Tag Archives: Uturn

PM hits back after U-turn: Boris insists he only ‘briefly’ considered not isolating

Boris Johnson has insisted he only “briefly” considered not self-isolating after he was pinged by NHS Test and Trace. The Prime Minister sparked controversy this morning after it was reported he and Rishi Sunak were going to avoid self-isolation through a daily contact testing pilot. Following an intense backlash and mounting pressure, both the Prime Minister and Chancellor appeared to make a quick U-turn and instead confirmed plans to self-isolate.

In a video posted on Twitter late this afternoon, Mr Johnson addressed criticism of his previous plan.

Speaking from Chequers, where he is now self-isolating, the Prime Minister said: “We did look briefly into the idea of us taking part in the pilot scheme which allows people to test daily.

“But I think it’s far more important that everybody sticks to the same rules.

“That’s why I’m going to be self-isolating until 26 July.”

JUST IN: Brexit warning: 26 EU states ‘lining up’ to take on UK for Ireland

He urged England to “stick with the programme” ahead of Freedom Day tomorrow

Mr Johnson told viewers: “I really do urge everybody to stick with the programme and take the appropriate course of action when you’re asked to do so by NHS test and trace.”

The video was posted alongside a caption that read: “Like so many people I’ve been pinged by NHS Test and Trace as I have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, and I will be self-isolating until Monday 26th July.”

Mr Johnson was originally pinged after contact with Sajid Javid, who has tested positive for COVID-19.

He continued: “The Prime Minister is causing utter chaos with his reckless decision-making and that means infection rates are going through the roof, hundreds of thousands of people are having to self-isolate and they are doing the right thing.

“What happens when the rules apply to the prime minister? He tries to wriggle out of them and pretend he’s on some pilot scheme that exempts him.

“I’m afraid that, yet again, we see it is one rule for them and another for everybody else.”

Mr Johnson is going ahead with the full re-opening of the economy tomorrow on July 19 despite a new surge in Covid cases.

New infections are running at their highest level since January due to the rise in the Delta variant. 

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: UK Feed

Britons to avoid ‘exorbitant’ £1,750 hotel quarantine cost after major U-turn

Not only they are required to pay £1,750 per person to cover the costs of a hotel quarantine, but two PCR tests on days two and eight.

PGMBM senior associate, Taylor Burgess, said: “This policy was rushed through parliament and introduced without due thought as to how its one-size-fits-all application would penalise vulnerable citizens and residents.

“We are very pleased that our challenge has led the Government to review the policy, yet it remains frustrating that it has taken legal action for changes to be made.

“Many thousands of people have been subject to exorbitant costs over the past several months or been entirely prevented from undertaking essential travel or returning home because of the financial hardship they would face after paying the costs to quarantine.

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Foreign aid row erupts as rebel Tory MPs force Boris into U-turn – PM poised to climb down

It has been reported that the Prime Minister is poised to offer MPs a vote on whether to allow the upcoming foreign aid cuts. Mr Johnson is “actively considering” plans to allow MPs a binding vote on the £4billion cuts to the foreign aid budget before Parliament rises for the summer recess at the end of July. He has been warned that the Conservatives could be seen as the “nasty party” if he goes ahead with cuts to the overseas aid budget.

The Prime Minister has been advised to allow a vote on foreign aid cuts or risk MPs bringing forward another rebel amendment.

A group of approximately 50 rebel Tory MPs, that include former Prime Minister Theresa May, have articulated their opposition to cuts in the foreign aid budget.

Referring to the controversial cuts to the foreign aid budget a senior Whitehall source, speaking to the Times, said: “The rebels have made it clear that this issue is not going to go away.

“I think there is now a realisation within the Government that this could become a much longer issue and there is legislation coming up that will require the goodwill of MPs.

“Giving MPs a vote in parliament is now under very active consideration and there is the very real prospect that it will happen before the summer recess.”

A government source said: “A plan to bring forward a vote has been drawn up by the Foreign Office and the Treasury but what that vote will look like has yet to be decided.”

The Government’s planned cuts would see a planned reduction of the original 0.7 percent of national income, which is legally enshrined in law.

The planned cuts by the Government will see the foreign aid budget drop to 0.5 percent.

READ MORE: POLL: Should Foreign Aid cut plans be reversed? Should UK pay 0.7%?

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is understood to be protective of the foreign aid budget.

Last week Chancellor Rishi Sunak failed to agree on a compromise with Mr Raab over the cuts.

The news comes as Mr Johnson faces questions from his own party after the Conservatives lost the Batley and Spen by-election.

Labour won the West Yorkshire constituency by 323 votes despite being hotly contested by the Tories.

Speaking to The Times one Tory grandee said: “We did much worse than we thought we would do in Batley and Spen.

“It’s clear there are no votes to be won on this issue in the red wall seats and there is a feeling among colleagues that we are turning back into the ‘nasty party’.

“It’s not just the cut to aid.

“It is also the chumocracy claims and Hancock’s resignation, which all bundled together have an aroma of nastiness about them.”

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Author: Brian McGleenon
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NS&I announces U-turn following plans to change Premium Bonds prize cheques system

However, NS&I has currently restored call waiting times to normal levels and cleared outstanding complaints, the savings provider confirmed.

NS&I Chief Executive, Ian Ackerley, said: “In a hugely challenging year, I regret the impact of operational issues on our customers, and apologise that they did not receive the levels of service that they have come to expect from NS&I.

“We are in a better position now, despite the ongoing pandemic, but there is more to do in the months ahead.

“Despite the challenges faced, I am proud of what we have achieved in an exceptional 12 months.

“We have delivered unprecedented levels of financing for Government and served millions of savers, as well as evolving our operation so that we can learn from this year and build a stronger and more resilient business that continues to attract the loyalty of millions of savers.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Finance Feed

Now Biden turns on AstraZeneca! US President's huge pledge scrapped in major U-turn

On Monday the Biden administration announced further plans to share coronavirus vaccines with the world, but it will not include the Oxford AstraZeneca inoculation in its exports. The Biden administration will export 55 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to other countries. The vaccines, which will come entirely from the US, will not include the Oxford AstraZeneca inoculation until it is cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Meanwhile, the US will donate the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to different parts of the world.

The announcement is a U-turn for the Biden administration’s original plans to share 60 million doses of Oxford AstraZeneca’s vaccine worldwide.

The FDA is still reviewing whether the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is safe for human use.

Doses of the vaccine are produced in the US at a plant in Baltimore.

The US vaccine donations will be sent to COVAX, the global vaccine equity effort.

Most of the inoculations will be sent to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa.

An official from the Biden administration said that the US still plans to send AstraZeneca vaccines abroad, but only when they have been cleared by the FDA.

President Joe Biden has promised that the US will be the vaccine powerhouse of the world, and will donate millions of inoculations to help end the pandemic.

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Identified locally as “Delta plus,” the new strain was found in 16 cases in the state of Maharashtra, Federal Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told a news conference.

The vaccine roll-out effort in India has fallen short of stopping a devastating second wave of the virus.

So far, about 5.5 percent of the 950 million people eligible in India have been vaccinated.

Indian health officials doubt the nation can maintain the pace of vaccinating people against this new strain that has reportedly more transmissibility than former strains.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

Eurotunnel U-turn: Duty free returns as French bureaucracy defeated

The sale of duty free products will be able to reopen at the Coquelles terminal of the Eurotunnel, the French government announced on Thursday. The zones were authorised to reopen in the ports of Calais and Dunkirk.

Minister of Public Accounts Olivier Dussopt and Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune said in a statement: “This decision taken within the framework of a constructive dialogue with the European authorities (…) will make it possible to align the rules applicable to the Eurotunnel with those provided for in airports and seaports for journeys to a third country to the European Union.”

The reopening of duty free zones will be incorporated in an amendment tabled by the government to the amending finance bill.

An examination of the bill began yesterday in the National Assembly, the Ministers confirmed.

They also said it “will not extend to rail transport, which will remain excluded from the scope of duty-free, in accordance with European rules”.

Getlink, Eurotunnel’s operating company, must officially file a request for the opening of a counter, which could take place as early as this summer if the procedure is concluded.

The decision to reopen duty free sales has been praised by the Mayor of Touquet-Paris-Plage, Daniel Fasquelle, who said the government have “finally heard” the demands.

He tweeted: “Restoration of duty free for the Eurotunnel: the government has finally heard the legitimate demand of employees!

“Thanks to the elected officials @xavierbertrand @NatachaBouchart @phdumont @cathfournier who fought and never abandoned this #HautsdeFrance business.”

READ MORE: UK-Ireland tunnel from Holyhead to Dublin in 2035 plan – EU would pay

However, they called on the French Government to now apply the same rules to duty free sales at Eurostar terminals serving the cross-Channel market.

ETRC President Nigel Keal said: “ETRC is delighted that the French government have today finally clarified the situation and will allow duty free sales.

“We are particularly pleased that this decision has been taken as France starts to open up again and summer tourism and travel between the UK and France kicks off.

“We do however call upon the French authorities to take a further step and allow duty free sales at the Eurostar terminals in France for UK-bound passengers.

“By doing that, they will ensure a true level playing field between all UK-France transport operators.

“The UK have already decided to allow duty free sales in all UK Eurostar terminals.”

Getlink’s owner, Jacques Gounon, previously criticised French bureaucracy and the French government’s procrastination penalising Eurotunnel duty free.

He argued French ports, and especially Calais, continued to have the right to resume tax-free sales after the Brexit agreement.

Mr Gounon demanded duty free ports must reopen in Coquelles to offer British travellers the French products they love.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

France major u-turn with vaccinated Britons to be welcomed this week

In a dramatic u-turn, France‘s Embassy has announced the nation will welcome back UK travellers for non-essential travel from Wednesday, June 9. The nation is set to adopt its own traffic light-style system similar to the one currently in place in the UK.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is set to provide more travel advice for Britons looking to visit France “in due course”.

On Friday, France’s Government released a new document called Strategy for Reopening Borders which outlines how British travellers can return to the country for leisure purposes as long as they are fully vaccinated.

It is understood they must have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination at least two weeks before travel to the country.

The French embassy has outlined the specific vaccines which are accepted by the country, with all three on offer in the UK – Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna – currently given the green light.

READ MORE: Holidays 2021: Visit the greatest capes around the world

“You may do this only if you have been fully vaccinated in the UK, you must wait five days after your second dose).

“You need to travel in the next four weeks to a country which is asking for proof of vaccination.

“You cannot access the app or online service or you should receive your NHS letter within seven days.”

However, even fully vaccinated passengers must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.

Children accompany fully vaccinated adults will not be required to have had a jab but must show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result.

It is widely thought this means children under the age of 11, which may be concerning for teenagers who will not be eligible for a Covid vaccine before the end of the summer.

Britons who have not been vaccinated are only permitted to travel to France if they can provide a “compelling reason” for visiting.

They will also be required to produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test and self-isolate for seven days.

However, at the time of writing, France remains on the UK’s amber list for travel.

The FCDO is currently advising “against all but essential travel to the whole of France based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”

From June 9, France is also set to reopen its borders to European tourists.

Earlier on Friday, the French government announced plans to remove the need for vaccinated Europeans to provide negative Covid tests.

coronavirus tests for vaccinated Europeans and allowing vaccinated tourists from most of the world, including the US, to visit, provided they had a negative test.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Sturgeon humiliated as SNP business supporters U-turn and REJECT Scottish independence

CEO of Scottish Business UK Struan Stevenson revealed to Express.co.uk that several businesses who supported independence back in 2014 have now U-turned on their position. They now back an open letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon opposing the move and have urged the SNP to focus on economic recovery post-pandemic. The letter, signed by hundreds of concerned business owners, sees a wide plethora of sectors ranging from construction, media and technology firms.  

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Stevenson discussed the concerns Scottish businesses have with independence and the “uncertainty” it brings.

He said: “People need to sit down and think carefully about how they might come to a different conclusion [on Scottish independence].

“That has been well illustrated by some of the big names that joined our list of signatories, to our open letter, demanding a focus on economic recovery in Scotland. 

“And less of the divisiveness, the distractions, that go along with demands for an independence referendum.

“Some of those big names, you may have noticed, were previously people who voted for the SNP in 2014. 

“And they have completely changed their minds since 2014 and because they see that the SNP are no focusing on business and the economy in the way that they should be.”

Names on the list include Birlinn LTD, one of Scotland’s largest publishers, and award-winning golf touring company Drumgolf Tours. 

They join hundreds of other Scottish businesses whose owners have grown concerned over a “divisive” independence referendum.

The open letter reads: “A divisive and distracting referendum on separation would put any chance of sustaining economic recovery at risk.

“This is not the time to be throwing into question our economic ties to the rest of the United Kingdom, which has guaranteed the survival of thousands of Scottish jobs through the pandemic and remains Scotland’s biggest market by far.

“The Scottish Government should put everything else aside and remain laser-focused on the Covid-19 crisis and recovering from the significant economic damage it has caused.”

Mr Stevenson also ridiculed the SNP after they suggested they are “ignored” by Westminster despite being awards many perks and privileges from the UK Government. 

He told Express.co.uk: “Free care for the elderly, free prescriptions, free university tuition, now manifesto pledges at the last Holyrood election for free laptops for every school child.

“Free bicycles for children in areas of multiple deprivations.

“I mean, down in England or indeed in Wales or Northern Ireland, they don’t get these things.

“But these vote-buying tactics of the SNP are paid for by tax coming from the southeast of England and instead of thanking them the SNP actually build up their grudging grievance system.”

He added the uncertainty surrounding independence may force many businesses to relocate to England as they fear a hard border or diverted investment will impact them negatively. 

Nicola Sturgeon has suggested the SNP have a “mandate” for an independence referendum because Holyrood is now made up of a majority of pro-independence MSPs. 

Despite the SNP not having an overall majority, the success of the Green Party who also support independence means there is scope for the two parties to work together.

The two parties are reportedly in negotiations to form a partnership deal which could see the SNP call for their support in exchange for more greener policies introduced. 

However, Mr Stevenson told Express.co.uk that Ms Sturgeon’s desire to push for greener Scotland is at odds with her party’s historic support for North Sea oil. 

The SNP used North Sea oil in 2014 as a way to economically support an independent Scotland. 

But a fall in oil prices and the move towards greener power has raised serious doubts on whether North Sea oil is still viable. 

It is likely that any agreements with the Green Party would also make Scotland shift to environmentally friendly infrastructure.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Emmanuel Macron makes humiliating U-turn – protesters win as President scraps major policy

The French President has abandoned his key election pledge to reform pensions. The biggest post-war changes would have increased the retirement age and merged private and public sector savings into one universal points-based system.

The 43-year-old put the overhaul of the pensions system in his winning 2017 election manifesto and pressed ahead with the sweeping changes in 2019.

Widespread “Gilets Jaunes” or yellow vest protests were triggered in 2018 following plans to hike fuel taxes, but descended into a wider movement against government policy – including pension reforms.

President Macron suspended his pension plans last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic and has now said his proposals cannot go ahead as planned.

He said: “I do not think that the reform as it was originally envisaged can go ahead as such.

“It was very ambitious and extremely complex and that is why it generated anxiety, we must admit that.

“Doing it right now would mean ignoring that there are already a lot of worries.”

The plan would increase the retirement age from 62-years-old to 64.

Early retirement privileges enjoyed by some workers would have also come to an end.

He added he was determined to “carry things out until the end”.

Despite his coyness, the French President is expected to announce his intention to stand for re-election in April 2022.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally, is set to be his closest rival in the race for the Élysée Palace.

Last week, a poll by the French Institute of Public Opinion for Le Figaro, suggested Mr Macron would win by 54 points to 46 points against Ms Le Pen in the second round of voting.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

WhatsApp fans get news they've been hoping for as chat app makes dramatic U-turn

WhatsApp users will no longer be blocked from sending messages or answering voice or video calls if they refuse to sign-up for the US company’s new terms and conditions. The world’s most popular messaging service has confirmed that it’s backtracking on its original plan to block anyone who hadn’t signed up to its new privacy policy by May 15, 2021. This controversial new small-print has been a long-running saga for the Facebook-owned firm, with the original change (and block for those who refused) due to come into force back in February.
However, after mass protests from its users – not to mention millions flooding rival messaging apps, WhatsApp pushed the deadline back into May 2021 to allow users more time to digest the new terms and conditions. Originally, those who refused to agree to the small-print would face a ban on sending messages and making calls.

Then, with just days to go until the block came into force, WhatsApp changed its mind yet again saying it would slowly start limiting features after the cut-off date to give users even more time to agree.

Now, things have taken yet another turn with a new post on WhatsApp’s website confirming that nobody will lose access to the app or any messaging features if they don’t agree to the terms.

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In the update to its blog post, WhatsApp says: “No one will have their accounts deleted or lose functionality of WhatsApp on May 15th because of this update. Considering the majority of users who have seen the update have accepted, we’ll continue to display a notification in WhatsApp providing more information about the update and reminding those who haven’t had a chance to do so to review and accept.

“We currently have no plans for these reminders to become persistent and to limit the functionality of the app.”

After a number of U-turns over this seemingly small update to the app, WhatsApp has saved the biggest until last. Why has WhatsApp removed its threat to block users and is allowing those who haven’t agreed to the small-print even more time to consider the changes? Well, if we had to guess, we’d think millions have yet to agree to its demands.

In fact, it really doesn’t take much detective work to find out there are many WhatsApp users who still aren’t happy with the proposed changes. Social media sites, like Twitter, are packed with people saying they simply won’t sign on the dotted line.

So, what’s the big deal with these new T&Cs?

When WhatsApp first announced its updated terms towards the end of last year, many loyal users were concerned that it signalled more data-sharing between the chat app and its parent company Facebook.

However, WhatsApp is keen to point out that this is not the case. In the new message, the company says, “We can’t read or listen to your personal conversations, as they are end-to-end encrypted. This will never change. We’re making it easier to chat with businesses to ask questions and get quick answers. Chatting with businesses is optional.”

The upcoming changes do not enable Facebook to access any more data from your personal chats. In fact, it will only impact conversations with a business account – like a customer care line for an online brand, for example.

Even then, the data that can be accessed between these optional interactions with business accounts will not apply in the UK or mainland Europe, thanks to tough EU regulations on data-sharing practices.

So, if you haven’t signed up you can breathe a sigh of relief for now …just be warned that WhatsApp may change its mind in the future.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed