- Here are the headlines on Wednesday, September 23
Toe the line now or face tougher measures later
The government has warned that Britain could face much tougher measures if new rules to curb coronavirus fail to get the infection rate under control.
Last night, Boris Johnson said the nation faces an ‘unquestionably difficult’ winter and warned the latest restrictions could last the next six months.
In a televised address the Prime Minister said ‘we must reserve the right to go further’ if the pace of transmission continues to rise. The new strategy for England will see office staff once again working from home, the wider use of face masks and a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants.
Leaked Brexit letter warns of 7,000 trucks queuing in Kent
Ministers have warned of 7,000 truck-long queues in Kent after the Brexit transition period ends as a worst-case scenario if hauliers fail to prepare for changes to customs rules.
Michael Gove, responsible for no-deal planning, has written to logistics groups with the government’s ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’ planning, which warns of possible two-day delays for cargo travelling to France in January.
Gove is due to outline the scenario work, which the Cabinet Office stressed is not a forecast, in the Commons today.
No-deal Brexit could hit UK economy three times as hard as coronavirus
Failure to reach an agreement with the EU in post-Brexit trade talks could hit Britain’s economy three times harder in the long term than coronavirus, a think tank has warned.
Queues at the border, shortages of fresh food and medicine as well as more ‘hassle’ travelling to the continent are also possible, according to the UK in a Changing Europe group.
A report by the organisation, based on modelling with the London School of Economics, said the impacts of coronavirus may mitigate or obscure the impact of a no-deal exit.
Contact tracing app’s set to be launched
The NHS Covid-19 app is set to be released across England and Wales tomorrow to support the NHS Test and Trace effort, following months of delays, technical hitches and privacy issues.
It uses Bluetooth technology to keep an anonymous log of those in close proximity to a user and can notify them if someone who was near them later tested positive for coronavirus.
The latest version of the app has been trialled on the Isle of Wight and in the London borough of Newham since mid-August, but its effectiveness is not known.
Elon Musk unveils breakthrough in battery technology
Tesla is working on new battery technology that CEO Elon Musk says will enable the company within the next three years to make sleeker, more affordable cars that can travel dramatically longer distances on a single charge.
But the battery breakthroughs that the entrepreneur unveiled yesterday at a highly anticipated event did not impress investors.
They were hoping Tesla’s technology would mark an even bigger leap forward and propel the company’s soaring stock to even greater heights. Tesla’s shares shed more than six per cent in extended trading after Musk’s presentation. Read more
Prospect of stricter lockdown rules ‘causing significant financial anxiety’
More than a third (35 per cent) of families with children living at home would struggle to pay their bills in the event of another full national lockdown.
Some 33 per cent said they would have difficulty being able to afford to look after their families in such a situation, according to comparethemarket.com’s household financial confidence tracker survey carried out earlier this month.
More than a fifth (22 per cent) of families with children at home were expecting to take a pay cut or reduce their hours in the near future, the research found.
FTSE rebounds despite new coronavirus rules
The London markets rebounded from their worst day for three months, despite the Prime Minister confirming a tightening of coronavirus restrictions.
Markets opened strongly in the morning and finished higher, despite a slight retreat, with Boris Johnson providing no surprises for traders in his announcement to Parliament.
The FTSE 100 closed 25.17 points lower at 5,829.46 at the end of trading on Tuesday. The German Dax increased by 0.4 per cent, while the French Cac moved 0.4 per cent lower.
Premier Inn owner Whitbread to axe up to 6,000 jobs
Up to 6,000 jobs are being axed at Premier Inn owner Whitbread as the group warned the coronavirus crisis will continue to hammer demand.
The group said the cuts would impact 18 per cent of the total workforce across its hotel and restaurant brands, which also includes the Beefeater pubs and Brewers Fayre chains.
It is hoping a ‘significant proportion’ of the job cuts will be made through voluntary redundancy and lowered contracted hours for some staff.
Turning noticeably colder
Today, a frontal band of rain will continue to push southeast through England, warns the BBC. Sunny spells and showers will follow behind elsewhere, and it will feel noticeably less warm.
Tonight, rain will clear to the east to leave many areas largely dry with clear spells overnight. But it will turn windier in the west, with another band of rain spreading into England and Wales later.
Tomorrow will be an unsettled day for most with showers or lengthier outbreaks of rain spreading northeast during the day and it will turn much cooler.