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The Financial Times
Britain’s retailers predict that almost 1m jobs in the sector — a third of today’s total — will disappear by 2025 as technology and the rising minimum wage reshape the industry. Retailers currently employ one in six British workers — about 3m people — and the sector accounts for a tenth of the economy. But the British Retail Consortium, the industry’s trade body, believes that higher wage costs coupled with improved productivity will result in “fewer but better jobs” in the near future. The BRC said up to 900,000 retail jobs would disappear within a decade and warned that small businesses and poorer areas would find it hard to adapt.
Ministers have drawn up proposals to exempt industrial equipment from business rates in next month’s Budget after pressure from industry. The move has been urged by Sajid Javid, business secretary, and Anna Soubry, business minister, in Whitehall negotiations. But the proposals are likely to apply only to new investments, stopping far short of industry demands for an exemption for thousands of existing factories.
The Daily Telegraph
The biggest reform of Sunday trading laws in 20 years is expected to clear the Commons next week after the Scottish National party dropped its opposition to all-day shopping. George Osborne, the chancellor, announced that local councils would be given the power to introduce all-day Sunday trading in the post-election budget last year, but the move had faced defeat as rebel Tories teamed up with Labour and the SNP.
The biggest engineering feat on display when Volkswagen unveils its new concept car on Tuesday will be the team developing it: a post-Dieselgate management system crafted to operate faster, cheaper and with a lighter grip on the wheel. Last year’s scandal over falsified diesel emissions tests caused a cull of top managers at Europe’s biggest automaker and brought a promise to overhaul the corporate culture. But the most meaningful management change taking place was already under way when the scandal broke: aimed less at preventing misdeeds than at improving profit margins, which had fallen behind competitors under an inefficient hierarchy.
Five times as many drivers curse hospital fees as any other parking charge, a survey revealed. Motorists feel the fees are too high, find payment methods too limited or resent the failure of machines to give change. The latest RAC Report on Motoring revealed that almost nine in 10 motorists think parking at hospitals should be free, rising to 93 per cent among the over-65s.
Consumer spending last year grew at its fastest rate since the financial crisis – and the trend is set to continue this year, thanks to low inflation and interest rates and the forthcoming minimum wage rise. Spending is set to grow by 2.9 per cent this year, matching the figure for last year, when households were boosted by rising incomes and the effect of falling oil and commodity prices keeping inflation down, according to EY ITEM Club’s special report on consumer spending. Interest rates are still at a record low level, and lower-income households are set to get another boost to their spending power with the introduction of the National Living Wage on April 1. Workers aged 25 and over will get a minimum of £7.20 an hour, up from £6.70 an hour currently. About six million workers in the UK are set to benefit from the changes, which were announced by Chancellor George Osborne last year.