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Friday's Business and Politics round-up

13 Sep 2019

Person reading the IoD's news round up with breakfast

Good morning!

This morning, The Times suggests that the DUP may be softening their opposition to any regulatory checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, citing an anonymous source. Could this notionally hand the Prime Minister a glimpse of a way forward on the Irish border question?

DUP leader Arlene Foster took to Twitter last night to pour cold water on the report. 'UK must leave as one nation', she argued, saying that the party would 'not support any arrangements that create a barrier to East West trade.'

'Anonymous sources lead to nonsense stories', Foster added. 

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Green for good?

This morning, Sainsbury's announced plans to reduce its plastic packaging by 50 per cent by 2025.

The target includes packaging across all of the supermarket's operations. At present, Sainsbury's uses almost 120,000 tonnes of plastic packaging per year. It suggested that plastic milk bottles, packaging for fruit and vegetables, fizzy drinks, water and fruit juices would be focus areas in its efforts to reduce its plastic footprint.

The retailer also committed to working with Greenpeace on the commitment and to report publicly on progress every six months.

The announcement follows a statement from Nestlé in which it outlined its intention to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Nestlé's plan involves reformulating its products to use more climate-friendly ingredients, helping farmers restore land to limit emissions and switching to 100 per cent renewable electricity. The Swiss firm said it would lay out a time-bound programme including interim targets over the next two years.

Charge de Google

Google is set to hand over almost 1bn Euros to France as it seeks to 'settle once and for all' a long-standing dispute over taxes.

The bill is comprised almost 50:50 of a unpaid taxes and a fine - but French authorities had argued the tech giant owed even more.

A spokesperson from Google said: 'We remain convinced that a coordinated reform of the international tax system is the best way to provide a clear framework for companies operating worldwide.' France has previously sought Europe-wide measures to incur taxes on large digital firms, but not yet to any fruition.

In other news from the Continent, the European Central Bank has launched an economic stimulus programme involving interest rate cuts and quantitative easing.

The Bank's President stated, however, that 'Now is the time for fiscal policy to take charge', pressing for tax cuts to further boost the Eurozone economy.

Supermarket sweep

Morrisons has announced it is beefing up its plans with Amazon, as it seeks to roll out same-day deliveries to more cities across the UK.

The chief exec of the supermarket chain, which also revealed a first quarterly fall in sales since 2015, stated, 'Consumers are quite careful and savvy right now. Their confidence in the economy has taken a battering.'

Elsewhere, the John Lewis Partnership has stated that a no deal Brexit would have a 'significant' impact, as it fell to a loss of £25.9m.

The news comes as The Times reports on what it describes as an apparent 'bitter divide' between two of the founders of Ocado, Tim Steiner and Jonathan Faiman.

Faiman, who stepped down as COO in 2008 and as a non-exec in 2010, has launched his own start-up, which recently signed an outline agreement with Waitrose, Ocado's esrtwhile partner. The agreement has since ended, with Fainer saying, 'we are very excited about our plans with other partners.' More details in the write-up.

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Euan Holmes, Press Officer

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