British trade negotiators will fail in their efforts to insulate the City of London from the worst consequences of Brexit, Michel Barnier warned a meeting of finance chiefs on Tuesday. The EU’s chief negotiator said that British demands in the ongoing trade talks in Brussels were unacceptable and that UK plans to ditch EU financial regulation risked another crisis that could hurt the bloc. UK proposals would make it easy to continue to run EU businesses from London after the end of the transition period on December 31, he said, and prevent the EU from freezing UK financial services out of the Single Market at short notice
Britain and Brussels have each accused the other of holding up a decision on the City of London’s ability to do business in EU markets from next year, prolonging the financial services’ state of uncertainty about the future. Both parties had agreed to complete assessments of the other’s regulatory regimes for financial services by Tuesday 30 June, with the expectation that they would deemed “equivalent”, allowing business to continue in the new year.
THE risk of a no deal Brexit has been slapped back on the table as the United Kingdom and the European Union remain at loggerheads over contentious trade issues, analysts have warned. The stark admission comes ahead of “intensified” talks between both sides this week as they step up negotiations with just six months to go until the Brexit transition period expires.
British businesses exporting to the EU will have to wait for permission from HMRC before moving their goods, under bureaucratic new government Brexit plans designed to stave off chaos at ports. Plans drawn up by officials and reported by the Bloomberg news agency, say lorries will only be allowed to begin their journey to Dover if they have a valid reference from the so-called “Goods Vehicle Movement Service”. The new, untested government computer system, which is still under development six months from the end of the Brexit transition period, will bar trucks without prior clearance from heading for the channel – though it is not clear how this will be enforced.
UK companies could be banned from exporting goods into the European Union if they don’t have the correct clearance from tax authorities under crucial post-Brexit plans being drawn up by the Government. A leaked document from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) says lorries will only be able to move goods across the border if they have the correct reference from the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) – a new and untested IT platform that still hasn’t been given the green-light for release.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has confirmed claims that the UK has not completed necessary equivalence assessments by today’s deadline, marking a blow to the UK’s efforts to determine the City’s access to EU markets after Brexit. Valdis Dombrovskis, a European Commission executive vice-president, yesterday said the UK had so far answered only four of 28 questionnaires sent by Brussels seeking information about British regulation of the financial services industry after the Brexit transition period.
Downing Street has indicated that it wants to sign a trade deal with the European Union by September, as leading Brexiteers have urged the prime minister to reject any calls from Brussels for a “compromise” that could see the UK surrender on fishing or regulations. Face-to-face talks between Brussels and London recommenced on Monday in Brussels, with a Downing Street spokesman suggesting that the end of September was the cut-off for agreeing on a trade deal.
RISHI Sunak has agreed to develop closer financial links between the UK and Switzerland. In a fresh boost for British prospects outside the EU, the Chancellor and his Swiss counterpart Ueli Maurer signed a joint commitment to work on a new international financial services agreement. Treasury officials said the move – seeking to reduce costs and trade barriers – showed the Government’s ambition for the UK to cement its role as an international financial centre once fully independent of Brussels next year.
MPs have backed flagship immigration legislation which seeks to end EU freedom of movement rules in the UK. The Bill is part of the move towards the Government’s points-based immigration system, to be introduced from 2021. It was passed at the third reading by 342 votes to 248, majority 94. The Bill will now be considered by peers in the House of Lords. Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Last year the British people sent a clear message that they wanted to end free movement and our landmark Bill delivers exactly that.”
THE Tories’ proposals for a new immigration system were slammed by MPs of all parties in the Commons today as “unjust, discriminatory and poorly designed.” The EU Withdrawal Bill, which formally ends Britain’s commitment to freedom of movement with the EU, was due to reach its final stages in the Commons today. MPs rushed to introduce a series of amendments, including clauses to prevent “hostile environment” policies being extended to EU citizens, a time limit on detention and scrapping other barriers that migrants face to healthcare and the welfare state.
Britain is on track for a V-shaped recovery as the economy rebounds from the lockdown far faster than expected, the Bank of England’s chief economist has said. Andy Haldane said the country was already two months into the recovery and that the depth of the coronavirus recession was likely to be less than half as bad as the Bank had feared in May. Real-time data on payments, traffic flow, energy use and business surveys suggested that “the recovery has come somewhat sooner, and has been materially faster, than in the [Bank’s] May scenario — indeed than any other mainstream macroeconomic forecaster”, Mr Haldane said.
BRITAIN’S economy is on track for a sharp V-shaped recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the Bank of England’s chief economist has said. Andy Haldane said the recovery in the UK and globally had come “sooner and faster” than expected – but “considerable” risks remain. In a webinar speech yesterday, Mr Haldane said the UK economy was benefiting from a rebound in consumer spending since lockdown restrictions have begun to ease. He said: “It is early days, but my reading of the evidence is so far, so V.
English holidaymakers have already started enquiring about a “full refund” for their Scottish ‘staycations’ if Nicola Sturgeon forces them to enter quarantine, tourism chiefs have warned as she refused to backtrack. Marc Crothall, the Scottish Tourism Alliance’s (STA) chief executive, warned that more than 70 per cent of the country’s influx of visitors comes from the rest of the UK and “any restrictions on domestic travel will have a significantly negative impact.”
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon is not ruling out quarantining people arriving from England, as she warned that Boris Johnson’s government does not appear to be trying to eradicate coronavirus south of the border. Ms Sturgeon said she was not currently planning to force people arriving from any other part of the UK to quarantine rules but would consider doing so “if it is required from a public health perspective”. The first minister said her own government’s Covid-19 strategy was to “get as close to elimination as possible”.
SCOTTISH citizens could be hit with a 50 per cent rise in council tax bills to fill a gap in government funding, a local authority body has warned. The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) said a change in the law was required to address council deficits and avoid significant tax rises. COSLA said £739m of additional funding would be needed to help prop up Scottish councils. Scottish authorities have warned they face “devastating” financial black holes with Highland Council being the worst figures.
Police will carry out spot checks on vehicles leaving the Leicester area to ensure that residents are complying with Britain’s first local lockdown, The Times understands. Minibuses and coaches travelling into surrounding areas will also be stopped and turned around, while patrols in public areas such as parks will be stepped up if necessary to enforce new coronavirus guidelines. Police in Leicestershire were still waiting for clarity last night on the nature of the lockdown, however, despite a claim by Matt Hancock, the health secretary, that they would be responsible for it.
THE Leicester coronavirus surge started in food processing sites and spread through clothes factories, it has been revealed. Leicester was today put into the UK’s first local lockdown after a worrying spike saw 866 new cases recorded in just two weeks. The shocking numbers mean that the city accounts for 10 per cent of all coronavirus cases in the UK. And it is understood that the outbreak originated in food processing sites – with Leicester particularly hit due to its high number of garment and sewing factories.
Ministers will change the law in order to enforce the local coronavirus lockdown in Leicester, the health secretary has told Sky News. “We will be bringing forward a legal change very shortly in the next couple of days,” Matt Hancock said. “Some of the measures that we’ve unfortunately had to take in Leicester will require a legal underpinning.” Mr Hancock said that “in some cases” the coronavirus lockdown will be enforced by the police, with legal changes brought in to ensure non-essential retail is no longer open.
National and local leaders are locked in a war of words over the failure to stop the coronavirus outbreak in Leicester. Council authorities claim they were denied access to data on the number of infections in the city until late last week, because the local figures published by the Department of Health are incomplete. But Government insiders accuse Leicester’s politicians of playing down the extent of the outbreak and failing to engage with the department.
Neighbours living just inches apart on the outskirts of Leicester have told of their confusion as communities were split between those who must stay home and those who will enjoy a nationwide easing of lockdown. Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed lockdown measures will be extended in the East Midlands city for at least two weeks after a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases, with non-essential shops closed again and schools shut from Thursday.
The cramped living conditions of workers in Leicester have led to plans for pop-up isolation centres in hotels to contain the coronavirus, with the city’s textile industry also causing concern. However, the government conceded that the source of the outbreak had still not been found, as it emerged that flare-ups of the virus are hidden from local residents because published data does not include most cases. While the city council says that there have been 944 cases confirmed in Leicester in the past two weeks, data published by the government shows 79.
Garment manufacturers in Leicester have vowed to defy the city’s local coronavirus lockdown, protesting that they cannot afford to lose any more money even if it means putting lives at risk. Dozens of small to medium sized units making clothes for leading high street and online companies operate in the city’s lockdown area, where coronavirus rates are highest. All were operating on the first day of the city’s lockdown despite Government ordering non-essential businesses to close and warning residents to stay at home.
A public health chief has called for an investigation into his fears that a major Black Lives Matter protest may have led to a spike in coronavirus cases in Birmingham. Dr Justin Varney, the director of public health for Birmingham City Council, has requested an examination of a “red alert” rise in cases detected 10 days after thousands of people gathered in the city earlier this month, The Telegraph can reveal.
Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp and Patrice Evra ditched their Black Lives Matter badges last night as football captains considered making a statement on the movement which the Premier League has distanced itself from. Redknapp and Evra along with host Kelly Cates and commentator Gary Neville were not wearing the badges during Sky’s coverage of Brighton v Manchester United, during which players knelt before kickoff and had ‘Black Lives Matter’ on their sleeves.
Soldiers have been banned from ‘taking the knee’ in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement because it was deemed too political. Commanders warned personnel at HMS Sultan in Gosport, Hampshire, that when in uniform they could not partake in the action. Defence officials are currently reviewing the policy to see if there’s any leeway where they can show their respect in other ways.
Black Lives Matter UK has criticised Sir Keir Starmer for his public reversal of supporting the far-leftist movement, with the Labour leader claiming he never backed the group’s core tenet of defunding the police. Just three weeks ago, the Remainer centrist, along with dozens of other Labour MPs, had made headlines by taking a knee in solidarity with the far-left movement that was even at that time perfectly clear in its endeavours to ‘defund the police’, i.e., dismantle law and order.
Pupils have been promised they will be able to take the full range of GCSEs and A levels in the autumn if they are unhappy with their teachers’ assessments. Ofqual, the exams regulator, has said that exams will be offered in all subjects for students who want to improve their grades. This summer the qualifications are being judged internally by schools after exams were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Students who are unhappy with teacher-assessed grades handed out because they were unable to sit exams will be able to take the ‘full suite’ of GCSE, AS and A-level tests in the autumn, England’s exams regulator has confirmed. But students’ grades from the autumn series will be based on exams alone with no coursework – except in art and design qualifications, Ofqual has said.
Levels of public immunity from coronavirus could be twice as high as first believed after new research looked into the way our bodies fight against the disease. It could mean that a third of healthy people who do not show any symptoms of Covid-19 may have developed a level of immunity, and built-up areas such as London could be further along the path to herd immunity than first thought.
Boris Johnson has proposed to revive high streets by making it easier to turn vacant shops into houses and offices as part of the “most radical reforms to our planning system” since the Second World War. The prime minister announced that developers would be able to switch shops to homes without needing to submit a planning application in an attempt to “build faster” and encourage development on brownfield sites.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to open blue water between his Tory government and those that came before. No austerity and ‘we are not going to cheese-pare’ our way out of trouble, is his recipe for the coronavirus economic response. In terms of firing up output, there is much less on offer than the rhetoric. The £5billion of infrastructure investment brought forward to this year amounts to a fiscal boost of about 0.2 per cent.
Boris Johnson says he’ll tear up planning regulations in a bid to help Britain build its way out of the coronavirus crisis. The Prime Minister will change the rules to allow commercial properties including office blocks to be converted into flats more easily. But the move follows “horror stories” about tiny, cramped homes being created through office conversions – some less than 14 square metres.
Empty shops will be quickly converted into new homes as pandemic restrictions take their toll on struggling High Streets, through a planning rules bonfire. Developers will be able to demolish and rebuild redundant buildings for housing without a normal planning application, Boris Johnson has announced. However, the prime minister has ignored calls for a huge spending boost to prevent a “catastrophic” fall in new homes because of coronavirus – despite vowing to “build build build” in a major speech.
Hong Kong’s leader has strongly endorsed the new security law China’s central government is imposing on the semi-autonomous territory in her speech marking the anniversary of its handover from colonial Britain. “This decision was necessary and timely to maintain Hong Kong’s stability,” Carrie Lam said. The national security law targets secession, subversion, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces with punishments up to life in prison. Acts of vandalism against government facilities or public transport can be prosecuted as subversion or terrorism, while anyone taking part in activities deemed as secessionist would also be in violation of the new law.
Relations between the UK and China risk falling to new lows with Dominic Raab poised to invite 2.9 million Hong Kong residents to settle in Britain. The Foreign Secretary is expected to announce a change to the residency rules for British National (Overseas) citizens after the Chinese government formally approved a new national security law for Hong Kong. The details of the legislation were published on Tuesday evening: it imposes life sentences in prison on anyone guilty of “secession” or “subversion”, and bans all those convicted under the law of ever standing for office.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has “taken the world to the brink of a new Cold War” with Hong Kong serving as the new frontline in the fight between “freedom and autocracy”, the founder and chairman of Hong Kong Watch told Breitbart London. On Tuesday, the dictator of the communist regime, Xi Jinping, signed the draconian national security legislation into law, meaning it will be added to the Basic Law of Hong Kong, the mini-constitution agreed to under the Sino-British Joint Declaration when the UK handed the city over to the Communist Party in 1997.
Dominic Raab told the House of Commons this morning that “we are waiting for [China’s national security legislation] to be published so we can see the details and assess it.” Sources close to the Foreign Office tell Guido that as soon as there is confirmation of the wording of the law, the UK will be ready to “push back hard” against Beijing if it breaks the Joint Declaration. Later Raab released a statement saying: “Despite the urging of the international community, Beijing has chosen not to step back from imposing this legislation.