Half of Germans believe the EU has handled the coronavirus vaccine rollout badly , according to a survey released by pollsters Kekst CNC on Wednesday. The poll cited 51% of German respondents saying EU institutions had done a poor job of acquiring jabs, a view shared by 35% of French and 24% of Swedish respondents. German voters say the vaccine rollout has been too slow "In Germany more people now disapprove of the EU than approve of its pandemic response for the first time," the report said. It also found that 46% believed the German government had handled the rollout poorly. "Responsibility is landing on politicians rather than business," the survey found. Kekst CNC conducted the poll last month amid a row between Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and the European Commission. The EU executive has taken up the role of negotiating vaccine contracts. Merkel set to extend lockdown The apparent shift in public mood comes as German Chancellor Angela … [Read more...] about Germans unhappy with EU’s handling of vaccine scheme
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Germany on Wednesday took a step towards forcing companies to take responsibility for any labor or environmental abuses in their global supply chain. A new law (Lieferkettengesetz in German) allows for hefty fines starting at several hundred thousand euros if their contractors abroad are found to breach human rights or environmental rules. The fines go up to two percent of the company's annual revenues if they exceed 400 million euros ($484 million). The companies are held responsible for every step of the way: from the raw materials to the finished product. "This law protects workers from exploitation across sprawling supply chains and protects human rights across the world," Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday, adding "In future, it will be clear that 'Made in Germany' also means respect for human rights." The SPD-run development and labor ministries initially wanted the law to also target smaller companies, but backed down in the face of strong opposition from the … [Read more...] about Germany to implement supply chain law against exploitation
The legal limit for contactless payments will more than double, Chancellor Rishi Sunak will confirm in today's budget. The limit for a single contactless payment will rise from £45 to £100 as part of Mr Sunak's plans to boost businesses as the UK recovers from the COVID crisis. You can watch and follow the budget live with special coverage and analysis from 12.30pm "As we begin to open the UK economy and people return to the high street, the contactless limit increase will make it easier than ever before for people to pay for their shopping, providing a welcome boost to retail that will protect jobs and drive growth," the chancellor said. The move comes despite fears of a growing fraud risk from the increased use of contactless payments. Advertisement On Tuesday, Sky News reported that some of Britain's biggest banks were urging the government and regulators to stagger the hike from the current limit of £45 and to curb the number of times … [Read more...] about Budget 2021: Contactless payment limit to increase to £100, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces ahead of announcement
Nicola Sturgeon has told an inquiry any suggestion she "acted with malice" or "plotted" against her predecessor Alex Salmond is "absurd". Addressing a Scottish Parliament hearing in Edinburgh this morning, the first minister said she acted "properly and appropriately" in the handling of harassment claims against her predecessor. She apologised to the two women who made the allegations and to the taxpayer for the hundreds of thousands spent on the judicial review into Mr Salmond's probe. Ms Sturgeon is facing calls to resign over claims she misled parliament over the investigation. Follow the inquiry live Advertisement She said she was "relieved" to be finally giving evidence to the committee, but said: "I feel I must rebut the absurd suggestion that anyone acted with malice or plotted against Alex Salmond. That claim is not based in any fact." Ms Sturgeon said she cared for Mr Salmond "for a long time" and that the situation has been one of … [Read more...] about Nicola Sturgeon tells inquiry into Alex Salmond investigation any suggestion she plotted against him is ‘absurd’
Today Rishi Sunak will stand outside No11 Downing Street and hold up a red briefcase before going to the House of Commons and delivering the Budget . In his speech the Chancellor will announce the government's spending and tax plans for the next 12 months that will affect millions of Brits. News on the furlough scheme , fuel duty, stamp duty, apprenticeships, tax changes and much more will be unveiled in the 12.30pm statement to MPs. But before that, there is the small matter of the red case. It's a long-standing tradition, but is it just for show or does the box have a purpose? What is the red box? Whenever the Chancellor appears in Downing Street before the Budget announcement he holds up a red briefcase - officially called a despatch box - at the end of his outstretched arm. This year it has appeared in some of the hundreds of shots of Mr Sunak in his Budget promotional video, in which the top Tory opens the case before adopting the familiar Budget day pose. … [Read more...] about Budget 2021: What is actually in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s red briefcase?