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
South african customs union
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
The presence of sniffer dogs at music festivals is almost completely ineffective at persuading revellers to abstain from drugs and could place them at greater risk of harm, according to new research that comes after the death of two people at a Sydney dance music festival. While the New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, faces criticism for again ruling out pill testing, instead vowing to ban the Defqon.1 festival, the paper by researchers Jodie Grigg, Monica Barratt and Simon Lenton brings the effectiveness of the government’s hardline stance into question. In an anonymous survey of nearly 2,000 festival-goers, the researchers found “almost all … surveyed did not report being deterred from drug usage by the expected presence of drug dogs”. “Of those who expected dogs to be present at their last festival (647 people), only 4% reported that this threat led them to decide not to take drugs,” the researchers said. Instead, those surveyed were more … [Read more...] about Defqon.1 deaths: sniffer dogs don’t deter revellers from drug use, researchers find
"When Labour wins elections, it is the people and not the powerful who win." These words from Jeremy Corbyn sum up the approach he has taken to politics for more than 30 years - but today's result prove it simply wasn't enough to take the party to victory. The veteran politician spent three decades on the backbenches championing causes he's passionate about, regardless of how controversial they were, campaigning on human rights abroad and anti-austerity issues at home. Always voting with his conscience rather than the party whip, he earned himself the title of Labour's most rebellious MP and his rise to the top surprised some of the most loyal supporters. While other politicians made their points in papers and arguments in the Commons, Corbyn took his views to the streets - even getting arrested while protesting against apartheid. His refusal to bend his beliefs also impacted his personal life, and he split from his second wife Claudia Bracchitta after they couldn't agree on whether … [Read more...] about How Jeremy Corbyn went from Labour’s most rebellious MP to party’s reluctant leader
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?