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  1. Parsons Green bomb: Police make sixth arrest in inquiry 21 September 2017 From the section UK Police have arrested a 17-year-old boy in south London in connection with last Friday's terror attack on a Tube train. The teenager was detained after officers executed a warrant in Thornton Heath at about 00:05 BST on Thursday. It takes the total number of arrests in the investigation to six, all of whom remain in custody at a south London police station. A homemade bomb partially exploded on a rush hour District Line train at Parsons Green, injuring 30 people. Police have begun a search of the property where the teenager was arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act. Commander Dean Haydon, head of Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command, said: This continues to be a fast-moving investigation. "A significant amount of activity has taken place since the attack on Friday. "We now have six males in custody and searches are continuing at five addresses. "Detectives are carrying out extensive inquiries to determine the full facts behind the attack." View the full article
  2. Parsons Green bombing: Two more arrested over Tube attack 20 September 2017 From the section UK Image copyright Reuters Image caption Investigators search rubbish bins in Newport for evidence Two men have been arrested in south Wales over Friday's terror attack on a London Underground train, bringing the total number held to five. A 48-year-old man and a 30-year-old man were detained under the Terrorism Act in the early hours, after a search at an address in Newport. Police are still searching there, and at a second address in Newport. Thirty people were injured when a homemade bomb partially exploded on a rush-hour Tube train at Parsons Green. The other arrests so far were of: A 25-year-old man in Newport on Tuesday evening An 18-year-old man at Dover port on Saturday. The BBC has learnt he had previously been referred to an anti-extremist programme A 21-year-old man in Hounslow, west London, also on Saturday Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionA man was arrested in Newport on Tuesday in connection with the attackCommander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police counter terrorism command, said: "This continues to be a fast-moving investigation. "A significant amount of activity has taken place since the attack on Friday. "Detectives are carrying out extensive inquiries to determine the full facts behind the attack." Further searches are continuing at two addresses in Surrey and are expected to last some days, the police said. BBC home affairs correspondent Tom Symonds said the latest arrests suggested detectives were developing "an idea of a network" of people. They might not have planned any kind of terrorist attack but were acquaintances, lived together or were family members, he said. The police were keen to get "very close" to people of interest, he explained, pointing out that in previous investigations, friends, acquaintances and relatives were arrested early, held for quite a long time and then released. Orphan from Iraq The 18-year-old arrested man is thought to have lived in a foster home owned by Ronald and Penelope Jones, in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey. He is thought to have moved to the UK from Iraq aged 15 when his parents died. The BBC has learnt that he had been referred to an anti-extremist programme before his arrest. It is not known who made the referral and when - or how serious the concerns were. Image caption Syrian-born Yahyah Farroukh is believed to be the 21-year-old suspect arrested by police The 21-year-old man, also arrested on Saturday, is believed to be Syrian-born Yahyah Farroukh. Mr Farroukh worked at Aladdins chicken shop in Hounslow, and has been described as a former foster child who had lived in the Jones's house. Mr Farroukh posted a picture on his Instagram page in May this year with a suitcase on Cavendish Road, Sunbury, almost directly outside the Jones's house. At 08:20 BST on Friday a homemade bomb, which was transported in a Lidl bag, partially exploded in a Tube train at Parsons Green station, causing burns to a number of victims. Image copyright Chris J Ratcliffe Image caption About 30 people were injured in the Tube attack View the full article
  3. Parsons Green bombing: Third arrest over Tube attack 19 September 2017 From the section UK Image copyright AFP A third man has been arrested in connection with Friday's Tube attack in Parsons Green. The 25-year-old was arrested in Newport, Wales, Scotland Yard confirmed. On Saturday an 18-year-old man was detained at Dover port and a 21-year-old believed to be Syrian Yahyah Farroukh was arrested in Hounslow. A homemade bomb partially exploded in a train at Parsons Green station, injuring 30 people in rush hour. The 25-year-old was arrested at 19:08 BST on Tuesday under section 41 of the Terrorism Act. Police are now searching an address in Newport. Metropolitan Police Commander Dean Haydon said: "This continues to be a fast-moving investigation. "A significant amount of activity has taken place since the attack on Friday. "We now have three men in custody and searches are continuing at four addresses." The Met's Counter-Terrorism Command was supported by the Welsh Extremism and Counter-Terrorism Unit. View the full article
  4. 'Suspicious object' causes M1 closure near Milton Keynes 19 September 2017 From the section Beds, Herts & Bucks Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe bomb disposal unit was sent to assess the "suspicious object"Motorists have been stranded for hours after the discovery of a "suspicious object" forced the closure of the M1. The 11 mile (18km) stretch between junctions 15 at Northampton and 14 at Milton Keynes has been shut both ways since 07:30 BST. Footage earlier showed a bomb disposal robot pulling a bin bag off the hard shoulder, which appeared to contain a yellow substance. Thames Valley Police confirmed no explosive element was found. However, it said the liquid appeared to be a chemical and analysis was ongoing. Live updates on this story and more Image copyright South Beds News Agency Image caption Motorists have been stranded on the M1 between junctions 15 and 14 for hours People are being urged to avoid the area and trapped northbound motorists have been redirected from the scene via Newport Pagnell services. Highways England has posted diversions but it is unclear when the road will reopen. A spokesman said tailbacks had roughly halved "down to about three or four kilometres". Image copyright South Beds News Agency Image caption Motorists have resorted to playing games and walking to service stations Image caption The stretch from junction 15 to junction 14 covers roughly 11 miles Motorist Ruth Middleton has been stuck in traffic for more than five hours. "I have got my laptop out, some people have been having naps. There hasn't been a lot to do other than kill time," she said. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe M1 is closed in both directions after a "suspicious object" was found.Tim Mayer, a Conservative councillor from Coventry caught up in the delays, said communication from police had been "appalling" but people had been trying to make the most of the free time. "There's a five-a-side football competition, a bit of rugby, a guy cycling up and down in the wrong direction," he said. "There are a few people with coffee in the car who have shared it around and others with some boiled sweets who have been generous. "But the communication from police has been appalling." At the scene - Mike Cartwright, BBC News I've been speaking to people who have been stuck on the M1 for hours now. Trevor Larkun has been stranded since 08:30, he says people are being "mostly patient" and chatting to other motorists. "The mood is OK, we've had a few people come and deliver bottles of water and crisps," he said. "I've got sympathy for people I've seen walking down the hard shoulder with suitcases, presumably trying to catch a flight. "The worst thing is you don't know how long you're going to be here for." Mr Larkun said that police officers told other motorists they may cut the central reservation at some point to release vehicles from the carriageway. Image caption A number of fire crews are also in attendance Image copyright Keech Hospice Image caption Some people caught up in the delays have been playing football on the empty stretch of M1 On Twitter, one motorist wrote: "When you see a helicopter above you and kinda wish they were lowering a portaloo #m1 3 hours and counting..." The Ministry of Defence said it had provided police with "explosive ordnance device assistance". Skip Twitter post by @Jez107M Report End of Twitter post by @Jez107M View the full article
  5. 18 September 2017 From the section England A cyclist who knocked over and killed a 44-year-old woman in east London has been sentenced to 18 months in a young offenders' institution. Charlie Alliston, then 18, was travelling at 18mph on a fixed-wheel track bike with no front brakes before he crashed into Kim Briggs in February last year. He was cleared of the mother-of-two's manslaughter, but found guilty of bodily harm by "wanton or furious driving". This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. If you want to receive Breaking News alerts via email, or on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App then details on how to do so are available on this help page. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. View the full article
  6. Parsons Green Tube bomb: Police still questioning suspects 18 September 2017 From the section UK Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionOfficers are searching a residential property in Stanwell near Heathrow AirportPolice are continuing to question two men on suspicion of terror offences following Friday's attack on a Tube train in south-west London. It comes as CCTV images emerged showing a man carrying a Lidl supermarket bag 90 minutes before the bombing. An 18-year-old and 21-year-old are being held over the explosion, which injured 30 at Parsons Green station. The UK terror threat level has been lowered to severe after being raised to critical, its highest level. On Saturday, the 21-year-old was arrested in Hounslow, west London and the 18-year-old was detained at Dover port. Chicken shop Police are searching two addresses in Surrey in connection with the arrests - one in Sunbury-on-Thames and another in Stanwell. A third property in Hounslow has been searched as part of the investigation, Scotland Yard said. Residents in Sunbury told to get out of homes Terror threat lowered after Tube bombing The BBC understands it is a Middle Eastern chicken shop called Aladdins in Kingsley Road. The "severe" terror threat level means an attack is no longer imminent but is still highly likely. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe Home Secretary says the second arrest suggests the attacker was 'not a lone wolf'Home Secretary Amber Rudd said police had made "good progress" in the investigation and urged "everybody to continue to be vigilant but not alarmed". Assistant Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said police had gained a "greater understanding" of how the bomb was prepared but said there was "still much more to do". Analysis: No 'all clear' yet By BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani The lowering of the threat level is an important sign. It means that intelligence chiefs have looked at the developing picture in the Met's huge operation - and other threads we will never see, from perhaps MI5 and GCHQ - and concluded that detectives now have a good handle on what happened on Friday at Parsons Green. Or, to put it another way, the threat level would not have been reduced if anyone within the counter-terrorism network still thought there was a bomber, or accomplices, on the loose. This is not the same as an "all clear" - intelligence is only ever fragmentary. Detectives now appear to have time on their side. Providing they make evidential progress, they could conceivably hold both suspects for up to a fortnight before they have to charge or release them. Speaking to the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Ms Rudd said there was "no evidence" to suggest so-called Islamic State was behind the attack. "But as this unfolds and as we do our investigations, we will make sure we find out how he was radicalised if we can," she said. Thirty people were injured - most suffering from "flash burns" - when a bomb was detonated on a Tube carriage at Parsons Green station. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionJack Durston was on the train: 'I just started crying'The house being searched in Sunbury-on-Thames belongs to a married couple known for fostering hundreds of children, including refugees. Ronald Jones, 88, and Penelope Jones, 71 were rewarded for their service to children when they were made MBEs in 2010. Image copyright PA Image caption Penelope and Ronald Jones were made MBEs by the Queen in 2010 The couple are said to be staying with friends following the police raid, during which surrounding houses were evacuated. Friend Alison Griffiths said the couple had an 18-year-old and a 22-year-old staying with them recently. She described Mr and Mrs Jones as "great pillars of the community", adding: "They do a job that not many people do." Police have urged anyone with information to contact them and to upload pictures and video to the website www.ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk or to call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321. Did you witness the arrest in Hounslow? Share your pictures, video and experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk. Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways: WhatsApp: +447555 173285 Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay Send pictures/video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk Upload your pictures / video here Send an SMS or MMS to 61124 or +44 7624 800 100 Or use the form below Your contact details Name (optional) Your E-mail address (required) Town & Country (optional) Your telephone number (optional) Comments (required) If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions. Terms and conditions View the full article
  7. Parsons Green: Man arrested over Tube bombing 16 September 2017 From the section UK Image copyright PA An 18-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of terror offences in connection with Friday's attack on a London Tube. The man was detained in the port area of Dover on Saturday by Kent Police and is being held at a local station. Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the arrest was "significant", but the terror threat level remains at "critical". Thirty people were injured after the explosion on a train at Parsons Green. Most people were treated for minor injuries and have been released, the London Ambulance Service said, but three people remain in hospital. Home Secretary Amber Rudd will be chairing a meeting of the government's Cobra emergency committee later. Live: Arrest in hunt for Tube attacker Reality Check: What powers do police have to deal with terrorism? Mr Basu said the public should remain vigilant, as the force was not changing its "protective security measures" and extra armed officers were still being deployed. He added: "This arrest will lead to more activity from our officers. "For strong investigative reasons we will not give any more details on the man we arrested at this stage." The man is due to be moved from Kent to a south London police station later. Image copyright PA Image caption The device was similar to the one used in the Manchester terror attack The Islamic State group has said it was behind the bomb, which detonated at 08:20 BST on Friday. It is understood the device had a timer, but the BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner said the bomb appeared not to have gone off properly. Had it worked as intended, it would have killed everyone around it and maimed everyone in the train carriage for life, he said. The Met's Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said it was "very routine" for the Islamic State group to claim the attack, whether in contact with those involved or not. Police have spoken to 45 witnesses so far and have received 77 images and videos from the public. They urge anyone with information to get in touch and to upload pictures and video to the website www.ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk or to call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321. View the full article
  8. Parsons Green: UK terror threat increased to critical after Tube bomb 15 September 2017 From the section UK The UK terror threat has been increased to the highest level following the attack on a Tube train in south-west London, the prime minister has said. Theresa May said the threat had been raised from severe to critical, meaning an attack is expected imminently. An "improvised explosive device" was detonated at Parsons Green station on a District Line train from Wimbledon. A hunt is under way for the person who placed the bomb, with so-called Islamic State saying it is behind the attack. View the full article
  9. Parsons Green: Injuries after London Tube train blast 15 September 2017 From the section UK Image copyright PA London Underground passengers have been injured following an explosion on a District Line train in south-west London. Police and paramedics were called at 08:20 BST (07:20 GMT) on Friday to Parsons Green station in Fulham. Pictures show a white bucket on fire inside a supermarket bag, but does not appear to show extensive damage to the inside of the Tube train carriage. Witnesses described seeing at least one passenger with facial injuries. Others have spoken of "panic" as alarmed passengers left the train at Parsons Green station. Latest updates: Incident at Parsons Green London Ambulance Service says it has sent a hazardous area response team to the scene. BBC London presenter Riz Lateef, who was at Parsons Green on her way in to work, said: "There was panic as people rushed from the train, hearing what appeared to be an explosion" "People were left with cuts and grazes from trying to flee the scene. There was lots of panic." BBC News presenter Sophie Raworth says she saw a woman on a stretcher with burns to her face and legs. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionBBC presenter Sophie Raworth was near Parsons Green station minutes after the incident happenedAlex Littlefield, 24, a City worker, said: "I was walking around the corner to the Parsons Green Tube station and I saw the raised platform with everyone running and looking upset. "I saw police officers, fire brigade... masses of people and armed police. There were lots of very, very distressed people. We've been pushed right back now." Image copyright Reuters Image copyright Reuters Media technology consultant Richard Aylmer-Hall who was sitting on the "packed" District Line train said he saw several people injured, having apparently been trampled as they tried to escape. The 53-year-old said "suddenly there was panic, lots of people shouting, screaming, lots of screaming. "There was a woman on the platform who said she had seen a bag, a flash and a bang, so obviously something had gone off. "I saw crying women, there was lots of shouting and screaming, there was a bit of a crush on the stairs going down to the streets," he said. Image copyright @emmastevie1 Natasha Wills, assistant director of operations at London Ambulance Service, said: "We were called at 8:20 to reports of an incident at Parsons Green underground station. "We have sent multiple resources to the scene including single responders in cars, ambulance crews, incident response officers and our hazardous area response team, with the first of our medics arriving in under five minutes. "Our initial priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries. More information will follow when we have it." Image copyright Alex Littlefield Image copyright Alex Littlefield Are you at Parsons Green station? Did you witness the events? If it's safe to share your experiences then please email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk with your stories. Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways: WhatsApp: +44 7525 900971 Send pictures/video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk Or Upload your pictures/video here Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay Send an SMS or MMS to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (international) Please read our terms & conditions Or use the form below Your contact details Name (optional) Your E-mail address (required) Town & Country (optional) Your telephone number (optional) Comments (required) If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions. Terms and conditions View the full article
  10. Ellen Higginbottom murder: Man jailed for 30 years 14 September 2017 From the section Manchester Image copyright Ellen Higginbottom/Facebook Image caption Ellen was a psychology student at Winstanley College A man who murdered a college student at a beauty spot has been jailed for a minimum of 30 years. Mark Buckley, 51, killed 18-year-old Ellen Higginbottom in a "chilling" and "sexually motivated pre-meditated" attack at Orrell Water Park in Wigan, Greater Manchester. Buckley, of New Hall Lane, Preston, admitted the charge at a previous hearing at Manchester Crown Court. Judge David Stockdale QC described the murder as "cowardly and callous". Ellen was reported missing on 16 June after failing to return home from Winstanley College. Image copyright Daily Mirror Image caption Mark Buckley pleaded guilty to murder Her body was found the next day. A post-mortem examination confirmed she died from multiple wounds to the neck. Neil Fryman, prosecuting, told the court: "There was a sexual motivation for this offence and also it was pre-meditated." Image copyright Ian Greig/Geograph Image caption Ellen's body was found at Orrell Water Park on June 17 View the full article
  11. TUC warns against 'cherry-picking' some workers for pay rises 11 September 2017 From the section UK Politics Image caption The TUC said it would keep the pressure up on the government ahead of this autumn's Budget The whole public sector needs a pay rise, the TUC's general secretary has said as she warned ministers against "cherry-picking" certain workers. Frances O'Grady told the TUC's annual conference that workers had had enough after seven years of pay freezes and caps being "imposed" on them. The BBC understands ministers will lift the 1% public pay cap for the first time, for police and prison officers. But they have been warned any increase must be fully funded by the government. Public sector pay was frozen for two years in 2010, except for those earning less than £21,000 a year, and since 2013, rises have been capped at 1% - below the rate of inflation. Reality check: Is public sector pay higher than private sector? Public sector pay: Will they or won't they? Hammond says UK must 'hold nerve' over public pay The higher increases expected to be announced this week for police and prison officers are based on the recommendations of independent pay review bodies, with recruitment and retention problems being cited in the case of prison officers. The BBC understands the Treasury will then issue guidance on next year's pay round, which is likely to see the cap eased in other areas where there are similar problems, such as teaching and nursing. Ms O'Grady told union members in Brighton that Prime Minister Theresa May's recent comments about the sacrifices of public sector workers would ring hollow if only some of them were rewarded. "Five million hardworking public servants need it," she said. "The public backs it. Now just tell the Treasury to get on with it and give public sector workers a pay rise - no cherry-picking. "All public services deserve a pay rise, and they deserve it now." Analysis: Iain Watson, BBC political correspondent Image copyright PA Most - though not all - pay review bodies this year identified recruitment and retention problems, but decided to take note of government policy on wage restraint so they didn't recommend rises above an average of 1%. But the police and prison officers review bodies, in as yet unpublished reports, did call for increases above 1% this summer, and the government has been mulling over how to handle a controversial issue. This week it will agree the recommendations, though there may be some creativity over how the pay awards are implemented. And the government would also say that some public sector workers have enjoyed rises above 1% through promotion or pay increments. But now, more widely, the Treasury is expected to tell other pay bodies - covering teachers and NHS staff for example - that they can take recruitment and retention difficulties into account when recommending next year's increases. So not lifting of the pay cap across the board - which Labour is calling for - but this could be, as the TUC put it, a crack in the ice of pay restraint. The BBC's home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said that while police forces were welcoming reports of a pay rise, there were widespread concerns it would put a huge strain on them if extra resources were not found. The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has warned that, in such a scenario, 80 jobs would be lost for every 1% rise above the current cap. "If the government do not put aside money to fund the pay increase, PCCs will be left with large bills and have no other option other than to reduce officer and staff numbers," Labour's David Jamieson said. "The government must act quickly to ensure that its pay cap lifting is not a hollow gesture." Labour's health spokesman Jon Ashworth said ministers must state categorically what the position was. He told Sky News: "We keep getting briefings in newspapers and suggestions that the government is sympathetic and wants to do something, and 'oh, it's terrible and we accept that but let's see where we get to'." Click to see content: Public_v_private_jun17 The Public and Commercial Services union is to ballot its members on industrial action over the cap. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said raising pay in line with inflation for the next three or four years would cost £6bn to £7bn more than continuing with the current policy. During Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Theresa May said public sector workers were doing a vital job in often harrowing circumstances. She added that the government would wait for the publication of the police and prison officers' pay review bodies' reports before deciding its policy framework for 2018-2019. View the full article
  12. Public sector pay cap to be lifted for police and prison officers 10 September 2017 From the section UK Politics Image copyright Getty Images The government is to lift the 1% public sector pay cap for the first time for both police and prison officers, the BBC understands. Ministers are expected to accept recommendations for higher pay rises this week and also to pave the way for similar increases in other sectors. BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said it was the "first concrete example of the pay cap being dismantled". Unions, the opposition, and some Tories are calling for the cap to be lifted. Public sector pay was frozen for two years in 2010, except for those earning less than £21,000 a year, and since 2013, rises have been capped at 1% - below the rate of inflation. The higher increases expected this week for police and prison officers are based on the recommendations of independent pay review bodies, with recruitment and retention problems being cited in the case of prison officers. The BBC understands the Treasury will then issue guidance on next year's pay round, which is likely to see the cap eased in other areas where there are similar problems, such as teaching and nursing. Analysis: Iain Watson, BBC political correspondent Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Nurses protested about the pay cap at Westminster last week Most - though not all - pay review bodies this year identified recruitment and retention problems, but decided to take note of government policy on wage restraint so they didn't recommend rises above an average of 1%. But the police and prison officers review bodies, in as yet unpublished reports, did call for increases above 1% this summer, and the government has been mulling over how to handle a controversial issue. This week it will agree the recommendations, though there may be some creativity over how the pay awards are implemented. And the government would also say that some public sector workers have enjoyed rises above 1% through promotion or pay increments. But now, more widely, the treasury is expected to tell other pay bodies - covering teachers and NHS staff for example - that they can take recruitment and retention difficulties into account when recommending next year's increases. So not lifting of the pay cap across the board - which Labour is calling for - but this could be, as the TUC put it, a crack in the ice of pay restraint. It comes as MPs are set to vote on public sector pay on Wednesday. Labour's health spokesman Jon Ashworth urged Conservative MPs who "sincerely" believe the public sector pay cap should go to vote with his party during its Opposition Day debate, which would not be binding on the government. He told Sky News: "We keep getting briefings in newspapers and suggestions that the government is sympathetic and wants to do something, and 'oh, it's terrible and we accept that but let's see where we get to'." The Public and Commercial Services union is to ballot its members on industrial action over the cap. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said raising pay in line with inflation for the next three or four years would cost £6bn to £7bn more than continuing with the current policy. Image copyright PA During Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Theresa May said public sector workers were doing a vital job in often harrowing circumstances. She added that the government would wait for the publication of the police and prison officers' pay review bodies' reports before deciding its policy framework for 2018-2019. Speaking at the TUC conference in Brighton, general secretary Frances O'Grady said it was time to "scrap the cap". "I know that nurses, paramedics and firefighters are very angry," she said, adding that seven years was "a long time for anyone to manage" with pay restraint. View the full article
  13. Hurricane Irma: UK territory declares state of emergency 8 September 2017 From the section UK Image copyright Reuters Image caption The UK territory of the British Virgin Islands is among the areas affected A state of emergency has been declared in a British Overseas Territory hit by Hurricane Irma. British Virgin Islands governor Gus Jaspert said there were reports of casualties and fatalities, and help had been requested from the UK. He said radio and other communication channels were extremely limited. The UK government has increased the relief fund for British overseas territories devastated by Hurricane Irma to £32m. The announcement - increasing the fund from £12m - was made by Prime Minister Theresa May as she said the government had responded "swiftly" to the disaster. Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the government was doing all it could to help people affected. But Baroness Amos said it was felt the UK "did not respond" quickly enough. View the full article
  14. No rate rise until 2019, economists say By Chris Johnston Business reporter 4 September 2017 From the section Business Image copyright Getty Images Most economists do not expect UK interest rates to rise until 2019 despite inflation remaining above target, according to a BBC snapshot survey. Most of those surveyed think the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will be reluctant to raise rates during Brexit negotiations. The base rate has stood at a record low of 0.25% since August 2016. That was the first cut since March 2009, when it was reduced to 0.5%. Last week, one MPC member, Michael Saunders, said a "modest rise" in rates was needed to curb high inflation, which stood at 2.6% in July. In June, three of the MPC's eight members voted for a rise - the first time since May 2011 that so many had wanted to tighten policy. The same month the Bank's chief economist, Andy Haldane, also made a call for a rate rise this year. However, Mark Carney, the Bank governor, said in his Mansion House speech in late June that "now is not yet the time" to start raising rates once more. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has cast doubt on an imminent interest rate rise Stuart Green, of Santander Global Corporate Banking, told the BBC he did not expect a rate hike to happen before 2019. "We believe that policymakers will be reluctant to tighten monetary policy until greater clarity emerges around the UK's post-EU trading framework, and our expectation of declining inflation through 2018 should also reduce the pressure for an interest rate rise," he said. Others expect it to be even longer, with economists at Morgan Stanley not expecting any movement until March 2019 at the earliest, with Andrew Goodwin at Oxford Economics suggesting it would not happen until the third quarter of that year. Similarly, Fabrice Montagne, at Barclays, expects rates to stay on hold until "at least 2019". But there are those who argue that the Bank will raise rates sooner. Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at the EY ITEM Club, said he had one increase, to 0.5%, pencilled in for late 2018, adding: "I would not be at all surprised if it was delayed until 2019." Michael Lee, at Cambridge Econometrics, expects a rise to come in either the second or third quarter of next year as he thinks inflation will stay above the Bank's 2% target for the next two to three years. Philip Rush, at Heteronomica, is more specific, settling on May 2018. The one outlier is George Buckley at Nomura, who expects the MPC to jump in November. Inflation The BBC also asked the economists when they expect inflation to peak in the UK. Both Mr Rush and Mr Archer think it will hit 2.9% in October, with the latter predicting it will then start to fall back "as the impact of the sharp drop in sterling following the June 2016 Brexit vote increasingly wanes". Several others, such as Mr Green, Mr Lee and Mr Goodwin, expect inflation to hit 3% in the final three months of the year before starting to retreat. Morgan Stanley is more pessimistic, however, predicting a peak of 3.2% in Spring 2018. Image copyright Getty Images Sterling Holiday makers planning trips to the continent in the next few months should prepare themselves for more pain, according to Morgan Stanley. Its currency strategy team expect sterling to weaken against the euro by a further 10% by March 2018. Mr Green at Santander also forecasts more weakness for the UK currency over the course of the next year, with an average of $1.25 to the pound and just 96 euro cents in the final quarter of 2018. Mr Archer thinks the pound will sink to about $1.25 by Christmas, but recover to trade about seven cents higher by the end of 2018. Heteronomica's Mr Rush is also a little more optimistic about sterling, expecting it to be stronger within a year. "Interest rates are likely to be higher then, and negotiations with the EU27 are likely to have progressed to the point that trade and transitional arrangements are being discussed, with the risk of a disorderly Brexit accordingly reduced," he said. Analysis: Andrew Verity, economics correspondent The last time interest rates went up was 5 July, 2007. They rose by a quarter of a percentage point to 5.75%. The next month the credit crunch struck, and so began a series of cuts, down to 0.5% in March 2009. These were supposed to be emergency measures. Then came the Brexit vote, and in August 2016 the official rate dropped to a fresh record low of 0.25%. That compares to a typical range of 5%-13% for most of the 1990s. Emergency rates are the new normal. That carries dangers. If we hit another slump, we've run out of road; there won't be much the Bank of England can do to help by cutting interest rates. While some members of the Bank's monetary policy committee think we should start restoring interest rates to non-emergency levels this year, that is a minority view, as our snapshot of economists' forecasts shows. You could draw a number of conclusions. You might decide interest rates aren't effective on their own - so the government should rely less on the central bank stimulus and instead use fiscal policy (cutting taxes or raising spending). You might take the view that rates should rise to help savers and pension schemes. Or you might take the view that an early rise could worsen the economic slowdown. You might even believe that we need to find ways to get the official rate below zero (so that I, the lender, pay you, the borrower, to take my money). Pick your conclusion. Whichever you choose, normality ain't what it used to be. View the full article
  15. Brexit: PM appeals to backbench Tories over repeal bill 3 September 2017 From the section UK Politics Related Topics Brexit Image copyright Reuters Theresa May has appealed for unity from pro-EU Conservative MPs as the Commons is set to debate the government's Brexit repeal bill on Thursday. The bill, seen as a key plank of the government's Brexit policy, transfers EU law into UK legislation Mrs May has said there will be proper scrutiny, but some MPs fear it will give ministers sweeping new powers. First Secretary of State Damian Green said a Tory rebellion would increase "the threat of a Corbyn government". Brexit: All you need to to know Brexit: What is at stake in EU-UK talks? The prime minister said the legislation, known officially as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, was "the single most important step we can take to prevent a cliff-edge for people and businesses". She said the bill delivered the result of last year's EU referendum, adding that "now it is time for Parliament to play its part". The repeal bill Formally known as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, the draft legislation is a key plank of the government's Brexit strategy The first line of the bill says the European Communities Act 1972, which took Britain into the EU, will be "repealed on exit day" This will end the supremacy of EU law and stop the flow of new regulations from Brussels But all existing laws derived from the EU will continue to be in force - they can be changed or scrapped by further legislation The bill does not detail policies line-by-line but transfers all regulations into domestic law It gives the UK two years after Brexit to correct any "deficiencies" arising from the transfer Repeal bill: All you need to know Mrs May added: "We have made time for proper parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit legislation and welcome the contributions of MPs from across the house." In an article in the Sunday Telegraph, the prime minister's de facto deputy Mr Green said that "no Conservative wants a bad Brexit deal", and a potential rebellion threatened to strengthen Labour's position. But former minister and Remainer Anna Soubry told the Observer the repeal bill "amounts to a trouncing of democracy and people will not accept it". She added that it was "outrageous" to suggest pro-EU Tories supported Jeremy Corbyn. The legislation is not supported by the Labour Party, which has requested changes in six areas, including guarantees that workers' rights will be protected. Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said Labour would not support the bill unless "significant changes were made". At-a-glance guide to Brexit negotiations Brexit: Repeal bill 'not a blank cheque' But in The Sun on Sunday, Brexit Secretary David Davis said the opposition's "only motivation is the pursuit of chaos". The Scottish and Welsh governments have also raised concerns about the repeal bill, with Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones describing it as a "naked power-grab". Image copyright PA Image caption First Secretary of State Damian Green warned potential Tory rebels that voting against the repeal bill would increase the threat of a Labour government Separately, Downing Street has rejected reports the prime minister is preparing to approve a £50bn financial settlement with the EU after the Conservative Party conference in October. According to the Sunday Times, a close ally of Mrs May said her negotiating position with Brussels had been weakened because of June's election result, in which the Conservatives lost the Commons majority they had won in 2015. A spokesperson for No 10 said the claims were "not true". Britain's divorce bill with the EU has been frustrating talks with negotiators in Brussels. During the third set of talks between the UK and the EU, Europe's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said Mr Davis needed to "start negotiating seriously". View the full article