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The UK will “probably” begin formal negotiations to leave the European Union early in 2017, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has told the BBC. The foreign secretary said it was still “subject for discussion” but the “Article 50 letter” would be produced “probably in the early part” of 2017. But Number 10 said the government’s position had not changed and Article 50 would not be triggered in 2016. PM Theresa May has not yet given a clear statement on when it will begin.
Warren East has continued his management shake-up at Rolls-Royce with the unexpected appointment of a former media executive as finance director to replace David Smith. Stephen Daintith, finance director of Daily Mail and General Trust, will take up his new role early next year as Rolls-Royce moves into the most challenging stage of a transformation programme aimed at reviving the company after five profit warnings in two years. Having cut senior management by 20 per cent in the past 10 months, the hierarchical group must now adapt to a leaner and more flexible culture as it gears up to produce more engines than at any time since the second world war. Shares in Rolls-Royce fell 1.3 per cent to 716.5p after the news on Thursday morning.
There is little need to cut interest rates further as the economy is performing better than expected and prices and wages are already rising, according to top Bank of England policymaker Kristin Forbes. Ms Forbes sits on the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which cut interest rates to a new record low of 0.25pc last month – a move that she supported. But she voted against the move to print more money with another £60bn of quantitative easing, and believes there is not currently any reason to cut interest rates again, as economic developments have been “more favourable” since the start of August.
British manufacturers have enjoyed rising output and a steady flow of new orders over the past three months, according to a survey that will buoy hopes that the Brexit vote did not deliver an immediate blow to businesses. The CBI’s monthly check on the factory sector also found that manufacturers’ expectations for the next three months had picked up sharply despite a dip in export orders. The survey of 481 manufacturers echoed the upbeat tone of other recent indicators suggesting activity had rebounded from an initial slump after the 23 June referendum.
The “national living wage” falls short of providing a decent standard of income to low-paid staff because of rising rents and slowing wages growth, say campaigners against low pay. After a six-month review, the Living Wage Commission said it had assessed the “best available evidence on living standards” and concluded that the £7.20 an hour national living wage (NLW) for the over 25s, introduced in April, was failing to provide the basic needs of low-paid households. The commission said the fall in take-home pay across the country after the 2008 banking collapse, and slow wages growth in the past eight years, had left millions of workers struggling to make ends meet. Wages need to increase at a faster rate than rising rents, petrol prices and heating bills to continue closing the gap with higher-paid workers, the commission said.
TCI, the London-based hedge fund group, has stepped up pressure on Volkswagen to introduce executive pay structures better aligned with the interests of shareholders. Sir Chris Hohn, founder of TCI, has written to Hans Dieter Pötsch, chairman of Europe’s biggest carmaker, protesting about the €63.2 million paid in total last year to 12 senior executives in spite of the diesel emissions cheating scandal and a net loss of €1.6 billion.
More than half the people who backed Labour in the last general election and then voted to leave the EU have now abandoned their support for the party, according to a new poll. The scale of the damage inflicted on Labour by the EU referendum is laid bare by a new poll as prominent Labour figures, including Chuka Umunna, Rachel Reeves and Jonathan Reynolds, try to change the direction of the party on immigration. The group of former frontbenchers have called for an end to free movement, accepting that this might mean an end to membership of the single market. The YouGov poll of 3,285 adults conducted this week found that only 48 per cent of the people who backed the party in 2015 then voted Leave in June still say they would vote Labour. Nine per cent have switched to the Tories, 8 per cent to Ukip and a quarter are not yet sure what they will do.