Please find attached the weekend pack for the week ending 26 October. The pack includes the:
- Weekend Brief: a summary of lines this week.
- Background Brief: a collection of core briefs with background information on key policy areas.
- Template Press Release: a template welcoming the rise in service exports in all parts of the UK.
- Our Economic Achievements Dashboard: a dashboard setting out our key economic achievements.
- Labour’s Economic Failings Dashboard: a dashboard setting out how Labour are unable to handle the economy.
Here’s a summary of the Weekend Brief:
Figures released this week show that average full-time weekly earnings have seen their biggest rise in over a decade and the proportion of low-paid jobs is at a record low.
- There has been the biggest rise in earnings for full-time employees for a decade, as median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees increased by 3.5 per cent between April 2017 and April 2018.
- The proportion of jobs low-paid fell to 17.8 per cent, the lowest since the series began – and a reduction from 21.3 per cent in 2010. This coincides with increases in the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates.
The Fisheries Bill was introduced to Parliament, a major milestone in delivering our promise to take back control of our waters, so that we decide who has access to our waters and on what terms.
- The Bill creates the powers to build a sustainable and profitable fishing industry, in the best interests of the whole UK and future generations.
- It will help deliver a Green Brexit by extending powers to protect and enhance our precious marine environment.
- The Bill also includes a new scheme to help the fishing industry comply with the landing obligation to end the wasteful discarding of fish, and powers to tender additional English quotas.
- The Common Fisheries Policy has damaged the UK’s fishing industry and our precious fish stocks. The Bill will deliver a sustainable fishing industry, with healthy seas and a fair deal for UK fishermen.
We are consulting on banning the distribution and sale of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds to protect our oceans and wildlife from the devastation throw-away plastic items can cause.
·We are launching a consultation on banning single-use plastic items that are used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down. We will work to ensure there are exemptions available, for example for pharmacies and restaurants.
·The ban would come into force at some point between October 2019 and October 2020, subject to the views collected during consultation.
·In England, it is estimated that annually we use 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds. We are stepping-up our efforts to turn the tide on plastic pollution and ensure we leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it.
This week, the Prime Minister updated the House of Commons saying 95 per cent of the Withdrawal Agreement is now agreed, bringing us ever closer to achieving a deal which works for both the UK and the EU.
·95 per cent of the Withdrawal Agreement is now agreed, with 5 per cent still outstanding on the issue of the backstop. We also have broad agreement on the structure and scope of the future relationship, with important progress made on issues like security, transport and services.
- There is one real sticking point left, which is how we guarantee that – in the unlikely event our future relationship is not in place by the end of the Implementation Period – there is no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
- Serving our national interest will demand that we hold our nerve through these last stages of the negotiations, the hardest part of all.
- It will also mean focusing on the prize that lies before us: the great opportunities that we can open up for our country when we clear these final hurdles in the negotiations.
- As we enter the final, crucial phase of the talks there will undoubtedly be some unexpected challenges to which we must rise. But the finish line is in sight. We are more determined than ever that we will get there together, with a Brexit deal that’s right for you, right for your family and right for our country.
There is continuing coverage of the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
- We have condemned Mr Khashoggi’s killing in the strongest possible terms and yesterday the Prime Minister announced no Minister or officials would be attending the investment conference in Saudi Arabia.
- We have also taken action against all suspects to prevent them from entering the UK. If these individuals currently have visas, those visas will be revoked.
- There remains an urgent need to establish exactly what happened and President Erdogan’s statement yesterday underscores the fact there remain questions which only the Saudis have the answers to.
- Only after a full investigation will it be possible to apportion responsibility and ensure any crimes are punished.