Press Round-Up Short (Premium)
Labour would set up a new gambling ombudsman to protect consumers, deputy leader Tom Watson will say on Tuesday, citing a string of scandals that have raised concerns about “predatory” practices in the industry. In a speech at the thinktank Demos, Watson will unveil the latest plank of a plan to overhaul betting regulation via a new Gambling Act, following a party review published last year. – Guardian.
Economic growth in Britain is expected to slow to the lowest levels since the financial crisis as firms run down Brexit stockpiles, according to a leading business lobby group. After a stockpiling rush this year that pumped up the rate of economic growth, the British Chambers of Commerce said growth would slow in 2020 and 2021. – Guardian.
Britain’s businesses are being urged to step up their preparations for a no-deal Brexit amid signs that Theresa May’s successor could be prepared to leave the EU without a deal at the end of October. The Institute of Directors – one of the UK’s employers’ groups – said its members had so far failed to take advantage of the seven-month delay to Brexit and warned that companies should not put faith in politicians to produce an agreement. – Guardian.
European stocks are recovering from early selling, with Oil&Gas shares pacing gains following reports that the crews of two tankers in the Sea of Oman were evacuated after being put ablaze.
More than half of people using the government’s help-to-buy loan scheme could have purchased a home without support from the state, according to Whitehall’s spending watchdog. In a critical report into the government’s flagship scheme to help more people get on the property ladder, the National Audit Office said about three-fifths of buyers could have bought a home without the support. - Guardian.
More than 5 million workers across Britain are in low-paid and insecure work, leaving families struggling to make ends meet, according to a campaign calling for more firms to offer guaranteed hours to their staff. According to research published by the Living Wage Foundation, workers in Wales, the north-east and West Midlands experience the highest rates of low-paid insecure work in the country. – Guardian.
MPs have asked the City regulator to publish details of its contact with Neil Woodford and raised concerns that the Financial Conduct Authority may have been asleep at the wheel as the fund manager tumbled into crisis. The Treasury select committee wants the Financial Conduct Authority to “set out the detail of its supervisory contact” with the Woodford Equity Income Fund. It also wants to know whether the watchdog plans to launch a formal investigation of the events that led to investors being blocked from cashing out their investments and to explain “how long such a suspension should be”.
The government has been taken to task by its own MPs for sending billions of pounds overseas to help build power plants that burn fossil fuels while claiming a climate victory on home soil. The environmental audit committee said the UK is sabotaging its climate credentials by paying out “unacceptably high” fossil fuel subsidies to developing nations, while claiming to lead world in tackling the climate crisis. It called on ministers to stop by 2021 using taxpayer funds to lock poorer nations into a fossil fuel future.
China’s Huawei Technologies needs to raise its “shoddy” security standards which fall below rivals, a senior British cyber security official said on Thursday, as the company came under increasing pressure internationally. The US has led allegations that Huawei’s equipment can be used by Beijing for espionage operations, with Washington urging allies to bar the companyfrom 5G networks. – Guardian.
Ford is planning to close its Bridgend engine plant, with the likely loss of about 1,700 jobs, in the latest blow to the embattled British car industry. The company is meeting workers’ representatives at the south Wales plant on Thursday. A source with knowledge of the process said the plant would shut down. – Guardian.
Sir Philip Green has agreed to pump an additional £25m into Arcadia Group’s pension fund, in a deal with regulators that could pave the way for a rescue restructure of his fashion retail empire. Arcadia Group has handed security over additional property assets to the fund in response to a demand from the Pensions Regulator that the former billionaire inject another £50m to fill the group’s pension black hole. - Guardian.
Britain’s retailers are warning of a fresh wave of job losses and store closures after its health check of consumer spending showed the biggest drop in almost a quarter of a century last month. Blaming the political uncertainty that also led to a contraction in manufacturing, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said sales were down 2. 7% – the weakest performance since it began its monthly survey in 1995. – Guardian.
Beijing is prepared to take “resolute action” to press its claims over Taiwan, China’s defence minister has warned as he argued that suppressing the Tiananmen revolt in 1989 was justified. Speaking at a security conference in Singapore yesterday General Wei Fenghe criticised US support for Taiwan, vowing that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would not "yield a single inch of the country’s sacred land". China considers Taiwan to be a breakaway province since a bloody civil war in the 1940s and seeks to unify with the island.
William Hill has held talks with America’s biggest casino owner about a £6bn merger, The Sunday Times can reveal.
Aveva looks set to break into the FTSE 100 after the industrial software developer’s combination with a French rival helped to boost annual earnings by a fifth. The Cambridge-based software-maker is on course to replace Easyjet in the index of Britain’s biggest publicly listed companies after its union with Schneider Electric in March last year. It would become the third software company in the top 100 after Sage and Micro Focus. - The Times.
The UK and its “corporate tax haven network” is by far the world’s greatest enabler of corporate tax avoidance, research has claimed. British territories and dependencies made up four of the 10 places that have done the most to “proliferate corporate tax avoidance” on the corporate tax haven index. – Guardian.
Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to support a second referendum on any Brexit deal after the Labour leadership came under overwhelming pressure to halt the exodus of its remain voters who backed pro-EU parties at the European elections. The Labour leader said he was “listening very carefully” to both sides of the debate after the party fell behind the Liberal Democrats and also lost ground to the Greens. – Guardian.
The wealthy investors who controlled British Steel when it collapsed into insolvency are to face a grilling from MPs, as government officials race to find a buyer for the stricken company. The government’s official receiver took control of British Steel on Wednesday and is funding its operations, including the company’s Scunthorpe steelworks, which is one of the last two blast-furnace operations left in the UK. – Guardian.
Three City banks, a German software business and Facebook pay their staff the most in the UK, according to a new survey, while staff working at Domino’s Pizza and the shop chains Footasylum and Schuh receive the lowest rewards. The Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse and the German software firm Sap topped the list of the UK’s highest-paying companies compiled by the job search and recruiting website Glassdoor. – Guardian.
Boris Johnson is launching a bid to court One Nation Conservative MPs in the group of centrist liberals run by Amber Rudd, as he tries to pitch himself as a candidate who can appeal beyond rightwing Brexit supporters. The former foreign secretary, who is favourite to be the next Conservative leader, is backed by Brexit hardliner Jacob Rees-Mogg but infuriated many Tory colleagues by backing Theresa May’s deal after months of campaigning against it. – Guardian.