Britain’s businesses have taken a “head-in-the-sand approach” to the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December, a Cabinet Office minister has claimed – sparking outrage from under-pressure firms.
It comes as Germany warned EU states were prepared for the “worst case” no-deal scenario. Ireland’s government, meanwhile, has announced its 2021 Budget is based on the assumption of there will be no Brexit trade deal – reducing Irish growth by an estimated 3 per cent.
Meanwhile, a Lords subcommittee has warned that the UK’s £225bn professional services industry risks could “suffer” badly after Brexit – even if Boris Johnson’s government manages to strikes a trade deal.
Brexit breakthrough needed in October, says Ireland – as budget based on no-deal
A trade deal is still possible before but time is running out, Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney has said – suggesting a big breakthrough was needed in the next two weeks.
“All of us need to ensure that we do everything we possibly can to make sure that we make a deal possible in the next few weeks, because we are running out of time,” Coveney said on the sidelines of an EU ministerial meeting in Luxembourg.
“And once we get to the end of this month then I think we really are running out of time to ratify any deal that may be struck.”
Ireland’s 2021 Budget has been framed on the assumption of a no-deal Brexit. Finance minister Paschal Donohoe is anticipating that there will be no bilateral trade deal between the UK and the EU, which will reduce Irish growth by an estimated 3 per cent.
Adam Forrest13 October 2020 14:28
Business fury over minister’s ‘head-in-the-sand’ remark
A government minister has sparked a backlash from businesses after accusing them of a “head-in-the-sand” failure to prepare for Brexit, and warned their companies may be at stake as a result, writes Andrew Woodcock.
With just 80 days to go until the UK completes its transition to post-Brexit arrangements and no trade deal agreed with Brussels, Lord Agnew told a Commons committee that thousands of exporters have still not registered for the crucial EORI trading number needed to keep selling to the EU.
The Treasury and Cabinet Office minister said that there “seems to be a lack of urgency on the part of too many traders”.
Thousands of exporters not ready for 1 January move to new rules, MPs told
Jon Sharman13 October 2020 13:37
Government testing scheme could give relatives of care home residents better access
Relatives of care homes residents could be treated as ‘essential workers’ and given regular tests to allow them to visit their loved ones more often, writes Kate Devlin.
Care minister Helen Whately announced that the government will launch a pilot project shortly. If successful it could offer a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of people this winter.
Could offer a lifeline for many this winter
Adam Forrest13 October 2020 13:03
Vince Cable: Johnson could lose his ‘red wall’ seats due to pandemic incompetence
There is nothing more painful in political life than when two cherished principles pull in exactly opposite directions. Boris Johnson’s government is discovering that the hard way, with much demanded public health measures likely to alienate, and in some cases impoverish, many of his new-found voters, writes Vince Cable.
The government is effectively closing down the economy again in vast swathes of the country. In Tier 3 (very high risk), the shutdown is explicit with pubs, bars, gyms and leisure centres all closing. Some scientists in Sage are now pressing the government to go further, with a full national lockdown and all the devastating consequences that would have.
Northern areas of deprivation are being singled out for economic punishment through lockdown as well as suffering from the disease itself
Adam Forrest13 October 2020 13:13
Irish government’s new budget assumes no Brexit deal
The Irish government is setting out its latest budget.
According to the Irish Times, one of its major underlying assumptions is that a bilateral trade deal with the UK will not be struck.
Jon Sharman13 October 2020 13:31
EU should show ‘pragmatism and flexibility’, Raab insists
The EU should display the same qualities of pragmatism and flexibility as the UK has in Brexit negotiations, Dominic Raab has said.
Speaking in the Commons, Conservative MP Peter Bone asked Raab: “The prime minister has set this Thursday as the deadline for achieving a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU.
“Foreign secretary, could you tell the House what is the likelihood that on Thursday evening you will be popping champagne corks?”
Raab replied: “The scope and the prospects for a deal are there. I’m hopeful we can close the gap but ultimately it’ll require the same goodwill, the same pragmatism and the same flexibility on the EU side that the UK and this prime minister have shown.”
Adam Forrest13 October 2020 13:23
Jenrick wades into Cornish pasty debate with side salad suggestion
Under new coronavirus restrictions announced by prime minister Boris Johnson on Monday, pubs can stay open and serve alcohol to patrons as long as they order a “substantial meal”, writes Kate Ng.
However, what constitutes to a “substantial meal” is up for debate, with one government minister insisting that a packet of crisps does not count.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick suggested that a Cornish pasty could be considered a “normal meal” if it came with a side of chips or salad and was served on a plate, to a table.
Cornish pasty with chips or side salad count as ‘substantial’, says housing secretary Robert Jenrick
Jon Sharman13 October 2020 12:42
Thousands unable to pay bills if universal credit cut, charity warns
Thousands more people will be unable to cover essential household bills if the universal credit uplift introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic is removed, a charity has warned, writes May Bulman.
People claiming universal credit have been receiving an extra £20 per week, but that is due to end in six months’ time.
Analysis of the 6,264 people Citizens Advice helps with debt who receive universal credit or working tax credit showed three in four (75 per cent) would not be able to cover their essential household bills if the uplift was removed – an increase of 32 points on the current 43 per cent.
Citizens Advice says three-quarters of people it helps with debt who receive the flagship benefit would be unable to cope
Jon Sharman13 October 2020 12:40
Barnier: EU unity ‘strong’
The European Union’s unity on Brexit remains strong, and the bloc will continue to work in the coming weeks for a good deal, Michel Barnier said on Tuesday.
“Strong EU unity confirmed ahead of European Council,” the bloc’s chief negotiator tweeted after briefing European Affairs ministers in Luxembourg.
Adam Forrest13 October 2020 12:27
Firms have ‘head in sand’ about Brexit, says minister
Plenty of reaction to comments by Cabinet Office minister Lord Agnew – who has claimed Britain’s businesses have taken a “head in the sand approach” to Brexit.
He told the Treasury committee: “There has been a head in the sand approach by traders which has been compounded by what I would call the quadruple whammy of two false alarms, so two extensions at the very last minute, then followed by Covid, and now followed by the recession … traders are not as ready as they should be.”
The government minister said he wanted to “send another shot over traders’ bows to warn them that it’s their businesses that are at stake from January 1 – they really must engage in a more energetic way.”
Food and Drink Federation (FDA)’s chief operating officer Tim Rycroft remarked, sarcastically: “That’ll go down well.” FDA’s chief executive in Scotland, David Thomson, said Lord Agnew’s comments were “outrageous”
Adam Forrest13 October 2020 12:02