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China threatens to make British companies pay for Huawei ban

“Beijing has threatened retaliation against British companies in China, hinting that Boris Johnson had failed the “litmus test” for future trade deals after blocking Huawei from 5G networks. Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, announced yesterday that telecoms companies would be barred from buying Huawei equipment from January next year. The Chinese company’s technology will be stripped out of the 5G network entirely by 2027. The announcement, which threatens Mr Johnson’s manifesto promise to supply superfast broadband to every home and business across the country by 2025, prompted a warning from Beijing that Britain should expect retaliation.” – The Times

Sunak orders urgent review of capital gains tax…

“The chancellor has ordered a review of capital gains tax that could result in the Treasury clawing back billions of pounds from homeowners and investors to help to pay for the coronavirus outbreak. Rishi Sunak turned his attention to the levy as the independent budget watchdog warned that he would need to raise taxes to bring the public finances back under control. Mr Sunak said last week that he was prepared to take difficult decisions after spending £188 billion on tackling the virus and mitigating its economic damage since March.” – The Times

… as unemployment is predicted to rise by 1.3 million when furlough ends

“About 15 per cent of furloughed workers will lose their jobs when the scheme ends, the Office for Budget Responsibility predicted yesterday, backing up an earlier gloomy forecast from the Bank of England that 1.3 million people would be added to the dole queues. The OBR has said that higher taxes or spending cuts totalling as much as £60 billion will be needed to fix the budget deficit deal with the legacy of debt from the coronavirus crisis.” – The Times

Johnson fails to stave off Huawei rebellion

“Boris Johnson has failed to head off a Tory rebellion over Huawei despite banning the buying of new equipment from the Chinese telecoms firm from January and pledging to strip it from Britain’s 5G network by 2027. A group of Conservative MPs who have been putting pressure on the Government to ban Huawei will table a series of amendments when legislation comes to Parliament in the autumn to try and win further concessions. Concerns have been raised that telecoms companies will buy cheap Huawei equipment by January and continue to install it for years, as well as fears about the exclusion of 3G and 4G from the ban.” Daily Telegraph

  • Downing Street believed it had split the Tory rebel group – FT
  • “This is about US trade policy”, says Huawei’s UK spokesman – Daily Telegraph
  • BT to keep Huawei parts in grid for 999 services – The Times
  • Trump signs Hong Kong act clearing the way for China sanctions – FT

Con Coughlin: We must stand with the free world against China

“In the end, the Government did not have any other realistic option than to cancel the continued involvement of the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in developing Britain’s 5G network. A combination of the Trump administration’s decision in May to deny Huawei access to vital electronic components, together with the mounting unease among Conservative backbench MPs over Beijing’s increasingly autocratic conduct, meant that Huawei’s fate had been sealed long before Oliver Dowden, the Digital Secretary, made his Commons statement today. Boris Johnson’s decision, in January, to allow Huawei limited access to Britain’s 5G system was always going to be a risky call”. – Daily Telegraph

Face masks in all public places under consideration…

“Face coverings could soon be recommended in all public places including offices and other workplaces after ministers introduced new laws forcing people to wear them in shops, the Telegraph has learnt. Officials have begun private talks with groups representing major employers amid growing fears within Government over the prospect of a second wave of covid infections in the autumn. The talks came as a council in Lancashire became the first to order face coverings to be worn in all workplaces and enclosed public spaces following a rise in coronavirus infections.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Truss and Gove “cannot hide disagreement on facemasks” – The Times
  • Brits could be made to wear face masks in shops until 2021 unless Covid-19 vaccine is found – The Sun
  • There’s no guarantee a vaccine will last a lifetime – antibodies are only part of the story – Daily Telegraph
Comment:

… as Johnson expected to unveil “road map” for Britain on Friday

“Face masks may soon have to be worn in all public places including offices and other workplaces as the government prepares to unveil its road map for getting millions back to their desks. Officials are reported to have begun private talks with major employers as ministers plan on getting people to return to work without risking a second wave of coronavirus infections in the autumn. On Friday Boris Johnson will set out his plans to get Britain back to work as he wants to provide a welcome boost to the struggling shops, bars and restaurants in town and city centres that would be far more frequently used if millions of people weren’t still working from home.” – Daily Mail

  • Continued Leicester lockdown “cannot be justified”, says Mayor – Leicestershire Live
  • New measures introduced in Blackburn with Darwen… – BBC
  • … and its Council is looking at the “smart way of locking down” – Sky News

Covid-19 outbreaks up to 20 times more likely in large care homes, according to study

“Coronavirus outbreaks are up to 20 times more likely in large care homes, according to a major study seen by the Guardian, prompting calls to divide them into “bubbles” before any second wave hits. In research that will increase scrutiny of private care chains, which often operate the largest facilities, NHS Lothian and Edinburgh University found the likelihood of infection getting into a home tripled with every additional 20 beds. It comes amid pressure on ministers to draw up stricter guidelines to prevent further outbreaks in care homes.” – The Guardian

UK ministers prepare for civil servants to return to offices

“UK ministers are preparing the ground for thousands of civil servants to return to their offices in the coming weeks as part of a broader attempt to protect England’s city centres from economic collapse. Boris Johnson has in recent days urged people to “go back to work” so long as it is safe — even though the official government advice is for people to work from home if possible. The prime minister has grown increasingly concerned about the damage to cafés, shops and other businesses in urban centres with so many people staying away. New economic data on Tuesday showed a weaker than expected rebound from the coronavirus lockdown.” – FT

Braverman criticised for shunning probe into SFO head

“Lawyers, opposition politicians and anti-corruption groups have criticised Suella Braverman, the UK attorney-general, for staying out of an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into the conduct of its own director despite overseeing the agency. The SFO announced it would review the behaviour of Lisa Osofsky after it emerged on Monday that a judge had strongly criticised her links to an agent acting for potential suspects in an investigation of alleged corruption in Iraq by employees of Monaco-based oil and gas consultancy Unaoil.” – FT

Whittingdale calls the Facebook-Google duopoly an “existential threat”

“The media minister warned yesterday of “profound consequences to democracy” if newspapers and broadcasters are no longer viable because Facebook and Google have scooped up their advertising revenues. John Whittingdale said that the digital platforms “do not employ a single journalist” yet receive a growing share of online advertising revenues that publishers need to survive. The Facebook-Google duopoly poses an “existential threat” to newspapers and the government must ensure there is no “abuse of the dominant position”.” – The Times

Underfunded social care is a stain on Britain, MPs told

“The architect of David Cameron’s social care reforms has told MPs that the sector’s lack of funding is a “stain on the nation”. Sir Andrew Dilnot said bills for personal care should be capped at £45,000, beyond which a local authority would pay all the costs of looking after someone in residential care or in their own home. This is well below the £72,000 limit that Mr Cameron had proposed, although his planned reforms were never implemented.” – The Times

Government car park sale could free land for 110,000 new homes

“Selling 15 per cent of parking space owned by the government could raise £6 billion and free land for 110,000 new homes, a study has found. The first detailed mapping of all surface car parks in England — those that are not multi-storey — shows that there are 103,000 in total, 35,000 of which are owned by the public sector. Some of that is freehold and some is sub-let for peppercorn rents. Many of the car parks close to town centres, shops and railway stations could be developed into desirable places to live”. – The Times

BBC journalists are addicted to “toxic” Twitter, bosses say

“BBC journalists are becoming addicted to Twitter amid fears their desire to ‘go viral’ is undermining impartiality rules, the corporations head of standards said yesterday. David Jordan said journalists have sometimes failed to uphold BBC guidelines on social media which has become ‘toxic’. Some journalists have been disciplined by senior staff over their use of social media amid complaints they have ‘overstepped the mark’. A review commissioned by the BBC on how reporters and media organisations use online websites is expected within months.” – Daily Mail

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