Brexit news – live: EU firms refuse UK deliveries as Boris Johnson’s India trade trip scrapped – The Independent
Regretful Brexiteer says ‘be careful what you wish for’ A growing number of retailers in the EU have decided they won’t deliver to Britain because of the new costs involved in sending packages after Brexit. Companies have said they are unwilling to register for VAT in the UK, with one Dutch firm calling the red tape “ludicrous”.
It comes as Brexit disruption means Sainsbury’s has reportedly lost around 700 product lines in Northern Ireland – where it has been forced to stock goods from Spar. And Marks & Spencer said new trading rules in place since Britain left the EU were delaying deliveries of food to its stores in France – where branches had empty shelves on Tuesday. Meanwhile the coronavirus crisis has forced Boris Johnson to scrap a high-profile trip to India, his first overseas visit since the EU exit.
Brexit supporters earmarked India as among the major new trade deals they hoped to secure this year.
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Wales and Scotland to lose MPs in UK boundary shake-up
England is set to gain 10 MPs, while Wales will lose eight and Scotland is set to lose two, under plans to shake-up the UK’s electoral map.
The review’s aim – to be completed in 2023 – is to make voter populations in each constituency more equal, which could see England come out with 543 MPs, Wales 32 and Scotland 57. Northern Ireland will continue to have 18 MPs sitting in the House of Commons but some of the current boundaries could shift as part of the plans, according to the region’s boundary commission. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday published the latest voter data on which the review will be based on, with 47.5 million voters to be divided into 650 constituencies of between 69,724 and 77,062 people in size.
Some island constituencies, such as the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Anglesey, have been granted special dispensation to be outside the population remit. The new constituency boundaries will come into force in 2023 and will be used at the next general election a year later. Tim Bowden, secretary to the Boundary Commission for England, said: “Today marks the start of our work to review the constituency boundaries in England.
“Parliament has set strict rules on greater equality of electorate size between the new constituencies — these rules and the increase in total number of constituencies in England mean that there is likely to be a large degree of change across the country.” The ONS population results mean regions in England will see shifts in the number of MPs representing them. London is scheduled to gain two MPs, increasing to 75 in total, while the northwest and northeast – two areas where Boris Johnson saw gains at Labour’s expense in 2019 – will both see their representation reduced by two, in a move that could prove damaging to the PM’s self-titled “blue wall”.
The reduction in seats in Wales could also hurt Mr Johnson’s Commons majority. The southeast and southwest, however – two regions where the Conservatives traditionally poll well – will both have new seats created. Sam Hancock5 January 2021 15:28
UK has ‘lost’ European share business, say financiers
Almost EUR6bn (GBP5.4bn) of EU share dealing moved out of the City of London to financial centres in Europe on Monday, according to the FT.
“It’s been an extraordinary day. Shifting liquidity is one of the hardest things to do. It’s not ‘Big Bang’ – it’s ‘Bang and It’s Gone’.
The City has lost its European share business,” said the chief executive of Aquis Exchange, Alasdair Haynes, chief. The Best for Britain group said: “This is a hugely worrying loss of business, all the more because … it is likely permanent.” Adam Forrest5 January 2021 15:03
Government finally brings in mandatory Covid tests for arrivals
Nine months after the aviation industry called for testing to reduce the spread of the Covid, the government is set to make a negative test result compulsory for travellers coming to the UK.
But The Independent understands that polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests taken no more than 72 hours before departure to the UK may be mandatory only for foreigners – some government figures are pressing for British nationals and those resident in the UK to be exempt. Our travel correspondent Simon Calder has all the details: Adam Forrest5 January 2021 14:34
Trump won’t be allowed into Scotland to escape Biden inauguration, says Sturgeon
First minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would not allow Donald Trump into Scotland to escape Joe Biden’s inauguration later this month (there has been some speculation the outgoing president will head for Turnberry).
“We are not allowing people to come into Scotland … and that would apply to him as well as anybody,” she said. “Coming to play golf is not what I would call an essential purpose.” The SNP leader joked that she expects Trump’s “immediate travel plan is to exit the White House” – adding that she had “no doubt dug several deep holes for myself”. Sturgeon says Trump coming to play golf in Scotland is ‘not essential travel’
Adam Forrest5 January 2021 14:26
Shipping companies put post-Brexit charges on deliveries
More now on EU firms refusing to deliver to the UK because of the extra bureaucracy and costs. University of Essex’s accounting professor Prem Sikka said: “Brexiteers never told people about this. There were no banners on buses.”
It comes as some international shipping companies used by all kinds of businesses, including TNT and Federal Express, have placed extra charges on deliveries between the UK and the EU. TNT said there would be a surcharge of GBP4.31 on shipments between the two due to investments the company has made in adjustments and “cost of customs clearance”.
Belgian-based Beer on Web won’t deliver to UK because of Brexit (Beer on Web)
Adam Forrest5 January 2021 14:03
Handling of schools? ‘Huge shambles’ says top Tory MP
The government’s handling of schools during the Covid crisis has been denounced as a “huge shambles” by senior Tory MP Robert Halfon – chair of the education committee.
“What I want now to happen is for the government to use this time to roll out a vaccine programme for teachers and support staff, get the testing regime working, set out an educational route map out of coronavirus and a long-term plan for education and skills,” said Halfon. Education secretary Gavin Williamson was today writing to regulator Ofqual to inform them GCSEs and A-levels must not take place and ask them to draw up alternative arrangements for this summer. Williamson is now facing demands for the cancellation of vocational and technical exams due to take place through the rest of January.
The Association of Colleges said it was “simply untenable” for the exams to go ahead as planned. Adam Forrest5 January 2021 13:34
Feeling down? Tory minister recommends GBP170 bottle of champers
In news from Westminster, a Tory minister has been branded “out of touch” after suggesting people to drown the sorrows of 2020 with a GBP170 bottle of champagne.
Housing minister Christopher Pincher said Krug Grand Cru Cuvee is “ideal for lifting the spirit and lighting up a darkening winter afternoon”. Bethany Dawson has the full story: Adam Forrest5 January 2021 13:10
Cancelled India trip – a blow to trade?
Rob Merrick has more on the PM’s cancelled trip to India.
The move will heighten criticism that Johnson was unprepared for the dramatic surge in infections – triggering a third – when the trip was arranged for later this month, he writes. At one time, Brexit supporters earmarked India as among the major new trade deals they hoped to secure once the UK had left the EU. Adam Forrest5 January 2021 12:30
UK’s biggest union calls on French carmaker to invest
The Unite union has called on French automaker PSA to build electrified vehicles at its Vauxhall-Opel car factory in the UK following the Brexit trade deal.
Peugeot parent company PSA bought Opel, which trades as Vauxhall in Britain, in 2017, and said in 2019 that future investment in the northern English Ellesmere Port plant would depend on the final terms of Britain’s exit. “We call upon PSA to look at a longer-term plan to build electrified vehicles at both Luton and Ellesmere Port with future regulatory and legislative changes in mind,” said Unite national officer for automotive industries Des Quinn. Adam Forrest5 January 2021 12:18
PM’s trip to India cancelled
Boris Johnson has told to India’s prime minister Narendra Modi he will be unable to visit India later this month as planned.
Johnson said it was important to stay in the UK “so he can focus on the domestic response to the virus”, according to a No 10 spokesperson.
“The prime minister said that he hopes to be able to visit India in the first half of 2021, and ahead of the UK’s G7 Summit that prime minister Modi is due to attend as a guest.”
Adam Forrest5 January 2021 11:59
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