Thursday, August 4 2022

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(Bloomberg) – Boris Johnson will introduce a ‘Brexit Freedom Bill’ this week and hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, an attempt to distract from the ‘turnout’ scandal engulfing the British Prime Minister.

With Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warning that Putin is “very likely” to seek to invade Ukraine, Johnson plans to visit the region in the coming days and hold talks with the Russian leader this week. It also introduces legislation to facilitate the removal of European Union laws from UK statutes.

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Johnson’s government is seeking to reassert control over the political narrative that was consumed by calls for his resignation after his admission that he attended parties with staff during the coronavirus shutdowns. Ministers are also struggling to grasp a cost of living crisis exacerbated by soaring taxes and energy bills that are set to bite into April.

As Johnson awaits the results of a police investigation and a probe by senior civil servant Sue Gray into wrongdoing, ministers set out over the weekend to reset the political narrative, focusing attention on the things the government accomplishes.

Legislation building on Britain’s exit from the EU would make it easier to change or remove laws that remain on the UK books, a move that will help the government scrap regulations that are costing businesses £1billion ($1.3 billion), Johnson’s office said in a statement. Monday.

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“Achieving Brexit two years ago today was a truly historic moment,” Johnson said in a statement. “The plans we have set out today will further unlock the benefits of Brexit and ensure businesses can spend more of their money investing.”

The government has also accelerated preparations for military action in Ukraine, offering to send troops to Estonia and planning sanctions that would hit Russian oligarchs in the UK.

“We are looking for any company or person of direct interest to the Russian state,” Truss said on Times Radio on Sunday. “There will be nowhere to hide for those who support the Russian regime.”

Truss told the BBC she planned to travel to Moscow for interviews in the next two weeks. On January 29, the UK said it was considering “the greatest possible offer” of support to NATO allies, including the deployment of fast jets, warships and military specialists to the region.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has criticized the United States for its warnings of a possible Russian invasion, saying the rhetoric was unduly fueling panic and damaging the country’s economy.

Separately on Monday, a British minister will attack law firms that operate the National Health Service for legal fees. The government is proposing a new cap on the funds lawyers can earn in clinical negligence cases.

“We are seeing some law firms reaping the benefits at the expense of the NHS from legal costs that far exceed the actual compensation awarded to patients,” Maria Caulfield, Minister for Patient Safety, said on Monday.

Together, the steps deliver a message away from scandal and the pressure on consumers’ finances that is growing.

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Later this week, the Bank of England is expected to make the first consecutive interest rate hikes since 2004 in a bid to contain the highest inflation in 30 years.

A spike in the cost of natural gas and electricity is causing much of the inflation, but the government itself is contributing to the problem.

Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak confirmed over the weekend that they are moving forward with a planned increase in National Insurance premiums, a tax that will drain consumers’ paychecks from around the world. April – along with rising utility bills.

Some Tory MPs have joined opposition Labor and anti-poverty campaigners against the tax hike.

“It’s a terribly bad decision,” John Redwood, a Tory MP, told the BBC’s Westminster Hour. “It’s a bad economy. It’s worse politics. It’s dangerous for him, for the country, for all of us.

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Former Brexit minister David Davis wrote in the Financial Times that ‘it appears to stem from a lack of understanding of the impact on individual families of a cost of living crisis which is worsening by the day. day” and that the Treasury must reduce taxes. .

Johnson and Sunak will finalize a package of measures this week to help consumers pay their energy bills, the Financial Times reported, citing unnamed government insiders. Possible initiatives include adding a home heating benefit or winter fuel payments.

A Lloyds Banking Group Plc survey released on Monday shows a record proportion of businesses are forecasting price increases and declining business confidence due to cost pressures.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan will draw attention to the issue on Monday by launching a job training scheme for low-wage earners.

“Many Londoners are facing an unprecedented squeeze on their budgets due to rising inflation, energy bills and National Insurance contributions,” Khan said in a statement. “I’m not going to sit idly by while the people of our city struggle with the skyrocketing cost of living.”

Read more:

Johnson, Sunak vow to move forward with National Insurance Hike Ukraine accuses US of hurting its economy by spreading panic Cost of living squeezing underscored by new DataPolice inflation survey gives Johnson time on ‘Partygate,’ but danger looms

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