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Racial Wealth Gap Persists Despite Degree, Study Says. Outrage at ‘lavish’ spending by City of London Corporation | UK news. The secretive local authority that runs London’s Square Mile has come under fire for “lavish” spending – including subsidising its own members’ club and supporting a trio of private schools – at a time when funding for vital public services has been slashed. The Labour party said the City of London Corporation was now in “desperate need of reform” after figures obtained by the Observer detailed spending on a luxurious dining club and bar, grace-and-favour accommodation and multimillion-pound support for elite schools.

Current and former councillors can enjoy the privilege of using the Guildhall Club – offering heavily subsidised fine dining and a bar where spirits cost just 60p a measure. More than £200,000 has recently been set aside for a refurbishment of the club, where catering and bar costs came in at more than half a million pounds last year, partly offset by income from private events. British Bobsleigh’s head coach said ‘black drivers do not make good bobsleigh drivers’ | Sport. The new head coach of British Bobsleigh, Lee Johnston, who was promoted to the position just over a fortnight ago, was formally disciplined and warned as to his future conduct after making derogatory remarks about black drivers in 2013, the Guardian can reveal. Johnston, a 12-times British champion who went to the Winter Olympics in 1998, 2002 and 2006 before becoming a coach, was accused of saying to a member of the squad, Toby Olubi, “I knew you would be late because you are black”, and later in the same training session, on 4 July 2013, “Black drivers do not make good bobsleigh drivers.”

The Guardian can also reveal that the racism allegations are among a raft of complaints about British Bobsleigh over financial mismanagement – including spending £500,000 on a mothballed sled – a staff exodus and concerns about athlete welfare over a number of years. The Guardian understands that Johnston retains the support of many of the squad. Leaked document reveals UK Brexit plan to deter EU immigrants | UK news. Britain will end the free movement of labour immediately after Brexit and introduce restrictions to deter all but highly-skilled EU workers under detailed proposals set out in a Home Office document leaked to the Guardian. The 82-page paper, marked as extremely sensitive and dated August 2017, sets out for the first time how Britain intends to approach the politically charged issue of immigration, dramatically refocusing policy to put British workers first.

“Put plainly, this means that, to be considered valuable to the country as a whole, immigration should benefit not just the migrants themselves but also make existing residents better off,” the paper says. It proposes measures to drive down the number of lower-skilled EU migrants – offering them residency for a maximum of only two years, in a document likely to cheer hardliners in the Tory party. Those in “high-skilled occupations” will be granted permits to work for a longer period of three to five years. Landlords admit turning away EU citizens to avoid Government regulations. Private landlords in the UK are refusing to rent homes to EU citizens in a bid to avoid new government regulations, a study has found.

According to a Residential Landlords Association (RLA) survey, almost one in five landlords say they are less likely to rent their properties to EU nationals because of the checks they must now complete on tenants who are not British citizens. Under the Government’s Right to Rent scheme, people renting out homes were made responsible for ensuring their tenants have a legal right to be in the UK. The scheme was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014, and came into effect last year. It was designed to crack down on illegal immigrants but research suggests it causes landlords to refuse to rent their properties to non-UK citizens because of the extra bureaucracy. As a result, EU citizens are seeing their access to rented homes significantly restricted. Seventeen per cent of landlords now say they are less likely to rent to EU nationals. Reuse content. Revealed: Britain's most powerful elite is 97% white | Inequality.

Barely 3% of Britain’s most powerful and influential people are from black and minority ethnic groups, according to a broad new analysis that highlights startling inequality despite decades of legislation to address discrimination. From a list of just over 1,000 of the UK’s top political, financial, judicial, cultural and security figures drawn up by the Guardian in partnership with Operation Black Vote and in consultation with academics, only 36 (3.4%) were from ethnic minorities (BAME).

Just seven (0.7%) were BAME women. The numbers betray a grotesque disconnect with the composition of the UK population, almost 13% of which has a minority background. In some sectors – the police, military, supreme court and security services as well as top consultancies and law firms – there were no non-white supremos at all. Equality advocates said the new study shone a light on the glass ceilings, subtle discrimination and “affinity bias” that minorities face as a matter of course in their careers.

May suffers humiliation as DUP backs Labour on NHS pay and tuition fees | Politics. Theresa May has suffered a major embarrassment in the House of Commons after the Democratic Unionist party backed Labour motions in favour of increasing NHS pay and against a rise in tuition fees. Labour’s motions passed on Wednesday without being pushed to a vote after it became clear the government had no majority to oppose the call for an end to the public sector pay cap for NHS workers nor the £250 a year increase in student fees. It is the first example of the DUP breaking with May since they struck a confidence and supply agreement to vote together on crucial legislation after the general election.

The motions fell outside the Tory-DUP deal as they were not binding, but their passage was nevertheless a symbolic victory for Labour and a sign that there is no longer a majority in the House of Commons for many of the austerity policies introduced by the Conservatives. The party is also opposed to higher student fees, having voted against lifting the cap to £9,000 under the coalition. Government withholds Brexit food price report. Scotland isn't different, it's Britain that's bizarre. Britain is in a state of self denial, sitting at the bottom of European league tables, but convinced it still rules the waves.

The aspirations of the SNP may seem ambitious, but all they are really proposing is to be a normal European country. Renewable energy use across the EU There is a trope I hear a lot at the moment: “Scotland is different”. Left to lie, on its own, with no explanation, it's a sort of petty nationalism. The idea that any one group of people is intrinsically unlike any other strikes me as a perverse way to understand humanity. The context, usually, is political. Across Northern Europe, university education is either free (in Germany and the Nordic countries) or costs only a few hundred Euros (in the Netherlands and France, for example). In most of Europe, in fact, in most of the world, the idea that significant portions of your economy would be publicly owned is quite standard. The thing that's weird isn't even England. No, the thing that's an outlier is Britain. If I have to hear another sneering Remain voter say Cornwall 'got what it deserved' over Brexit, I'll explode | The Independent.

This week saw Cornwall receive much derision after the Government decided to award £18m to prop up the county’s weak economy, with the area now set to lose £60m of annual funding from the EU. Social media was awash with commentators saying that the region got what it deserved for voting Leave. They wanted Brexit, people said, and now they have it, they want us to pay for the disadvantages. Many people – mostly those based in other, more affluent parts of the country – crowed about the apparently hilarious irony.

Unfortunately, this patronising approach doesn’t address the reasons behind the vote, or, more crucially, the damage that will now come due to the shortfall in funding. I spent my formative years growing up in Cornwall and it’s where I call home. Unless you work within a trade or in retail, it’s hard to find work in Cornwall. How Brexit affected Britain's favourite foods from Weetabix to Marmite Reuse content. Today irony died: Theresa May says no referendum without knowing what alternative looks like | The London Economic. BBC risks undermining Brexit and damaging UK with 'pessimistic and skewed' coverage, 70 MPs warn. No 10 plays down House of Lords abolition warning over Brexit.

Downing Street has sought to play down a warning from a government source that the House of Lords could be abolished if peers try to block the Brexit bill. The bill - to give the government the authority to trigger Article 50 - was approved by 494 votes to 122 in the Commons, and now moves to the Lords. A government source said the Lords will face an "overwhelming" public call to be abolished if it opposes the bill. Brexit Secretary David Davis called on peers to "do their patriotic duty". Prime Minister Theresa May wants to invoke Article 50 - the starting gun on the two-year process of the UK leaving the EU - by the end of March. However, after a Supreme Court ruling last month, she first requires Parliament's permission. Mr Davis said the government had seen off a series of attempts to amend the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill before MPs overwhelmingly voted on Wednesday in favour of passing it unamended.

Media playback is unsupported on your device. Heatherwick's secret Garden Bridge meetings revealed | News | Architects Journal. London mayor Boris Johnson or senior members of his team held at least five meetings on the Garden Bridge with Thomas Heatherwick before the launch of the design contest for the bridge - a competition the designer went on to win. A Freedom of Information (FOI) response to the Architects’ Journal from the mayor’s office (see attachment) has revealed Heatherwick attended four official meetings at the highest levels of London government about the Garden Bridge ahead of the invited competition organised by Transport for London (TfL).

As has previously been reported, Heatherwick also met Johnson in San Francisco in early February 2013 to discuss a possible sponsorship deal with Apple - a meeting which took place just days before TfL’s invited tender went out later that month. The latest FOI response said no minutes for any of the meetings were available. The second two meetings took place on two successive days just ahead of the San Francisco trip.

TfL has also been contacted for comment. Britain cannot easily dismiss Japanese Brexit warning letter | Politics. The Japanese government’s letter setting out its Brexit demands is deeply troubling to the UK since it is clear Japanese companies want Theresa May to negotiate a deal that leaves Britain not just in the EU customs union, and single market, but also retains a free flow of workers between the EU and the UK. The British government could not possibly accede to these demands if May’s mantra that Brexit means Brexit is to mean anything. Yet the Japanese requests – set out in a 15-page memo – are likely to become the benchmark by which many countries with strong economic ties to the UK will judge the outcome of the talks.

Above all, the Japanese memo underlines that the UK is not only negotiating bilaterally with the EU commission and council of ministers, but with many other foreign firms that have invested in the UK, each of which is quite capable of upping sticks in the next phase of their investment cycle. The additional difficulty for May is timing. David Cameron 'ignored civil servants over Garden Bridge funding' Image copyright Heatherwick Studio David Cameron personally intervened to approve extra taxpayer funding for London's controversial Garden Bridge project, it has emerged. The former prime minister did so against advice from officials, an investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO) found. The NAO said nearly £23m of taxpayer money was now at risk of being lost. Transport Minister Lord Ahmad said the government remained supportive of the project. London mayor Sadiq Khan has ordered a full review of the proposals for the Thames river crossing. 'Formal direction' The Whitehall spending watchdog said government ministers ignored the advice of civil servants on at least two occasions not to extend funding to the Garden Bridge Trust.

That ministerial direction was issued after cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood wrote to the Department for Transport (DfT) expressing the "frustration" of Mr Cameron and then chancellor George Osborne at perceived hold-ups to the funding. Image copyright Arup. Rachel Johnson joins Lib Dems in protest against Tory backing for Brexit | Media. Rachel Johnson, the journalist and sister of two Conservative ministers, has joined the Liberal Democrats in protest against Tory support for Brexit, the Guardian has learned. The Mail on Sunday columnist and author has also toyed with the idea of running as a Lib Dem candidate for a West Country seat but may not have enough time to be selected to stand in the general election on 8 June. A member of the Conservative party until 2011, Johnson, whose brothers Boris and Jo are foreign secretary and universities minister respectively, has made no secret of her support for Britain remaining in the EU, either in her newspaper columns or during her regular slot on Sky.

In the aftermath of the referendum in June she wrote about how she “sat down and wept” over the result. Johnson has also written about the fallout from her brother Boris’s decision to lead the leave campaign. But until now she has always stopped short of withdrawing her support for the Tories. UK arms exports escape scrutiny under Tory government. Arms sales from the UK have not been subject to independent scrutiny for more than nine months after the mysterious disappearance of the Commons watchdog on the export of weapons and military equipment. MPs have begun to raise concerns about the fate of the committee on arms export controls, which was not re-established at the beginning of this parliament last May. The watchdog ceased its work after its chair Sir John Stanley retired in March following 15 years at the helm. The committee had been instrumental in embarrassing the coalition government over its decision to allow the sale of chemicals that could have been used for nerve agent weapons in Syria.

MPs and campaigners are anxious that there is scrutiny over the government’s decision to continue allowing arms exports to Saudi Arabia when there are human rights concerns about the weapons’ possible use for repression in Yemen. “There have been more and more delays. London garden bridge users to have mobile phone signals tracked | UK news. Visitors to the garden bridge in London will be tracked by their mobile phone signals and supervised by staff with powers to take people’s names and addresses and confiscate and destroy banned items, including kites and musical instruments, according to a planning document.

The lengthy document (pdf) submitted as part of the planning process for the bridge, which will be part-financed by at least £40m of public money, said the trust behind the scheme hoped to “maximise the opportunity provided by the status of the bridge as private land” by imposing rules to “establish expectations for behaviour and conduct”. If it goes ahead, people’s progress across the structure would be tracked by monitors detecting the Wi-Fi signals from their phones, which show up the device’s Mac address, or unique identifying code. The Garden Bridge Trust says it will not store any of this data and is only tracking phones to count numbers and prevent overcrowding.

Britain’s ‘Twitter troops’ have ways of making you think… | Science. 'Silent peers' claim almost £1.3m despite not speaking in Lords debates | Politics. Europe Should See Refugees as a Boon, Not a Burden. School questioned Muslim pupil about Isis after discussion on eco-activism. Freedom of information commission not very free with its information | Politics. David Cameron backs MPs’ 10% pay rise as ‘the rate for the job’ | Politics. Cameron's new cabinet: half of PM's top team went to private school | News. The Royal Baby: a winner in Britain's infant mortality lottery | Science.

EXCLUSIVE: Gove and PM school made forbidden donation request. Supreme court clears way for release of secret Prince Charles letters | UK news. Doctors will be asked to help identify people at risk of becoming terrorists -- Dyer 342 -- Data from death inquiries lost by Ministry of Justice. Suspected benefit cheats arrested in early morning Croydon raid. Dozens of arms firm employees on MoD secondments | UK news. Royal Family granted new right of secrecy. How to protect yourself in the event of receiving a counter-terrorism leaflet | David Mitchell | Comment is free | The Guardian. Michael Gove bars Tory minister Amber Rudd from Lima climate change talks | Environment.

Theresa May accused of personally delaying critical reports on immigration | UK news. Journalists demand police destroy 'surveillance' files. The surveillance state has failed. Queen confirms government's web surveillance plans. Snowden NSA files: US and UK at odds over security tactics as row escalates | World news. Planes, trains and a redecoration – the Queen sets out accounts | UK news. Police want right to see medical records without consent | UK news. Parties should explain why they award peerages, says Lords Appointments Commission. Government in supreme court bid to keep Prince Charles letters secret | UK news.