Dominic Raab dismisses EU threat to City of London
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The Labour-led administration has written to Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay and the Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart calling for a joint approach on setting up a freeport in Wales in a bid to encourage economic activity after Brexit. However, despite Welsh Ministers setting out the conditions where a joint approach could be taken, Cardiff says no formal offer has been presented by the UK Government to the Welsh Government on a proposed Freeport in Wales.
Minister say the Welsh Government cannot accept a proposal where a Welsh Freeport would receive less financial support than the £25m made available for Freeports in Englan
Welsh Economy Minister Vaughan Gething MS said: “We remain open to the idea of having a Freeport in Wales, but creating one here would require the use of devolved powers. However, as it stands, the UK Government has not agreed to our request for joint decision making, and no appropriate funding has been offered.
“We have repeatedly pressed UK Ministers for constructive engagement.
“The lack of clarity about implementing Freeports in Wales, a policy driven by the UK Government, is destabilising business decisions in an already exceptionally uncertain economic environment, and is having a direct impact on investment decisions.
The Welsh Government have raised concerns about a Freeport (Image: GETTY)
“Furthermore, their decision to announce specific Freeports for England, without concluding arrangements for Wales, gives rise to the potential for jobs and investment to be drawn out of Wales.
“Until the UK Government responds to us and presents us with a formal offer, the ball remains firmly in the UK Government’s court.”
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Chancellor Rishi Sunak wants to make London a world leader in financial services (Image: GETTY)
Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Richard Percival.
2pm update: UK Government hold talks on developing finance cooperation post-Brexit with India
The UK could soon strike a financial services deal with India in a “major Brexit boost” for the City of London.
Treasury officials have held talks with counterparts in Delhi and agreed to deepen financial services cooperation.
The talks, part of the India-UK Financial Markets Dialogue, also addressed regulatory barriers for UK and Indian firms.
The move, Government sources have told Express.co.uk, will be a “major Brexit boost for investors, bankers and traders across the City” and will build on £18 billion worth of bilateral trade between both nations in 2020.
1:15pm update: SNP hits out at Brexit divorce deal costs
The SNP has hit out at the soaring costs incurred as part of the UK government’s Brexit deal, as new estimates suggest it could now cost more than £40 billion.
Kirsten Oswald said the latest figures were a stark reminder of the true cost of remaining under Westminster control.
The SNP Deputy Westminster leader added: “Not only have the Tories dragged Scotland out of the EU – they’re now presenting people here with a huge bill for their Brexit disaster.
“Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are hitting Scotland’s economy hard with their extreme Brexit and to add insult to injury have left the country with a soaring bill to the tune of tens of billions of pounds.”
Britain’s post-Brexit “resurgence” is picking up pace, financial experts have said, in response to the publication of a survey suggesting spending by businesses is set to surge in the coming months as the UK bounces back from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
And one suggested the research highlighted just how badly wrong the architects of Project Fear had been with their gloomy predictions five years ago.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was urged to seize the moment with regulatory reforms which with help Britain’s businesses capitalise on their new freedoms.
The talks were held last week (Image: GETTY)
11:45am update: Spanish Cabinet reshuffle raises hopes for Gibraltar Brexit treaty
Spain has appointed a new Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares familiar with the detail of a New Year’s Eve political agreement that will form the basis of treaty talks between the UK and the EU for Gibraltar.
Mr Albares takes over from Arancha Gonzalez Laya.
Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo, said: “I have thanked Arancha Gonzalez Laya for her approach and have wished her well on behalf of the People of Gibraltar.
“I look forward to the UK/EU treaty negotiations being positively supported by Snr Albares as he takes over in the Spanish Foreign Ministry.”
A new survey of 68 large American companies that employ more than 275,000 people in the UK found businesses have a “very high” confidence in Britain as a place to do business.
Around 60 percent said they would increase investment in the UK.
10:15am update: Ministers hold talks over short-term visa scheme for lorry drivers
UK ministers are holding talks over a short-term visa scheme for foreign lorry drivers as a staff shortage threatens to overwhelm the haulage industry following Brexit.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is consulting with industry chiefs as figures show there is an estimated shortage of 100,000 lorry drivers.
It comes over a lack of financial cooperation with the European Union (Image: Getty)
9:30am update: Leavers fear EU meddling puts Ulster peace at risk
Leave voters say Brussels’ attempts to frustrate Brexit with sausage war trade rule changes is endangering peace in Northern Ireland.
A poll found more than half blame the EU’s meddling in commerce between Great Britain and the province for threatening stability.
Rule changes give Eurocrats the right to check goods moving across the Irish Sea into Northern Ireland, which, in effect, remains part of the EU single market to prevent trade checkpoints along the Irish border.
8:45am update: Scotland should not give in to post-Brexit pressure over independence
Eddie Izzard has said she still hopes Scotland will stay part of the UK —and not give in to post-Brexit pressure.
The gender-fluid comic, 58, said both PM Boris Johnson and the EU split had put the Union under more stress but said she would be sad to see it break up.
Izzard, who aims to be Britain’s first transgender MP, said: “I’ve always said, have as much power as you think you need, but let’s stay together.
“The UK is an unusual country. I think Brexit and Boris Johnson have put the Union under the greatest strain it has ever been. It’s a complicated old thing.”
8am update: EDF held talks with UK ministers about post-brexit immigration rules
French state-controlled power group EDF has held talks with UK Government ministers about post-Brexit immigration rules, the Telegraph reported.
The company is training thousands of Britons but also needs to be able to hire from the European Union and beyond given the number of construction workers needed to finish a 23 billion pounds ($31.97 billion) nuclear power plant it is building in Somerset, the report said.