Brexit deal on financial services agreed with EU
Theresa May has reached a tentative deal with the European Union which would grant UK financial services access to European markets after Brexit, according to reports.
British and EU negotiators are said to have reached a deal which would mean EU “equivalence”, in which Brussels grants access to foreign banks if their rules converge with the EU’s, would be extended to UK financial services.
According to reports from the Times, the EU will accept that the UK has “equivalent” financial regulations to Brussels, and UK financial services will be able to continue working with the EU as they have done up until now.
Government sources confirmed on Thursday morning that a tentative deal had been reached with the EU, and that the agreement was expected to be finalised within three weeks.
EU to hold ‘no-deal’ planning seminars in November
The EU is ramping up its preparations for no deal as Brexit day approaches, with the blog agreeing to hold a series of no deal planning seminars in November to prepare for the possibility of the UK crashing out of negotiations.
The seminars will reportedly cover citizens’ rights, transport, border controls, customs, and financial services.
With the date of 29th March fast-approaching, the UK and EU are yet to reach an agreement on some key issues such as the Irish border backstop.
Labour seeks amendment to budget, increasing tax on top 5%
Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell has attempted to appease members of his party, who criticised him for not taking a stand against the government’s budget on Monday – which saw income tax cuts for higher earners – by seeking to increase the rates paid by the top 5% of earners.
In his Autumn budget on Monday, the chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the government would raise the personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher-rate threshold to £50,000.
Labour MPs called for the party to reject these changes, as they would disproportionately benefit higher earners, however McDonnell said that Labour would not “take money out of people’s pockets”.
Labour’s new amendment has been put forward as a way of clarifying the party’s stance on the budget, and on tax cuts overall – McDonnell’s proposed policy has long been to introduce a higher tax on the top 5%. The amendment itself has virtually no chance of actually being passed.
Dominic Raab backs down from ‘weeks’ to ‘no set date’
The Brexit secretary Dominic Raab made an embarrassing backtrack from his claim that Brexit negotiations could be completed within three weeks’ time.
The three-week expectation came after a letter he had sent a select committee was released, in which Raab – responding to calls to appear before the committee – said: “happy to give evidence when a deal is finalised, and currently expect November 21 to be suitable”.
A spokesperson for Raab’s department later said: “There is no set date for the negotiations to conclude. The 21st November was the date offered by the Chair of the Select Committee for the Secretary of State to give evidence.”
After Raab backtracked from the claim hours after the release of the letter, the shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer remarked that it was “one of the quickest U-turns in political history”.
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