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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been criss-crossing America in a final push for votes before election day. Polls give Democrat Mrs Clinton a four-point lead over Republican Mr Trump. A record number of Americans – more than 46 million – have voted early by post or at polling stations. There are signs of a high turnout among Hispanic voters, which is believed to favour Mrs Clinton.
Marks and Spencer has announced it will close 30 UK clothing and home shops and convert dozens more into food stores.
Chief executive Steve Rowe’s turnaround plans will also see 200 new Simply Food shops open as it shifts away from disappointing clothes sales. He said M&S also planned to close loss-making shops in 10 international markets, including China and France. The announcements came as M&S reported falling sales and profits in the six months to the end of September.
he prospects for the UK’s public finances have deteriorated by £25bn since the March Budget, an influential think tank has warned. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said weak growth would lead to lower-than-expected tax receipts, increasing borrowing by £25bn by 2019-20. The weaker prospects for the economy would result in a “significant increase in the deficit”, it said.
Its forecasts come ahead of the Autumn Statement on 23 November. The event will mark Philip Hammond’s first significant test since he became chancellor.
Theresa May is likely to announce details of her Brexit plans for financial services and other key sectors of the UK economy within weeks, to reassure business leaders and MPs that her EU exit strategy is taking shape. Bottom of Form
Last week’s High Court ruling against the government’s plan to trigger Brexit without a parliamentary vote put new pressure on the prime minister to reveal her favoured “bespoke” deal, ahead of the launch of formal talks in Brussels that will begin after the UK has triggered the two-year Article 50 exit process.
Philip Hammond will have to confront a £25bn hole in the public finances in his Autumn Statement as UK growth and tax revenues fall short of projections, according to a leading economic think-tank.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies says borrowing will be £31bn a year higher than expected by 2019-20, only partially offset by savings from the UK no longer contributing to the EU budget, which could help reduce spending by about £6bn a year. This is in sharp contrast to figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility, which forecast in March that the public finances would improve from a £76bn deficit last year to a £10bn budget surplus by 2019-20. The IFS report suggests Mr Hammond will face a deficit of £15bn in 2019-20 — a shortfall of £25bn compared with the OBR’s projection.
Chief executive Patrick Pouyanné suggests that the crushing fall in the oil price over the past two years has almost been good for his company. He said: “It’s not a bad time to have a low price for us, we suffer much less than others”. Total, notably, has proved more resilient than many other oil companies during the price slump because it cut costs faster. This month, Total reported a 25 per cent fall in third-quarter net income from the previous year. While not positive, this was better than the steeper drops suffered by ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP.
The government has been accused of using motorists as cash cows after figures showed that more than 1,000 drivers a week are fined for breaking variable speed limits on motorways. More than 52,000 fixed penalties were issued for speeding on a new generation of “smart” motorways last year — up from just over 2,000 in 2010-11, before the majority of lower limits were imposed.
Almost 240 miles of motorways in England have been incorporated into the smart network, with the speed limit cut below the normal 70mph at busy times to reduce congestion.
Cartels fixing price of online shopping, watchdog warns
Consumers looking for a bargain online before Christmas could be short-changed by sellers colluding to fix prices, the competition watchdog has warned. The regulator said it had taken action after finding evidence of collusion in some online marketplaces. The warning comes as retailers prepare for their busiest time of the year, kicked off by the imported American custom of “Black Friday” on November 25, where goods are heavily discounted online for one day only. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has not provided the names of the companies or what products they are selling, but is giving the warnings in the hope that a full inquiry will not be needed.
The government increased the speed limit for HGVs on A-roads by 10mph last April. A review of the limits commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) found that accidents involving HGVs dropped sharply one year after the change was made. The study found that collisions were down by as much as 36 per cent.
Regulation of the financial services industry must be overhauled, Britain’s biggest business group believes, arguing that the country needs “smarter” rules for its key institutions after the Brexit vote. The CBI wants reforms that make the Financial Conduct Authority, responsible for day-to-day supervision, and the Prudential Regulation Authority, which monitors risks across the financial system, work together more closely. “Smarter regulation, not less regulation, will provide certainty to financial services firms, allowing them to adapt in a shifting political and economic climate as well as anchoring our competitiveness as a global financial centre,” Simon Moore, financial services director at the CBI, said.
Europe calls for detail on Brexit deal with Nissan
European competition watchdogs have asked the government to spell out what promises it made to Nissan to persuade the Japanese carmaker to continue with investment in Britain. The government said that Nissan had been given assurances that trading conditions for its car plant in Sunderland would be unaffected by Brexit, allowing investment to go ahead for the production of two new models, and that the sector would be a priority for Britain’s new industrial strategy. Sources said that officials in Brussels were dissatisfied by the level of detail provided by the government.
Oil prices edged higher on Monday after news that U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will not face charges over her emails, but gains were capped by a rallying dollar and doubts over OPEC’s planned production cuts. U.S. crude futures were also supported by a weekly drop of 442,077 barrels of oil at the U.S. delivery hub in Cushing, Oklahoma for the week ended Nov. 4, according to traders citing energy monitoring service Genscape.
If you’re a bad driver you may want to blame your parents, as a new study suggests that driving habits run in the family. The study suggests that everything from road rage to drink-driving is mirrored from parents’ behaviour behind the wheel. The researchers say that the findings increase the responsibility on parents to make sure they drive safely.
Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders chief executive Mike Hawes said the UK car manufacturing industry could find itself in a spiral of decline should companies overlook the UK and invest in other countries instead. His comments came after Nissan announced it will build its next Qashqai SUV in Sunderland in one of the first major investment decisions in the car industry since Britain voted to leave the EU. Hawes said the decision was encouraging but he emphasised that the threat to the industry remained. He told a House of Lords committee: “If a decision was taken that a company is not going to build model X in that particular plant, or potentially it was going to be split between two sites, then production capacity will go down.”
He added: “Your competitiveness may be affected, and then the next decision is taken, so it would be more like death by a thousand cuts rather than just shutting the gates overnight.”
Toyota Motor Corp. is looking at mass-producing long-range electric vehicles that would hit the market around 2020, the Nikkei newspaper reported Monday, in what would be a dramatic reversal of strategy for the automaker.
Even as rivals such as Nissan Motor Co., Volkswagen Group and Tesla Motors have touted pure electric cars as the most viable zero-emission vehicles for the future, Toyota has said it would reserve EVs for short-distance commuting given the high price of rechargeable batteries and lengthy charging times.
By adding longer-range EVs to its product range, Toyota would be changing its tune from promoting plug-in hybrid cars and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles as the most promising alternative to conventional cars.
The Nikkei, without citing sources, said Toyota would set up a team in early 2017 dedicated to developing electric cars that can travel more than 300km (186 miles) on a single charge.