Eurozone nations have agreed on the final elements of a plan to get Greece out of its eight-year bailout program and make its massive debt more manageable. The finance ministers of the 19 nations reached a surprisingly hard-fought compromise after talks stretched into Friday morning. The ministers needed to finalise a deal between Greece and its international creditors that would allow it to safely emerge from its third and final bailout program on 20 August and face the markets again.
Theresa May could once again be on a collision course with the Brexiter wing of her party over a controversial proposal to keep the UK in a single market for goods. Whitehall sources said they believed free movement of goods was “100% the direction of travel” as the prime minister’s focus shifts to the next battle over Britain’s future relationship with the EU after next week’s Brussels summit. - Guardian.
Theresa May faces a nail-biting parliamentary clash with Conservative rebels on Wednesday as the government seeks to defeat an attempt to give MPs a “meaningful vote” before Britain could leave the EU without a deal. The EU withdrawal bill, the government’s flagship piece of Brexit legislation, returns to the House of Commons on Wednesday against a backdrop of increasing anxiety about the risk of negotiations with the EU27 failing to yield an agreement. - Guardian.
Donald Trump directed the US Trade Representative to prepare new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports Monday as the two nations moved closer to a potential trade war. The tariffs, which Trump wants set at a 10% rate, would be the latest round of punitive measures in an escalating dispute over the large trade imbalance between the two countries. - Guardian.
Debit card payments have overtaken cash as the most popular form of payment in the UK for the first time, according to banking industry figures. Consumers used their debit cards 13. 2bn times last year, up 14% compared to 2016, according to a report by UK Finance, the trade body for the UK banking and financial services sector. The number of cash transactions fell by 15% to 13. 1bn transactions in the same period. – Guardian.
Ministers are prepared to thrash out a compromise with Tory rebels on Brexit this week to avoid a defeat that could torpedo Theresa May’s remaining authority. Senior figures say Downing Street could seek a new deal with Dominic Grieve, the former attorney-general, who has been negotiating with No 10 after their talks collapsed last week. - Sunday Times.
Theresa May faces a confrontation with pro-EU Conservative rebels after abandoning a compromise over how parliament should be consulted at the end of Brexit negotiations. After two days of talks ministers said they would not accept demands from more than a dozen rebels that parliament should be able to influence the direction of Brexit in a case of no deal. Instead, the government published an amendment to its main legislation that critics said would give MPs less control.
Banks have been warned that they are set to face tougher penalties for online failures as they continue to shut branches and push customers towards digital services. Regulators will be “less tolerant” if customers endure technical glitches, Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Treasury select committee, said yesterday. - The Times .
The senior PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant who audited BHS’s accounts ahead of its sale for £1 just a year before the department store chain collapsed is facing a 15-year ban and six-figure fine from the industry watchdog. Steve Denison, who spent more than 30 years at PwC according to his LinkedIn profile, becoming a partner, is understood to have been facing a £500,000 fine from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), reduced to £325,000 after he agreed to cooperate.
Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have signed a document that will see the denuclearisation of North Korea begin "very quickly", the US president announced. After a working lunch concluded a morning of negotiations in Singapore, the two leaders held a signing ceremony, with Mr Trump calling it a "comprehensive" agreement. Mr Kim said "we are leaving the past behind us" as he said "the world will see a major change". - Telegraph.
Germany accused President Trump last night of destroying Europe’s trust and threatened to retaliate against new trade tariffs as the row over the weekend’s disastrous G7 summit in Quebec escalated. In a combative appearance on German TV, Angela Merkel said that the EU was ready to take on the US in a trade war, and described Mr Trump’s behaviour in the aftermath of the G7 meeting as “sobering and a bit depressing”. - The Times.
The hidden scale of Kremlin links to the biggest donor to the Brexit campaign are revealed today. Arron Banks, the millionaire businessman who helped fund Brexit, was offered a business deal involving six Russian goldmines. He also had undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador to Britain — set up by a suspected Russian spy — and paid a previously unknown visit to Moscow at the height of the campaign. - Sunday Times.
Britain’s leading employers’ organisation, the Confederation of British Industry, has warned the UK economy will shift down a gear this year and risks remaining in the slow lane because of Brexit. Cutting its growth forecasts for the year, owing to heavy snowfall in the opening months of 2018 and lingering fears over Brexit, the CBI said it expected the growth rate for the British economy to slow to 1. 4%, from 1. 8% last year. – Guardian.
Accountants and lawyers will earn £70m managing the fallout from the collapse of Carillion, according to the National Audit Office, with taxpayers expected to foot a bill of more than £150m. In a report into the government’s handling of the outsourcing company, the NAO said the liquidation of Carillion showed the government had “further to go” in understanding the financial health of suppliers whose failure could have major consequences. - Guardian.
Theresa May has a week to forge a compromise with Tory rebels over Brexit after she tabled votes on key legislation for next Tuesday, with 12 backbenchers threatening to inflict a defeat in a vote on future customs arrangements. They believe that the government will put forward its own compromise agreement within days but claim it is unlikely to be enough to buy them off. - The Times.
Britain will have only weeks to negotiate deals with dozens of countries after the European Union refused to help to extend any existing trade agreements before the legally binding signing of a Brexit withdrawal treaty. European officials have told the government that they will not ask the EU’s trading partners to allow Britain to benefit from current trade deals with key countries such as Japan or South Korea until Theresa May signs the final legal text of a Brexit deal.
Britain is calling on Brussels to step back from a trade war with the United States after President Trump imposed new tariffs on EU imports. Liam Fox, the trade secretary, said yesterday that Britain “does not rule out” countermeasures or a challenge in an international court. However, he urged calm on all sides to avoid a full trade war. - The Times.
US regulators have started rowing back on banking restrictions brought in following the financial crisis, in a move seen as a significant victory for the Trump administration. The Federal Reserve has proposed altering the so-called Volcker rule, which was designed to stop banks from engaging in proprietary trading while accepting taxpayer-insured deposits. - Telegraph.
The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has called on the government to use its position as majority shareholder of Royal Bank of Scotland to block planned branch closures. McDonnell said the government should use its stake to force RBS, which holds its annual shareholder meeting in Edinburgh on Wednesday, to act in the public interest and accused it of “dancing to the tune of the bank’s board”. Earlier in May RBS revealed plans to close 162 branches in England and Wales with the loss of nearly 800 jobs.
The growing risk of a bad Brexit deal for the City of London is causing severe tensions between the Bank of England and the Treasury, according to reports. Amid mounting fears that Brussels will reject plans put forward by the chancellor, Philip Hammond, for maintaining close ties with the EU for financial services, the Financial Times reported that Bank officials are at loggerheads with the Treasury over the search for a “Plan B” arrangement. – Guardian.