Brexit latest news LIVE – Breakthrough as 'Boris tunnel' to Northern Ireland to get green light in weeks ending tensions

A NEW tunnel linking Britain to Northern Ireland could get the green light within weeks, it has been claimed.

The connection, dubbed the 'Boris Burrow', could unblock post-Brexit trade tensions which have plagued the area since the start of the year.

The tunnel – which would run between Stranraer in Scotland and Larne in Northern Ireland – would also be the first time all four UK nations will be connected by a land link.

Such a move would be a massive boost for unionist in Northern Ireland who've accused the Government of abandoning them to relentless EU customs checks on cargo travelling from Britain, The Telegraph reported.

During Brexit, Northern Ireland was promised there would be no border created in the Irish Sea.

But many have argued that by allowing such extensive EU custom checks in the Irish Sea in order to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, a border has effectively been created.

Sir Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail, will now carry out a major study to establish whether such a link – which would be as long as the Channel Tunnel between England and France – is feasible.

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  • Dan Keane

    POUND SURGES AGAINST THE DOLLAR

    The pound climbed above $1.39 today for the first time in nearly three years as Britain reaps the benefits of a successful vaccine rollout.

    "GBP continues to reap the dividends of a successful vaccine roll-out and momentum is building towards a re-opening of the economy probably starting with schools on March 8th," said Chris Turner, Global Head of Markets at financial services company ING.

    ING also told clients that Britain's Brexit deal had removed some pressure from the currency, and could support sterling towards $1.40.

  • Dan Keane

    TREASURY ANNOUNCES £1.1BN BOOST FOR SCOTLAND

    The Treasury has announced a further £1.1 billion of coronavirus support funding for the Scottish Government.

    It said the £1.1 billion can be spent now or carried over into the 2021/22 financial year.

    Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay said: "From the outset of this crisis, people and businesses in Scotland have been able to rely on the UK Government.

    "UK Treasury schemes such as furlough, support for the self-employed and business loans have helped to protect jobs and livelihoods."

  • John Hall

    RAAB SAYS UK SHOULD WAIT TEN YEARS BEFORE ASSESSING BREXIT

    Dominic Raab has urged Brits to wait ten years to assess whether Brexit has worked or not.

    Speaking on the Andrew Marr show yesterday, he said: "We have always been clear that there are changes that come with exiting the transition period, and what we’re trying to do is support businesses as best we can to manage those.

    "I think if you take a 10-year view, as well as looking at the short-term risk, which is right to do, actually the growth opportunities in the future are going to come from emerging and developing economies around the world."

  • John Hall

    NO DISCUSSION ON 'MUTUAL ENFORCEMENT' PLAN

    The European Commission vice-president says he has not discussed UK proposals that would restore the border on the island of Ireland.

    It comes after a report in the Sunday Telegraph claimed Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove is considering an alternate "mutual enforcement" plan to the Northern Ireland protocol on Brexit.

    This would remove the border from the Irish Sea and restore the land border in Ireland.

    But Maros Sefcovic said his discussions with Mr Gove this week had focused on the implementation of the protocol.

    He told RTE's The Week In Politics: "What we discussed with Michael Gove was very much focused on the implementation of the protocol."

  • John Hall

    BRIT MANUFACTURERS FACING HIGHER COSTS

    Post-Brexit trade restrictions have pushed up the cost of parts and raw materials for two thirds of small British manufacturers surveyed last month.

    The survey of nearly 300 firms, by consultants South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS) and the Manufacturing Growth Programme, found that 65 per cent of manufacturers are reporting higher costs.

    "Price hikes in the supply chain have been immediate, and we are hearing tales of lead times being extended on raw materials," said Nick Golding, managing director of SWMAS.

    The British government has pledged £20 million to help small firms get used to the new rules.

  • John Hall

    IRISH SHOPPERS STAY LOYAL TO BRIT RETAILERS

    Irish shoppers have remained loyal to British online retailers despite extra costs incurred by Brexit.

    An Post, Ireland’s largest parcel delivery firm, said it expects deliveries of British parcels this year to continue to increase despite the UK leaving the EU.

    It comes despite certain packages being subject to Vat and Customs &
    Excise fees.

  • John Hall

    BORIS MUST DELIVER 'BIG BANG' FOR THE NORTH

    Boris Johnson is facing calls from Tories to "level up" by unleashing a new investment boom in the North of England.

    The Northern Research Group (NRG) of MPs said the region needs its own "Big Bang" comparable to the explosion of finance activity in the City of London in the 1980s to deliver economic growth.

    NRG chairman Jake Berry said: "At the last election millions of northern voters broke with tradition by voting for the Conservative Party, in many cases for the first time.

    "The Prime Minister needs to recognise that they did so not only to deliver Brexit, but to voice the systemic disadvantages felt in many communities that were tired of being neglected in favour of London and the South East."

  • John Hall

    EU AIMS TO ROLL OUT VACCINE TO ALL ADULTS BY SUMMER

    Europe aims to roll out vaccines to everyone who wants one by the end of the summer, EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said today.

    Breton also told French BFM television that there was no need for another COVID-19 vaccine on the top of the ones already planned for Europe.

    The bloc has so far seen a sluggish jab rollout amid production delays, prompting a furious row with Brit firm Astrazeneca over the delivery of doses.

  • John Hall

    MANUFACTURERS HIT BY BREXIT-RELATED DISRUPTION: STUDY

    Brexit issues are causing England's smaller manufacturers significant disruption as they look to recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis, research shows.

    A survey of almost 300 small to medium-sized firms (SMEs) which manufacture goods found that half reported problems with exports and imports since the start of the year.

    South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS) and the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) said their study showed that almost two thirds of companies have seen negative price changes within their supply chain since leaving the EU.

    Nick Golding, managing director of SWMAS, said: "Despite signs of an initial recovery, firms have a new set of issues to contend with now the Brexit deal is done.

    "Price hikes in the supply chain have been immediate, and we are hearing tales of lead times being extended on raw materials."

  • John Hall

    BREXIT PROMPTED HUGE AMOUNT OF STOCKPILING IN 2020

    Stockpiling of goods before Brexit kicked in "was behind a quadrupling of the national trade deficit in the last three months of 2020", reports The Times.

    The deficit in goods and services grew to £14.3billion in the fourth quarter of last year, up from £3.4billion in 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics.

    The paper explains that if international trade is in deficit, it means that a country imports more than it exports – which is a negative for an economy.

  • John Hall

    JOHNSON HAILS 'FANTASTIC' START TO RELATIONS WITH NEW US PRESIDENT

    Boris Johnson says he has formed a "good relationship" with new US president Joe Biden.

    The pair have already enjoyed some "fantastic conversations" on climate change.

    In an interview with the American CBS network, the Prime Minister said that UK and US thinking had been coming together on a range of issues in recent weeks.

    "I'm very delighted, to have a good relationship with the White House, which is an important part of any UK prime minister's mission," he said.

    "I've had some good conversations already with President Biden – fantastic conversations about the way he sees things."

  • John Hall

    PM TELLS JOE BIDEN OF COMMITMENT TO NORTHERN IRELAND

    Boris Johnson has tried reassure US President Joe Biden – who is fiercely proud of his Irish roots – that he remains firmly committed to the Northern Ireland peace process.

    "This is fundamental for us, the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the peace agreement, the Good Friday process, the Belfast Agreement, these agreements are absolutely crucial," he said.

    Pressed on his support for the Northern Ireland protocol in the Brexit Withdrawal agreement following the recent row with the EU over vaccines, he replied: "We want to make sure that there's free movement, north-south, free movement east-west, and we guarantee the rights of the people of Northern Ireland, of course."

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