European shares reverse losses to grab small gains Chinese stocks tumble after days of gains Restaurant Group to delay opening one in 10 sites French industrial production jumped 20pc in May Yesterday: John Lewis, Boots and Burger King closures put 7,000 jobs under threat Ryan BoRead more »
Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has backed a scheme to provide US citizens with a universal basic income. He has invested $3m (£2.4m) in the initiative, which is being tested by mayors of 16 cities in the United States. The scheme is “one tool to close the wealth and income gap,” the billionaire said. Mayors for Universal Basic Income was launched on June 29 by Michael Tubbs, the mayor of Stockton, California. The 29-year-old has been running a pilot there since 2018, paying $500 (£386) a month to 125 residents. The merits of a universal basic income have been debated for some time and the idea was reportedly on the table during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, as the Treasury brainstormed how to shelter Britons from the resulting economic shutdown. Proponents argue that it is the best way to guarantee a fair standard of living for the entire population and protect them from sudden economic shocks, like a pandemic, or the rise of artificial intelligence and automation, which is expected to accelerate layoffs in several industries. Giving every family a monthly stipend would also lower a government's costs as it would not need to monitor benefit fraud or carry out means testing. In May, Mr Dorsey gave $5m to an organisation founded by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang to build the case for universal basic income. The idea has also been endorsed by Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg. However, Finland cancelled a pilot involving 2,000 citizens after two years, after recipients remained jobless. Dorsey’s pledge is part of the $1bn he has committed to help fight the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which represents around 28pc of his wealth. The non-profit, Start Small, has already backed America’s Food Fund, a project launched by actor Leonardo di Caprio and Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
The Culture Secretary is poised to announce a 2025 deadline to strip Huawei from the UK’s 5G network. On Tuesday, Oliver Dowden will make a statement in the House of Commons where he will discuss the future of the Chinese giant in Britain’s telecoms infrastructure. Ministers have indicated that they want Huawei’s hardware removed from the network within five years. Tory MPs have pressed Boris Johnson to speed up the process to 2023. However, BT and Vodafone warned of widespread mobile phone blackouts unless they were given at least five years to strip out Huawei kit. Andrea Dona, Vodafone UK head of network, urged that any further restrictions “look at a sensible and practically feasible timescale over several years”, while she cautioned that it would cost “single figure billions” of pounds to remove the equipment. The original deadline for removing Huawei was 2029 but Tory rebels threatened to defeat the Government in the Commons by voting against legislation setting out the timetable. They indicated they would be prepared to compromise a date that would mean the work would be mostly completed by the time of the next election. Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Conservative leader and one of the 60-strong group of Tory backbench MPs demanding a complete ban on Huawei in UK infrastructure, told this newspaper a “material change” would be needed. “It’s going to take them a while to get it out,” he said, “but 2029 won’t be acceptable. It may be 2025 but they will have to come forward with a timescale otherwise the Bill will be rejected.”
Amazon has backtracked after telling its staff to delete TikTok from their work phones due to "security risks", amid growing concerns in the West about the Chinese viral video app. In an internal memo on Friday, the online shopping giant told workers to remove TikTok from any mobile device with access to company email before the end of the day. However, hours after the warning was published, Amazon said that the email was mistakenly sent to staff. "This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error," a spokesman said. "There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.” TikTok is already under investigation in both the UK and the United States and is facing a potential US ban, having already been barred from India last month. Officials claim that the app's Chinese ownership gives Beijing's repressive government free access to the detailed personal data that it collects on Western users, many of whom are under 18. TikTok has consistently claimed that it has never given data to the Chinese state and would not do so in future if it were asked. In an email to employees titled "Action required: Mandatory removal of TikTok", Amazon said: "Due to security risks, the TikTok app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email." "If you have TikTok on your device, you must remove it by July 10 to retain mobile access to Amazon email. At this time, using TikTok from your Amazon laptop browser is allowed."
G4S has agreed a preliminary deal with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to end an investigation into fraud offences related to the security outsourcer overcharging the Government to monitor electronically “tagged” offenders. Almost a decade ago the FTSE 100 company ran into trouble after it emerged that for years it had overcharged the taxpayer to monitor offenders. In some cases it is alleged that criminals thought to have been tagged turned out to be dead, back in prison or had their tags removed. Some had even left the UK or never been tagged at all. G4S has agreed in principle a “deferred prosecution agreement” with the SFO, taking responsibility for three offences of fraud related to financial reporting to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) about the contracts. The deal involves allegations over G4S “dishonestly misleading” the MoJ over how much it profited from the contracts. Under a DPA a company avoids criminal prosecution if it admits wrongdoing and complies with agreed conditions such as checks on its behaviour, as well as financial penalties. A judge will next week hear the terms of the DPA. If they are approved, G4S will pay a £38.5m fine - which has been reduced by 40pc because of the company’s co-operation - and the SFO’s £5.9m costs, ending the case.
Yieldson short-dated UK government debt yesterday hit record lows after bond markets wobbled on worries over accelerating Covid-19 case. Investors sought safety in government bonds worldwide, as investors fret over the rise in coronavirus cases in the US, pushing short-dated gilt yields deeper into negative territory. The two-year and five-year gilt yields hit all-time lows of minus 0.113pc and minus 0.08pc, respectively. Analysts also pinned rising bond prices on signs of appetite for safer government debt with the auction of 10-year Treasury notes fetching the lowest yield on record this week. Gilt yields have fallen further in recent months as the economic outlook has darkened and speculation has swirled over the Bank of England cutting rates into negative territory. Investors’ nerves about Covid-19 have returned on markets in recent days with stocks slipping on Thursday before staging a recovery yesterday. The World Health Organisation warned on Thursday the pandemic is still accelerating while several US states are reversing or pausing reopenings as infections rise.
Embattled fast fashion firm Boohoo suffered a fresh blow on Friday after one of its biggest investors sold down its stake and labelled the firm's response to illegal pay allegations "inadequate". The £3.5bn company's efforts to defend itself against sweatshop claims were dismissed by Standard Life Aberdeen, previously one of Boohoo’s biggest investors, which has now sold most of its 3pc holding in the company. Boohoo has insisted there is no evidence its suppliers are paying staff less than the minimum wage following claims reported earlier this week. But the company - which sells dresses for as little as £4 - has faced a growing backlash over working conditions at businesses which it partners with. Standard Life was the first shareholder to break cover and issued a public rebuke to management in a move which will pile pressure on other investors to follow suit. Lesley Duncan of Standard Life said: “Having spoken to Boohoo’s management team a number of times this week in light of recent concerning allegations, we view their response as inadequate in scope, timeliness and gravity." The investor sold two-thirds of its stake, or 27m shares, following questions this week about why its "ethical" ASI fund owned stock in a fast-fashion brand. In comments first reported by the Financial Times, Ms Duncan said: “In the last few weeks our concerns have grown on the progress being made, which even before recent developments, had negatively impacted our conviction levels in the company.” Boohoo’s third-biggest shareholder, Invesco, is now considering its own position. A spokesman said: “We take issues of company governance very seriously and will be investigating these reported concerns to assess their circumstances and validity.” Investors who sell now will suffer a substantial paper loss compared to their position a week ago. Boohoo has long been a market darling and the shares were further boosted by lockdown, which effectively took bricks and mortar rivals such as Primark out of the game. From the start of the year until Friday last week, Boohoo shares had risen 30pc but have now erased those gains since the allegations were published by the Sunday Times last weekend.
The Competition and Markets Authority said companies must pay customers promptly when holidays are cancelled.
Some of the world’s biggest apps including Spotify, Pinterest, and Tinder were hit with outages on iPhones on Friday. The apps were repeatedly crashing on devices with iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system, installed on them. It appeared that Facebook’s software development kit (SDK) was to blame for the outages. The social media giant’s SDK is used by app developers to allow users to log in. High volumes of outages were reported on DownDetector.com. More than 12,000 issues were reported with Spotify, while 2,333 reports were filed by Pinterest users. Another 160 issues were reported with dating app Tinder. The issue, which caused apps to crash instantly when opened, has since been solved. Android users have yet to report similar crashes with its app. Facebook said it was “aware and investigating” the issue with its SDK and said that there had been an “increase in errors on iOS” that had caused some apps to crash. One work around for users was switching their iPhones to Airplane mode and turning off their wifi. Once completely disconnected the crashing apps would work in offline mode. Facebook and Apple had yet to respond to the Telegraph at the time of writing. The Verge reported a similar outage occurred on May 6 that also was a result of Facebook’s SDK. The social media giant urges developers to use its SDK for logins, which allows Facebook access to app user data. The login kit works as a win-win for both parties given it improves the pace of logins. However, as a result of its widespread usage, issues with the SDK can cause widespread outages.
The Government is facing fresh calls to strip British Airways of landing slots over the flag carrier’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. More than 100 MPs from across the political divide are urging ministers to review the allocation of take-off and landing slots at airports such as Heathrow. BA has been widely criticised over plans to cut up to 12,000 jobs and ram through sweeping changes to pay and working conditions for those that remain. The airline, part of FTSE 100 group IAG that also owns Aer Lingus and Spanish airline Iberia, has insisted that a radical restructuring is required with demand for air travel not expected to recover to pre-Covid levels for several years. Although BA remains in talks with pilots' union Balpa, it is yet to convince Unite and GMB, which represent cabin and ground crew, to the negotiating table. A row over BA’s prized landing slots at Heathrow, where it is the biggest airline, erupted last month when aviation minister Kelly Tolhurst raised the spectre of reviewing the airline’s allocation. Although the Government does not have the right to allocate take-off and landing slots, from 2021 parliament will have the power to set local criteria in return for slot allocation.
Pilots' sick days could be used as factor when easyJet decides who to axe as part of a wave of redundancies, in a move branded "outrageous" by trade unions. The airline will examine staff sickness records as part of a matrix that will also look at lateness and whether they failed to show up for work, as it seeks to determine the workers to lay off to cut costs. Pilots' union Balpa said the system was “completely unacceptable in a safety critical-industry where pilots are legally required not to go to work if they are unfit to do so”. In a letter to members, it said: “Punishing pilots for being sick or unfit to fly is outrageous and could significantly harm easyJet’s previously successful and well-regarded flight safety culture.” EasyJet wants to sack more than 700 pilots as the airline reacts to the collapse in demand for air travel caused by coronavirus.
A raft of struggling department stores may never reopen as the high street struggles to recover from coronavirus, retail experts have warned. Fears are growing that dozens of sites across Britain could shut for good, with analysts concerned the floodgates are now poised to open after John Lewis said it will pull the plug on eight of its 51 sites. It came as one of Britain's top shoemakers pushed for a major rent cut, and landlord Great Portland Estates said that it is struggling to collect cash owed by tenants as retailers teeter on the brink. The axe is expected to fall particularly hard on department stores, many of which were already battling to survive before the pandemic due to the rise of internet shopping and will now be left with no choice but to push through brutal cuts. Richard Lim, an analyst at Retail Economics, said: “The model has been under pressure for many years. They are expensive to run, they are massive stores with long leases. “It’s just whether they can be relevant or not with so much more of our shopping being done online.” Patrick O’Brien, a retail analyst at GlobalData, said: “Department stores are going to struggle. There is a place for some of them, but not in locations we’ve had in the past. I don’t think they're going to be a staple of the high street.” Industry insiders privately agree that the picture is bleak. One former department store boss said that the predictions about the death of the industry “are right” and their travails will be further exacerbated by coronavirus. Job cuts at Harrods show that not even the upmarket chains such as Selfridges and Fenwicks are immune as they rely heavily on tourism and nearby office workers to keep the tills ringing.
Top accountants are to be given compulsory anti-racism training as the industry's biggest players scramble to tackle a lack of diversity in their highest ranks. All staff at Deloitte are to take courses on race and ethnicity awareness amid a growing backlash over the overwhelmingly white management at the so-called Big Four firms. EY and KPMG have also announced a raft of measures to tackle inequality, while PwC has already taken some action. The changes come in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, which sparked calls for improved diversity in business and wider society. Only 11 out of 3,000 equity partners at the Big Four are black, The Telegraph revealed last month. Launching its “Black Action Plan” this week, Deloitte told its 20,000 UK employees that it will aim for 3pc of its partnership to be black by 2025, with 12pc of partners to be from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. Deloitte's deputy chief executive Dimple Agarwal said she had been “humbled, saddened and shocked” after hearing from colleagues unhappy about the profession's lack of diversity. Just six of Deloitte’s 1,096 current partners are black, including only one of the equity partners who share in the firm’s profits. It will have to hire or promote about 27 people within five years to meet the target.
Spain's economy minister has accused another eurozone member of betrayal after narrowly missing out in a bid to lead the bloc's finance group. Nadia Calvino had been the favourite to replace Portugal’s Mario Centeno as president of the influential 19-member Eurogroup, but was defeated by Ireland's Paschal Donohoe. He will begin his term on Monday alongside his current role as finance minister in Dublin. Speaking to Spanish radio, Ms Calvino said: "We had 10 votes secured. Someone didn't do what he said he was going to do. The vote is secret and, in this case, remote." She declined to name the minister she suspects of welshing. The Eurogroup is not an official European Union body, but the job is regarded as one of the organisation's most powerful roles along with the heads of the European Commission, EU Council and the European Parliament. It will take on particular significance as Mr Donohoe attempts to steer the bloc through what is expected to be a recession of historic depths. The eurozone economy is set to contract by a record 8.7pc this year.
TikTok has halted all its operations in Hong Kong, pulling the app from the city following a national security law imposed by China. The video app, owned by Beijing-headquartered ByteDance, announced on Tuesday that it would withdraw from Hong Kong “in light of recent events” that has seen the city subject to sweeping new measures that give the Chinese government more control over it. In a post on its website on Friday, the company said: “We regret to inform you that we have discontinued operating TikTok in Hong Kong.” The app can no longer be downloaded on Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store in Hong Kong, and citizens who had already downloaded the app can no longer use it. TikTok’s decision to stop its services in Hong Kong come as other tech firms, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, are reviewing their current position in the city over concerns that China’s new law restricts freedoms.
Ofcom said Royal Mail missed its target to deliver at least 93% of first-class post across the UK within one working day of collection.
Engineering business Senior slashed 12pc of its workforce in the first half of 2020 amid a wave of coronavirus job cuts in the tottering industry. The business - which supplies components to Airbus and Boeing, as well as defence customers - axed more than 600 positions as the pandemic hit. The redundancies came on top of 400 job losses announced in the autumn as Senior restructured after Boeing halted production of its 737 Max jets following two fatal crashes. Senior now has about 7,200 staff worldwide. Chief executive David Squires hinted there could be more pain to come as he delivered a half-year trading update. He said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on our markets and customers since March, and the impact will be with us for some time to come. “Based on our analysis of economic and industry expert forecasts, and our customers response to those, we expect the difficult conditions to remain for many months to come.” Shares fell 4.4pc.