Take a look Inside London’s New £15bn Elizabeth Line Upgrade

 

Business Insider UK got an inside look at the progress works of London's new Elizabeth Line. The entire upgrade costs £14.8 billion and has taken nine years to build. We visited Farringdon—one of 41 new stations for the new service—to see what to expect once the line officially opens in Dec 2018.

 

Questions Entrepreneurs Should Ask to Learn From Their Mistakes and Wins

 

Carrie Green/Youtube

If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are you’ve failed a few times. Whether it be at a launch, a social media growth strategy, an email campaign or creating a course. Thankfully, failing is not necessarily a bad thing.

 

 

BAE Systems wins £20bn contract to build Australian navy ships

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Fri, 29th June 2018) London, Uk – –

AE Systems has won a £20bn contract to build frigates that will form the backbone of the Australian navy, beating off rival proposals from Italian and Spanish groups for the biggest naval defence deal of the past decade.

The contract win will see BAE supply nine vessels based on the Type 26 frigate design currently under construction for the Royal Navy.

Prime Minister Theresa May called the agreement an example of the kind of trade deals the UK can secure – especially with Commonwealth nations – as the country prepares for Brexit.

“We have always been clear that as we leave the EU we have an opportunity to build on our close relationships with allies like Australia,” she said. “This deal is a perfect illustration that the Government is doing exactly that… and it will also cement our strategic partnership with one of our oldest and closest friends for decades to come.”

Gavin Williamson, UK Defence Secretary, hailed the agreement as the “biggest naval defence deal in a decade” and said it showed “confidence in British design, engineering, innovation, and our world class military”.

The A$35bn (£20bn) agreement is one of two key international contracts up for grabs that BAE management see as must win deals. The other is an even bigger deal to build up to 15 warships for the Canadian military.

Ships for the Australian navy will be built by state-owned ASC Shipbuilding in Osborne, South Australia. ASC will become a subsidiary of BAE during the construction process, although Australia will retain a “golden share” in the business.

The arrangement means BAE is fully accountable for the progress of the construction work. Once the programme is finished Australia will resume complete ownership of ASC.

Work on the new ships – which will be called the Hunter class – will create more than 4,000 jobs in Australia but is unlikely to boost BAE’s employment numbers in the UK.

However, companies in BAE’s supply chain already making components for the British Type 26s could get a boost, as Australia seeks efficiencies for its ships by ordering parts from them.

At a recent investor day, BAE said the Australian contract – known as SEA 5000 – was worth about A$20bn to it over the next 10 to 15 years. However, with support and munitions for the vessels, the total value could be much higher.

Because of the commonality between the UK and Australian vessels, they will be able to work together more easily on multi-national operations.

Defence Minister Guto Bebb added: “Australian forces have stood should-to-shoulder with our military for generations and this deal will build on our strength as allies as our two great navies operate this cutting-edge frigate around the globe.”

The Type 26 is the most advanced ship of its type in the world, specialising in anti-submarine warfare.

As China strengthens as a maritime power in the Pacific, Australia is keen to beef up its capabilities to defeat Beijing’s increasingly sophisticated fleet.

Because of the advanced technology in the Type 26, BAE’s proposal for the SEA 5000 contract was more expensive than rival bids from Italy’s Fincantieri for its FREMM frigates and Spainish ship builder Navantia’s F-5000 offering.

A report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute into the three different proposals praised the state of the art Type 26, but its newness also counted against it. The first of the class is not due to go into service until the mid 2020s when it joins the Royal Navy’s fleet. The Royal Navy will receive only eight Type 26s, down from an original plan for it to receive 13 of the ships.

The Australian contract win is a coup for BAE, that could boost its chances of winning the forthcoming Canadian navy contract, which could be worth as much as C$55bn (£32bn).

BAE Systems chief executive Charles Woodburn, said his company's win “reinforces our position as a leading designer and builder of complex maritime platforms”.

Independent defence analyst Howard Wheeldon described Australia's decision as a “massive vote of confidence in BAE and the capabilities of the Type 26”.

Jefferies analyst Sandy Morris said: “It takes a lot to move the needle at BAE, but we believe SEA 5000 would do so. It would also bolster sentiment.”

Stephen Phipson, chief executive of manufacturers’ trade body EEF, was previously head of the Defence and Security Organisation in the Department for International Trade, and was heavily involved in intense UK efforts to win the SEA 5000 contract.

He said: “This win for the UK defence industry is the result of years of hard work with Government and industry working in close partnership. The decision by Australia confirms the UK leadership in advanced frigate design and the strengthening of ties at both the industrial and defence level between the UK and Australia.”

The FTSE 100 company’s shares rose 1.3pc on the news.

By Alan Tovey

 

 

Food and Drink Federation Warns on CO2 Shortage Affecting Supermarket Supplies

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 29 June 2018) London, Uk – –

The carbon dioxide shortage will start affecting some supplies to supermarkets this weekend, the Food and Drink Federation has warned.

CO2 is used to stun farm animals, put fizz in carbonated drinks and is used in packaging, but is in short supply.

Federation chief executive Ian Wright said carbon dioxide supplies were not expected to resume until next week.

He said that while stocks would not run out, “choice will be eroded”.

Mr Wright told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “We will see fewer chicken dishes, fewer pork and bacon dishes.

“We'll see probably less carbonated drinks and certainly bakery and other things that benefit from what's called modified atmosphere packaging, which is plastic packaging with a tray underneath and a dish of food in them.”

A number of companies have reported disruption to production because of the shortage.

Warburton's, the UK's biggest producer of crumpets, said it has been forced to halt production at two of its four plants.

The company uses carbon dioxide to give its crumpets a longer shelf life and prevent mould.

The British Retail Consortium said: “We are aware of specific pressures in some areas such as carbonated soft drinks, beer, British chicken and British pork but the majority of food products are unaffected and retailers do not anticipate food shortages.

“However, it is likely that the mix of products available may be affected.”

The Food and Drink Federation's Mr Wright said that even if supplies of CO2 resumed next week, it would take some time before it made its way to food and drink producers.

“Inventories of products have been eroded quite a lot over the last week and not many people keep very large stocks of products because it is not cost-efficient,” he explained.

Scotland's biggest abattoir is closed and other meat producers are considering adapting their products to use less CO2.

Some food and drink firms have asked whether the government could help alleviate the problem.

Mr Wright said ministers could ask suppliers that have stopped production for maintenance to put factories back into production.

What is the problem?
CO2 is widely used in the food processing and drinks industries. It puts the fizz into beer, cider and soft drinks, and is used in food packaging to extend the shelf life of salads, fresh meat and poultry.

The gas is also used to stun pigs and chickens before slaughter, and create dry ice to help keep things chilled while in transit.

However, several UK and mainland European producers of carbon dioxide – a by-product from ammonia production that is used in the fertiliser industry – closed for maintenance or scaled down operations.

In the UK, only two of five plants that supply CO2 are operating at the moment.

What are the pubs saying?
Earlier in the week, the Wetherspoon and Ei Group pub chains reported they had temporarily run out, or were short of, brands including John Smith's, Strongbow, Amstel and Birra Moretti.

However, on Thursday, Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said brewers were “working their socks off around the clock to ensure there is still plenty of beer to go around”.

What about the meat industry?
Meat processors are considering shortening “sell by” dates because packaging will contain lower levels of CO2, and there have been concerns about animal welfare if animals don't go to slaughter at their usual rate.

The British Poultry Council said its members continued to live “day-to-day” as they tried to stretch out their dwindling supplies of the gas.

What does the government say?
The meat industry has become increasingly frustrated by a lack of information coming from CO2 firms and the UK government in particular over when supplies might return to normal.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department of Business have both said they are monitoring the situation.

They said: “We have been assured CO2 producers are working as fast as they can to get plants up and running again, with CO2 production set to start very shortly.”

When can the industry expect more supplies?
The industry trade journal Gas World, which first reported the news that CO2 was running short, said that two tankers full of liquid CO2 from mainland Europe have been delivered to ports in the UK in the past couple of days.

A number of European plants are beginning to increase supplies, while another factory that had closed because of technical issues rather than maintenance, is due to come back online in mid-July.

 

 

City watchdog’s to investigate allegations of insider trading at Carillion

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Thur, 28th June 2018) London, Uk –

City watchdog’s chief makes revelation about collapsed company in letter to MPs

The City watchdog has revealed it is investigating allegations of insider trading at the building and services contractor Carillion before its spectacular collapse in January.

In a letter to MPs, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) chief, Andrew Bailey, said he was looking into allegations that people connected to the company had traded in its shares using inside knowledge before Carillion’s huge profit warning on 10 July 2017.

The shock warning started the chain of events that led to the collapse of the business. It included an £845m writedown on three huge public-private partnership projects – the Royal Liverpool and Midland Metropolitan hospital construction contracts and the Aberdeen bypass. The chief executive Richard Howson departed, the company admitted it had huge and rising debts and the share price plunged 40% in a day.

 

It is understood the FCA has yet to agree whether the allegations could form the basis of a formal investigation but Bailey said he had made “good progress” after a series of interviews and meetings “with senior Carillion staff, key advisers and shareholders”.

The letter adds a further twist to one of the biggest corporate crashes in British history. It has triggered an investigation by two parliamentary select committees, an FCA inquiry and an accounting industry examination of the company’s auditor KPMG.

Carillion eventually went bust at the start of this year with debts of £900m, despite government contracts to build and operate hospitals and schools, and a construction business involved in a series of infrastructure projects.

Hundreds of staff lost their jobs and thousands of subcontractors were left without work. A huge deficit in the firm’s occupational pension fund meant it needed to be rescued by the industry-backed lifeboat scheme, the Pension Protection Fund.

Ministers have come under fire for maintaining a close relationship with the firm and inviting it to bid for government contracts even though it was close to bankruptcy.

A damning 100-page report into the company’s collapse compiled by two select committees, published last month, said Carillion collapsed as a result of “recklessness, hubris and greed” among directors who put their own financial rewards ahead of all other concerns.

The FCA announced in January it would look into concerns that Carillion had manipulated financial statements in the years before it collapsed but refused to give any details.

In response to calls for an update from MPs on the work and pensions and business joint select committee examining Carillion, Bailey said the main focus of the investigation was into announcements made in July last year and whether they were deliberately delayed.

Bailey said: “Our investigation is into the the timeliness and content of the firm’s announcements. Our primary focus is to determine whether the matters announced in Carillion’s trading update on 10 July 2017 were identified and announced at the appropriate time.

 

“We are also considering whether earlier anouncements made by Carillion were false or misleading as a result,” he added.

“We are aware of allegations of insider trading in Carillion’s shares prior to its trading update on 10 July and are looking into them.”

Bailey refused to tell MPs how long the investigation would take, saying only that it would be completed as soon as possible.

However, the FCA has a strong track record of investigating insider trading and pursuing cases to trial.

 

 

H&M latest quarterly profit decline push fashion retailer to cut prices to shift stock

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 28th June 2018) London, UK —

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Fashion retailer H&M (HMb.ST) will have to cut prices further to help shift growing piles of unsold merchandise over the summer after another decline in quarterly profit, it said on Thursday.

The Swedish company, which has seen profit fall in the past two years as fewer customers shop in its main H&M brand stores, said it would now be tougher to reach its target of a “somewhat better” group result for the year.

Pretax profit in the three months to the end of May shrank 22 percent from a year ago to 6.01 billion crowns (511.80 million pounds), slightly below the average forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.

“The first half of the year has been somewhat more challenging than we initially thought, but we believe that there is a gradual improvement and that we will see a stronger second half,” Chief Executive Karl-Johan Persson said on Thursday.

H&M shares fell 4 percent at the opening but turned positive to trade 0.3 percent higher by 0758 GMT.

After decades of rapid expansion growing to more than 4,700 stores, the world’s second-largest clothes retailer behind Zara owner Inditex (ITX.MC) has seen sales growth stall as it has struggled to adapt to the shift online and fend off increased competition from other budget brands.

It has also been less successful than Inditex, which sources production close to its headquarters in Galicia, northern Spain, in responding to fast-changing fashions.

H&M said earlier in June that sales in the March-May quarter were unchanged, after shrinking in the previous two quarters.

The group’s inventories and markdowns have been gradually increasing in the past couple of years. As expected by analysts, they grew again in the second quarter to the end of May — inventories by 13 percent and markdowns by 1 percent.

In comparison, Inditex has reported healthy local-currency sales growth for its February-April quarter as well as for the following six weeks.

Analyst Richard Chamberlain of RBC Capital Markets noted the pressure on margins from sluggish sales.

“We are also concerned that H&M is over-distributing and may be forced to cut its dividend this year or next if sales trends remain sluggish,” Chamberlain, who has an “Underperform” rating on the stock, said in a note.

H&M shares have lost nearly two thirds of their value since record highs in 2015, underperforming Inditex which have performed better helped by a more flexible supply chain and earlier integration of online and stores with services such as click-and-collect.

The stock has in recent months gyrated amid large stock purchases by the founding Persson family, rumours of buyout plans prompted by the purchases, and a subsequent dismissal this month of the rumours by Chairman Stefan Persson.

H&M said work to speed up its logistics systems had resulted in temporary interruptions in the quarter, hitting sales in some major markets such as Germany and the United States.

The company has earlier guided for lower comparable-store sales in 2018 than in 2017, with a gradual improvement throughout the year.

By Anna Ringstrom

Additional reporting by Helena Soderpalm; Writing by Keith Weir

John Lewis reports first-half year profit well be “close to zero”

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 27 June, 2018) London, Uk – –

John Lewis has warned that profits in the first half of the year will be “close to zero”.

Last year John Lewis made £26.6m in the first half, and blamed heavy investment for this year's expected fall.

The well-known High Street name also warned over full-year profits, saying they could be “substantially lower” than last year, when it made £290m.

The retailer said its Waitrose chain would close four convenience shops and one small supermarket.

Two of the Little Waitrose closures will be in Manchester, one in Birmingham and one in central London. It will also shut its supermarket in Camden in London.

In a statement John Lewis said it was widely acknowledged that the retail sector was going through a period of “generational change”.

Its response would be to focus on “greater differentiation – not scale” and invest more in developing “unique” products and services, as well as placing more emphasis on its own brand.

It said it would continue to invest at a rate of £400m-£500m per year.

While it does not expect to make any profit in the first half of the year, for the full year it said there were a “wide range of possible outcomes, given the market uncertainty”.

However, it said it was assuming that profits before exceptional items would be “substantially lower” than last year.

 

 

Costa 2% sales drop blamed on high street decline


QLM Business News/Costa Camden High Street

Owner Whitbread blames a lack of shoppers on high streets for the fall as it prepares to spin-off Costa from its hotel business.

Britain's biggest coffee shop chain Costa has blamed a drop in sales on the woes affecting the British high street.

Owner Whitbread said like-for-like sales fell by 2% in the first quarter, “principally from footfall weakness in traditional shopping locations”.

However, total UK sales growth was up by 5.2% thanks to new branch openings as well as self serve coffee machines which are mainly in petrol stations and convenience stores.

Chief executive Alison Brittain said: “Our stores remain highly profitable and deliver an excellent return on capital.”

Whitbread also said it remained committed to its plans announced in April to spin-off its Costa coffee empire from its Premier Inn hotel business and other interests as quickly as possible “to optimise value for shareholders”.

The company said: “Constructive early steps have been taken in preparation for the demerger and good progress continues to be made on the core infrastructure and efficiency work that was already underway.

“A further update on the demerger will be provided alongside the interim results in October 2018.”

Ms Brittain sounded a more cautious, but optimistic note on the company's outlook – particularly in the UK where retailers and the wider consumer-focused sector has endured tougher times because of a Brexit-linked squeeze on household finances.

She said: “Both the budget hotel market and the coffee market present long-term structural growth opportunities, and whilst we are cautious of shorter-term trading conditions in the UK, due to well-publicised consumer trends, we are confident that we have the right strategies in place to enhance our UK and international market positions and ensure each business is well-positioned to thrive as a separate entity.”

 

 

Uncertainty Over Brexit Halves New Investment In Uk Car Industry

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 26 June, 2018) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Uncertainty over Brexit has halved new investment in the British car industry and Prime Minister Theresa May should urgently change tack and keep the world’s fifth largest economy in the EU’s customs union, the country’s main car lobby group said.

Public announcements of fresh investments into new plant, machinery, models and model development fell to 347.3 million pounds between January and June 21, down from 647.4 million pounds in the first half of 2017.

“There is growing frustration in global boardrooms at the slow pace of negotiations,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

“Government must rethink its position on the customs union,” Hawes said, referring to the May’s position that Britain will leave the customs union which groups EU members in a duty-free area where there is a common import tariff for non-EU goods.

With only nine months left until Britain is due to leave the EU, little is yet clear about how trade will flow as May, who is grappling with a rebellion in her party, is still trying to strike a deal with the bloc.

In a sign of just how worried big business is getting about Brexit, Siemens, Airbus and BMW have publicly cautioned Britain in the past week that their businesses will be hurt by a disorderly Brexit.

When asked about business worries by ambassadors, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was reported by The Daily Telegraph newspaper to have quipped: “F*** business”. A spokesman disputed that he had used bad language.

CLIFF EDGE BREXIT?
Under the current timetable, both London and Brussels hope to get a final Brexit deal in October to give enough time to ratify it by Brexit day in March 2019, though few diplomats expect the deal to be struck until months later.

The nature of the future relationship with the world’s biggest trading bloc remains unclear and there is deep concern in boardrooms about the prospect of Britain crashing out of the bloc without a deal or with a deal that would silt up the arteries of trade.

Even a small increase in paperwork or customs checks after Brexit, for example, could lead to spiralling costs for big manufacturers who depend on vast supply chains that stretch across Europe and the globe.

Supporters of Brexit admit there may be some short-term pain for Britain’s $2.9 trillion economy but that long-term it will prosper when cut free from the EU which they cast as a failing German-dominated experiment in European integration.

The average car has about 30,000 parts.

The world’s biggest car makers including Toyota, BMW and Ford have urged Britain to ensure that they can import and export without hindrance after Brexit.

At stake is the future of one of Britain’s few manufacturing success stories since the 1980s: a car industry employing over 800,000 people and generating turnover of $110 billion. Much of the industry is owned by foreign companies.

Around 52 percent of Britain’s total $1.1 trillion trade in goods last year was with the EU so May wants to sign a free trade agreement and negotiate an as yet relatively undefined customs arrangement to ensure as frictionless trade as possible.

SMMT chief Hawes said the British government’s current position – leaving the EU single market and the customs union – would hurt the industry.

“The current position, with conflicting messages and red lines goes directly against the interests of the UK automotive sector which has thrived on single market and customs union membership,” he said.

“There is no credible ‘plan B’ for frictionless customs arrangements, nor is it realistic to expect that new trade deals can be agreed with the rest of the world that will replicate the immense value of trade with the EU.”

By Sarah Young, Guy Faulconbridge

 

 

Scorching weather offers supermarkets increased sales of gin and hay fever remedies

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Tue, 26 June, 2018) London, Uk – –

A run of scorching weather buoyed supermarket sales in recent months as shoppers stocked up on gin, tonic water, soft drinks and hay fever remedies.

Britain’s grocers clocked up combined revenues of £27.1bn in the 12 weeks to June 17, 2.1pc higher than in the same period last year, according to figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

Spending on spirits grew by 6pc as shoppers bought an extra 1.7m litres of gin, and soft drinks sales were up 7pc.

Last month was the hottest May since records began, with maximum average temperatures hitting 17 degrees and a record 245.3 hours of sunshine.

Kantar Worldpanel’s Fraser McKevitt said: “Consumers are also feeling some seasonal downsides – sales of hay fever remedies are up 19pc year-on-year… reflecting Met Office predictions of record pollen levels.”

Morrisons led the way among the “big four” supermarket chains with sales rising 1.9pc, boosted by demand for “wonky” fruit and vegetables, which are now bought by 12pc of its customers.

Asda and Tesco notched up growth of 1.8pc and 1.4pc respectively, but Sainsbury’s sales went into reverse, down 0.2pc. All four lost market share, however, as Aldi, Lidl and online grocer Ocado continued to grow ahead of the sector.

Giles Hurley, chief executive of Aldi UK & Ireland, said: “The sun came out in May and our sales trends suggest that the British public decided to take advantage of the fantastic weather, with our most popular items ranging from our fresh British barbecue offer to our gardening tools and bedding plant range.”

Separate figures from Nielsen showed grocery sales were up 1.5pc in the last four weeks, with sales of gin and tonic water up 46pc and 21pc respectively.

By Jack Torrance

 

 

Heathrow expansion vote by MPs to take place today without Boris Johnson

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 25 June 2018) London, Uk – –

The foreign secretary, who is abroad, once threatened to lie down in front of the bulldozers if a third runway was approved.

MPs will decide later whether to expand Heathrow airport in a crunch vote which looks set to expose divisions in both Labour and Tory ranks.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said it was “the biggest transport decision in a generation” as he called for cross-party support to approve a third runway.

The spotlight will be on the whereabouts of Boris Johnson, who once threatened to lie down in front of the bulldozers if a third runway got the go-ahead at the west London airport.

The foreign secretary is set to miss the vote because he is abroad, but the government has so far declined to say where he will be on security grounds.

Senior Tory backbencher Sarah Wollaston called on Mr Johnson to take the “principled decision” and resign in order to vote against expanding Heathrow.

She said the prime minister's decision to allow Mr Johnson – who is MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in west London – to avoid a three-line whip in support of the Heathrow plan by going abroad “won't wash”.

“I think this would be an opportunity for a colleague like Boris Johnson to actually put his money where his mouth is,” Dr Wollaston said.

Greg Hands, who resigned as international trade minister in opposition to the third runway, appeared to mock Mr Johnson's absence on the eve of the vote.

Mr Hands tweeted on Sunday: “Great to arrive back in the UK at Luton Airport in time for the match today and to vote against #Heathrow expansion tomorrow. I wouldn't want to be abroad for either of those. #commitments.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling admitted to Sky News on Monday he “didn't know where” Mr Johnson was.

He said: “The prime minister has been very clear that there are parliamentary colleagues who have longstanding views about this, perhaps for constituency reasons who need to take their own decisions about how they approach it.

“We all fought a general election on the manifesto of expanding Heathrow Airport.

“But equally, where there are people who have got particularly constituency issues, we've left them the freedom to carry on expressing the views they've always had.”

Theresa May confirmed last week that Mr Johnson would miss the vote on Heathrow, describing him as “the living embodiment of global Britain” abroad.

The Conservative row came as more than 40 Labour MPs said they would go against party policy and support the government's decision.

The group whose constituencies span the country put their names to a letter to colleagues in the party urging them to support a project they say could create 180,000 jobs across the UK.

Labour is officially opposed to the expansion but Jeremy Corbyn has allowed MPs a free vote on a measure that is supported by trade unions.

Mr Grayling – who will appear on Sky News this morning – said that “thousands of new jobs and the country's ability to compete on an international stage and win new global trade” were at stake.

He said: “I hope colleagues from across the House will now put aside party and political differences to take a decision in the long-term national interest.”

Officials say the expansion of Heathrow would create 114,000 extra jobs in the area around the airport by 2030, with an extra 16 million long-haul seats by 2040.

It would also represent the first new full-length runway in the south east since the Second World War, the Department for Transport said.

But opponents have attacked the scheme on environmental, noise and financial grounds grounds, with Friends of the Earth saying it was “morally reprehensible” and would see the enlarged Heathrow emitting as much carbon as the whole of Portugal.

 

Uber begin appeal over London licence at Westminster Magistrates’ Court

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 25 June, 2018) London, Uk – –

A London court will consider later today if Uber is “fit and proper” to hold an operator licence in the capital.

The taxi app company will make its case at Westminster Magistrates' Court in a hearing expected to last several days.

Last September, Transport for London refused to renew Uber's licence on grounds of public safety and security.

Uber said it has since made significant changes, such as improving procedures for reporting criminal actions.

Various media outlets have quoted a memo reportedly sent by Uber to Transport for London, in which it said that as many as 1,148 London-licensed Uber drivers had been accused of “category A” offences such as sexual incidents, stalking and dangerous driving.

The court will take the changes made by Uber into account and decide whether it is now fit to hold an operator licence.

The original reasons for the refusal were outlined in a 21-page document.

Uber has been allowed to carry on operating in London while awaiting to appeal.

“I know we got things wrong and that we have more work to do. But I promise Londoners we will keep listening and improving as Uber moves forward in a new direction,” Uber's UK general manager, Tom Elvidge, said in May.

Analysis by Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology correspondent

A kinder, gentler and humbler Uber – that is the image the taxi app company hopes to project in court this week as it battles for its future in what is one of its most important markets.

It will stress that a lot has changed at a business that once prided itself on confronting local regulators in a whirlwind of creative disruption.

A new boss Dara Khosrowshahi came to London and actually said sorry, and in February new measures were announced to cooperate with the police over allegations of driver misconduct – Transport for London's main concern when it refused a new licence.

The fact that Uber is seeking a new licence for just eighteen months rather than the full five years it expected last autumn – and that it appears to have been agreeing with TfL a list of conditions it will have to meet – shows that it accepts it is still on probation.

Justin Bowden, national secretary at GMB, the union for taxi drivers, said: “Uber lost its licence in London because it refused to play by London's rules, particularly on the crucial issue of passenger safety, and it won't get it back until it accepts that an ‘Uber's way, or no way' attitude to safety and its drivers will not prevail.”

He added: “Uber's licence will not be returned by legal action, but by genuine contrition and real change, which can only come about from engagement with Transport for London as the licensing authority and drivers' representatives like GMB.”

According to the firm, 3.6 million passengers regularly use its app in London and it has 45,000 drivers in the city.

Since being denied a licence to operate in London, Uber has implemented a number of changes.

Uber now reports crimes directly to the police – previously it had logged criminal complaints with Transport for London, which caused delays.

Drivers are now only allowed to use the app in the region they hold a private hire licence.

The working hours of its drivers are also more tightly regulated. A licensed driver on its app must take an uninterrupted six-hour break after 10 hours of driving with a passenger or travelling to a pick up.

Drivers who do not take a long enough break will not be able to log in to the app and take trips.

The company has also revamped its leadership. Three independent non-executives have been appointed to its UK board.

Uber has also had difficulties getting licences in Brighton, York and Sheffield.

In a separate case in 2016, Uber lost a legal battle over the status of its drivers.

A London employment tribunal ruled that its drivers were workers, rather than self-employed.

It meant drivers would be entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the national minimum wage.

 

iWalk 2.0 The Hands-Free Crutch

 

The iWALK 2.0 removes the strain on the underarms and transfers it to your legs, leaving your hands and arms free for daily tasks. You can easily, stand, walk, or navigate up the stairs—without exerting pressure on your lower leg. No tools are required to assemble the iWalk. It's adjustable and able to be tailed to your leg. Pricing starts at $149.

 

Meet Duncan Titmarsh Britain’s only certified LEGO builder

 

Duncan Titmarsh is the UK's only certified Lego builder. He has a giant factory with over 35 million bricks and 24 builders working full-time. They complete an average of 600-700 projects per year.

Prices for the models range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of pounds.

He began building Lego models a decade ago in his garden shed, started a small part-time business, and then got certified by Lego in 2010.

His biggest one to date is a Lego Tower Bridge for Land Rover. It took 5.8 million bricks, 25 people, and 6 months to build. It weighed 5.5 tons, was 40m long, and 40m tall.

 

 

The Dentist Who Influenced That Movie Star Smile And Where it all began

 

Cosmetic dentistry has taken over the world. Having perfect teeth shouts success, but where did all begin? Well, Hollywood of course. But one dentist was more influential than any other in creating the movie star smile.

 

 

Airbus warns on leaving the UK in the event of “no-deal” Brexit

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(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 22 June, 2018) London, Uk – –

The aeronautical company employs 14,000 people at several sites including Bristol, Stevenage and Portsmouth.

Airbus is making plans to leave the UK in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit, which could lead to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

The company employs 14,000 people directly at several sites including Bristol, Stevenage, Portsmouth and north Wales, but 110,000 jobs are also vulnerable at firms supplying the aircraft maker.

In one of the most significant interventions by a major manufacturer since the referendum two years ago, it published a “risk assessment” on its website saying it would “reconsider its investments in the UK, and its long-term footprint in the country” if Britain left the single market and customs union without a transition agreement.

It also said the current planned transition period to 2020 was too short for businesses to reorganise supply chains.

Tom Williams, chief operating officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, said: “In any scenario, Brexit has severe negative consequences for the UK aerospace industry and Airbus in particular.

“Therefore, immediate mitigation measures would need to be accelerated.

“While Airbus understands that the political process must go on, as a responsible business we require immediate details on the pragmatic steps that should be taken to operate competitively.

“Without these, Airbus believes that the impacts on our UK operations could be significant.

“We have sought to highlight our concerns over the past 12 months, without success.

“Far from ‘project fear', this is a dawning reality for Airbus.

“Put simply, a no-deal scenario directly threatens Airbus's future in the UK.”

The report has drawn swift reaction from politicians, with shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer tweeting: “If proof was needed that the PM's Brexit red lines need to be abandoned (and fast), this is it.”

If Airbus did leave the UK, production would be moved to the US, China or elsewhere in Europe.

The risk assessment paints a gloomy picture for UK high-tech manufacturing if agreement cannot be reached with the EU.

It says: “A no-deal Brexit must be avoided, as it would force Airbus to reconsider its footprint in the country, its investments in the UK and at large its dependency on the UK.

“Given the ‘no-deal/hard Brexit' uncertainties, the company's dependence on and investment in the flagship Wing Of Tomorrow programme would also have to be revisited, and corresponding key competencies grown outside the UK.

“This extremely negative outcome for Airbus would be catastrophic.

“It would impair our ability to benefit from highly qualified British resources, it would also severely undermine UK efforts to keep a competitive and innovative aerospace industry, while developing high-value jobs and competencies.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said the UK had made “significant progress” in negotiations to “to ensure trade remains as free and frictionless as possible, including in the aerospace sector”.

They added: “We're confident of getting a good deal that is mutually beneficial.

“Given the good progress that we are continuing to make in the negotiations we do not expect a no-deal scenario to arise.

“The government is working closely with companies to understand their concerns ahead of leaving the EU and alongside industry will invest almost £4 billion by 2026 to ensure the UK remains a world leader in civil aerospace.”

 

 

Philip Hammond gives Bank of England £500bn in preparation for Brexit

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Fri 22 June 2018) London, Uk – –

Bank will have extra £500bn to provide to economy as Britain prepares for Brexit

The Bank of England will be allowed to provide more than £500bn in lending to the economy without seeking the Treasury’s permission, in a move that reinforces the strength of the UK financial system as Britain prepares to leave the EU.

Announcing the plan at the annual Mansion House dinner for bankers in the City of London on Thursday, Philip Hammond, the chancellor, said the changes would help to improve the resilience of the central bank. It would also help with its “ability to meet its monetary and financial policy objectives in the future”, he said.

Hammond said the government would give the Bank £1.2bn, a sum that would underwrite the £500bn lending pot, but the move would not impact public borrowing because the money would remain in the public sector. The half a trillion pound fund could be accessed by commercial banks for funding, including during credit crunch-style financial crises.

The move also gives Threadneedle Street greater autonomy in lowering interest rates to zero and providing more money to commercial banks during times of stress, without requiring Treasury permission. Despite its independence from the Treasury, the Bank has needed to approach the government in order to expand its support to the economy – including when it announced an emergency funding scheme for banks in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Speaking alongside the chancellor at his penultimate Mansion House dinner before stepping down next year, Mark Carney, the Bank’s governor, said the additional capital would significantly increase the amount of money the central bank could lend without seeking financial backing from the Treasury. Although at first it will amount to more than half a trillion pounds, it could rise to over three-quarters of a trillion pounds.

He said the changes could also help the government to strike new deals with emerging markets to facilitate the growth of the UK financial sector, which could increase from 10 times the size of the British economy at present to 15 times by 2030.

“We now have a balance sheet fit for a new world order with greater reliance on markets in a wider range of reserve currencies,” he said.

As part of the changes, the Bank of England will see the emergency funding programme launched straight after the Brexit vote, known as the term funding scheme – which provides banks with cheap finance during times of stress – become part of the Bank of England’s balance sheet rather than the Treasury’s.

By Richard Partington

 

 

Instagram launches video service to rival YouTube as it hits 1 billion users

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Thu, 21 June 2018) London, Uk – –

Instagram's rapid growth is showing no signs of slowing, as it revealed it has hit 1 billion monthly users, and unveiled plans to expand into long-form videos.

The photo-sharing app, which is owned by Facebook, last revealed the number of users on its platform in September, when there were 800 million people using the app. It has added around 200 million users each year for the past two years.

The user update shows Instagram moving further ahead of Snapchat, which lags behind with around 100 million monthly active users.

Facebook has positioned Instagram against Snapchat, both competing for a similar audience and coming after Snap reportedly spurned a takeover approach from Mark Zuckerberg in 2012.

Recent updates to Instagram have prompted Snap chief executive Evan Spiegel to accuse Mr Zuckerberg of copying its most popular features, such as filters and short videos, but while Instagram's updates have been largely welcomed by users, Snapchat has struggled with unpopular redesigns.

The backlash against its January revamp caused Snap's user growth to come in at its slowest pace ever recorded in the first three months of the year.

However, Instagram's announcement that it was launching a longer-form video service appeared to suggest it was now looking to challenge the dominance of YouTube.

Instagram said the new IGTV app would be a place where “people can watch long-form (up to an hour), vertical video from their favourite Instagram creators and celebs, allowing them to connect around the interests and passions that matter the most to them”.

It added that celebrities including Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian West had already started to add videos to their IGTV channels.

“Teens are now watching 40 percent less TV than they did five years ago,” Instagram Chief Executive Kevin Systrom said at an event to announce the launch in San Francisco. “It's time for video to move forward and evolve.”

Courting stars to post videos is part of their strategies. Instagram said it has signed up personalities such as Lele Pons, who has 25 million Instagram followers, for IGTV.

Pons said she did not plan to choose sides between two of Silicon Valley's largest companies. “I'm still going to be posting on YouTube as well as on Instagram,” she told reporters.

News of the move comes amid a wider trend among the internet giants to broaden their reach, with YouTube earlier this week having announced plans to launch a music streaming service.

By  

 

 

UK government borrowing down more than expected

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Thur, 21 June 2018) London, Uk – –

Public sector borrowing fell to £5bn in May, down £2bn from a year earlier, official figures show.

The fall was bigger than expected and brings borrowing for the financial year to date to £11.8bn, £4.1bn less than in the same period in 2017.

At the same time, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revised down its figure for government borrowing in 2017-18 to £39.5bn.

The total was the lowest annual level of borrowing in 11 years.

The figures come as Chancellor Philip Hammond prepares to reaffirm his promise to reduce public debt, despite Prime Minister Theresa May's promise of increased spending on the NHS.

In a speech later on Thursday, Mr Hammond will say that taxes must rise, although increases will be implemented in a “fair and balanced way”.

Public sector net debt, excluding public sector banks, was £1,781.4bn at the end of last month, equivalent to 85% of GDP, the ONS said.

That is £44.7bn higher than a year earlier, but 0.4 percentage points lower as a percentage of GDP.

“May's public finances figures not only confirmed that the new fiscal year got off to a good start, but revealed that borrowing in 2017-18 was also a little lower than previously thought,” said Andrew Wishart, UK economist at Capital Economics.

“It's early days yet, but if this is sustained, borrowing would undershoot the [Office for Budget Responsibility's] 2018-19 forecast by £9bn or so over the year as a whole.

“What's more, if the economy holds up as we expect, borrowing is likely to undershoot the OBR's forecast by a more significant margin in subsequent years.

“This would allow the chancellor to deliver the recently promised £15bn increase in health spending over the next five years while still meeting his fiscal target.”