Posts Tagged ‘EU’

EU “still open” to Britain changing mind on Brexit

January 16, 2018

STRASBOURG (Reuters) – Donald Tusk, the European Council president, weighed in to new British debate on whether to hold a second referendum on Brexit by saying on Tuesday that Britons would be welcome to stay in the European Union.

 Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

European Council President Donald Tusk addresses a news conference during a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, December 15, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Updating the European Parliament on the summit he chaired last month at which EU leaders agreed to open talks with London on the post-Brexit future, the former Polish premier said:

“If the UK government sticks to its decision to leave, Brexit will become a reality, with all its negative consequences, in March next year, unless there is a change of heart among our British friends.”

Referring to a comment about the reversibility of the 2016 referendum vote to leave by Britain’s Brexit minister, Tusk then added: “Wasn’t it David Davis himself who said ‘If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy’?”

“We here on the continent haven’t had a change of heart. Our hearts are still open to you.”

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald in Brussels; editing by Philip Blenkinsop


Russia’s Sergei Lavrov slams US for ignoring ‘multipolar’ world

January 15, 2018

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has sharply criticized the US for trying to dismantle the Iran nuclear deal. Washington is still using ultimatums and failing to recognize the emerging “multipolar world,” he said.

 Image result for lavrov, photos

Moscow will work to preserve the Iran nuclear deal despite Donald Trump’s recent pledge to change it,Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at his annual news conference.

Russia also hopes that France, Germany and the UK would also resist US pressure to alter the arrangement, Lavrov added. The three European powers, alongside US, Russia, and China, reached the 2015 deal to limit Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions after years of laborious talks.

Read more:What is the Iran nuclear deal?

“Unfortunately, our American colleagues still want to operate only on the basis of dictating policy, issuing ultimatums,  they do not want to hear the perspectives of other centers of world politics,” Lavrov said on Monday.

Read moreIran rebuffs Trump’s demand for more nuclear negotiation

The US is refusing to “acknowledge the reality of the emerging multi-polar world,” he added.

Lavrov’s annual conference is designed to give an overview of Russia’s diplomatic efforts in the past year and provide a lookahead for 2018.

Iran failure – a message to North Korea?

Several days ago, US President Donald Trump said he would waive sanctions against Tehran only to give US and Europe more time to fix the “terrible flaws” of the Iran arrangement.

However, Iran has been fulfilling its part of the deal, Lavrov said on Monday.

“The US is requiring for Iran to stop developing its ballistic rockets, but that was never a topic of the talks and Iran has never taken up any obligations about it,” according to the official.

Read more: Tehran says nuclear deal relies on ‘full compliance’ from US

The Russian foreign minister said that statements coming from the US also “seriously aggravated” tensions in other parts of the world, including the Korean Peninsula.

The collapse of the Iran deal would also undermine any arrangement with Pyongyang, Lavrov added.

“If they put this agreement aside and tell Iran: you keep within the arranged limits and we’ll bring back the sanctions anyway – just put yourself in North Korea’s shoes. They have been promised that the sanctions would be removed if they give up their nuclear program.”

Read moreNorth Korea missile launch prompts Hawaii nuclear attack warning test

Lavrov  also criticized the US over their plans to provide Greece with US natural gas, and other energy initiatives clashing with Russia’s interests in Europe.

“When it comes to [Trump] administrations actions, there is a fear of healthy competition,” he said.

Commenting on the US actions in Syria, he said that Washington’s priorities had not changed under Trump. According to Moscow’s standpoint, Washington is focusing on regime change over ending the civil war.

In some areas, US foreign policy even became “more saturated, more assertive” under Donald Trump, “regardless of his positions during the electoral campaign,” Lavrov said.

dj/ng (AFP, Reuters, Interfax)

Dollar Gets the Cold Shoulder in Global Economic Boom

January 14, 2018

Investors are flocking to the yen, euro and other currencies amid promise of quickening growth overseas

The dollar decline is the latest reversal for many investors who expected the currency to rise as the Federal Reserve continues on a yearslong path of gradual interest-rate increases.

The promise of accelerating economic growth overseas is propelling investor funds into the yen, euro and many emerging-market currencies, intensifying a yearlong siege on the U.S. dollar.

The ICE Dollar Index hit its lowest level in more than three years on Friday, extending a nearly 10% decline last year that marked the dollar’s steepest annual fall since 2003. The index tracks the value of the currency vs. a basket of U.S. trading partners.

Investors point to the global economic upswing of recent months and the tentative, accompanying steps by central bankers in Europe and Japan to normalize monetary policy after years of expansive support. While the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan continue to supply generous support to markets, expectations are building that the world’s biggest economies will soon unwind nearly a decade of postcrisis stimulus measures and eventually join the Federal Reserve in raising interest rates.

That potentially makes the dollar less appealing to investors, who for years piled into U.S. assets anticipating steady growth and accepting low yet still above-market yields. While the Dow industrials have surged to records alongside many global stock markets, major U.S. indexes have lagged behind foreign counterparts in recent months, a sign that markets here have become something of an afterthought following large gains earlier in the decade.

“The dollar narrative is one of a global regime shift,” said Mark McCormick,  North American head of FX strategy at TD Securities. Economies like Europe and Japan “are actually starting to look like places where you would want to invest.”

The dollar decline is the latest reversal for many investors who expected the currency to rise as the Fed continues on a yearslong path of gradual interest-rate increases. Recently, the dollar’s decline has been slow and steady, but the currency’s failure to tick up when news might seem to point toward a faster pace of Fed rate increases or an uptick in inflation has impressed itself upon some investors.

Two recent examples stand out. Robust U.S. consumer-price data on Friday didn’t spur a dollar rally, and rising Treasury yields in recent weeks have had no appreciable effect on the currency, even as they have reignited a longstanding market debate about whether interest rates will eventually return to precrisis levels.

“You are seeing all these positives that should be causing the dollar to strengthen having virtually no effect,” said Said Haidar, head of Haidar Capital Management, which oversees $388 million.

Mr. Haidar is betting that the dollar will decline against the currencies of commodity-producing emerging markets such as Malaysia, Chile and Colombia.

Many analysts believe the dollar’s decline in 2018 is likely to be accelerated by the passage of the U.S. tax bill, which is widely expected to expand the U.S. fiscal deficit. The dollar tends to fall when the deficit expands, reflecting in part the rising need for the nation to sell bonds to close its funding gap.

Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan expect U.S. fiscal deficits to rise to $1 trillion, or 5% of GDP, in 2019 from $664 billion in the 2017 fiscal year ended September, or around 3.4% of GDP.

In part, the recent dollar weakness merely reflects the normal wax and wane of market forces.The dollar has rallied nearly 25% against its peers from its lows of 2011, a gain that in the eyes of many analysts has made the U.S. currency more expensive than its underlying fundamentals would dictate.

A modest further decline in the dollar would be welcomed by many large U.S. companies that report substantial earnings overseas. A falling dollar tends to boost exports by making U.S. goods more competitive abroad, a key policy objective of President Donald Trump, and a weaker currency potentially also gives the Federal Reserve more room to raise interest rates.

But some investors worry that an extended drop in the dollar could shake faith in the U.S. economy, elevating concerns about the lofty stock-market valuations and complicating the Fed’s efforts to raise rates. A rapid drop could also spur fears that inflation will rise beyond the moderate pace hoped for by policy makers and investors.

Net bets against the dollar in futures markets shrank to their lowest level in more than a month in December, due in part to expectations that companies will take advantage of a one-time cut for repatriation of earnings and cash held overseas, which was written into the GOP tax overhaul. However, bearish bets on the dollar grew again in recent weeks, as wagers on the euro shot higher.

For investors seeking yield, “there is the most upside in countries like Europe and Japan, where monetary policy is the furthest away from normal,” said Kit Juckes, a strategist at Société Générale. “You don’t want to buy into stories that have largely played themselves out.”

Write to Ira Iosebashvili at

Corbyn’s Brexit policy biggest barrier to staying in single market, says Labour MP

January 14, 2018

Wes Streeting urges Jeremy Corbyn to back continued membership of EU’s single market and customs union

Image result for Wes Streeting, uk, photos

Wes Streeting is one of a group of backbench rebels campaigning for Jeremy Corbyn to tighten Labour policy. Photograph: Richard Gardner/Rex/Shutterstock

Labour’s Brexit policy is now the single biggest barrier to Britain remaining in the EU single market, the Ilford North MP, Wes Streeting, will claim on Saturday.

Streeting is one of a well-coordinated group of vocal backbench rebels campaigning for leader Jeremy Corbyn to harden Labour policy by saying he would back continued membership of the single market and the customs union.

In a speech to the Fabian Society’s annual conference in London on Saturday, Streeting will say: “On the UK’s future relationship with the European Union – the single biggest issue facing our country in a generation – we find ourselves in the terrible position where it is the Labour party that currently stands as the single biggest barrier to the UK’s membership of the single market and customs union.

“With Labour, there would be a majority in the Commons for single market membership, but not without us. If the Labour party announced tomorrow that we would keep Britain in the single market and customs union, it would be a game-changing moment in British politics. The policy would command a majority in the Commons and a majority in the country.”

An amendment to the European withdrawal bill tabled last month by Nottingham East MP Chris Leslie, which he said would ensure the government made legal provision to remain in the customs union, won the backing of more than 60 Labour MPs, against the advice of whips.

Labour’s formal position is that Britain’s interests would be best served by retaining membership of the single market and customs union during the transition period that will begin in 2019.

But it has not yet given details about what deal it would be willing to accept once that period – expected to be around two years – expired.

The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, has said permanent membership of a customs union with the EU27 could be a “viable” longterm option and should be kept on the table.

The party’s formal policy is to pursue a “jobs-first Brexit” – and try to appeal to leave and remain supporters. Streeting will say: “The fudge that got us through the general election won’t get us through 2018.”

Jeremy Corbyn suggests that there is no such thing as the Special Relationship with the US

January 14, 2018


Jeremy Corbyn has suggested that the Special Relationship with the US does not exist and said that links with the EU, India, and China are just as important.

The Labour leader said he is “not sure that anyone has succeeded in defining the special relationship” as he denied that the US is Britain’s most important partner.

He criticised the “endless offensive remarks” by Donald Trump about women, minorities and different faiths as Emily Thornberry, the shadow Foreign Secretary, called the US President a “racist”.

Mr Corbyn told ITV’s Peston on Sunday:  “I think there are many important relationships. The US one is obviously culturally and economically significant and important.

“Also the trading relationships we have around the world with obviously the EU, but also with India and China and the rest of the world are very important.

“Also our relationship with international institutions such…

Read the rest:

Merkel could join Macron in Davos for epic clash with Trump

January 14, 2018

By Noah Barkin

Image result for Macron, Merkel, Photos

BERLIN, Jan 14 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is considering joining French President Emmanuel Macron at the World Economic Forum in Davos next week in what could turn into an epic clash of competing world views with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Merkel, who has been struggling to put together a government since a German election in September, had been expected to skip the annual gathering of leaders, CEOs, bankers and celebrities in the Swiss Alps for a third straight year.

But after clinching a preliminary coalition agreement with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) on Friday, German officials said Merkel could travel to Davos after all, possibly setting up a major confrontation with Trump, who is expected to speak on the final day of the forum.

An appearance would signal Merkel’s return to the world stage after months of political limbo in which she has avoided the limelight and been dismissed by some in the German and international media as a spent force.

It would also allow her and Macron, who is scheduled to speak at the forum on Jan. 24, two days before Trump, to reaffirm their commitment to reforming the European Union after Britain’s decision to leave, and to defend liberal democratic values in the face of Trump’s “America First” policies.

Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert was coy last week when asked whether she might attend the WEF, which will run from Jan. 23-26 under the banner “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World” and will attract some 60 heads of state and government.

But after clinching a preliminary deal with the SPD, the chances that she could attend appear to have risen. German officials said no final decision had been taken and that Merkel may wait for the outcome of an SPD congress in Bonn next Sunday – where the party will formally decide whether to enter coalition talks with her conservatives – before committing.

Officials at the WEF said they believed Merkel was still considering whether to attend. If she does, it is unlikely that she or Macron would overlap with Trump, who is expected to arrive on the afternoon of Jan. 25.

This year’s forum will be opened by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Jan. 23. Britain’s Theresa May, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu are also expected, as well as celebrities such as actress Cate Blanchett and musician Elton John.

Last year’s gathering took place in the week leading up to Trump’s inauguration and was headlined by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who signalled his readiness to fill the vacuum in global leadership created by America’s shift inward.


Since then, Trump has pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade deal with Asian countries, announced a withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and threatened to torpedo an agreement between Western powers and Iran aimed at curbing its nuclear programme.

He has stirred fears of conflict with North Korea by engaging in an escalating war of words with its leader Kim Jong Un. Last week, he stirred international outrage by referring to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries”, according to members of Congress who attended a meeting in the White House.

On Saturday, some 500 demonstrators marched in the Swiss capital Bern to protest against Trump’s plans to attend the WEF.

“There are very few things in the world that unite countries as much as their antipathy towards Trump and what he is doing,” said Ian Bremmer, president of political risk consultancy Eurasia Group , and a regular at Davos.

“In the United States he may have 40 percent who approve of what he’s doing. In the Davos crowd it is closer to 5 percent.”

The visit by Trump will be the first by a U.S. president since Bill Clinton in 2000. He will be accompanied by a large delegation that is expected to include his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Merkel has had a frosty relationship with Trump, who accused her during his campaign for the presidency of “ruining Germany” by allowing hundreds of thousands of refugees, many fleeing war in the Middle East, into the country in 2015.

She was hailed in some Western media as the last defender of liberal democratic values after Trump’s victory. Since then, the election of Macron, a pro-European centrist who, like Merkel, supports free trade and the global rules-based order, has given her a powerful ally in the confrontation with Trump.

Macron is slated to speak for 45 minutes in the evening of Jan. 24 in Davos, a ski resort in eastern Switzerland.

“My instinct tells me that Macron will go big,” said Robin Niblett, director of the Chatham House think tank in London. “He won’t just talk about Europe. He will try to take up the mantle of the free world under Europe’s wing.”

If he is joined by Merkel, who has made seven appearances at the WEF since becoming chancellor in 2005, that message may resonate even louder. (Reporting by Noah Barkin; Editing by Dale Hudson)


Brexit vote may be reversed, says British campaigner Farage

January 14, 2018

LONDON (Reuters) – Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage said on Sunday he was increasingly concerned that a vote for Britain to leave the European Union could be overturned by a powerful group of the bloc’s supporters.

In an interview with Britain’s Observer newspaper, Farage, former head of the euroskeptic UK Independence Party, said a well-organized and funded group of campaigners that wants to remain in the EU was drowning out those who want to leave.

“The Remain side are making all the running,” said Farage. “They have a majority in parliament, and unless we get ourselves organized we could lose the historic victory that was Brexit.”

Last week, Farage said he was warming to the idea of holding a second vote on Britain’s membership of the EU to settle the argument – an idea written off by other Brexit campaigners who urged the government to press on with exit talks with the bloc.

Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage arrives for a meeting with European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (unseen) at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Jan. 8, 2018. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

In 2016, Britons voted 52 to 48 percent in favor of ending its membership of the EU. Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out a second referendum, saying her government was seeking an amicable divorce with the EU which will safeguard the economy and enable Britain to secure trade deals with other countries.

But some Brexit campaigners fear her approach has led to the watering down of several of their demands, including the ability to reduce immigration and to reclaim sovereignty by leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Several pro-EU campaigners say the need for a second referendum has become more pressing because public opinion is showing some signs of turning against Brexit as the difficulty of negotiations to leave the bloc becomes increasingly clear.

On Thursday, a ComRes poll for the Daily Mirror newspaper of 1,049 adults showed that although more people think there should not be a second referendum (51 to 43 percent), if there were to be a re-run, voters say they would opt to stay in the EU by 55 to 45 percent.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper, editing by Louise Heavens

UK treasury chief accuses EU of paranoia over Brexit

January 13, 2018

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said the EU should stop threatening to punish Britain for its decision to leave the bloc and instead offer a positive vision for what a post-Brexit relationship might look like.(Reuters)
BERLIN: Britain’s treasury chief has accused the European Union of “paranoia” over Brexit.
Philip Hammond says the EU should stop threatening to punish Britain for its decision to leave the bloc and instead offer a positive vision for what a post-Brexit relationship might look like.
British officials are trying to put the onus on Brussels in the divorce negotiations and downplay the idea that quitting the EU might end up harming Britain.
Hammond told German weekly Welt am Sonntag in an interview published Saturday that those hoping London might do a U-turn on Brexit should “stop harking on about this illusion.”
Hammond also was quoted as saying that a future free trade deal between Britain and the EU has to include services, which make up 80 percent of the UK economy.

By Chris Graham 

Political leaders and campaigners calling for Britain to reverse the results of the EU referendum should “stop harking on” about what amounts to an “illusion”, Philip Hammond has said.

The Chancellor accused European leaders of making “only backward-looking” statements such as, “are you sure you want to leave?”

He also described EU fears that a generous deal for the UK could encourage other countries to leave the trading bloc, as “paranoia” – saying Brussels should do more to keep existing members rather than “threatening members who decide to leave”.

Mr Hammond’s comments, during a visit to Berlin, follow persistent calls by some political figures for the UK to hold a second referendum on leaving the EU.

But in an interview with the Welt am Sonntag  newspaper, Mr Hammond was critical of European leaders remaining focused on whether Britain could yet stay in the EU. Instead they should be…

Read the rest:

Iran vows to pursue ballistic missile development, slams ‘irrational’ Trump

January 13, 2018

Amid US president’s push to incorporate Tehran’s ballistic capabilities into nuke accord, Iranian official says program ‘the only deterrent against enemy threats’

Iranians gather next to a replica of a medium-range ballistic missile during a demonstration outside the former US embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran on November 4, 2017, marking the anniversary of its storming by student protesters that triggered a hostage crisis in 1979. (AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE)

Iranians gather next to a replica of a medium-range ballistic missile during a demonstration outside the former US embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran on November 4, 2017, marking the anniversary of its storming by student protesters that triggered a hostage crisis in 1979. (AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE)

An Iranian government official on Saturday said that Iran would pursue its ballistic missile program despite US pressure, and slammed US President Donald Trump for his “irrational behavior,” calling him the “most hated president in American history.”

In an interview on Saturday with the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), an operation partly funded by the Iranian government, the chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said Iran makes decisions based on national interests and that its ballistic capabilities served as a deterrent.

“Ballistic capability is the only deterrent against enemy threats,” Boroujerdi was quoted by ISNA as saying, “after Iran has agreed to have no nuclear weapons and to use no weapons of mass destruction such as chemical and biological weapons, because it is totally against the use of weapons of mass destruction.”

The remark comes on the heels of Trump’s decision on Friday to sign a waiver on Iranian sanctions, suspending punitive measures for another 120 days and keeping the Iran nuclear deal alive. The US president warned that this would be the last time he does so unless Congress and European countries fix the nuclear deal’s “terrible flaws,” and heed his call to strengthen it, including incorporating Iran’s missile program into the accord.

In this January 9, 2018, photo, President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The US president has to sign sanctions waivers every four months, while the American intelligence services monitor the Islamic Republic’s compliance with the nuclear deal, signed in 2015, which rolled back crippling sanctions against Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

In a statement following the signing of the waivers, Trump laid out four conditions that must be met, including increased inspections, ensuring “Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon,” and that there be no expiry date to the nuke deal. The current one expires after a decade.

His last condition required Capitol Hill lawmakers to pass a bill unilaterally incorporating Iran’s missile program into the nuclear deal.

“The legislation must explicitly state in United States law — for the first time — that long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs are inseparable, and that Iran’s development and testing of missiles should be subject to severe sanctions,” the president’s written statement said.

Iran has repeatedly said that the nuclear accord could not be renegotiated, including earlier Saturday when the Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Tehran would “accept no changes” to the deal and will not allow the accord to be linked to any non-nuclear issue.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran stresses clearly that it will take no measures beyond its commitments under the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the deal’s official name] and will accept no changes to this agreement now or in the future, and will not allow that the JCPOA be linked to any other issue [than the nuclear issue],” said Iran’s Foreign Ministry.

The ministry added that, “The internal solidity of and international support for the agreement have blocked attempts by Mr. Trump, the Zionist regime and the ominous alliance of hard-line warmongers to terminate this agreement or make changes to it.”

In the interview with ISNA Saturday, Boroujerdi said that “while many European countries and the signatories of the nuclear deal have repeatedly protested [against] the irrational behavior of Trump, he is still considered as a serious violator of JCPOA.”

But “Trump was forced once again to extend Iran’s nuclear sanctions waiver despite all the boasts,” he added.

Boroujerdi said Trump was “the most hated president [in] the American history, whose hatred has crossed US geological boundaries and [has] become a global phenomenon.”

Agencies and Eric Cortellessa contributed to this report.

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS): ‘No longer able to meet standards in its constitution’

January 13, 2018

‘Rising numbers of flu cases and more respiratory illness have placed intolerable pressures on staff’

By Samuel OsborneAlex Matthews-King

The Independent Online

The National Health Service is at a “watershed moment” and cannot deliver care to the standards required by its constitution with the funding it receives, Jeremy Hunt has been told.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which acts as as bridge between trusts and the Department of Health, has written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to call for extra investment on a long-term basis to address the “fragility of the wider NHS”.

The three-page letter calls for the Government to commit to increasing the NHS budget to £153bn by 2022/23 – a sum the Office for Budget Responsibility said was needed, given projected increased demand for services.

But Mr Hopson has warned that, due to the current state of NHS finances, “substantial progress” must be made before the Autumn Budget this year.

Mr Hopson said: “Despite planning for winter more thoroughly and extensively than before, it hasn’t been sufficient. Rising numbers of flu cases and more respiratory illness have placed intolerable pressures on staff.

“The NHS is no longer able to deliver the constitutional standards to which it is committed. We need to be realistic about what we can provide on the funding available.

“If we continue to run the NHS at close to 100 per cent capacity day in, day out, permanently in the red zone, it’s not surprising that the service can’t cope when we get a high, but entirely predictable, spike in demand.”

Warning that failure to act would lead to targets moving further out of reach, he said: “There is so much at stake. We can fix this, but there must be no more delay. The ball is now firmly in the Government’s court.”

The letter follows the Health Secretary’s admission on Wednesday that the NHS will need substantially increased funding in future, which should be delivered across a 10-year spending period.

The letter adds: “The Government now needs to set out how it will create the sustainable, long-term health and care funding settlement you have rightly called for.”

NHS Providers has said the Government must commit to review this year’s winter preparations, which Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly said are “the best ever”, despite hospitals relying on a last-minute allocation of £335m in the Budget.

The Government has also guaranteed hospitals will be protected against further funding squeezes if they fail to hit increasingly remote financial targets.

The cancellation of non-urgent care, as advised by the NHS last week, will mean trusts, which are paid on a fee-for-service basis, miss out on income from these operations.

Jeremy Hunt apologises to patients as thousands of operations delayed

This will also make it harder to hit strict savings and performance targets and unlock the associated funding for delivering them.

NHS Providers’s intervention comes on the day after a leaked memo revealed Oxford’s Churchill Hospital was having to consider cutting back chemotherapy services for cancer patients because of staff shortages.

A letter from the hospital’s head of chemotherapy, Dr Andrew Weaver, said nurse numbers were down 40 per cent, and chemotherapy start dates may have to be pushed back or the number of cycles reduced.

Norman Lamb, a former Liberal Democrat minister, said the country had been “honest” about how to give the NHS more funding.

His party has called for adding a penny in the pound on income tax.

“The clear message from NHS leaders is that the Government must drop its sticking-plaster approach to the health service,” he said.

“The gap between demand and resources in the NHS is growing each year, with tragic human consequences across the country.

“The stark reality is that the current winter crisis is just a taster of what is to come unless ministers get to grips with the long-term funding shortfall facing the health service.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The NHS was given top priority in the recent Budget with an extra £2.8bn allocated over the next two years, and was recently ranked as the best and safest healthcare system in the world.

“We know there is a great deal of pressure in A&E departments and that flu rates are going up, and we are grateful to all NHS staff for their incredible work in challenging circumstances.

“That’s why we recently announced the largest single increase in doctor training places in the history of the NHS – a 25 per cent expansion.”

Additional reporting by Press Association