Press Round-Up Short (Premium)
The haulage industry has urged Boris Johnson to step up “lacklustre” efforts to tackle a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers, telling him to act now on supply chains or face a Christmas crisis. Bosses of multiple trade bodies and businesses in the trucking and food industries have written to the prime minister saying not enough had been done to resolve the crisis and urging him to intervene personally. - Guardian.
The government is to launch a £1. 4bn fund to attract more overseas investment into the UK economy, particularly in sectors such as life sciences and electric vehicle production. In his budget announcement on Wednesday, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, will also announce plans to lure highly skilled foreign workers and amend regulations to make it easier for international companies to relocate to the UK. - Guardian.
Public sector pay may be due for a rise, the Chancellor hinted on The Andrew Marr show. Sunak said that going forward a new pay policy would need to be set and that it would be a topic for next week's spending review. Public sector pay rises had been "paused" in 2021/22 expect in the NHS and for workers making less than £24,000. - Sunday Telegraph.
The troubled property company China Evergrande Group has come up with the money to pay a $83. 5m bond interest payment that it missed in September, according to reports. The company, which has debts of around $305bn, wired the $83. 5m payment and noteholders will receive it before Saturday, China’s state-backed newspaper Securities Times said on Friday, citing relevant channels, according to Bloomberg. - Guardian.
Further coronavirus restrictions will be needed if people do not have a booster jab and get serious about facemasks, the health secretary said yesterday as he predicted cases could reach 100,000 a day. Sajid Javid insisted that “life is not back to normal” and urged people to take precautions such as meeting outdoors and regular lateral flow testing. - The Times.
The rescue of embattled Chinese property company Evergrande appears to have stalled, leaving the developer on the brink of default and threatening to unleash contagion through the country’s giant real estate sector, home prices and the economy. The problems enveloping Evergrande, which has eyewatering total debts of $305bn, have hung over global financial markets in recent weeks and helped curb China’s post-pandemic recovery. - Guardian.
Ministers have unveiled plans for £5,000 grants to allow people to install home heat pumps and other low-carbon boiler replacements as part of a wider heat and buildings strategy that some campaigners warned lacked sufficient ambition and funding. Labour also condemned the plans as “more of Boris Johnson’s hot air”, without sufficient substance. - Guardian.
Ford has announced it will invest £230m in a Merseyside transmission factory to upgrade it to make parts for electric vehicles, in a significant fillip for northern England’s automotive industry. The US carmaker’s investment will help maintain about 500 jobs at the plant in Halewood, Knowsley, which currently makes transmission systems for petrol and diesel vehicles. Ford will receive UK government support worth about £30m, according to a source with knowledge of negotiations.
Tax law experts claim that British taxpayers will end up subsidising US private equity outfit Clayton Dubilier & Rice's $7bn takeover of Morrisons. On Saturday, MPs and tax campaigners said the deal "stinks" and will probably see the grocer pay less in taxes to the Exchequer. According to Richard Murphy, of Sheffield University Management School: "If CD&R put the debt on to Morrisons to buy it, then the profits are reduced due to the interest payments sent offshore.
The government has stepped in to counter a spiralling crisis on pig farms by allowing butchers to enter the UK on temporary visas, in the latest reversal of post-Brexit immigration policy. Butchers in abattoirs and meat processing plants dealing with pigs will be allowed to come to work in Britain for six months, the environment secretary, George Eustice, announced on Thursday evening. He said 800 butchers were needed to meet staffing shortages and get the situation under control.
The owner of the UK’s biggest poultry supplier has warned that the cost of chicken is expected to rise by more than 10%, adding that food in Britain is “too cheap. ” In a strongly worded intervention, Ranjit Singh Boparan, the owner of Bernard Matthews and 2 Sisters Food Group, called for a “reset” on pricing to reflect the true cost of producing food. “How can it be right that a whole chicken costs less than a pint of beer? You’re looking at a different world where the shopper pays more,” he said on Wednesday.
Apple may slash the number of iPhone 13s it will make this year by up to 10m because of a shortage of computer chips amid a worldwide supply chain crunch that led the White House to warn that “there will be things that people can’t get” at Christmas. Apple was expected to produce 90m units of the new iPhone models this year but has told its manufacturers that the number would be lower because chip suppliers including Broadcom and Texas Instruments were struggling to deliver components, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
Rish Sunak is poised to usher in cuts worth £2bn for government departments tasked with meeting the Tories’ flagship “levelling up” agenda, despite planning for the biggest tax raid in a generation. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the chancellor was on track to lift the UK’s tax burden to the highest sustained level in peacetime with a package of manifesto-busting tax increases at this month’s budget and spending review. - Guardian.
The owner of Liberty Steel has pledged to restart its plants in Rotherham and Stocksbridge in South Yorkshire this month, saving the “substantial majority” of 1,000 jobs, by pumping £50m in cash into the business. The move comes after Sanjeev Gupta’s conglomerate, GFG Alliance, said it had refinanced debts at its Australian steel and mining business. - Guardian.
The risk of power cuts to factories and homes this winter has increased, the National Grid warned, as the business secretary prepared for a crunch meeting with industry bosses concerned the energy crisis may force them to scale back production. The price of gas and electricity has soared in recent weeks, leading to the collapse of multiple energy suppliers and prompting warnings of higher costs for consumers, factory shutdowns and increased pollution as plants switch to dirtier but cheaper fuels.
Britain’s top-listed businesses have made further progress on gender targets but still have too few women in senior leadership positions, a report has found. The research, by Cranfield School of Management, found the proportion of women on FTSE 100 boards was at an all-time high, but concluded there still were not enough female chairs, chief executives and chief financial officers. – Guardian.
Nearly two-thirds of UK manufacturers expect to raise their prices in the run-up to Christmas after being hit by mounting cost pressures, a leading employers’ group has said. The British Chambers of Commerce said inflation expectations had risen to their highest since its records began at the end of the 1980s, with 62% of industrial firms planning price hikes over the next three months. - Guardian.
The UK fuel crisis could run another week, fuel retailers have warned, as military tanker drivers took to the roads to relieve pressure on petrol stations. One in five forecourts in London and the south-east of England were still out of fuel on Monday, according to the Petrol Retailers Association, compared with just 8% across the rest of the country, where the shortage appears to be almost over. - Guardian.
Staff shortages are rippling out from the haulage, farming and hospitality sectors to almost all parts of the economy, putting “severe pressure” on medium-sized business across the UK, a new survey has warned. More than a quarter of the 500 firms polled said the lack of staff was putting pressure on their ability to operate at normal levels, with reduced stock – due to the resulting supply chain disruption – hurting their business. - Guardian.
Rolls Royce may be set to rake in "billions of pounds" worth of orders for miniature nuclear power stations from countries in Eastern Europe, the head of green investment fund IP3 said. The fund's boss, Mike Hewitt, told the newspaper that nations including Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Hungary, Estonia, and Bulgaria all had aggressive plans to go nuclear. For its part, the company said it was talking to interested parties about export opportunities, including in Europe.