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EU citizens: Record numbers working in UK – official figures
The number of EU nationals working in the UK has reached a record level, figures from the Office for National Statistics show. An estimated 2.38 million employees began work between July and September this year – a rise of 112,000 compared with 2016 and the highest number since records began 20 years ago. However, the number of working non-EU nationals in the UK has fallen. It is the first clear quarterly comparison since the EU referendum. The immigration lobby group, Migration Watch UK, said the figures proved the UK would be able to maintain its appeal to EU citizens after Brexit. It said fears of an exodus of EU workers were “nonsense”.
ECB warns banks against Brexit ’empty shells’
The European Central Bank said some of the proposals it has reviewed are inadequate and risk creating “empty shells”. Many banks currently gain access to the European market through UK offices. They have said they are working on contingency plans, adding space in cities such as Frankfurt and Dublin. The Bank of England has said it is braced for the potential loss of 75,000 finance jobs following Britain’s departure from the European Union. But with details of the split unclear, some banks have held out hope that the break would not be so disruptive. The chief executive of Barclays, Jess Staley, has said he hopes to avoid significant changes to the current set-up. Many of the announcements of changes have also been less dramatic than expected. JP Morgan said it might have to move 4,000 jobs, but since the referendum has cut that number to around 1,000. The Swiss bank, UBS, said it may move as few as 250 jobs after initially planning to relocate as many as 1,000.
As good as new? Sales of used cars skid for a second quarter
The used car market has followed slumping new registrations into recession. For a second quarter running, sales of secondhand cars fell year-on-year. In the three months from July to September, the number of used cars that changed hands came in at a little over 2.1 million, 2.1 per cent down on the same period last year. In the April-to-June quarter, secondhand car sales also came in at a little over 2.1 million, down 0.7 per cent from the second quarter of 2016. The figures follow the faster deceleration in new car sales, which crashed by 12 per cent in October, the seventh consecutive month of falls, after a worrying 9 per cent dive in September, which, as a plate-change month, is the second most important selling period of the year after March and alone accounts for more than a sixth of annual new registrations.
Hard Brexit could force up interest rates, Bank of England deputy Ben Broadbent warns
A hard Brexit could force the Bank of England to raise interest rates even if growth slows, its deputy governor for monetary policy has warned. A breakdown in supply chains or higher tariffs after a sudden switch to World Trade Organisation rules would drive up prices and force the Bank to raise rates faster than forecast, Ben Broadbent said. In a speech at the London School of Economics, and explaining why he had voted to raise rates from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent this month, Mr Broadbent urged financial markets not to assume that weak growth would automatically mean low rates. The Bank had warned since March that rates might rise, but markets ignored the signals until it was clear that an increase was likely in November. Mr Broadbent said that traders had been unprepared because of their mistaken assumptions around Brexit.
Tax raid piles more pressure on Volkswagen
Volkswagen has insisted that it had acted within the law after prosecutors and tax officials raided the offices of senior executives on suspicion of over-payment and tax evasion. Files and computers were seized in the raids on the offices of Frank Witter, the company’s chief financial officer, and Karlheinz Blessing, head of human resources, Volkswagen confirmed. The inquiry is focused on suspected overpayments for Bernd Osterloh, the works council chief, whose office was also searched. The supervisory board member, previously head of the IG Metall union at the group’s factory in Wolfsburg, is regarded as one of the most powerful figures at VW. While not connected to the scandal over VW’s attempt to defraud authorities over its vehicle emissions, the inquiry adds to the pressure on the German carmaker.
Lorries could be parked along centre of M20
Traffic barriers could be installed along the M20 to enable lorries facing delays at Channel ports to park in the centre of the motorway, it was revealed yesterday. Plans for the scheme, designed to cut delays for other motorists, should be in place my March 2019, when the government expects Britain to leave the EU. Details of the motorway parking plan were revealed as a £250m proposal for a lorry park to ease the misery inflicted on drivers whenever cross-Channel services are severely disrupted has been dropped by the Department for Transport.
Smog hastens India’s plans for cleaner fuels
Measures aimed at reducing vehicle fuel emissions will be introduced two years early, the Indian government announced yesterday in its first significant policy response to the Delhi smog crisis. As the haze improved, albeit to levels still considered “very poor”, the petroleum ministry said it would introduce “Bharat VI” standard fuels from April 2020 as originally planned. Bharat standards regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engines in India. The 10m cars on Delhi’s roads contribute significantly to the dangerously poor air quality in the city.
Theresa May knows Brexit will cause damage, says top Merkel ally
A key Angela Merkel ally in the European Parliament held meetings with Theresa May and David Davis and said he is “more optimistic” about the possibility of reaching agreement with the UK than before. Manfred Weber, who is leader of Angela Merkel’s party’s group in the European Parliament, told reporters after a fifty minute meeting with the Prime Minister and Brexit Secretary David Davis: “I am one of the more sceptical partners from the European side toward the Brexit process, but my main message is that I am more optimistic.” Mr Weber praised Theresa May’s speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet on Monday, where she was heavily critical of Russia’s attempts to interfere in elections in Europe and America.
China’s Geely buys US flying car start-up
Geely, one of China’s largest private automakers, announced this week it would buy all of US flying car start-up Terrafugia for an undisclosed amount, the latest in a string of companies vying to launch aerial vehicles in China. Terrafugia, founded in 2006, aims to bring its first flying car to market in 2019, according to the company. After the acquisition, it will become a Geely subsidiary but remain headquartered and licensed in the US. The deal has been approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (Cfius).
Ministers prepare to cut benefits wait time
Ministers are preparing to announce plans to cut the wait time for Universal Credit as part of a significant climb-down expected in the Budget, The Daily Telegraph understands. The change means claimants could wait four or five weeks to get their benefits, amid fears many would be affected over Christmas. Asked about the changes Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, refused to rule-out cutting the wait time from six weeks last night, instead saying the Government will “continue to listen, to learn and to apply that learning”.
Productivity above pre-crisis level
British productivity is back above its pre-crisis levels as British workers are at last making more in each hour than they were in 2007. Output per hour rose by 0.9pc in the third quarter of the year, the Office for National Statistics said, the fastest quarterly increase since 2011. It also unwinds the falls seen in the previous two quarters, and was driven in large part by workers on average putting in fewer hours but increasing their output. The long period of slow growth is still a worry for economists, however, and one quarter of strong growth does not yet mean the poor trend is being reversed. Productivity figures are notoriously volatile.
Investors cheer BP as it starts buying back shares
Oil giant BP kick-started its share buyback programme yesterday, the first time a major European oil firm has resumed repurchases since prices slumped in 2014. As part of scheme that allows investors to choose dividend payouts in shares rather than cash, BP said it will purchase a maximum of 1.96bn ordinary shares until the company’s 2018 AGM, or August 17 next year, whichever is earliest. The plans were revealed last month as BP announced that profit for the third quarter had been doubled.
Theresa May is preparing to pledge up to £20 billion more to Brussels to kick-start Brexit trade talks. The offer would be on top of the £18 billion the PM said she would pay to secure a transitional deal in her Florence speech in September. Brexit bosses hope it will mean talks about the future relationship can finally be given the green light when all EU leaders meet on December 14. Instead of an exact figure, Mrs May will give Brussels clear guidance on what spending commitments Britain is prepared to honour before leaving the bloc.
DUP call to freeze fuel duty
Theresa May’s DUP partners are demanding the Chancellor freeze fuel duty to save drivers from a mauling at the pumps. Six of their ten MPs made the call yesterday as they backed a FairFuelUK petition demanding a freeze “at the least” in next week’s Budget. The six included Jim Shannon, Ian Paisley Jr and Sammy Wilson. Their party has a confidence and supply agreement with the Government. It comes amid warnings petrol prices could rocket by as much as 8p per litre and diesel by 12p as the global oil price soars.