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Tuesday's Business and Politics round-up

13 Nov 2018

Person reading a daily news round up on their tablet

Good morning,

We are entering the endgame of Brexit negotiations, according to a speech made by the Prime Minister last night.

The Daily Telegraph reports that multiple ministers - who presumably wish to avoid being 'pawns' in this scenario - are preparing to use today's Cabinet meeting to urge the Prime Minister that a 'no deal' scenario would be preferable to ceding any more ground to Brussels. Perhaps just as notably, the paper also runs an op-ed from former Minister William Hague, which runs along similar lines.

Another story in the headlines is that an independent review has found that badger culling has only a 'modest' effect on reducing the spread of cattle TB. Which, though no doubt a serious issue, I'm mentioning mainly to be able to refer you to this morning's Matt cartoon...


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Retail value?

The Times Business section leads with calculations that £20bn has been swept off the value of the UK's high streets over a period of just five months.

The paper derives the figure from analysis by the CBRE - a leading property valuer - which finds that the proportion of ''prime' or 'good' property yields has dipped from 4.5 to 4 per cent - roughly equalling a 10 per cent drop in capital values. The paper then factors this into the Property Industry Alliance's estimation that there is £200bn in supermarket and high street property vlaue in the UK.

In a damning assessment, the chair of Olim property said: “Most British shops and shopping centres are unwanted and overvalued. They’re burning platforms in a perfect storm. Investors should jump off while they still can.”

In the Budget, the Chancellor set out plans to attempt to rejuvenate high streets. This included measures to make it easier for people to live in vacant stores, alongside business rates relief for smaller firms.

However, the Budget faces a stormy ride through Parliament, as more Conservative MPs - including Messrs Rees-Mogg and Johnson (B) - revealed they were likely joining a rebellion over Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals.

The Chancellor opted to delay lowering the cap on maximum stakes on the machines, leading to the resignation of former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch. A defeat on the Budget (Finance Bill) would mark the first in forty years.

Apple of discord

Apple lost $50bn of market value yesterday - around 5 per cent - after a notice from one its suppliers suggested the tech giant's sales may be dipping.

The drop saw the company hit a three month low as it contends with lower-cost competitors, particularly in emerging markets such as India.

Meanwhile, Chinese smartphone manufacturer XiaoMi has raised hackles after it advertised a special £1 price for two of its products, when it turned out that only three units of each were in fact available at that price. It appears that the company's website had been pre-ordained to display a 'Sold Out' notice before the promotion had begun.

The firm, which is seeking to increase its presence in European markets, has held similar flash sales in other countries, though none with such low odds for the consumer.

Elsewhere in the tech world, French President Emmanuel Macron is teaming up with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to hash out the best strategy to tackle online hate speech.

According to news site Politico, the move comes parallel to Macron's efforts to push his country to the forefront of Government digitisation, a field the UK recently lost its crown in.

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