Economy | The Guardian12:15 Текст источника в новой вкладке
Latest financial, market & economic news and analysis from The Guardian
Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2018

 
 
1. Markets await UK unemployment and wage figures for interest rate clues - business live12:09[−]

All the day’s economic and financial news, including the latest report on Britain’s labour market

Growth across the eurozone seems to be slowing this month, but remains pretty strong.

The latest Eurozone ‘purchasing managers index’ from data firm Markit has fallen to 57.5 this month, down from 58.8 in January.

#Euro Markit Composite PMI Flash at 57.5 https://t.co/zlwVd8AAmO pic.twitter.com/R8HfxBZaS2

“The service sector is enjoying its best growth spell for seven years and the manufacturing sector’s performance remains one of the strongest seen over the 20-year survey history.

Flash #France #PMI Composite Output Index at 57.8 in February (4-month low). This level signals +0.7-8% GDP rise in Q1 https://t.co/gjwmawpNMm pic.twitter.com/6vQ6hsS1t4

Germany PMI also declined in February, although less dramatically than in France. Still fairly strong pic.twitter.com/zOJdENzXa6

Ouch! Shares in AA have plunged by a quarter this morning to a fresh record low, after the company cut its profit forecasts and outlined a new strategy.

The strategic plan I am setting out today will unlock the full potential of the AA by delivering targeted and strategic investment in our people, our products, our systems and operations. We are building on the solid foundation that our investments since the IPO have created.

It will take the AA from a company helping when you break down to one actually predicting when you might break down in the first place. This plan will deliver front line resource to improve the efficiency, predictability and resilience of our operations as well as investment in game-changing growth drivers - in Connected Car and Insurance. These investments, while reducing our short term profitability, are vital to our long term success.

The AA could do with some roadside assistance of its own. The British breakdown service has shed a quarter of its market value after slashing its dividend and issuing a profit warning https://t.co/aADGsc7SMn pic.twitter.com/ajP6TBa6C4

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2. Barratt considers shifting production from Germany to UK12:08[−]

Britain’s biggest housebuilder could make construction blocks domestically as Brexit looms

Britain’s biggest housebuilder Barratt Developments is considering moving production of blocks used in construction from Germany to Britain, an example of steps some businesses are taking to mitigate against any risk from Brexit.

London and Brussels hope to agree a deal this month which will protect free trade, including the movement of goods, between Britain and the European Union until 2020 but many firms are developing contingency plans.

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3. Lloyds bumper profits deliver ?1bn bonanza for shareholders10:49[−]

Bank hails ‘landmark year’ as it reports 24% rise in profits and return to strong capital position

Lloyds Banking Group posted sharply higher profits for 2017 and will hand ?1bn to shareholders after a “landmark year” that saw the high street lender return to private ownership after its taxpayer bailout in 2008.

The bank reported a 24% increase in pre-tax profit to ?5.3bn last year, and said its strong capital position would allow the ?1bn share buyback, worth up to 1.4p per share.

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4. ‘Made safe’ Hotpoint tumble dryer catches fire09:59[−]
The manufacturer repaired our machine with the promise there was no further risk

We own a Hotpoint tumble dryer (bought February 2014 for ?399) which was subject to the Whirlpool/Hotpoint recall/repair programme. Ours was repaired in 2016 and we believed this ensured there was no further fire risk. But in early February this year – a few seconds after switching it on – it caught fire. The cause was a build-up of fluff and lint on the heating element. We would consider ourselves reasonably diligent regarding cleaning and maintaining the filter, yet it clearly wasn’t sufficient.

I have been liaising with John Lewis, which provided the warranty, to get the device inspected. I have also written to my local MP, asking him to bring this to the attention of the business, energy and industrial strategy committee which took evidence on this matter, and a possible link between cuts to a Trading Standards budget and the agreed course of action for Hotpoint. Most worryingly, Trading Standards and Hotpoint claim the agreed modification makes the appliance safe.

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5. Ministers 'close to deal' over Brexit powers with Scotland and Wales09:00[−]

UK due to agree to repatriation of powers in areas such as farming, justice and food safety

The UK government believes it is on the brink of a deal to ends months of deadlock with the Scottish and Welsh governments over an alleged “power grab” after Brexit.

Ministers will offer to drop their controversial plans for Whitehall to take control over as many as 111 EU powers that Scottish and Welsh lawmakers insist should be handed over to them.

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6. 'I don't use contactless': the woman whose name is on British banknotes09:00[−]

The Bank of England’s chief cashier, Victoria Cleland, on why people still like cash

It is perhaps not entirely surprising to learn that the woman whose signature adorns Bank of England banknotes is a big fan of cash. She does not use contactless payment cards for personal spending – not least because she is yet to trust the technology completely.

Victoria Cleland, the Bank’s chief cashier, says she habitually reaches for notes and coins when she makes small purchases. But she may now be in a minority.

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7. Airlines sound alarm over 'blank cheque' for Heathrow third runwayВт., 20 февр.[−]

Bosses from British Airways, Virgin and easyJet urge MPs to secure pledge on cost before vote

The true cost of Heathrow expansion is likely to be “grossly” higher than the ?14.3bn the airport has cited, airlines have told MPs, adding that transparency and guarantees should be supplied ahead of a crucial vote.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG, British Airways’ parent company and the main operator at Heathrow, said parliament should not trust Heathrow and said he had “zero confidence” that a third runway would be delivered on time and budget.

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8. Who presided over RBS scandal?Вт., 20 февр.[−]

FCA must find a way to bring to book those who orchestrated a systematic and endemic culture of screwing customers

Choose your own best illustration of the underhand and devious techniques employed by Royal Bank of Scotland’s Global Restructuring Group to gouge small business customers via fees, made-up penalties and punitive interest rates. There are dozens in the regulatory report that – finally – has been put on public display.

Here’s a contender from the infamous “Just Hit Budget” memo: “Be specific: avoid round number fees – ?5,300 sounds as if you have thought about it, ?5k sounds like you haven’t.”

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9. FCA's chair-elect admits error of judgment over tax avoidance schemeВт., 20 февр.[−]

Charles Randell tells MPs he repaid HMRC more than ?100,000 after Ingenious investment

The incoming chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority has admitted to an “error of judgment” after investing in a controversial tax avoidance scheme that resulted in him repaying more than ?100,000 to the taxman.

Charles Randell, a former City lawyer and government adviser at the time of the financial crisis, told the Treasury select committee that he had failed to see a “warning signal” about Ingenious Film Partners 2 LLP, an investment product that promised members tax reliefs but was subsequently challenged by HM Revenue & Customs.

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10. FCA chair-elect admits 'error of judgment' over tax avoidance vehicle – as it happenedВт., 20 февр.[−]

All the day’s economic and financial news, including the latest healthcheck on Britain’s manufacturing base

Earlier:

And finally, London’s stock market has closed for the day. The FTSE 100 is virtually unchanged, down o.89 of a point at 7246.77.

In New York the Dow is currently in the red. It’s down 108 points or 0.43%.

Here’s our full story into the Treasury Committee’s decision to release the official report into Royal Bank of Scotland’s treatment of small businesses.

Related: MPs publish full unredacted report into RBS small business scandal

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11. KFC was warned about switching UK delivery contractor, union saysВт., 20 февр.[−]

GMB union says it expressed doubts about DHL’s ability to run operation from single warehouse

KFC was warned it would face delivery problems months ago, it has been claimed, as the company tries to grapple with a worsening chicken supply crisis that has forced almost half of its outlets to remain closed.

The fast food chain said it expected disruption to some restaurants to continue for the rest of the week “meaning some will be closed and others operating with a reduced menu or shortened hours”.

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12. MPs publish full unredacted report into RBS small business scandalВт., 20 февр.[−]

Treasury committee releases details of ‘widespread inappropriate treatment’ that City watchdog refused to make public

The Treasury committee has published the full unredacted report into Royal Bank of Scotland’s “disgraceful” treatment of struggling small businesses that came to it for financial assistance in the wake of the banking crisis.

The influential group of MPs, chaired by Nicky Morgan, released the complete report after a protracted stand-off with City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which had published only a redacted version.

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13. Plastic bans worldwide will dent oil demand growth, says BPВт., 20 февр.[−]

But oil giant expects demand for crude to grow and not peak until late 2030s

Bans around the world on single use plastic items such as carrier bags will dent growth in oil demand over the next two decades, according to BP.

However, the UK-headquartered oil and gas firm said it still expects the global hunger for crude to grow for years and not peak until the late 2030s.

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14. Gambling Commission clampdown is welcome but punters need backing | Greg WoodВт., 20 февр.[−]
A ?6.2m fine for William Hill shows admirable determination to enforce the commission’s objectives, but more should be done for those unfairly restricted by bookies

There was further evidence this morning that the Gambling Commission takes at least some of its objectives seriously, when it issued a ?6.2m fine to William Hill for breaches of regulations to prevent money laundering and ensure that “children and other vulnerable people”, such as problem gamblers, are “protected from being harmed or exploited by gambling”.

An investigation found that 10 customers of the firm had been allowed to deposit significant sums of money linked to criminal offences, including one customer who was stealing from their employer to fund a gambling problem and another who was defrauding elderly victims to do the same. Hills made ?1.2m from its failure to ensure that its systems and staffing were adequate to respond to repeated alerts with regard to activity on the accounts, which will now be returned to the victims of the crimes where possible.

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15. Murdoch promises to run Sky News for 10 years for Fox takeover dealВт., 20 февр.[−]

Tycoon makes offers to allay media monopoly fears and ease through 21st Century Fox deal

Rupert Murdoch has doubled the length of time he is willing to keep running Sky News to “at least” 10 years, as 21st Century Fox sweetens its offer to protect the news channel to gain clearance for the ?11.7bn takeover of Sky.

The Competition and Markets Authority said last month that Murdoch’s bid raised media plurality concerns because the deal would give his family too much control over UK news media. The Murdoch family trust controls Fox and News Corp, publisher of the Sun and the Times.

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16. Supreme court begins hearing plumber's employment caseВт., 20 февр.[−]

Ruling in Pimlico Plumbers case will set precedent for other gig economy disputes such as Uber

The predicament of a plumber who claims he was dismissed because he wanted to go part time is being examined by the supreme court in a test case that could decide employment rights for all of those in the so-called “gig” economy.

Pimlico Plumbers, which has lost at every stage of the legal dispute, has appealed to the UK’s highest court to argue that those it sends out to repair leaking pipes and malfunctioning dishwashers are self-employed and not “workers”.

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17. Vodafone pilots new software to thwart rogue dronesВт., 20 февр.[−]

Telecom hopes to track drones too small for radar just as air-traffic control tracks planes

Vodafone is testing technology to track and control drones to let authorities protect aircraft from accidents and terrorist attacks and stop incursions into “no-fly zones” such as prison and hospital airspace.

The trial comes amid mounting concern from the security services that terrorists could use drones adapted to carry small but lethal explosives to attack targets. Drones have been used for criminal purposes, such as smuggling and delivering contraband to prisoners.

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18. William Hill fined ?6.2m by Gambling CommissionВт., 20 февр.[−]

Firm handed big fine over failure to spot problem gambling and prevent money laundering

Betting group William Hill has been fined ?6.2m by the gambling industry regulator for failing to protect consumers and prevent money laundering.

The Gambling Commission said that over the two years to August 2016, the company failed to spot obvious signs of problem gambling, and in doing so breached anti-money laundering and social responsibility regulations.

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19. 'Equality won't happen by itself': how Iceland got tough on gender pay gapВт., 20 февр.[−]

Despite its image as a paradise of fairness, women earn less than men. Now Iceland has become the first country in the world to enforce equal pay

On the face of it, Iceland is a good place to be a woman. For nearly a decade, it has been rated the world’s most gender-equal country. It was the first to directly elect a female president, nearly half its MPs and company directors are women, and first-class daycare and parental leave help ensure almost four in five women have jobs.

So it came as a shock for Fr??a R?s Valdimarsd?ttir to learn, when she was managing a key team of 10 home carers at Reykjavik council a few years ago, that male colleagues in other departments, with far fewer responsibilities than her, were being paid a great deal more.

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20. Ikea joins Big Clean Switch to offer 100% renewable energy tariffВт., 20 февр.[−]

Joint venture claims cheaper green power could save UK households ?300 a year

Ikea is calling for households to join its latest joint venture – a collective energy switch that promises an exclusive 100% renewable electricity tariff.

The furniture retailer has joined forces with the “Big Clean Switch” campaign to use a collective switch to secure cheaper green power for the households that sign up.

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21. Waitrose customer left ‘horrified’ after sausage label mix-upВт., 20 февр.[−]

Shopper thought they were buying beef and it was against their religion to eat pork

My partner bought what he thought were 12 Angus beef sausages from Waitrose just before Christmas but when he opened the packet there were only six. He cooked four which I thought were a bit spicy but ok, and he said he would return the other two as they didn’t match the packet description. When I looked at the receipt it said six pork chorizo sausages and I was horrified as (for religious reasons) I don’t eat pork.

He took what was left – and the receipt – to Waitrose which kept the package (specifying no pork ingredients) and said they would investigate. They offered a replacement, which he declined, and a voucher for ?10 or ?20 from head office, also refused. Correspondence suggests they are not taking it very seriously. We have been loyal customers for many years and are shocked they are treating this so lightly.

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22. Deeper scandal at Carillion was Pension Regulator's inaction | Nils PratleyВт., 20 февр.[−]

Regulator had front-row seat but failed to use powers to intervene before firm went bust

Frank Field is right to castigate the directors of Carillion for being “contemptuous” of their obligations to the company’s pensioners. The picture of what happened in the pre-crash years is now reasonably clear: the directors, even as they were raising the dividend to shareholders year after year, made a corporate plea of poverty when talking to the pension trustees. The decision-making and the skewing of priorities were appalling.

The deeper scandal, however, may be the fact that the Pensions Regulator had a front-row seat at the developing debacle and didn’t once deploy its formal powers of intervention. The regulator’s officials attended meetings between the company and the pension trustees but were not shocked into formal action until Carillion went bust, by which time there was no money left.

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23. Troubled electronics chain Maplin in talks to find buyerВт., 20 февр.[−]

Firm says it hopes to achieve ‘a solvent sale of the business’ this week

One of the UK’s biggest electronics retailers is racing to find a buyer in an effort to save the business from administration.

Maplin, which was founded in 1972 and has more than 200 stores nationwide, is in talks with several potential buyers and hopes to strike a deal this week.

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24. Most KFCs in UK remain closed because of chicken shortageПн., 19 февр.[−]

Fast food chain blames contract with delivery firm DHL, with more than 550 outlets still shut

The fast food chain KFC has been forced to temporarily close most of its UK outlets after problems with a new delivery contract led to a chicken shortage.

A total of 562 KFC outlets remained shut following a weekend of disruption that peaked on Sunday night at 646 closures.

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25. London posh-home lettings hit record highПн., 19 февр.[−]

Houses in prime areas of capital fetching up to ?18,000-a-week rent as demand rises

Six- and seven-bedroom houses in Notting Hill and Primrose Hill were among a record number of properties rented out at ?5,000-plus a week in London last year.

Upmarket estate agent Knight Frank reported the number of its “super-prime” lettings rose 34% last year to 137, from 102 in 2016. The vast majority of properties are let furnished.

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26. Meat supplier Russell Hume collapses with loss of up to 300 jobsПн., 19 февр.[−]

Administration comes weeks after firm halted production due to food standards scare

More than 260 workers have lost their jobs at the meat supplier Russell Hume, which has collapsed into administration just weeks after production was suspended following a food standards scare.

Administrators announced 266 redundancies on Monday from the 302 employees at the company, which has its headquarters in Derby and operates from six production sites in Liverpool, Birmingham, London, Boroughbridge in North Yorkshire, Exeter and Fife.

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27. 'People just don't carry cash nowadays': how Britons are adapting to cashless worldПн., 19 февр.[−]

As contactless payments spread, businesses, charities and social groups weigh up their options

As cash becomes less prominent in the UK, a range of businesses, charities and cash-dependent social groups are figuring out ways to adapt.

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28. Revealed: Cash eclipsed as Britain turns to digital paymentsПн., 19 февр.[−]

Notes and coins set to fall to just 21% of sales by 2026, raising questions for those who rely on the cash economy

Britain will move beyond “peak cash” this year, according to data gathered by the Guardian that suggests notes and coins are rapidly being supplanted as the favoured payment method, particularly in cities.

Debit cards are set to overtake cash as the most frequently used payment method in the UK later this year, according to UK Finance, which represents leading finance and banking firms.

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29. UK millennials second worst-hit financially in developed world, says studyПн., 19 февр.[−]

Resolution Foundation says young Britons have suffered biggest reversal in fortunes save for young Greeks

Britain’s millennial generation, born since 1981, have suffered a bigger reversal in financial fortunes than their counterparts in most other developed countries except Greece, according to a study.

The report by the Resolution Foundation paints a gloomy picture for all young adults across the developed world – apart from the Nordic countries. It highlights how incomes are depressed, jobs scarce and home ownership is slumping for the millennial generation compared with the baby boomers that preceded them.

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30. Long-haul flights from UK now cheaper than going to IbizaПн., 19 февр.[−]
Weak dollar and rising prices in Spain mean it can be worth going the extra mile to get good value

Flying long haul would barely enter the thinking of many families planning their annual holiday, with the perceived cost ruling out many destinations before the search had even begun. However, this year a series of colliding events, including a weak dollar, greedy Spanish hoteliers and competition for tourists in the Middle East, means it can be cheaper to go to Florida, Dubai or Thailand than to spend a traditional two weeks on the Costa del Sol.

Research from price comparison site TravelSupermarket has shown that some long-haul destinations cost significantly less to fly to and stay in than Spain, where British tourists make up the largest number of foreign visitors every year.

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31. Why was I fined ?100 for parking in a ‘free’ Co-op car park?Пн., 19 февр.[−]
I didn’t know I had to give my car registration, and ended up with a parking charge notice

I called into my local East of England Co-op branch (in Leiston, East Suffolk) in January just before 6pm. It was dark and I parked in the middle – not on the edge –of its car park and saw no signs (though I was later told by staff there were 30!) so I didn’t realise there was a new system. When I went through checkout no one mentioned having to tap the number of your car registration plate into a machine. Considering the parking is free, this is most unusual. The next thing I knew, a PCN (Parking Charge Notice) landed, which had been issued two days later. I filed an appeal online, including a copy of my bank statement showing my purchase of ?20.17 at the Co-op, and received confirmation. To date I have heard nothing. To add insult to injury, it said that if the penalty is paid within 14 days the amount is reduced to ?60, otherwise it is ?100. So much for “free parking”.

RS, Leiston, Suffolk

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32. Concern for vulnerable grows as those on lifeline benefit face ‘second mortgage’Пн., 19 февр.[−]
Concern for vulnerable grows as those on lifeline benefit face ‘second mortgage’

Last May, James Martin* decided to give up work and look after his mother full time after she was diagnosed with cancer. A few months later, his father suffered a stroke, leaving the 49-year-old as the main carer for both parents. With income support and carer’s allowance, he receives ?108 a week, meaning that the chances of paying his mortgage every month is remote. There is some relief, in that he receives the Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) benefit, a payment which has been in place for the last 70 years to help financially constrained homeowners with their repayments.

From April, however, it will stop and be replaced by a new “second mortgage” scheme where the government offers to loan people the money, which will then be repaid later.

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33. Average price of newly marketed home rises above ?300,000 againПн., 19 февр.[−]

Rightmove reports busiest ever month and optimistic pricing but property is taking longer to sell

The average price of a UK property coming on to the market has risen by more than ?2,400 in a month to just over ?300,000 amid evidence of “record” levels of house-hunting activity, according to Rightmove.

The website, which tracks 90% of the UK property market, said the national average asking price for a home had increased by 0.8% during the past month, following the 0.7% rise it reported in mid-January.

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34. Unbalanced Britain needs more devolution to manage BrexitВс., 18 февр.[−]

With woeful productivity in parts, local authorities should decide how to spend the cash that replaces EU funds

Throughout the 1980s, a war raged between Westminster and the rest of the country that has had lasting effects. Fearing councils under the control of Michael Foot’s Labour opposition, Margaret Thatcher stripped power from town halls in a sweeping political land grab that still marks Britain today.

London’s economy during the 1970s and much of the 1980s had more in common with the rest of the country than today. It even grew at a slower pace than many other regions, but the big bang deregulation of financial services in 1986 under Nigel Lawson, then chancellor, helped London’s economy to boom — aided by fat profits from investment banks in the City. At the same time, the north’s industrial base came under attack from Thatcher’s reforms, since when manufacturing as a share of national income has fallen from a quarter to just over 10%.

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35. Homes in former commercial buildings – in picturesПт., 16 февр.[−]

Five properties, from Manchester to the Isle of Wight, that could work well for some buyers

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36. McDonald's to cut cheeseburgers and chocolate milk from Happy Meal menuЧт., 15 февр.[−]
  • Restaurant chain wants to cut down on calories, fat and sugar
  • Health advocates have linked Happy Meal to childhood obesity

McDonald’s will soon banish cheeseburgers and chocolate milk from its Happy Meal menu in an effort to cut down on the calories, sodium, saturated fat and sugar that kids consume at its restaurants.

Related: Cigarette companies don't sponsor the Olympics. Why does Coca-Cola? | Ian D Caterson and Mychelle Farmer

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37. What does the Brexit brain drain mean for business?Пт., 09 февр.[−]

Experts and entrepreneurs discuss how firms can prepare for and prevent a potential loss of skilled workers

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38. Burger chain Byron to close up to 20 sites under rescue planСр., 31 янв.[−]

Group with 67 restaurants and 1,800 employees in UK reaches agreement with creditors

The troubled burger chain Byron is to close up to 20 restaurants, nearly a third of its outlets, after a rescue plan was agreed.

The restructuring, known as a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), was agreed on Wednesday by the group’s creditors and also involves reducing rents by a third at five sites. Rent will be cut by 55% at 20 sites for six months while Byron negotiates their future, but most of them are expected to close.

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39. Six essential resolutions for business owners to embrace in 2018Ср., 31 янв.[−]

In the first few months of the year we try to enact new resolutions and seek personal improvement. But it’s also a good time to extend such commitments to your startup, too

Every January, once we’ve polished off the leftovers and taken out the mountain of recycling, we get the symbolic opportunity to start afresh. We make plans, resolve to quit bad habits and promise to become our best selves. According to a ComRes poll [pdf], the most common resolutions are health-related – to exercise more, lose weight and eat more healthily. Many also use the festive period to deliberate more momentous topics, such as their careers and relationships. But can all this be done in business too? In short, yes.

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40. Meet the duo selling edible insects to the massesВт., 23 янв.[−]

From mealworms and buffalo worms to crickets and grasshoppers, insects have become something of a food trend in the UK, with many now enjoying them as the tasty and sustainable food source they are.

Eat Grub is one of the successful businesses helping to bring edible insects to the masses, selling snacks such as sweet chilli and lime crunchy roasted crickets and cricket-powered energy bars. Rhik Samadder met up with its co-founders, Shami Radia and Neil Whippey, to find out how they are growing their insect snacks business with Facebook

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41. Five top cities for business startups outside of the M25Чт., 18 янв.[−]

The UK is a nation of inventors and entrepreneurs, with 75 new companies launched every hour. But don’t assume this is London-centric – regional clusters of activity are thriving too

The High Growth Small Business urban hub league table says that three out of every five high-growth small businesses are located outside of London and the south-east of England. Not only that, they’re responsible for creating one in three new jobs – that’s up to three times the number created by FTSE 100 companies. According to an Informi study from 2016, London isn’t even the best city in the UK to start a business. Instead, it comes in eighth.

Choosing the right place to launch can be crucial to a startup’s success and survival. With almost a third (31%) of firms expecting their performance to worsen over the next three months, strong local support – particularly for digital businesses – will be key. So, where is ideal place to launch? Brighton, Cambridge, Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh are all leading the charge, from sky-high survival rates to local digital industries worth billions.

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42. Greggs takes on Burger King and McDonald’s with hot food menuВт., 16 янв.[−]

Bakery chain to trial dishes aimed to appeal in the evening including chicken goujons, potato wedges and pasta dishes

Greggs is looking to take a bite out of McDonald’s and Burger King’s evening trade with a new fast-food menu that includes chicken goujons, potato wedges and pasta dishes.

The Newcastle baker, famous for its sausage rolls and steak bakes, is broadening its takeaway menu as Britons spend more of their food budgets on eating out.

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