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News Brexit - News

Friday's Business and Politics round-up

02 Mar 2018

Person reading the IoD's news round up with breakfast

Good morning,

It's almost the weekend, but that doesn't mean we're getting any respite from Brexit speeches.

Today, the Prime Minister will lay out the five "tests" upon which her eventual negotiated deal should be judged upon.

Reportedly, the deal must respect the referendum result. It must be enduring. It must protect jobs. It must be "consistent" with the country's values. And it must bring the country together.

According to Cabinet sources, May will  be telling some "hard truths", in what is an attempt to restore forward momentum to Brexit negotiations.

The Financial Times reports that May's speech may discuss a "binding commitment to align" in particular sectors - such as the car industry and chemicals.

May has already vowed not to accept the terms of the EU's draft negotiating treaty. Donald Tusk, who met with the PM yesterday, urged the Government to come up with "a better idea", particularly over the Irish border.

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Cooking without gas

Large factories are being impelled to curtail operations, as snow and storm Emma threatens gas supplies.

The move marks the first time in a decade that the National Grid has had to warn of gas shortages. The body predicted that, without the alert, there would be a shortfall of 14% between supplies and demand.

To remedy the situation, the Grid will pay factories to cut consumption to protect consumers. Large-scale users will be paid six times the usual cost of gas to reduce their demand.

The news sparks fears that energy prices will soar in coming months. Last year, wholesale gas prices rose from 50p per therm to £2 following issues with supplies from Norway.

Game on

Bucking the overall trend in consumer spending, the UK gaming industry has jumped 12% since 2016, new figures show.

The market's total value has now reached a record £5bn, a success for which trade body UK Interactive Entertainment pointed to "an ever expanding audience".

Dr Jo Twist, from the organisation, said, "New hardware has driven retail sales, virtual reality hardware looks healthy and digital games across all platforms continue to grow."

Meanwhile, the best-selling games list from 2017 consists almost entirely of highly successful franchises, with recognisable titles like FIFA, Call of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto leading the way.

Case closed

Culture Minister Matt Hancock has confirmed that the second part of the Leveson inquiry has been formally closed. Leveson II was set to focus on relations between the press and police, in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.

Hancock told MPs that reopening "this costly and time-consuming inquiry" was not "the right way forward". The Minister also stated that the Government would "seek repeal at the earliest opportunity" of Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act. This clause was to impose large fines on publishers that did not sign up to the anointed press regulator.

Sir Brian Leveson, who was to lead the report, said he "fundamentally disagreed" with the decision to close it.

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