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Thursday's Business and Politics round-up

05 Dec 2019

Person sat at a table reading a newspaper

Good morning,

The Conservatives are seeking to reignite their election campaign following the Nato summit, setting out the potential agenda for their first 100 days in office.

The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement would have an initial vote in Parliament by Christmas, and a 'Brexit Budget' produced by the end of February, according to the plan.

According to The Times, Boris Johnson could also be set to announce a new policy, not included in the manifesto, of 15 hours of free childcare per week for two year olds.

Andrew Gwynne, of the Labour Party, argued that the Conservatives' policies constituted 'more of the same failed austerity, privatisation and tax giveaways.'

Labour, meanwhile, is promising to cap class sizes in England to thirty, while recruiting 20,000 teachers over the next five years.

The morning's top stories, rounded up for your convenience. 

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When the fund stops

M&G has had to suspend withdrawals from a £2.5bn property fund, with investors seeking to pull out their money amid Brexit and retail sector concerns.

'Ongoing structural shifts in the UK retail sector have made it difficult for us to sell commercial property,' said the firm in a statement. 'Given these circumstances, we have now reached a point where M&G believes it will best protect the interests of the funds’ customers by applying a temporary suspension in dealing.'

By the start of November, the fund had lost net £901m, compared with under £300m for 2018 as a whole.

The news has garnered initial comparisons to the problems faced by Neil Woodford's fund, which was suspended in June this year.

Playing their cards right

Clintons, the card company, will avoid going under this Christmas, after it reached a restructuring agreement with administrators KPMG.

The deal will see the firm sold back to its existing owners, the Weiss family, through a pre-pack administration procedure, according to Sky News' report.

This means that two and a half thousand jobs and over three hundred stores will be safe over the festive period.

'We are confident that this deal will kickstart a new chapter for our business,' said CEO Eddie Shepherd.

'Like so many of our fellow High Street retailers, we have worked tirelessly to contend with the maelstrom of issues impacting the sector, from business rates pressures, to fragile consumer confidence and the lack of clarity around the taxation of online retail businesses.'

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