this is bbc news — i'm lukwesa burak. the headlines at 2. the chancellor insists the government has no red lines in talks over brexit, but labour said it is disappointed no compromise has been offered. the government perhaps has to show more flexibility than it has done so. more flexibility than it has done so. there has been no movement from the government on the actual content of the political declaration, and thatis of the political declaration, and that is key. conversations with the labour party continuing, they were continuing last night. we expect to exchange more text with the labour party today, so this is an ongoing process and i am optimistic we will reach some form of agreement.
persimmon announces an independent review into housing quality after complaints over its new build. from today workers will face higher pensions contributions. also this hour... raheem sterling's gift to 500 schoolchildren. they are heading to wembley, after the manchester city star got them tickets for this afternoon's fa cup semifinal against brighton. tiger role is the hot favourite for repeat success in the grand national at aintree. and exploring what it is like being 17 or around the world. that is a newsbeat documentary in half an hour on bbc news.
good afternoon. labour and the conservatives have said they hope brexit talks will continue over the weekend. the parties have been meeting since wednesday to find a proposal to put to mps, which it is hoped will break the brexit deadlock before an emergency summit next week. the talks appeared to break down yesterday when the shadow brexit secretary sir keir starmer accuse the government of refusing to consider changes to the brexit deal‘s political declaration. before we speak to our political correspondent... let's just remind you of exactly what the political declaration is. it is the document that sets out proposals for how the uk's long—term future relationship with the eu will work after brexit. the political declaration is not legally binding but will be worked up into a full agreement during the transition period.
there appears to be some confusion about exactly what is going on. we we re about exactly what is going on. we were hearing from philip hammond today, who is at a meeting of eu finance ministers that talks would continue this weekend. that is in contrast to what we have heard from labour who tell me there is nothing scheduled this weekend. despite that philip hammond seems to be enthusiastic and optimistic that not only can agreement be reached with labour but it can translate into a positive outcome on wednesday's eu emergency summit in brussels. this is him sounding chipper earlier. the conversations with the labour party are continuing. they were continuing last night. we are expecting to exchange more text with the labour party today, so this is an ongoing process and i'm optimistic that we will reach some form of agreement with labour. the chancellor sounding optimistic
that things are going well. in stark contrast to labour who say not only do they have no talks scheduled, they say the lack of progress has been because the government will not shift position. crucially, labour wa nt shift position. crucially, labour want a closer economic relationship with the eu than the government does. they want a customs union and closer ties with brussels but, with that, you would not be able to set your own trade deals with other countries and that is something people who support brexit want. but it seems the government and labour are not shifting on that or anything else in the shadow home secretary said the government has to change its stance. the mess we are in is theresa may's mess. even tory mps accept that. the labour party has stepped up. we want to help. we are engaged in these talks in good faith. but the government perhaps has to show a little more flexibility than it seems to have done so far. there has been no movement from the government on the actual content of the political
declaration, and that is key. if there is not agreement, what happens next? there has to be something for theresa may to take to the eu on wednesday to ask for is a reason for getting a delay. we leave on april the 12th, next friday, u nless on april the 12th, next friday, unless there is an extension granted by the eu. if theresa may cannot get an agreement with labour she will have to turn to the commons and their will be votes on a range of options. this time it could be another referendum, a general election, it could be all sorts of options that could be laid out. a no—deal brexit, a customs union. if mps geta no—deal brexit, a customs union. if mps get a majority, the government said they would take that to brussels. but, if there is nothing, no reason forjustifying an extension, countries like france?
they should give it. president macron has said they do notjust wa nt to macron has said they do notjust want to give an extension to keep talking, that you need to have a purpose. the irish prime minister has said he does not think it likely that any of the other 27 members would veto an extension. he said it would veto an extension. he said it would not be in their interest but, the crucial point he makes is it only takes one. malta, latvia, a country who decides there are many other things the eu could be getting on with rather than focusing on brexit and the taoiseach makes that point, that many countries are fed up point, that many countries are fed up with this. there could be a way out for theresa may if there is nothing to offer in exchange for an extension, but it is a dicey thing, so going to brussels without anything is a risky proposition. thank you. the developer persimmon has announced an independent review into its housing quality, after increasing concerns about the standard of its new builds.
but the property advice group, the homeowners alliance, has told the bbc that issues with new homes aren't limited to just one developer. here's our consumer affairs correspondent, colletta smith. this was supposed to be justin's dream home. door bell rings. he'd saved up for a new build... good morning. we've got zero insulation. ..thinking he wouldn't need to do any work to it. we've moved out twice. every ceiling in the entire property has been removed. justin bought his house from one of the biggest developers, taylor wimpey, under the help to buy scheme. it's well below standard, and trying to negotiate with the builders has been an endless trauma from day one. insulation issues, damp issues, cold bridging issues. a couple of doors up, lynn lives in an identical home with her partner and three daughters. this is not isolated to this particular property or this estate. it's got to be national.
the developer taylor wimpey say they sincerely apologise to justin and lynn and have taken action to put things right. more generally, they say... at this solicitor‘s, timothy takes new calls nearly every day from people battling against a host of different developers right across the country. he thinks the problems with new builds are down to lack of skills in the workforce. people are making mistakes, potentially because they don't realise the significance of what they're doing due to a lack of training, a lack of experience and a lack of supervision overall. developers are under pressure to build lots of homes, and quickly. on top of that, every building company i've spoken to in recent years have told me that it's a nightmare trying to get hold of enough staff with the right level of skill.
what new—build homeowners are now living with is the consequences of that. taylor wimpey say last year they increased the number of workers they hire directly by nearly 30%. the government say they're trying to tackle the issue by creating a new—homes ombudsman and spending more on new construction training hubs. but there are now calls for a new law to let owners hang onto some of their final payment for a couple of years. coletta smith, bbc news, in norwich. iamjoined by i am joined by benjamin darbyshire, president of the royal institute of british architects, who is currently ona british architects, who is currently on a institute mission to china. are you surprised at the level of complaints, and this step persimmon is now taking? not particularly. we
have said for some time there are systemic issues that give rise to these problems. how have these issues arisen? they are partly to do asi issues arisen? they are partly to do as i have heard on yourfeed so far with the lack of skilled resources available. incidentally, a problem that will get worse, very much worse, if we have a bad dealfor brexit, or worse, no worse, if we have a bad dealfor brexit, orworse, no dealfor brexit. is an ombudsman the right way to go? i was on the all-party parliamentary group that recommended we should have a housing ombudsman and moreover the proliferation of those ombudsman should be accessible to consumers via those ombudsman should be accessible to consumers via means those ombudsman should be accessible to consumers via means of a single portal so there is less confusion for people struggling with difficulties of this kind. is that the only way this problem can be fixed? is there something we as consumers are missing? feedback. the
house—building industry is far behind most others in providing consumers with a readily accessible means of assessing the quality of the project and judging on the performance of home builders, according to consumers dot plural views. in america there is a private company called jd power that delivers that service to customers. it isa delivers that service to customers. it is a bit like i escape, you can dialup and find it is a bit like i escape, you can dial up and find out how the house—builders are getting on. dial up and find out how the house-builders are getting on. do you think in the case of persimmon it isa you think in the case of persimmon it is a case of you get what you pay for? there is another systemic issue which is that there is rampant exploitation of the value of land and home—builders are locked into a kind of feeding frenzy by means of which speculation leaves very little
value left to plough into quality of the built products. we need to do something about that. i was pleased to see oliver letwin's report suggesting there should be some way of limiting land value speculation. coming from an architectural background and an organisation such as yours, what else should architects like to see happen? are you involved enough in the process and in the signing of process of new—builds? and in the signing of process of new-builds? we are not involved much. we often get blame, but i am not here to suggest that architects are the solution particularly. but less tha n are the solution particularly. but less than one into ten new homes built have an architect involved at all. i think there are a variety of other responses to this issue, which would involve much improved
supervision and new methods of manufacture. so there is an increasing interest and capacity for making homes and factories, rather than in muddy and wet conditions on building sites, where unskilled labour struggle building a home to high standards. finally, what would your message bead to the housing minister? the housing minister is deeply concerned already and has a commission, building better, building beautifully,. my message would be we need to provide adequate resources and we need to invest as a nation in public resources in housing, as it were, infrastructure, to enable people to live well and affordably and until such time as
the government moves to that position, i think the private sector will struggle to deliver. benjamin darbyshire, thank you. a motherfrom kent, who imported medicinal cannabis into the uk from the netherlands for her daughter, knowing it was illegal to do so, has had it confiscated by officials at southend airport. emma appleby paid a pharmacy in the hague £4,000 for a three month supply of the medicine for her daughter teagan who has a rare form of epilepsy that leads to hundreds of seizures every day. jon hunt reports from southend airport. mrs appleby purchased a three month supply of medicinal cannabis at a pharmacy in the hague yesterday for her daughter. it cost her the equivalent of £a000, money raised through crowdfunding. as she prepared to board her plane back to the uk, she knew the home office had
threatened to confiscate it. nervous, obviously. but ready. see what happens, if they take it i will fight to get it back. mrs appleby says she was forced to make the trip because doctors in the uk, while legally able to prescribe medicinal cannabis, are generally refusing to do so because of a lack of evidence. our general position is practising evidence—based medicine and so we are evidence—based medicine and so we a re interested evidence—based medicine and so we are interested in other cannabis —based medicines as to whether they would helpful. our advice would be until we get evidence, that we would not prescribe them. on arrival at southend mrs appleby was met by border force officers who interviewed them and confiscated the drugs. gutted, they took everything. they asked me how long i was away for and they asked me how long i was away forandi they asked me how long i was away for and i thought they are asking questions because someone has notified them. they asked if i had
anything to declare. there were loads waiting so if i said no, i would get myself in deeper and i just said yes. the government said new guidance for doctors will be available in the autumn, and it encourages further clinical research. the headlines on bbc news... the chancellor insists the government has no red lines in talks over brexit, but labour said it is disappointed no compromise had been offered. the developer persimmon announced an independent review into housing quality after increasing concerns about the standard of its new builds. millions of workers will see more of their wages automatically diverted into a pension from today. minimum contributions are going up from 3% to 5%. algeria's president, abdelaziz bouteflika, has stepped down after 20 years in charge.
but the protesters who forced his resignation say it's not enough. they continue to fill the streets of algiers, demanding an end to the regime that stood behind him. the mood among demonstrators is positive but the country's path ahead is still unclear. sally nabil reports. their long—time leader has resigned, but algerians continue to protest. it's the seventh week in a row they take to the streets. they say abdelaziz bouteflika has gone, but the regime is still in place. they accuse the ruling elite of corruption and repression, and they want to dismantle the entire system. the mood on the street is hopeful, and expectations are high. but, underneath, there is a lot of anticipation for how to bring about a transition towards democracy.
translation: we are all united here. what we need is change, absolute change. translation: we want the entire regime to leave. not just the president. for us, they are all the same. they're all corrupt. the youth have been the driving force behind this protest. they have been emboldened by the success in unseating a president who ruled this country for 20 years. they're sending a clear message here. they want a new phase with new faces. senate chief abdelkader bensalah, a long—time bouteflika ally, is now acting president. and the constitution has set the path for the conditional period. the current political system should remain in place for 90 days, until new elections are held.
but some of the protest leaders here disagree with this plan. opposition figures like mr mustafa bouchachi believe the country needs a political solution, not a constitutional one. translation: the transitional period must see a caretaker president of those who haven't been part of the system in the past 20 years. the other thing we need is a national unity government of technocrats, who don't belong to any party. but there are fears algeria might fall into chaos if these masses fail to agree on who to leave the country during the transition. for now, the streets are full of enthusiasm and positive energy. but there's also a state of uncertainty looming on the horizon.
sally is in the algerian capital. you describe a positive mood but potentially a turning point for the country? absolutely. algeria is at the crossroads. i think it is this uncertainty that concerns people the most. most of the people we talked yesterday and this morning say they are unhappy about the current government and they do not trust this government and regime to oversee the transitional period that would eventually lead to free and fair elections. they say this government cannot hold free and fair elections. on the other hand, if algerians move away the constitutional path, there are concerns the country might fall into chaos, because opposition parties and the masses might claim to agree on who should lead the transitional
period and this is concerning for the people. there is also a key component to the political landscape in algeria we should not forget, which is the army. the president resigned shortly after a statement issued by the army's chief of staff, saying he should go. the people have praised the army's task, but warned they do not want a military state. they want a civil democratic country. the praised the army sided with the people and called on the president to go but that does not mean the army should be directly involved in politics, that is what everybody fears here. we have been talking to people this morning and i have been asking them why were you so unhappy about the president's regime? they said it is mainly because we have no hope. most of the country here is under 30 and unemployment rates are very high.
there are poor living conditions and this is why a lot of people were living in despair and they seized this opportunity not just living in despair and they seized this opportunity notjust to ask for political reform, but to seek a better life, better living conditions. that is what everybody is hoping for, especially young people. thank you. there has been condemnation of a military offensive launched in libya against the capital tripoli. both the un security council and the g7 group of countries have criticised the attempt by the self—described libyan national army to take control of the country's capital from the internationally recognised unity government. un troops in tripoli have been placed on high alert. more evacuations are planned in south—western iran where further rain are expected to worsen floods that have killed people.
women and children are being moved from the affected areas. men are being asked to stay behind to help with rescue efforts. 70 people have died so far, across 15 provinces, and hundreds of towns and cities have been inundated. the defence secretary gavin williamson is appalled by claims of an alleged attack against a teenage female soldier while she was sleeping. six army soldiers have been arrested and mr williamson has launched a review of behaviour across the military. the minister says that there is no place for these kind of actions in the military and, if true, those involved must face the full force of the law. the chief of the general staff, general sir mark carleton—smith, said inappropriate behaviour was "downright unacceptable". from today, millions of workers will now see more of their wages automatically diverted into a pension. the minimum contribution is going up — from three to 5%. employers will also have to increase their contributions. here's our personal finance correspondent, simon gompertz.
this is a tale of two hairdressers. one, chloe — full—time and ready to have 5% clipped off her wage for her work pension after today's increase. i just think that a little bit of money that i don't see, you know, it goes straight out of my wages before i even see it, and ijust think, well, for the future you may need it. because you won't be working. and you'll need to top up for your old age and enjoy doing things as you get older. and this is taneika, who's been blown out of the pension scheme after having a baby and coming back part—time. pensions are tricky for new parents to afford. i think once you've had a baby, you are kind of put to the side and that's how it is. you don't really have much say. it's like you've had a baby, you don't want to do this, you are on a lower wage, and that's it. and then there's a danger you get a lower pension. yes. it's notjust the cost. employers aren't obliged to sign up
people like taneika, who earn less than £10,000 a year. to be fair, it's a challenge for the boss as well. the business has to contribute a top—up, which has gone up to 3% of pay. for the majority of small businesses, it is an onerous burden that's just going to get worse and worse and worse. and i think something like 70% of people work for a small business in this country, so it'll have an impact on the employment of whether people will actually take people on. right now, the challenge for savers like chloe is how to afford today's higher pension payments. the government says it's letting us earn more before income tax kicks in, and raising minimum wages, and that should help. simon gompertz, bbc news. around 170 jobs are set to go in birmingham after the announcement that gkn aerospace will close its kings norton factory. gkn was bought by the melrose group in a hostile takeover last year. the plant, which manufactures windows and canopies for military and civil aircraft, is due to shut in 2021. in a statement, the company said
the king's norton factory did not have a sustainable future. we can speak to the labour mp for birmingham northfield where the factory is based. what do you make of what has happened in this announcement? it is disgraceful and i think announcement? it is disgraceful and ithinka announcement? it is disgraceful and i think a gross breach of faith by melrose. it is only a year since they took over gkn. a lot of us were very worried about what that would be in at the time, but they were falling over themselves to say they would invest in british manufacturing and were committed to british manufacturing, and now we see this, a year on, they will sack over 170 workers and shift specialised work out of this country. it isjust not on. as you say it is a breach of faith, but it will not help people withoutjobs. what legal comeback if any do you
have? when melrose launched their hostile takeover, they gave legal undertakings to the takeover panel and to the business secretary that they would not sell the company or split it up for a period of five yea rs. we split it up for a period of five years. we need to look about whether those legal undertakings have been breached, but whether they have breached, but whether they have breached the letter of those undertakings, it seems there is no doubt they have breached the spirit of them, because they said they would back british manufacturing and they are doing precisely the opposite. the government say it is a commercial decision and effectively there is no comeback. what is your reaction? it is not good enough for government to wash their hands of this. when melrose launched their takeover, a number of us, the unions, workforce, politicians across the piece, said government should step in, block the takeover, because something like that would not have been allowed to happen in countries like france or germany, and it should not happen here.
government did not do that, it relied on these undertakings they said they had got from melrose, but if they are proved not to be worth anything, well what government needs to do is to be making urgent approaches to melrose and gkn to save the gkn aerospace plant in birmingham. will you also be taking action against this decision?” birmingham. will you also be taking action against this decision? i will indeed. i have had my first meeting with the company yesterday and hope to see them again next week, and i will speak to the business secretary, greg clark, to ask him to intervene to try to get gkn and melrose to change their minds. because what we are dealing with is highly skilled jobs, a plant providing windshields and wind screens and windows for civil aircraft and military aircraft. it is part of our national security and should not be allowed to go under. thank you.
hundreds of pupils from man city star raheem sterling's old school are heading to wembley this afternoon, after he got them tickets to watch the fa cup semi—final. the england forward surprised students from ark elvin academy, by inviting them to watch manchester city's game against brighton. here's natalie pirks. it's pe as usualfor the pupils of ark elvin academy, but this has been no ordinary week. on thursday, ten of them met their school's most famous former student, and then 250 of them discovered that, thanks to raheem sterling's generosity, they were going home with a pair of tickets for today's semi. despite his success and the fact that he's moved out of london and he's playing for manchester now, he still remembers where he's from and he sticks close to his roots. and for our children to have role model who thinks of them and has his heart in our community, that means a huge amount to us, it's very special. well, this used to be copeland community school.
and every day for a young raheem sterling there was a very visual reminder of his dream to one day play at wembley stadium. his former coach still works here. he's always has been a very, very nice person. his former coach still works here. he's always has been a very, very nice person. very generous. and always willing to help where he could and look out for people. i think it's great that he's doing that. it gives a lot of people in the area, from the school, the opportunity to go to wembley and see a game. a lot of them haven't been to wembley before. for those with the golden tickets, sterling is a role model. he is our inspiration. he is our everyday reason to keep playing football. he got found here and itjust goes to show that with hard work, determination, passion, and focusing on your studies, anything is possible. the school will now rename its sports hall after the manchester city star and want him back to cut the ribbon — they hope, with the fa cup in tow. natalie pirks, bbc news, wembley.