Press Round-Up Short (Premium)
The world is sleepwalking towards a fresh economic and financial crisis that will have devastating consequences for the democratic market system, according to the former Bank of England governor Mervyn King. Lord King, who was in charge at Threadneedle Street during the near-death of the global banking system and deep economic slump a decade ago, said the resistance to new thinking meant a repeat of the chaos of the 2008-09 period was looming. - Guardian.
The head of the International Monetary Fund jumped for joy on hearing that Britain had struck a draft Brexit deal with the European Union as the global community swung behind efforts to get the agreement over the line. Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF managing director, and David Malpass, president of the World Bank, welcomed the end to the uncertainty that the agreement promises if it clears parliament this weekend. - The Times.
Millions more people in Britain are without a job than shown by official unemployment figures, according to a study that suggests the jobless rate should be almost three times higher. According to research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Centre for Cities thinktank, large levels of “hidden” unemployment in towns and cities across Britain are excluded from the official government statistics. – Guardian.
The Confederation of British Industry has admitted it exaggerated the “eye-watering” £196bn price tag that it claimed Labour’s nationalisation plans would cost. In an email exchange between Labour and the CBI, seen by the Guardian, the UK’s foremost business lobby group told the party it recognised that some of its analysis did not reflect the party’s policy. – Guardian.
WeWork is expected to sack at least 2,000 people as soon as this week, as angry staff at the troubled office rental company turn on its co-founder Adam Neumann. WeWork rents buildings long-term, gives them a millennial makeover with beer taps, communal spaces and tiny workspaces, and then rents them out short-term. Until recently it was America’s most highly valued private company with 527,000 tenants, or “members”, as WeWork calls them, worldwide. – Guardian.
The number of shoppers heading to UK high streets, retail parks and shopping centres has fallen by 10% in the last seven years, the latest research shows. The trend was echoed in September, when retailers came under renewed pressure after heavy rainfall and Brexit worries kept consumers away, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Springboard data company. Retail footfall dropped 1. 7% last month compared with the same month last year, and 1. 6% on a three-month basis.
The biggest music and movies store in Europe opens on Friday as the new Canadian owner of HMV takes the first step in a bold expansion plan he hopes will defy slumping sales of CDs and DVDs. The size of a supermarket and called HMV Vault, the Birmingham shop is stocking 80,000 CDs and 25,000 vinyl albums. It is a brave move at a time when traditional high-street retailers are closing in record numbers and in a business where online streaming has battered sales of physical entertainment products.
Prosecutors for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) say attempts by former Barclays bank bosses to show advisory services provided by Qatar were merely a “smoke-screen” to try to “legitimise” fraudulent payments to the Gulf state in 2008. A jury at the Old Bailey in London heard that former banking executives tried to gather evidence that would show that payments to Qatar were made in exchange for genuine advisory services, rather than a way of disguising illegitimate fees worth £322m.
Customers who were mis-sold loans by the collapsed payday lender Wonga are expected to receive less than 10% of what they are owed in compensation after administrators revealed that only £41m will be put aside for claimants. Administrators for Wonga, which collapsed last year, also revealed that they had scrapped plans to sell its loan book, saying there were doubts that bidders met the criteria, including properly approaching customers for debt payments on outstanding loans.
Emergency tax cuts and higher public spending to offset the impact of a no-deal Brexit would send government debt to its highest level in more than half a century, according to Britain’s leading experts on the public finances. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the scale of the government response required to firefight a flatlining economy in the event of a disorderly departure from the EU would come with a hefty price tag for the public purse. – Guardian.
Debt campaigners have accused the International Monetary Fund of encouraging reckless lending by extending $93bn (£75bn) of loans to 18 financially troubled countries without a debt restructuring programme first. In advance of the IMF’s annual meeting in Washington next week, the Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC) said the the Fund was breaking its own rules by providing financial support without ensuring that the debt burden was sustainable. – Guardian.
Housebuilding across England has fallen to the slowest quarterly rate for three years, according to official figures, despite a promise by the government of a homebuilding revolution. Figures published by the housing ministry showed construction began on 37,220 homes in England in the three months to June – 8% down on the same period a year ago, and the lowest quarterly number of new home starts since 2016. – Guardian.
Tesla has reported record delivery numbers but fell short of its 100,000 target for the three months ending in September. Shares in the electric car firm fell by 4pc after hours after it posted the figures, which show the company delivered 97,000 cars. The number falls short of average Wall Street estimates, which predicted the company would deliver 99,000 vehicles. – Guardian.
Boris Johnson has struck a secret deal with the Democratic Unionist party involving radical proposals for a Belfast-Dublin “bilateral lock” on post-Brexit arrangements on the island of Ireland. Details have emerged of the prime minister’s final Brexit offer that he will lay out on Wednesday, with Northern Ireland staying under EU single market regulations for agri-food and manufactured goods until at least 2025, at which point its assembly in Stormont will decide whether to continue alignment with EU or UK standards.
Boris Johnson’s secret plans to solve the Irish border Brexit challenge involve customs sites on both sides of the border and real-time tracking devices on lorries, it has been reported. The ideas, which mark a departure from his promise not to put infrastructure on the border, are part of four unofficial papers submitted by the UK to Brussels by Johnson’s team. The broadcaster RTÉ, which has had sight of the the tightly guarded proposals, is reporting that customs clearance sites would be sited five to 10 miles from the border to the north and the south to deal with imports and exports.
Sir Philip Green’s Miss Selfridge chain posted a £17. 5m loss last year as sales fell and it wrote down the value of loss-making stores. Sales at the youth fashion chain fell more than 15% to £102m in the year to 1 September 2018, while pretax losses more than quadrupled from £4. 3m a year before. Losses widened after more than £12m in one-off costs mostly related to property writedowns were added, as well as redundancies. The average number of staff working in the chain’s UK stores fell by about 300 to 1,188.
Britain’s high streets, shopping centres and retail parks have been left with the highest number of empty outlets in five years as chains have taken a battering from rising costs and low consumer confidence. Nearly 12% of shopping locations were empty in the first half of 2019, up 0. 6% compared to the same period last year, according to research from Local Data Company’s (LDC) review of 3,000 retail centres. – Guardian.
Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva has said the global economy needs to be ready to cope with a fresh economic downturn after being chosen to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The economist said she was taking charge of the Washington-based organisation at a time when growth was slowing, trade tensions growing and with debt at record levels. – Guardian.
Wrightbus, one of Northern Ireland’s largest employers with 1,400 staff, is expected to slump into administration tomorrow after failing to securing an eleventh-hour rescue deal. The move will represent the UK’s second largest insolvency of the week, following the liquidation of the holiday group, Thomas Cook. – Guardian.
While thousands of holidaymakers were waiting in overseas airports for the government’s emergency airlift to get them home and Thomas Cook staff were losing their jobs, former bosses of the stricken travel firm came under fire for receiving payouts worth more than £35m in the last 12 years. Manny Fontenla-Novoa, who led the acquisition spree that saddled the company with more than £1bn of debt, was handed more than £17m in just over four years as boss of Thomas Cook, boosted by bonuses awarded for slashing 2,800 jobs following the merger with MyTravel.