Good morning. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor’s efforts to balance the books could see them target energy firms again. Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover could allow Donald Trump to return.
Rishi Sunak plans to expand windfall tax grab
Rishi Sunak is drawing up plans to expand the windfall tax on energy giants as he attempts to raise billions to help balance the books. The Prime Minister is understood to be considering a range of proposals including increasing the levy, extending the deadline and expanding its remit to include renewable energy generators such as wind farms. On Thursday, Mr Sunak held a meeting with Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, at which they agreed that despite the improvement in the markets there was still a “massive fiscal black hole to fill” and billions in headroom was needed. Yet Matthew Lynn outlines why we need to rule out extra windfall taxes. Although Mr Sunak and Mr Hunt are understood to be preparing spending cuts, government insiders have pointed to warnings that the NHS backlog could continue to rise past 2024 without extra investment. It comes as the NHS could be put under the direct control of the Health Secretary under proposals being discussed in Whitehall.
Meanwhile, Mr Sunak wants to cut a new Channel deal with France that will include targets on stopping boats reaching Britain, according to a report. The Cabinet and Whitehall will review a draft deal that was close to being signed with Paris to make it “more ambitious”, government sources reportedly said. They want it to include a minimum number of French officers patrolling France’s northern beaches. David Frost says the Tories face electoral disaster if they fail to get a grip on migration.
Police solve less crime than ever, even as offences soar
Police are solving the lowest proportion of crimes on record – as overall offences have hit a new high. Only 5.4 per cent of all crimes resulted in a charge in the year to June, equivalent to just over one in 20 offences being solved, according to Home Office figures. That represents a fall from 6.5pc in the previous year and is just a third of the charging rate of 15.5pc seven years ago, when records began. It comes as recorded crime has hit a historic high of 6.5 million offences, up seven per cent since before the pandemic. The biggest increases are in sexual offences. The Telegraph View is that the police must get their priorities right.
Elon Musk takes over Twitter and ‘sacks top executives’
Elon Musk has become Twitter Inc’s new owner and reportedly fired top executives he had accused of misleading him. Mr Musk terminated Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde, several media outlets reported early today, citing anonymous sources who were familiar with the matter. Mr Agrawal and Mr Segal were in Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters when the deal closed and were escorted out, according to reports. No one immediately responded to requests for comment by news organisations. But Mr Musk tweeted “the bird is freed” after taking control of the company. The deal means Donald Trump could make a Twitter comeback as Mr Musk prepares to scrap permanent bans.
Also in the news this morning
Gender recognition reform | Nicola Sturgeon suffered the largest SNP rebellion in the party’s 15 years in power, after her community safety minister dramatically quit to vote against an overhaul of transgender laws. Ash Regan, who has held ministerial office since 2018, became the first nationalist minister in the history of devolution to resign on a matter of principle. Alan Cochrane says Ms Sturgeon had better get used to it.
Daily Show | Under fire after claims of ‘racist backlash’ against Sunak Rishi Sunak does not believe Britain is a racist country, a Downing Street spokesman said, following claims by Trevor Noah that there was a “backlash” after he became the UK’s first British-Asian Prime Minister.The spokesman said they had “not asked” the Prime Minister about the comedian’s remarks, but suggested the warm response to Mr Sunak’s appointment told a different story.
In a video posted on Twitter from his US satirical news programme The Daily Show, Mr Noah alleged there were Brits saying “now the Indians are going to take over Great Britain”.
Reader letters | Sunak’s fracking ban undermines energy security
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has demolished the commercial case for fracking in the UK with unanswerable finality. Rishi Sunak is right to put an end to that romantic legacy of the culture wars, even if his stated motive is to cleave to the Tory manifesto.One can only admire the wildcat shale frackers of the Marcellus and Permian Basin in the US. They have slashed CO2 emissions by displacing coal.
The IEA’s World Energy Outlook is a cold douche for those still betting that natural gas will be the pillar of the energy transition, or still banking on booming demand until the middle of the century.
Global gas use is likely to peak in the mid 2020s and then go into structural decline. Not even China – already succumbing to economic stagnation under Xi Jinping – is going to change the fundamental equation.
Business briefing: Amazon sheds $200bn in tech rout
Amazon shares collapsed by 18pc on Thursday night, wiping $202bn (£175bn) off its valuation in one of the biggest one-day sell-offs of all time. The tech giant warned of weaker consumer spending in the run up to Christmas. The plunge in its valuation left Amazon valued at around $930bn, the lowest level since the onset of the Covid crisis in March 2020. Meanwhile, the US owner of Sky has written off a quarter of its valuation over a gloomy outlook for Britain and Europe, just four years after winning a bidding war for the broadcaster in a $39bn deal.
A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world.
We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".
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