Business | The Guardian22:25 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. 2020

 
 
1. The Guardian view on the EU economy: adopt, not outlaw, Keynesian policies | Editorial20:30[−]

During the pandemic, the EU dropped its austerity-inducing budget rules and restrictions on its central bank’s ability to finance government spending. It get should rid of them permanently

In an emergency, the normal rules do not apply. Coronavirus has shown the EU can do things differently. Early on the commission dumped its obsession with balancing the books. The prohibition on monetary financing of government debt by the European Central Bank (ECB) was dropped. This allowed member states the freedom to mitigate the damage of a Covid recession without worrying too much about borrowing levels.

That fear was well-founded. The EU had used high debt levels as a reason to intervene in public policy. Emma Clancy, an economist for the leftwing block of MEPs, has noted the commission had used debt burdens to ask member states to cut spending on, or privatise, healthcare services 63 times between 2011 and 2018. In the EU there is often an Olympian disdain for critics of its fiscal and monetary rules. This is understandable. No one likes to be reminded of one’s own mistakes.

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2. Boohoo knew of Leicester factory failings, says report20:18[−]

Review finds allegations about dangerous conditions and low pay were ‘substantially true’

An independent report has found that Boohoo knew of “endemic” problems in its Leicester suppliers including minimum wage and life-threatening fire risks but did “too little too late” to fix them.

The damning review, conducted by Alison Levitt QC on behalf of the fast fashion retailer, found that allegations of poor working practices in the company’s supply chain – initially denied – were “substantially true”. It said that Boohoo’s monitoring of the factories was “inadequate” because of “weak corporate governance” and called the failure to assess the risk to workers during the coronavirus pandemic “inexcusable”.

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3. Palantir expected to be valued as much as $22bn in market debut next week19:45[−]

Company’s shares could start trading at $10 each when it goes public, bankers say

The controversial data-mining-software company Palantir Technologies could be valued at as much as $22bn when it goes public next week.

Bankers told the Wall Street Journal that the company’s shares could start trading at $10 each when it begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, giving the company a value of $22bn.

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4. Brexit: Brussels punctures optimism that deal is in sight19:44[−]

EU sources fear Boris Johnson hasn’t yet got backing for compromises on state aid to business

Brussels has sought to puncture an outbreak of optimism over an imminent Brexit deal, amid fears Boris Johnson has not secured the backing of key advisers and his party for the compromises needed in the final stretch of negotiations.

With the UK government yet to offer a way forward on the most contentious issues, and trust in Downing Street at a low ebb, senior EU officials treated with scepticism reports that the UK could see a way to secure a deal.

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5. Caesars approaches UK's William Hill over potential takeover19:21[−]

One of the UK’s largest high street bookmakers at the centre of a possible US bidding war

William Hill, one of the UK’s largest and best-known high street bookmakers, is at the centre of a possible US bidding war that could mean it is bought by the operator of the Las Vegas casino, Caesars Palace.

Shares in the British gambling company surged by more than 40% on Friday after the bookie said it had received “separate cash proposals” from a private equity firm, Apollo Management International, which is currently in the running to buy Asda, and from the hotel and entertainment group, Caesars Entertainment.

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6. Up to 6m poor families could be ?1,000 worse off under Sunak's plan19:09[−]

Leading thinktank predicts ‘major squeeze’ on living standards in the UK’s poorest regions this winter

Rishi Sunak’s failure to announce an extension to more generous help to those on low incomes threatens to leave six million poor households ?1,000 a year worse off from next April, a leading thinktank has said.

The Resolution Foundation – which specialises in policies to help those on average incomes and below – said it was a “significant mistake” for the chancellor to end the ?20 a week boost to tax credits and universal credit.

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7. Rishi Sunak's winter economy plan will silence the UK music scene18:30[−]

The successor to the furlough scheme is not fit for a sector still unable to open its doors due to social distancing and curfews – it needs targeted support now

On Thursday, Rishi Sunak announced his Winter Economy Plan, which brings to an end the furlough and self-employed job retention schemes. I agree that the government cannot continue to pay almost all of people’s salaries indefinitely, and that life has to return to normal sometime soon; this is taxpayers’ money and our country now owes more than it earns for the first time since 1963, borrowing more this year than at any point since the second world war. The government has robustly supported the British economy, NHS and workers during what is an unprecedented crisis.

But there is a gaping hole in the government’s economic plan: support for the live music and entertainment industry. The chancellor says that the government cannot be expected to protect every business and household – but the live music industry has been shut down, by law and circumstance, for more than six months.

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8. Tesco limits sales of key items to stop Covid panic-buying17:50[−]

Supermarket chain follows Morrisons by rationing toilet roll, flour and other essentials

Tesco has reintroduced purchase limits on items including toilet roll, dried pasta and flour, as supermarkets bring back rationing to prevent a repeat of the panic-buying in the early days of the pandemic.

Britain’s largest supermarket chain said on Friday it was restricting purchases of flour, pasta, baby wipes, antibacterial wipes and toilet paper to three items per customer.

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9. Rishi Sunak's winter plan - here's how it will affect you17:09[−]

What the new job support scheme and help for the self-employed means for workers

The chancellor unveiled a winter plan on Thursday which included schemes to protect what he referred to as “viable jobs” over the next six months. These include a job support scheme to replace furlough and an extension of help for some self-employed workers.

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10. Sir Jim Ratcliffe, UK's richest person, moves to tax-free Monaco16:43[−]

Brexiter Ineos boss, who has an estimated ?17.5bn fortune, officially changes tax domicile

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the UK’s richest person and high-profile Brexiter, has quit Britain for tax-free Monaco.

Ratcliffe, a petrochemicals magnate with an estimated ?17.5bn fortune, has this week officially changed his tax domicile from Hampshire to Monaco, the sovereign city-state that is already home to many of the UK’s richest people.

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11. European commission to appeal against €13bn Apple tax ruling16:34[−]

Brussels seeks to overturn decision over alleged unpaid taxes to Irish government

The European commission is appealing against a court ruling that said Apple did not have to pay €13bn (?11.9bn) in alleged back taxes to the Irish government, reopening a landmark battle in the EU’s campaign to stop sweetheart deals for multinationals.

The bloc’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, said on Friday she would appeal to the EU court of justice to try to oblige Ireland to collect the alleged unpaid taxes and interest from the tech giant.

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12. Bar chain Revolution weighs up closures over Covid curfew16:11[−]

Firm considers whether to launch company voluntary arrangement

Revolution, the city centre bar chain, is considering shutting venues after it was rocked by the latest government-imposed Covid-19 restrictions, including the 10pm curfew that began this week.

Revolution, which has about 70 bars, said it was weighing up whether to launch a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) – a form of insolvency procedure that struggling businesses can use to shrink rather than risk failure.

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13. The majority of people in Kent voted leave – but not to leave the UK | Fay Schopen16:10[−]

Britain’s ‘Brexit border’ looks likely to turn the county into the car park of England

It was only a matter of time. Trump’s rallying cry of “build a wall” – so succinct, so quotable – has made it across the pond. Now we can build our own wall. In Kent. Come January, we’ll triumphantly take back control of our borders – something Michael Gove has wholeheartedly embraced, announcing this week that truckers will need a “ Kent access permit” to get into the county from 1 January. So, basically a passport, then.

The de-facto border has been posed as the answer to the predicted chaos, or in official parlance the “reasonable worst-case scenario”, when the UK departs from the single market next year – including queues of up to 7,000 lorries in Kent. That’s around 100 miles of traffic, and two-day delays on both sides of the Channel – and not just for hauliers. Forget about jumping on the Eurostar and grabbing lunch at Brasserie Bellanger (pandemic permitting). According to a report drawn up by the border and protocol delivery group, passengers could also be forced to wait an extra two hours for Eurostar trains.

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14. Nearly 60% of West End shop rents left unpaid, says major London landlord16:01[−]

Shaftesbury says 20% of flats vacant as Covid-19 prompts professionals to leave capital and international students to stay home

Shaftesbury, one of the biggest landlords in central London, has said struggling high street businesses had paid less than half of the rent due since March, while a flight from the capital had left it with a glut of empty flats.

The property firm, which owns swathes of fashionable districts including Soho and Covent Garden, said it had received only 41% of the rent for the six months to 30 September.

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15. Online shopping makes many high street jobs unviable, says Next boss14:43[−]

Simon Wolfson warns lockdown has put thousands of traditional retail roles at risk

The chief executive of Next, one of the UK’s most successful retailers, has said the shift to online shopping triggered by the lockdown means there is no future for thousands of traditional retail jobs.

The high street has been one of the worst-hit sectors of the economy with nearly 125,000 jobs lost in the UK in the first eight months of this year as retailers closed stores and in some cases went into administration.

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16. The butcher's shop that lasted 300 years (give or take) – podcast14:00[−]

Frank Fisher, now 90, was a traditional high street butcher his whole working life – as were three generations of his family before him. How does a man dedicated to serving his community decide when it’s time to hang up his white coat? By Tom Lamont

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17. The best savings deals as NS&I slashes rates and Premium Bonds prizes11:30[−]

Millions of account holders face deep cuts from next month, but there are alternatives

The savings bank NS&I has this week been accused of shutting the door on UK savers after it slashed interest rates on a raft of accounts. Suddenly customers who have been enjoying market-leading returns face rates as low as 0.01%.

The scale of the NS&I (National Savings & Investments) interest-rate cuts stunned many commentators: for example, the return on its income bonds will plummet from 1.15% to 0.01%. As a result, someone with ?1,000 saved in the account will receive 10p gross interest after a year. So, after more than 20 years, you might amass enough interest to buy a cup of coffee.

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18. From garden streets to bike highways: four ideas for post-Covid cities – visualised11:04[−]

As the pandemic wreaks havoc on existing structures, we look at some visions for post-Covid cities – and how they hold up

There is a huge, looming, unanswerable question that overshadows our cities, like an elephant squatting in the central square. Will a Covid-19 vaccine or herd immunity return us to “normal”, or will we need to redesign our cities to accommodate a world in which close proximity to other people can kill you?

After an anxious summer in the northern hemisphere, during which those of us who were able to safely do so mimicked a kind of normality with limited socialising on patios and in gardens, winter is coming – and it will test the limits of our urban design. Regardless of whether we “solve” this latest coronavirus, humanity now knows how vulnerable we are to pandemics.

Can we mitigate the effects of the next great disease before it happens? And has the colossal disruption to the way we work and travel created a renewed impetus to organise cities in a more sustainable, more pleasant way?

We asked four architecture firms to share their visions of what cities should do, now, to better design everything from offices to streets to transport – and we have analysed each one – to help inoculate our cities against a disease that is proving so difficult to inoculate against in our bodies.

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19. Homes for sale by a canal – in pictures09:00[−]

From a peaceful former lock-keeper’s cottage to a steel houseboat in the middle of London

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20. Norfolk, Wiltshire and Cornwall emerge as ?1m property hotspots02:01[−]

?1m-plus houses selling at fastest pace since 2014 as home workers seek more space and leafier locations

Norfolk, Wiltshire and Cornwall have emerged as hotspots for properties on sale at ?1m or more, as wealthy buyers hunt for larger homes near the sea or in the countryside.

Traditionally, more expensive homes have taken far longer to sell than properties in the wider market, but the race for more space and leafier locations as more people work from home in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a sales boom in the ?1m price bracket, according to the UK’s biggest property website, Rightmove.

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21. Muslim man wins UK tribunal case over Cognac raffle switchЧт, 24 сен[−]

Zakaria Kioua succeeds with harassment claim after prize was swapped for chocolates

A Muslim man who worked at a country house hotel has successfully sued his employer for religious harassment after he won a bottle of Cognac in a raffle at a staff party but was given a “cheap” box of chocolates instead.

One of the managers at the hotel in Hampshire told linen porter Zakaria Kioua, who did not drink alcohol, that presenting him with the brandy would have been like giving nuts to a person with a nut allergy.

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22. 'Live without fear': Rishi Sunak presents new job support scheme – videoЧт, 24 сен[−]

The chancellor says the economy will need 'more permanent' adjustment to prepare for at least six more months of coronavirus outbreaks across the UK, presenting his new government support scheme in the House of Commons on Thursday.

Sunak announced a new 'jobs support scheme' to replace the furlough scheme, allowing businesses to keep employees in a job on shorter hours, rather than making them redundant.

He also introduced 'pay as you grow' business loans and announced the cancelling of a planned increase in VAT for the hospitality sector

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23. I was booked in at a Paris hotel … that had closed months agoЧт, 24 сен[−]

Hotels.com had assured me all was well but I arrived to find steel shutters over the doors

In February, I used Hotels.com to book a room for two nights at the Hotel Cambrai in Paris. I was required to pay the €180 cost up front and there was no refund if I cancelled. Shortly before my trip in August, I received emails from Hotels.com assuring me all was well and telling me to prepare for my trip. I arrived to find the hotel locked and steel shutters over the doors. On calling the number provided, all I got was a recorded message.

I returned two hours later and found the steel shutters partially raised. Inside, reception was bare and a man told me the hotel had closed down five months previously. I showed him my booking and he physically pushed me out of the door, telling me there had been a mistake and I would get a full refund. I began a long series of email exchanges in which Hotels.com insists it cannot offer a refund unless it talks to the hotel first … but it cannot get through as the hotel is not answering the phone. Worse, Hotel Cambrai is still available to book on the website. I have tried to post a review but it is being withheld. I cannot be the only person caught out.
IS, Colchester

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24. Protecting history: how Juukan Gorge could change mining foreverСр, 23 сен[−]

When Rio Tinto destroyed a 46,000-year-old Indigenous heritage site, the world’s anger took the company by surprise. Now investors are demanding more transparency in how mining companies deal with traditional owners. Lorena Allam and Calla Wahlquist look at what’s changed since Rio blasted Juukan Gorge

Rio Tinto has issued several statements on what happened at Juukan Gorge. It has also made publicly available its internal review and submissions to a parliamentary inquiry into the destruction of rockshelters in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. You can access all of that at Rio’s website here.

You can read BHP’s statement on how it makes agreements with traditional owners here.

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25. We can't get an electricity meter for our vital church buildingСр, 23 сен[−]

It is empty and unusable, but we need it even more because of the pandemic

I’m vicar in one of Britain’s most deprived communities. We’ve been working for some time on providing an affordable base for our social activities and decided on eight portable cabins interlocking to make one large building. We were expecting to open at the beginning of September with a food bank, youth groups and activities for older people when the electricity supply was due to be connected. However, we need a three-phase electricity meter to power the unit and this appears to be impossible to get hold of. Our provider, Utility Warehouse (UW), has none in stock and no technicians trained to fit them. It has to subcontract to a firm which says it has not been contacted about the job, despite UW assuring us it has.

We are advised that it may take another three months to be installed – if it can be done at all. In the meantime, our much-needed building will sit empty and unusable. During the pandemic, the need is even greater.
HE, Liverpool

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26. DVLA failed to reply after my partner passed awayВт, 22 сен[−]

I needed to register the car in my name but I faced a series of delays

I have just read your letter about the DVLA during lockdown. My partner passed away on 23 March. In April – after failing to make contact – I sent the logbook, a death certificate, my partner’s driving licence and a covering letter to register the car in my name. I have still have not had a reply.

In the meantime, I have part-exchanged the car for a new one but this cannot be sold due to lack of documents.

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27. From the archive, 22 September 1975: 'End rent controls' says Sir Keith JosephВт, 22 сен[−]

22 September 1975: The shadow cabinet policy maker and former housing minister calls for controls to be phased out so private landlords can flourish

Sir Keith Joseph, the Shadow Cabinet policy maker and former Housing Minister, said at the weekend that homelessness would not be cured until rent controls were phased out and a taxation system introduced which allowed private landlords to flourish.

Public sector housing should be confined to providing for the elderly and the disabled, and to personal subsidies for those who could not afford market rents. He added that many Labour politicians were now thinking this way “but they dare not say it publicly.”

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28. A post-pandemic guide for retailers: ‘Think of your customers as your biggest fans’Пн, 06 июл[−]

Lockdown has shown us that people will support the brands they want to succeed – a business expert’s advice to store owners

The retail sector has been in flux for some time and, post coronavirus, there’s more uncertainty to come.

“There is a lot of talk about ‘returning to normal’ or of the ‘new normal’, but prior to the pandemic the only normal was that everything was changing,” says business consultant Neil Gibb. The pandemic has simply accelerated that transformation, he said ahead of a British Retail Consortium webinar on the impact of Covid-19.

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29. Be flexible, be positive: how to kickstart productivity at work after lockdownПн, 06 июл[−]

There’s never been an opportunity like it – businesses that seize the moment can build a future that works for them and their staff

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown individuals and businesses alike into the unknown.

For companies, there was the challenge of staying afloat in a world that had come to a halt; for people, it was about juggling the competing priorities of work, family and home. Now everyone faces a new issue: how to return to some semblance of business normality.

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30. How chatbots can keep your customers loyal: five trends reshaping retail right nowПн, 06 июл[−]

Three experts look at how technology can help businesses recreate the joy of shopping – in a world that’s gone virtual

Covid-19 has changed how we work – and few sectors are undergoing as much change as retail. A huge drop in sales during March seemed to sound the death knell for at least some sectors of the industry. Online sales, on the other hand, have rocketed and new approaches are emerging among those retailers that are learning to be agile.

“Covid-19 has really accelerated a bunch of inevitables. A lot of things are just happening a lot faster,” says Steve Hewett, global vice president for retail customer experience at the tech and consultancy firm Capgemini.

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31. Need an appointment to shop? How tech is transforming retail in the post-pandemic worldПн, 06 июл[−]

If customers aren’t turning up to buy in person, companies need to be there for them online – and on social media – to foster brand loyalty

The coronavirus crisis hit independent retailers hard. Despite government support, having to close their doors for months had a crippling effect on many and forced them to take action to keep afloat.

For Steve Sanderson, founder of the independent menswear retailer Oi Polloi, lockdown pressed fast forward on an already tough situation for small businesses. The company’s store in Manchester has always been at its heart, but it also has a strong online and social presence. “Bricks and mortar operations are really difficult,” he says. “What’s going on at the moment is sort of a super fast wormhole journey into the future.”

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