Brexit news LIVE – Lorry queue chaos in Kent avoided in post-Brexit Britain as freight flows return ‘back to normal’

2 months ago 18
'BACK TO NORMAL'

Live Blog

13 Feb 2021, 23:27Updated: 13 Feb 2021, 23:27

LORRY queue chaos in Kent has been avoided as freight flows return back to normal, say Government officials.

Figures seen by the BBC show outbound lorry traffic for Britain for the month so far at 98% of last February's levels.

Inbound traffic is at 99% of last year's figures, reports show.

Speaking to the BBC, one official said the Government is "pleased that overall flows are back to normal."

Follow our live blog below for the very latest on Brexit and the EU...

SCOTTISH MINISTERS CALL FOR UK SUPPORT FOR WHISKY INDUSTRY

Two Scottish ministers have called for more help for the whisky industry from the UK Government.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has pushed for Brexit-related export issues to be resolved as a matter of urgency in a letter to Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice.

The whisky industry has faced disruption due to Covid-19, Brexit and tariffs imposed by the US following a dispute with the EU.

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “Scotch whisky is world-renowned, and we are working closely with the industry to help them take advantage of new export markets.

“The UK Government promotes the Scotch whisky through the Food is Great campaign. Last year, we announced £1 million dedicated to showcasing Scottish food and drink exports around the world. We are confident the sector is well-positioned to benefit from the expansive trade deals that we are now striking.”

SAVE OUR BACON

By David Wooding

THE EU’s “lousy” food regulations are being blamed for allowing additives that can cause cancer to be added to bacon and ham.

Nitrites are added because of rules on cured meat imposed by Brussels.

Senior MPs are calling on the Government to have them removed from all processed foods now Britain has taken back control of our own laws.

The additives are used to help preserve and add flavour but a growing number of scientists say that when cooked and eaten they produce carcinogens which can cause bowel cancer.

Read more here.

LARRY THE CAT HAS BEEN AT DOWNING ST FOR 10 YEARS

Britain’s chief mouser is celebrating 10 years prowling the corridors of political power at Number 10 Downing Street.

This Monday marks 10 years since Larry the cat left Battersea rescue centre for a new home with the Prime Minister.

Lindsey Quinlan, from Battersea, said: “It seems like only yesterday that Larry came to our cattery as a stray in need of a home. I don’t think anyone back then could have imagined just how incredible his life would turn out to be.

“Throughout his time at Number 10, Larry has proven himself to not only be a brilliant ambassador for Battersea but also demonstrated to millions of people around the world how incredible rescue cats are.”

WATCH: IRISH PM WARNS EU LEADERS TO STOP 'BRIT BASHING'

Bickering EU chiefs clash over Brexit as Ireland’s PM warns other leaders to stop their Brit-bashing

FOSTER URGES 'PERMANENT SOLUTIONS, NOT STICKING PLASTERS' FOR NI PROTOCOL ISSUES

Trade problems created by the Northern Ireland Protocol need permanent solutions, not sticking plasters, Arlene Foster has said.

The DUP leader and Stormont First Minister restated her demand for the protocol governing GB-to-NI trade post-Brexit to be ditched after the UK and EU reiterated their "full commitment" to the new arrangements.

"Northern Ireland needs freed from the Protocol," she tweeted. "We must have unfettered trade between GB & NI. It's time for the Government to step up & protect this part of the United Kingdom with permanent solutions, not sticking plasters. EU must recognise the absence of unionist support."

Mrs Foster's remarks came as her predecessor as first minister and DUP leader Peter Robinson told Northern Ireland unionists they could not oppose the protocol at the same time as being part of an administration that implements it.

Mr Robinson said only extreme action by unionists was likely to extract any significant changes to the protocol.

CHANCELLOR SCRAPPED TAMPON TAX AFTER BREXIT

Since Brexit, Rishi Sunak has already abolished the Tampon Tax.

This will save the average woman almost £40 over their lifetime – with a tax cut of 7p on a pack of 20 tampons and 5p on a pack of 12 pads.

He said: “I can also confirm, now we’ve left the EU, that I will abolish the tampon tax.

“From January next year, there will be no VAT whatsoever on women’s sanitary products.”

GERMAN JABS FURY

Germans are losing faith in the EU thanks to Brussels’ botched vaccine rollout, a new poll has revealed.

Two-thirds say their opinion of the bloc has been damaged by its snail-paced jabs scheme, which is lagging way behind Britain’s.

Half lay the blame for the mess squarely at Ursula von der Leyen’s feet, despite her attempts to shift responsibility onto drugs companies.

And a measly 6% say their view of the EU has been improved by her taking control of buying vaccines from individual states.

MINISTER HAILS 'SPIRIT OF CO-OPERATION' AT FIRST SEAFOOD TASK FORCE MEETING

Scotland Office minister David Duguid has hailed the "spirit of co-operation" on show at the inaugural meeting of a group set up to support the seafood industry.

The Scottish Seafood Exports Task Force was announced earlier this week, and its first meeting took place on Friday.

Both Scottish Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing and his Westminster counterpart George Eustice were in attendance, along with representatives from throughout the industry.

Following the meeting, Mr Duguid said: "The spirit of co-operation between all parties was good to see and my officials will now drill down to identify areas for rapid action.

"The next taskforce meeting is in a fortnight but our engagement with industry continues on a daily basis, as does our work to speed world-class Scottish seafood from port to plate as smoothly as possible."

DUP CALL TO TRIGGER ARTICLE 16 TO BE DEBATED AT WESTMINSTER

A call by the DUP to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol is to be debated at Westminster later this month.

More than 100,000 people signed a petition calling for the emergency move by the party within 24 hours.

The UK and EU have reiterated their "full commitment" to the new arrangements governing Great Britain-to-Northern Ireland trade post-Brexit.

But DUP leader Arlene Foster said there "has to be a recognition in London, Dublin and Brussels that damage has been done by this protocol and therefore we have to deal with it".

She said there must be unfettered trade and urged the UK Government to step up and protect Northern Ireland with "permanent solutions, not sticking plasters".

SCOTTISH MINISTERS CALL FOR UK SUPPORT FOR WHISKY INDUSTRY

Two Scottish ministers have called for more help for the whisky industry from the UK Government.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has pushed for Brexit-related export issues to be resolved as a matter of urgency in a letter to Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice.

The whisky industry has faced disruption due to Covid-19, Brexit and tariffs imposed by the US following a dispute with the EU.

A UK Government spokeswoman said: "Scotch whisky is world-renowned, and we are working closely with the industry to help them take advantage of new export markets.

"The UK Government promotes the Scotch whisky through the Food is Great campaign. Last year, we announced £1 million dedicated to showcasing Scottish food and drink exports around the world. We are confident the sector is well-positioned to benefit from the expansive trade deals that we are now striking."

ONLY BASIC PROVISIONS FOR TARIFF-FREE ACCESS AGREED

While optimists and Brexiteers say the current problems for people trading with the EU will be ironed out, others aren't so sure.

Alex Altmann, partner and head of Blick Rothenberg’s Brexit advisory group, says the root problem was that they tried to agree a trade deal that would normally take five, six or seven years, in 11 months.

"The rush meant only the most basic provisions for tariff free access was agreed," Altmann told the Evening Standard.

“We are waking up to the fact that for 80% of the economy, we do not have access to the EU any more,” he says.

LARRY THE CAT HAS BEEN AT DOWNING ST FOR 10 YEARS

Britain's chief mouser is celebrating 10 years prowling the corridors of political power at Number 10 Downing Street.

This Monday marks 10 years since Larry the cat left Battersea rescue centre for a new home with the Prime Minister.

Lindsey Quinlan, from Battersea, said: "It seems like only yesterday that Larry came to our cattery as a stray in need of a home. I don't think anyone back then could have imagined just how incredible his life would turn out to be.

"Throughout his time at Number 10, Larry has proven himself to not only be a brilliant ambassador for Battersea but also demonstrated to millions of people around the world how incredible rescue cats are."

Larry has held his position at Number 10 for ten years

Larry has held his position at Number 10 for ten years

UK ECONOMY AVOIDS RECESSION

Britain’s coronavirus-ravaged economy suffered its biggest crash in output in more than 300 years in 2020 when it slumped by 9.9%, but it avoided heading back towards recession at the end of the year and looks on course for a recovery in 2021.

Official figures showed gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.0% from October through December, the top of a range of economists’ forecasts in a Reuters poll.

This makes it likely that Britain will escape two straight quarters of contraction – the standard definition of recession in Europe – even though the economy is set to shrink in early 2021 due to the effects of a third COVID lockdown.

“As and when restrictions are eased, we continue to expect a vigorous rebound in the economy,” said Dean Turner, an economist at UBS Global Wealth Management.

GERMAN JABS FURY

Germans are losing faith in the EU thanks to Brussels' botched vaccine rollout, a new poll has revealed.

Two-thirds say their opinion of the bloc has been damaged by its snail-paced jabs scheme, which is lagging way behind Britain's.

Half lay the blame for the mess squarely at Ursula von der Leyen's feet, despite her attempts to shift responsibility onto drugs companies.

And a measly 6% say their view of the EU has been improved by her taking control of buying vaccines from individual states.

CONTINUED

She added: “They are our friends, neighbours and colleagues and, from the very beginning, we have been clear we want them to stay.

“That is why we put people at the heart of the scheme, knowing that behind these applications are stories of those who have established roots here.

“We promised we would make it as straightforward as possible for them to continue living their lives here.

“So I’m immensely proud that figures will show five million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme.”

Poles, Romanians and Italians are top in the scheme.

RECAP - 5M REMAINERS!

More than five million EU citizens have applied to stay in the UK despite us leaving the bloc.

Home Office stats out today show the number creeping over the landmark — with those with “settled status” given the same rights as Brits.

Priti Patel will also announce £4.5million cash boost to help vulnerable Europeans living here apply for the scheme.

The Home Secretary welcomes the massive numbers who had “contributed so much to the UK culturally, economically and socially”.

FRENCH MINISTER URGES BRUSSELS TO USE BREXIT AGREEMENT AS BLUEPRINT FOR FUTURE DEALS

French minister Clement Beaune has urged Brussels to use the Brexit agreement as the blueprint for future trade deals.

The Secretary of State for European Affairs told the French Senate that he believes the post-Brexit agreement should serve as the model to be emulated, the Express reported.

He said: "We need to be able to apply it to other trade agreements. With Franck Riester [Foreign Trade] and Julien Denormandie [Agriculture and Food], in the negotiation of trade agreements.

"I intend to use it. It must be the condition for the acceptability of new trade agreements."

YOUNG PEOPLE MORE ANXIOUS ABOUT BREXIT THAN COVID

Young people are more worried about the impact of Brexit than catching coronavirus, according to a UCL survey.

Just over 42 percent of adults aged between 18 and 29 reported being stressed about Brexit, compared with 32 percent who worried about catching Covid-19, The New European reports.

CALLS TO HELP THE WHISKY INDUSTRY

Scottish ministers have called for more help for the whisky industry from the UK Government.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has pushed for Brexit-related export issues to be resolved as a matter of urgency in a letter to Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice.

The whisky industry has faced disruption due to Covid-19, Brexit and tariffs imposed by the US following a dispute with the EU.

"Like many food and drink businesses, the sector is struggling with complicated bureaucracy post-Brexit and it is vital that such issues are resolved as soon as possible," Ewing said.

CONTINUED

Now watchdog the Payments Services Regulator (PSR) is looking to toughen up its rules to protect account holders so they are protected regardless of who they bank with.

It is proposing either making sure all banks have refund or reimbursement mechanisms or creating its own new code with industry and consumer input to make it compulsory for all banks to follow.

This is something the PSR says it couldn't do while the UK was a member of the European Union, but the government now has powers to legislate on changes since Brexit.

Not everyone will be eligible for reimbursement and any new code is expected to have exemptions like the current voluntary one.

CASH BACK

All banks could be required to refund fraud victims under new rules proposed by the payments regulator.

Scam victims lost £208 million in the first half of 2020 through authorised push payment (APP) frauds, where they are tricked into transferring money to a fraudster posing as a genuine payee such as a shop or their bank.

Currently, scam victims face a refund lottery, as it's up to their bank to decide whether they'll reimburse them for their losses.

A majority of banking giants, including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and NatWest, signed up to a voluntary scam code in May 2019.

Under the code, victims will be reimbursed as long as they meet certain standards, but they are allowed to deny a refund if they believe the customer's own negligence led to the fraud.

PIGS HAVE GOTTEN TOO PORKY TO SELL SAYS FARMER

Pigs have got so fat during lockdown that supermarkets no longer want to buy them.

Farmers told BBC Radio 4 that Covid-19 had caused disruption by hitting staffing levels at abattoirs and packing plants.

Added to Brexit export delays, it meant that pigs were kept alive too long and grew too much.

Supermarkets expect meat of a certain specification and may turn it down otherwise.

CONTINUED

The economic crisis in the 30s was caused by the Great Depression and helped fascist leaders rise up across Europe.

It ultimately led to the outbreak of World War Two and Sir Nick has suggested history is not far from repeating itself.

China has faced allegations of covering up the origins of the pandemic while the EU was widely rebuked for temporarily triggering Article 16 of the Brexit protocol to block vaccine doses to the UK.

Sir Nick said there has been "some unity with the vaccine," but people have "put up nationalist barriers," adding that does "not exactly help you with security and stability".

"What the virus has revealed is some fault lines internationally, but also within society," he said.

RECAP - ON THE BRINK

Britain's military chief has likened the Covid crisis to the build up of World War Two, hinting it could lead to international warfare.

General Sir Nick Carter said the pandemic's economic damage will likely lead to "security challenges" similar to those faced in the 1930s.

The Chief of the Defence Staff told The Telegraph: "What you generally find with a crisis like this, which becomes an economic crisis, is that it then undermines the stability and security situation as well.

"What often follows a very significant economic event is a security challenge.

"If you look at the 1930s, that started with a significant economic crash, and that acted as a very destabilising feature."

CONTINUED

He raised fears Ireland will be "collateral damage" if relations between Britain and the likes of France and Germany break down.

His remarks come after Emmanuel Macron and EU boss Ursula von der Leyen enraged No 10 by trying to discredit the UK's vaccine rollout.

Germany also prompted outrage in Downing St by refusing to authorise the AstraZeneca jab for over-65s.

Separately relations with Brussels have soured over post-Brexit border controls, including a Brussels ban on British shellfish.

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