EU

The Times reiterates that the UK could have to follow Brussels’ tax edicts for years.

Britain could be forced to follow tax rules handed down by Brussels during the Brexit transition period under EU plans to remove individual countries’ vetoes on taxation issues.
The European Commission is pressing ahead with a controversial shake-up of voting rules because many of its flagship tax policies have stalled, due to opposition from certain member states. Ireland has objected to plans for a “digital services tax” on American tech giants, as well as Brussels’ proposal to harmonise rates of corporation tax across the EU.
The commission said last week that it would bring forward plans to move to a system of “qualified majority voting” for tax at an EU summit in May. Currently, tax changes require unanimity among all 28 member states.

The Times also points out the insurrection in Italy.

Alberto Bagnai was a baroque harpsichordist before he turned to writing about economics. Now he sits in the 16th-century palace that houses Italy’s Senate and wields a red and blue ballpoint pen to explain the country’s fight with Brussels.
He scoffs at the €3.4bn (£3bn) fine that the European Commission could impose if Italy refuses to rewrite its 2019 budget.
“We will give them 0.1% of our GDP in 10 cent coins,” he chortles.
Bagnai, 55, is dressed casually in jeans but behind his humour there is a serious political calculation.
He was elected in June as a senator for the League party, which dominates Italy’s ruling coalition. As chairman of the Senate’s finance committee he now has a key role in challenging Brussels.

Meanwhile, immigrants are still pouring into Europe, reports Breitbart.

Spain’s maritime rescue service says it has picked up over 350 migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
The service says it pulled 359 people from seven small boats its rescue craft intercepted in waters between Spain and the coast of northern Africa on Saturday.
Spain has seen a rise in illegal immigration this year following a crackdown by countries in the eastern Mediterranean.
The UN Migration Agency/International Organization for Migration said this week that over 45,000 men, women and children have entered Spain through the western Mediterranean route in 2018.

Brexit

Is the mood music changing? The Telegraph reports on ‘plan B’.

Pro-Brexit MPs are expressing “strong interest” in a “plan B” for Brexit that would see the UK scrap the planned transition period and adopt a Norway-style relationship with the EU while negotiating a new trade deal.
Nick Boles, the former minister advocating a plan for the UK to attempt to temporarily continue membership of the the European Economic Area while it strikes an agreement with Brussels, said Brexiteers were seeking meetings with him to discuss the proposals, amid growing concern about Theresa May’s negotiations with Brussels.
Among those who have expressed interest in the proposal is believed to be David Davis, the former Brexit Secretary.

And the Times reports a warning given to the Prime Minister.

At least five cabinet ministers have privately warned Theresa May in the past week not to sign up to a Brexit plan they fear will leave Britain in perpetual “colony” status with the EU.
Dominic Raab, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Michael Gove and Geoffrey Cox, the new attorney-general, have all told May that she risks making the government collapse if she signs up to a customs union with Brussels unless there is a break clause that allows the UK to leave at a time of its choosing.
The ministers fear May is buying time with Brussels, stringing out the negotiations before telling ministers to accept the arrangement or risk the prospect of a damaging no-deal scenario.

But it could be delayed by the Labour Party, says the Telegraph.

Labour has been accused of plotting to hold up preparation for a “no deal” exit from the European Union after John McDonnell suggested the party may block key legislation.
The shadow chancellor, indicated that the party was preparing to amend or “send back” regulations ministers are intending to rush through Parliament to prepare for a possible clean break from the bloc next March, if a deal is not reached.
Senior Tories said the plan amounted to a “calculated move to wreck no deal preparation” in an attempt to force the collapse of the government.
Speaking on Thursday, ahead of the Budget, Mr McDonnell suggested that Labour wanted to force debates on statutory instruments.

Meanwhile the Electoral Commission is in trouble, says the Mail.

The head of the Electoral Commission has quit following a series of claims that the body has been biased against Brexit.
Claire Bassett has resigned as chief executive of the elections watchdog, while three commissioners who publicly opposed leaving the European Union will also go.
The commission has faced accusations of unfairness from Brexiteers, who claim it has focused on allegations of wrongdoing by the Leave side. But allies of Miss Bassett, who is joining the newly established UK Trade Remedies Authority (TRA), insist her move is unrelated to criticism of the commission.

Westmonster also has the story.

The Head of the Electoral Commission is to stand down amid controversy and claims of anti-Brexit bias.
Claire Bassett is moving on as Chief Executive after a whole series of incidents including:
Leave.EU describing a £70,000 fine as a “politically motivated attack on Brexit” and vowing to appeal the decision in court.
High Court telling the Commission that they “misinterpreted the definition of ‘referendum expenses’”.
Labour MP Kate Hoey slammed them as being “extremely biased”.

A petition against a second referendum has been growing, says the Express.

TENS OF THOUSANDS of people have signed an online Government petition to stop a second Brexit referendum after mass protests in London last weekend saw Remainers demand a “People’s Vote”.
The petition, launched by Ronald Mitchell on the official parliamentary petitions website, has already reached more than 43,000 supporters at the time of writing – and is continuing to rise by the minute.
In contrast, a petition for a “referendum to join the EU on the 30th of March 2019” had garnered a mere 82 signatures at the time of writing.
The apparent dwindling of public appetite for a second Brexit vote comes after a YouGov poll released on Tuesday, October 23, stated under a quarter of Remain voters now anticipate a re-run of the 2016 vote.

Ed: The petition (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/226071) has now reached over 70,000 signatures.

Ireland

More scare stories over the Irish border issues are reported by Sky News.

There are fears that Brexit and arguments around the Irish border could open old wounds in Northern Ireland.
The boundary remains the sticking point in negotiations with cross-border trade entwined with deep-rooted issues of identity.
Richard Bell has been farming on the Fermanagh border all his life. In 1972, his brother’s life was brutally ended by the IRA.
“As we came along the road and just turned in at the end of the lane, three guns opened up on us,” he recalled.

And the Irish PM has made the situation clear, reports Westmonster.

Irish premier Leo Varadkar has once again made clear that his country aren’t preparing a hard border.
Given that the UK and the EU have also said they aren’t, it makes a mockery of those seeking to whip up the issue on Brexit. Who exactly is going to put up this phantom hard border? It’s a complete red herring.
The European Union have previously told the Irish that they wouldn’t require a hard border even if the UK leaves without a deal.
Varadkar confirmed that he isn’t preparing for such an outcome and that he is “confident, but not complacent” that it would be avoided.

Budget

There are several stories about tomorrow’s financial statement by the Chancellor. The Express says:

THE CHANCELLOR Philip Hammond will tomorrow deliver a Budget to unite a post-Brexit Britain.
An unprecedented £30billion cash injection is set to overhaul our transport infrastructure and supercharge the economy with an expected £210billion windfall as motorways are improved, new A-roads created and rural transport links boosted.
The move – which will see the road tax revenue spent exclusively on highways for the first time – will also entice more people to live and work outside cities where house prices are cheaper.
It is one of the biggest single upgrades of the network since the expansion of the first motorways in the 1960s.

The Express also claims the Chancellor will tell the EU that we’re financially ready for no deal.

PHILIP Hammond could use Monday’s highly-anticipated Budget to issue a stern warning to Brussels that Britain is preparing for the very real possibility of a no-deal Brexit as the stalled divorce talks approach their December deadline.
In a shock announcement last year, the Chancellor revealed the Government had set aside a massive £3billion ‘war chest’ to prepare the country for “any outcome” after the UK leaves the EU on March 29, 2019.
And after it emerged this week that negotiations are at yet another impasse over the Irish border, Brexiteers will be watching closely to see if more cash has been set aside to gear up for no deal.

Westmonster reports that the armed forces could receive cash.

Britain’s Armed Forces have been absolutely desperate for a funding boost – and it looks like they might be about to get it.
The rumours heading into the Chancellor’s budget next week are that Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has managed to convince Philip Hammond into pumping a badly needed £500 million into the Armed Forces.
There were also reports that a group of around 30 Conservative MPs were ready to rebel if the forces weren’t backed in the budget.
In the longer term however there is a £20 billion long-term funding ‘black hole’ and it has been rumoured that Hammond has vowed that our troops won’t get ‘special treatment’ when it comes to funding according to The Sun.

The Telegraph reports on a broadband boost.

Hundreds of millions of pounds will be pumped into installing superfast broadband in some of the most remote areas of the country as the Chancellor places technology at the heart the Budget, The Sunday Telegraph understands.
Philip Hammond is believed to be preparing to announce plans to connect rural schools and libraries to “full fibre” internet with a fund of at least a quarter of a billion pounds.
The plan is designed to make it easier for residents and businesses to extend those connections to their own properties. The announcement would mark a significant victory for The Telegraph’s campaign for household access to fast internet.

The Independent claims he will unveil a no-interest loan scheme.

Philip Hammond is to launch an assault on loan sharks and payday lenders in Monday’s Budget as he unveils a government plan to explore a no-interest loan scheme for those on low incomes in Britain.
Taking aim at “problem debt”, the chancellor will reveal his plan to establish an alternative for the estimated 3 million individuals who currently use high-cost credit from companies such as the now-defunct, Wonga.
Ahead of the Budget, the Treasury said the government would partner with debt charities and the banking industry to help those on lower salaries “pay for life’s unexpected costs”.
The announcement comes as Mr Hammond faces pressure to outline how he intends fulfil Theresa May’s pledge to end the era of austerity in Britain, and answer calls from cross-party politicians to halt and fix the universal credit welfare reforms.

The Sun also features on the Chancellor’s plans for the less wealthy.

HARD-up families struggling with debts will get interest-free cash, under a scheme to be unveiled by the Chancellor.
Philip Hammond will extend a helping hand to save poorest people from the clutches of payday loan sharks.
He wants banks to forge a new partnership with debt charities to support low-income households pay for unexpected costs.
The action will be announced in Monday’s Budget in a package of measures to tackle problem debt.

The Sun claims there will be cash for roads.

PHILIP Hammond will stump up a record £30billion tomorrow to upgrade Britain’s crumbling roads.
The lump sum will be invested over five years to improve and maintain motorways and major routes.
It is a massive 40 per cent increase in highways spending and is the biggest ever cash injection for roads in history.
The splurge, to be announced in tomorrow’s Budget, will be backed by a further £420million for councils to fix potholes and £150million to improve road junctions.
Mr Hammond says repairs are vital after a harsh winter followed by a scorching summer took its toll on road surfaces.

Boris

The Mail claims a challenge to the PM by the former foreign secretary could attract massive funding.

Boris Johnson’s bid for Downing Street will be bankrolled by one of the country’s richest hedge fund managers, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Billionaire Crispin Odey has told the former Foreign Secretary that he can count on his financial backing to run for No 10 if Theresa May is toppled over her Brexit policy. ‘I think Boris would be excellent once he became leader,’ Mr Odey told this newspaper. ‘We all know his weaknesses. But his strengths derive from those weaknesses. He makes quick decisions.’
The City titan’s deep pockets will be welcomed by Mr Johnson, who has been overtaken as the leadership favourite by his former Cabinet colleague David Davis. Both men have been jockeying for position since resigning from the Cabinet in July over Theresa May’s Chequers plan, but it is Mr Davis who has been most energetically courting Tory MPs in recent weeks.

Universal credit

The benefit could be considered in the budget, says the Telegraph.

Senior Tories have entered a last-ditch plea to Philip Hammond for an injection of cash to the government’s flagship welfare scheme, calling on the Chancellor to “do the right thing”.
More than 20 backbenchers, including Justine Greening, the former education secretary and Ed Vaizey, the ex culture minister, urged Mr Hammond to reverse cuts made in 2015 to the Universal Credit scheme.
They also asked the Chancellor to review the five-week period for which the most vulnerable claimants have to wait for their first payments.

The Independent claims the Tories have made ‘brutal’ welfare cuts.

Universal credit has been fatally undermined by the Tories’ other brutal welfare cuts, an architect of the controversial shake-up warns today, as demands grow for a U-turn in Monday’s Budget.
Most of the misery caused is the inevitable knock-on from £12bn of “salami-sliced cuts”, including the benefit freeze, the benefit cap, the “bedroom tax” and curbs to council tax support, Deven Ghelani said.
You can’t balance the books on the backs of the poorest people in the country, if you are going to make a reform like universal credit work,” the former Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) adviser told The Independent.
The fresh criticism of Conservative welfare cuts comes amid a blizzard of pressure on the chancellor to act on the crisis surrounding universal credit in Monday’s Budget.

Veterans

The Times considers former soldiers’ mental health.

Six former heads of the armed forces say Britain should be ashamed of its neglect of war veterans’ mental health and are calling on the government to act.
The unprecedented intervention by the former chiefs of the defence staff, who commanded the armed forces in the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia, follows an investigation by this newspaper.
The Sunday Times found 42 current and former servicemen and women died in suspected suicides this year.
This weekend the toll rose to 44 when it emerged that Lance-Corporal Karl Parker, 23, of the Army Air Corps in Yeovilton, Somerset, and Sapper Louis Kelly, 20, serving with the Royal Engineers, were found hanged within 10 hours of one another on October 14.

Jihadis

Female terrorists could be flooding into the UK, says the Times.

Members of Britain’s biggest suspected female terror cell are among scores of jihadi brides and their children who will be returning to the UK after being detained in Syria following the fall of Isis.
Two sisters from east London, a white convert daughter of a former British Army paratrooper and an IT graduate whose mother works in the NHS are part of the alleged cell, which is linked to some of the world’s most infamous terrorists.
One of the women has told relatives that as many as 80 British women and children expect to return imminently, while others will be home by the end of the year. She said she recently had her British passport handed back.

Train travel

Train strikes continue, says the Mail.

Passengers have been left angry after a fresh round of strikes disrupted their journeys today.
Rail services were crippled as a 33rd walk out was staged as the bitter dispute over guards on trains continues.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on South Western Railway (SWR) completed a five-day walkout which has led to delays, fewer trains and overcrowding on services this week.
Picket lines were mounted outside stations and the union said workers were solidly supporting both strikes.
SWR was running a reduced service on most of its network, with some routes not having a train service or replacement buses.
The union staged its 33rd strike on Arriva Rail North (Northern) which was again crippling services.
Northern said few trains ran before 9am and there will be a similar picture after 6pm because of the 10th consecutive Saturday strike.

Christmas booze

Cheap drinks could be on offer this Christmas, says the Mail.

A Christmas price war could see the cost of pint drop to just 79p at some supermarkets, putting huge pressure of pubs.
Supermarkets look set to drastically reduced the prices of the most popular seasonal beverages in the run up to the festive period with some brands dropping to as little as 71p a can.
British pubs are said to be closing at a rate of 29 a week in the battle to compete with retail giants slashing alcohol prices.
Regular offers and buy-one-get-one-free deals are undercutting pubs so much many, especially in smaller towns and rural areas, are unable to compete.
Research by the Morning Advertiser found the squeeze of the traditional British boozer is crippling the pub trade, especially during the busy Christmas period.

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