Today’s political headlines include Brexiteers warnings that the UK must not stay in EU customs arrangements after 2022, the Government is attempting to bring Labour MPs on side to back Brexit, McDonnell calls for an end to Universal Credit and pension tax relief to be cut to fund NHS spending boost.
Brexiteers warn that the UK must not stay in EU customs arrangements after 2022
The Times claims that Brexiteers, including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, are now warning Theresa May that, while they are prepared to give her room for manoeuvre in the Brexit talks, she must not keep the UK in the EU’s customs arrangements beyond the next election in 2022. However the EU has insisted that the proposals cannot be time-limited. Some Leavers have suggested that they will use the budget to put pressure on May.
Government tries to get Labour MPs to back Brexit deal
According to The Daily Telegraph, Government whips have held talks with up to 25 Labour MPs in a bid to persuade them to vote through the Government’s Brexit deal, nullifying opposition from Eurosceptic backbenchers. However, this has infuriated the Conservative Eurosceptics, some of whom are now threatening to vote against parts of the budget, with the European Research Group meeting tomorrow to set out plans for a ‘guerrilla campaign’.
McDonnell calls for end to Universal Credit
As the BBC reports, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell used various interviews over the weekend to claim that Universal Credit ‘will have to go’ as it is not ‘providing the safety net that people expect when they need support’ and is ‘just not sustainable’. He also said that Labour was considering reducing the length of the working week.
Pension tax relief to be cut to fund NHS spending boost
The Daily Telegraph says that it expects Philip Hammond to use the budget to cut pension tax relief in order to pay for the NHS’s £20bn funding boost. Steve Webb, the former Lib Dem pensions minister who now works for Royal London, warned that the move is ‘no way to run pensions’ as the ‘people who will be affected are being prudent, making their own provision for retirement – which the Government repeatedly tells us they want us to do’.
Japan would welcome UK to Trans-Pacific Partnership
Interviewed by the Financial Times, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that his country would welcome the UK to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal ‘with open arms’. He warned against a ‘disorderly Brexit’ and said that while the UK would no longer be a gateway to Europe after Brexit, it was still ‘equipped with global strength’.
Hammond considers reward for landlords who sell to tenants
The Guardian claims that Philip Hammond is considering using the budget to bring in a so-called ‘good landlord’ tax break. This would reward those who sell properties to existing tenants. The plan has been thought up by the thinktank Onward, which proposes that landlords should not pay capital gains tax if a property is sold to tenants who have occupied the property for three years or longer, funded by curtailing other buy-to-let tax benefits.
Field claims Government always knew impact of Universal Credit
The Sun says that Frank Field, Chair of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, has claimed that the Government always knew that the rollout of Universal Credit would leave some families up to £200 a month worse off. He told the paper that ‘The frailest shoulders have borne most of the budget deficit reduction strategy “successes”’.
Haldane appointed to chair new Industrial Strategy Council
The Financial Times reports that Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, is to be appointed as the chair of the new Industrial Strategy Council. The body will hold the Government to account and improve the implementation of the policy, which aims to improve the UK’s poor productivity.
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