Boris Johnson

UK scraps plan to end freedom of movement

The UK government has been forced to abandon its plan to end freedom of movement for European Union nationals immediately after a no-deal Brexit.Instead, the Home Office has announced it will reinstate a previous scheme that will grant a three-year 'right to remain' to all EU nationals entering the country between the planned Brexit date of October 31 and the end of 2020.The U-turn came less than a month after the new government led by Boris Johnson announced that freedom of movement would be brought to a halt the moment the UK left the bloc, unless an agreement had been reached with Brussels beforehand.However, business groups, lawyers, migration specialists and lobbyists for the three million-plus EU nationals already in the UK, immediately pointed out it would be impossible for border control officers to differentiate between returning Europeans who had a legal right of residence in the UK and anyone else arriving from the continent.Although the government has introduced its Settled Status scheme, which will guarantee the rights of permanent residence to EU nationals who have been in the country for at least five years, applicants have until the end of 2020 to register under the scheme and, so far, only about a third have done so.

UK house sales stronger than normal in August - Rightmove

LONDON (Reuters) - August, normally a quiet month for Britain’s property market, has seen a surge in sales, possibly due to buyers seeking to conclude transactions before the country leaves the European Union on Oct. 31, property website Rightmove said on Monday.

Rightmove said sales in the August period, which cover the four weeks to Aug. 10, were 6.1% higher than a year earlier and their strongest for the month since 2015, bucking a generally sluggish trend since June 2016’s referendum on leaving the European Union.

“While the end of October Brexit outcome remains uncertain, more buyers are now going for the certainty of doing a deal, with some having perhaps hesitated earlier in the year,” Rightmove director Miles Shipside said.

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to take Britain out of the EU by Oct. 31, even if that means leaving without a transition deal - something most economists think will cause major disruption to businesses and overseas trade.

But British consumers have largely shrugged off Brexit worries so far, bolstered by a strong labour market and the fastest increases in wages in 11 years, in contrast to businesses, which have held back from making major investments.

House price inflation has slowed since June 2016, according to official figures. But this has largely been driven by price falls in London and surrounding areas, which have been most affected by higher property taxes on expensive housing and fears of post-Brexit job losses in the financial services sector.