NHS

At last! The Prime Minister has made a decisive move towards Brexit. The Telegraph reports:

Theresa May has agreed to pour an additional £384 million per week into the NHS after Brexit – exceeding the amount mooted by the official Leave campaign and effectively locking the UK into leaving the EU.
The boost for the health service, which the Prime Minister will set out in a speech on Monday, is intended to mark the 70th anniversary of its creation, partly by drawing on the “Brexit dividend” that will arise from the country ceasing payments to the EU.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, who campaigned for Remain during the 2016 referendum, says the Brexiteer pledge of extra funding for the NHS “can now unite us all”.

The Times covers the announcement.

The NHS will receive an extra £384m a week after a deal to hand the health service the biggest cash boost in its history.
Theresa May will announce today that the health service budget will rise by £20bn a year — but to pay for it the government will have to increase taxes and borrowing by £11bn, the equivalent of around 3p on the basic rate of income tax.
The rest of the money will come from what ministers are calling a “Brexit dividend”, by diverting the £9bn the UK pays into the EU budget to NHS funding.
That will enable the prime minister to claim she has fulfilled the controversial pledge of pro-Brexit campaigners to increase NHS spending by £350m a week.

The Mail calls the move ‘bold’.

Theresa May today announces an extraordinary £20 billion-a-year boost for the National Health Service.
In her boldest move since calling the last General Election, the Prime Minister vows to beat Boris Johnson’s infamous pledge to invest a £350 million-a-week ‘Brexit
dividend’ in the Health Service.
The announcement, timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the NHS next month, comes as Mrs May faces intense pressure on her leadership ahead of a pivotal Commons vote on Wednesday. Her allies hope the four per cent rise will give her vital breathing space as Tory whips struggle to contain a party rebellion which could force the Government to give the Commons a veto over the Brexit process and weaken Mrs May’s authority.

The Independent claims the service is currently in crisis.

The crisis-hit NHS will receive an extra £20bn a year by 2023, Theresa May will announce – but she will warn the public that taxes must rise to pay for the boost.
The extra funding – to mark the 70th birthday of the health service – will mark a dramatic break with eight years of austerity and follows a difficult battle with the Treasury for more funds.
However, it appeared the annual real-terms increase will be little more than 3 per cent, not the 4 per cent pleaded for by Simon Stevens, the outspoken NHS
England chief executive.

The announcement came on today’s Andrew Marr show, says the BBC News.

The NHS in England is to receive an extra £20bn a year as a 70th “birthday present”, the prime minister has said.
Theresa May is expected to detail where the additional health service funding will come from on Monday.
However, she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show the boost will be funded partly by a “Brexit dividend” available once the UK stops paying into the EU budget.
Labour said the government had failed to fund the NHS properly and was relying on “a hypothetical” windfall.

The money will come over five years, says Sky News.

The NHS will receive an extra £20bn a year in real terms funding by 2024, Prime Minister Theresa May has agreed.
Mrs May is setting out the five-year budget to mark the 70th anniversary of the health service and says the extra money will come from what is being termed a “Brexit dividend”.
She will announce that money that no longer needs to be sent to the EU after Britain leaves the bloc will help fund the increase.
Taxpayers will also be asked to contribute more for the NHS and the government will be forced to borrow money.

The Sun points out that this sum is more than the battle bus claimed during the referendum campaign.

THERESA May will today promise £384million extra a week for the NHS ­— more than the referendum pledge.
The windfall is £34million greater than the figure emblazoned on the Brexit battle bus.
The PM will say almost half the £20billion, a 70th birthday gift for the health service, will come from savings once Britain leaves the EU.
Chancellor Philip Hammond will have to find an extra £11billion, the equivalent of 3p on income tax, to fulfil the commitment.
The five-year funding deal will see the NHS budget grow faster than the economy and make it the Government’s top spending priority. In return, doctors will draw up plans to ensure every penny is spent wisely.

The Guardian points out that at the time of the referendum, the amount was ridiculed.

It was a claim familiar to millions of voters in the June 2016 referendum on whether the UK should stay in the European Union. Emblazoned across the official Vote Leave battlebus was the suggestion that £350m this country sends to Brussels every week could be spent instead on our own National Health Service, if only we broke free and left the EU.
The figures, and the basic argument, were hotly contested at the time and have been widely ridiculed ever since. The idea that the UK would receive any
Brexit  dividend in the foreseeable future, to help fund public services, from an enterprise beset by so much economic risk was so dubious that even Ukip’s Nigel Farage disowned it.

Brexit

Elsewhere in the Brexit battle, the Telegraph reports that Mrs May has been told by her MPs to write the ‘divorce bill’ money into law.

Theresa May has been warned that she must enshrine in law a guarantee that the UK’s £39 billion divorce bill from the EU will not be handed over to Brussels if it refuses to agree a trade deal.
Speaking after a minister admitted that the country’s draft withdrawal agreement includes no “conditionality” on the payment of the bill, MPs said the Prime Minister would have to insert such a clause into future legislation.
Brexiteers in Parliament and Government believe the measure should be included in the planned Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill, which will enshrine the Withdrawal Agreement into UK law.

The Express reports that ‘no deal’ is a viable possibility.

A NO-DEAL Brexit which avoids economic disaster is still possible – despite the bungled negotiations, according to a report of leading economists. The notion of the UK “crashing out” without a deal could be dodged by creating a new “zero tariff” transition period which would avoid the threat of disruption at customs posts.
The new proposal, in which neither side levies tariffs on the other’s goods, is contained in a paper produced by the pro-
Brexit Economists for Free Trade (EFT).
The group argues that a World Trade Deal under World Trade Organisation rules is the UK’s best bet.
The report, which has been sent to the Prime Minister, argues that such a deal would also provide a major boost to the UK economy.

But a Sinn Fein politician has warned that the Irish question cannot be ignored, reports BBC News.

Brexit negotiations cannot be allowed to progress to the next stage unless the issue of the Irish border is resolved, Mary Lou McDonald has said.
Ms McDonald made the comments at the end of her first party conference as president of Sinn Féin.
The UK and EU do not want a hard border but are at odds over how to achieve that.
Ms McDonald described the upcoming EU summit later this month as “crunch time” for the British government.
“If they don’t have a credible, acceptable proposal, if they cannot demonstrate how they will avoid a hard border, protect the Good Friday Agreement and citizens’ rights then the Irish government must call them out,” she said.

Customs union

Economists have warned of problems if we stay in the customs union, says the Sun.

BRITAIN will be stuck in a “twilight zone” if forced to stay in a customs union with the EU, a report warns today.
Top economists say we would be stuck between the reality and fantasy of Brexit — taking orders from Brussels but denied the benefits of free trade.
A report by Economists for Free Trade argues Britain would be £140billion better off under World Trade Rules.
In a letter to the PM, the group says she should consider a clean break now as
EU chiefs show little sign of wanting to agree a tariff-free deal.
The report dispels stories of port closures and food shortages if we crash out without a deal.

House of Lords

The house of peers is being targeted this week, reports the Telegraph.

A concerted campaign to dramatically overhaul the House of Lords will begin in earnest this week, as peers launch a second attempt to attempt to water down Theresa May‘s Brexit legislation.
On Monday, as the Withdrawal Bill returns to the upper chamber, MPs will issue a warning to members of the body accused of attempting to thwart the UK’s exit from the European Union, in a Commons debate sparked by a public petition which voiced fears that peers were wielding a “disproportionate amount of influence and power” to frustrate the Commons.
On Tuesday Frank Field, the former Labour minister, has been allocated Commons time to introduce a bill which would scrap the House as it currently exists
.

Labour Party

‘Jezfest’ was a monumental flop, reports the Telegraph.

The tent could have accommodated 500 people. In the event, there were at most 50 of us watching members of Momentum – Jeremy Corbyn’s personal campaign group – present a socialist version of Bruce Forsyth’s 1980s game show, Play Your Cards Right. It was called Play Your Cards Left.
“What percentage of social security payments,” asked our host, “are claimed fraudulently? Is it higher than 14 per cent, or lower? That’s right! MUCH lower! It’s just 0.7 per cent!”
This, then, was Labour Live: the music-and-politics festival organised by Labour in honour of their own leader, Jeremy Corbyn. It took place at a park in his home territory of north London. 

The Sun reports empty fields.

THE Labour Party’s new festival dubbed “JezFest” has flopped today after fields were left empty and an anti-Brexit protest interrupted Jeremy Corbyn’s speech.
The party was forced to cut prices for Labour Live from £35 to £10 following poor sales and organisers gave hundreds away for free to activists and union members.
And pro-EU campaigners unfurled a huge ‘Stop backing Brexit’ banner and forced the Labour leader to pause his speech as they belted out remainer chants.
Reports earlier this week suggested that only 3,000 tickets out of the 20,000 available, but following a last-minute ads blitz, the party said they had shifted 13,000.

The Star reports that ticket prices were slashed.

THE Labour Party’s new “JezFest” festival has been dubbed a flop after about fields were half empty.
Just 3,000 of 20,000 tickets were reportedly sold for Labour Live at north London’s White Hart Lane recreation ground today.
The party was apparently even forced to cut prices for the event from £35 to £10 after poor sales.
But despite the move, pictures showed large parts of the field surrounding the main stage empty this afternoon.

But were protesters ejected? The Mirror reports a denial.

Labour have denied kicking out protesters from their music festival Labour Live for their anti-Brexit banner.
A group of young festival goers who unfurled a large banner bearing the slogan “Stop Backing Brexit!” during Jeremy Corbyn’s speech.
They faced the stage as the Labour Leader spoke to the crowds of Labour supporters – many of whom were sporting “b******s to Brexit” stickers.
Brexit is a thorny issue for Labour because while the leadership have committed to leaving, many members are fiercely opposed to the UK quitting the block.
Melania Chittenden, who took part, said: “Proud to have stood in support of a Peoples Vote at Labour Live today.

And a Labour front-bencher has called for a second referendum, reports the Independent.

Labour faced fresh Brexit turmoil as another member of Jeremy Corbyn‘s top team came out in favour of a new referendum.
Shadow Northern Ireland minister Stephen Pound  has backed the People’s Vote campaign, supported by the group Open Britain, which wants a national poll on the terms of a withdrawal deal.
Mr Pound’s former boss, Owen Smith, was sacked as shadow Northern Ireland secretary in March by Mr Corbyn after he called for a new referendum.
Mr Corbyn has repeatedly insisted Labour is not seeking a fresh poll, but has avoided completely ruling out such a move.

The Labour Party has to watch out for a new organisation, which is highlighted in the Guardian.

A leftwing organisation that led demonstrations against student fees and Conservative higher education reforms has set itself at odds with  Jeremy Corbyn  over Brexit by pledging to increase its campaigns to keep the UK in the EU and maintain the free movement of workers.
The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) said it would join anti-Brexit demonstrations the National Union of  Students  (NUS) is organising this summer and autumn, and establish a “radical, leftwing, pro-migrant bloc”. The move is another sign of young people increasingly mobilising against the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU in March next year.

EU

The bloc’s troubles are increasing, says the Telegraph.

The European Union will next week try to salvage its asylum and migration reforms after years of discussions and stalemate.
Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Claude Juncker will meet for talks on Tuesday in Meseberg, Germany ahead of a June 28 summit of EU leaders in Brussels where heads of state and government will clash over how to paper over the cracks between their countries.
In the last week deals, years in the making, have been struck between EU governments and the European Parliament on five of the bills. The two most contentious remain, reforms to the Dublin Regulation and to EU Asylum Procedures, and are interlinked.

And Breitbart claims Merkel may be on the way out.

The era of Angela Merkel may be coming to an end as longstanding  disagreements on migration policies between her and her Bavarian allies threaten to come to a head and potentially unseat the German leader, who has been at the country’s helm since 2005.
The coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) led by Chancellor Merkel and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) led by interior minister Horst Seehofer is in crisis over differences on mass migration.
The CSU under Seehofer has demanded that Germany should be able to reject migrants at the border of the country
if they have no identity papers, are registered in another country, or have been refused refugee status previously, but Merkel believes turning them away undermine the EU’s open borders Schengen Area.

Death tax

We all know the cost of funerals is increasing but it’s going to rise further with the quiet introduction of a new tax, reports the Mail.

Families grieving the loss of a loved one are to be hit by a ‘death tax’ of more than £100, adding to the already huge cost of funerals.
Under the scheme quietly slipped out by the Government last week, bereaved relatives will now have to pay for extra checks into how the person died.
Cash raised will pay for a system of NHS ‘medical examiners’ who will double-check the cause of death before the body can be released for burial or cremation.
It is hoped the examiners will spot evidence of any suspicious circumstances and so avert another case like that of serial killer GP Harold Shipman – who killed hundreds of his patients but was able to get away with it by recording the deaths as due to natural causes.

Cannabis

The question of whether epilepsy should be treated with cannabis medicine has come to the fore recently. The Times reports:

A severely epileptic boy was given back his “life-saving” cannabis medicine last night after an emergency intervention by the home secretary, Sajid Javid.
Billy Caldwell’s mother, Charlotte, said that even the doctor who broke the news was crying. “There were tears going down his face and he’s a doctor. Everybody was overwhelmed,” she told The Sunday Times. “I just fell apart and had a cry. This has 100% saved Billy’s life.”
Billy, 12, from Castlederg, Co Tyrone, was taken to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in southwest London by ambulance on Friday night after suffering increasingly intense and frequent fits.

The Mail also reports the Home Secretary’s decision.

Severely epileptic Billy Caldwell was thrown a lifeline yesterday when the Home Office performed a dramatic U-turn and gave back the boy’s medicinal cannabis – confiscated last week by customs officers at Heathrow Airport.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid stepped in to issue an ‘urgent’ licence, allowing the 12-year-old to be treated with the illegal cannabis oil, after he was rushed to hospital following a seizure.
The decision followed days in which Billy’s condition deteriorated, apparently because he had been unable to take the medication.
Border officials had seized seven bottles of the oil after he and his mother Charlotte Caldwell flew in from Canada – where it is legal.  
It contains two per cent tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis.

Fake money

In an exclusive report, the Star claims there are lots of fake notes about.

FRAUDSTERS are flooding the UK with fake bank notes.
Gangs are churning out “expert copies” of fivers, tenners, twenties and fifties.
And they are using Instagram and Snapchat to market them.
The notes, which pass UV pen and light scanner tests, are being spent in their thousands in bookies, shops and at festivals.
Our investigators found scores of Instagram pages set up anonymously to peddle the counterfeit cash.
Prices range from £20 for £400 worth to £100 for £2,000.
Police are closing accounts down every week but they simply cannot keep track of the number of new businesses springing up.

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