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Friday's Business and Politics round-up

16 Feb 2018

Person reading the IoD's news round up with breakfastGood morning, and happy Friday!

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Brave new world

The IoD has put forward a proposal for future trade with the European Union that would significantly reduce barriers to trade with the bloc while still allowing the UK to pursue trade deals with other countries.

In a new report, the Institute of Directors puts forward a partial customs union covering industrial goods and processed agricultural products that would help maintain the competitiveness of some of the UK’s key industries, while also allowing future governments to fulfil the referendum promise of an independent trade policy, including in areas such as tariffs on agricultural products like beef, oranges and sugar from developing nations.

Given the UK’s unique starting position of full integration with the EU, the IoD begins by agreeing with the Prime Minister that the Government should not be bound by existing precedents and must look to establish a bespoke deal with European counterparts. The report suggests that an overall bilateral preferential trade framework could use a customs union similar in scope to Turkey’s agreement with the EU as a base upon which to build a broader free trade agreement. Turkey and the EU are currently seeking to improve their agreement, and the IoD argues the UK should take some of the proposed changes on board when negotiating its own customs arrangements with the bloc. 

Bonus points

Barclays is set to award CEO Jes Staley an annual bonus of around £1m for last year despite him facing his 2016 bonus slashed once regulators conclude an investigation into his treatment of a whistleblower case.
The Barclays' remuneration committee has decided to award its chief executive, less than half his maximum potential annual bonus, equating to a payment of roughly £900,000.

Mr Staley’s contract means that he is eligible for an bonus worth up to £1.88m - or 80% of his £2.35m total fixed pay. The payout of approximately £900,000 would be more than 25% lower than Mr Staley's 2016 bonus award of £1.318m.

However, the Barclays chief faces being stripped of at least part of the previous year's award when the Financial Conduct Authority concludes its inquiry into his efforts to unmask a whistleblower who made allegations about a colleague.

Home is where the heart is

The extent to which young people are unable to enter the housing market has been revealed in a new report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The biggest decline in home ownership in the last 20 years has been among those classified as on middle-income (defined as having take-home pay of £22,200 to £30,600). While in 1995-96, 65% of this group owned a home, this figure has fallen to 27% in 2015-16, with the biggest drop being in the south-east England.

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