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Boris Johnson stays silent over claims his dad Stanley struck his mother and broke her nose 

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boris johnson stays silent over claims his dad stanley struck his mother and broke her nose

Boris Johnson last night refused to comment on the explosive allegation that his father struck his mother and broke her nose.

Charlotte Johnson needed hospital treatment after she was hit by her husband when the Prime Minister was ten, according to a new biography.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman refused to comment on the incendiary claim.

Author Tom Bower claims the astonishing secret, combined with the troubled relationship of Boris’s parents, defined him as a man. 

Boris Johnson last night refused to comment on the explosive allegation that his father struck his mother and broke her nose. He is pictured above yesterday on The Andrew Marr Show

Boris Johnson last night refused to comment on the explosive allegation that his father struck his mother and broke her nose. He is pictured above yesterday on The Andrew Marr Show

Boris Johnson last night refused to comment on the explosive allegation that his father struck his mother and broke her nose. He is pictured above yesterday on The Andrew Marr Show

‘Boris agonised over his mother’s fate,’ he writes in The Gambler.

‘Not only had he watched her suffer, but also saw his father blatantly deny the truth. Unwilling to confide in others about his father’s violence, he became a loner.

‘In his solitariness, his competitiveness was offset by self-doubt. To mask the misery and hurt, he demanded attention.

‘Boris’s bravado masked deep unhappiness. His parents’ marriage had become irredeemably fractured. Charlotte found the pressure of her husband’s neglect and philandering overwhelming.’

Doctors spoke to Stanley Johnson ‘about his abuse’ of his then wife, while the couple’s four children were told a car door had hit their mother’s face, it is claimed.

Friends said the incident took place in the 1970s when Mrs Johnson was suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder and had ‘flailed’ at Stanley, who broke her nose when ‘flailing back’. 

They added that Stanley, now 80, deeply regretted the incident and denied that he had been violent on any other occasion. He did not respond to requests for a comment yesterday.

Unhappy families: Boris is on the far left, his parents on the right. Based on interviews with hundreds of colleagues and family members, the book portrays Boris as a loner who struggled to cope with his parents' divorce in 1978

Unhappy families: Boris is on the far left, his parents on the right. Based on interviews with hundreds of colleagues and family members, the book portrays Boris as a loner who struggled to cope with his parents' divorce in 1978

Unhappy families: Boris is on the far left, his parents on the right. Based on interviews with hundreds of colleagues and family members, the book portrays Boris as a loner who struggled to cope with his parents’ divorce in 1978

Mr Bower describes Stanley’s marriage to Charlotte as violent and unhappy. In the book, she is quoted as saying: ‘He broke my nose. He made me feel like I deserved it.’

Mrs Johnson’s parents visited their daughter in hospital and confronted Stanley who denied any involvement, the book claims.

The author says Mrs Johnson ‘confronted Stanley about the affairs she suspected him of having’, which he denied. 

In the book, which is being serialised in The Mail on Sunday, Mrs Johnson, now 78, says: ‘Stanley wanted to be loved and wanted sex and he wanted power. And when I contradicted him, it threatened his power.’

Based on interviews with hundreds of colleagues and family members, the book portrays Boris as a loner who struggled to cope with his parents’ divorce in 1978.

It also details Boris’s intense desire to become Prime Minister, jostling for advantage with fellow Old Etonian David Cameron and feuding with George Osborne.

‘I need you’: PM’s last text to Arcuri

The Prime Minister sent an alleged mistress a text message saying ‘I miss you and I need you’ while courting current fiancee Carrie Symonds, it is claimed.

When he was Mayor of London, Boris Johnson is said to have had a four-year affair with Jennifer Arcuri – a pole-dancing American businesswoman.

In a new biography about the Prime Minister called The Gambler, by Tom Bower, it is suggested Miss Arcuri ended their relationship as his second term as mayor came to an end in May 2016.

The biography claims his last text message to her was sent on December 29, 2018. He allegedly wrote: ‘I miss you and I need you.’ She deleted the text.

By then, Mr Johnson was divorcing his wife Marina Wheeler and had already been courting Miss Symonds since February of that year.

No 10 declined to comment last night.

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Prince William laments the ‘unimaginable challenges’ faced by cancer patients

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prince william laments the unimaginable challenges faced by cancer patients

The Duke of Cambridge made an emotional visit to the Royal Marsden Hospital today as he followed in Princess Diana‘s footsteps almost 40 years after her first solo engagement.

Prince William, 38, donned a medical face mask as he met with patients to hear how clinical trials have transformed their lives and learned of how the Covid-19 crisis had changed their experiences of receiving treatment. 

The royal, who was appointed President of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in 2007, also laid the founding stone for the new Oak Cancer Centre at the hospital. 

The move follows directly in the footsteps of his mother, who 30 years ago laid a stone to mark the start of the Chelsea Wing at The Royal Marsden in Chelsea. 

The Duke said he was ‘personally delighted’ to be following in the footsteps of his mother, adding: ‘Every time I visit the Marsden, I am struck not just by the significant advances that are being made in research and treatment, but also by the hope and belief embodied by each patient and member of staff, even in the darkest of times.’ 

The Duke of Cambridge, 38, made an emotional visit to the Royal Marsden Hospital today, where he laid the founding stone for the new Oak Cancer Centre

The Duke of Cambridge, 38, made an emotional visit to the Royal Marsden Hospital today, where he laid the founding stone for the new Oak Cancer Centre

The Duke of Cambridge, 38, made an emotional visit to the Royal Marsden Hospital today, where he laid the founding stone for the new Oak Cancer Centre

William followed in Princess Diana's footsteps almost 40 years after her first solo engagement - pictured laying a ceremonial foundation stone in a wall at the Royal Marsden in June 1990

William followed in Princess Diana's footsteps almost 40 years after her first solo engagement - pictured laying a ceremonial foundation stone in a wall at the Royal Marsden in June 1990

William followed in Princess Diana’s footsteps almost 40 years after her first solo engagement – pictured laying a ceremonial foundation stone in a wall at the Royal Marsden in June 1990

The Duke of Cambridge, who was appointed President of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in 2007, met with staff at the Oak Cancer Centre this morning

The Duke of Cambridge, who was appointed President of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in 2007, met with staff at the Oak Cancer Centre this morning

 The Duke of Cambridge, who was appointed President of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in 2007, met with staff at the Oak Cancer Centre this morning

Prince William looked in high spirits during the visit to The Royal Marsden in Sutton to meet staff and patients, and to mark the start of construction for the Trust's Oak Cancer Centre

Prince William looked in high spirits during the visit to The Royal Marsden in Sutton to meet staff and patients, and to mark the start of construction for the Trust's Oak Cancer Centre

Prince William looked in high spirits during the visit to The Royal Marsden in Sutton to meet staff and patients, and to mark the start of construction for the Trust’s Oak Cancer Centre

Prince William, who has regularly visited the hospital since he was appointed president in 2007,  donned a smart black blazer and soft blue jumper for the occasion.

The father-of-three opted to forgo his usual fabric face covering and instead wore a medical face mask throughout the visit.

He joined patients in a gazebo outside the hospital where he could be seen chatting with young people and their parents. 

He was seen speaking to several patients one-on-one, and seemed engaged as he leaned forward.

The Duke sheltered beneath a black umbrella as he laid the foundation stone for the centre in London this morning

The Duke sheltered beneath a black umbrella as he laid the foundation stone for the centre in London this morning

The Duke sheltered beneath a black umbrella as he laid the foundation stone for the centre in London this morning 

William went on to lay the foundation stone at the centre that will see 400 researchers under the same roof find new cancer treatments

William went on to lay the foundation stone at the centre that will see 400 researchers under the same roof find new cancer treatments

William went on to lay the foundation stone at the centre that will see 400 researchers under the same roof find new cancer treatments

The Duke gave a short speech at the groundbreaking ceremony, before laying the foundation stone, and praised 'the incredible work' that takes place at The Royal Marsden

The Duke gave a short speech at the groundbreaking ceremony, before laying the foundation stone, and praised 'the incredible work' that takes place at The Royal Marsden

The Duke gave a short speech at the groundbreaking ceremony, before laying the foundation stone, and praised ‘the incredible work’ that takes place at The Royal Marsden

Meanwhile he went on to lay the foundation stone at the centre that will see 400 researchers under the same roof find new cancer treatments.  

The Duke gave a short speech at the groundbreaking ceremony, before laying the foundation stone, and praised ‘the incredible work’ that takes place at The Royal Marsden.

He explained: ‘I am personally delighted to be with you today to lay the foundation stone of the Oak Centre, thirty years after my mother did the very same thing at The Royal Marsden in Chelsea, commemorating the building of the Chelsea Wing.’

The Duke went on to comment on the ‘unimaginable challenges that all those at the Marsden have faced this year’, saying: ‘The knock on effects of coronavirus have been felt widely, but the impact on cancer treatment for patients up and down the country has been one of the most acute and challenging.

In a speech given shortly after he laid the foundation stone, Prince William said he was 'personally delighted' to be following in the footsteps of his mother

In a speech given shortly after he laid the foundation stone, Prince William said he was 'personally delighted' to be following in the footsteps of his mother

In a speech given shortly after he laid the foundation stone, Prince William said he was 'personally delighted' to be following in the footsteps of his mother

In a speech given shortly after he laid the foundation stone, Prince William said he was 'personally delighted' to be following in the footsteps of his mother

In a speech given shortly after he laid the foundation stone, Prince William said he was ‘personally delighted’ to be following in the footsteps of his mother

The visit comes 30 years after Princess Diana laid a stone to mark the start of the Chelsea Wing at The Royal Marsden in Chelsea

The visit comes 30 years after Princess Diana laid a stone to mark the start of the Chelsea Wing at The Royal Marsden in Chelsea

The visit comes 30 years after Princess Diana laid a stone to mark the start of the Chelsea Wing at The Royal Marsden in Chelsea

‘When I spoke to Cally and her team in the early days of the pandemic, she told me about the rapid changes that had been implemented to keep cancer treatment going for hundreds of patients who are cared for by The Royal Marsden. 

‘This included the creation of the Cancer Surgical Hub which ensured patients from across London were able to continue with their urgent cancer surgery, and which will have saved countless lives.’

He added: ‘Earlier this morning I was privileged to meet patients who all spoke about the exceptional care they received, and how they felt safe in very difficult and often frightening times.’ 

The Duke went on to say the new centre would ‘bring together some of the world’s best minds to develop new treatments to save and improve the lives of cancer patients throughout the UK and around the world’, adding: ‘ Finally I want to say how proud I am as President of The Royal Marsden to be here today. 

Prince William opted to forgo his usual fabric face covering and instead wore a medical face mask throughout the visit

Prince William opted to forgo his usual fabric face covering and instead wore a medical face mask throughout the visit

Prince William opted to forgo his usual fabric face covering and instead wore a medical face mask throughout the visit

Before speaking with patients, the Duke laid a foundation stone for a new cancer centre that will see 400 researchers under the same roof to find new cancer treatments

Before speaking with patients, the Duke laid a foundation stone for a new cancer centre that will see 400 researchers under the same roof to find new cancer treatments

Before speaking with patients, the Duke laid a foundation stone for a new cancer centre that will see 400 researchers under the same roof to find new cancer treatments

The prince listened intently as he spoke with staff and patients at the groundbreaking new facility

The prince listened intently as he spoke with staff and patients at the groundbreaking new facility

The prince listened intently as he spoke with staff and patients at the groundbreaking new facility

During his visit, the father-of-three also heard from staff about several studies launched by The Royal Marsden to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on cancer treatment and care

During his visit, the father-of-three also heard from staff about several studies launched by The Royal Marsden to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on cancer treatment and care

During his visit, the father-of-three also heard from staff about several studies launched by The Royal Marsden to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on cancer treatment and care

During his visit, the father-of-three also heard from staff about several studies launched by The Royal Marsden to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on cancer treatment and care

During his visit, the father-of-three also heard from staff about several studies launched by The Royal Marsden to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on cancer treatment and care

‘Despite the challenging times we are living in, it is so important we take the time to acknowledge the tremendous work that continues all around us. 

‘And that irrespective of the global pandemic, there remains hope for the many thousands of people dealing with the effects of cancer.’  

During his visit, the father-of-three also heard from staff about several studies launched by The Royal Marsden to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on cancer treatment and care.

Frontline workers told him about the Surgical Cancer Hub The Royal Marsden and its cancer alliance formed at the start of the pandemic to provide cancer surgery to patients around the country.   

Frontline workers told the Duke about the Surgical Cancer Hub The Royal Marsden and its cancer alliance formed at the start of the pandemic to provide cancer surgery to patients around the country

Frontline workers told the Duke about the Surgical Cancer Hub The Royal Marsden and its cancer alliance formed at the start of the pandemic to provide cancer surgery to patients around the country

Frontline workers told the Duke about the Surgical Cancer Hub The Royal Marsden and its cancer alliance formed at the start of the pandemic to provide cancer surgery to patients around the country

During the visit, The Duke met a small number of patients to hear how clinical trials at The Royal Marsden have transformed their lives, and to talk about their experiences of receiving treatment during the pandemic

During the visit, The Duke met a small number of patients to hear how clinical trials at The Royal Marsden have transformed their lives, and to talk about their experiences of receiving treatment during the pandemic

During the visit, The Duke met a small number of patients to hear how clinical trials at The Royal Marsden have transformed their lives, and to talk about their experiences of receiving treatment during the pandemic

During the visit, The Duke met a small number of patients to hear how clinical trials at The Royal Marsden have transformed their lives, and to talk about their experiences of receiving treatment during the pandemic

During the visit, The Duke met a small number of patients to hear how clinical trials at The Royal Marsden have transformed their lives, and to talk about their experiences of receiving treatment during the pandemic

The Duke also spoke with staff about the impact of Covid-19 on the treatments they have been offering

The Duke also spoke with staff about the impact of Covid-19 on the treatments they have been offering

The Duke also spoke with staff about the impact of Covid-19 on the treatments they have been offering 

Prince William was appointed President of the hospital in 2007, a position previously held by his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales

Prince William was appointed President of the hospital in 2007, a position previously held by his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales

Prince William was appointed President of the hospital in 2007, a position previously held by his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales

As part of the visit, he launched a public appeal to raise the final £8million to complete the  Oak Cancer Centre, which is due to open to patients in 2022.

The hospital has a poignant significance for William, because it was the place Princess Diana visited on her first solo engagement in 1982. 

Prince William was appointed President of the hospital in 2007, a position previously held by his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

William became President of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in 2007, taking over the Presidency from his mother who held the role from 1989 until her death in 1997. 

The father-of-three sheltered beneath an umbrella during his day out in rainy London this afternoon

The father-of-three sheltered beneath an umbrella during his day out in rainy London this afternoon

The father-of-three sheltered beneath an umbrella during his day out in rainy London this afternoon 

 It comes amid a busy few days for the Duke, who yesterday joined Kate Middleton to  attend the launch of one of the 112 Hold Still community exhibition sites at Waterloo Station.

The photography contest, launched by the Duchess of Cambridge in May, invited people of all ages from across the UK to submit a photographic portrait which they had taken during lockdown. 

Kate and William went on to travel to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital to speak to frontline workers including Joyce Duah, a specialist oncology pharmacist at the hospital. 

The hospital has a poignant significance for William, because it was the place Princess Diana visited on her first solo engagement in 1982 (pictured, at the Royal Marsden)

The hospital has a poignant significance for William, because it was the place Princess Diana visited on her first solo engagement in 1982 (pictured, at the Royal Marsden)

The hospital has a poignant significance for William, because it was the place Princess Diana visited on her first solo engagement in 1982 (pictured, at the Royal Marsden) 

Later, they were joined by Good Morning Britain host Kate Garraway outside the hospital. 

The royal couple appeared to be being interviewed for the Pride of Britain Awards later this month. 

This will be the first time Kate has been involved in the awards, while William last attended the ceremony in 2017. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Criminals from EU countries will be BANNED from entering the UK under tough new laws

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criminals from eu countries will be banned from entering the uk under tough new laws

Priti Patel today publishes tough new measures which will ban EU criminals entering Britain from January 1 and remove rough sleepers.

Offenders will no longer get special treatment if they are EU nationals.

However, the measures will partly rely on Britain retaining access to European criminal databases, on which a deal has yet to be reached.

Existing EU rules mean Britain can only prevent EU criminals entering if they present a serious and current threat.

The new measures will lower that hurdle. In one of the most significant outcomes of Brexit, the Home Secretary will be able to prevent anyone handed 12 months or more in jail from entering.

The measures, to be introduced in Parliament today, do not apply to the four million who have registered under the EU Settlement Scheme.

They will be able to come and go as they please.

Priti Patel, pictured, today publishes tough new measures which will ban EU criminals entering Britain from January 1 and remove rough sleepers

Priti Patel, pictured, today publishes tough new measures which will ban EU criminals entering Britain from January 1 and remove rough sleepers

Priti Patel, pictured, today publishes tough new measures which will ban EU criminals entering Britain from January 1 and remove rough sleepers

In addition, the regulations will allow the Home Office to remove EU nationals who sleep rough in this country and who refuse help, or who commit crimes such as aggressive begging.

It means the Home Office will have new powers to deal with EU nationals who set up ‘tent cities’ in London’s Park Lane and at other locations across the country.

It is understood the powers will be used ‘very sparingly and only as a last resort’ against homeless foreign nationals who commit anti-social behaviour or low-level crime which may not meet the normal criteria for deportation.

Miss Patel said: ‘For too long, EU rules have forced us to allow dangerous foreign criminals, who abuse our values and threaten our way of life, onto our streets.

‘The UK will be safer thanks to firmer and fairer border controls where foreign criminals regardless of nationality will be subject to the same criminality rules.’

The changes mean that foreign criminals sentenced to more than a year in jail will be banned from entering the UK, compared with current EU rules which set out a cut-off of a recent jail spell of more than four years.

The Home Secretary will also be able to refuse entry to foreign criminals sentenced to less than a year in jail on a case-by-case basis.

And offenders who have not received a prison sentence could also be banned if, for example, they have been persistent criminals; their offending risks causing ‘serious harm’, such as sex offenders; or their presence here is ‘not conducive to the public good’.

Currently, EU rules mean criminals can only be barred if they present a ‘genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society’, meaning older offences cannot be taken into account.

For example, an EU national jailed for rape a decade ago cannot currently be refused entry if they have not re-offended since. Under the new rules, that rapist could be banned from Britain.

The measures, to be introduced in Parliament today, do not apply to the four million who have registered under the EU Settlement Scheme.

The measures, to be introduced in Parliament today, do not apply to the four million who have registered under the EU Settlement Scheme.

The measures, to be introduced in Parliament today, do not apply to the four million who have registered under the EU Settlement Scheme.

The Home Office will be able to take all offences into account whether committed in the UK or overseas. Anyone involved in sham marriages will also be refused entry.

Officials acknowledged there will be ‘some limited exceptions’, however.

For example, an EU citizen could bring a claim under the European Convention on Human Rights, potentially delaying their removal.

EU citizens already living in Britain who have signed up to retain their current status under the EU Settlement Scheme will not be affected by the new measures. This will include rough-sleepers.

However, if they commit a crime from January 1 which results in a jail sentence of a year or more their status could be revoked.

If Britain loses access to European criminal records databases the new powers will be difficult to enforce because it will make it harder to identify offenders who arrive at the UK border.

But a Home Office source said last night they were confident they would be able to use other databases, such as those run by Interpol.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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ALEX BRUMMER: How terrifying the country now owes £2 TRILLION

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alex brummer how terrifying the country now owes 2 trillion

How much debt is too much debt? That is the question millions of us will be asking tomorrow morning when confronted by headlines proclaiming that pandemic spending has sent Britain’s national debt — accumulated borrowing down the ages — soaring through the £2 trillion mark.

Let me spell it out. £2,000,000,000,000.

It is a truly terrifying sum.

What it means is that each of Britain’s 25 million households now has a public debt burden of £80,000 hovering overhead like a volcanic black cloud that may take decades, if not generations, to disperse.

34650696 8862441 image m 26 1603265801720

34650696 8862441 image m 26 1603265801720

Another £36.1billion was borrowed in September – the third-highest month on record and compared to just £7billion a year ago – as tax revenues slumped and the Treasury poured out bailout money

As Covid infection rates rise, forcing large areas into ever more restrictive lockdowns, local authorities, schools, trades unions and some senior politicians — including former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown — are demanding the extension of the furlough scheme beyond the end of this month in addition to other lavish spending to deal with the economic fallout from this new phase of the pandemic.

Collapse

One understands their concern but they should be honest about the implications. The burden of paying back the extraordinary levels of borrowing will fall most heavily on our youngest citizens, who have already taken a devastating hit.

Their education has been severely disrupted, and their chances of employment reduced as businesses look to cut costs. Even temporary jobs — weekend or evening work in bars, coffee shops and restaurants that many relied on as students or before finding that first job — are denied them by the collapse of the hospitality sector.

The growing fear is that young Britons — like their counterparts in Greece, Italy and Spain whose lives were shattered by the euro crisis of 2010 — will become the UK’s troubled lost generation.

Because however generous the help for apprentices and the Kickstart Scheme spelled out in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s jobs plan may be, it won’t be enough to prevent permanent scarring.

The sheer scale of Britain’s borrowing and debt mountain is laid out in detail by the Office for National Statistics for September. In this one month alone, the UK added £36.1 billion to the national debt. In the months from April to August, the country ran up new bills of £172.4 billion. That far exceeds the £150 billion of borrowing run up during the financial crisis of 2008/9.

And the latest data takes no account of plans unveiled in the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan. These do not include £24.3 billion in extra spending related to Covid-19, such as vaccines, medical services and test and trace, as well as extra funds to local authorities.

In addition, Sunak extended the VAT cut to the hospitality sector and provided for a new Job Retention Scheme, which pays up two-thirds of income for part-time working.

And, today, the Chancellor will unveil plans to provide extra help to businesses in Tiers Two and Three.

When the reckoning comes, Britain’s borrowing for this year alone will likely hit a mind blowing £372 billion.

It is frightening to reflect that even after ten years of severe cuts and austerity begun under George Osborne and the Coalition government, the budget was never actually balanced. The national debt still stood at close to 80 per cent of total output (gross domestic product or GDP).

New forecasts by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) show Britain’s debt, currently equal to the total annual production for the whole economy, will sail through the 100 per cent mark sometime this year and is set to hit 117 per cent of GDP by 2025.

We are not the worst offenders, and better placed than France, Spain, Italy, Japan and even the world’s leading economy, America. Those of us of a certain age will remember the shocking moment in 1981, soon after Ronald Reagan became president, that U.S. debt levels exceeded one trillion dollars.

Reagan and, later, Bill Clinton launched a crusade to balance the budget and lower the country’s debt burden.

However generous the help for apprentices and the Kickstart Scheme spelled out in Chancellor Rishi Sunak's jobs plan may be, it won't be enough to prevent permanent scarring

However generous the help for apprentices and the Kickstart Scheme spelled out in Chancellor Rishi Sunak's jobs plan may be, it won't be enough to prevent permanent scarring

However generous the help for apprentices and the Kickstart Scheme spelled out in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s jobs plan may be, it won’t be enough to prevent permanent scarring

But the most recent IMF data shows that as a percentage of GDP, debt levels in America are even bigger than in the UK at more than 100 per cent.

The difference is that the U.S. dollar is the world’s main reserve currency, so most nations, including countries sitting on big trade surpluses such as China and Japan, hold big stocks of the greenback. This allows the U.S. the extreme privilege of ever more borrowing because it can keep the printing presses running.

Sterling is not a reserve currency, but that’s not to say we do not have some advantages over most other advanced countries.

Britain has never in its history — even during the darkest days of World War II, when borrowing levels surged to 25 per cent of output (against a likely 16 per cent this year) — reneged on its loans. (Gordon Brown paid off the last of the war loan, the perpetual debt created to finance the fight against Nazis, in 2006.)

Rages

As a result of this stellar record, the UK retains a healthy global credit rating and is able to borrow at historically low interest rates.

Governments fund their operations by the issue of bonds known in Britain as gilt-edged stock.

The perceived security of a British government guarantee means there is no shortage of buyers, even as this pandemic rages and we head towards Brexit.

The most enthusiastic customers are the banks, insurers and pension funds, which are required to hold gilt-edged stock as a safety net against bad times.

The Bank of England is also a big buyer of UK bonds, with a £300 billion programme put in place since Covid took hold here. It is widely expected to announce further purchases of up to £100 billion next month.

By buying bonds for cash, the taciturn Governor of the Bank, Andrew Bailey, is also able to keep the banking system lubricated so it can try to save as many companies brought to the precipice by the pandemic from tipping over the edge.

The UK is also fortunate in having friends, including Gulf states and Norway’s state-owned oil and pension funds, which still seem to regard gilts as a safe place to invest their money.

Fraud

That said, what I find disturbing about the current borrowing binge is how much of the money has been wasted.

Earlier this month we learnt that as much as £24 billion of the £38 billion of Government- guaranteed Bounce Back Loans for the smallest businesses may never be paid back because of failures and fraud, with the system allegedly infiltrated by mobsters.

According to the National Audit Office, the furlough scheme may have protected jobs but it has also been abused, with as much as £3.9 billion at risk.

The Government had little alternative but to support the economy through this crisis in the belief that growth will be restored eventually and many jobs saved. But there is not a great forest of money trees out there that the Chancellor can keep on shaking.

Governments have a sacred duty to spend taxpayers’ money wisely. As the American Senator Everett Dirksen famously observed: spend ‘a billion here, and a billion there, and pretty soon you are soon talking real money!’

As important as it is to keep businesses oiled with cash and people in jobs, the bills will eventually have to be paid.

That is a sobering thought for all of us right now as calls to keep the spending spigots open multiply.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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