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The government’s never-ending failure to tackle air pollution paints a grim picture of things to come after Brexit, Labour MEPs warned as the European Commission issued a “final warning” to the UK for failing to address repeated breaches of legal air pollution limits in 16 areas - including London, Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow.

Seb Dance MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on the environment, said:

“Yet again this Tory government has failed to meet its air pollution targets. Every year since 2010, Britain has breached its EU nitrogen dioxide limits - and in my constituency of London, the annual air pollution limit for the whole of 2017 was breached in just the first five days.

“It’s clear that the British government cannot be trusted to tackle air pollution on its own - tens of thousands of lives are being lost every year yet ministers continue to sit on their hands. If the threat of hefty fines and legal action isn’t enough, then what on earth will compel the government to act when we leave the European Union?”

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tory government’s repeated failures on air pollution paint a grim picture of things to come post-Brexit, warn Labour MEPs

The government’s never-ending failure to tackle air pollution paints a grim picture of things to come after Brexit, Labour MEPs warned as the European Commission issued a “final warning” to...

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The European Parliament today backed Labour proposals for an urgent investigation into Formula One. MEPs voted overwhelmingly for a Labour amendment to the Annual Competition Report, which calls for a full and immediate investigation by the European Commission into F1.

The main areas of concern are: the issue of competition in F1, namely the allocation of prize money, whereby the biggest teams get the most money, even if they finish last; the regulator FIA’s 1% holding in F1, which returned them 17,000% on their investment over four years and was a clear conflict of interest when approving its sale earlier this year; and the tax agreement F1 holds with HMRC, that allowed it to pay only $6.5m on a $463.6m profit in 2015.

Today’s vote follows a long campaign by Anneliese Dodds MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on competition, who has written to EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager several times in the last two years calling for an investigation.

Anneliese Dodds MEP said:

“It’s great that MEPs have backed our call for a full and immediate investigation into anti-competitive practices in Formula One - today’s vote will increase pressure on the European Commission to act.

“Smaller teams are unfairly punished by an uncompetitive allocation of prize money that will always give the biggest teams more money, even if they finish last in every race.

“The problems in Formula 1 extend well beyond the allocation of prize money, however, with serious concerns being raised about an agreement with HM Revenue and Customs that allowed the sport to pay an effective 2% tax rate, and there is also a significant conflict of interest over the recent sale of the sport to Liberty Media, after the regulator received a $79.5m profit from authorising the sale.

“Britain is the home of F1, yet only a few weeks ago, Manor Racing became the latest team in my constituency to collapse after administrators failed to find a buyer. We must ensure that we don’t lose even more highly skilled jobs in this sector and allow a sport loved by 500 million fans to become even more uncompetitive.”

Julie Ward MEP, Labour European Parliament spokesperson on sport, added:

“I welcome the measures promoted in the report to effectively combat unethical practices such as corruption. Fairness and integrity are vital components of all sports and must be addressed across policy areas and communicated to the public.

“We must restore trust in sporting institutions, in order to re-establish the values of solidarity, peace and social inclusion that sport can engender.”

The letter from Anneliese Dodds MEP to Commissioner Vestager two weeks ago can be found
here.

A draft copy of the report that was passed today in Strasbourg can be found here. The amendment of concern reads as follows: “144. Calls for an immediate investigation into competition concerns arising from the Formula One motorsport industry.”

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

MEPs back Labour proposals for EU investigation into F1

The European Parliament today backed Labour proposals for an urgent investigation into Formula One. MEPs voted overwhelmingly for a Labour amendment to the Annual Competition Report, which calls for a...

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EU citizens currently resident in Britain must be allowed to remain after the UK leaves the European Union, Labour MEPs have told the government.

In a letter to Amber Rudd, Labour MEPs warn the home secretary:

"A number of our constituents who are EU citizens living in the UK have expressed grave concerns about their rights to permanently remain in the UK, some are being treated unfairly or in a threatening way by the Home Office since the Brexit vote.

"EU nationals have complained that in order to obtain permanent residency, applicants are being presented with an 85-page form requiring huge files of documentation, including P60s for five years, historic utility bills and a diary of all the occasions an individual has left the country since they settled in the UK. Some have received letters inviting them to prepare to leave the country after failing to tick one of the boxes on the form. As elected representatives we need to represent and protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK as well as the rights of British citizens living in Europe.

"The Labour Party has joined us in calling for urgent unilateral action by the Prime Minister to secure the rights of EU citizens living in Britain and call on her to abandon her position of refusing to act without securing equivalent guarantees for the 1.2 million UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU. EU citizens have been feeling very anxious about their future since the referendum result and as their representatives in the European Parliament we are calling on the government to guarantee the right of EU citizens currently living lawfully in the UK to remain in the UK after Brexit.

"We believe this is a necessary first step before article 50 is triggered and UK’s Brexit negotiations begin."

Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the European Parliament civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:

"I met with home secretary Amber Rudd at the informal Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Malta to raise the issue of EU citizens' rights with her. Labour MEPs are keeping a check on casework of EU citizens' experiencing difficulties with the Home Office, and we will continue to push for urgent action from the government.

"We have also, together with colleagues from across Europe, written to the prime minister to assure EU citizens living in the UK that their rights as EU citizens will be fully respected as long as the UK is a member of the European Union, even once Article 50 has been triggered - and to ensure the rights of the more than one and a half million Britons living in EU countries are protected.

"Yesterday, Theresa May said EU citizens living in the UK make a “vital contribution to our society and economy”, and that without the contribution of more than three million European nationals Britain would be "poorer" and public services "weaker". Fine words, but it is by her actions that she will be judged."

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Labour MEPs tell UK govt: EU citizens living in Britain must be allowed to remain after Brexit

EU citizens currently resident in Britain must be allowed to remain after the UK leaves the European Union, Labour MEPs have told the government.

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