Boris Johnson will not ask for an extension to the EU transition period beyond December 2020 if he gets a Brexit deal, which would leave just 14 months for arrangements to be put in place to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland. As Johnson sat down for lunch with Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, a No 10 spokesman poured cold water on the idea that the UK might be prepared to accept a longer transition period to help reduce the need for a backstop. “In the event we were able to secure a deal, there is no intention to extend the implementation period beyond December 2020,” Johnson’s spokesman said. The idea of a longer transition period had been raised by Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, who said on Sunday that Britain could stay in the transition arrangement until the end of 2022 and potentially allow ministers to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland. Barclay had said: “It is the case that operationally these issues do … [Read more...] about Johnson: no transition period extension if Brexit deal is struck
Customs union advantages and disadvantages
As any saver will tell you, these are bleak times. And it could be set to get worse next year. Last month, the prospect of another drop in interest rates increased when two members of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, which decides on the official rate, called for an immediate cut. It is now expected by sections of the financial markets that the rate will drop by 0.25% next year, even though it has been at rock-bottom levels for the last decade. So what should anyone who wants to make some money from their savings to do? Stay with cash Rates on the high street vary hugely – on a balance of £10,000, the amount of interest that it is possible to earn goes from £10 to £145. The lesson? Shop around, don’t be limited by the mainstream banks, and be sure to look at those providers that may be less familiar. HSBC’s easy-access Flexible Saver will garner just 0.15% while Goldman Sachs’ online savings account will bring in 1.45%. … [Read more...] about With rates still at rock bottom, is there anything savers can do to get back up?
Defence chiefs were more concerned about getting the cheapest deal for new Navy supply ships than boosting British industry, a secret document confirms. Thousands of jobs depend on the £1.5billion contract for three Fleet Solid Support ships going to a UK yard, according to unions, MPs and campaigners. But the Ministry of Defence triggered fury by launching a worldwide competition to build the vessels. The tendering process has since been shelved because none of the bidders could meet the budget. A 17-page business case forced out of the MoD by the GMB union, using freedom of information rules, has uncovered the MoD’s priorities when it came to offering firms the chance to bid for the bumper deal. “The contract will be awarded to the compliant bidder with the lowest Whole Life Cost,” it stresses. It points to the existence of a special unit dedicated to seeking cheap shipbuilding deals with companies based abroad. “The Commercially Supported Shipping (CSS) … [Read more...] about Tories DID chase cheaper deal for Navy supply ships rather than protect UK jobs
Last year, at the start of the summer, the last bank in Dorset seaside resort of Lyme Regis closed. The only way for its 3,600 residents and thousands of tourists to get hold of their money was to join the lengthy queue at the post office or via a single ATM which regularly ran out of bank notes. Those who needed an over-the-counter service had to make the six-mile commute to the nearest bank, in Axminster. Residents with no access to a car or online banking have been left stranded and even ice-cream sellers have been forced to invest in card-payment technology. “It’s caused real hardship,” says a spokesperson for the local ironmongers, Arthur Fordham. “If you didn’t accept card payments, you faced going out of business because customers couldn’t get cash, but card payments are more expensive to process.” A year on, the shop has agreed to host an ATM to get cash flowing through the town again, and the queues to use it often stretch down the … [Read more...] about The rise of cashless Britain: the poor suffer as banks and ATMs are closed
The Link network is attempting to counter claims that changes it is making to the way it operates will create “ATM deserts” by pledging to protect free-to-use cash machines a kilometre apart. Link plans to cut the fee that card providers pay to machine operators every time a customer withdraws cash, which has led to warnings that 10,000 out of the 55,000 free machines are at risk. This sparked fears that some areas will be left without a free machine or without one at all as providers shut unprofitable machines in deprived areas. In an attempt to defuse the row, Link said machines which are 1km or more away from the nearest free-to-use ATM will not be subject to the reduced interchange fee of 20p, down from 25p. This is thought to amount to about 2,000 machines. But the idea met with scepticism from Ron Delnevo, the executive director for Europe at the industry lobby group, the ATM Industry Association, who said Link appeared to be suggesting that town centres could have … [Read more...] about Link ATM network vows to retain free cash machines – 1km apart