Reports: British Prime Minister Theresa May plans migration curbs

Non-EU migrants could find it harder to enter Britain under policies outlined in a pre-election manifesto drafted by the prime minister’s Conservatives. The document is being published ahead of a June 8 snap election.

Großbritannien Theresa May startet ihre Wahlkampagne (Reuters/P. Noble)

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday urged voters to “strengthen my hand” in Brexit talks, as she unveiled the Conservative manifesto. May reiterated that Britain would be leaving the European single market and the customs union and warned of “tricky battles” over the next two years as the country negotiates its departure from the EU.

“Every vote for me and my team will strengthen my hand in the negotiations to come,” May said at the launch in Halifax in northern England, calling it “a manifesto to see us through Brexit and beyond.”

Farage: We’ve changed British history

UK’s Labour shedding traditional voters

Conservatives gain in local elections ahead of June vote

“If we fail, the consequences for Britain and for the economic security of ordinary working people will be dire. If we succeed, the opportunities ahead of us are great,” May said, as dozens of anti-austerity campaigners and trade unionists rallied outside.

“It is time to put the old tribal politics behind us and to come together in the national interest, united in our desire to make a success of Brexit,” May said.

Watch video02:48

Coventry’s Brexit woes

Mainstream British media said on Wednesday that May would pitch immigration strictures and trim certain welfare benefits for pensioners when she unveiled her pledges later Thursday for Britain’s snap June 8 election.

Employers seeking non-EU workers for skilled jobs would face a doubling of the so-called skills charge and migrant workers would be asked to pay more into the National Health Service, according to the BBC.

The extra revenue gathered would flow into skills training for British workers.

The skills charge sees companies fined when they employ migrants from outside the EU.

The BBC said May is also planning to implement a reduction of immigration from EU nations, once Britain has finalized its divorce from the bloc.

That amounted to the “end of freedom of movement, ” a key tenet of open-borders Europe, said the BBC, quoting an unnamed source.

Addressing a G20 trade union meeting in Berlin on Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Britain that ending free movement of people “will have its price.”

Merkel said London should not attempt to stipulate “there’s a cap of 100,000 or 200,000 EU citizens, more aren’t allowed into Britain – perhaps researchers as well, but no others, please.”

May outlines other pledges

May said she would also tighten laws on company takeovers and would ensure any foreign group buying important infrastructure did not undermine security or essential services if she wins next month’s election.

“We will require bidders to be clear about their intentions from the outset of the bid process; that all promises and undertakings made in the course of takeover bids can be legally enforced afterwards; and that the government can require a bid to be paused to allow greater scrutiny,” the Conservative Party said in its election policy document on Thursday.

May also said that when the current triple lock system governing the rates of state pensions expires in 2020, a new double lock system will be introduced instead. She said the double lock would mean pensions would rise in line with earnings or inflation, whichever was highest.

May said now was not the time for another Scottish independence referendum and one should not take place until the Brexit process has played out.

May added that she would increase spending on the state-run National Health Service by at least 8 billion pounds over the next five years and hike the migrant health surcharge. The Conservative election policy document also said it would prioritize the issue of the 140,000 nationals from other EU countries who work in the health system.

Writing in The Sun newspaper, May said she was “determined to cut the cost of living for ordinary working families, keep taxes low and to intervene when markets are not working as they should.”

The Telegraph newspaper said May would also stick to the conservative government’s pledge to cut the corporation tax to 17 percent by 2020.

People who currently receive free care in their home would be charged more, and funding for universal free school lunches for young children would be diverted to other educational tasks.

The ruling Conservative Party received 4.1 million pounds ($5.35 million) of donations in the first week of the campaign, the watchdog Electoral Commission said on Thursday. That compares to 2.7 million pounds for the main opposition Labour Party.

May heads into the election against the opposition center-left Labour with opinion surveys indicating that she could win by a landslide.

ipj/gsw (AFP, Reuters, AP)



Battle with Brussels: Theresa May accuses EU of trying to influence general election (VIDEO)

In her toughest words yet, Prime Minister Theresa May has accused European officials of trying to influence the result of Britain’s general election with threats of harsh Brexit terms.

Speaking outside Downing Street on Wednesday, May adopted a tough tone, saying eurocrats do not want the talks to succeed and for Britain to “prosper” after Brexit. She also suggested that Britain’s negotiating position has been misrepresented in the European press.

“In the past few days we have seen just how tough these talks are likely to be. Britain’s negotiating position in Europe has been misrepresented in the continental press.

“The European commission’s negotiating stance has hardened. Threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials. All of these acts have been deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election that will take place on June 8.”

She added: “The events of the last few days have shown that whatever our wishes and however reasonable the positions of Europe’s other leaders, there are some in Brussels who do not want these talks to succeed and who do not want Britain to prosper.”

She appeared to be referring to leaks in a German newspaper about her now infamous dinner meeting at Downing Street last week with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

According to Frankfurter Allgemeine, May and Juncker “clashed” over a number issues, with the eurocrat quoted as saying he was “10 times more skeptical than I was before.”

May initially dismissed the leaks as Brussels gossip, though reportedly said she could be a “bloody difficult woman.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said May is playing “games with Brexit in the hope of winning advantage for the Tories.”

“By winding up the public confrontation with Brussels, the Prime Minister wants to wrap the Conservative party in the Union Jack and distract attention from her government’s economic failure and rundown of our public services.

“But Brexit is too important to be used as a political game in this election.

“These are vital negotiations for every person in Britain and for the future of our country. But Theresa May is putting party interest ahead of the national interest.”

He added: “Only Labour can be trusted to negotiate a Brexit deal that puts jobs and living standards first. Labour will negotiate a Brexit for the many not the few.”

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has accused May of poisoning the atmosphere of the Brexit talks and called her speech “deeply irresponsible.”

Apologies for failing to thread those last tweets – here they are in one place.

Despite her defiant words outside Downing Street on Wednesday, May also insisted: “Britain means no harm to our friends and allies. We want a deep and special partnership with the EU, and we want the EU to succeed.”

I’ve always been ready for the possibility of nuclear war. I just never thought it would be with Belgium.

Britain’s economic future now a pawn in @theresa_may election game playing. Gross stuff

In a statement issued following a meeting the Queen to mark the dissolution of parliament, May said the winner of the election would face “one overriding task” – getting the “best possible deal” for the UK.

Beyond her unexpected verbal attack on unnamed figures in Brussels, May also used the opportunity to hit out at her political opponents in Britain.

“While there is enormous opportunity for Britain as we leave the European Union, if we do not get this right, the consequences will be serious.

“And they will be felt by ordinary, working people across the country. This Brexit negotiation is central to everything. If we don’t get the negotiation right, your economic security and prosperity will be put at risk and the opportunities you seek for your families will simply not happen.

“If we don’t get the negotiation right, if we let the bureaucrats of Brussels run over us, we will lose the chance to build a fairer society with real opportunity for all.”

She added that voters face a “very simple” choice on June 8 between her and a “coalition of chaos” led by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“With me you will get a strong and stable leadership … or you will get Jeremy Corbyn with a hung parliament and a coalition of chaos.”

Her comments come after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said talks would not be concluded “quickly and painlessly.”

Unveiling his first detailed vision of how talks with the UK will take shape in Brussels, Michel Barnier set down a series of tough EU demands on citizens’ rights and a hefty financial settlement he says is just about settling accounts.

He said Britain would have to honor its financial commitments and hinted that would entail paying for a number of EU programs, citing the example of aid pledges Brussels has made to Ukraine. He insisted the “divorce bill” was not a punishment for the UK leaving.

Barnier’s demands on the rights of citizens – which cover Europeans currently living in the UK but also those who have done so in the past and will in the future – are likely to cause serious issues for Prime Minister Theresa May, who has pledged to end freedom of movement.

Relations between the two sides have soured over the past few days.

On Tuesday, Guy Verhofstadt, the EU’s lead Brexit negotiator, trolled May on Twitter over her “strong and stable” leadership.

Theresa May turns combative ahead of Brexit negotiations

Days after waxing lyrical about the “special relationship” between the UK and the EU, the British premier has hardened her tone. The change came after Angela Merkel said the UK was suffering illusions over its future.

Großbritannien Wahlkampf Theresa May (picture-alliance/dpa/PA Wire/A. Devlin)

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday accused European Union member states of lining up to oppose Britain ahead of the release of the EU’s negotiating position on Brexit.

“We’ve seen from Chancellor Merkel today, we’ve heard her comments today. We’ve seen that actually there will be times when these negotiations are going to get tough,” May was quoted as saying by the BBC while speaking at a campaign rally in the Labour stronghold of Leeds ahead of the snap general election she called for June.

“Our opponents are already seeking to disrupt those negotiations – at the same time as 27 other European countries line up to oppose us,” she said.

“That approach can only mean one thing – uncertainty and instability, bringing grave risk to our growing economy with higher taxes, fewer jobs, more waste and more debt,”

May’s combative comments came just days after dining with EU Brexit negotiators and saying the UK had a “commitment to achieving a deep and special partnership with the European Union.”

British illusions

May was responding to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s warning to the UK on Thursday against “illusions” over the exit process.

Merkel stressed in parliament that “a third-party state will not have the same rights or even superior rights to a member state,” referring to the relationship the EU has with non-EU countries such Switzerland and Norway.

“This may sound self-evident, but I have to say this clearly because some in Britain seem to have illusions on this point,” she said. “That would be a waste of time.”

Watch video00:25

Merkel’s statement on Brexit

EU presents unified front

EU ministers met in Luxembourg on Thursday to underscore their unity ahead of Saturday’s meeting to approve their negotiation position.

“It seems that at the moment we are completely united on everything,” said Vice Premier Louis Grech of Malta, the country that holds the rotating EU presidency. “Naturally we have to protect the EU’s interests.”

He said a prime objective was “to ensure that we will conduct the negotiations in a spirit of unity and trust between the 27.”

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said that “we are united.”

Saturday’s EU’s guidelines will inform a tight negotiating mandate for Barnier which should be ready by May 22.

60 billion euro bill

The EU is expected to push on issues such as the treatment of EU expats, the bill of remaining costs to be paid by Britain and border issues in Ireland.

Some reports claim the EU could hold Britain liable for costs until at least a year after it leaves, at a possible cost of 60 billion euros (US$65 billion).

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson responded angrily to those claims.

“If you’re saying that they want the money before they get any substantive talks, then that is obviously not going to happen,” he told the BBC.

Northern Ireland

Ireland was expected to push for automatic membership of Northern Ireland to the EU if the two ever reunified.

German daily “Frankfurter Allgemeine” reported on Thursday that rental payments from the EU medicines agency in London could also become a sticking point in negotiations.  The lease agreement of the EU authority was reportedly signed until 2039, according to a document from the European Parliament, and could cost 347.6 million euros. Various EU members are seeking to be the new home of the institution.

Negotiations will likely start after Britain’s June 8 election, in which May is seeking to crush a weakened Labour party.

Watch video26:00

Nigel Farage on Conflict Zone



Merkel warns against British ‘illusions’ as Brexit negotiations begin

In an address to the Bundestag, German Chancellor Angela Merkel talked tough ahead of Saturday’s EU-27 summit on Brexit. The UK, she said, would not be as well positioned as EU member states.

Angela Merkel Regierungserklärung Berlin (Reuters/H.Hanschke)

Ahead of a meeting of the 27 remaining European Union nations in Brussels on Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel briefed the German parliament, the Bundestag, about Germany’s strategy vis-a-vis Brexit. But at least in part her message was aimed across the English Channel.

The chancellor warned London not to expect a deal that would privilege the UK.

“A third-party state cannot enjoy the same advantages or be better positioned than an EU member state,” Merkel said. “I have the feeling that some people in Britain maintain illusions in this regard. They’re wasting their time.”

That line drew applause from members of the Bundestag. Merkel reiterated that negotiators would have to resolve the details of Britain’s exit from the EU, including financial obligations that could extend beyond Britain’s departure, before any deals could be struck about a future English-EU relationship.

as third country ‘can and will not have the same rights’ as -member, says on . ‘No illusions’ but fair negotiations.

“These steps must happen in that order,” Merkel said. “Our goal is to get the best deal for Europe and its citizens.”

Merkel added that negotiations could only commence in earnest after the United Kingdom’s parliamentary election on June 8.

Expats high on the agenda 

Not all of Merkel’s remarks focused on the potential conflicts of interest between the EU and the UK. The chancellor also said that Germany and the EU had an interest in a strong and prosperous Britain.

She said one of her priorities was to clear up the future status of the approximately 100,000 German citizens permanently living in Britain. In return, Germany and the EU were prepared to offer British expatriates in the bloc a “fair deal.”

London Imbiss deutsche Würstchen (picture-alliance/dpa/F. Gentsch)It’s unclear how the EU will trade with a post-Brexit UK

Merkel also expressed confidence that the EU and post-Brexit Britain shared interests in businesses being able to sell their products to the other and fighting against terrorism and organized crime.

At the same time, the EU showed a high degree of solidarity in the wake of the British referendum in June 2016, in which a slight majority of UK voters supported the Brexit, Merkel added. Specifically naming Ireland, she said that it was a sign of European strength that none of the individual EU-27 states had engaged in “preliminary negotiations” with London.

A disintegrating EU?

Speaking for the Social Democrats (SPD), the junior partners with Merkel’s conservatives in the government, Thomas Oppermann said: “I’m glad that within the coalition we have consensus on this issue.”

 Sahra Wagenknecht Berlin Bundestag (Reuters/H.Hanschke)The Left Party’s Wagenknecht said Merkel was trying to strong-arm the UK

But Sahra Wagenknecht of the opposition Left Party accused Merkel’s government of trying to “punish” the UK and of ignoring the social concerns she said had led many people in Britain to vote for the Brexit.

“The EU is threatening to fall apart,” Wagenknecht said. “Anyone who thinks he needs intimidation to ensure European solidarity has already long given up on Europe.”

Merkel’s CDU-CSU, the SPD and the opposition Green Party rejected that assessment. The Greens, represented by Katrin Göring-Eckardt, called upon Merkel to reassure expats of their status by this summer.

Criticism of Erdogan, conflict over Le Pen

Significantly, Merkel began her address with statements critical of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and irregularities in Turkey’s constitutional referendum, which gave him what some say, are quasi-autocratic powers. She also called for the release of a German journalist currently detained in Turkey.

“To be unmistakably clear, it’s not compatible with the rule of law if the Turkish executive judges people in advance, as has obviously happened with Deniz Yücel,” Merkel stated.

But Merkel said it would be a mistake for the EU to “turn its back” on Turkey, which is still, nominally, a candidate for potential membership in the bloc.

Frankreich Präsidentschaftswahl EU Flagge (picture alliance/Pacific Press/M. Debets)The outcome of the French election in early May is another major EU concern

Spokespeople for the parliamentary party groups joined in the criticism of Erdogan. They also took the opportunity to comment on the results of the first round of the French election, which left centrist investment banker Emmanuel Macron to face right-wing, anti-EU populist Marine Le Pen in a run-off vote on May 7.

Wagenknecht criticized the fact that the poll had left voters with a choice between a “neo-liberal” and Le Pen. That wasn’t a popular view with her parliamentary peers.

Göring-Eckardt said all German parties had a responsibility to support “democracy,” in the form of Macron, against the “hate mongering” of Le Pen. SPD General Secretary Katarina Barley said Wagenknecht’s remarks showed that she had “no clue.”

It was an impressive display that the EU is confronted by issues other than Brexit and that national political squabbling continues as usual.

Watch video03:34

Conservative expert says EU in strong position on Brexit



German foreign minister calls UK’s Brexit timetable ‘unrealistic’

Germany’s top diplomat Sigmar Gabriel has cast doubt over UK Prime Minister May’s plan to quit the EU and finalize a new trade deal within two years. Gabriel has said he wants Germany to maintain close ties with the UK.

England Treffen Außenminister Gabriel mit Boris Johnson (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Rousseau)

Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said during a state visit to London on Tuesday that Britain’s departure from the European Union would be like any divorce: “Complicated at first, but smoother as things progress.”

However, speaking alongside his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, Gabriel tried to temper the UK’s expectations ahead of negotiations with the EU, calling Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit timetable “unrealistic.”

May hopes to negotiate the UK’s divorce from the EU and a future trade agreement with the bloc in tandem. Last week, EU Council President Donald Tusk said the bloc was open to trade discussions before the Brexit deadline, but stated that the two sides must make progress on Brexit before discussing a new trade deal.

Gabriel also warned of the dangers of failing to reach a Brexit deal within the two-year negotiating period.

“Having no deal is not the best idea for Britain and the European Union,” he said. “But my personal opinion is that the burden for the Brits is higher than for the Europeans.”

Johnson said that he was optimistic that Britain would reach a good deal with the remaining 27 member states, but also remained adamant that Britain would “more than survive” without an agreement.

Following talks with Johnson, Gabriel tweeted that, although negotiations might prove to be difficult, long-term, close cooperation between the UK and EU was a necessity.

Kein Boxkampf, sondern Antrittsbesuch in London. Auch wenn es erst einmal schwieriger wird, langfristig möglichst enge Zusammenarbeit nötig.

Gabriel: Good deal possible, but not as good as membership

Germany’s foreign minister also said he was optimistic that the two would reach a good deal that was fair for all parties. However, he stressed no agreement would  offer Britain the same benefits of membership that it is relinquishing.

“No one should be left with the impression that the advantages of membership of the European Union can be used by people who are not members of the European Union,” Gabriel said.

May triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty last week, beginning a two-year countdown to Brexit, nine months after Britons voted to quit the union in a divisive referendum vote.

Watch video25:59

Brexit – A painful divorce?

‘Keep calm and negotiate’

The EU’s Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier  on Tuesday responded to the UK’s angry reaction over Gibraltar after the bloc said last week that Spain would have a veto on extending any trade agreement to the overseas territory once the UK formally withdraws.

“Keep calm and negotiate,” Barnier said to reporters in Luxembourg when asked what he would say to reassure London on the issue, playing on the popular British phrase that was used to motivate the populace during World War II.

Then when asked whether the territory located just off the Spanish south coast would remain under British sovereignty, Barnier said: “Legally speaking, Gibraltar will leave the European Union at the same time as the United Kingdom, that’s what I can say.”

On Sunday, former leader of the ruling Conservative Party Michael Howard said that May would “show the same resolve” as Margaret Thatcher did 35 years ago, when the then-Prime Minister declared war on Argentina after its forces invaded the Falkland Islands.

dm/jm (dpa, AP)



Gibraltar minister: ‘Our rock will stay British’

The head of Gibraltar’s government has unequivocally stated that his territory will remain British despite Brexit. A recent EU proposal would give Spain a say in deciding Gibraltar’s fate once the UK leaves the bloc.

Watch video01:52

Brexit tensions simmer over Gibraltar

The Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, wrote in an article for the “Daily Express” that Spain was attempting to “[manipulate] the European Council for its own, narrow political interests” and that this effort was being supported by the Council’s President, Donald Tusk.

After the Brexit vote, Spain reasserted its long-standing desire to see Spanish-British co-sovereignty in Gibraltar, with “the Rock” eventually becoming completely Spanish.

The article came the same day as a phone conversation between Picardo and British Prime Minister Theresa May. A statement following the call from Downing Street said the prime minister would “never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes.”

Rocky issue

Gibraltar is a rocky British outpost on the southern tip of Spain.

A proposal from the European Union envisions offering Spain a right to veto over Gibraltar’s future trade relations with the bloc.

Watch video04:03

Europe’s most famous rock

The veto would give Madrid sway over the fate of the enclave once Britain has left the bloc, meaning the status of its overseas territory is no longer an internal EU matter.

Spain ceded the rocky outpost – just eight miles across the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea from Morocco – a little more than 300 years ago, but has long sought to have it returned.

The power of a veto over trade relations between Gibraltar and the EU would put Spain in a powerful position concerning the strategically important outpost.

Stoney resolve

In 2002 voters in Gibraltar rejected the idea of Britain sharing sovereignty with Spain by 99 percent to 1 percent. But the predominantly British population overwhelmingly backed remaining in the EU in last June’s Brexit referendum.

Picardo mentioned this in his article, stating Spain’s stance was “predictable” and “one of the concerns we had about the UK leaving when we voted 96 percent to remain in the EU.”

Now that Brexit has occured, Picardo referred to the “rock-like support for Gibraltar” of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and “the UK’s commitment to our right to remain British.”

Good to speak to Chief Minister @FabianPicardo. As ever, the UK remains implacable & rock-like in our support for Gibraltar

“It is time to see that commitment translated into action,” Picardo wrote.

Parallel to Falklands?

One British politician appeared quite eager to take action on Sunday in an interview with Britain’s Sky News.

Michael Howard – a former head of Britain’s conservative party, and cabinet member under Tory Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major – brought up Britain’s decision to go to war with Argentina after that country’s military junta seized the Falkland Islands.

That occurred on April 2, 1982. Three days later, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dispatched a naval force to take back the territory. Argentina surrendered on June 14.

“Thirty-five years ago this week another woman prime minister sent a task force half way across the world to defend the freedom of another small group of British people against another Spanish speaking country,” Howard said on Sky News, “and I’m absolutely certain that our current prime minister will show the same resolve in standing by the people of Gibraltar.”

Spain’s Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said on Monday that “the Spanish government is a little surprised by the tone of comments coming out of Britain, a country known for its composure.”

In an interview on Sunday, he said he viewed the EU’s stance positively.

mz/msh (Reuters, dpa)




Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, Brexit, referendum, United Kingdom

Scottish lawmakers have backed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s bid for a new referendum on independence from the UK. The vote gives Sturgeon a mandate to seek permission from Westminster to go ahead with the vote.

Watch video01:12

Scotland: Lawmakers back independence vote

Scotland’s parliament on Tuesday backed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s calls for another independence referendum by a majority of 69 to 59.

The vote allows Sturgeon to make a formal request to the British government to hold a referendum and comes a day before Prime Minister Theresa May formally launches Brexit proceedings.

Last year’s Brexit vote in June resulted in a significant strain between the UK’s constituencies, with England and Wales voting to leave the European Union and Scotland and Northern Ireland choosing to remain.

Watch video01:11

Can Scotland afford independence?

Sturgeon has said she wants to hold an independence plebiscite in late 2018 or early 2019, when the terms of the UK’s divorce from the EU become clear.

However May’s office has already indicated that it will reject the bid, saying it would be unfair to the people of Scotland to ask them to make a crucial decision without the necessary information about our future relationship with Europe, or what an independent Scotland would look like.

Westminster’s interjection could fuel Scotland’s independence movement. Sturgeon, meanwhile, has repeatedly said it would be anti-democratic for Westminster to stand in the way if Scotland’s elected government chose to hold an independence vote.

Scotland voted against independence in 2014 by 55 to 45 percent. However, Sturgeon has argued that a material change in circumstances following the Brexit vote justifies a second vote.

Infografik Brexit Timeline Englisch

‘Scotland, UK at a crossroads’

Sturgeon told the Edinburgh assembly at the start of Tuesday’s debate that “Scotland, like the rest of the UK, stands at a crossroads.”

“When Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is triggered tomorrow, change for our country becomes inevitable,” she said. “There will be an impact on trade, on investment and on living standards, and an impact on the very nature of the society we live in.”

The 2014 referendum was largely decided by the economic uncertainty of what an independent Scotland would look like. However, Sturgeon has claimed that breaking away from the European Single Market would cost Scotland tens of thousands of jobs.

Both Sturgeon and May saw the economic hands strengthened this week. Exploration firm Hurricane Energy announced on Monday that it had made the “largest undeveloped discovery” of oil in British waters, just off the Scottish Shetland Islands.

Meanwhile, Qatar announced that it was investing some £5 billion ($6.23 billion, 5.8 billion euros) into the UK economy over five years, easing fears that investors might ditch the UK once it leaves the European single market.

dm/jm (Reuters, dpa, AP, AFP)

Watch video03:33

Scots of two minds on independence