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In exclusive interview with BBC, German finance minister Christian Lindner tells me

* tho Russian energy will be embargoed “as fast as possible”
* immediate embargo physically impossible and
* would “probably” see shutdowns of manufacturers and carmakers…

…German finance minister @c_lindner tells me

“Russia is responsible for all the geopolitical and economic risks” arising from the war - “inflation, food crisis and possible risk of a serious debt crisis in developing countries”

When I ask fin min Christian Lindner why Germany acquiesced in Putin’s strategy to hook Europe on its gas, even swapping its storage infrastructure for Siberian supplies, he told me:

“Yes, it was a strategic miscalculation from German governments, over the last two decades…” >
Read 6 tweets
Important work being done by my colleagues at @bbcrussian and @bbcukranian …. Eg, reporting Zelinskyy speech to Russian audience, and pictures of the devastation in Kharkiv …
Read 5 tweets
Russian rouble getting crushed in currency exchange market - all time low of 106 roubles per dollar - this is the 20 year chart..
NEW Russian Central Bank raises key interest rates to 20% to contain rouble crash and impact on inflation
NEW UK, via Treasury, announces it is joining in policy of sanctioning Russian Central Bank … UK persons “prohibited” from transactions with it, & prevented from accessing sterling. Chancellor says shows “steadfast resolve in imposing highest costs on Russia”.
Read 18 tweets
NEW Bill Browder, former biggest investor in Russia and force behind Magnitsky Acts tells BBC that the UK sanctions are “pretty tepid”
Culture Secretary will talk to UEFA about canning Gazprom Arena St Petersburg as venue for Champions League Final…

Games tonight, including at Stamford Bridge, on “the road to St Petersburg”, in the competition sponsored by Gazprom…
More from my interview with @BillBrowder on #BBCNewsSix

“I'm disappointed. The sanctions will absolutely no way change Putin's calculus about whether to go violently further into Ukraine…” UK should sanction 50 top oligarchs, he says
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story I did last month about “Cost Deferral Mechanism” loans meant to smooth energy bills, that we appear to be getting, pointing to the delicate politics of spreading the oil price shock over a few years……
Video from last nights #BBCNewsSix explaining the price pressures imported into UK at “Energy Island” the Isle of Grain, where massive tankers of liquefied gas were arriving. A record number came to the UK in January, mainly from the USA:
Going through some of the factors going into the Ofgem energy price cap rise, and the Government’s options to mitigate with a bar chart, which the geniuses at BBC graphics matched to my bar scarf…
Read 11 tweets
NEW: Target inflation on the Consumer PRice Index measure reaches a 30 year high of 5.4% rise in December - highest rise since Bank of England became independent…
5.4% CPI is the highest since MArch 1992
On the old Retail PRices Index measure, still used in setting of some bills, public finances etc inflation reached 7.5% - highest since MArch 1991 during first Gulf War
Read 12 tweets
spoke to Mayor of G Manchester @andyburnham for #BBCNewsSix ahead of SR - he warned that infrastructure not enough, citizens need help with lower costs eg bus fares now, and that Covid had “levelled down” UK with North now facing “worse than 80s crisis”…
Burnham: “north of England has been hit hardest by COVID because of failure to invest.. we could be looking at another period like the 1980s in the north of England, coming out of the COVID crisis, the 2020s could even be worse than the 1980s”
He did welcome the Green Book changes that should direct more infrastructure spending North, though detail on that tomorrow. Said the “bias against the North” goes back decades and he saw it as Chief Sec when he asked for similar schemes at the time of London Crossrail funding..
Read 5 tweets

UK hardest hit in G7 by pandemic deaths
England & Spain hardest hit in Europe

Acc to analysis with @HealthFdn of G7 Covid/excess deaths & separate new Oxford Uni @INETOxford Europe analysis as impact of first wave pandemic becomes clear in many countries:
More #BBCNewsSix
This is the result of waiting for the the first wave to come back to normal and analysing the G7 by three different methods that take into some account existing age structure, levels of deaths - results same by all three methods...…
NEW Separately @INETOxford ‘s Profs John Muellbauer and Janine Aron about to release new paper comparing Europe’s hardest hit nations, based on percentage excess deaths over expected deaths... England tiny bit worse than Spain - basically same, we calc that Spain worse than UK:
Read 11 tweets
EXCL: @BBCNews has learnt a SECOND government report exists into the impact of covid-19 on ethnic minority groups that includes recommendations to protect these communities. Coming up now on the #BBCNewsSix
NEW: A senior academic has told @BBCNews a second government report with recommendations to protect ethnic minority groups against the risk of coronavirus exists and had "every hallmark of a report ready to go to the press"…
When questioned in the House of Commons last week, equalities Minister, @KemiBadenoch said Public Health England "did not make recommendations because they were not able to do so"
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So at Friday’s press conference I asked about where we are on this chart - this slide showing us moving from 4 to 3 on the “Covid Alert System” assessed by the “Joint Biosecurity Centre” was edited by Number 10 in to the middle of the PM’s address to the nation on May 10th...
Foreign Secretary just told Sophy Ridge that “we are transitioning from 4 to 3...” but that wasn’t the answer I got on Friday, despite specifically asking whether we are at 4 or 3 or somewhere between 3 and 4... Government’s plan asserts JBC responsible for setting alert level
On a few occasions at the press conference since a slide clearly showing the Covid Alert level at 4, along with words such as “we are beginning careful steps to take us to level 3”...
Lobby was told we were at 4 on Friday...

Read 35 tweets
On #BBCNewsSix

Excl first interview with Chancellor @RishiSunak since massive pandemic rescue packages, launching new 100% taxpayer guarantee for small biz loans, and says to those asking for lockdown lift: best way to get “thriving economy” is to “get control of the virus now”.
I ask the Chancellor if the Government is being clear with the public about what the “new normal” will be for workers, fliers, parents on lockdown:

“It will be a process, it will not be a binary event where suddenly everything is back to normal. That would be unrealistic...”
I ask the Chancellor if there was any guarantee of a rapid “V-shaped” bounce back on the economy: “too early to put precise numbers on it” but that “it is very clear that the economic is going to take a significant hit in the short term”....
Read 5 tweets
Coming up on #BBCNewsSix & #BBCNewsTen what keeping wheels of industry turning during a global pandemic looks like - a socially distanced production line at UK bike manufacturer Brompton..
As BBC forecast survey shows extraordinary immediate hit to UK GDP from pandemic/shutdowns:
average fall in UK GDP forecast in this quarter (Q2) by top economists is ... -14%...

Best - -7.5%, worst -24%

having before pandemic been forecast by same at -0.2% on avg, and last month OBR projected (not taking CV into account) at +0.4%

A rebound anticipated later..
No decimal point mistake there, minus fourteen percent, - one-seventh of UK GDP switched off, fractions of the economy, not fractions of a per understanding is such numbers, the larger ones, come as no surprise to Government.

Question is how much rebound and when?
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Doing this story on #bbcnewssix and #bbcnewsten tonight with more from port/ shipping/ freight industry who are preparing changes for new Irish Sea trade checks from GB-NI, and rather exasperated by repeated denials that they will be needed...
NEW - despite denials on Irish Sea checks, shipping, freight, & ports preparing for them on exit from GB ... including routing freight thru ports with space and inspection facilities - such as Liverpool and Stranraer... and “pop up labs”
Conservatives acknowledge regulatory checks GB-NI, that build on existing checks (eg for animal imports at Larne)
- customs checks they say only apply to goods destined for RoI/EU (but what is at risk of this determined by EU/UK Joint committee)
- Alternative Arrangements help
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Went to Immingham for #bbcnewssix - Govt efforts to mitigate No Deal risks identified in Yellowhammer depends on storage here & did depend on emergency freight for “Category 1” critical trade:
1. Medicines
2. Med devices
3. Veterinary meds
4. Water chemicals
5. Power plant parts
The old emergency no deal freight contract ran out without being used and new one lasting 4 years and costing £300m is currently out to tender -…
Also obtained more internal council planning showing moderate concern re water supplies - shd be manageable if disruption less than 6 weeks. ...but eg Dudley council risk register: “constraints on supply of drinking water due to short shelf life (4-6 weeks) of imported chemicals”
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Coming up on #bbcnewssix another #nodealpapers on exports of .... what’s this exactly???👇🏾
NEW: Industry and internal council papers, seen by BBC, see No Deal Brexit delaying, disrupting and making uneconomic exports of waste to EU relied on by local authorities, leading to more landfill... /1…
Defra did some good work on this ensuring bilateral deals with individual regulators in the EU nations to keep the flow of trade... but councils and the industry are concerned about port congestion, slide in pound making the trade uneconomic and possible WTO tariffs too... /2
Read 12 tweets
Coming up on #bbcnewssix more #nodealpapers stories - fuel, refineries, tariffs ... and what have Councils been buying to mitigate fuel supply risks...?
NEW: Council No deal plans, seen by BBC, reveal “danger to the viability” of refinery under Govt’s temporary tariffs due to absence of level playing field - UK petrol exports to EU, incl Ireland face 4.7% WTO tariff. Govt set import tariff at 0 to minimise inflationary shock /1
Petroleum Industry Association boss Stephen Marcos-Jones tells BBC all the industry is asking for is a level playing field: “we could end up in a situation where it becomes extremely uncompetitive for a domestic industry to to stay in the UK.” /2
Read 19 tweets
PM has today sought to address one of the issues raised by Wellcome Trust in letter they wrote a fortnight ago about scientist recruitment...
PM gave this brief live address on Facebook in last hour after visit to Culham fusion reactor saying he was changing the immigration rules to attract foreign scientists - more on #BBCNewsSix shortly:…
... there’s a red bus on the Number 10 mantelpiece....
Read 3 tweets
Another No Deal story on #bbcnewssix

We reveal the rather recent changes to the secret “reasonable worst case scenario” assumptions for No Deal Brexit trade flow that are the foundation for the Government’s No Deal planning.
...last year Government’s reasonable worst case scenario (revealed to industry under NDA but not public) for trade flows across Channel was incredible fall of 75% to 87% - so only 2 in 10 lorries flowing.

That was improved to 50-70% in April
& 40-60% in past few days BBC told
...reason is really rather interesting - original catastrophic assumption done without French cooperation - on basis of 100% manual customs & regulatory checks (& required officials studying satellite photos of French ports)...upgrade has come as a result of new French facilities
Read 14 tweets
The Conservative leadership candidate and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned Tory members not to choose the candidate where there’s no trust. Latest with @bbclaurak #bbcnewssix now
Mr Hunt told @bbclaurak ‘it’s about the personality of the Prime Minister. If you choose someone where there’s no trust there’s going to be no negotiation, no deal, quite possibly a General Election which could mean we have no Brexit.’
He went on to say ‘I am trustworthy and I do believe I can be trusted to deliver this deal. We’ve had a lot of discussion about how, but we need to have more of a discussion about who. There is a deal to be done, we just have to make sure we send the right person to get it’.
Read 7 tweets

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