1. Trump’s Tax Return Exposed
President Trump’s 2005 tax return has been leaked, with MSNBC revealing he paid $38m (£31m) in tax on a $150m (£123m) income.
The 25% tax rate is higher than the average American citizen, but 2% less than the average of higher earning taxpayers. Trump also wrote off $100m (£82m) in business losses.
During the election, the multi-millionaire businessman refused to release his tax returns. This was breaking with Presidential tradition, resulting in Hillary Clinton blasting him during the first Presidential debate “The only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.”
Trump’s response to that? “That makes me smart.”
The White House has criticised this latest leak, with this development likely to worsen the already damaged relationship between the President and mainstream media.
Trump is yet to comment, but it wouldn’t be too surprising to hear from him on Twitter later today.
2. UK And Europe Can Remain “Close Friends In The Future”
Donald Tusk, the European Council President, has told the European Parliament that the UK and EU can remain “close friends in the future.”
However, he also warned against being intimidated by the UK in negotiations. He said, “a no deal scenario would be bad for everyone but above all for the UK”.
Theresa May is set to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, with the EU nations then set to meet and discuss the matter in April. Negotiations between the UK and EU are likely to last until later 2018, with Brexit not complete until March 2019.
3. UK Unemployment Lowest Since 1975
Official statistics from the ONS are showing unemployment fell by 31,000 to 1.58 million in three months to January.
An unemployment rate of 4.7% is the lowest seen since 1975. The 41-year low will be welcome news for the UK government, with 31.85 million citizens now in work.
However, the stats also show a record 905,000 people now on zero hour contracts. Furthermore, wage growth has slowed, raising concerns that consumer spending could be impacted.
4. Dutch Go To The Polls
The Dutch elections are set to take place today, with particular scrutiny on the performance of right wing populist Geert Wilders.
With populism being a factor in the UK Brexit result and Donald Trump’s election success, the Dutch election is viewed as a test on the global shift towards right wing politics. Ahead of the French and German elections, today’s result could be an indicator of things to come.
While casting his ballot, Mr Wilders told the assembled media “The common people, who are interested in getting their country back, and returning our national sovereignty, are hopefully voting today in huge amounts.”
5. Hammond Does U-Turn
Chancellor Philip Hammond has made a major budget U turn, writing a letter in which he sets out –
“In the light of what has emerged as a clear view among colleagues and a significant section of the public, I have decided not to proceed with the Class 4 NIC measure set out in the budget.”
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