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Regulator to spend £30m on Brexit preparations this year
The scale of the financial fallout from Brexit was laid bare yesterday as the City Regulator said that it would have to spend 12 times more this year than it did last year on preparing for Britain’s departure from the EU. As it detailed its latest annual business plan, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said that it had budgeted for its Brexit costs to hit £30 million this year. That is up from the £2.5 million it spent on Brexit over the year to the end of March and the burden is likely to fall on businesses with exposure to markets in the Eurozone. The regulator is forced to work closely with the government, Treasury and the companies it regulates on managing the complexities of the transition.
Uber takes a ride with bike-sharing app
Uber has taken another step towards its goal of dominating urban transport with the purchase of a New York electric bike-sharing start-up. The company is to buy Jump Bikes, which it linked up with in San Francisco this year, for about $100 million. Uber is valued at between $48 billion and $68 billion, making it the world’s most valuable start-up. Its app allows people to book cab rides on their smartphones and is the most popular taxi-hailing app by some distance. Jump Bikes, which launched last year, allows people in San Francisco and Washington DC to hire electric bikes for upwards of $2 for every 30 minutes. The Jump Bikes app was integrated with the Uber app in San Francisco in February.
Costs, not the environment, will drive switch to electric cars
The switch to electric vehicles is often viewed as a result of government efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. But electric vehicles will soon become the cheapest option for many buyers of cars and commercial vehicles, regardless of environmental targets. Cost, not carbon policy, will drive mass adoption. Emerging markets are already leading the way, and the rest of the world will follow. Many analysts assumed that emerging markets would lag behind European and North American rates of electrification. In fact, commuters in countries such as China will electrify more quickly. Small, low-powered electric vehicles, including two and three-wheelers, are ideal candidates for electrification because their light weight means they can run on comparatively cheap batteries.
Electric cars with high mileage such as taxis can achieve big savings right now. For example, it is up to 30 per cent more expensive for a London taxi driver who bought a diesel-engined taxi in 2017 to operate it compared with his counterpart buying a new electric taxi today. New charging solutions will increase such savings. Even low-mileage drivers will soon find that hybrid vehicles are comparable to diesel-engined cars. Most analysts expect the on-the-road price of a new hybrid to match that of a diesel car by the mid-2020s.
Norway offers to roll over UK trade agreements after Brexit
Norway’s government has signalled its co-operation with British wishes to roll over trade arrangements with non-EU countries in the transition phase after Brexit. The UK’s tariff-free trade in goods with Norway and scores of other non-EU countries is ensured by EU treaty arrangements, which for Britain will end with Brexit in March 2019. But Britain wants those agreements to continue to apply as if it were still an EU member state during its post-Brexit transition, provisionally agreed to last until the end of 2020. Brussels has agreed to notify third countries such as Norway of trade arrangements being “rolled over” for the transition, but many trade experts fear that trade partners will demand concessions in return.
Lithium groups follow the stops and starts of Tesla
Lithium miners and the electric-battery makers that use the metal were already having a tricky year because of concerns about excess supply. Then a swoon in Tesla shares added a further tailwind. Shares in Tesla, the US electric-car maker run by Elon Musk, fell more than 20 per cent in March as concerns over the company’s production backlog and its finances dominated.
165% increase in Brits becoming citizens of other EU countries after Brexit vote
The number of UK nationals who successfully applied to become citizens of other EU countries more than doubled in the year of the Brexit vote, official figures have revealed. The EU’s statistics authority said 6,555 UK nationals had taken the step in 2016 – an increase of 165% on the previous year when the figure was 2,478. Germany naturalised the highest number of UK nationals of any EU country at 2,702 – which was four times the total in 2015. And the country’s statistics office has said “the link to Brexit seems clear”. The Netherlands, Sweden, France, Belgium and Cyprus also granted hundreds of passports to British residents.
Rolls strikes £610m deal
Rolls-Royce is selling its engine technology firm l’orange to Us based engineering firm Woodward for £610m. l’orange will continue to supply Rolls- Royce for at least another 15 years. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, l’orange makes fuel injection technology for industrial engines such as those powering ferries and electricity plants. It has 1,000 employees based mostly in Germany but also in the US and China and made sales of £212m last year. Colorado- based Woodward designs and manufactures control systems and components for the aerospace and industrial sectors. Rolls is trying to simplify its business and plans to sell its commercial marine division to slim down to three core units.
Britain facing cyber war as online attacks soar by 300%
CYBER attacks are soaring as hackers exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems to blackmail and cause chaos, an expert warned yesterday. Bill Conner, head of cyber security firm SonicWall, said cyber attacks on the UK have risen by 300 per cent this year compared with a 151 per cent rise worldwide. Ransomware attacks – where businesses and individuals have to pay to get their data back – are up 300 per cent in Britain compared with 226 per cent worldwide. Mr Conner, who advises the US government, said: “The UK is getting more than its fair share of targeting.” He said it is too soon to identify the sources of the attacks over the past three months but in 2017 more than half of all the 9.3 billion cyber attacks worldwide were carried out by state-sponsored hackers.