Lock down or face state of emergency, Spanish government tells Madrid

MADRID (Reuters) – Madrid must enforce travel restrictions ordered by the health ministry to limit novel coronavirus outbreaks or the national government will impose a state of emergency that would force it to comply, the government said late on Thursday.



a man walking in the snow: Passengers arrive at Adolfo Suarez Barajas airport in Madrid


© Reuters/SERGIO PEREZ
Passengers arrive at Adolfo Suarez Barajas airport in Madrid

In the latest escalation of tensions between the two administrations, the government said it would hold an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Friday morning to decree the state of emergency if Madrid does not impose the restrictions or request intervention.

Following a Health Ministry order, Madrid authorities reluctantly barred all non essential travel in and out of the city and nine surrounding towns last Friday to curb the spread of COVID-19 in one of Europe’s worst virus hotspots.

But a Madrid regional court on Thursday annulled the measures, ruling the government had overstepped its mandate and the restrictions

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Madrid must impose travel restrictions or face state of emergency, Spanish government says

MADRID (Reuters) – Madrid must enforce travel restrictions ordered by the health ministry to limit novel coronavirus outbreaks or the national government will impose a state of emergency that would force it to comply, the government said late on Thursday.

The government will hold an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Friday morning to decree the state of emergency if Madrid does not impose the restrictions or request intervention, the government said.

Following a Health Ministry order, Madrid authorities reluctantly barred all non essential travel to and from the city and nine surrounding towns last Friday to curb the spread of COVID-19 in one of Europe’s worst virus hotspots. [nL8N2GZ2PQ][nL8N2GW30R]

A Madrid regional court on Thursday annulled the measures ordered by the national health ministry, ruling the government had overstepped its mandate and the restrictions interfered with fundamental human rights.

Declaring a state of emergency – the same legal framework that underpinned

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Government to face pressure over planning changes

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The government will face pressure over proposed changes to the planning system in England later when MPs debate a new formula for assessing housing need.

Tory backbenchers have expressed concern about the formula, which analysis says could see big rises in the number of new homes for some areas.

Conservative MP Bob Seely said the plan would “hollow out our cities and suburbanise the countryside.”

The government said the plan was “still part of a consultation”.

But a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said they needed to make sure the formula was “set up to deliver the new homes the country needs”.

MPs will debate Mr Seely’s motion on Thursday afternoon, which urges the government to delay the introduction of the new system until the Commons has a chance to fully debate and hold a meaningfully vote on it.

Members

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UK government urged to classify leisure centres ‘essential’ or face mass closures

Video: Mayor: I do not accept COVID restrictions (Sky News)

Mayor: I do not accept COVID restrictions

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The government has been urged to reclassify swimming pools, gyms and leisure centres as ‘essential services’ vital to public health – or face the prospect of thousands of facilities being shut permanently if a second lockdown is introduced.



a group of people sitting at a table in a room: Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

As the Guardian revealed in June, nearly half of Britain’s public leisure centres and 20% of the country’s swimming pools risk being closed for good before Christmas – putting more than 58,000 jobs in peril – because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Related: Back us or risk losing half UK’s public leisure centres, industry warns

Even though lockdown restrictions have been eased, a third of leisure centres have still not reopened because of their parlous financial state. And amid reports that the

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Firms face ‘cliff edge’ with lay-offs after Christmas

Commuters as business leaders sound the alarm over jobs. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images
Commuters as business leaders sound the alarm over jobs. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Business groups have warned UK employers face a “cliff edge” as government support is cut back this winter, risking a fresh wave of job losses after Christmas.

Three leading business figures sounded the alarm over chancellor Rishi Sunak’s new job support scheme on Tuesday, with fears employers will still not be able to prevent lay-offs.

Sunak has resisted pressure to extend the job protection scheme, which saw millions of staff furloughed across the economy when the coronavirus and lockdown first hit. Last month he instead announced a new wage subsidy scheme from November, on top of a ‘job retention bonus’ for firms keeping furloughed staff.

Employers’ contributions are significantly higher under the new initiative, with organisations expected to pay more than half workers’ typical wages for only a third of their hours.

Watch: What are

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Cineworld’s zero-hours staff face no pay as it confirms UK shutdown

Video: Still the world’s best boss? Five years on, the CEO who set $70,000 minimum pay (France 24)

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America’s most vulnerable families could face financial crisis if government relief fades away, Fed says

Stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment benefits that helped the poorest Americans weather the coronavirus pandemic are in danger of ending, throwing the finances of the most economically vulnerable into a tailspin. 



a hand holding up a sign: A protester blocks the street leading to the Washington, D.C., home of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., demanding the extension of unemployment aid, on July 22, 2020.


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A protester blocks the street leading to the Washington, D.C., home of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., demanding the extension of unemployment aid, on July 22, 2020.

The Federal Reserve’s “Update on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households,” a highly watched annual report that has been expanded this year to reflect the coronavirus pandemic, showed that government measures have helped low and middle-income families boost savings. 

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To that point, in July, 48% of families making less than $40,000 annually said they’d cover a $400 emergency expense with cash or an equivalent, up from 39% in October 2019, according to the most recent supplemental survey updated Sept. 22 by the Fed.

The

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