Brussels lets EU banks trade trillions through London until 2022 – even if there is No Deal

“Panicking Brussels will let European banks trade trillions through the City of London until 2022 – even if there is No Deal. The UK is the global leader in money ­market infrastructure with our firms acting as the middlemen for buyers and sellers. But EU banks face being cut off from these vital “clearing houses” at the end of the year if Brexit trade talks collapse. Those banks currently “clear” £670trillion a year — with the vast majority going through London. With Brussels increasingly scared of an acrimonious split, they shared plans to give Euro firms an 18-month special licence to carry on using London. This is despite years of tough talk with Eurocrats ­saying they could never approve such a move, and botched attempts to try to poach British expertise away to EU financial powerhouses such as Paris and Frankfurt.” – The Sun


Coronavirus 1) Cases surge among middle-aged as test shortage worsens

“Coronavirus infection rates among middle-aged people have reached the same level that those in their twenties saw two weeks ago, ministers fear. The development came as an analysis by The Times showed that it was impossible to get a test in postcodes in every area of England yesterday afternoon. There was availability in Scotland and Wales but the snapshot study suggested that, overall, 85 per cent of the British population was unable to get tested at some points. Internal government figures suggest that rates have more than tripled in all age groups since the end of July.” – The Times

  • Rationing ahead after day with no tests available for millions – The Times
  • Testing “puts children at the back of queue”  – Daily Telegraph
  • The number of primaries and secondaries to confirm Covid cases in Greater Manchester reaches 100 – Manchester Evening News
  • Mystery of abandoned Edgbaston testing site- where people are still being sent for Covid checks – BirminghamLive
  • Thousands of pupils fail to turn up for the first week of school – The Times
  • Tameside hospital fights fatal outbreak of hospital-acquired Covid – The Guardian
  • Second wave “won’t be as bad as the first” – Daily Mail

Coronavirus 2) Chatting to another family in the park breaks rule of six, says Patel

“Chatting to another family in the park is effectively banned under the government’s new rule of six, the home secretary has said. The legislation, which outlaws gatherings of more than six people in England, includes a ban on “mingling” between separate groups. Priti Patel said today that two families of four stopping for a chat on the way to the park “absolutely” constituted mingling. “Mingling is people coming together. That is my definition of mingling,” she told Today on BBC Radio 4 when asked to clarify the rule.” – The Times

  • Archbishop of Canterbury voices fears over impact of “rule of six” – Daily Telegraph
  • Stress, anxiety and depression levels soar under UK Covid-19 restrictions – The Guardian

Coronavirus 3) Pooled testing to be used to help Government hit ‘moonshot’ target

“Ministers plan to hit their controversial “moonshot” target to conduct 10 million tests a day by combining up to 50 samples for a single result. The method, known as pooled testing, involves combining small amounts of all the swabs in a batch into a single test tube. If Covid-19 is not detected in the composite sample, all patients are deemed negative. If any virus is found, all original swabs are then tested individually. The technique (see graphic below for details of how it works), intended to save time and scarce resources, would enable Boris Johnson to claim victory in his highly ambitious plan, announced earlier this month, while having physically tested only a fraction of the declared daily results.” – Daily Telegraph

Matthew Parris: Sweden was right to put two fingers up to us

“We’ve just booked our flights to Sweden next month: a four-day trip to a country I so admire for its two-fingers up to conventional wisdom in the world of medical science and epidemiology. After some preposterous modelling of likely deaths from Covid-19 by Professor Neil Ferguson and his Imperial College crew, British politicians panicked. The Swedes, led by their chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, didn’t. Britain and Sweden had wanted to control rather than try to eliminate the virus, letting it spread slowly through the population until a measure of general immunity was reached. We lost our nerve and Sweden was left almost alone in the world (and widely condemned: Imperial’s model predicted 85,000 deaths there; the total so far is 5,851). They proceeded with a mostly voluntary, common-sense code — schools, factories, businesses and restaurants stayed open — while we took a wrecking ball to our economy. Spain, which reacted with the fiercest lockdown, now tops the league of “second-wave” infection. Sweden is at the bottom.” – The Times

Furlough 1) Sunak will get ‘creative’ to fill void left by furlough scheme

“Rishi Sunak has boosted hopes of a new wage support programme to replace the furlough scheme that closes at the end of next month. Ministers are braced for a wave of job losses tomorrow as firms serve redundancy notices before the end of the furlough scheme on October 31. Mr Sunak has insisted that he will not extend the coronavirus job retention scheme, which has already cost more than £27.4 billion. The chancellor told MPs he would, however, continue to “act in creative and effective ways to support jobs and employment”. In an update to cabinet he said he was taking account of worsening infection rates and new social distancing rules.” – The Times

  • Four million are still on furlough – Daily Mail
  • Young bearing the brunt of job cuts – The Times

Furlough 2) Watchdog warns over furlough fraud and government contracts

“The head of Whitehall’s spending watchdog has warned ministers there will be “no excuse” if billions of pounds worth of fraud within government schemes continues under a second coronavirus lockdown. Gareth Davies, the comptroller and auditor general at the National Audit Office, said there had already been “significant” abuse of the furlough scheme and the bounce-back loan scheme, which would take months to identify. In an interview with the Guardian, Davies also disclosed that auditors had launched inquiries into procurement processes following concerns there had been a lack of transparency and possible conflicts of interest when handing out coronavirus contracts.” – The Guardian

Johnson signals compromise with Tory rebels on Brexit Bill

“Boris Johnson has signalled a possible compromise with Tory rebels after a minister suggested that elements of the Brexit legislation that triggered a revolt could be rewritten. The Prime Minister met senior MPs shortly before a vote on the Internal Market Bill on Monday evening (see video below), during which he assured them that he would act on their concerns. Among them was Sir Bob Neill, the chairman of the Commons justice committee, who has tabled an amendment that seeks to bar the Government from breaching international law without Parliament’s support.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson fears big revolt over his plans next week – FT

Cummings sends message to military by brandishing historic letter by US military strategist

“Dominic Cummings sent a message to military chiefs as he strategically brandished a historic letter from a leading US military strategist ahead of the looming defence shake-up. Boris Johnson’s chief adviser was photographed holding the letter, dated 1986, from the former US air force general Bernard Schriever, one of the leading figures of the US missile and space programmes, as he entered Downing Street on Tuesday morning. The document, which appears to rail against the “blizzard of legislation” around defence procurement and accused the system of “inhibiting technological innovation”, was written to David Packard, who carried out a review of defence spending for president Ronald Reagan.” – Daily Telegraph

Ben Bradley declares he will refuse to take part in ‘unconscious bias’ training for MPs

“A senior Tory MP revealed today he will refuse to take part in ‘unconscious bias’ training for MPs arranged in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests. Ben Bradley, a vice-chairman of the party under Theresa May, lashed out at a ‘metropolitan groupthink that is intolerant to any diversity of views’ and said he would not take part. Parliament has paid Challenge Consultancy £7,000 to design a course on ‘unconscious bias’ for MPs. In total the company, which has also trained BBC staff, has also raked in nearly £800,000 from Parliament for conduct lessons that will include training on words they should avoid and ‘woke-friendly history’. The consultancy uses a giant blue puppet called UB as part of its unconscious bias training.” – Daily Mail


BBC licence fee paid by 250,000 fewer people

“TV licence sales have collapsed by 250,000 as evasion and younger viewers’ preference for streaming services hit BBC revenues. Households bought 25.671 million licences in the past year, down from 25.927 million a year earlier. It was the sharpest drop in recent history. Sales dipped by 37,000 in 2018-19 after years of steady increases. The number of people not paying has wiped out much of the boost that the broadcaster had hoped to receive by raising the annual levy in line with inflation. A TV licence costs £157.50. Documents published yesterday with the BBC annual report blamed a rise in unlawful evasion and viewers who decide, legally, to limit their viewing to on-demand services such as Netflix and YouTube.” – The Times

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