Britain will seek to retain a temporary customs union with the EU for at least two years after Brexit to prevent border chaos, David Davis has announced. The Brexit Secretary will on Tuesday publish a paper in which he agrees not to implement any new free trade deals until after an “interim” transition period. The document will state that Britain is seeking “freest and most frictionless possible trade in goods between the UK and the EU”. The move is intended to reassure businesses that they will not face a “cliff-edge” after Brexit and face tariffs on goods and new customs checks when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.
Ministers hope to strike a temporary deal with the European Union to retain the key benefits of the customs union for an interim period after Brexit, to avoid cross-border commerce grinding to a halt. The government will use a position paper published on Tuesday to reveal that, for a brief period, it will seek a deal allowing the transit of goods across borders to continue as now – perhaps by striking a “temporary customs union”. Ministers hope this will avoid economic disruption by giving businesses and officials time to gear up for a new customs regime; while sidestepping the constraint that full members of the customs union are not allowed to strike independent trade deals with non-EU countries. The government will say it wants to create “the freest and most frictionless possible trade in goods between the UK and the EU”.
THE Government has risked a Brexit backlash after appearing to concede Britain will wait longer than many hoped to enjoy the global trade benefits of leaving the European Union. The Department for Exiting the EU will today publish what its “ambitious” plan to smooth Britain’s departure as it seeks to drive the Brexit process forward by setting out more detailed visions of the future. A policy paper will propose an unspecified but time-limited “interim” period after Britain formally leaves the EU. That is expected to be 2019 and to entail also quitting Europe’s free trade single market and customs union. During this interim, Britain could maintain a temporary customs union with the Continent to protect trade from disruption while new permanent arrangements are put in place, the document suggests.
Britain will today demand that it is allowed to start striking trade deals the day after Brexit – while creating a temporary EU customs deal to prevent border chaos. Brexit Secretary David Davis will set out plans to begin ‘negotiating bold new trade relationships around the world’ as soon as the country leaves the EU in March 2019. But he will ask Brussels to keep in place current customs rules that prevent goods having to be checked as they go between Britain and the EU for an interim period, which could last up to two or three years. Mr Davis will argue that such a deal, where the UK mimics the EU’s tariffs and rules on customs, would give more time for a smooth switch to the new trading regime, which would benefit businesses on both sides of the Channel.
BRITAIN may not be able to strike its own trade deals immediately after Brexit because of a transitional period which could last for years to avoid a “cliff-edge”, it has been revealed. A Government position paper published today says that Britain is introducing a “temporary customs union”. Trade Secretary Liam Fox wanted to be able to sign trade deals with non-EU countries straight after Brexit in March 2019. The Government insists that during the transitional period the UK can sign deals with non-EU nations which will take effect at the end of the transition. But this contrasts with an article written by Mr Hammond and Dr Fox at the weekend, which said: “When we’ve left the customs union, we will build on these relationships by negotiating as an independent nation with the freedom to sign bilateral free-trade agreements.”
David Davis, the Brexit secretary, is expected to set out more clearly the government’s hopes for a future customs deal with the European Union this week, to help inform the next round of Brexit negotiations. With Theresa May not expected to return to her desk in Downing Street from her holiday until Thursday, the government is keen to show that preparations for Brexit have not ground to a halt. The EU has made clear it will not discuss Britain’s future trading relationship – including customs arrangements – until it has reached agreement on several key issues, including the terms of the financial payments Britain will make on exit and the future status of the border in Northern Ireland.
Britain will today propose keeping the same customs rules with the EU for an “interim” period after Brexit to avert border chaos, sparking fresh accusations that policy is mired in confusion. Ministers will tell Brussels they want a “temporary customs union” for several years, amid evidence that businesses are already pulling investment because they fear the harm to trade from a cliff-edge exit in 2019. They will then ask for “alignment” on customs – making clear that, although Britain would leave the EU’s existing arrangements, the Government hopes little would change on the ground even in the long term.
The UK wants to create an interim customs union with the EU to avoid a “cliff-edge” for manufacturers after Brexit. The proposal is contained in the Government’s first “future partnership paper”, published on Tuesday by the Department for Exiting the European Union (DexEU). The plan is designed to keep the Cabinet united after disagreements over whether the UK should remain in the customs union. It confirms the UK will ultimately leave the system but proposes a “temporary customs union between the UK and the EU” as a “possible approach” to getting a “smooth and orderly” transfer. The customs union allows goods to travel across the EU free of tariffs and checks.
Brexit Leader Nigel Farage has laid into the government’s position on the customs union that will mean the UK limited and stuck inside the same system for years to come after Brexit in 2019. The plan, which was championed by Remainer Philip Hammond, will see Britain keep the current customs arrangement with the EU in a so-called ‘transition period’. This will mean that Brussels could block the UK from signing new trade deals for years, rather than Brexit Britain being able to sign deals as soon as it leaves the EU in 2019. Nigel Farage responded furiously, insisting that it amounted to “Brexit betrayal” now becoming official government policy.
Philip Hammond, the chancellor, has won a cabinet battle for a business-friendly Brexit transition that could leave Britain unable to strike free-trade deals for years after it has left the European Union. Liam Fox, the trade secretary, wanted to be able to sign deals with non-EU countries straight after Brexit in March 2019. Dr Fox and Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, were unhappy with recent statements by the chancellor that suggested a lengthy transition when little would change. However, David Davis, the Brexit secretary, will signal today that Mr Hammond has the upper hand by announcing plans for the present customs arrangements to stay in place for an “interim period” that could last for up to three years.
Foreign ownership of the British fishing fleet is being investigated by a government agency, ITV News has learned. There has long been a loophole that allows predominately EU crews to fish in British waters. Operating under a “flag of convenience”, foreign owned and crewed trawlers can fish in British waters as long as they visit a UK port twice a year. Even then, they only need to sell a small part of their catch in Britain. Now, the Marine Management Organisation is investigating the practice. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says that leaving the EU will give Britain “an opportunity to design a new domestic fishing policy that allows our industry to thrive”.
Welsh nationalists are planning on fighting tooth and nail to fight the government’s Repeal Bill. Thing is, 52.5% of the Welsh public vote to leave the EU along with the UK as a whole. But now nationalists are planning to block the Repeal Bill which would see EU legislation integrated into British law as part of the Brexit process. They think it will undermine their Welsh national sovereignty – Plaid Cymru boss Leanne Wood said: “A majority of members in our National Assembly believe that the bill should be rejected because it would weaken our democratic powers. It is critical that other opposition parties join us.” There’s talk of the Scottish nationalists doing the same too. Can they not see that simply being a member of the EU or being legally bound by Brussels is the ultimate infringement of national sovereignty? What democratic powers did the Welsh have when they voted for Jean-Claude Juncker to become EU Prez? None, because they couldn’t vote for him!
British start-up technology companies are being denied access to their single largest source of investment funding as European institutions begin to cut the UK out of future projects. Venture capital funds say they have been told that the European Investment Fund (EIF) has now effectively turned off the tap to new British commitments. Before the vote to leave the EU last year the fund indirectly invested more than half a billion pounds a year in Britain’s technology sector, its largest single source of money. The EIF channels money into venture capital companies that combine it with private sources of funding to invest in the fast-growing but risky tech sector.
THE European Union wanted the UK to bring in a 10-year “transition period” to thrash out a trade deal, according to David Davis – which would mean Britain wouldn’t be able to cut ties with the bloc until 2029. The Brexit Secretary revealed Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, insisted Britain should spend two years negotiating the divorce from the bloc before using a whole decade to negotiate “future market arrangements”. David Davis, speaking at the Edinburgh Fringe festival during an interview with former SNP leader Alex Salmond, revealed he turned down Mr Barnier’s suggestion in favour of a much shorter transition period. He said: “What the transition period will look like is down to the negotiations.
Brussels is spending half a million Euros on projects in the UK which aim to kill Euroscepticism and reverse Brexit, European Commission documents have revealed. The Times reports that the funding comes from a €3 million war chest funding 84 projects across the European Union (EU) which aim to “reach out to citizens who reject or put in question the EU and its achievements or remain indifferent”. Projects are funded if they promise to “challenge Euroscepticism”, “foster a sense of belonging” to the union, educate citizens on “the benefits” of membership, and promote “integration” and “political cohesion” across the bloc. The fighting fund — which is sponsoring projects aimed at making the public “understand the cost of not being part of the EU” — was created in December to ward off populism and Euroscepticism after Britain voted to leave the bloc in June.
A“Japanese fungus” which is resistant to drugs has spread to at least 55 hospitals across the UK, public health officials have warned. NHS trusts have been ordered to carry out deep cleans of all affected areas after more than 200 patients were found to be infected or carrying the potentially fatal pathogen. Infection experts are alarmed by the spread of the fungus, which has been likened to a “superbug”- because it has already proved resistant to the main three classes of drug treatment. The fungus, called Candida auris, was first identified in Japan in 2009, in the ear canal of a 70-year-old woman. Since then it has spread rapidy around the globe, emerging in at least five continents, with the first UK case detected in 2013. Healthy patients can usually fend off the fungus, though they may carry it. It is those with compromised immune systems who are most likely to contract a bloodstream infection, which can prove fatal, or cause major disabilities such as hearing loss.
A dangerous Japanese fungus is spreading through British hospital wards, health officials warned. More than 200 patients have been affected or found to carry the fungus, which is resistant to regular drugs. Hospitals and nursing homes have been ordered to deep clean affected areas and isolate patients after it spread to at least 55 hospitals. The fungus, Candida auris, has been resistant to all three main classes of anti-fungal drug treatment. It was first identified in the ear canal of a 70-year-old woman in Japan and has been likened to a ‘superbug’. The first case of Candida auris in the UK was in 2013.
NHS patients in the south of England wait longer than their northern counterparts for vital treatments such as hip and knee replacements, pacemakers and cataract surgery, a report claims. Nine of the ten areas where patients are most likely to wait longer than the 18-week target are in the south of England, analysis by the Medical Technology Group (MTG) found. Researchers looked at data for five medical specialities in each of the 209 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England. MTG is made up of research charities, patient groups and medical device manufacturers. Its members include charities such as Diabetes UK and large companies such as Johnson & Johnson.
Teenagers hoping to get into a top university through clearing will have a better chance than usual this year. Elite institutions are lowering their entry requirements in a desperate bid to recruit more students when A-level results are announced on Thursday. Colleges are awash with places because of a dip in initial applications, caused by a reduction in the population of 18-year-olds and a decrease in EU students. There is no cap on the number of students universities can take – and many are aggressively trying to increase their total to boost revenue. A Daily Mail survey revealed some will be lowering their normal grade offers, while others are running online campaigns and promising extras such as guaranteed accommodation.
Commuters face the highest hike in rail fares in five years – adding hundreds to the cost of season tickets. Millions of rail users will find out this morning how much more they will have to pay from next year when officials reveal the latest inflation figures. The RPI (Retail Price Index) rate of inflation for July is always used to determine how much train companies can raise the price of regulated rail fares. There are fears that today’s figures will allow an increase of 3.9 per cent from January – more than double last year’s 1.9 per cent rise, and the highest hike since 2012. And while train fares and interest payments on student loans are linked to RPI, the CPI rate is the one on which most pay rises are based.
Rail passengers will find out on Tuesday how much fares will go up next year – with a sharp rise expected. Fares increased by 1.9% in January, but are tipped to soar by around 3.9%, which would lead to the highest increase since 2012. Rail workers are to stage a series of protests warning passengers they are paying “more for less”. The annual January rise in regulated fares – almost half of all tickets and including season tickets and standard returns – is linked with the previous July’s Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation, which will be announced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It has been the policy of successive governments to reduce the funding of the railways by taxpayers and increase the relative contribution of passengers.
MPs evoked the spirit of the Blitz last night as they demanded a rethink over the four-year silencing of Big Ben. Labour’s Steve Pound said the chimes, to be stopped over health and safety fears, had been kept going during the nation’s darkest days. He added: “They kept the bells tolling through the Blitz. The Luftwaffe could not stop it but health and safety has. There has to be a way around. “Ex-minister and Tory MP Shailesh Vara added: “I would have thought some compromise could have been reached to ensure this iconic bell’s presence.” The Great Bell has sounded on the hour for 157 years except during major refurbishments. It falls silent at noon Monday — except for special occasions — until the latest renovation of the Elizabeth Tower is completed in 2021. Commons authorities said it had to be silenced to safeguard the hearing of workers. They insisted ear defenders would not be enough, saying: “Constant proximity to the chimes would pose a serious risk to their hearing and prevent efficient working.”
Hollywood studio is poised to sign a £60 million deal to make a six-part series telling the tale of Nigel Farage’s part in Brexit. The script will be based on the diary The Bad Boys of Brexit: Tales of Mischief, Mayhem & Guerrilla Warfare in the EU Referendum Campaign, by Arron Banks, the multimillionaire insurance tycoon who helped to finance the Leave.EU group that was backed by Ukip. Casting is said to be taking place this autumn and filming will begin next year after a contract is signed in Los Angeles next month. The Times revealed that Mr Farage had met US television bosses to pitch the idea in January when he visited Washington to attend President Trump’s swearing-in.
EIGHT “high threat” volcanoes that could devastate the entire west coast of the US need to be monitored more closely, according to experts. The west coast of the US is home to some of the highest threat volcanoes in the world with eight in California alone deemed “likely to erupt”. Scientists from United States Geological Survey have added these eight volcanoes onto a “watch-list”, believing that they could be ready to blow at any moment. With magma building up beneath their surfaces, the volcanoes need to be watched closely to avoid an apocalyptic natural disaster, experts have said. Should any of them erupt, experts believe thousands of planes could be grounded and the health of millions of people put at risk. Large swathes of California could be blanketed in thick blankets of toxic ash clouds – shutting down airports and costing the economy billions.