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Wednesday paper round-up: Brexit, more Brexit, consumer confidence, Amazon

By Digital Look

Date: Wednesday 17 Oct 2018

Wednesday paper round-up: Brexit, more Brexit, consumer confidence, Amazon

(Sharecast News) - Theresa May will urge EU leaders in Brussels on Wednesday to keep the door open to continuing Brexit negotiations, after a two and a half hour cabinet meeting that underscored the challenge of bridging the gap between London and Brussels in the days ahead. May told her colleagues on Tuesday: "If we as a government stand together and stand firm, we can achieve this." - Guardian
Theresa May is being urged to consider extending the Brexit transition period to get through an impasse with Brussels. Liam Fox, the trade secretary, suggested yesterday that Britain may end up staying in transition for a "few more months" beyond the end of December 2020, according to a source. - The Times

Theresa May has been told that it is up to her to deliver a "creative solution" to break the impasse that threatens to leave Wednesday's "moment of truth" Brexit summit of EU leaders collapsing around her. With the issue of the backstop to the Irish border derailing the negotiations, and the timeline slipping by the week, Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, said he would demand fresh concrete proposals on the Irish border from the prime minister. - Guardian

President Macron of France is ready to support a compromise over the Irish border to secure a final Brexit deal, senior French officials said yesterday. Diplomats, including officials from France and Germany, have indicated that negotiations are advanced and that agreement on the Irish question is possible in the coming weeks, but not in time for today's EU summit. - The Times

Britain will still have to pay the EU up to £36 billion if it fails to agree a trade deal, Philip Hammond has claimed, as Brussels said no deal is now "more likely than ever". The Chancellor told Cabinet ministers the UK would be unlikely to win any legal battle to withhold large chunks of the Brexit bill, despite previous Government promises that the payment was conditional on a deal. - Telegraph

A group of Labour MPs is urging the party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to table a vote of no confidence in the government immediately, to expose the lack of support in the House of Commons for Theresa May's Brexit strategy. Labour's policy is to wait and see whether May secures a deal with Brussels and then vote against it. If she loses that vote, according to a motion passed at the party's conference, "all options are on the table" - including a general election, or failing that, another referendum. - Guardian

A Royal Mail director has admitted the company's management was "embarrassed" by its failure to engage with shareholders before a large-scale pay revolt in July, as MPs described as "astounding" a £5.8m payout to secure a new chief executive. Orna Ni-Chionna, the head of Royal Mail's pay committee, said she had been taken by surprise at the strength of opposition to the pay deal offered Rico Back and leaving package for his predecessor as chief executive Moya Greene. - Guardian

Consumer confidence has fallen for the first time in more than a year amid unease about disposable income and debt levels, according to a poll by Deloitte. Ian Stewart, the accountancy group's chief economist, said: "The softening in consumer confidence has occurred against a backdrop of firmer UK activity and falls in unemployment. That [these] failed to boost confidence testifies to the headwinds from inflation, interest rate rises and Brexit." - The Times

More than two thirds of businesses expect to overcome any disruption triggered by Brexit and to grow over the next three years, according to research. Almost 70 per cent of trading companies planned to expand their international activity over the next 12 months, a study by Santander reported. - The Times

Amazon has been accused of manipulating reviews to make sure its own brands are promoted over third party merchants, as European regulators continue to probe the retailer's practices. Bloomberg claims it spoke to multiple merchants who had complained their product sales fell after Amazon introduced its own versions of the same products and then pushed those products up the search results. - Telegraph

Britain has slipped down the rankings of the most competitive global economies, hindered by weaknesses in health, information and communication technology and skills. In the World Economic Forum's annual report, it was ranked eighth out of 140 economies, compared with sixth out of 135 last year. - The Times

British and Dutch ministers are facing a rail showdown after it emerged the Netherlands has led an £80m rescue package to bankroll the loss-making activities of one of Britain's biggest train networks. Greater Anglia, which operates one in every 12 UK rail journeys and is majority owned by the Dutch state rail operator, is being forced to make crippling payments to the Department for Transport (DfT) - pushing its finances into the red. - Telegraph

Germany's car manufacturers face an existential crisis and risk going the way of Britain's once-mighty car industry within ten years, Volkswagen has warned in the grimmest assessment to date. Herbert Diess, the company's chief executive, said Germany is not ready for the revolutionary effects of the electric vehicle and is under political assault from those challenging the whole concept of car ownership and mobility. - Telegraph

KPMG could be hit with its largest fine yet after the audit watchdog asked a disciplinary tribunal to hand the "Big Four" accounting firm a £7 million penalty for misconduct in its work for a leading Lloyd's of London underwriter. If granted, it would be the record fine paid by a British accountant, topping the £6.5 million paid by PWC over its audits of BHS, the collapsed retail chain, in June. - The Times

The UK's pursuit of cleaner power means the average Briton's carbon footprint is now the smallest it has been since the coal-fuelled days of 1859, according to fresh research. A decade after the UK legislated to tackle climate change the Government's official figures have revealed that the UK is on track to rely on coal for less than 5pc of its electricity for the first time since Industrial Revolution. - Telegraph

A shareholder group acting on behalf of investors with €21 trillion worth of assets has warned that pension funds are "unprepared" to meet fresh climate change rules and must take action. The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) is writing to 12 large UK pension funds which admitted earlier this year they had no plans to report on how they are taking climate change into account "to remind them of their duty to do so". - Telegraph


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