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Mayor Andy Burnham blames Chancellor Rishi Sunak for being ‘the problem’ in Tier 3 lockdown row

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mayor andy burnham blames chancellor rishi sunak for being the problem in tier 3 lockdown row

A growing feud between Andy Burnham and top ministers is set to intensify after the Labour mayor labelled Rishi Sunak ‘the problem’  in a row over tighter coronavirus restrictions in Greater Manchester.

The mayor of Greater Manchester, who has called for more financial support for the area after it was plunged into a Tier 3 lockdown, has hit out at the Chancellor, who he says has made ‘wrong judgements throughout this’.

He also attacked Mr Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme as ‘poor judgement’. 

It comes after allies close to Chancellor yesterday accused Mr Burnham of using the virus as his ‘soapbox moment’.

Mr Burnham and Conservative politicians in Greater Manchester are opposing the government’s Tier 3 measures, which will see pubs and bars closed in the area.

The two sides are currently locked in a stalemate over the proposals.  

A growing feud between Andy Burnham (pictured) and top ministers is set to intensify after the Labour mayor labelled Rishi Sunak 'the problem' in a row over tighter coronavirus restrictions in Greater Manchester

A growing feud between Andy Burnham (pictured) and top ministers is set to intensify after the Labour mayor labelled Rishi Sunak 'the problem' in a row over tighter coronavirus restrictions in Greater Manchester

A growing feud between Andy Burnham (pictured) and top ministers is set to intensify after the Labour mayor labelled Rishi Sunak ‘the problem’ in a row over tighter coronavirus restrictions in Greater Manchester

The mayor of Greater Manchester, who has called for more financial support for the area after it was plunged into a Tier Three lockdown, has hit out at the Chancellor, who he says has made 'wrong judgments throughout this'

The mayor of Greater Manchester, who has called for more financial support for the area after it was plunged into a Tier Three lockdown, has hit out at the Chancellor, who he says has made 'wrong judgments throughout this'

The mayor of Greater Manchester, who has called for more financial support for the area after it was plunged into a Tier Three lockdown, has hit out at the Chancellor, who he says has made ‘wrong judgments throughout this’

Rishi Sunak has warned caving into Andy Burnham’s demand for more cash will commit Treasury to huge bill 

Rishi Sunak has warned that caving into Andy Burnham’s demand for more cash will commit the Treasury to finding huge sums for other areas facing Covid restrictions. 

As Downing Street seeks another round of talks with the defiant Manchester Mayor today over introducing Tier 3 rules in the city, the Chancellor is alarmed at the thought of being saddled with another huge bill.

Asked about the prospect of handouts for every area placed into Tier 3 status, a Treasury insider asked: ‘Who’s going to pay for it?’ Another source said: ‘If you give a pot of money, it creates a precedent. Then everyone who goes into Tier 3 will want a pot of cash.’

It is understood, however, that Mr Sunak will not block extra economic measures for the Greater Manchester region if that is ‘what it takes to get them over the line’ in negotiations with Mr Burnham.

The former Labour Minister is expected to use media interviews today to heap pressure on Boris Johnson. As the stand-off grew more rancorous, an ally of Mr Sunak accused Mr Burnham of using the virus as his ‘soapbox moment’.

Mr Burnham and other local leaders are pressing for more shielding measures for the vulnerable, extra financial aid and stricter local powers to shut down venues that break virus guidelines.

A source close to the talks said: ‘The leaders are resolute. They say they’ll meet Government officials again, but the support package needs to be better and they’re not convinced the Tier 3 measures will make any difference.’

Mr Johnson says Labour mayors are putting lives at risk by refusing to agree to the measures and is expected to push them into Tier 3 tomorrow even if no agreement is reached.

 ‘They’ll go into lockdown on Monday,’ one Tory MP said. ‘The Government will give them some more money. Boris has to hold on, stay with what he said he would do, and see if it works.’ The MP warned that public finances were in a ‘spiral vortex downwards’, adding: ‘It’s a large hole in the ground and we keep digging. We have taken leave of our senses.’

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Mr Burnham has called for a return to the generosity of the original furlough scheme that saw the Treasury pay 80 per cent of workers wages.

But Mr Sunak has only offered a 66 per cent subsidy for those whose firms forced to shut by Tier 3 measures.

Ahead of supposed talks set up for the weekend, which Mr Burnham’s office deny, the Greater Manchester mayor hit out at Mr Sunak in an interview with the New Statesman magazine: ‘I think the problem now is, to a large degree, the Chancellor. I think he’s made wrong judgements throughout this.’

He criticised the Eat Out to Help Out meal subsidy scheme as a ‘poor judgment’, and added: ‘The cost of that should have been paying for the furlough now.’

But he insisted, during the interview, conducted on Friday, that the failure ultimately lies with Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

He added: ‘He shouldn’t be allowing the Treasury to run the policy’.

Mr Burnham and council leaders have insisted they ‘are ready to meet at any time’ in order to broker an agreement with No 10 but there was a failure in communication on Saturday.

Downing Street indicated a call had been scheduled for Sunday morning after a message was left with Mr Burnham.

But a spokesman for the mayor said: ‘Nothing has yet been arranged.’

A Downing Street source responded: ‘No 10 reached out this morning to try and arrange a meeting with the Mayor of Manchester.

‘We will continue to try and reach an agreement on these difficult, yet necessary, measures to protect the NHS and the people of Manchester.’

But Mr Johnson on Friday threatened to impose measures without local support as he warned that ‘time is of the essence’ and that ‘tragically more people will die’ with each day of delay.

However, politicians in Manchester have stood firm, calling for more financial support before an agreement is reached. 

The Chancellor is alarmed at the thought of being saddled with another huge bill – having shelled out £40billion for the Job Retention Scheme in the national lockdown.

Asked about the prospect of handouts for every area placed into Tier 3 status, a Treasury insider asked: ‘Who’s going to pay for it?’ Another source said: ‘If you give a pot of money, it creates a precedent. Then everyone who goes into Tier 3 will want a pot of cash.’  

However, It is understood that Mr Sunak will not block extra economic measures for the Greater Manchester region if that is ‘what it takes to get them over the line’ in negotiations with Mr Burnham.

The row rumbled on as new controls came into force on Saturday, including in Lancashire and London, meant 28 million people, more than half of England, are living under heightened restrictions.

Mr Johnson has been under increased pressure to accept a short national lockdown known as a ‘circuit-breaker’ to get a grip on the resurgence of Covid-19.

Boris Johnson has been under increased pressure to accept a short national lockdown known as a 'circuit-breaker' to get a grip on the resurgence of Covid-19

Boris Johnson has been under increased pressure to accept a short national lockdown known as a 'circuit-breaker' to get a grip on the resurgence of Covid-19

Boris Johnson has been under increased pressure to accept a short national lockdown known as a ‘circuit-breaker’ to get a grip on the resurgence of Covid-19

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34468262 8851165 image a 1 1602978926953

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Some 136 deaths were recorded yesterday, but scientists have warned this could rise to 690 by the end of the month

Government adviser Sir John Bell, the regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford, told the BB the national measure might be needed, potentially even including a two-week closure of schools in England.

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34464366 8851989 image a 11 1603004131342

 

Conservative former health secretary Jeremy Hunt added he had ‘sympathy’ for the measure, which has been suggested by Labour and the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

The Prime Minister has been favouring local measures to try to slow the spread of the disease, but on Friday acknowledged he ‘can’t rule anything out’ in taking national action.

Lancashire joined the Liverpool region in entering Tier 3 on Saturday, meaning with pubs and bars closed unless they can serve meals and household mixing banned indoors and in gardens.

Tier 2 measures were also introduced in London, Essex, York, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield.

They prohibit people mixing inside with those from other households, including in pubs and restaurants, renewing calls from businesses for greater financial support. 

Tier 2, what Tier 2? Drinkers pack bars in London during first night under new rules while revellers also take to the streets of Leeds and Manchester despite curbs being in place

Drinkers packed into the streets of London, Leeds and Manchester last night despite curbs putting a stop to multiple households sitting inside pubs and restaurants.

In central London drinkers braved the cold to sit outside as the city experienced its first night in Tier Two lockdown.

They filled streets that been deserted during daylight as businesses reported increased cancellations and said revenue across bars and restaurants in central London had plunged by 85 per cent.  

London entered Tier 2 at midnight on Friday, banning multiple households from meeting inside pubs and restaurants. That did not deter drinkers, who met outside and sat on tables in the streets despite the cold.  

In Manchester and Leeds, where Tier 2 restrictions have been in place since Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the new rules last week, revellers danced even after the pubs closed for the 10pm curfew.  

Around half of Britons are now under some form of enhanced lockdown measures, including 1.5 million in Lancashire which joined the Liverpool region living under the severest controls on Saturday. Manchester is verging upon being forced into the same measures.

Despite the evening scenes, hospitality bosses warned earlier in the day that central London revenues had fallen 85 per cent during the first day of new restrictions, while bosses warned that 200,000 jobs could be lost this weekend alone.  

LONDON: Soho was packed with revelers enjoying a Saturday night in London despite the city moving to Tier 2 restrictions

LONDON: Soho was packed with revelers enjoying a Saturday night in London despite the city moving to Tier 2 restrictions

LONDON: Soho was packed with revelers enjoying a Saturday night in London despite the city moving to Tier 2 restrictions

LONDON: Police officers kept a close eye on drinkers as the night wore on in Soho, London, on Saturday. Crowds of people poured into the area to enjoy a drink

LONDON: Police officers kept a close eye on drinkers as the night wore on in Soho, London, on Saturday. Crowds of people poured into the area to enjoy a drink

LONDON: Police officers kept a close eye on drinkers as the night wore on in Soho, London, on Saturday. Crowds of people poured into the area to enjoy a drink

MANCHESTER: People danced in the street and appeared to play music from their phones as they continued the party outside the pubs in Manchester on Saturday

MANCHESTER: People danced in the street and appeared to play music from their phones as they continued the party outside the pubs in Manchester on Saturday

MANCHESTER: People danced in the street and appeared to play music from their phones as they continued the party outside the pubs in Manchester on Saturday

LONDON:Police officers appeared to made conversation with drinkers as they monitored the bars and restaurants in Soho on Saturday

LONDON:Police officers appeared to made conversation with drinkers as they monitored the bars and restaurants in Soho on Saturday

LONDON:Police officers appeared to made conversation with drinkers as they monitored the bars and restaurants in Soho on Saturday

LEEDS: Two women spent their Saturday out in Leeds despite coronavirus cases rising rapidly in the UK's cities. The region is under threat of Tier 3 restrictions

LEEDS: Two women spent their Saturday out in Leeds despite coronavirus cases rising rapidly in the UK's cities. The region is under threat of Tier 3 restrictions

LEEDS: Two women spent their Saturday out in Leeds despite coronavirus cases rising rapidly in the UK’s cities. The region is under threat of Tier 3 restrictions

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, said the industry’s worst fears were confirmed as cancellations soared and revenues slumped dramatically.

Ms Nicholls said that revenue across bars and restaurants in central London plunged by 85 per cent as less people took to venues under new restrictions.  

She said: ‘The first day of Tier 2 restrictions saw the hospitality sector’s worst fears confirmed with a 50% increase in cancellations and a fall in forward bookings.

‘Venues across the capital saw significantly reduced footfall meaning revenues slumped by 85% in central London.’ 

Ms Nicholls added: ‘That is clearly unsustainable and businesses in London are now planning to close their doors and shutter their sites, with forecasts of up to 200,000 job losses unless enhanced JSS is extended.’ 

Ms Nicholls has pushed for the ‘job support scheme’, which requires employers to cough up 55 per cent of staff wages, to waive employer contributions and called for a tier-3 style funding for all hospitality in which venues hit by closures can get £3,000 grants. 

Under the new guidelines individuals from different households in London, Essex, York and parts of Derbyshire, will be banned from mixing indoors, even in hospitality venues.  

Outdoor socially distanced mingling is permitted for groups of up to six, meaning people from different households will be required to meet in beer gardens or at restaurants with outdoor seating.

MANCHESTER: Revelers enjoyed one last night out before feared Tier 3 restrictions come into force in Manchester. Women were pictured with hula hoops as they enjoyed their evening

MANCHESTER: Revelers enjoyed one last night out before feared Tier 3 restrictions come into force in Manchester. Women were pictured with hula hoops as they enjoyed their evening

MANCHESTER: Revelers enjoyed one last night out before feared Tier 3 restrictions come into force in Manchester. Women were pictured with hula hoops as they enjoyed their evening

MANCHESTER: Women danced in the street as the 10pm curfew approached in Manchester on Saturday night. Many revelers went unfazed by Tier 2 restrictions as they continued their night out in the streets

MANCHESTER: Women danced in the street as the 10pm curfew approached in Manchester on Saturday night. Many revelers went unfazed by Tier 2 restrictions as they continued their night out in the streets

MANCHESTER: Women danced in the street as the 10pm curfew approached in Manchester on Saturday night. Many revelers went unfazed by Tier 2 restrictions as they continued their night out in the streets

MANCHESTER: Drinkers crowded in the street after they were kicked out of the pub in time for the 10pm curfew in Manchester on Saturday

MANCHESTER: Drinkers crowded in the street after they were kicked out of the pub in time for the 10pm curfew in Manchester on Saturday

MANCHESTER: Drinkers crowded in the street after they were kicked out of the pub in time for the 10pm curfew in Manchester on Saturday

LEEDS: As the pubs closed for the evening people continued to party in the street as revelers cradled their drinks and filmed each other on their phones in Leeds on Saturday night

LEEDS: As the pubs closed for the evening people continued to party in the street as revelers cradled their drinks and filmed each other on their phones in Leeds on Saturday night

LEEDS: As the pubs closed for the evening people continued to party in the street as revelers cradled their drinks and filmed each other on their phones in Leeds on Saturday night

LEEDS: Groups gathered on the streets of Leeds after the pubs closed. Many party-goers headed straight from the bar to the off licence before continuing their night

LEEDS: Groups gathered on the streets of Leeds after the pubs closed. Many party-goers headed straight from the bar to the off licence before continuing their night

LEEDS: Groups gathered on the streets of Leeds after the pubs closed. Many party-goers headed straight from the bar to the off licence before continuing their night

One publican from Essex told MailOnline: ‘There was a huge change today with Tier 2 restrictions. We went from being completely full last night, to multiple cancellations today.’

They said the pub, which has not been named to protect the bar worker’s identity, was so quiet it was ‘depressing and demoralising’, adding: ‘The pub was the quietest I’ve seen it the fact it was a Saturday makes it even more depressing and demoralising. 

‘The takeaway/ collection service was busy but that is dealt with by the kitchen staff and one other person whose sole focus is deliverys and collections.

‘We have a takeaway/collection service which was set up during lockdown and we have kept running since reopening. Tonight was the busiest it had been since the lifting of lockdown by all accounts hopefully this will continue. From speaking to customers they were sad to see it so quiet, the main feelings was that hopefully people will realise that they need to support their local businesses.

‘I was on an afternoon/evening shift tonight, when I arrived for the start of my shift there was a few tables indoors occupied and the same outside. (We have copious outdoor seating space), multiple cancellations and what would usually be a very busy full on evening even in these strange times was the complete opposite.’ 

LONDON: Under the new guidelines individuals from different households in London, Essex, York and parts of Derbyshire, will be banned from mixing indoors, even in hospitality venues. Pictured, people enjoy a drink in borough market

LONDON: Under the new guidelines individuals from different households in London, Essex, York and parts of Derbyshire, will be banned from mixing indoors, even in hospitality venues. Pictured, people enjoy a drink in borough market

LONDON: Under the new guidelines individuals from different households in London, Essex, York and parts of Derbyshire, will be banned from mixing indoors, even in hospitality venues. Pictured, people enjoy a drink in borough market

LONDON: Queues formed for the off licence as revellers carried on the party in borough market on Saturday night when pubs and restaurants closed for the night

LONDON: Queues formed for the off licence as revellers carried on the party in borough market on Saturday night when pubs and restaurants closed for the night

LONDON: Queues formed for the off licence as revellers carried on the party in borough market on Saturday night when pubs and restaurants closed for the night

MANCHESTER: One woman appeared to hold up a taxi by laying on the bonnet during an evening out in Manchester on Saturday night

MANCHESTER: One woman appeared to hold up a taxi by laying on the bonnet during an evening out in Manchester on Saturday night

MANCHESTER: One woman appeared to hold up a taxi by laying on the bonnet during an evening out in Manchester on Saturday night

MANCHESTER: Police officers were pictured outside their police van during a busy night in Manchester on Saturday. Officers were called in to keep revelers under control after pubs closed at 10pm

MANCHESTER: Police officers were pictured outside their police van during a busy night in Manchester on Saturday. Officers were called in to keep revelers under control after pubs closed at 10pm

MANCHESTER: Police officers were pictured outside their police van during a busy night in Manchester on Saturday. Officers were called in to keep revelers under control after pubs closed at 10pm

LONDON: Tables were filled and hopefulls queued up at the door as people swarmed across borough market in London on Saturday

LONDON: Tables were filled and hopefulls queued up at the door as people swarmed across borough market in London on Saturday

LONDON: Tables were filled and hopefulls queued up at the door as people swarmed across borough market in London on Saturday

LONDON: An outdoor food stand in borough market had plenty of business on Saturday night as Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UK Hospitality, warned revenue across bars and restaurants in central London has plunged by 85 per cent

LONDON: An outdoor food stand in borough market had plenty of business on Saturday night as Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UK Hospitality, warned revenue across bars and restaurants in central London has plunged by 85 per cent

LONDON: An outdoor food stand in borough market had plenty of business on Saturday night as Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UK Hospitality, warned revenue across bars and restaurants in central London has plunged by 85 per cent

LONDON: People enjoyed a meal out with friends on Saturday night instead of letting Tier 2 restrictions put a dampener on their plans

LONDON: People enjoyed a meal out with friends on Saturday night instead of letting Tier 2 restrictions put a dampener on their plans

LONDON: People enjoyed a meal out with friends on Saturday night instead of letting Tier 2 restrictions put a dampener on their plans

LONDON: Venues were packed with drinkers in borough market on Saturday night despite the heightened level of restrictions

LONDON: Venues were packed with drinkers in borough market on Saturday night despite the heightened level of restrictions

LONDON: Venues were packed with drinkers in borough market on Saturday night despite the heightened level of restrictions

Ms Nicholls said: ‘Being moved into tier 2 is a curse for businesses. They will be trapped in a no man’s land of being open, but with severe restrictions that will significantly hit custom, all while unable to access the job support available in tier 3. It is the worst of both worlds for businesses.

‘Venues in London have already taken a hit due to the dip in inbound tourism and with people increasingly working from home. 

‘A move into tier 2 will now be catastrophic for some of them and it is only going to be made worse by the end of the furlough scheme in under two weeks.’

Soho, famous for its thriving nightlife, was pedestrianised when the national lockdown started to lift at the start of summer so its eateries and bars could set tables up in the street.

Some said they had seen a slight drop in customer numbers compared to last weekend, but said it could be down to the falling temperatures rather than the latest measures.

One member of staff, who asked not to be named, at the at the Greyhounds Pub on Greek Street said he now had to ask everyone sitting inside if they came from the same household.

‘I ask them but it’s just not practical, I have no way of checking unless I ask everyone to give me their address,’ he said.

A waiter at L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele on Old Compton Street said they could no longer take bookings as a result of the changes, and relied on walk-ins.

Despite that, Marcelo Teixeira Moraes, 24, said the restaurant had been at its ‘busiest for months’ on Friday.

‘People were grabbing the chance to go out all together while they could, it was so busy I couldn’t keep up,’ he said.

Door staff at Comptons, a nearby pub, said they were also having to rely on people’s honesty when it came to making sure customers sitting inside were all from the same household.

One member of staff said they had been very lucky so far in terms of customer numbers, but were worried about what would happen when the weather turned colder.

Earlier in the day, anti-lockdown protesters marched down Oxford Street before congregating in nearby Leicester Square to demonstrate against the restrictions.

Led by Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labour leader Jeremy, protesters yelled at passers by to remove their masks, and telling them any Covid-19 vaccine would be ‘poison’. 

Almost a third of restaurants and pubs in England will be affected by the tougher tier curbs introduced - more than 8,500 venues and 5,000 pubs

Almost a third of restaurants and pubs in England will be affected by the tougher tier curbs introduced - more than 8,500 venues and 5,000 pubs

Almost a third of restaurants and pubs in England will be affected by the tougher tier curbs introduced – more than 8,500 venues and 5,000 pubs

Restaurants in Covent Garden which would normally be packed with visitors lie empty due new restrictions brought in to stop the rise in coronavirus cases

Restaurants in Covent Garden which would normally be packed with visitors lie empty due new restrictions brought in to stop the rise in coronavirus cases

Restaurants in Covent Garden which would normally be packed with visitors lie empty due new restrictions brought in to stop the rise in coronavirus cases

Restaurants in Covent Garden would normally be packed with visitors (pictured) before the Tier 2 restrictions meaning people from different households can't meet indoors

Restaurants in Covent Garden would normally be packed with visitors (pictured) before the Tier 2 restrictions meaning people from different households can't meet indoors

 Restaurants in Covent Garden would normally be packed with visitors (pictured) before the Tier 2 restrictions meaning people from different households can’t meet indoors 

Busy bars and restaurants in the capital had already seen restrictions like the 10pm curfew before Tier 2 was introduced

Busy bars and restaurants in the capital had already seen restrictions like the 10pm curfew before Tier 2 was introduced

Busy bars and restaurants in the capital had already seen restrictions like the 10pm curfew before Tier 2 was introduced 

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Many of those on the march headed to Soho’s pubs at the end of the demo.

On Friday revellers made the most of their final night out over the weekend and descended onto London’s streets to enjoy bars and restaurants before the restrictions came in at midnight. 

A Metropolitan Police spokesman revealed one person was arrested ‘for being drunk and disorderly’ as pubs closed in Soho at 10pm.

They said: ‘Police were deployed in town centres across London on the night of Friday, October 16, including in Soho to reassure the public and ensure compliance with the COVID regulations. 

Wetherspoon boss blasts 10pm curfew after chain suffers £105million loss

By Mark Duell for MailOnline 

Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin today renewed his attack on the Government after the pub chain suffered a £105million loss following a 30 per cent drop in sales. 

Mr Martin said it was unfair that pubs have been treated harsher than supermarkets as he revealed sales fell from £1.82billion to £1.26billion in the year to July 26, 2020.   

Publishing the company’s delayed results, he added that the UK should adopt the Swedish model for pandemics to allow his pubs to open again properly, a system which he said ’emphasises social distancing, hygiene and trust in the people’.

The company also announced a further 108 job cuts at its head office, having already said it would cut up to 130 jobs at its HQ and up to 450 at airport concessions.  

Mr Martin, quoting businessman Warren Buffett from 1989, said governments across the world have based their lockdown decisions on ‘deeply flawed analysis’.

He claimed Swedish Professor Johan Giesecke is the epidemiologist equivalent and the UK should follow his lead, which would allow Wetherspoon to reopen pubs. 

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‘A gathering did form in Soho and officers sought to disperse the crowd in accordance with the regulations. One person was arrested for being drunk and disorderly. One other person was issued a dispersal order and directed away from the area. The crowd was dispersed by 22.25pm.’ 

Almost a third of restaurants and pubs in England will be affected by the tougher tier curbs introduced – more than 8,500 venues and 5,000 pubs.  

Pubs which serve very little food are expected to have suffered the most through the pandemic so far, due to not having benefitted from the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme which saw a cut on food VAT.

Industry bosses previously estimated 300,000 hospitality jobs would be lost in the absence of an industry bailout by government.

But Ms Nicholls prediction of 200,000 jobs to be lost in central London this weekend alone means the total could be much higher. 

This comes as Britain recorded its highest number of coronavirus deaths in four months after another 150 victims were announced today. 

Department of Health statistics show the grim milestone hasn’t been reached since June 10 when 164 lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths were announced. 

It is also a surge of 85 per cent compared to last Saturday, when 81 deaths were registered, and a rise of 16 from yesterday’s toll of 136 victims. 

Health chiefs today posted another 16,171 cases, up only six per cent on the figure recorded last Saturday (15,166), in a sign that the UK’s coronavirus outbreak may be beginning to slow. 

As many as 15,650 more positive tests were added to the tally yesterday.

Although still rising, the number of deaths from the virus remains miles off the levels seen at the height of the pandemic when more than 1,000 were being registered every day at the beginning of April. 

Boris Johnson divided the country into ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’ alert sectors this week after after a 9.3 per cent increase in coronavirus cases on the previous week.

The Prime Minister unveiled the new coronavirus three-tier lockdown system on Monday.

Liverpool was immediately put into Tier 3, the highest level, with Manchester, Newcastle and Birmingham among cities being ranked as Tier 2, or ‘high’ risk.  

Coronavirus positive tests in London have increased dramatically since the beginning of September but changes in recent weeks suggest the rate of rise is slowing down, with a 37 per cent increase in the seven days to October 7, compared to the almost double 84 per cent in the third week of September

Coronavirus positive tests in London have increased dramatically since the beginning of September but changes in recent weeks suggest the rate of rise is slowing down, with a 37 per cent increase in the seven days to October 7, compared to the almost double 84 per cent in the third week of September

Coronavirus positive tests in London have increased dramatically since the beginning of September but changes in recent weeks suggest the rate of rise is slowing down, with a 37 per cent increase in the seven days to October 7, compared to the almost double 84 per cent in the third week of September

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Some 136 deaths were recorded yesterday, but scientists have warned this could rise to 690 by the end of the month

Tier 1 restrictions, which the majority of England has been placed under, are believed to mirror the rules currently in place across the country.

It includes the rule of six, a 10pm curfew, group sport to be played outdoors only and a maximum of 15 guests at wedding ceremonies.

Under Tier 2 restrictions, households are also banned from meeting indoors, even in hospitality venues.

Two households are allowed to socialise outdoors but must stay within the six-person limit and adhere to social distancing. 

The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police today vowed to police 'without fear or favour' amid a political row between Downing Street and local leaders

The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police today vowed to police 'without fear or favour' amid a political row between Downing Street and local leaders

The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police today vowed to police ‘without fear or favour’ amid a political row between Downing Street and local leaders

Under these regulations, residents are not banned from travelling to a Tier 1 area, but are advised to minimise the number of journeys they make. 

Draconian Tier 3 regulations have seen restaurants close at 10pm, pubs and bars being ordered to close and households have been banned from mixing indoors or outdoors.

Locals are advised to only leave their areas for essential travel, including work and education, and overnight stays outside of ‘high’ risk areas are banned. 

It comes as the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police vowed to police ‘without fear or favour’ amid a political row between Downing Street and local leaders over tougher coronavirus measures.

In an open letter, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said that while he is ‘accountable’ to Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, he is ‘operationally independent’.

It follows reports that the Government has not imposed Tier 3 measures on the region over fears police would not enforce them without the backing of Mr Burnham.

Political leaders in the region have so far refused to accept the highest level of restrictions without greater financial support for businesses and residents.

Mr Hopkins wrote: ‘All officers and staff in Greater Manchester Police are accountable to me as Chief Constable. We carry out operational policing without fear or favour and in line with the Police Services code of ethics alongside colleagues across the country.’

He added: ‘It is for local and national politicians to agree the necessary restrictions to keep us all safe. 

‘As the Chief Constable I will then ensure my officers and staff enforce these in a proportionate manner alongside our local authority partners.’

Mr Hopkins said he has spoken to both the mayor and Home Secretary Priti Patel throughout the pandemic. ‘We are all agreed that there needs to be a proportionate level of enforcement to existing regulations,’ he said, adding he had ‘support’ from both in relation to the force’s approach.

The Prime Minister tried to increase pressure on Mr Burnham during a Downing Street press conference yesterday, threatening to impose the measures if local leaders did not accept them. 

Blackpool's Big One rollercoaster (pictured today) has remained open despite the the introduction of Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions for Lancashire today

Blackpool's Big One rollercoaster (pictured today) has remained open despite the the introduction of Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions for Lancashire today

Blackpool’s Big One rollercoaster (pictured today) has remained open despite the the introduction of Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions for Lancashire today 

October is traditionally one of the busiest periods for the seaside town as crowds flock to see the Blackpool Illuminations during the school half-term holidays, but B&B owners said the new restrictions are a 'kick in the teeth', as guests cancel bookings following the new restrictions

October is traditionally one of the busiest periods for the seaside town as crowds flock to see the Blackpool Illuminations during the school half-term holidays, but B&B owners said the new restrictions are a 'kick in the teeth', as guests cancel bookings following the new restrictions

October is traditionally one of the busiest periods for the seaside town as crowds flock to see the Blackpool Illuminations during the school half-term holidays, but B&B owners said the new restrictions are a ‘kick in the teeth’, as guests cancel bookings following the new restrictions

Meanwhile, traffic is still flowing freely across the border from England to Wales on the first day of the supposed travel ban from high-Covid areas.

The ban, which came into force at 6pm on Friday, makes it an offence to travel to Wales from coronavirus hotspots in the UK.

It was described as ‘unenforceable’ by the Police Federation earlier this week and there is still no sign of any high-visibility patrols or roadblocks to deter travel from Merseyside – despite Liverpool being in Tier 3.

Those who ignore the restrictions will be breaking the law and could face fixed penalty notices starting at £50 – but there have so far been no reports of drivers being stopped.

And Blackpool’s Big One rollercoaster, casinos and theme parks have remained open despite the the introduction of Tier Three coronavirus restrictions for Lancashire on Saturday, with guests continuing to pack the town’s streets.

Guests were pictured riding the rollercoaster while wearing face masks, as others continued to enjoy the seaside town’s Blackpool Pleasure Beach despite Lancashire joining Liverpool as the only area in England in the top tier of coronavirus restrictions.

While some gyms were forced to shut in Liverpool today and the streets of London appeared deserted under new Tier Two regulations, Blackpool was heaving with people enjoying the town’s attractions.

Tier Three restrictions for the ‘very high risk’ category area include harsher restrictions on socialising, with people told not to mix with others in any indoor setting or private garden, as well as in most outdoor hospitality venues.

Despite the packed streets, B&B owners have said the new restrictions are a ‘kick in the teeth’, with guests cancelling bookings following the new restrictions.

They fear the new Covid-19 measures will drive tourists away, despite some of the attractions remaining open.   

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Borat ‘defends’ Rudy Giuliani for ‘sexytime’ scene as film released

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borat defends rudy giuliani for sexytime scene as film released

Sacha Baron Cohen stepped back into his Borat character on social media on Thursday to comically defend Rudy Giuliani’s scandalous scene in the Borat sequel where he was filmed reclined on a bed with his hand seemingly down his pants with an actress from the movie. 

The comedian released the highly anticipated sequel ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ Thursday evening around 8pm, just one hour before the second presidential debate and one day before its scheduled release date. 

‘I here to defend America’s Mayor Rudolph Giuliani,’ Borat said in a video shared on Twitter. 

‘What was an innocent sexy time encounter between a consenting man and my 15-year-old daughter has been turned into something disgusting by fake news media,’ he said, before using his hands to elongate his nose like the character Pinocchio when he lies.

‘I warn you. Anyone else tries this and Rudolph will not hesitate to reach into his legal briefs and whip out his subpoenas,’ he added, pronouncing subpoenas like ‘subpenis’. 

Borat 2 is released: Sacha Baron Cohen shared a video on Twitter stepping back into his Borat Sagdiyev character to defend Rudy Giuliani, one day after it was revealed the former New York Mayor was pranked into be filmed in the movie

Borat 2 is released: Sacha Baron Cohen shared a video on Twitter stepping back into his Borat Sagdiyev character to defend Rudy Giuliani, one day after it was revealed the former New York Mayor was pranked into be filmed in the movie

Borat 2 is released: Sacha Baron Cohen shared a video on Twitter stepping back into his Borat Sagdiyev character to defend Rudy Giuliani, one day after it was revealed the former New York Mayor was pranked into be filmed in the movie

In the scandalous movie scene Giuliani is interviewed by Borat's daughter who poses as a conservative reporter in a hotel room, where he reclines on a bed and appears to put his hand down his pants. Rudy Giuliani pictured leaning back after actress Maria Bakalova takes his mic off

In the scandalous movie scene Giuliani is interviewed by Borat's daughter who poses as a conservative reporter in a hotel room, where he reclines on a bed and appears to put his hand down his pants. Rudy Giuliani pictured leaning back after actress Maria Bakalova takes his mic off

In the scandalous movie scene Giuliani is interviewed by Borat’s daughter who poses as a conservative reporter in a hotel room, where he reclines on a bed and appears to put his hand down his pants. Rudy Giuliani pictured leaning back after actress Maria Bakalova takes his mic off 

At the end of the clip was a notice that said: ‘Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm Now Streaming’. The movie is available on Amazon Prime.

The news broke Wednesday that Giuliani, the former Mayor of New York and Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, was duped into being filmed in Borat 2.

In the scene Giuliani is interviewed by Borat’s ‘daughter’ Tutar, posing as a conservative reporter, who then brings him to a hotel room. 

In the room Giuliani reclines on a bed and seemingly puts his hand down his pants, only to be interrupted by Cohen’s Borat character. 

‘She’s 15. She’s too old for you,’ Cohen screams and waves Giuliani off his ‘daughter,’ played by 24-year-old actress Maria Bakalova.   

'I here to defend America¿s Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. What was an innocent sexy time encounter between a consenting man and my 15-year-old daughter has been turned into something disgusting by fake news media. I warn you. Anyone else tries this and Rudolph will not hesitate to reach into his legal briefs and whip out his subpenis,¿ Borat said in the video message shared on social media Thursday

'I here to defend America¿s Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. What was an innocent sexy time encounter between a consenting man and my 15-year-old daughter has been turned into something disgusting by fake news media. I warn you. Anyone else tries this and Rudolph will not hesitate to reach into his legal briefs and whip out his subpenis,¿ Borat said in the video message shared on social media Thursday

A notice at the end of the video showed that the Borat 2 film is 'now streaming'

A notice at the end of the video showed that the Borat 2 film is 'now streaming'

‘I here to defend America’s Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. What was an innocent sexy time encounter between a consenting man and my 15-year-old daughter has been turned into something disgusting by fake news media. I warn you. Anyone else tries this and Rudolph will not hesitate to reach into his legal briefs and whip out his subpenis,’ Borat said in the video message shared on social media Thursday. A notice at the end of the video showed that the Borat 2 film is ‘now streaming’

Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat

Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat

Rudy Giuliani at the White House

Rudy Giuliani at the White House

After news of the Giuliani scene broke, the former Mayor defended himself saying he was fully clothed when he was laying on the bed and was simply tucking in his shirt. He slammed the scene as a ‘hit job’, saying ‘everybody in Hollywood hates me’

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34682794 8870629 image a 19 1603415659834

Giuliani defended himself on Twitter on Wednesday, pointing out, ‘I was fully clothed at all times.’  He explained he was merely tucking in his shirt, not doing anything untoward. 

‘I lean back and I tuck my shirt in and at that point they have this picture that they take, which looks doctored by in any event,’ Giuliani said on WABC radio Wednesday. ‘I’m tucking my shirt in, I assure you that’s all I was doing,’ he said slowly, letting each word sink in. 

Giuliani floated that he was being targeted because of his role in revealing the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop. 

‘They’ll do anything, they’ll attack me over anything possible,’ Giuliani said. ‘And now the idiot Borat is going after me with a totally sensationalized false account of a ridiculous movie, I guess, he has done.’ 

Giuliani called it a ‘hit job’ and said that ‘everybody in Hollywood hates me.’ 

‘It’s not an accident that it happens when I turn in all this evidence on their prince and darling Joe Biden, who is one of the biggest crooks in the last 30 years and since I have the courage to say that I’m the target,’ the president’s personal lawyer said. 

The scene: The forthcoming 'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm' features a prank on President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who is interviewed by Borat's 'daughter' in a New York City hotel suite

The scene: The forthcoming 'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm' features a prank on President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who is interviewed by Borat's 'daughter' in a New York City hotel suite

The scene: The forthcoming ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ features a prank on President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who is interviewed by Borat’s ‘daughter’ in a New York City hotel suite 

Maria Bakalova is seen taking off the microphone of Rudy Giuliani in the new 'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,' that was released Thursday evening, a day ahead of schedule

Maria Bakalova is seen taking off the microphone of Rudy Giuliani in the new 'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,' that was released Thursday evening, a day ahead of schedule

Maria Bakalova is seen taking off the microphone of Rudy Giuliani in the new ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,’ that was released Thursday evening, a day ahead of schedule 

Rudy Giuliani said that Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat burst in on them next and created such a commotion that he called the cops

Rudy Giuliani said that Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat burst in on them next and created such a commotion that he called the cops

Rudy Giuliani said that Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat burst in on them next and created such a commotion that he called the cops 

Maria Bakalova, the glamorous Black Lives Matter-supporting actress, who was able to honey trap Giuliani

Maria Bakalova, the glamorous Black Lives Matter-supporting actress, who was able to honey trap Giuliani

Maria Bakalova, the glamorous Black Lives Matter-supporting actress, who was able to honey trap Giuliani

Giuliani said he went to what he thought was an interview – the topic was the coronavirus – and said it felt ‘legitimate.’   

‘I did the interview with the young woman who was new to interviewing and I was being kind to her,’ he said. ‘At one point she explained to me some problems I had, I actually prayed with her.’  

When he got up to leave he said he had his jacket on. 

‘I was fully clothed at all times and I had to take off the electronic equipment and when the electronic equipment came off, some of it was in the back and my shirt got a little out, came a little out, although my clothes were entirely on,’ he told WABC.  

He said he realized that something was amiss when Borat’s ‘daughter’ asked if he’d like a massage. 

The conservative Drudge Report chose to share the image, captioning it with 'Rudy!!' Drudge has become increasingly critical of President Donald Trump

The conservative Drudge Report chose to share the image, captioning it with 'Rudy!!' Drudge has become increasingly critical of President Donald Trump

The conservative Drudge Report chose to share the image, captioning it with ‘Rudy!!’ Drudge has become increasingly critical of President Donald Trump 

The picture of Rudy Giuliani in a hotel room with 'Borat's daughter' went viral when they hit Twitter. Here website Showbiz411.com features the image

The picture of Rudy Giuliani in a hotel room with 'Borat's daughter' went viral when they hit Twitter. Here website Showbiz411.com features the image

The picture of Rudy Giuliani in a hotel room with ‘Borat’s daughter’ went viral when they hit Twitter. Here website Showbiz411.com features the image 

Newsweek used the image too in its coverage of Rudy Giuliani being duped by Sacha Baron Cohen

Newsweek used the image too in its coverage of Rudy Giuliani being duped by Sacha Baron Cohen

Newsweek used the image too in its coverage of Rudy Giuliani being duped by Sacha Baron Cohen 

The imagery from the Borat film quickly became a meme. 'Thanks Rudy!!!' says a happy Jeffrey Toobin, who got caught masturbating on a Zoom call

The imagery from the Borat film quickly became a meme. 'Thanks Rudy!!!' says a happy Jeffrey Toobin, who got caught masturbating on a Zoom call

The imagery from the Borat film quickly became a meme. ‘Thanks Rudy!!!’ says a happy Jeffrey Toobin, who got caught masturbating on a Zoom call

‘She says something about, “Do I want a massage?” I realize now that this is a set-up and I call my security guy Brian who’s right outside,’ Giuliani recalled. ‘And then all of the sudden crazy Sacha Baron Cohen runs in with a cape on and he’s yelling and screaming all sorts of stupid stuff.’   

The ex-New York City mayor also argued that in calling the police he proved he was an innocent party.   

‘If I was doing anything wrong, I would not call the police and if he was doing anything right, he wouldn’t have been running away,’ Giuliani said. 

The film is a sequel to the 2006 film ‘Borat.’ 

The pictures of Giuliani, first reported by The Guardian, in a hotel room with ‘Borat’s daughter’ went viral when they hit Twitter, apparently originating screengrabs from review copies of the movie.

Websites Showbiz411.com and Newsweek both featured the image as they reviewed the new movie, with Roger Friedman of Showbiz411 calling the Borat sequel ‘goofy fun, gut laughs, and a lot of silliness.’

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34682794 8864821 image a 10 1603317916848

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What Rudy says: The president's attorney tweeted his version of events claiming that he was set up by Baron Cohen months ago because of his release of emails from Hunter Biden's laptop this month

What Rudy says: The president's attorney tweeted his version of events claiming that he was set up by Baron Cohen months ago because of his release of emails from Hunter Biden's laptop this month

What Rudy says: The president’s attorney tweeted his version of events claiming that he was set up by Baron Cohen months ago because of his release of emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop this month

Rudy Giuliani's spokeswoman Christianne Allen said that the ex-mayor was 'un-fooled and placid' when Sasha Baron Cohen barged in on him and the actress who was playing 'Borat's daughter'

Rudy Giuliani's spokeswoman Christianne Allen said that the ex-mayor was 'un-fooled and placid' when Sasha Baron Cohen barged in on him and the actress who was playing 'Borat's daughter'

Rudy Giuliani’s spokeswoman Christianne Allen said that the ex-mayor was ‘un-fooled and placid’ when Sasha Baron Cohen barged in on him and the actress who was playing ‘Borat’s daughter’ 

Among the most prominent sites to feature it was The Drudge Report, the conservative news and aggregation website that has increasingly become more critical of Trump.  

‘Mocking hims as ‘Rudy!!,’ the decision by Matt Drudge to use the picture was likely to endear him to the president, who has tweeted repeatedly to his supporters that they should avoid Drudge, calling it ‘a CONFUSED mess.’    

Other critics tweeting the image included Zac Petankas, a Democratic strategist who was a senior adviser to both Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid, the party’s former Senate majority leader, and Seth Abramson, the author of a highly-critical book about Trump called ‘Proof of Corruption’ which features Giuliani on the cover photo.

And the image was also being made into memes, one of them poking fun at Zoom masturbator Jeffrey Toobin. It showed the CNN analyst thinking ‘thank you Rudy.’ 

Giuliani described the situation in July, but neglected to mention he may have been caught in a compromising position.  

‘This guys comes running in, wearing a crazy, what I would say a pink transgender outfit,’ President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer told Page Six at The New York Post. ‘It was a pink bikini, with lace, underneath a translucent mesh top, it looked absurd. He had a beard, bare legs, and wasn’t waht I would call distractingly attractive.’ 

Giuliani didn’t recognize the man as Cohen right away. 

He also called the cops. 

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Viral sensation: Trump's critics jumped on the images and tweeted with them. Among those who tweeted were Philippe Reines, previously one of Hillary Clinton's closest aides, and Zac Petkanas, a former Clinton senior adviser. Seth Abramson, an anti-Trump author and attorney and Keith Olberman, the former MSNBC and ESPN star turned YouTube commentator also weighed in

Viral sensation: Trump's critics jumped on the images and tweeted with them. Among those who tweeted were Philippe Reines, previously one of Hillary Clinton's closest aides, and Zac Petkanas, a former Clinton senior adviser. Seth Abramson, an anti-Trump author and attorney and Keith Olberman, the former MSNBC and ESPN star turned YouTube commentator also weighed in

Viral sensation: Trump’s critics jumped on the images and tweeted with them. Among those who tweeted were Philippe Reines, previously one of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides, and Zac Petkanas, a former Clinton senior adviser. Seth Abramson, an anti-Trump author and attorney and Keith Olberman, the former MSNBC and ESPN star turned YouTube commentator also weighed in 

‘This person comes in yelling and screaming, and I thought this must be a scam or a shake-down, so I reported it to the police. He then ran away,’ the ex- New York City mayor said. 

The July 7 incident occurred at the Mark Hotel in New York City.     

‘I only later realized it must have been Sacha Baron Cohen. I thought about all the people he previously fooled and I felt good about myself because he didn’t get me,’ Giuliani said in July. 

On a radio show the same month, Giuliani told WABC that Cohen was trying to capture him in ‘compromising’ position, though he didn’t recall that the tactic had worked. ‘I don’t think so, I’m trying to remember,’ when asked if there was anything he should be ‘regretful’ about.   

Giuliani’s spokeswoman Christianne Allen noted at the time that Cohen interrupted ‘an interview for a documentary on @realdonaldtrump’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.’   

BORAT CRASHED THE CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL ACTION CONFERENCE

The first hint that there would be cameos of President Donald Trump’s allies in ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ came when the trailer revealed in was Sasha Baron Cohen who had dressed up like Trump and crashed the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year. 

He told The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd what the stunt entailed: ‘Obviously, I’m wearing a fat suit,’ Cohen explained. He had to get through metal detectors to get into CPAC to see Vice President Mike Pence speak. 

Security was there to ‘check everyone’s bodies going through. Bear in mind, I spent five hours in makeup that morning with the prosthetic team changing my face into Trump’s face. This fat suit is huge. It’s a 56-inch fat suit to turn my waist into Trump’s because we had estimated that was the most realistic,’ he said. 

When he set the alarms off, he lied and said he had a defibrillator, Cohen told Dowd. 

‘Then I ended up hiding in the bathroom, listening to conservative men go to the toilet for five hours until I broke into the room. We were surrounded by Secret Service and police and internal security,’ Cohen said. 

As Pence spoke, Cohen is seen carrying his ‘daughter’ over his shoulder and yelling, ‘Michael Pennis I’ve brought the girl for you!’  

He was then escorted out.  

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‘Un-fooled and placid, Mayor Giuliani notified security to call the police,’ Allen tweeted. ‘It was then, upon hearing the word police, Cohen turned from a screaming banshee into a fleeing hyena.’ 

‘I hear he was last seen running down the street in his bathroom,’ she added. ‘Better luck next time, Sacha!’ 

Allen has yet to respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment on Giuliani’s cameo in the new Borat film.  

The film arrives just as Giuliani finds himself in the middle of the Hunter Biden laptop saga. 

Giuliani said he got contents from the ‘laptop from hell,’ as Trump has been calling it, from a computer repair shop owner who gave it to his lawyer. 

He then shared some of its contents to reporters at The New York Post, which has been criticized for running the story before the correspondence between Hunter Biden and others was authenticated. 

It contains personal photos of Hunter Biden, as well as emails that purport to show that Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings stretched to include his father.  

The Post reported that emails from 2015 showed Joe Biden held a meeting with a top official from Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company where Hunter Biden served on the board. 

The Biden campaign has denied this meeting happened. 

Biden, himself, said Giuliani is peddling ‘garbage.’ 

‘It’s a last ditch effort to smear me and my family. There is no basis to this,’ the Democratic nominee said in an interview with WISN, a Wisconsin ABC affiliate. 

The president’s impeachment revolved around a scheme to pressure Ukraine’s president to announce an investigation into Hunter and Joe Biden. He held up military aid that had been appropriated by Congress. 

Trump and his allies have alleged that the then-vice president pushed to have a Ukrainian prosecutor fired because he was looking into Burisma, of which there is no evidence.  

Trump has used the discovery of the laptop to call the former vice president a ‘criminal,’ which he’s said gleefully during everyone one of his recent rallies. 

He’ll likely attack Biden that way Thursday night during their final meeting on the debate stage. 

The president demanded that Attorney General Bill Barr appoint a special counsel to look into the matter.   

‘We’ve got to get the attorney general to act. He’s got to act. And he’s got to act fast. He’s got to appoint somebody,’ Trump said on ‘Fox & Friends’ Tuesday.

‘This is major corruption and this has to be known about before the election,’ Trump said.  

On Monday, Giuliani raised the stakes by sharing files from the laptop with the New Castle County police, according to Delaware Online

The Delaware Attorney General handed the files over to the FBI, the site reported. 

The FBI hasn’t confirmed or denied there’s an investigation, which is standard policy. 

Mat Marshall, a spokesman for Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings told Delaware Online that what Giuliani’s team ‘showed up with was evidence that they say was involved in a crime.’ 

The former New York City mayor went on Newsmax Tuesday night trying to push the crimes were sexual in nature. 

Giuliani reiterated that point again directly after he addressed the Borat footage Wednesday on WABC radio.  

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,’ will be released on Amazon Prime Friday.

Borat’s Bulgarian honey-trap girl: Sacha Baron Cohen character’s ’15-year-old daughter’ in Rudy Giuliani sting is revealed to be glamorous BLM-supporting 24-year-old actress plucked from obscurity

The actress who gave Rudy Giuliani a fright when she turned out to be ‘Borat’s 15-year-old daughter,’ is a glamorous 24-year-old Black Lives Matter supporter from Bulgaria.

Maria Bakalova, who graduated from film school last year, has skyrocketed to international fame after it was revealed last night she honey-trapped Donald Trump‘s lieutenant and former mayor of New York Giuliani in the new Borat movie. 

Bakalova, in the foothills of her Hollywood career, has followed in the footsteps of many of the titans with Instagram posts in support of Black Lives Matter which feature among the raft of luxurious poolside selfies she has taken in LA.

Maria Bakalova

Maria Bakalova

Maria Bakalova

Maria Bakalova

Maria Bakalova, who graduated from film school last year, has skyrocketed to international fame after it was revealed last night she honeytrapped Donald Trump’s senior lieutenant and former mayor of New York Giuliani in the new Borat movie

Maria Bakalova enjoying the sun by the poolside in a picture from her Instagram

Maria Bakalova enjoying the sun by the poolside in a picture from her Instagram

Maria Bakalova enjoying the sun by the poolside in a picture from her Instagram

Bakalova, in the foothills of her Hollywood career, has followed in the footsteps of many of the titans with Instagram posts in support of Black Lives Matter

Bakalova, in the foothills of her Hollywood career, has followed in the footsteps of many of the titans with Instagram posts in support of Black Lives Matter

Bakalova, in the foothills of her Hollywood career, has followed in the footsteps of many of the titans with Instagram posts in support of Black Lives Matter 

Bakalova posted in June for 'Black Out Tuesday,' which saw many people posting a black square on their social media feeds to highlight the Black Lives Matter movement

Bakalova posted in June for 'Black Out Tuesday,' which saw many people posting a black square on their social media feeds to highlight the Black Lives Matter movement

Bakalova posted in June for ‘Black Out Tuesday,’ which saw many people posting a black square on their social media feeds to highlight the Black Lives Matter movement

Bakalova, in the foothills of her Hollywood career, has followed in the footsteps of many A-list titans with Instagram posts in support of Black Lives Matter which feature among the raft of luxurious poolside selfies she has taken in LA.

She made a hilarious appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s chat show alongside Cohen on Tuesday night.

Both actors in character, Bakalova demanded that Kimmel take his trousers off and marry her.

‘I am already married!’ Kimmel insisted, to which Borat asked: ‘How many wives do you have?’ 

Bakalova has appeared in feature-length Bulgarian films, earning two awards for her performance in Transgression in 2018, where she plays the lover to an ageing rocker, and also as the leading lady in 2020’s comedy Last Call. 

Like father, like daughter: Tutar strolled in carrying a framed photo of Jimmy interviewing Jennifer Aniston before demanding the host remove his trousers

Like father, like daughter: Tutar strolled in carrying a framed photo of Jimmy interviewing Jennifer Aniston before demanding the host remove his trousers

Like father, like daughter: Tutar strolled in carrying a framed photo of Jimmy interviewing Jennifer Aniston before demanding the host remove his trousers

Bakalova with a drink and a packet of Sobranie cigarettes on the table

Bakalova with a drink and a packet of Sobranie cigarettes on the table

Bakalova with a drink and a packet of Sobranie cigarettes on the table

Born in Burgas in 1996, Bakalova studied at the National School of Arts and is a classically trained flautist as well as an actress

Born in Burgas in 1996, Bakalova studied at the National School of Arts and is a classically trained flautist as well as an actress

Born in Burgas in 1996, Bakalova studied at the National School of Arts and is a classically trained flautist as well as an actress

Bakalova attended the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia and graduated in 2019

Bakalova attended the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia and graduated in 2019

Bakalova attended the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia and graduated in 2019

Bakalova attended the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia and graduated in 2019

Bakalova attended the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia and graduated in 2019

Bakalova smoking a cigarette and having a drink

Bakalova smoking a cigarette and having a drink

Bakalova smoking a cigarette and having a drink

Bakalova at the beach

Bakalova at the beach

Bakalova at the beach

She has also appeared in several TV shows, with an appearance in an episode of the Italian hit mafia series Gamorrah three years ago.

Born in Burgas in 1996, Bakalova studied at the National School of Arts and is a classically trained flautist as well as an actress. 

She attended the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia and graduated in 2019.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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US Election 2020: Joe Biden calls Rudy Giuliani a ‘Russian pawn’

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us election 2020 joe biden calls rudy giuliani a russian pawn

President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden started off their final presidential debate on Thursday without interrupting each other but disagreeing on the coronavirus pandemic in a head-to-head match with a dramatically different tone from their first one.

The microphones of each candidate was muted for the first two minutes of their response and that moment of discipline, put in place by the Commission on Presidential Debates after Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden in their first meeting, carried through the first segment of the debate.

But the two men disagreed with one another on the coronavirus – the topic of the first segment – with Biden repeatedly criticizing Trump’s handling of the pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans.

‘Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain president of the United States of America,’ Biden said.

President Trump cited his own experience with the virus and said the country was turning a corner. ‘It will go away and as I say, we are rounding the turn, we are rounding the corner, it’s going away,’ he said.

The two men were careful to make their points in a presidential way, letting each other talk and requesting time to respond from moderator Kristen Welker.

The change in tone was remarkable from their first meeting in Cleveland, which resembled a boxing match.

Biden argued the situation with COVID was going to get worse.

‘We are about to go into a dark winter. A dark winter. And he has no clear plan and there is no prospect that there’s going to be a vaccine available for a majority the American people before the middle of next year,’ he said.

The president, who has pushed for the country to reopen and return to normal, said the country has learned more about the disease and is ready to move forward.

‘We will not have a dark winter at all,’ the president said. ‘We are opening up the country, we’ve learned and our understanding the disease, which we didn’t at the beginning.’    

The second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden kicked off in Nashville Thursday at Belmont University's Curb Event Center arena with 200 people in the audience

The second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden kicked off in Nashville Thursday at Belmont University's Curb Event Center arena with 200 people in the audience

The second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden kicked off in Nashville Thursday at Belmont University’s Curb Event Center arena with 200 people in the audience 

The night started with the topic of COVID-19 and both Trump and Biden took coronavirus tests Thursday and tested negative before meeting onstage

The night started with the topic of COVID-19 and both Trump and Biden took coronavirus tests Thursday and tested negative before meeting onstage

The night started with the topic of COVID-19 and both Trump and Biden took coronavirus tests Thursday and tested negative before meeting onstage

The night started with the topic of COVID-19 and both Trump and Biden took coronavirus tests Thursday and tested negative before meeting onstage

The night started with the topic of COVID-19 and both Trump and Biden took coronavirus tests Thursday and tested negative before meeting onstage

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President Trump brought Hunter Biden’s ex-business partner Tony Bobulinksy (pictured) to the debate as a way to confront Biden on his son Hunter’s foreign business dealings 

The two men were careful to make their points in a presidential way, letting each other talk and requesting time to respond from moderator Kristen Welker

The two men were careful to make their points in a presidential way, letting each other talk and requesting time to respond from moderator Kristen Welker

The two men were careful to make their points in a presidential way, letting each other talk and requesting time to respond from moderator Kristen Welker  

The debate took on its first urgency as the two men clashed on their visions for reopening the country.

‘He did virtually nothing,’ Biden said of Trump’s response to the pandemic.

Biden took on Trump’s repeated statements not to ‘worry.’

‘There’s not another scientist in the world who thinks it’s going to be over soon,’ Biden said.

‘We can’t lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does,’ Trump responded, turning to a personal attack. 

‘But he has this thing about living in a basement,’ Trump claimed, pointing to Biden’s decision to drastically cut back appearances and travel, although both men have campaigned around the country in recent weeks.

‘It’s his ineptitude that caused the country to have to shut down in large part,’ Biden said.

Biden shot back with a reference to Trump’s golfing, and brought up a relief bill the House passed in March that hasn’t been enacted.

‘Instead of in a sand trap in his golf course he should have been negotiating,’ Biden said.

‘All he does is talk about shutdowns,’ Trump said, as the most substantive contrast got going.

‘Democrats, they shut down so tight and they’re dying. And he supports all these people,’ Trump said.

‘All he talks about are shutdowns. We’re not going to shut down and we have to open our schools,’ Trump said.

Trump pointed to his former hometown of New York. ‘It’s a ghost town,’ he said, with the two men separated by plexiglass, a precaution that began following his coronavirus infection.

‘You talk about plexiglass? These are restaurant that are dying,’ Trump said. ‘It’s not the answer. You’re going to sit there in a cubicle wrapped around in plastic.’

This debate is different from the last, as the candidates' microphones are muted and therefore can't interrupt each other

This debate is different from the last, as the candidates' microphones are muted and therefore can't interrupt each other

This debate is different from the last, as the candidates’ microphones are muted and therefore can’t interrupt each other

'Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain president of the United States of America,' Biden said of Trump's handling of the pandemic

'Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain president of the United States of America,' Biden said of Trump's handling of the pandemic

‘Anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain president of the United States of America,’ Biden said of Trump’s handling of the pandemic 

Biden took on Trump's repeated statements not to 'worry' about the pandemic. 'There's not another scientist in the world who thinks it's going to be over soon,' Biden said

Biden took on Trump's repeated statements not to 'worry' about the pandemic. 'There's not another scientist in the world who thinks it's going to be over soon,' Biden said

Biden took on Trump’s repeated statements not to ‘worry’ about the pandemic. ‘There’s not another scientist in the world who thinks it’s going to be over soon,’ Biden said

Both Trump and Biden took coronavirus tests Thursday and tested negative before meeting onstage. 

On Air Force One he tested negative for the coronavirus, according to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. ‘We tested him on the way here and he tested negative,’ Meadows told reporters. 

Earlier, the Biden campaign said he, too, tested negative for COVID-19.  

Tonight’s debate is the final debate of the election – the previous one got scratched after Trump refused to take part in a ‘virtual’ format after getting the coronavirus – and represents an opportunity with dwindling time for the president to try to reset the race.

President Donald Trump has invited Hunter Biden's former business partner Tony Bobulinski (pictured) to be his debate guest

President Donald Trump has invited Hunter Biden's former business partner Tony Bobulinski (pictured) to be his debate guest

President Donald Trump has invited Hunter Biden’s former business partner Tony Bobulinski (pictured) to be his debate guest 

Trump hoped he could throw his rival off balance and demonstrate that his mind is ‘shot’ by repeatedly attacking and interrupting him during the first debate in Cleveland. But Biden ended up getting a slight bump in national polls taken afterward.

Now, the president has telegraphed he will accuse his rival of ‘corruption’ just like he has at his campaign rallies leading up to Thursday – and will not hold back from torching Hunter Biden after the release of emails that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani put out and said came from Hunter’s laptop. 

President Trump brought Hunter Biden’s ex-business partner Tony Bobulinksy to the debate as a way to confront Biden on his son’s foreign business dealings.  

Bobulinsky spoke to reporters at the Marriott in downtown Nashville three hours before start time of the final presidential debate – and said he will turn over three cell phones to the FBI and meet with Republican senators about his former business deals.

He said he was angry with Hunter after he wanted to use funds for a prospective deal with a Chinese energy company was his ‘Hunter’s personal piggy bank.’

‘I will be providing to the FBI the devices which contain the evidence corroborating what I have said so I will not be taking any questions at this time,’ he told reporters who make up President Donald Trump’s traveling press pool.

‘I have heard Joe Biden say he’s never discussed the business with hunter – that is false. I have firsthand knowledge about this because I directly dealt with the Biden family including Joe Biden, said Bobulinsky. 

‘I was told this past Sunday by somebody who was also involved in this matter that if I went public with this information, it would bury all of us, the Bidens included. I have no wish to bury anyone.’

He described what he said was a May 2, 2017 meeting with Joe Biden to discuss a business venture involving China that would invest in infrastructure, real estate and technology in the U.S.

‘At my approximately hour-long meeting with Joe that night we discussed the Biden’s history, the Biden’s family business plans with the Chinese with which he was plainly familiar at least at a high level,’ he said.  

‘After that meeting, I had numerous communications with Hunter, [partner Robert] Walker, [James] Gilliar, and Jim Biden regarding the allocation of equity ownership of the sinohawk, the firm they created. 

Daughter and Senior Advisor to the US President Ivanka Trump (L) and daughter of the US President Tiffany Trump (C) wear facemasks as they arrive to attend the final presidential debate

Daughter and Senior Advisor to the US President Ivanka Trump (L) and daughter of the US President Tiffany Trump (C) wear facemasks as they arrive to attend the final presidential debate

Daughter and Senior Advisor to the US President Ivanka Trump (L) and daughter of the US President Tiffany Trump (C) wear facemasks as they arrive to attend the final presidential debate

First Lady Melania Trump arrives at the final presidential between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden

First Lady Melania Trump arrives at the final presidential between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden

First Lady Melania Trump arrives at the final presidential between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden

Wife of former US Vice President Joe Biden Jill Biden wears a facemask as she attends the final presidential debate

Wife of former US Vice President Joe Biden Jill Biden wears a facemask as she attends the final presidential debate

Wife of former US Vice President Joe Biden Jill Biden wears a facemask as she attends the final presidential debate

Golfer John Daly looks on before the second 2020 presidential debate

Golfer John Daly looks on before the second 2020 presidential debate

Golfer John Daly looks on before the second 2020 presidential debate 

The carpet is vacuumed as final preparations are made ahead of the second and final presidential debate

The carpet is vacuumed as final preparations are made ahead of the second and final presidential debate

The carpet is vacuumed as final preparations are made ahead of the second and final presidential debate 

The televised statement came after Bobulinsky told conservative media outlets that text messages that appeared to show Hunter Biden’s business negotiation and references to his father were authentic.

‘To me it seems like distraction and spectacle,’ Biden backer Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware told Fox News, which aired Bobulinsky’s statement in full.

‘We’ve got Rudy Giuliani with one hand coming up with a hard drive and a computer, and this man on the other hand coming up with last minute cell phones,’ he said, saying it makes him ‘seriously wonder.’ 

He said the emails and texts ‘aren’t being sourced, aren’t being verified,’ and noted that Biden unlike Trump, has released his tax returns.

The Biden campaign released a statement calling the attacks a ‘smear’ and saying there is ‘no indication’ Joe Biden ever got ‘any money from anybody in these business deals.’

‘Joe Biden has never even considered being involved in business deals with his family, nor in any overseas business dealing whatsoever,’ according to the statement.   

Musician Kid Rock, who is an outspoken Trump supporter, puts on a face mask at the final presidential debate

Musician Kid Rock, who is an outspoken Trump supporter, puts on a face mask at the final presidential debate

Musician Kid Rock, who is an outspoken Trump supporter, puts on a face mask at the final presidential debate

Former South Carolina Governor and former Ambassador to United Nations Nikki Haley arrives at the final presidential debate

Former South Carolina Governor and former Ambassador to United Nations Nikki Haley arrives at the final presidential debate

Former South Carolina Governor and former Ambassador to United Nations Nikki Haley arrives at the final presidential debate

Guests are sitting in the audience where masks are required. If you take your mask off and decline to put it back on you will be escorted out

Guests are sitting in the audience where masks are required. If you take your mask off and decline to put it back on you will be escorted out

Guests are sitting in the audience where masks are required. If you take your mask off and decline to put it back on you will be escorted out

Trump pulled a similar stunt in 2016 when he paraded three women who accused President Bill Clinton of varying degrees of sexual harassment and assault – Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick – around before and after the debate and had them sit in the audience to face his rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton. 

Trump had also invited Kathy Shelton. Hillary Clinton had been her accused rapist’s defense lawyer.  

Trump says he’ll bring up Hunter Biden, after days of disclosures from Hunter’s laptop.

Biden sent a signal of his own – blowing up at a reporter who asked him about the subject several days ago. 

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34716544 8870603 image a 9 1603412709197

 

On Wednesday, he teed off when a local Wisconsin reporter asked him about it in a TV interview. ‘This is the same garbage Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s henchman, it’s a last-ditch effort in this desperate campaign to smear me and my family,’ Biden said.

Trump can also use the Hunter saga to point to China – a country he repeatedly accuses of bringing the ‘plague’ into the U.S. He named China as the nation’s top adversary on ’60 minutes.’

Most political observers agree the pressure is on Trump to get something out of the debate. Biden’s leads have been durable, and millions of his supporters have already voted. He also has an advertising advantage on air, with more money in the bank, after the Trump campaign blew through the more than $1 billion it raised since 2017.

Trump left the White House with first lady Melania Trump shortly after midday for the flight to Nashville, TN, for the debate. It was the first time she has been seen since being diagnosed with coroanvirus after the first debate

Trump left the White House with first lady Melania Trump shortly after midday for the flight to Nashville, TN, for the debate. It was the first time she has been seen since being diagnosed with coroanvirus after the first debate

Trump left the White House with first lady Melania Trump shortly after midday for the flight to Nashville, TN, for the debate. It was the first time she has been seen since being diagnosed with coroanvirus after the first debate 

Off to debate: Joe Biden flew from New Castle in Delaware to the debate just after Donald Trump, with a thumbs up as he boarded his chartered jet

Off to debate: Joe Biden flew from New Castle in Delaware to the debate just after Donald Trump, with a thumbs up as he boarded his chartered jet

Off to debate: Joe Biden flew from New Castle in Delaware to the debate just after Donald Trump, with a thumbs up as he boarded his chartered jet

Jill Biden (left) and Joe Biden (right) arrive in Nashville, Tennessee before Thursday night's presidential debate

Jill Biden (left) and Joe Biden (right) arrive in Nashville, Tennessee before Thursday night's presidential debate

Jill Biden (left) and Joe Biden (right) arrive in Nashville, Tennessee before Thursday night’s presidential debate

Jill Biden arrives in Nashville, Tennessee wearing a 'VOTE' facemask, similar to one sported by President Barack Obama in Philadelphia on Wednesday

Jill Biden arrives in Nashville, Tennessee wearing a 'VOTE' facemask, similar to one sported by President Barack Obama in Philadelphia on Wednesday

Jill Biden arrives in Nashville, Tennessee wearing a ‘VOTE’ facemask, similar to one sported by President Barack Obama in Philadelphia on Wednesday 

Trump was holding a fundraiser in Nashville just five hours before the debate was set to start.

Biden’s national lead is up to 8 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics Average. Analyst Charlie Cook suggests observers look to Senate races for the real ‘drama.’ A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday had the two men tied in Texas, 47-47. 

Trump has softened up the ground by going after moderator Kristen Welker. But he is still likely to face follow up questions from the first debate and town hall about the coronavirus (with more than 1,200 U.S. deaths reported Wednesday alone), and his tax returns, which got leaked to the New York Times.

A Times follow-on report this week revealed Trump’s company had an undisclosed bank account in China.

Biden has struggled when pressed on whether he supports court packing, but may have found his answer in his 60 Minutes interview, saying he would appoint a bipartisan commission to study court reforms.  

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Coronavirus UK: £4bn of furlough cash was fraudulently claimed

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coronavirus uk 4bn of furlough cash was fraudulently claimed

British companies may have fraudulently claimed up to £4 billion intended for furloughed workers – with £2 billion being taken by organised criminals – a damning report has found.

The National Audit Office (NAO) estimated that fraud and error on the furlough scheme could have ranged from five to 10 per cent on claims totalling £39.3 billion. Fraud on the first round of the self-employed scheme could have ranged from 1-2 per cent. 

Of these, it is ‘almost certain’ that more than half – around £2billion – has been paid to organised criminals posing as legitimate businesses to make claims under the emergency scheme, tax officials have told the NAO. 

A fifth of the money wrongly paid out is blamed on error, either by employers or HMRC.

British companies may have fraudulently claimed up to £4 billion intended for furloughed workers - with £2 billion being taken by organised criminals - a damning report has found

British companies may have fraudulently claimed up to £4 billion intended for furloughed workers - with £2 billion being taken by organised criminals - a damning report has found

British companies may have fraudulently claimed up to £4 billion intended for furloughed workers – with £2 billion being taken by organised criminals – a damning report has found

The spending watchdog had praised the government for rolling out support schemes for employees and the self-employed ahead of schedule when COVID-19 forced much of the economy to close down in March.

But the NAO said that under huge pressure to set up the scheme it did not have time to fully test the schemes and as a result the total scale of fraud and error was likely to be considerable.

It is worth mentioning that HM Revenue and Customs’ IT team usually needs 18 months to deliver major projects, but the furlough scheme was up and running in four weeks. 

It will not know the numbers until the end of next year at the earliest.

Around 9.6 million people were put on furlough through the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, while another 2.6 million were helped through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. 

The National Audit Office had praised Rishi Sunak's Treasury for rolling out support schemes for employees and the self-employed ahead of schedule when COVID-19 forced much of the economy to close down in March

The National Audit Office had praised Rishi Sunak's Treasury for rolling out support schemes for employees and the self-employed ahead of schedule when COVID-19 forced much of the economy to close down in March

The National Audit Office had praised Rishi Sunak’s Treasury for rolling out support schemes for employees and the self-employed ahead of schedule when COVID-19 forced much of the economy to close down in March

But the NAO said that under huge pressure to set up the scheme it did not have time to fully test the schemes and as a result the total scale of fraud and error was likely to be considerable

But the NAO said that under huge pressure to set up the scheme it did not have time to fully test the schemes and as a result the total scale of fraud and error was likely to be considerable

But the NAO said that under huge pressure to set up the scheme it did not have time to fully test the schemes and as a result the total scale of fraud and error was likely to be considerable

Companies could have bent the rules by keeping staff working in lockdown or claiming payments and not passing them on to employees in full.

It said a fraud hotline had received 10,000 reports and an NAO survey found 9 per cent of respondents admitted working at the request of their employer.

But since the line was set up in August, officials have only blocked £10 million worth of claims. 

For a future Job Support Scheme, the government will publish the names of those employers making claims and notify employees through their tax accounts.

‘It appears that the scale of fraud and error could be considerable, particularly for the furlough scheme,’ said Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO.

‘HMRC could have done more to make clear to employees whether their employer was part of the furlough scheme.’

It also noted that 2.9 million people were not eligible for the schemes. 

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34712340 0 image a 22 1603415709777

 

Now HMRC faces the challenge of how to chase possible fraudulent claims, or payments made in error.

The department believes it would take 500 staff members to track down £275 million from 10,000 of the most high-risk furlough grants.

This is a high rate of return, but the department would have to take those workers away from its tax compliance team – which has an even higher return rate.

It takes 18 months to recruit and train new staff to perform the jobs, HMRC says, so that option is off the table. But this month the department decided to take on private contractors to do some of the work.

Initially, HMRC considered publishing the names of all employers that had claimed furlough, but it later decided against this, saying it could have deterred too many legitimate claimants.

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34650696 0 image a 23 1603415730747

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

Getting in touch with staff individually to say that their employer was claiming furlough cash to cover their salary, which might have alerted employees that their workplace was making fraudulent claims, was ruled out as too time-consuming.

It means that staff did not know if their employer was claiming money to cover their salary, unless the employer told them directly.

But HMRC has no qualms against such measures in the Jobs Support Scheme, which is due to come into force next month when furlough ends.

It will publish the names of employers who claim under the JSS, and will notify employees that their workplace has claimed support money to cover their salary.

A Government spokesperson said: ‘The Government’s priority from the start of the outbreak has been on protecting jobs and getting support to those who need it as quickly as possible, and our employment support schemes have provided a lifeline to millions of hardworking families across the UK. We make no apology for the speed at which they were delivered.

‘Our schemes were designed to minimise fraud from the outset and we have rejected or blocked thousands of fraudulent claims. We will not tolerate those who seek to defraud taxpayers and will take action against perpetrators, including criminal prosecution.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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