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Wednesday's Business and Politics round-up

25 Apr 2018

Commuters reading daily news on their journey to work

Good morning.

Just when you thought it was all over, and that Melrose had safely tucked the ball in the back of the net, here comes the 'sting in the tail'.

Having won their contentious takeover battle with GKN, Melrose shareholders will have to shell out £220m, a figure much higher than previously expected. The amount includes £67m to GKN's would-have-been white knight from the US.

Melrose reported to the market yesterday higher than expected debt in GKN, which was due to adviser fees during the takeover battle.

It's never quite over until it's over - just ask Liverpool fans... 

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Meeting the task? 

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's meeting with leaders of the Jewish community has been branded a "disappointing missed opportunity".

Presenting a joint statement following yesterday evening's roundtable, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Jewish Board of Deputies lamented that the Labour leader had not committed to any concrete action on the back of their proposals. In the statement, they said: "Words in letters and newspaper articles will never be enough. We welcome the fact that Jeremy Corbyn's words have changed, but it is by action that the Jewish community will judge him and the Labour Party."

The requests from the Jewish community leaders included swift resolution of Ken Livingstone's situation - who has been suspended since 2016, but not yet expelled - and to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of anti-Semitism.

Following the meeting, Corbyn said that it had been "positive and constructive". He said: "I am absolutely committed to rooting out anti-Semitism from our party and our society. When members of the Jewish community express genuine anxieties. we must recognise them as we would those of any other community."

Losing our coal

The UK has gone more than three days without the use of coal energy, breaking a record that has stood since the 19th Century. The Government has pledged to phase out the fossil fuel by 2025.

The period began at 10am on Saturday, and has stretched into midweek. The record comes only a week after a 55-hour coal-free stretch was recorded.

However, much of coal's use has been superseded by gas, rather than renewable sources. Andrew Crossland, of the Durham Energy Institute, pointed out that the nation uses around eight times more gas than coal.

This follows last month's news that greenhouse gas emissions had dropped over the year by 3%, as renewables use increased.

The world devolves around you

Scottish ministers have rejected a Brexit deal from Westminster, while their Welsh counterparts reached an agreement.

Both devolved bodies have been conducting ongoing negotiations with the UK government over where new powers gained after Brexit will be allocated.

The Scots have said that a key sticking point remains. In a letter to the Prime Minister, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has sought to outline potential solutions to the remaining issue.

In the letter, Sturgeon does reportedly soften the pill, pointing to the "substantial progress" that has been made so far. Such language, however, echoing that of the main UK negotiations with the European Union, may draw up unpleasant memories of last-minute, through-the-night negotiations for the Prime Minister.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said he was disappointed but that "his door remained open". The Scottish Conservative party has argued that the Welsh government's deal leaves the SNP isolated.

But Scottish Brexit Secretary Mike Russell has said, "The effect of the UK government's latest proposal remains this: the Scottish Parliament's powers could be limited without consent."

Meanwhile, the Welsh deal has come under fire from Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, who said the Welsh government has "sold [Wales] down the river".

The Welsh Finance Secretary stated that areas "currently devolved would remain devolved".

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