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Thursday's Business and Politics round-up

07 Jun 2018

Person sat at a table reading a newspaper

Good morning.

What a day for news. Long-time editor of the Daily Mail Paul Dacre is to step down from his role after 26 year's heading up the paper. Dacre is planning to take up the role of Chairman of the publishing arm of the Mail’s parent company as he steps away from editorial duties.

No doubt you’ll have your own front page in mind when you think of him – from interventions on the Stephen Lawerence case to more recent events such as the EU referendum, he has been incredibly influential, to say the least.   

In other news, the British Property Federation has said that too many companies are misusing Company Voluntary Arrangement’s, a form of insolvency, and they have called on the government to review the issue.

This comes as high street retailer House of Fraser attempts to finalise a rescue deal which incorporates a CVA. Under the restructuring plan, House of Fraser could see up to half of its shops close. The BPF meanwhile accuses House of Fraser and others of using CVA’s as a way of shifting loses onto landlords.

Finally, European football leagues managed to generate a record £12bn in revenue in the 2016/17 season according to a report by Deloitte. The Premier League leads the pack with revenues of £4.5bn and is said to be almost 90% larger than second place Spanish league La Liga.

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

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DD's day 

Brexit Secretary David Davis is said to be on the verge of resigning over the government’s plan not to include a firm end date in its ‘backstop’ plan to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the EU. Prime Minister Theresa May was due to publish a fall back plan for the Irish border today which would keep the UK in close regulatory alignment with the EU and avoid N.I having to implement a ‘hard border’ with the Republic of Ireland. This is likely to now be delayed as the PM meets senior ministers in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Davis is reportedly trying to get No.10 to stick to previous assurances that there would be a time limit on the ‘backstop’ proposal, believing that without it the UK could remain wed to the EU indefinitely. Meanwhile, advisers to the PM are reported to believe that such a move would lead to the plan being rejected outright by the EU.

The EU has been waiting for the UK to publish its alternative to a ‘backstop’ plan it put forward last year but which was rejected by May on the grounds it kept Northern Ireland in the Single Market.

Carillion's millions 

The National Audit Office has reported that the collapse of construction firm Carillion has cost the UK taxpayer almost £150 million pounds. Included in the end bill for the Carillion liquidation, said to be in the region of £500m, is a £50m payment to accountancy firm PwC who has been acting as special manager during the process.

Carillion collapsed into liquidation in January of this year with debts of over £1bn and a pensions deficit of £2.6bn which has now been brought under the Pension Protection Fund, the largest scheme to come under the PPF to date.

While the NAO did highlight that around 12,000 of the 20,000 strong Carillion workforce had now managed to find new jobs, 2,300 have been made redundant as a result of the collapse. A recent joint report into the collapse of Carillion by two parliamentary committees found a raft of failings both on the company's board and in its external checks and balances.  

MPs accused Carillion executives of relying on suppliers to prop up the failing business and abusing the early payments system to hide its true levels of debt. The report concludes that the firms ex-directors should face a formal inquiry into their fitness to serve as company directors. 

City shouldn't be Russian to accept listings

Labour MP Stephen Kinnock has called on the Financial Conduct Authority to reconsider the listing of Russian oil firm Rosneft. Writing to the watchdog, Kinnock says that the listing ‘undermines the credibility and integrity’ of the UK market.

Rosneft, which listed on the LSE in 2006, is included on both US and EU sanctions list and its CEO is said to be close to the Kremlin. CityAM reports that Kinnock's letter calls on FCA Chief, Andrew Bailey to reconsider the companies inclusion on the UK equity market and says that the FCA needs to uphold its ‘duty to protect the integrity of the UK financial system’.

The intervention from Kinnock comes as EN+, another UK listed Russian firm, seeks to distance itself from sanction hit owner Oleg Deripaska after his inclusion on a US sanctions list sent the company into crisis. Chairman Greg Barker is said to have hired investment bank Rothschild to help sell off part of Deripaska’s stake.

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Donjeta Miftari, Media Relations Manager

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