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The National Institute of Care and Excellence Launches Online Resource to Help the Development and Adoption of New Health Technologies

 

 

|| Monday: April 29: 2019 || ά. Health Tech Connect, a new online resource provided by the National Institute of Care and Excellence:NICE to help identify and support new health technologies as they move from inception to adoption in the UK health and care system was formally launched today, Monday, April 29. Developed by NICE with help from a range of partner organisations and was funding from NHS England, Health Tech Connect is for health technologies, medical devices and diagnostic and digital health technologies.

These technologies are those, that offer measurable benefits to patients or other health and care service users, compared to those already offered by current routine practice in the UK or, provide measurable benefits to the UK health and care system compared to those already offered by current routine practice in the UK. The system, which is free to use, will help companies to understand what information is needed by decision makers in the UK health and care system and clarify possible routes to market access.

It will, also, help the UK health and care system to better plan for the introduction and adoption of health technologies, for example, by reconfiguring services or enabling reimbursement. Once registered, companies enter and update information about their technology as it develops into HealthTechConnect.org.uk. This information is used to determine, if, the technology is suitable for consideration by an organisation, that offers support to health technology developers; for example, with funding, technology development, evidence generation, market access, reimbursement, adoption. 

It will, also, be used to identify, if, the technology is suitable for consideration for evaluation by a UK health technology assessment programme. Technologies, that are suitable for support or evaluation will be able to access this through Health Tech Connect. This will avoid companies having to provide the same or similar information about their technology separately to a different organisation or programme. 

Mr Meindert Boysen, the Director of the Centre for Health technology Evaluation at NICE, said, “Health Tech Connect is a clear and simple point of entry for companies developing health technologies, be it medical devices, diagnostics or digital health technologies, to access support and potential routes to national evaluation programmes.

As well as, helping national organisations like NICE, that have a responsibility for developing guidance on the use of health technologies in the NHS, better identify and track technologies, that offer novel benefits, Health Tech Connect will, also, enable transformative technologies to be identified and fast tracked through relevant processes within the Accelerated Access Collaborative.

Ultimately, the aim of Health Tech Connect is to help get promising new health technologies to the people, who will benefit from them, faster. We expect it to contribute to reducing the complexity and, often, duplication, involved in getting medical devices, diagnostics and digital health technologies adopted in the UK.”

Since the initial soft launch of the system in February, over 100 companies have registered to use Health Tech Connect, 13 technologies have been submitted and one technology, Sonata System, has, already, been selected by NICE for a Medtech Innovation Briefing

Ms Sarah Field, the Sales Manager, UK and Ireland for Gynesonics, said, “The Health Tech Connect portal was a great way to interface the interaction between our organisation and NICE.  This enabled a swift pathway for our new technology, the Sonata treatmentii, to be evaluated. I thoroughly recommend other commercial organisations to use this route. The registration process was quick and simple. This is a really helpful initiative.”

Further information about Health Tech Connect is available at the Health Tech Connect website:::ω.

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A Very Quiet British Revolution Is Taking Place Online at the Parliament Website: Were You Seeking to Get a Second European Referendum This Is the Closest You Can Get to It: Vote Now for Revoking Article 50 Notice: This Petition Has Already Amassed Almost Four Million Signatures in Just Two Days

 

 

|| March 22: 2019 || ά. Ms Margaret Anne Georgiadou, has, unknowingly, initiated a quiet and very British People’s Revolution, when she opened an Online Petition at the Parliament’s website: Revoke Article 50 and Remain in the EU. The Petition makes the point for its reason as: ‘’The government repeatedly claims exiting the EU is 'the will of the people'. We need to put a stop to this claim by proving the strength of public support now, for remaining in the EU. A People's Vote may not happen: so vote now.’’

This is it: a second Referendum, may not, happen and this is the closest the country has come to get the opportunity to gather voices to become the representation of the people: those, who did not vote for the UK to leave the European Union, including, all those few million young people, who have become voters, since, the Referendum and those, who have changed their minds and now would like the UK to remain in the European Union, so to be counted again. This is their chance to support this Petition and take it beyond the ‘government-parroted’ the ‘will of the people’ figure of 17.1 million, who voted for the UK to leave the EU so that this new figure is larger than £17.1 million.

Those, who have been tireless and resolutely campaigning for another Referendum should take this opportunity and get everyone they know to hear about this Petition and get them to sign for it: for as soon as this number of people signing for this Petition crosses the 17.1 they can show the shift and movement in the people of the UK. This, might not, change anything but shall do this: not a single politician can dare to defy this new statement, made by the people of this country against the madness of this whole debacle of the terrible waste of national resources and energy, since, the European Referendum and bring this entire chaotic, negative and wasteful exercise to an end.

If, the will of the people is to be counted it, must, take the view that this ‘people’ is made of living, breathing human beings and they live and progress they develop and they change and that change can not be denied. This Petition presents this opportunity before the country and before the people, while the politicians, the current Conservative Government and the entire Conservative Party and many other forces have failed miserably and are now stuck in a self-harming, self-destructive stage and state: where the UK and its people are forced into diving into a desperate national self-destruction and self-harming exercise, particularly, the prospect of being forced out of the European Union without any deal.

The Humanion offers its support to this Petition and invites everyone to join in and sign this Petition to bring an end to this debacle and self-destructive, negative and wasteful national degradation, diminishing and dislocation in the view of the world of the country and its standing: for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the country’s leadership has failed miserably to demonstrate anything great about this leaving the European Union debacle of the last wasteful years and months, since, the Referendum. We hope by tomorrow’s March in support of the People’s Referendum more people across the UK, across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will join in and sign this Petition to take it beyond the figure of 17.1 million and show the country, once and for all, as to how many people stand united in instructing the Parliament and the Government to bring an end to this all-negative, all-wasteful and all-self-destructive phase of national waste.

To sign the petition visit this web page of the UK Parliament: petition.parliament.uk/petitions/241584:::ω.

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Exiting the European Union: Delayed by Parliament Till June 30: We Now Have the Opportunity to Work Together to Find a Solution: Jeremy Corbyn MP

 

 

|| March 14: 2019 || ά. Mr Jeremy Corbyn MP, the Leader of the Labour Party, speaking in the House of Commons after the latest Parliamentary vote on exiting the European Union, said, “After the last few days of government chaos and some defeats, all of us now have the opportunity and the responsibility to work together to find a solution to the crisis facing this country, where the government has so dramatically failed to do so.’’

“We have begun to hold meetings with members across the House to find a consensus and a compromise that meets the needs of our country. But the last few days have also put a responsibility on the Prime Minister. First, to publicly accept that both her deal and no deal are simply no longer viable options. Secondly, to bring forward the necessary legislation to amend the exit date of 29 March.’’ Mr Corbyn said.

He further went onto say, “Tonight I reiterate our conviction that a deal can be agreed based on our alternative plan that can command support across the House. And I also reiterate our support for a public vote not as political point-scoring but as a realistic option to break the deadlock.

The whole purpose ought to be to protect communities that are stressed and worried. Those people are worried about the future of their jobs and industries. Our job is to try to meet the concerns of the people who sent us here in the first place.”.:::ω.

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The Chancellor’s Spring Statement: He Is Also Boasting About the Deficit: He Has Not Eliminated the Deficit: He Has Simply Shifted It Onto the Shoulders of Headteachers NHS Managers Local Councillors Police Commissioners and Worst of All Onto the Backs of Many of the Poorest in Our Society: The Consequences Are Stark: Infant Mortality Has Increased: Life Expectancy Has Reduced: Our Communities Are Less Safe: Police Budgets Have Faced Cuts of £02.7 Billion Since 2010: John McDonnell MP

 

 

|| March 13: 2019 || ά. Mr John McDonnell MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Labour Party, in response to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement in the House of Commons, said, ‘’Let me thank the Chancellor for providing me with an early sight of his statement. We have just witnessed a display by the Chancellor of this Government’s toxic mix of callous, brutal complacency over austerity and its grotesque incompetence over the handling of Brexit.

Whilst teachers are having to pay for the materials their pupils need; working parents are struggling to manage as schools close early and their children are sent home. 5000 of our fellow citizens will be sleeping in the cold and wet on our streets tonight. Young people being stabbed to death in rising numbers. And, the Chancellor turns up today to threaten us that austerity can only end if we accept a bad Brexit deal. Let’s look at some of the Chancellor’s claims.

The Chancellor has boasted about the OBR forecast of 01.2% growth this year. What he hasn’t mentioned is that the forecast has been downgraded from 01.6%: downgrading forecasts is a pattern under this Chancellor. In November 2016 forecasts for the following year were downgraded from 02.2% to 01.4%. In autumn 2017 forecasts for the following year were downgraded from 01.6% to 01.4%.

Economists are warning that what growth there is the economy is largely being sustained by consumption based upon high levels of household debt. The Chancellor is boasting about bringing down debt. Let’s remind him that when Labour left office having to bail out his mates in the City, many of them Tory donors, the nation’s debt stood at £01 trillion. They have borrowed for failure and added another three quarters of a trillion to the debt. More than any Labour government ever.

He is also boasting about the deficit. He has not eliminated the deficit. He has simply shifted it onto the shoulders of Headteachers, NHS managers, local councillors, police commissioners and worst of all, onto the backs of many of the poorest in our society. The consequences are stark. Infant mortality has increased. Life expectancy has reduced. Our communities are less safe.

Police budgets have faced cuts of £02.7b since 2010 and nothing the Chancellor has said today will make up for the human and economic costs of those cuts. The Chancellor talks about “a balanced approach.”

There is nothing balanced about the government giving over 110 billion pounds of tax cuts to the rich and corporations whilst: 87 people die every day before they receive the care they need. The number of children coming into care has increased every year for nine years. Benefits freezes and the roll out of universal credit are forcing people into foodbanks to survive. One million pensioners are living in severe poverty.

A government condemned by the UN for inflicting destitution on its citizens. And there’s nothing balanced about a government investing £4,155 per head in London on transport and the North only £1,600. Where a male child born in Kensington Liverpool can expect to live 18 years less than a child born in Kensington and Chelsea.

And this is the government that has largely broken the historic link between securing a job and lifting yourself out of poverty. The Chancellor refers to a “remarkable jobs story.” What’s remarkable is that this government has created a large-scale jobs market of low pay, long hours, precarious employment. Over 02.5 million people working below 15 hours a week. 03.8 million people are in insecure work. Average weekly wages are still below the level of ten years ago.

It’s hardly surprising then that four and a half million children are living in poverty, nearly two thirds in households where someone is in work. The Chancellor brags about his record on youth unemployment. But let’s be clear, Youth unemployment is over 07% higher than the national average. It is higher than the OECD average and is at appalling levels for some communities. 26% of young black people are unemployed. 23% of young people from a Baangladeshi or Pakistani background are unemployed.

The Chancellor claims that female unemployment is at a record low. What he doesn’t say is that women make up 73% of those in part-time employment and are disproportionately affected by precarious work. The income of single mothers by 2020 will have fallen by 18% since 2010. And according to the much-respected Women’s Budget Group, women are facing the highest pay gap for full time employees since 1999. All on his watch.

The Chancellor claims he is on his way to delivering record sustained levels of public capital investment. Let’s be clear. He’s talking about wish lists. He’s not talking about what the Conservatives have actually done. The UK ranks close to the bottom of OECD countries for public investment. We are 24th out of 32 countries, according to analysis done by the TUC.

The Chancellor describes “the biggest rail investment programme since Victorian times”. Tell that to the people who faced the timetabling chaos of last year. Tell that to the rail passengers who have to deal with the incomparable incompetence of the Transport Secretary. The Chancellor hails his announcement of a National Infrastructure Strategy. Let me remind the House.

The Government announced a National Infrastructure Delivery Plan for 2016 to 2021. Then it announced a national Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline. Plans. Pipelines. Strategies. And today yet another review of financing mechanisms announced. But no real action to deliver for our businesses and communities. The Institute for Government described this Government’s decisions on infrastructure as “inconsistent and subject to constant change”.

And on housing, let’s hope the Chancellor has learned the lessons of their recent initiatives, which have driven profits of companies like Persimmon to over a billion pounds, with bosses’ bonuses over a hundred million pounds. The chancellor has some cheek to speak about technical and vocational skills. Almost a quarter of all funding to further and adult education has been cut since 2010. The number of people starting apprenticeships has fallen by 26%.

On research and development, this government has slashed capital funding for science across all departments by 50%. Unlike at the Budget, the Chancellor has at last actually referred to climate change. The review of biodiversity might, hopefully, show that the Budget of Natural England, the body responsible for biodiversity in England has more than halved over a decade.

A review of carbon offsets might reveal that they do not reduce emissions. And offsetting schemes like the Clean Development Mechanism have been beset by gaming and fraud.

This from a Government that removed that removed the Climate Change Levy exemption for renewables, that scrapped feed-in tariffs for new small scale renewable generation, and that cancelled the Zero Carbon Homes policy. Gordon Brown pledged a Zero Carbon Homes standard. The Tories scrapped it in 2015, just 1 year before it was due to come into force.

Of course Brexit looms large over everything we discuss. Even today, the Chancellor has tried to use the bribe of a deal double dividend or threat of postponing the spending review to cajole MPs into voting for the government’s deal. Publication of the tariffs this morning is clearly part of this strategy. This is a calamitous strategy. It is forcing people into intransigent corners.

What we need now is the Chancellor today to commit to vote to take no deal off the table. Then to join me in discussing the options available, including Labour’s deal proposal and yes, if it requires it, taking any deal back to the public. For outside of the Westminster bubble, outside of the narrow, wealthy circles in which the Chancellor moves, nine years of Conservative Government have meant nine years of hardship. And today the Chancellor has the nerve to tell those who have suffered most at the hands of his Government, that their suffering was necessary.

If austerity wasn’t ideological, why has money been found for tax cuts for big corporations while vital public services have been starved of funding? Austerity was never a necessity, it was always a political choice. So when the Chancellor stands there and says that the end of austerity is in sight, talks of a plan for a brighter future, how can anyone who has lived through the last nine years believe him?

This is a Government that has demonstrated a chilling ability to completely disregard the suffering they have caused. To talk of changing direction after nine years in office is not only impossible to believe, it’s also much too late. Too late for the thousands who have died while waiting for a decision on their Personal Independence Payments. Too late for families who have lost their home due to cuts in housing benefit. Too late for young people losing their lives to knife crime after youth clubs have shut down and police numbers fallen, whatever he has been forced into announcing today.

This is the legacy of this Chancellor and its for this that he will be remembered. He was Shadow Chief Secretary to George Osborne and designed his austerity programme. History will hold him responsible for that. There are no alibis. He is implicated in every cut, every every closure, every preventable death of someone waiting for hospital treatment or social care. It’s time for change. People have had enough. But increasingly they know they won’t get the change they so desperate need from this tainted Chancellor or this Government.'':::ω.

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The Government Has Published a Summary of the Report: Implications for Business and Trade of a No Deal Exit on March 29: 2019: HMRC Has Estimated That the Administrative Burden on Businesses From Customs Declarations Alone on Current 2016 UK-EU Trade in Goods Could Be Around £13 Billion P.A Not Accounting for Any Behavioural Change

 

 

 

|| February 26: 2019 || ά. The Conservative Government has today, Tuesday, February 26, published the Summary of Report on the implications for business and Trade of a No deal Exit on March 29, 2019: The Following is the entire Summary as Published in this PDF document: Summary 1. The Government’s primary aim is to ensure that the UK leaves the EU on 29 March with a negotiated deal which will honour the result of the referendum. However, as a responsible government, it continues to plan for all eventualities, including one in which the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Guidance for businesses and citizens on how to prepare for a no deal scenario can be found on the Government’s Exit guidance website, www.gov.uk/EUExit.

2. Over recent months, the Government has undertaken significant action to prepare for a potential no deal scenario. Getting ready for this scenario depends not only on Government action, but also on action from a range of third parties. A no deal scenario would also have impacts on the EU and other Member States, and the steps the Commission and Member States have been taking also have a significant influence on the UK’s preparations for no deal.

3. This paper summarises Government activity to prepare for no deal as a contingency plan, and provides an assessment of the implications of a no deal exit for trade and for businesses, given the preparations that have been made. The paper explains that leaving the European Union without a deal on 29 March would have a variety of effects on business, trade and the economy, and despite government mitigation, the impact of a 'no deal' scenario is expected to be significant in a number of areas. While some of this is inherent to a scenario where the UK does not have any agreements with the EU, or with other countries and organisations with which the UK currently has deals through EU membership, in other cases it would be caused by the abrupt nature of the transition, and the late stage at which many parties are starting their preparations. The paper also addresses issues in relation to Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

4. The information in this note is drawn from a number of sources over a period of time. It represents a fair reflection of the current state of readiness for a no deal exit. Government preparedness activity

5. Since the referendum in June 2016, the Government’s priority has been to secure the best possible deal for the country from the EU, and deliver that through Parliament. However, it has also been preparing for other possible outcomes, including a no deal scenario as a contingency. The Government has revised its Cabinet committee structures to include a new Cabinet sub-committee, EU Exit and Trade (Preparedness) (EUXT(P)), which has a more focussed remit that its predecessors on overseeing and ensuring effective delivery of plans for an orderly exit from the EU. This sub-committee has, in recent weeks, been specifically focussed on overseeing preparations for a no deal scenario.

6. The Government has taken strategic policy decisions to minimise disruption and provide certainty to businesses and citizens should a no deal scenario arise. In May 2018, the Government agreed to apply a short-term ‘continuity approach’ to no deal plans, meaning that it would take unilateral action to maintain as much continuity as possible in the short term, irrespective of whether the EU reciprocated. For example, in a no deal scenario, EU hauliers would be able to use their licences in the UK to minimise disruption to businesses that rely on these hauliers to transport goods. Approximately 8 out of every 10 lorries in UK roads is an EU haulier, meaning that this unilateral action would mean that the vast majority of lorries operating in the UK would be able to continue doing so, whilst also having access to EU roads. In relation to human medicines, the Government would continue to recognise batch testing (the process of confirming every batch of medicine has the correct composition, through laboratory tests) carried out in the EU in a no deal scenario. The extent of such continuity varies by area.

7. In recent weeks, the Government has taken further decisions to increase the visibility and intensity of its no deal preparations. In December 2018, the Government took a decision to make preparations for a no deal exit the principal operational focus within Government, notwithstanding the Government’s ongoing focus on securing approval for a deal in Parliament. This meant that resources were moved to support no deal preparations, which has supported Government to meet a number of key milestones in no deal programmes in recent weeks. Significant policy announcements therefore have taken place to provide certainty to individuals making plans for their future, such as the offer to EEA citizens on leave to remain in a no deal scenario, and updated guidance on motor insurance, vehicle registrations, number plates, and country stickers for driving in the EU after exit.

8. Notwithstanding very significant efforts to prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario, the latest internal Government-wide delivery reporting reveals the scale of risk remaining in the limited time available. In February, Departments reported being on track for just under 85% of no deal projects but, within that, on track for just over two thirds of the most critical projects. The delays to no deal preparations are partly due to communications to third parties, including many businesses, not having the intended effect (see below), and also because the acceleration of preparedness since December is not yet bringing delivery of these preparations back on track where there has been prior slippage.

9. The Treasury has made in excess of £4bn available for EU Exit planning since 2016, £2bn of which was allocated in December 2018 to support core EU exit preparations for the 19-20 financial year. This funding will apply regardless of whether a deal is agreed, and is ring-fenced to specifically support EU exit.

10. The Government also continues to work with the Scottish and Welsh Governments and, in the absence of an Executive in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Civil Service, to make preparations for a potential no deal scenario. The devolved administrations are invited to relevant meetings of the new Cabinet sub-committee, EUXT(P).

11. The Government has also been working where possible to adopt agreements made between the EU and third countries transitionally, which would otherwise fall away once the UK leaves the EU. A number of the most critical international agreements have been signed and are on track to come into force on exit day, including on aviation and civil nuclear cooperation and safeguarding. Those that are not may not be in force on exit day. If contingency options were not in place, there would be a gap in coverage for some international agreements, the impact of which would vary depending on the nature and scale of the agreement.

12. Around forty of these agreements are trade agreements. To date, the Government has signed trade agreements with Switzerland, Chile, the Faroe Islands, members of the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Economic Partnership Agreement, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Discussions with other partners continue with the aim of replicating the effects of existing EU agreements as far as possible. The Government is continuing to engage with those other partner countries to conclude agreements in time for exit day. Intensive discussions are, for instance, happening now with partners such as SACU+M, EEA EFTA countries, Canada and South Korea. Other discussions are ongoing. As above, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, some agreements will not be concluded in time and therefore will not be in place for exit day. Agreements which will clearly not be in place for exit day are Andorra, Japan, Turkey, and San Marino; the government has set out further details in published guidance. Excluding Japan and Turkey, UK trade with countries with whom we are seeking continuity represents 11% of total UK trade. The 20 least valuable trade agreements account for just 0.8% of UK trade.

13. Where discussions are off track, the Government is looking urgently at contingency options, such as provisional application and bridging mechanisms (e.g. Memoranda of Understanding) to bring agreements into force on exit. GATT Article XXIV

14. One argument that has been put forward in relation to our future economic relationship with the EU is that the UK can simply rely on the provisions under Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to have tarifffree trade with the EU for a ten-year period. This is a misunderstanding of what the rules are. As the Secretary of State for International Trade told the House of Commons on 14 January this year: Some have suggested that it would be possible under Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to maintain tariff-free trade as an alternative to the negotiated agreement in a no-deal scenario. There are two immediate problems facing that suggestion. The first is that it would require the agreement of the EU and be based on the expectation of a future trade agreement or customs union to be operable in WTO law. Although it might be argued, as I am sure many in the House would, that that would be in the economic interests of the EU27, we all know from experience that the politics of the EU can take precedence over economic pragmatism. In the political atmosphere of no deal, it would be difficult to cultivate the good will necessary for that to proceed. Secondly, that suggestion would not deal with all the regulatory issues—the non-tariff barriers—that are so important to many businesses. Third party preparedness 15. Many of the Government’s plans depend on third party or third country action for successful delivery. In August, September and October 2018, the Government released a series of technical notices, outlining in detail the potential impacts of a no deal scenario, as well as the steps that businesses and traders might want to consider taking to prepare. In recent weeks, the Government has stepped up communications to businesses and individuals to provide the information they need to prepare. All this information is available in a dedicated preparedness website: www.gov.uk/EUExit. The Government is continuing to work to increase funded, targeted advertising on no deal preparedness, including through radio and social media. This media campaign is complemented by a substantial volume of briefings given to relevant industry, trade, consumer and other bodies.

16. Despite communications from the Government, there is little evidence that businesses are preparing in earnest for a no deal scenario, and evidence indicates that readiness of small and medium-sized enterprises in particular is low. For example, without an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, businesses would not be able to complete the necessary customs documentation for goods they are importing. As an EORI number registration is one of the most basic and straightforward parts of the process most businesses would need to undertake to prepare for no deal, this is assumed to be a generous indicator of overall readiness. As of February 2019 there had only been around 40,000 registrations for an EORI number, against an estimate of around 240,000 EU-only trading businesses. There is capacity to sign up 11,000 businesses per day, and so this position could change rapidly with behaviour change from businesses. In practice, the UK’s approach is based on, in the short-term, allowing hauliers to pass through the border without stopping, but they would be stopped if taking goods into France without the right paperwork. The lack of preparation for EU controls - of which this is an example - greatly increases the probability of disruption.

17. Evidence suggests that individual citizens are also not preparing for the effects that they would feel in a no deal scenario. UK citizens travelling to or living in the EU would need to complete a number of administrative tasks to ensure that their interactions with the EU are as unaffected as possible. These range from renewing passports, to applying for a car insurance green card and International Driving Permit to drive in the EU. As of February 2019, despite a public information campaign encouraging the public to seek out the Government’s advice on preparing for a ‘no deal’, noticeable behaviour change has not been witnessed at any significant scale. Based on DExEU survey data from January 2019, 55% of UK adults did not expect to be affected by a no deal exit.

18. Government judges that the reason for this lack of action is often because a no deal scenario is not seen as a sufficiently credible outcome to take action or outlay expenditure. In some cases, businesses or individuals are seeking answers to specific policy questions. As set out above, the Government is finalising policy in these areas at pace, and prioritising these issues for discussion at the EUXT(P) Cabinet Committee where needed.

19. Preparations by businesses and citizens are also significantly influenced by actions taken by the EU Commission and Member States. The UK Government has discussed no deal with the Commission, who have published three batches of ‘no deal’ legislation and their own preparedness notices. The unilateral contingency measures the EU has announced do mitigate some of the most acute immediate impacts, for example on aviation, road haulage, financial services and potentially citizens’ rights. The EU has stressed, however, that the mitigations it is putting in place are only temporary, and some important gaps remain; perhaps most significantly on data adequacy and action to ensure smooth flow at the border. The anticipated effects of a no deal scenario

20. Despite the Government’s efforts to prepare for a no deal, a no deal scenario would have a range of significant impacts for the UK. The key areas of residual impact, notwithstanding the mitigating action being undertaken, are set out below.

Economic

21. The Government has already published long term analysis of the impact of a no deal scenario that implicitly assumes a smooth, orderly transition to WTO rules. This estimates that the UK economy would be 6.3-9% smaller in the long term in a no deal scenario (after around 15 years) than it otherwise would have been when compared with today’s arrangements, assuming no action is taken. There would also be significant variation across the UK (Wales -8.1%, Scotland -8.0%, Northern Ireland -9.1% and the North East of England -10.5%). This analysis does not account for any short term disruptions, which would be likely to have additional short and long run economic impacts in an immediate no deal scenario. No modelling can completely capture the complex ways in which the UK economy could be affected by exiting the EU, particularly given the unprecedented circumstances of the UK's departure. While the analysis draws on a robust set of tools and evidence, there is an inherent uncertainty around this type of economic analysis. The results are therefore presented as ranges, and should be interpreted with caution. EU Member States are also expected to face economic risks following a no deal exit.

22. The Bank of England published EU exit analysis on 28 November 2018 in response to the Treasury Committee’s request for “analysis of how leaving the European Union would affect its ability to deliver its objectives for monetary and financial stability”. The Governor of the Bank of England also appeared before the Treasury Committee to discuss this analysis on the 4 December 2018. The analysis and transcripts from the Treasury Committee session are publicly available.

23. Despite the steps being taken by Government to manage the negative effects of no deal, there are a number of areas where the impact on trade, businesses and individuals would be particularly significant. Border issues, including inbound and outbound ‘roll on, roll off’ road traffic

24. When the UK leaves the EU, it will leave the Single Market and the Customs Union, and, in the absence of a trade agreement, the EU will treat the UK as a third country for trade in goods. On exit, this could affect the availability of goods in a number of ways, including customs administration and delays at the border. In the absence of an alternative agreement, UK citizens would be treated as third country nationals by Member States, and potentially be subject to full Schengen checks. This would mean they would no longer be able to use e-gates, and checks to enter EU Member States could take longer than they currently do.

25. In a no deal scenario, both the UK and EU would need to apply customs and excise rules and VAT to goods moving between the UK and EU, as they are currently applied to goods traded in the rest of the world. Every consignment would require a customs declaration, and so around 240,000 UK businesses that currently only trade with the EU would need to interact with customs processes for the first time, should they continue to trade with the EU. HMRC has estimated that the administrative burden on businesses from customs declarations alone, on current (2016) UK-EU trade in goods could be around £13bn p.a. (not accounting for any behavioural change).

26. Industries with supply chains that are integrated within the EU would face additional costs and burdens as a result of new customs procedures, compliance requirements and reductions in traffic-flow across the Channel.

27. Although the Government has made progress in ensuring that additional controls at the UK border would not cause disruption, including phasing Entry Summary Declarations and Transitional Simplified Procedures, those imposed by Member States would be disruptive. There have been efforts from some Member States to put in place the new infrastructure which would be required at the border to implement customs controls. However, this work is at an early stage and even when completed would lead to new burdens, and would not be the same as the fully free-flowing border in place today. In particular, third country rules applied by the EU, including France, would mean that no goods are allowed to leave the port until they have provided the correct paperwork and have been customs cleared (including any necessary checks at the port, for example on products of animal origin). More significantly, Member States would hold any goods which are not correctly customs cleared. This would hold up all goods where trades are not prepared, expected to be a significant proportion in the early period after exit day. The Government’s worst case planning assumption is that, as a result of French checks and lack of businesses readiness, the flow of goods through the Short Channel Crossings (Dover and Eurotunnel) could be very significantly reduced for months.

28. However, French willingness to facilitate cross-border flows means that the Government does not currently expect ‘day one’ disruption to be at the most severe end of its planning assumptions. The French have begun construction of Border Inspection Posts (BIPs) in both Calais and Coquelles, which they intend to have operational for day one after exit. However, at this stage only initial ground works are underway. The recruitment of vets for these BIPs began in November 2018. The French also intend to increase the capacity of the Douane (French Customs) to process HGVs arriving from the UK, and some French politicians have also indicated recently that they want to keep traffic as fluid as possible.

29. One of the most visible ways in which the UK would be affected by delays in goods crossing the Channel is our food supply, 30% of which comes from the EU. Although our food supply is diverse, resilient, and sourced from a wide variety of countries, the potential disruption to trade across the Short Channel Crossings would lead to reduced availability and choice of products. This would not lead to an overall shortage of food in the UK, and less than 1 in 10 food items would be directly affected by any delays across the Short Channel Crossings. However, at the time of year we will be leaving the EU, the UK is particularly reliant on the Short Channel Crossings for fresh fruit and vegetables. In the absence of other action from Government, some food prices are likely to increase, and there is a risk that consumer behaviour could exacerbate, or create, shortages in this scenario. As of February 2019, many businesses in the food supply industry are unprepared for a no deal scenario.

30. In order to mitigate against the lack of business readiness for no deal, the Government has announced transitional simplified procedures for EU trade at rollon roll-off ports, which will make it easier for traders importing from the EU to comply with customs requirements immediately after EU Exit. HMRC has also published its intention to phase in Entry Summary Declarations for imports from the EU over six months following 29 March 2019, rather than requiring these from day 1 of exit. Tariffs 31. In a no deal scenario there would be wider macroeconomic effects, and a number of factors would impact on the trade and economic viability of UK industries, and in particular could be expected to increase the price of imports Such factors would include the resurrection of non-tariff barriers with the EU, and countries covered by EU free trade agreements but not yet new UK ones, and any restrictions at the border which could delay imports and exports. Despite the use of a continuity approach where possible, and notwithstanding very significant efforts to prepare for a no deal scenario, the impact of a no deal scenario is likely to be severe in a number of areas.

32. Industries would need to respond to the application of EU tariffs. These would vary by sector. While for some sectors (such as life sciences or electronics) the effect of any tariffs would be minor, other sectors would be more affected. For example, the EU would introduce tariffs of around 70% on beef and 45% on lamb exports, and 10% on finished automotive vehicles. This would be compounded by the challenges of even modest reductions in flow at the border. Given the unprecedented nature of the sort of economy-wide adjustment that would be required in a no deal scenario, it is impossible to accurately predict the ability of businesses to adapt. The second order effects on local economies dominated by a small number of industries, or on businesses in the supply chains for those companies, is also hard to predict with precision, although it would be likely to be uncertain and costly.

33. Case study: The automotive industry. The UK automotive industry is highly export intensive. In 2018, 81.5% of UK vehicle production (1.24 million vehicle) was exported. 42.8% of UK vehicle production was exported to the EU27. The risk of no deal is of major concern for the industry, due to the high tariffs which would be applied on exports to the EU. This would be 10% on finished vehicles, and around 2.5 - 4% on components. Although wider macroeconomic effects will influence how the sector is affected, low operating margins may mean that in many cases extra costs could be likely to be passed on to consumers at the showroom. Car manufacturers also use a just-in-time production model, which would be disrupted by delays at the border.

34. The Government will bring forward secondary legislation and set out the UK import tariff in a no deal scenario soon, in line with the provisions in the Taxation (CrossBorder Trade) Act. The Government is committed to an open and liberal economy that works for everyone. There needs to be a balance between protecting consumers and downstream users from the possible price impacts of a no deal scenario and avoiding the exposure of industries to unfair competition. Further details will be announced in due course. Northern Ireland

35. Overall, the cumulative impact from a ‘no deal’ scenario is expected to be more severe in Northern Ireland than in Great Britain, and to last for longer. This is because of Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances, including in particular its geographical position as the only part of the UK with a land border with the EU, and the current lack of an Executive in Northern Ireland.

36. The Government has been clear that it is committed to avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland in any scenario. The Government will shortly publish further details on its immediate, temporary, arrangements for trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland in a no deal scenario. The Government would need to work urgently with the Irish Government and the EU to find any sustainable longerterm solution.

37. In a no deal scenario there is an expectation of disruption to closely interwoven supply chains and increasing costs that would affect the viability of many businesses across Northern Ireland. There is a risk that businesses in Northern Ireland will not have sufficient time to prepare. This could result in business failure, and/or relocation to Ireland with knock-on consequences for the Northern Ireland economy and unemployment. Northern Ireland is particularly vulnerable given its high proportion of, and reliance upon SMEs (75% of all private sector employment) and the number of businesses who trade directly with Ireland (Northern Ireland’s largest international export market). The agri-food sector is a disproportionately large part of Northern Ireland’s economy and located predominantly in border / rural areas. It is particularly vulnerable given its reliance on cross-border supply chains in the production stage and in finished products. Disruption could also include impacts for the single electricity market (SEM), cross-border cooperation on areas such as crime and security, and potential for community tensions to be heightened. Groups could seek to exploit gaps in law enforcement and any divergence between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which may lead to increases in smuggling and associated criminality. The Government is committed to restoring an Executive in Northern Ireland but in this context this would become more challenging.

38. Case Study - Single Electricity Market. The Single Electricity Market (SEM) between Northern Ireland and Ireland is integrated more than any other crossborder wholesale market. In the first instance, even in a no deal scenario, the UK would seek to agree with Ireland a continuation of the SEM, which would minimise impact on exit. This relies on cooperation with Ireland and the EU, which is not within the UK’s gift to unilaterally control or mitigate. Service sectors

39. The service sector (which makes up around 80% of UK GDP) is supported by free movement of people and a range of cross-cutting regulation such as mutual recognition of qualifications. In a no deal scenario, UK businesses would be treated as third-country service providers by the EU. The UK would risk a loss of market access and increase in non-tariff barriers. UK businesses would face barriers to establishment and service provisions in the EU which they had not previously faced, including nationality requirements, mobility, recognition of qualifications and regulatory barriers when setting up subsidiaries in EU member states.

40. Case study - legal services. The legal services sector generated £31.5bn in revenue in the UK in 2016, as well as underpinning other service sectors including the financial industry. UK legal professionals benefit from being able to provide full service to clients, across the EU as well as domestically. In a no deal scenario, the EU has said that UK nationals would be treated in the same was as third country nationals with regards to recognition of their professional qualifications. This would mean the loss of the automatic right to provide short term ‘fly in fly out’ services, as the type of work lawyers can do in each individual member state may vary, and the loss of rights of audience in EU courts. UK lawyers and businesses would be responsible for ensuring they can operate in each Member State they want to work in.

41. Case study - financial services. In the financial services sector, firms could lose their regulatory permissions to conduct cross-border business in a ‘no deal’ exit. In addition, the Commission has implied that third country access (‘equivalence’) will not be in place for the UK across EU legislation in no deal. The Government has taken action to minimise disruption for UK households and businesses, including by introducing temporary regimes for EEA firms operating in the UK. The European Commission has also taken action in some areas, and some Member States are introducing ‘no deal’ legislation to mitigate risks of disruption to certain financial services provided by UK-based firms. However, as the Financial Policy Committee said in its Financial Stability Report in November 2018, it is unclear how comprehensive Member State actions to mitigate certain risks will be by March. The Commission has stated that it is only focusing on areas in its self-interest, for EU financial stability, and that any decisions taken may be conditional and time-limited.

42. In addition to this, financial services firms have set up new European entities as part of their no-deal planning. The Financial Policy Committee also said in its Financial Stability Report from November 2018 that the UK banking system is strong enough to continue to serve UK households and businesses even in the event of a disorderly exit. And most risks of disruption to the financial services that EU firms provide to UK households and businesses in the event of a disorderly exit have been addressed, including through legislation. However, the absence of action by EU authorities to mitigate risks in some areas of financial services, there could be some disruption in a no deal scenario. Regulated, integrated and just-in-time industries

43. Goods businesses would face additional regulatory barriers in a no deal scenario. For harmonised goods sectors (such as chemicals, aerospace, medicines and automotive) that are subject to EU common rules, the continuity approach means some form of continued recognition of EU product requirements and associated compliance activity would continue for a limited period after the UK has left the EU in a no deal scenario. This would ensure that these goods continue to flow onto the UK market. 44. Those UK businesses which export goods to the EU would still have to have their products tested with the relevant EU27-based assessment body, which would add to their compliance costs. Existing licences and authorisations for UK authorities would likely not be acceptable in the EU27 beyond the short-term unilateral commitments made by the EU.

45. Case study: The chemicals sector a) The chemicals sector is the UK’s second largest manufacturing exporter by value, exporting £28.3bn in 2017, £17bn of which was exported to the EU. The sector has four main clusters of operations in the North of England and Scotland, and is an important contributor to the local economies. Supply chains are highly integrated within the EU, and products will cross borders a number of times before becoming final products, making them vulnerable to delays at the border. b) Currently, businesses who manufacture or import substances into the EU need to register them with the central European Chemicals Agency. As of August 2018, UK businesses held over 12,000 of these registrations. Following a no deal scenario, UK companies would only be able to sell into the EU providing they have transferred their existing registration to an EU-based entity. The European Chemicals Agency transfer fee for a single registration is around £1,500, excluding admin costs. Businesses would need to meet both UK and EU requirements when they register new chemicals or seek authorisation to sell into both markets, creating duplication of registration fees and additional administrative burdens. EU WTO tariffs of on average 5% would also apply. 46. Trade in non-harmonised goods (such as furniture, sports equipment and bicycles) is governed by the principle of mutual recognition. A UK business that wants to sell goods in the EU would have to conform to the domestic regulations of the first member state that it exports to, and so may have to track multiple domestic requirements, or have less flexibility about where an initial sale can be. However, non-harmonised goods represent a minority of UK-EU trade in goods (26.8% of UK exports to the EU and 16.8% of UK imports from the EU) and it is likely that only a subset of trade is reliant on the mutual recognition principle. This means that in the short term, other factors being equal, the majority of non-harmonised trade in goods would be likely to continue. Data flows

47. Uninterrupted personal data flows are critical for many UK businesses’ processes and all trading activity. For example, a wide range of financial services activities require the transfer of personal data, including the servicing of cross-border contracts and payments. The UK would need to seek adequacy decisions from the EU, which the EU has said they will not start until the UK is a third country. Therefore, in the event of a no deal exit, there would be a gap in the lawful free flow of personal data while the assessment takes place. Alternative legal bases to enable the continued lawful flow of data, in the absence of adequacy, are available. To prepare for a no deal scenario, many UK businesses need to work with their EU partners to secure a legal basis for the continued transfer of personal data from the EEA to the UK. Businesses are at varied levels of readiness and the Government is engaging widely to increase awareness of actions that businesses can take. Citizens

48. Effects of a no deal scenario would also be felt by individuals. In addition to the economic impacts detailed above, there would be practical barriers preventing UK nationals from interacting seamlessly with the EU in the way they do currently. UK nationals would still be able to travel to the Schengen Area visa-free, for 90 days in every 180, but would not be able to undertake paid activity during this time. For UK nationals living in another EU Member State, citizens with less than five years’ residency would be subject to the rules of the Member State in which they are living, including their immigration rules. Although most Member States have now announced unilateral arrangements for resident UK nationals, the offers do vary. The Government is encouraging Member States to reciprocate the rightly generous offer that the UK has made to resident EU nationals, but in the absence of an arrangement of this sort UK nationals would see changes ranging from the administrative to more profound effects, such as the potential need to arrange for healthcare cover. Impact across the UK

49. The effects on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are likely to be similar to those for the rest of the UK, as described above. In addition to issues arising specifically in Northern Ireland, and the economic impacts mentioned in paragraph 20, key examples of particular impact on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland include: a) Impact on the UK’s agriculture, forestry or fishing industries would have particular effects in Scotland. ONS figures demonstrate that these three industries account for 1.21% of Scotland’s economy, compared to 0.46% of England’s. b) Around 92% of Welsh lamb exports by value go to the EU. Consequently, disruption to animal exports would likely be felt strongly by the Welsh lamb industry. c) Impacts on the UK’s food and drink sector would be more pronounced in Wales, Scotland, and particularly Northern Ireland, where the sector comprises 5.07% of the economy, compared to 1.38% for England. British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies

50. The UK Government continues to work closely with British Overseas Territories, Crown Dependencies, and Gibraltar to prepare for all outcomes, including a no deal scenario. Overseas Territories are likely to experience effects to those parts of their economies with close ties with the EU. Conclusions 51. Government has been accelerating its preparations for a no deal scenario since September, with a particular emphasis since December 2018. However, the short time remaining before 29 March 2019 does not allow Government to unilaterally mitigate the effects of no deal. Even where it can take unilateral action, the lack of preparation by businesses and individuals is likely to add to the disruption experienced in a no deal scenario.:::ω.

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The UK Housing Market: The Regional Prices Continue to Fall

 

 

 

|| February 26: 2019: Naomi Heaton Writing || ά. The bad news continues in Prime Central London:PCL with price falls across the month, quarter and year. Average annual prices in January for Prime Central London now stand at £1,809,860. They have fallen 02.4% over the month and 05.4% over the quarter. Transactions in PCL remain at historically low levels and now stand at 3,558, a fall of 15.6% over the year. This is fewer than 69 a week. Harrods Estates is the latest agency to ‘rationalise its business’ by closing their branch on Kensington Church Street.

With just under five weeks to go until the Euro-exit deadline, many investors are delaying any purchase until April, when there, may, at least be ‘a clear direction of travel’. However, there is a new momentum in the market as other investors see a moment of opportunity, before demand and sterling have a chance to strengthen. Average prices for Greater London in January stand at £621,019, showing monthly growth of 0.6% and nominal quarterly growth of 0.1%. Prices are lower than they were prior to the June 2017 General Election, as confidence continues to hamper the London market.

Transactions have fallen 27% since the introduction of the Additional Rate Stamp Duty in April 2016. The last year has seen a drop of 05.2% to 88,224. Notwithstanding, any decision on Eur-exit, this protracted period of uncertainty, may, well continue for 2019 and beyond. Having seen the time taken to negotiate the UK’s exit from the EU, it is likely that the transition period will represent an equally bumpy ride.

In contrast, new build prices have surged ahead showing annual growth of 17.1%. This has resulted in a 21.6% premium over older stock, the highest in almost two decades. Transactions, however, have seen a significant fall of 19.0% over the year. There are now indications that these trends are reversing as developers are obliged to reduce asking prices to gain sufficient traction in the market place to generate sales.

Average prices for January in England and Wales, excluding, Greater London, stand at £259,442. This represents a 0.2% fall in monthly prices and a drop of 02.9% over the quarter. Prices have now been in decline since September 2018. It appears that the uncertainty that has been so apparent in London for some time has now permeated to the rest of the UK.

Annual transactions at 798,296 are now below the levels seen in 2014 and have fallen by 01.9% over the year. The introduction of the Additional Rate Stamp Duty, in hindsight, seems to have been a tipping point for the UK housing market. With a flurry of transactions in the run up to April 2016 to ‘beat’ the new tax, there has been a steady decline ever since.

As Euro-exit uncertainty continues to roll on and the chance of a ‘No Deal’ exit still very much on the table, buyers are viewing any potential purchase as a risk. As property is, by and large, the most expensive purchase of their lives, they are preferring to wait and see, not only what happens on March 29 but, also, during the post-exit transition period.

In contrast to London, the new build sector in England and Wales is showing a more robust performance, with both annual transactions and prices moderately up.

::: Naomi Heaton is the CEO of London Central Portfolio Limited:LCP: LCP is a specialist residential property advisor, focusing on Prime Central London. It has an extensive private client practice and has successfully brought multiple funds to market, capitalising on this sector. :::ω.

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Exiting the European Union: The Labour Party Has Reached an Aligned Developed and Evolved Position: The New Position of the Party: A: Taking No Deal Off the Table: B: Asserting an Alternative Deal to the Conservative Rejected One: C: Seeking a Second Referendum While Delaying the Exit Date

 

 

|| February 25: 2019 || ά. Mr Jeremy Corbyn MP, the Leader of the Labour Party, will tomorrow, Tuesday, February 26, seek to enshrine Labour’s five demands about the UK’s exiting the European Union in law by tabling an amendment to the government’s Exiting the European Union motion.  The Labour Party’s amendment would force the government to make its credible alternative plan the Government’s negotiating objectives, if, passed. Further political shift comes to the Labour Party’s position in relation to exiting the European Union as Mr Jeremy Corbyn is expected to tell a meeting of Labour’s Parliamentary Labour Party, taking place this evening that the Party will back the ‘Cooper-Letwin Amendment’ to take ‘No Deal’ off the table and announce that the Labour Party will, also, put forward or support an amendment in favour of a new Referendum to prevent a damaging Conservative Euro-Exit.

On our last piece, on this issue, published on February 19, we wrote, ‘’Yet, this exiting the European Unions is a self-harm done to itself by the very self, by the very people, led and misled by many and much, which are besides the point now. But, despite that self-harm, you can not take away the yardstick: the people voted in their majority to leave. Acknowledging that and respecting that is and can not but be the very basis of democratic culture and value. Another referendum? The Labour Party has not yet ruled that out but it can not but acknowledge and respect the Referendum. It can not but behave the way it does: for almost half of its MPs are voted by leavers and half the remainers. There can not but be a period and space to come to an aligned, developed and evolved position of mutual respect: the leavers and the remainers. It will come and will come exactly when it has been created in reality. Not until than. It can not be imposed.’’ And, today, Mr Jeremy Corbyn and his Party have reached that ‘aligned, developed and evolved position of mutual respect’. Taking the ‘No Deal’ off the table, delaying the exit deadline and going for a second referendum with clearly setting out the alternative to the Conservative dead and buried Deal is a new direction, taken by the Labour Party, that will reinvigorate the political mathematics and minds.  

The Labour Party’s five demands for an Exit Deal are: i: A permanent and comprehensive customs union with the EU; ii: Close alignment with the Single Market underpinned by shared institutions and obligations; iii: Dynamic alignment on rights and protections; iv: Commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including, in areas, such as, the environment, education and industrial regulation and v: Unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements, including, access to the European Arrest Warrant and vital shared databases.  

Speaking at tonight’s meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, Mr Jeremy Corbyn MP, the Leader of the Labour Party, will say, “The Prime Minister is recklessly running down the clock, in an attempt to force MPs to choose between her botched deal and a disastrous No Deal. We cannot and will not accept. Last week, after our visit to talk to EU officials and leaders in Brussels and Madrid, no one can be in any doubt Labour’s alternative Brexit plan is serious and credible. We are convinced our alternative, which puts jobs and living standards first, could command support in the House of Commons, bring people who voted Leave and Remain together, and be negotiated with the EU.

That’s why we will be putting down an amendment in parliament this week setting out Labour’s plan: for a comprehensive customs union with a UK say; close alignment with the single market; guarantees on rights and standards; protection for Britain’s role in EU agencies; and a security agreement which guarantees access to the European arrest warrant and vital shared databases. And we will be calling for legislation to underpin this mandate.

We will also be backing the Cooper-Letwin amendment to rule out a No Deal outcome. One way or another, we will do everything in our power to prevent No Deal and oppose a damaging Tory Brexit based on Theresa May’s overwhelmingly rejected deal.

That’s why, in line with our conference policy, we are committed to also putting forward or supporting an amendment in favour of a public vote to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit being forced on the country.”

The full text of Labour Party’s amendment, to be tabled tomorrow, reads: ‘’That this House instructs Ministers (a) to negotiate with the EU for changes to the Political Declaration to secure: (i) a permanent and comprehensive customs union with the EU; (ii) close alignment with the single market underpinned by shared institutions and obligations; (iii) dynamic alignment on rights and protections; (iv) commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment, education, and industrial regulation; and (v) unambiguous agreement on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European Arrest Warrant and vital shared databases; (b) to introduce primary legislation to give statutory effect to this negotiating mandate;’’:::ω.

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The Last Thing the United Kingdom Needs: A Blair-Thatcherite Death-Knell Dead Political Party at the Centre Where No One Is or Can Be: For One Is Either With the Many or With the Few: These MPs Have Made Their Choices and the Working People of the Vast Multitude of This Country Must Make and Show Their Choices Too

 

 

|| February 18: 2019 || ά. Did the Labour Party Leader Mr Jeremy Corbyn campaigned for a European Referendum? Did he exist only to get the United Kingdom out of the European Union? Did he create racism and xenophobia and all other forms and manners of discriminations, that take place every day and in every sphere and every domain of this society, against all forms and manners of minorities, which have been happening in much more aggressive, violent and vicious manner, since, the European Referendum? Did he create dog-whistling, which was what was used in the European Referendum and those, who campaigned for the UK to leave used it to their hearts content? Did he invite all these so-called ‘patriotic’ exiters of the European Union to keep on using dog-whistling racism? Did he force the country into two opposing camps? Did he force the two major political parties, his own and the Conservative Party and all other parties and agencies, too, to be grouped into two opposing camps? The answer is, terribly, disappointingly, no. He did none of it. What else has Mr Corbyn done, then, for which he should be ‘tried’ in a ‘political witchcraft’ trial? Did he create the financial crisis? No. Did he initiate and deliver the ruthless, merciless and fierce political economical war against the poor, the vulnerable and the frail? Against the children and families? Against the working poor? Year after year, after year? No.

Well, what else has he done? Did he cut the local government budgets to more than 50%? Did he reduce the Police Services and their human power? No. Did Mr Corbyn close, almost, half of the Magistrate Courts in England? No. Did he dismantle the entire legal aid system? No. Did he cut the education budget? No. Did he cut the social services budget? No. Did he devastate the NHS? No. Did he cripple the social care? No. Did he destroy the local and regional economies, which have been tearing away the local communities? No. Did he create the devastation of losing the manufacturing sector of the economy? No. Did he impose a debt-bondage for the students, who dare to go to Universities? No. Did he leave the entire vital infrastructure of the nation fall apart, including, the entire nation’s housing sector? No. Did he destroy the social housing and create an army of homeless people, millions and millions of them? No. Did he create and increase the number of rough sleepers? No. Did he cause any rough sleeper to die because of his policy? No. Did he cut the child benefit? The working tax credit? Family tax credit? No. Did, for God’s sake, did he or did he not create the food banks? No, he, surely, did not. Did he get the Universal Credit receiving families line the food banks? No. Did he get the working people to line at the food banks? No. Did he himself or get someone to do it for him, damage Karl Marx’s tomb? No. Well, what on earth has he done then with a political office and life: well, he kept on saying: for the many not for the few.

Yet, the left-over remnants of the so-called Blairite New Labour project, that came and destroyed the Labour Party and with it destroyed itself, could not accept democracy. Twice the Labour Party elected this Mr Jeremy Corbyn for its leader and twice they promised ‘thrice’ to destroy and oust him. They kept at it because they were democratic like Mr Blair, so that they do not accept what their party members voted for. Millions and millions of people gathered against Mr Blair’s war but he went in anyway. Why because he had already told his buddy that the UK was with him, regardless. Whether there was any weapon, let alone, for mass destruction. He was gone but did not accept that like Thatcherism, his New Labour project was dead, buried and could not ever be revived for a ‘magician’ can only, fool the people to be able to see the emperor’s clothe, only once. So, being the same-kind of democratic, these folks would not accept Mr Jeremy Corbyn as their leader. Now, they find, well, they, must, do something because, apparently, they won’t bear to see Mr Jeremy Corbyn being the Prime Minister of the UK. They, must, stop that. Why? Well, he, this Mr Corbyn is, too far left. They would rather go to the centre: where is that centre? There is no one in the UK in the centre now: the entire country is clearly market by the vast majority of the poor of vary many types, that are sustained by food banks in a sociological squalor this Conservative Party has been creating and building on. This is how the country is: the vast vast swath of the country is in this vast group, the very many types of poor and homeless people for the majority of the people in the UK are homeless for they do not have a home of their own and, on the other side, a very small group of people, who are rich and they are getting richer every second and every minute and every hour and every day. Therefore, indeed, the Labour Party is not in the centre but with them: that many, that this gentleman, Mr Jeremy Corbyn has been speaking of without fail, every day and every month and every year, ever since, he has started with this politics thing.

So, now they went out all independent but fell short of forming a party of their own. They are waiting for their Conservative fellow to follow suit and others, may be, to join them and, then, they will find their centre where no one is there: the hungry are not in the centre for there is no food. The homeless are not in the centre for there is no home. The rough sleepers are not there for there is no shelter. The working poor are not there for their wages do not feed them so that they line the food banks. The very people, millions of them, who bought their homes and trapped themselves into a life time of miserable existence of quiet and desperate poverty are not there at this so-called centre for they can not pretend any longer that they are rich, since, they have their own homes? The students are not in the centre for there they are stuck with a debt-bondage for daring to study at universities. There was a time when this very Labour Party’s election manifesto was ‘written’ by the Conservative Party, in which, the Labour leadership accepted the Conservative spending pledges! No one dared speaking of or about, let alone, against that death knell of austerity. It was a biblical thing: one, must not say anything about or against it. All that had changed but how? Because this Mr Corbyn dared to challenge the mythologies imposed on the narratives. It was challenged and taken to shreds and dusts. No one thinks of that. The country is falling apart, exit the EU or not, the United Kingdom has been brought to a sociological squalor and on it all the closures and shut downs are now being added every day. The last thing the United Kingdom needs is a Blair-Thatcherite death-knell of a hollow and shallow ‘centrist’ political party with its ‘values’. New Labour could not spell ‘value’ if, the entire ‘revolution’ depended on it. The Labour Party is a political party and force, that everyone now is counting not because what these, now, independent group MPs, a handful of them there are, did or did not do. It is because this Mr Jeremy Corbyn found the values in the hearts and minds of the very people of this country, the many not the few, who wanted a leader for their cause, who fearlessly, shall go about speaking of economic, social and democratic justice for every one and every community, village and town and city for the very creators of wealth: the working people of this country, who the rich keep on robbing and issuing them with a live-in-life-sentence of misery, suffering and agony in horrendous high cruelties of poverties, injustices, hunger and homelessness. Yet, these so-called centrist parties and their values are that: keep the status quo. Do not speak of justice or fairness. Poor you are and you keep on paying the price, serve the live-in-life-sentence, that you are given out. Die in your hundreds on the cold, cruel streets, rough sleeping, stay in debt bondage for the rest of your life for daring to go to universities. Stay homeless for all your life, being persecuted from one place to another for all your life? Work and still keep on turning and twisting in bed because you can not sleep because you are hungry? Go to food banks and line up. Do not you dare raise a finger against the status quo. This is the centre. What happens to the New Labour project’s Leader: he has made himself a millionaire and he has been adding many more millions to his already million-lot of life. That is the status quo of the centre kind of parties.

The country faces a debacle and everything in this country is divided and all are ‘entrenched and dug in’. The more time passes everyone is getting more entrenched and more dug in. Why can not or won’t Mr Corbyn get everyone out of this miserable state? Well, half of the country voted to leave the EU and half the other way. Half of his party one way and the other the other way. Which way does he go? Well, he should show leadership. And what is this fact that the majority, albeit, small, voted to leave, for however way or whatever reasons? What about their concerns. All the Labour MPs, whose constituencies voted to leave? What do these MPs do? What about the Labour MPs, whose constituencies voted to remain? What do they do? Where can the Party go? There is no easy solution and as a political party, the Labour Party can not just stand up and say: well, forget what happened and just do this. Things are not as simple as this and it is impossible to bring to an ‘easy’ headline act: Yet, this exiting the European Unions is a self-harm done to itself by the very self, by the very people, led and misled by many and much, which are besides the point now. But, despite that self-harm, you can not take away the yardstick: the people voted in their majority to leave. Acknowledging that and respecting that is and can not but be the very basis of democratic culture and value. Another referendum? The Labour Party has not yet ruled that out but it can not but acknowledge and respect the Referendum. It can not but behave the way it does: for almost half of its MPs are voted by leavers and half the remainers. There can not but be a period and space to come to an aligned, developed and evolved position of mutual respect: the leavers and the remainers. It will come and will come exactly when it has been created in reality. Not until than. It can not be imposed.  

So, these MPs are poised to have their media endeavours and much more to come but what is clear that the Labour Party has been going on for more than a century and it has gone on and on but it is a positive force for the United Kingdom politics and it is, primarily, the Party, that has shaped and built this United Kingdom with the hands of its millions of working members, working together to inspire the entire nation. This house is much bigger than a handful of MPs to shake and destroy: not with hollow and shallow centrist political nihilism. You are either with the many or with the few. The Labour Party must remain with the many and put up the fight of its political life to lead the country towards a change of direction, away from the sociological squalor this Conservative Party has been building, undoing the very fabric of this country. For the United Kingdom can not go on as this: the country has been falling apart and it is time to change direction and end this Conservative devastation, that have gone on for far too long already. And, in this, the Labour Party, must, remain with and fight for and inspire the many and leave the independent centrist with their shallow and hollow centrist political nihilism, that has nothing to offer to the many but is always in favour for the few.:::ω.

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Citizen Advice Report on Universal Credit: One in Two People Citizens Advice Helps With Universal Credit Struggle to Pay for Housing as They Wait for Payment

 

|| February 06: 2019 || ά. People, claiming Universal Credit, are still struggling to pay for the roof over their heads, despite the wait for their first payment being reduced from six weeks to five, new Citizens Advice data shows. One in two people the Charity helped were in rent arrears or fell behind on their mortgage payments, the same number as when the wait for the first payment was longer. Citizens Advice, also, found 60% of people it helped, were taking out advances while they waited for payment. The research, also, found that, following changes by Government in 2017, fewer people are falling behind on their bills or going without essentials during the wait period.

Payment timeliness has improved, now one in 6 people are not paid in full and on time, while previously, it was one in four. The Report, Managing Money on Universal Credit, released today, shows new analysis, based on the 190,000 people Citizens Advice has helped with Universal Credit. Among the people the Charity helps with debt and Universal Credit: Debt problems are more common for the people the Charity helps with Universal Credit than those claiming benefits under the previous system, with 24% of the people in Universal Credit, also, seeking debt advice.

Nearly one in two, 47%, have no money left after essential living costs, such as, food, housing and transport, to pay creditors or are spending more than they take in. More than four in five, 82%, hold priority debt, such as, council tax, rent arrears or mortgage payments and energy debts. 

Citizens Advice is calling on the government to make Universal Credit far more flexible to fit around people’s lives and to make sure people have enough money to live on. It, also, wants Alternative Payment Arrangements to be more widely available, allowing for rent to be paid direct to a landlord, more frequent payments and a payment to go to both members of a couple. 

Just 03% of claimants currently receive more frequent payments, while just 20 households in the UK receive split payments to different family members.

Four in 10 of the people helped by Citizens Advice are aware of managed payments to landlords, while just one in six know payments can be made more frequently. Ms Gillian Guy, the Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said, “Half the people we help with a Universal Credit claim are still struggling to keep a roof over their heads while they wait for their first payment.

Changes to the waiting period for first payment have improved things for many people but our evidence shows they don’t go far enough. Universal Credit, must, continue to be reformed so it works for all claimants and leaves people with enough money to live on.” 

Citizens Advice surveyed 1,193 people the charity helps with Universal Credit, analysed data from 21,085 debt advice clients and interviewed claimants and frontline advisers for this research. Every area in the UK now has Universal Credit. The number of people claiming the benefit doubled to more than 01.4 million in 2018 and is set to increase by a further 01.6 million people this year. 

Citizens Advice is made up of the national charity Citizens Advice, the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales, the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. 

Read the Report:::ω.

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Exiting the European Union: The Conservative Party Has Finally Fallen Under the Anti-European Group’s Command and Control and the Prime Minister Has Lost the Plot Altogether: What Do the UK and EU Do in the Meanwhile: Well They Should Go and Seek Alternative Arrangements: But Do Mark the Phrase Alternative Arrangements: This Includes a Sudden Departure Into a General Election As and When the Backstop Does Not Move Because Its Makers Did Not Make Any Alternative Arrangement for It

 

 

|| January 31: 2019 || ά. Nothing has changed after all the firing up and clogging up of the parliamentary passages by all sorts of amendments while no one knew, for sure, as to how many amendments there were or their force or implications: but one thing has changed, fundamentally. There were two Conservative Parties in the Government, the pro-eu and anti-eu groups, have been fighting a terminal battle, both seeking to control the party and, through it, control the Prime Minister to get the exit they wanted but they came to a dead-still-equilibrium where neither side was able to overcome the other. Yesterday, for the first time, the anti-european group of the Conservative Party, has triumphed over the pro-eu group and, thus, despite the Prime Minister celebrating her sudden ‘Brady’s branch’ win, Mrs May does not quite understand what that means for her, for her premiership: she is done. The anti-europeans of her Party now owns her and while she will try and she will fail in delivering what they wanted and she will come to an end because they will demand more and dictate more and make her life, even, more challenging.

The Parliament has shown that it was united in one thing: it has rejected a no deal exit. The Government has now no power to overrule the Parliament in this: the exit is, in all likelihoods, almost, sure to not happen on March 29, on the basis that the Government is highly unlikely to be able to secure a deal in this short space of time, a deal, that the Parliament will approve, particularly, when the EU is pretty fixed in their current deal as ‘sealed and closed’ with the back stop staying put. Further, the EU, understandably, acted, so far, as a united ‘pack’, where they behaved, literally, as one and in this, they, always, would seek to ensure Ireland is not left in the cold. After all, Ireland is still in the EU and a part of it while the UK is to leave.  

European Union, as it is as to what it is, will not be what it is, if, it were to accept and let a solid and sure element of a legally enforceable texts, negotiated by the two sides, such as, the back stop, that protects the interests and commitments of one of its members, be replaced by as vague and as pointless a phrase as ‘alternative arrangements’. The backstop is solid and sure whereas the phrase ‘alternative arrangements’ is exactly that: vague or to use an EU phrase, that recently got in the air, ‘nebulous’. The European Union can not and will not go for that nor will Ireland give out in this nor would it be acceptable for the people of Northern Ireland, despite the DUP finding it supportable. Like the Conservative Party, DUP is losing grounds in Northern Ireland, fast and this European Union Referendum has done much to take and erode away their dominance in Northern Irish politics. However, these ‘alternative arrangements will elude the Prime Minister and she will come back to the Parliament to say: Sorry, it can not be done. Then, what: she stays in office and the country fast forwards to March 29 and the UK crashes out of the European Union? That is not going to happen, since, the Parliament has, already, instructed the Government to not leave the EU without a deal. The Prime Minister, then, will be forced to extend the Article 50 deadline and all she could do is offer a General Election, which marks the end of her run for she has, already, said, despite wanting to, she would not be leading the Conservative Party into the next General Election.

This is the recent precedent of the falling apart of the Conservative dominance in British politics. Mr David Cameron got the country into this mess in the first place and, having failed to persuade the people to vote to stay in the European Union, he just stood up and threw in the towel. Well, he, still now, says that he has no regret. He was gone in the wind. Then, came Mrs May, who campaigned for remain and, then, suddenly, became the ‘deliverer’ of the exit and now, it appears that, like Mr Cameron, she has had her days, now, as it stands, days, that are numbered. She has been staying in office on a series of ‘block release course’, whereby she rides on and survives through a huge challenge and earns a ‘brief respite’ for a ‘block of days’ and, then, comes back and earns another block of few more days. But this can not go on for far too long. This time, this block of days, may, last till mid February. But she has now reached this point to follow Mr David Cameron’s precedent and call it a day, unwillingly.

By mid February the Government, must, make a decision as to whether to ask the EU for an extension of the March 29 deadline for the exit. That leaves the next phase in the air. There is no new deal and the Prime Minister has nowhere else to go to get one. The only thing left open to her is to tell the country that she was recommending the Parliament to be dissolved for a new General Election and she was resigning as the Leader of the Conservative Party so that it could elect a new Leader, who would and could take their Party to that Election while she remains in office.

And, that General Election is fought by the political parties as to where they stand in relation to exiting the European Union and, based on that, they get elected or rejected by the people and the issue will be resolved. That is the most likely outcome of all, that has been going on and will have been going on from now till March 29. While, all these are going on, the country is paralysed and the challenges are piling up and nothing can wait any longer for a frozen government to unfreeze itself and realise that is has a country to govern and that means actions, public policy making, managing and directing and working with the economy and legislating and so on, none of which can wait any longer. To break this inertia of Government inaction and freeze the only ‘political electric shock’ available for the public is get them the opportunity to give a kicking to those, who are to govern the country so that they wake up and ask: Where are we? What are we supposed to be doing?:::ω.

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Housing: The LCPAca Residential Index 2018 Report: 2018 Year End Sees Prices and Sales Plummet

 

 

|| January 29: 2019: Naomi Heaton Writing || ά. Average annual prices in December for Prime Central London:PCL, now, stand at £1,844,031. They have fallen 06.0% over the month and 10.2% over Quarter Four of 2018. Whilst prices have increased, marginally, over the year, this is not a cause for optimism. It is attributable to greater activity at the higher priced end of the market, where the most significant discounts are available. This skews average prices upwards but, even, this ‘high-end’ effect is tapering off as activity stalls.

There were just 3,514 recorded transactions in 2018, fewer than 68 sales a week. This represents a fall of 16.4% over the year and sales are now below the previous all-time low, seen during the Global Financial Crisis. There were just 57 new build transactions in the last recorded quarter. The political turmoil the UK is currently weathering is being acutely felt throughout the country but, nowhere more so than in PCL. With the Prime Minister’s deal being voted down and no clear cross-party consensus, it appears, we are now, even, further away from a post-exit road map away from the EU. This continues to dampen investor sentiment.

However, from a buyer’s perspective, this period of low competition and suppressed prices is an excellent opportunity. The fundamentals, that underpin the desirability of PCL as a global destination have not changed. Those, who, still, believe in these fundamentals are able to acquire properties at material discounts, with the potential for significant uplift in the medium to long term.

Average prices for Greater London in December 2018 were £619,888, falling by 01.1% over the final quarter. This is lower than the average price seen in June 2017, when the Prime Minister held a snap general election. At the time she declared that it was ‘the only way to guarantee certainty and security for the years ahead’. With the benefit of hindsight, this has not been the case.

The average price for the last 12 months to December was £615,625, representing annual growth of, just, 01.3% for 2018, the lowest level since the financial crisis. Transactions for 2018 amounted to 86,869, a drop of 07.1% over the year. Sales in the capital have now declined for four consecutive years amounting to a fall of 27%.

This decline coincided with the introduction of graduated SDLT and the Mortgage Market Review, which had a disproportionately negative impact in Greater London, where average house prices are, significantly, higher than the UK as a whole.

More recent political and economic events have added more fuel to the fire and there are very few signs that this is likely to change. With EU exit looming, the property market is desperate for some positive news to restore confidence.

Average prices in England and Wales, excluding, Greater London, stood at £262,126 for December, a fall of 0.7% over the final quarter. The average price for the last 12 months was £257,668. This represented annual growth of just 02.8% for 2018, the lowest since 2013.

Transactions for 2018 stood at 783,913, a drop of 03.7% over the year. This is the largest annual fall since the financial crisis as a ‘wait and see’ attitude towards moving house or investing becomes ever more prevalent.

Whilst transaction levels have fallen ever since the introduction of Additional Rate Stamp Duty in 2016, undoubtedly, the uncertainty around EU exit is having a far more punitive effect than increased buying costs. This negative sentiment has, also, spilled into the new build market where growth in annual transactions is just 03.6%.

With no positive news of late, coupled with the infighting within the parties and government, it is difficult to foresee any significant changes to current market sentiment. Unity and clarity would now go some way to restoring confidence not only to the property market but to all facets of UK enterprise.

The LCPAca Residential Index 2018 Report is is based on every transaction for full market value recorded by HM Land Registry in England and Wales, including, prices of properties bought with cash and new builds, as opposed to statistics based on asking prices, mortgage approvals or selective samples. The index tracks residential property prices and transactions within England and Wales, Greater London and Prime Central London.

::: Naomi Heaton is the CEO of London Central Portfolio Limited:LCP: LCP is a specialist residential property advisor, focusing on Prime Central London. It has an extensive private client practice and has successfully brought multiple funds to market, capitalising on this sector :::ω.

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The Whitehall Monitors 2019: The Uncertainties of Exiting the European Union Are Causing Serious Disruptions Across Government and Have Distracted From the Day to Day Business of Government Including the Delivery of Public Services and Management of Major Projects

 

 

 

 

|| January 22: 2019 || ά. The uncertainties of Exiting the European Union are causing serious disruptions across government and have distracted from the day to day business of government, including, the delivery of public services and management of major projects. Published today by the Institute for Government, the sixth annual Whitehall Monitor Report 2019 collects and analyses data to enable those running government to be more effective and to help the Parliament and the public hold them to account.

The report finds that i: The demands of exiting the EU have reversed the recent shrinking of the civil service, from a post-war low of 384,260 in June 2016 to 404,160 in September 2018. This recruitment drive has reversed one in five of the job cuts between 2010 and the referendum; ii: Minority government and exiting the EU have constrained the Government’s ability to pass legislation. Only five of the 13 bills, which the Government has said it needs to pass ahead of the exit, have made it through Parliament.

ii: There have been an unprecedented number of ministerial resignations, 21 in total, from the election to the end of 2018, many of which can be attributed to the exit. This means more than half of current Cabinet ministers and half of all ministers took on their role only in 2018; iii: High levels of civil service turnover are proving both expensive, costing up to £74 million each year and disruptive, as knowledge and expertise is lost. In the last year some departments, including, the Treasury, lost one in five of their civil servants, either to other departments or to roles outside the civil service, partly, due to the exit.

iv: Civil servants across Whitehall have been redeployed to focus on the exit, with a third of Treasury staff working on the exit.

v: The risk of major projects, of which there are currently 133, not being delivered on time and on budget, is growing. Less than a fifth of major projects are currently rated green, successful delivery is likely or amber:green rating, successful delivery is probable, compared to, almost, half in 2013. HS2, meanwhile, is now rated amber:red, major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas.

On the positive side, the last year has seen developments in the professional expertise of the civil service and the continued growth of digital public services, as well as, impressive speed in hiring more people to work on the exit.

Read the Report:::ω.

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So the First Thing She Must Do Is Recognise the Clear Majority in This House Against Leaving Without a Deal and to Rule Out No Deal: Stop the Colossal Waste of Public Money: So Mr Speaker No More Phoney Talks: Parliament Will Debate and Decide: And This Time the Government Must Listen: Jeremy Corbyn MP

 

 

 

|| January 21: 2019 || ά. Mr Jeremy Corbyn MP, the Leader of the Labour Party, speaking at the House of Commons, responding to Mrs Theresa May’s Statement on Exiting the European Union, today, said, ‘’Mr Speaker, I thank the Prime Minister for an advance copy of her statement. I join the Prime Minister in condemning the car bomb attack we have seen in Londonderry and commend the emergency services and local community for their response. The huge achievement of the Good Friday Agreement in reducing violence in Northern Ireland must never be taken for granted.

The government still appears not to have come to terms with the scale of the defeat in this House last week. The Prime Minister seems to going through the motions of accepting that result but in reality is in deep denial. The logic of that decisive defeat is that the Prime Minister must change her red lines because her current deal is undeliverable. So can she be clear and explicit to the House: which of her red lines is she prepared to move on? The Prime Minister’s invitations to talks have been exposed as a PR sham.

Every opposition party politician came out of those meetings with the same response. Contrary to what the Prime Minister has just said, there was no flexibility; there were no negotiations; nothing had changed. But Mr Speaker, I welcome the commitment that the fee for EU citizens to apply for Settled Status will be waived. Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister was fond of saying: “this is the best possible deal on the table, it is the only possible deal on offer”.

But our EU negotiating partners are clear and I quote: “Unanimously the European Council have always said that if the UK chooses to shift its red lines in the future … and to go beyond a simple free trade agreement, then the EU will be immediately ready to give a favourable response.” This House voted to hold the referendum. It voted to trigger Article 50. There is a clear majority of this House to support a deal in principle and to respect the referendum result.

But it requires the Prime Minister to face reality, and accept her deal has been comprehensively defeated. Instead, we now understand the Prime Minister is going back to Europe to seek concessions on the backstop. Can I ask the Prime Minister, what is the difference between legal assurances and concessions? What makes her think that what she tried to renegotiate in December will succeed in January? This really does feel like Groundhog Day.

So the first thing she must do is recognise the clear majority in this House against leaving without a deal and to rule out ‘no deal’. Stop the colossal waste of public money planning for an outcome. 

Questions too must be asked of the Chancellor. He reassured businesses that ‘no deal’ would be ruled out by the Commons, yet he is sanctioning £04.2 billion to be spent on an option he believes will be ruled out. The Foreign Secretary last week said it was “very unrealistic” to believe that the House of Commons would not find a way to block ‘no deal’.

Mr Speaker, can I ask the Prime Minister to meet first with her Chancellor and Foreign Secretary to see if they can convince her to do what is in her power and rule out ‘no deal’? If she will not do that now, will she confirm to the House that if an amendment passes that rules out ‘no deal’ she will implement that instruction?

The Prime Minister agreed the backstop because of her pledge to the people of Northern Ireland to avoid a hard border. But ‘no deal’ would mean a hard border in Ireland and break the Prime Minister’s commitment. Is she seriously willing to accept a hard border? But today heralds the start of a democratic process, where this House will debate amendments that will determine how we navigate Brexit.

Of course, the government tried to block us ever getting to this stage, they wanted to have no democratic scrutiny whatsoever. Labour has set out and I believe there may be a majority in this House for such a proposal. For a new comprehensive customs union with the EU; a strong single market deal that delivers frictionless trade; and ensures no race to the bottom on workers’ rights.

We will, as we have said consistently from the beginning, back amendments that seek to rule out the disaster of ‘no deal’. And as we have said, we will not rule out the option of a public vote. So Mr Speaker, no more phoney talks. Parliament will debate and decide. And this time the government must listen.’’:::ω.

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Financial Interests of Patient Organisations Involved in Assessing NHS Treatments: New Research Calls for Stronger Policy on Disclosure and Greater Transparency From Patient Organisations and Manufacturers to Reassure the Public That the Healthcare Decisions Are Not Unduly Influenced by the Industry

 

 

|| January 21: 2019: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine News || ά. More than two thirds of patient organisations involved in assessing treatments for the NHS use received funding from the maker:s or a competitor of that treatment, yet, decision makers were aware of less than a quarter of these interests, according to new research published in the BMJ.

The research team, led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is calling for stronger policy on disclosure and greater transparency from patient organisations and manufacturers to reassure the public that healthcare decisions are not unduly influenced by industry. Involving patients in decisions on public funding of medicines and treatments is essential to an accurate and fair assessment of the value of new technologies.

At the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence:NICE in England, patient organisations are, often, involved in assessing new and existing medicines and treatments for use by the NHS in England and Wales, known as, technology appraisal. Yet, if, patients’ perspectives are truly given weight by decision makers any potential bias, must, also, be taken into account.

The study team investigated the prevalence of financial interests among patient organisations, contributing to technology appraisals at NICE and the extent to which decision-making committees are aware of these interests.

The researchers assessed 53 patient organisations, contributing to 41 NICE technology appraisals, published in 2015 and 2016, with 117 separate occasions, that a patient organisation contributed to the appraisal of a technology. Pharmaceutical industry funding was determined from manufacturers’ declarations and accounts, annual reports, websites and responses from patient organisations.

They found that 38 of 53, 72% patient organisations held specific interests, funding from manufacturer:s of a technology under appraisal or competitor products in the same year that the patient organisation contributed to the appraisal or the year before.

Specific interests were present on 92 of 117, 79% occasions that organisations contributed to appraisals.

Yet, the results show that NICE’s committees were aware of less than a quarter, 30 of 144; 21% of specific interests. And for nearly two thirds of the specific interests unknown to committees, 71 of 114; 62%, disclosure by patient organisations was not required by NICE’s current policy.

Dr Kate Mandeville, the Lead Author from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said, “It is essential that patients can contribute to decisions over which new drugs should be made available on the NHS. Patients’ perspectives give important information on the impact of the condition and lead to better decisions.

NICE has been a pioneer in involving patients in drug decisions and the high level of contributions from patient organisations seen in our study is an indicator of success. However, we found that NICE’s disclosure policy does not provide decision makers with enough information on funding received by patient organisations from drug manufacturers.

NICE needs to urgently strengthen its disclosure policy for patient organisations to reassure the public that drug decisions are not unduly influenced by industry.”

The authors say that their results provide a valid assessment that financial interests are highly prevalent among patient organisations, contributing to health technology assessment and such interests need to be systematically identified to improve transparency.

Although, the Study was strengthened by using a systematic and comprehensive search for relevant interests of patient organisations, the researchers acknowledge the limitations, including, some incomplete and inconsistent reporting by patient organisations and manufacturers.

The Paper: Financial interests of patient organisations contributing to technology assessment at England’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence: policy review: Kate L Mandeville, Rosie Barker, Alice Packham, Charlotte Sowerby, Kielan Yarrow, Hannah Patrick: Published in BMJ:::ω.

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The Labour Party Tables Amendment to Break the Exiting the European Union Deadlock

 

 

|| January 21: 2019 || ά. The Labour Party has today tabled an amendment to last night’s government motion to break the Exiting the EU deadlock and to protect the UK from a No Deal outcome. The amendment would instruct the government to rule out a ‘disastrous No Deal and allow parliament to consider and vote on options to break the impasse.’

That would include a: An alternative exit deal, that protects jobs, living standards and workers’ rights and environmental standards, including, through a comprehensive customs union with a UK say and strong single market deal; b: The option of a public vote on a deal or proposal on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union;

c: The amendment reflects the Labour Party’s existing policy of a Jobs First Exit, along with the unanimously agreed Party Conference policy of keeping all options on the table to avoid a No Deal exit, including, the option of a public vote.

Mr Jeremy Corbyn MP, the Leader of the Labour Party, said, “Theresa May has shown today that she has no Plan B after the comprehensive rejection of her botched Brexit deal by MPs last week. The prime minister is both refusing to change her red lines or take the threat of a no deal exit off the table. MPs must now act to break the deadlock.

Our amendment will allow MPs to vote on options to end this Brexit deadlock and prevent the chaos of a No Deal.

It is time for Labour’s alternative plan to take centre stage, while keeping all options on the table, including, the option of a public vote.”:::ω.

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Barnardo’s Launches Its Tenth Annual Fostering Campaign: The Charity Calls for More People to Consider Foster Caring As the Number of Children in Care in England Rises 27% in a Decade

 

 

|| January 20: 2019 || ά. More children are being taken into care with fewer foster carers to look after them, according to Barnardo’s as the Agency launches its 10th annual fostering campaign, fronted by The Only Way Is Essex Actor Ms Lydia Bright and Ms Debbie Douglas. Bernardo’s emphasises the fact that the number of children in care in England has risen by 27 per cent in the last 10 years as the Charity urgently appeals for more people to consider fostering. In the past decade, Barnardo’s foster carers have looked after thousands of children, giving them the best chance to have a happier and positive future.

However, the Charity is concerned that there are not enough suitable foster families to take care of the increasing numbers of vulnerable children in care. Increasing child poverty, a lack of early intervention and support for families before they reach crisis point and a heightened awareness of abuse and neglect are among the complex reasons more and more children and young people are being taken into care. But figures from Ofsted show that the number of approved carers has dropped by 950 in just one year. If, these trends continue it will become, even, more difficult to find good foster placements for vulnerable children.

Now, Barnardo’s is celebrating ten years since its first UK Fostering Campaign and the Charity’s foster carers have welcomed vulnerable children into their families more than 8,288 times across the UK. The Charity’s Fostering Ambassadors Ms Lydia Bright and Ms Debbie Douglas are fronting this year’s campaign, calling for more people to step forward to take on this rewarding role to ensure that vulnerable children have a loving family to support them when they need it.

The mother and daughter have been a fostering family for more than 25 years for more than 250 children.  Ms Douglas said, “Having a safe and caring family is so important when you are growing up. With so many more children coming into care, it’s so crucial that more people become foster carers. Knowing you can provide that loving family for a child when they need it most is so rewarding and can really help to transform their lives  and yours.”

Ms Lydia Bright said, ‘’We have loved having foster children as part of our family; it is incredible to see the difference having a caring, supportive family can make. We are proud to play a part in helping them to have a happy childhood and positive future.”

Mr Javed Khan, the Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, said, “As the number of children in care continues to rise, we need more foster carers than ever before. At Barnardo’s we find loving families for vulnerable children in communities across the UK and we give foster carers the training and support they need.

Being a foster carer can be a challenge but it’s, also, incredibly rewarding and gives children the love, care and life skills they need to build better and brighter futures.  I want to thank all of our amazing foster carers for helping us transform children’s lives. And I would urge anyone considering becoming a foster carer to get in touch to find out more. Incredible things happen when you believe in children.”

Barnardo’s points out these statistics: In England, on March 31, 2008, there were 59,370 children in care, 70 per cent of whom were in foster care. By March 31, 2018, the figure had increased to 75,420, up by 27 per cent in a decade and with 73 per cent of those children living in foster care at that time. The number of children in foster care itself has increased by 31.4 per cent in a decade.

In contrast, the number of approved foster carers is decreasing, with the latest available figures from Ofsted showing that in England, as of March 31, 2017, this number was reduced to 61,415, compared with 62,365 in March 2016. The reasons behind the decrease are complex and can include birth children living at home for longer and rising house prices meaning that prospective carers do not have the required spare room and older foster carers are reaching retirement age while younger families are becoming increasingly responsible for their own parents care as they get older.

A continuation of these trends will mean that it will become more difficult to find the best foster carers for vulnerable children when they most need a loving family. Carers need to have the right training and skills, live in the right location and be available at the right time for a child, who is disabled, are siblings, older children or from a religious or minority ethnic background.

This could mean that children have to wait longer before finding the best match or that they, may, need to be moved to a different family several times because the most appropriate carer is not available, which can have a negative impact on a child.

One Barnardo’s Carer, who knows the difference a safe and stable foster family can make to a child’s life is Ms Helen Elward, 62, from Rugby, who has provided specialist foster care for almost 40 children in the last eight years. They are, often, some of the most vulnerable in the care system, on bail or remand or affected by child sexual exploitation  and stay with Ms Elward for anything from a few days to several months.

Ms Elward said, “Young people sometimes feel society has given up on them, so they give up on themselves. It’s amazing to see the difference you can make in such a short space of time.  We can help them to completely transform their lives. They can talk about their problems, if, they want to and we try to build their self-confidence and enable them to be the person they can be.

They’ve gone on to university, established their own businesses and started families. Sometimes, they just need someone to believe in them; perhaps, they’ve never had that before.”

To find out more about becoming a foster carer or the support Barnardo’s can offer visit  barnardos.org.uk/fostering or call 0800 0277 280.

About Barnardo's: Last year 301,100 children, young people, parents and carers were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 1,000 services across the UK, such as, young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes. We work to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year we help thousands of families to build a better future. But we can not do it without you.

Caption:  Debbie Douglas, Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan and Lydia Bright: Image: Barnardo's:::ω.

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Does Every Little Help: The New Government Scheme Help to Save Account Helps Savers Get a 50% Government Boost to Their Savings: Save £50 a Month for Four Years and Get £1,200 Bonus: 80,000 Have Opened One Depositing 10 Million

 

 

|| January 20: 2019 || ά. A new initiative run by the HMRC is available now, which lets savers set their own savings goals and personal reminders, to keep on track and maximise bonuses. The account offers working people on lower incomes, i.e, on Working Tax Credit and Universal Credit, a 50% bonus, with Help to Save rewarding savers with an extra 50p for every £01 saved.

Over a four-year period a maximum saving of £2,400 would result in an overall bonus of £1,200. The Government hopes that Help to Save is easy to use, flexible and secure and will help those on lower incomes build up a ‘rainy day’ fund and encourage savings behaviours and habits. How much is saved and when is up to the account holder and they don’t need to pay in every month to get a bonus.

Mr John Glen, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said, ‘’The new year is a good time to start getting into the habit of saving and with Help to Save you’ll get a massive 50% boost from the government.

Whether you are saving for a family break, putting money away for a rainy day or, even, saving for next Christmas, Help to Save is designed to make saving as simple as possible.’’

Account holders can save between £01 and £50 every calendar month and accounts last for four years from the date the account is opened. After two years, savers get a 50% tax-free bonus on the highest balance they’ve achieved. If, they continue saving they could receive another 50% tax-free bonus after a further two years.

On maximum savings of £2,400 over four years, the overall bonus would be £1,200.

To Open a Help to Save Account:::ω.

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