 133 billion pounds of initial coronavirus emergency measures, said he would return the public finances to a sustainable footing over the medium term. But the former Goldman Sachs analyst promised to press on with using the power of the state to shore up the economy, which has forced his Conservative Party to suspend its traditional pro-market instincts.
Restaurant meals will be subsidised by the Government as part of a radical £30 billion rescue package for jobs and the economy, Rishi Sunak announced on Wednesday. The Treasury will pay half the cost of eating out, up to a maximum of £10 per head, to tempt “cautious” diners back to pubs and restaurants, which employ 1.8 million people. The scheme will apply from Mondays to Wednesdays for the whole of August. The Chancellor also cut VAT on hospitality and leisure, temporarily abolished stamp duty on most properties and pledged grants of up to £10,000 for green home improvements. With the Government’s furlough scheme coming to an end in October, Mr Sunak announced that firms would be given a £1,000 “job retention bonus” for every furloughed employee still in work on Jan 31.
Food lovers could soon be able to grab a meal at some of the country’s best-loved restaurants for little more than £10. Diners will receive a 50 per cent discount, up to a maximum of £10 per head, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the month of August, under Rishi Sunak‘s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme. The diner discount, which will only apply to participating business, was announced today by the chancellor. But penny-pinching Britons have already started to come up with ways to maximise their savings from the scheme, which covers food and non-alcoholic drinks, but not booze.
BRITS can enjoy half-price restaurant meals and cut price day trips this summer as part of a bumper plan to rescue Britain’s coronavirus-ravaged economy. And Rishi Sunak has slashed VAT by a whopping 15% for the hospitality sector from 15 July through to 12 January next year – to get more Brits out and about to boost the nation after months in lockdown. Brits will be able to dine out at cafes, restaurants and pubs from Monday to Wednesday for half price – up to £10 a head per person – throughout the month of August.
Pubs, hotels, restaurants and cinemas were handed a “£4 billion catalyst” as the chancellor announced a temporary cut to VAT. Rishi Sunak slashed the tax from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for six months from next Wednesday for businesses across the hospitality sector including zoos, museums and theme parks. The reduction will help 100,000 businesses including 40,000 pubs, 28,000 restaurants, 15,000 cafés and 7,500 hotels, as well as tourist attractions and caravan parks, according to analysis by Altus Group, a property adviser.
Landlords and second-home hunters are among those likely to benefit the most from the government’s suspension of stamp duty, prompting anger that first-time buyers will be left behind. In a move expected to cost the Treasury £3.8 billion, the government increased the zero rate band for stamp duty from £125,000 to £500,000. The change came into effect in England and Northern Ireland yesterday and will stay in place until March 31 next year.
Stamp duty has been scrapped immediately for all homes under £500,000, to kickstart the stalled housing market. Rishi Sunak said the move would benefit nine in ten homebuyers in England and Northern Ireland – saving £4,500 on the average purchase. The move was announced as part of the chancellor’s emergency mini-budget to head off a feared explosion in unemployment as the coronavirus pandemic bites harder. Mr Sunak said property transactions had fallen by 50 per cent in May – with the first fall in house prices for 8 years. The solution, he announced was a “temporary cut until 31 March” raising the threshold for paying stamp duty from £125,000 to £500,000, to kick in immediately.
Property buyers could save thousands of pounds thanks to a new tax break announced today by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Stamp duty is charged to the majority of people who purchase a home in England and Northern Ireland. However, it has been accused of slowing down the property market and discouraging people from buying new homes. Mr Sunak has temporarily loosened the rules on stamp duty and offered exemptions to buyers of properties. Those buying properties worth £500,000 or less will pay no tax, while those purchasing more expensive homes will benefit from reduced costs.
Rishi Sunak pumped another £30 billion into the economy yesterday as it was revealed that the bill for government support since the pandemic now dwarfs last year’s health spending. The job-saving package of tax breaks, consumer discounts and wage subsidies means that the chancellor has announced plans to spend up to £188.7 billion on tackling the immediate crisis and nursing the economy through its effects. That equates to 9.4 per cent of GDP and far exceeds other Whitehall budgets. Health and social care spending in 2019-20 was £140 billion, for example, of which NHS day-to-day spending in England was £120 billion.
Rish Sunak’s spending spree could be enough to save as many as two million jobs, economists said, as up to £30bn of support will stop some workers being laid off and should encourage businesses to hire more staff. However, it will not be able to negate the entire economic impact of the pandemic lockdown recession, with unemployment still expected to rise when the furlough scheme winds down in the coming months. Companies will get a £1,000 bonus for every furloughed worker that they are still employing in January. A “kickstart scheme” offers £2bn for workplaces, covering the minimum wage for 25 hours a week for six months businesses taking on under-24s at risk of long-term unemployment. And employers will get £2,000 for every new apprentice aged under 25 and £1,500 for each one aged over 25.
Rishi Sunak has been warned he will need to act far more decisively to prevent mass unemployment this autumn after unveiling a £30bn mini budget designed to tempt nervous consumers out their Covid-19 hibernation. The chancellor announced a short-term cut in VAT for hospitality and tourism and an August “eat out to help out” discount scheme as the government sought to send out a message to the public that it was safe to leave their homes and enjoy themselves. Stressing that the country faced hardship ahead, he announced measures to revive the housing market with a nine-month stamp duty holiday – raising the threshold in England and Northern Ireland to £500,000 – as well as creating subsidised jobs for young people and providing targeted support for the sectors hit hardest by the lockdown.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to cut VAT on hospitality as part of a £30bn plan to prevent mass unemployment as the economy is hit by coronavirus. The government will also pay firms a £1,000 bonus for every staff member kept on for three months when the furlough scheme ends in October. And Mr Sunak announced a scheme to give 50% off to people dining out in August. The chancellor warned “hardship lies ahead”, but vowed no-one will be left “without hope”, in a statement to MPs. He told MPs he will cut VAT on food, accommodation and attractions from 20% to 5% from next Wednesday.
CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak was accused today of missing opportunities to repair the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic by failing to invest money in creating jobs. In the Commons, he announced his £30 billion summer economic statement. It included VAT cuts for hospitality and tourism firms, stamp duty cuts, and discounts for people eating in restaurants to stimulate the ailing hospitality sector. Companies retaining workers after the furlough scheme ends will be given a £1,000 per-employee bonus if they continuously employ them through to January on an average of at least £520 a month.
Every household can apply for a £5,000 voucher under a £3billion drive announced today for ‘greener’ homes, hospitals and schools to support 140,000 jobs. Chancellor Rishi Sunak insisted he wanted to see a ‘green recovery with concern for the environment at its heart’ as he confirmed the plans in the Commons. In his mini-Budget, Mr Sunak confirmed a £2billion Green Homes Grant from September will mean homeowners and landlords can get grants up to £5,000 for insulation and other energy efficiency measures. Some of the lowest income households will get the full costs of energy efficiency refits paid up to £10,000.
The chief executive of a hospital in Boris Johnson’s constituency has blamed an outbreak of coronavirus on ‘irresponsible’ staff failing to wear masks and adhere to social distancing rules. Hillingdon Hospital has been forced to close to emergencies since Monday night. NHS officials said that up to 70 staff were in self-isolation including ‘a number’ who had tested positive.’ Ambulances are being diverted to other trusts although walk-in A&E patients can still be seen. On Friday, the trust’s chief executive, Sarah Tedford, sent a message to staff saying: ‘I am told some of you are not wearing appropriate masks and you are not adhering to social distancing.
Former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan has claimed there is “no foundation” to reports free hospital parking for NHS workers is being scrapped, despite the Government confirming it will end in all but “certain circumstances”. Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced in March that the Government would fund fees incurred by NHS staff in privately-run hospital car parks. But the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has now said free parking will continue only for “key patient groups and NHS staff in certain circumstances” as the pandemic eases, although no further timeline has been given.
Test and trace
Ministers spent an astonishing £10 billion on the bungled test and trace programme as part of an extra £48 billion of spending on public services during the coronavirus crisis, it has emerged. The programme was championed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock when introduced at the end of May but, as of last week, it is still failing to track a quarter of patients who test positive for the illness. Scientists have warned contact tracing programmes need to catch at least 80 per cent of infections to ensure the spread of the virus is contained.
The government has allocated £10 billion of public money for spending on the much-criticised test and trace system for England, Treasury documents released today have revealed. The sum, much of it going on contracts with private firms like Serco and G4S, amounts to more than 100 times Public Health England’s £90 million annual budget for infectious diseases and was described as “extraordinary” by a member of the Independent Sage group of scientists. Labour demanded a full break-down of the test and trace budget to ensure that the money is being spent in “the most effective way to limit the spread of Covid-19”.
PEOPLE across the UK have been in lockdown since March due to the coronavirus pandemic and many are still unable to go back to work. While businesses up and down the country continue to reopen due to a lifting of restrictions, many people are struggling to adjust to the new normal. Adjustment disorder is a psychiatric condition recognised by the American Psychiatric Association and is a severe reaction to stress. Research by Superdrug has also suggested that many people are struggling with the idea of getting back to normal.
Dominic Cummings will tour five of Britain’s most highly classified national security sites as part of plans to reform the military. The prime minister’s chief adviser has already visited MI6 and MI5 in London, and within weeks is expected to visit the Special Air Service headquarters in Hereford and the Special Boat Service command post in Poole, Dorset. According to “internal correspondence” seen by The Sydney Morning Herald, the tour will also include Defence Intelligence, the military intelligence agency stationed at RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire, and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down near Salisbury, which develops measures to counter chemical and biological weapons.