A journalist looks at a copy of the Cons

UK Prime minister Theresa May unveiled the Conservative manifesto on Thursday morning, ahead of the general election next month. The Tories have a commanding lead over Labour in the opinion polls with three weeks to go.

Key points

  • Promise to freeze income tax, national insurance and VAT rates scrapped
  • Pensions triple lock to go
  • Planned cap on limit people have to spend on social care to go
  • Brexit: Britain will leave the EU single market and customs union
  • Restatement to bring net immigration down to tens of thousands
  • Budget deficit to be eliminated by “middle” of 2020s
  • Share buybacks to be reviewed to ensure they don’t inflate executive pay
  • New rules on takeovers with greater scrutiny of foreign investments in telecoms, defence and energy

 

British Prime Minister Theresa May announces snap general election
  • Theresa May calls for a general election for June 8
  • Pound rallies to 10-week high of $1.2671 vs the dollar
  • MPs will vote tomorrow on whether to sanction the election
  • Latest polls give Tory party a 21-point lead over Labour
  • PM says election needed to strengthen UK’s hand in Brexit talks
  • PM said decision made “recently and reluctantly”
  • Visit the FT’s UK General Election poll tracker page here

 

It was hailed by Theresa May as a business success story that showed how Brexit could be a piece of cake. A Somerset-based dessert-making company called Ministry of Cake had been sold to a French rival called Mademoiselle Desserts.

But the managing director of the firm has told the Financial Times that Britain leaving the EU will pose major challenges for its ability to recruit staff and – ultimately – to expand in the future. Read more

FT_springbudget

Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his first and last Spring Budget against a backdrop of economic resilience since the Brexit referendum last summer. It came amid heightened uncertainty as the government prepares to invoke Article 50 to leave the EU.

Read our summary of the Budget announcements here

Key points

 

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The Bank of England has left interest rates on hold and kept its bond-buying programme unchanged. It has increased growth forecast for the next three years and said it will continue to tolerate higher inflation.

Key points

  • Bank holds rate at 0.25%
  • Government bond buying target remains at £435bn plus £10bn of corporate bonds
  • Sterling weakens against dollar as markets rule out chance of near-term rate rise

By Gavin Jackson and Elaine Moore

 

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech on leaving the European Union at Lancaster House in London

The British prime minister Theresa May set out her Brexit blueprint in a speech in London on Tuesday, giving more clarity about the sort of deal the UK is seeking to negotiate with the remaining 27 members of the EU.

Key points

  • UK will come out of the single market and customs union and has an “open mind” on what future customs deal would look like
  • Government wants a “phased process of implementation”, but not “unlimited transitional status”.
  • Promises to put final deal to vote in both Houses of Parliament
  • UK will leave EU without an exit deal, if no good deal on offer.
  • May warns other EU member states that any attempt at a “punitive deal” for Britain would be “calamitous” for the rest of Europe.
  • Post-Brexit, the UK will reintroduce immigration controls on EU citizens; no unilateral guarantee to EU nationals resident in the UK
  • Common travel area between UK and Ireland will remain.
  • Promises to continue to cooperate with EU on defence and use UK’s “unique intelligence capabilities” in fight against terrorism
  • She says the vote to leave was not aimed at damaging the EU

By Mark Odell and Jim Pickard

 

by Chloe Cornish

Theresa May should do more to help companies to employ staff who are recovering from addiction, an independent review has said.
While employers were generally supportive of existing staff who develop drug or alcohol problems, they were reluctant to hire people with addiction histories, a review led by Dame Carol Black has found.
“Additional government action is required as employers are clear that they need to ‘de-risk’ the decision to employ someone in recovery,” according to the 138-page report.
However Dame Carol did not back a suggestion made by David Cameron last year that people who reject help to get off drugs or lose weight should have their benefits cut. A Downing St spokesman said on Monday that Mr Cameron’s idea was “not under consideration”.
Dame Carol is a special adviser to the Department of Health and Public Health England and principal of Newnham College, Cambridge.
Her recommendations included an “Individual Placement and Support model” trial, which would involve expert support and discretionary funds to cover costs incurred for small companies taking on people with addictions.
The report suggested that a “try before you buy” probationary approach would help persuade employers to hire people with substance problems, after an opportunity to assess their suitability through a work trial.
And having JobCentre staff in treatment centres could help addicted people return to work faster, said the report.
Returning to or staying in employment was found to help people recover from addiction. “[D]uring the first six months after treatment for alcohol misuse 45 per cent of those who were unemployed relapsed, compared to 23 per cent of the employed,” according to one study quoted in the report.
Dame Carol said: “Our goal has been to find ways of overcoming the employment problems that people face when they are addicted to alcohol or drugs, or are obese. After a searching inquiry we are clear that a fresh approach is needed, one that brings together health, social, and employment agencies in new collaborative ways.”
Part of the report’s scope was to ascertain “whether the government should make benefit claimants with an addiction engage with treatment as a condition of their benefit entitlement”.
But it concluded that mandating people suffering from addictions or obesity to attend treatment as a precursor to receiving benefits, was unlikely to be successful or “cost-effective”.

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Chancellor Philip Hammond is presenting his first Autumn Statement to the House of Commons today, setting out the Conservative government’s plans for taxes, spending and borrowing as the UK prepares for Brexit.

Key points:

 

© Reuters

Remain and Leave campaigners have finally found something they agree on: the vote for Brexit is like the vote for Donald Trump. Read more

EU referendum

The Bank of England has increased it forecasts for growth and inflation for this year and next, part of its quarterly update on the economy. It also held interest rates.

Meanwhile the UK government has lost its case in the High Court over whether it can trigger Article 50 without a parliamentary vote, and will now file an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Key developments

  • The BoE now expects inflation to hit 2.7% next year, and stay that high in 2018

  • The Bank unanimously voted to hold hold interest rates

  • The UK government has lost its case on triggering Article 50 in the High Court, and will appeal

  • UK services PMI rises to 54.5 from 52.6 – fastest pace of growth since January

 

File photo of Bank of England governor Mark Carney during a news conference at the Bank of England in London

Mark Carney is up in front of the Treasury Select Committee. Brexit and the economy are in focus. The appearance by the governor of the Bank of England follows that of Theresa May in Parliament, her first since the summer recess, where she effectively ducked most questions on Brexit

Key points

  • Carney tells MPs he is “absolutely serene” about his comments warning of a post-Brexit downturn

  • Bank of England governor says he was “comfortable” with the rate cut decision taken in August

  • May tells House government will not disclose negotiating position on Brexit

  • PM Repeats assertion that she can trigger Article 50 Brexit divorce clause without consent of parliament.

 

Eleven years ago Geoffrey Wheatcroft buried the Conservative party.

His book “The Strange Death of Tory England” marked the party’s nadir – but it was out of date shortly after it came off the presses. Just months later the Conservatives elected David Cameron. The rest is history. Read more

I’ve spent some time looking into the business background of Britain’s new chancellor, Philip Hammond. It tells us a lot about his approach to politics. Here’s what I think the public, the City, and the rest of government can expect from the new broom at 11 Downing Street. Read more

Bank Of England Governor Mark Carney Delivers Speech As Bank Pledges Liquidity

The Bank of England has cut interest rates for the first time since 2009, as it calibrates its response to the Brexit vote.

The BoE also boosted its quantitative easing programme, expanding its bond buying to the corporate debt market.

Key points

  • BoE in 25 bps cut, taking benchmark rates to 0.25 per cent

  • BoE will expand QE with an extra £70bn

  • Bank will also extend QE to buy corporate bonds

  • Mark Carney calls Brexit vote a “regime change”, expects unemployment to rise

  • MPC votes 9-0 for rate cut, 6-3 for QE expansion

 

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May Makes Her First Statement As The Country's New Leader

Theresa May, Britain’s new prime minister, has announced sweeping changes with her first cabinet.

Meanwhile the Bank of England has surprised markets by leaving interest rates on hold. Many had been expecting a cut.

Key appointments

  • Philip Hammond (treasury)
  • Boris Johnson (foreign office)
  • Amber Rudd (home office)
  • Justine Greening (education)
  • Liz Truss (justice)
  • David Davis (Brexit minister)
  • Liam Fox (international trade)
  • Jeremy Hunt (health)
  • Damian Green (work and pensions)
  • Michael Fallon (defence)
  • Chris Graylling (transport)
  • Andrea Leadsom (environment)

Key departures

  • George Osborne (treasury)
  • Michael Gove (justice)
  • Nicky Morgan (education)
  • Stephen Crabb (work and pensions)
  • John Whittingdale (culture)
  • Oliver Letwin (cabinet office)
  • Theresa Villers (Northern Ireland)

 

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May Makes Her First Statement As The Country's New Leader

Theresa May has taken over as prime minister after David Cameron ended his six-year tenure. She becomes the second female prime minister of the UK 26 years after the first, Margaret Thatcher, resigned.

Mrs May has started to form her cabinet with key appointments announced late on Wedneday.

Key cabinet appointments

  • Philip Hammond becomes chancellor

  • David Davis takes on new role as secretary of state for Brexit

  • Boris Johnson becomes foreign secretary

  • Amber Rudd takes over as home secretary

  • Michael Fallon remains defence secretary

  • Liam Fox is appointed in a new role as international trade secretary

 

Conservative leadership bid

Theresa May will take over as the next British prime minister on Wednesday, incumbent David Cameron has said. The swift handover of power came after her only rival, Andrea Leadsom, pulled out of the race to become the next leader of the rulling Conservative party..

Key points

  • David Cameron says he will offer his formal resignation to the Queen on Wednesday

  • 1922 committee confirms Theresa May as new leader of the Conservative party, making her prime minister-elect

  • Andrea Leadsom withdraws from Tory leadership race, saying period of uncertainty “highly undesirable”

  • Labour’s Angela Eagle begins formal challenge to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership

  • Lib Dems, Greens call for early general election

 

MAS_threecontenders_20160707155009

Theresa May, the home secretary, and pro-Brexit campaigner Andrea Leadsom, are through to the final two in the race to be the next Conservative leader.

Michael Gove was eliminated in the final round of voting at Westminster.

The two leading candidates will now be presented to 125,000 party members to make the final choice for their new party leader who will replace David Cameron as prime minister

Key points

  • May won the votes of 199 out of 330 Tory MPs in the second round of voting

  • Leadsom came second with 84

  • Gove was eliminated after coming third with 46

  • The result of the members’ ballot is due by September 9

 

Sir John Chilcot Delivers The Iraq Inquiry Report

Sir John Chilcot has released his long-awaited report on the UK involvement in the Iraq war, which has led to more than 500,000 civilian deaths in the country.

Sir John said the UK government “chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options of disarmament had been exhausted” and “military action at that time was not a last resort”.

Prime minister David Cameron tells MPs that the report is not “accusing anyone of deliberate explicit deceit” while Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, formally apologises on behalf of the Labour Party for taking the country to war.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair said he stood by his decision to back an invasion and that the report “should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit.”

Key findings

  • Blair committed to an invasion almost eight months before receiving parliamentary and legal backing

  • The invasion was based on “flawed intelligence and assessments” that went unchallenged

  • The UK was “undermining” the UN Security Council’s authority in the absence of majority support for military action.

  • The inquiry did not express a view on whether military action was legal but concluded “the circumstances in which it was decided that there was a legal basis for UK military action were far from satisfactory”.

 

Britain's Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, delivers his speech after announcing his bid to become Conservative Party leader, in London

The race to be the next prime minister is now in full swing. Michael Gove has launched his campaign to become the next Prime Minister argued that only someone who had campaigned for Brexit should lead the Conservative party; the frontrunner Theresa May campaigned on the Remain side.

Sterling remains lower following Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s comments that the UK was suffering “post-traumatic stress” and the central bank is likely to have to ease policy in the coming months.

As policymakers scramble to respond to the economic shock of the vote to leave, Chancellor George Osborne said that he is dropping his long-held goal of reaching a surplus in the UK’s public finances by the end of the decade.

Key points

  • Michael Gove sets out his bid for Tory party leadership, focus on change and reform

  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could face a leadership challenge

  • George Osborne abandons his 2020 public finance surplus target

  • FTSE 100 enjoys best week since Dec ’11