A round-up of the latest political headlines, including the removal of the council tax rise cap, criticism of the Government’s homelessness policy, the UK having no major warships overseas and Theresa May’s tour of Britain.
Government breaks cap on council tax rises
The Daily Telegraph reports that Sajid Javid has announced the lifting of a cap on council tax rises, in a move that could increase household bills by up to £200. Councils will be allowed to raise bills by up to 6%, and police forces will be allowed to charge an extra £12 per household.
Government’s homelessness policy criticised
A report by the Commons Public Accounts Committee criticises the Government’s approach to tackling homelessness, according to the Guardian. Committee chair, Meg Hillier, said ‘The latest official figures hammer home the shameful state of homelessness in England and the abject failure of the government’s approach to addressing the misery suffered by many thousands of families and individuals.’
UK left with no major warships overseas
The Times claims that the UK has no major warships on operations anywhere in the world for the first time since the Royal Navy was formed around 500 years ago. A ‘senior serving military officer’ said that this was a ‘strategic embarrassment for the country and a strategic embarrassment for defence’, according to the paper.
May plans question and answer tour of Britain
Theresa May is planning a nationwide tour, the Daily Mail reports. The Prime Minister will revive the informal question-and-answer sessions run by David Cameron, as part of an attempt to ‘show off more of her personality and connect with voters’.
Gibraltar becomes latest Brexit sticking point
The Financial Times says that Brussels is pressuring the UK to resolve its dispute with Spain over the Rock of Gibraltar in order to secure a quick deal on the Brexit transition period. The paper reports that the European Commission will adopt a four-page mandate covering the second phase of Brexit negotiations on Wednesday, including a requirement for a UK-Spain bilateral agreement if Gibraltar is to be covered by the transition deal.
Department for Transport plans new rules for lasers and driverless cars
The Daily Telegraph reports that the Government is planning to introduce unlimited fines and prison sentences of up to five years for people who shine a laser at aircraft, cars or ships. The plans will be in the draft Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill, to be published by the Department for Transport. Another consultation by the department covers proposed changes to regulations which would allow cars to be parked remotely, according to The Times.
Subsidy for rural post offices and Universal Service Obligation for rural broadband
The Government is to announce a £160m fund to safeguard the future of rural Post Offices, The Daily Telegraph reports, with a further £210m to modernise branches. The move comes as the Post Office makes its first profit in 16 years. Separately, the Financial Times claims that the Government is to reject BT’s offer to connect 1.1m rural homes to superfast broadband and instead give rural homeowners the legal right to demand an upgrade through a Universal Service Obligation.
Guy Verhofstadt calls on May to condemn Poland
Guy Verhofstadt, head of the European Parliament’s Brexit working group, told The Daily Telegraph that Theresa May’s visit to Warsaw would be a ‘test’ of the UK’s commitment to European values. The European Commission meets today to decide whether to launch proceedings against Poland for violating commitments to democracy and human rights.
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