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The Telegraph Frontpage for Thursday 2023 March 16

Jeremy Hunt
By Matthew Robinson
The Bank of England is in emergency talks with international counterparts as the crisis deepens at Credit Suisse. And Gary Lineker believed he had a “special arrangement” with the BBC, his agent has claimed in the wake of the impartiality row.

Crisis at Credit Suisse casts shadow over Budget

One of Europe’s biggest banks sparked global market turmoil yesterday amid fears it is on the brink of financial disaster. The Bank of England held emergency talks with international counterparts after shares in Credit Suisse plunged as much as 30 per cent, spreading concern through the City of London that overshadowed Jeremy Hunt’s maiden Budget. The FTSE 100 sank nearly four per cent, as British banks and asset managers were dumped by investors. Growing fears of a new banking crisis have led financial experts to begin reassessing forecasts for economic growth, with some predicting that central banks will soon have to start cutting interest rates. In a statement, Credit Suisse said it was taking “decisive action” to “deliver value to our clients and other stakeholders”. But international officials raced to assess the potential impact of the problems at the bank, a “systemically important” institution that is enmeshed in the global financial system. You can follow the latest developments on our live blog.

Tory discontent swells at Hunt’s stealth tax raid

Jeremy Hunt faces a backlash from Tory MPs for failing to cut the tax burden, as it emerged that a Treasury stealth raid would raise £120 billion over five years. The Chancellor will bring in an extra £29 billion a year by 2027 after introducing a string of low-profile revenue-raising measures – the equivalent of raising the basic rate of income tax by 4p. It means the tax burden is still forecast to reach its highest level since after the Second World War in the years ahead. Our Political Editor Ben Riley-Smith writes that the refusal to bow to Tory backbench pressure to either abandon the corporation tax rise or substantially cut taxes more widely triggered a string of critical comments. Simon Clarke, the former chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “We urgently need to have a more Conservative position on tax.”

How the BBC’s crisis talks with Lineker fell apart – by his agent

Gary Lineker believed he had a “special arrangement” with the BBC allowing him to make comments about refugees, his agent has claimed. Jon Holmes has issued an insider’s account of the impartiality row, which he described as descending into a “shambles” despite his best efforts to have “everyone calm down”. He claimed his client believed he had an understanding with Tim Davie, the BBC’s director-general, that he could make public statements on certain issues. “Gary takes a passionate interest in refugees and immigration and, as he saw it, had a special agreement,” he wrote. Mr Holmes also defended his client’s adherence to the rules, writing that Lineker “believes in the independence and impartiality of the BBC” and supports the view that “those who work in news should not express political opinions on Twitter”.

Also in the news this morning

Migration | Britain is prepared to consider leaving the European Convention on Human Rights if Strasbourg judges block the Government’s plans to crack down on illegal migration, Dominic Raab has warned. The Justice Secretary said the Government would “strive every sinew” to remain within the ECHR, but could not “rule out forever and a day the possibility that we might need to revisit our membership”. Read the full report here.

Around the world: France ‘delaying EU’s €2bn plan to replenish Ukraine’s shells’

France has been accused of slowing down the EU’s plans to replenish Ukraine’s dwindling artillery shell stocks by demanding the munitions be manufactured inside the bloc. European sources said that Paris wanted guarantees that a €2bn deal to jointly procure weapons would only benefit firms based in the EU. The demand came during talks over a new Brussels-led scheme to purchase one million 155mm artillery shells to bolster supplies to Kyiv and fill depleted national armouries. Our Brussels Correspondent Joe Barnes has the full story.
Ukrainian forces are firing an estimated 6,000 artillery rounds every day Credit: AFP

Comment and analysis

Sam Hall By Sam Hall
Good evening.

The Government has completed negotiations with unions and agreed a pay deal for nurses, ambulance staff and other NHS workers. We have analysis of the offer and what happens next, as well as the latest news on Credit Suisse.

Government and unions agree NHS pay deal

Ministers and unions representing nurses, ambulance staff and other NHS workers have completed negotiations and reached a final offer. The Telegraph understands the terms include a five per cent pay rise for next year, and a bonus of up to six per cent for the current financial year. The proposal for around one million NHS staff, including nurses, ambulance workers and midwives, has been backed by unions, and will now go to their members for a vote. The terms are also understood to include a “Covid recovery bonus” – our health editor Laura Donnelly has more detail on the deal here.

Labour throws back-to-work drive into chaos with pledge to scrap pension reforms

Labour has vowed to reverse Jeremy Hunt’s decision to abolish the lifetime pension allowance. Jack Maidment reports that any uncertainty over the future of the policy could damage the Government’s hopes of boosting the workforce. Mr Hunt said the move to get rid of the allowance would “incentivise our most experienced and productive workers to stay in work for longer”. But Labour said scrapping the tax-free cap will “result in the top one per cent of pension savers getting a massive tax break for their retirement”, as the party promised to undo the decision if it wins power at the next election. Ben Wilkinson argues that Labour has learned nothing from its disastrous record of pensions meddling. And Christopher Hope details the Budget clues that point to a general election next autumn.

Macron booed after forcing through pension reform without MP vote

Emmanuel Macron will force through his unpopular pension reforms without a vote, in a highly controversial move that unions have warned is tantamount to a declaration of war. Mr Macron reportedly told ministers during an Elysée crisis meeting that the “financial risks” were too great not to see the reform passed. The opposition said the move was a denial of democracy and an admission of weakness. Henry Samuel explains why the reforms have been resisted so strongly. And James Crisp writes that Mr Macron’s ‘strongman’ move is actually a sign of weakness.

Evening briefing: Today’s essential headlines

Black Sea | A US drone was downed after a 40-minute mid-air sparring session with a Russian fighter jet, freshly declassified footage shows – you can watch the video of the incident here.

Comment and analysis

World news: Deadly explosion rips through spy agency building in Russia

At least one person was killed and two were injured in an explosion that caused a fire at an FSB building in Russia, local authorities have said. The security service building is in the port city of Rostov-on-Don, near the Ukrainian border in the southeast of Russia.

Editor’s choice

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Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant | Actor’s excruciatingly rude Oscars interview revealed his true self
Retail | How Waitrose lost the middle classes
Nine things to do right now for a healthy life at age 100
Health | Nine things to do right now for a healthy life at age 100
Trophy hunting is the shooting of big game animals such as rhinos, elephants and lions
Hunting | ‘Why is trophy hunting OK for rich Scottish landowners but not communities in Africa?’

Business news: Credit Suisse to borrow up to £44.5bn from Swiss central bank

Credit Suisse has announced that it will borrow up to 50 billion Swiss francs (£44.5bn) from Switzerland’s central bank after its shares plunged. In a statement, the troubled bank said it was also making buyback offers on about 2.8bn Swiss francs of debt. “These measures demonstrate decisive action to strengthen Credit Suisse as we continue our strategic transformation,” chief executive Ulrich Koerner said. The bank saw its share price tumble off a cliff yesterday after the Saudi National Bank declined to inject more money. Its shares fell more than 30 per cent, before regaining some ground to end the day’s trading down 24.2 per cent at 1.697 Swiss francs.

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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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