Here are the key points from Chancellor Rishi Sunak's budget speech: • Economy expected to return to pre-COVID levels by the middle of next year, six months earlier than previously thought • GDP growth forecast for this year downgraded to 4% (from 5.5%) according to Office for Budget Responsibility • Unemployment expected to peak at 6.5% • Forecasts show government borrowing reaching £355bn in 2020/21, of 17% of the national income - the highest level since the Second World War. For 2021/22 it climbs to £234bn, 10.3% of GDP. • Debt is set to peak at 97.1% of GDP in 2023-24. • An additional £65bn in spending in response to coronavirus takes total fiscal support to £407bn • £1.6bn will go towards continuing the vaccine roll-out and improving future preparedness • Chancellor confirms furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September, with the government paying 80% of salary though employers will asked to put in 10% from July and 20% from August • Help for … [Read more...] about Budget 2021 key points: What was announced in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s speech?
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Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set out an extra £65bn in COVID support for employees and businesses - but announced a freeze on income tax thresholds and a rise in corporation tax to help pay back the UK's rising debts. In his budget speech, Mr Sunak set out a three-part plan to "protect jobs and livelihoods of the British people". But he warned that "corrective action" would be needed to tackle the UK's rising debt, as he set out how the government was now committed to spending £407bn on coronavirus support with borrowing at levels last seen in the 1940s. Follow the budget live Budget 2021: All the key points Among his key measures, the chancellor announced: Advertisement an extension to the furlough scheme until the end of September and more support for the self-employed the £20-a-week uplift in Universal Credit will continue for another six months the rate of corporation tax will rise to 25% in 2023, but with protections for … [Read more...] about Budget 2021: Rise in corporation tax and freeze on thresholds as Rishi Sunak tries to recover COVID debt
TOTTENHAM and Manchester United have got the green light from Uefa to play next week’s Europa League last-32 second legs on home soil. But Tottenham ’s Austrian opponent Wolfsberger will have to make an indirect flight both ways to avoid quarantining when they return home. Jose Mourinho ’s men will play the first leg in Budapest on Thursday after quarantine-free travel into Austria from the UK was banned. Similar restrictions mean United ’s first leg against Real Sociedad will be played in Turin rather than in the Basque country. But unlike Mikel Arteta's Arsenal side, Spurs and United will be able to host next week’s matches. The Gunners will play both legs against Portuguese giants Benfica on neutral soil - in Rome and then Piraeus. Spurs' opponents Wolfsberger, though, will have to travel to London via Slovenia, to get round Austrian restrictions. And while there are quarantine rules for travel between the UK and Spain, because Sociedad will have spent … [Read more...] about Man Utd and Tottenham WILL have home advantage for Europa League ties as Uefa give them green light to host second-legs
Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) have placed the Alternative for Germany (AfD) under surveillance, according to local media. That designation gives state agents more powers for surveillance in certain circumstances, including potentially tapping the party's communications. The BfV refused to comment on media reports from Der Spiegel magazine, the DPA news agency and public broadcaster ARD. The Interior Ministry, which oversees the BfV, said it would neither confirm nor deny them. Why has there been no official statement? The BfV is apparently unable to announce the decision officially because of an ongoing legal dispute. A court in the city of Cologne last week rejected an urgent motion by the AfD to stop the BfV from placing it under formal investigation . The party said any announcement that it was being investigated would undermine its right to fight the election on an equal footing to other political parties. In response, the … [Read more...] about Germany places entire far-right AfD under surveillance — reports
Mikhail Gorbachev turned 90 on Tuesday, with several world leaders sending well-wishes to the former leader of the Soviet Union. The former leader of the Soviet Union and secretary-general of the Communist Party is considered by some as one of the greatest reformers of the 20th century — but remains a controversial figure at home. How did he celebrate his birthday? Still active, Gorbachev heads a political foundation and co-owns the Kremlin-critical newspaper, Novaya Gazeta . He celebrated his birthday while staying in a hospital as a precaution amid the coronavirus pandemic. Gorbachev was scheduled to have video calls with his aides and associates who gathered at his foundation to congratulate him. He also spoke with world leaders and read messages from admirers worldwide. Gorbi and the Germans: Mikhail Gorbachev at 90 Remembering the 'Fathers of Unity' The first and only president of the former Soviet Union turns 90 on March 2. Since German … [Read more...] about Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev celebrates his 90th birthday