BoE wrestles with rate dilemma as jobless levels touch 42-year low
Financial Times – Chris Giles, Gavin Jackson
Unemployment in Britain has fallen to 4.3 per cent, a 42-year low. The Bank of England meets to decide whether to raise interest rates despite Brexit uncertainty and stagnant wages.
Amazon in £1.5bn tax fraud row
The Times – Oliver Wright
HM Revenue & Customs has accused Amazon of failing to fully co-operate in dealing with multibillion-pound fraud that is putting small British companies out of business. Foreign companies selling goods through sites such as Amazon and eBay are evading tax on up to a third of all sales – while the companies that own the websites make millions in commission. Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee heard that Amazon is not providing “complete transparency” on the foreign retailers that were using its site. HMRC believes that the online marketplace is being obstructive in providing data that could help it to tackle the fraud.
A United States of Europe
The Daily Telegraph – James Crisp
Jean-Claude Juncker made a defiant speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday, in which he warned that Britain would “regret Brexit” and called for an ever-more powerful European Union. Mr Juncker, the European Commission president, outlined his federalist vision of common EU policy, calling for “ever-closer union” on defence, asylum and foreign policy in a bigger, more powerful EU under a new, directly elected president. Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, praised the speech, but added: “Juncker is a romantic. I am a politician, not a romantic.”
Graham Taylor accused of role in sex abuse cover-up
The Guardian – Daniel Taylor
An inquiry into football’s sexual abuse scandal has heard that former England manager Graham Taylor was involved in a cover-up at Aston Villa. Boys were exposed to Ted Langford, a paedophile who was working for the club as a scout and later convicted of offences over a 13-year period. The inquiry is also looking at a separate allegation that another of Langford’s victims came forward with information that could have saved other boys from similar ordeals.
Housing budget pulled from poor to help middle class
The Independent – Ben Kentish
A study from the Chartered Institute of Housing has revealed that the Government is spending £32bn subsidising private housing – four times as much as it spends on building affordable homes for low-income families. Just 21 per cent of the total housing budget, around £8bn, goes to affordable homes for rent. Labour has accused the Government of “washing their hands” of the responsibility for building affordable homes for Britons.
May forced into Commons climbdown
i (The paper for today) – Unattributed
The DUP has signalled its support for Labour on higher NHS wages and tuition fees. The Government was humiliated and forced into a Commons climbdown. Conservative whips have chosen to avoid showdown votes.
A hurricane force farce
Daily Mail – Claire Ellicott
UK territories devastated by Hurricane Irma, including Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos islands, are not allowed to tap into the £13billion foreign aid budget. Rules set by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development are blamed for hampering the relief effort in the islands, because they are “too wealthy”. The Government has committed £57million for disaster relief for islands hit by Hurricane Irma, but this money must be found from separate funds and Whitehall departments. Tory MP Philip Davies said: “You couldn’t make it up that an overseas territory doesn’t qualify for overseas aid.”
Thank God we are quitting the EU
Daily Express – Macer Hall
Jean-Claude Juncker claimed in a speech to MEPs last night that Britain will soon regret voting to leave the EU. The European Commission President described Brexit as “sad and tragic” while insisting the European Union will flourish without the UK. Mr Juncker’s federalist plans for the bloc included a single president, its own military defence force and compulsory membership of the single currency. Ukip MEP Nigel Farage called it “truly worrying,” stating: “All I can say is – thank God we are leaving”.
Intruder at Prince George school
The Daily Mirror – Tom Pettifor
A 40-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of attempted burglary at the school which Prince George attends.
Intruder held at George school
The Sun – Mike Sullivan
A woman has been arrested after attempting to gain entry to Thomas’s school in Battersea, South West London. This is the school that Prince George attends, and it is described as a major royal security scare.