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FTThe Financial Times

One-third of retail jobs to vanish by 2025

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.

New line of defence leaves Volkswagen pleading ignorance

When Volkswagen was first inundated last year with claims that it cheated on diesel emissions standards, few observers were convinced by the dyke it constructed to try to contain them. The company said the project to circumvent emissions testing rules — which had been pursued over many years on several models — was the work of a small group of engineers. VW retreated significantly from that defence on Wednesday. In its response to legal action by shareholders over its handling of the affair, the company instead suggested that some managers spotted the issues as long ago as 2014 but were slow to grasp their gravity. It said Martin Winterkorn, then chief executive, was so swamped with emails that he might not have read a memo written for him on the issue.

The Daily Telegraph

Sunday trading to be extended after SNP ‘deal’ with chancellor

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.

Motor industry overwhelmingly backs Britain staying in EU

Britain’s automotive industry has signalled overwhelming support for remaining in the European Union, with almost four out of five car makers, parts suppliers and dealers wanting the UK to remain a member. Research by industry trade association the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found that 77pc of its members said Britain staying in the EU would be best for their business. Less than a tenth of those polled favoured Brexit. Britain’s £69.5bn-a-year car industry is currently enjoying a renaissance, with sales in the UK last year hitting a record 2.6m and vehicle production rising, particularly in the lucrative premium segments.

Wages for British workers will rise in the event of a Brexit, head of in campaign says

Wages will rise if Britain votes to leave the European Union and the number of EU migrants coming to the UK falls, the head of the “in” campaign has admitted. Lord Rose, the former head of Marks & Spencer who is leading the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign, told MPs on Wednesday that if a British exit leads to restrictions on EU migrants, then “the price of labour will, frankly, go up”.

The Guardian

Post-Dieselgate, Volkswagen retools itself for faster ride

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.

EU referendum: Rolls-Royce warns its staff of Brexit risks

The chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, which is owned by BMW, has written to all its workers in Britain to warn that exit from the European Union would drive up costs and prices and could affect the company’s “employment base”.

The letter, leaked to the Guardian, is one of six sent by the bosses of each of BMW’s British companies, including MINI, to their staff each warning of the dangers of UK withdrawal. It comes after the government warned that car-makers would be among those badly hit by Brexit in a civil service report. Torsten Muller-Otvos, chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, told staff that the decision about whether to remain in the EU would be down to British voters.

The Express

Low inflation and interest rates sees spending boost for UK households

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.

Posted by Sue Robinson on 04/03/2016