Britain's sugar tax is a sweet idea

Free market think tanks and the food industry may grouse, but similar measures have reaped benefits when they've been tried overseas and they don't 'clobber the poor'
Welcome to the first day of the sugar tax, a sweet idea despite the bitter taste its opponents have been trying to leave.
An example of the latter came from the Institute of Economic Affairs. “The sugar levy is a cynical revenue raising device that will clobber people on low incomes,” it growled. “The British public are being treated like children.” If you think you can hear cheering in the background it's probably from the food and retail industries.
It always rather amuses me when Thatcherite think tanks try and portray themselves as defenders of the poor, but does the IEA have a point? Particularly when it contends that while the consumption of sugary drinks has been falling, obesity has not?
Read more Sugar tax: the soft drinks that slashed their sugar ahead of the levy How meal deals..

DealBook Briefing: How Hot Could the U.S.-China Trade Fight Get?

Supported by DealBook Briefing: How Hot Could the U.S.-China Trade Fight Get? Photo Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times Good Friday morning. The U.S.-China trade fight is getting hotter (with Beijing’s commerce ministry expected to hold a briefing this morning). Some links require subscriptions.
Consider the ante raisedWas tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods not enough? President Trump appears to think so, announcing that he’s considering tariffs on $100 billion more because of Beijing’s “unfair retaliation.” A bluff? Even his advisers aren’t sure.
Expect the White House to keep negotiating with China, especially since U.S. tariffs wouldn’t bite until after a two-month comment period. But China has reasons to think it could win a trade war.
More companies, like Cargill, are getting jumpy. Some fear the tensions could kill Qualcomm’s bid for NXP Semiconductor. Jacob Frenkel, the chairman of JPMorgan Chase’s international business, is worried, too: He said the hostilitie..

Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s Ousted President, Gets 24 Years in Prison

Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s Ousted President, Gets 24 Years in Prison Photo Supporters of former President Park Geun-hye of South Korea calling for her release on Friday, near the courthouse in Seoul where she was sentenced. Credit Ahn Young-Joon/Associated Press SEOUL, South Korea — Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s impeached and ousted president, was sentenced on Friday to 24 years in prison on a variety of criminal charges, in a case that exposed the entrenched, collusive ties between South Korea’s government and huge conglomerates like Samsung.
A three-judge panel at the Seoul Central District Court also ordered Ms. Park to pay $17 million in fines, in a ruling that marked a climactic moment in an influence-peddling scandal that shook the country’s political and business worlds.
Ms. Park’s conviction on bribery, coercion, abuse of power and other charges was the first lower-court ruling on a criminal case to be broadcast live in South Korea. She is the country’s first former leader to ..

Selfridges to stop selling carbonated drinks in single-use plastic bottles

The retailer banned single-use water bottles almost two years ago
Department store Selfridges is removing all single-use plastic bottles containing carbonated drinks from its stores after stopping sales of disposable plastic water bottles.
The retailer has not sold single-use water bottles for almost two years and said it wanted to further encourage customers to end their use of throwaway plastic and switch to alternatives such as aluminium cans and glass.
It hopes the move, which takes effect this week and will stop the sale of the equivalent of six tonnes of plastic, will encourage other companies to remove the bottles from their offices and retail outlets.
Read more Decline in plastic bags on seabed shows tackling waste is working Selfridges Group deputy chairwoman Alannah Weston said: “We are seeing a huge shift in people's attitudes to single-use plastic water bottles, and now, carbonated drinks.
“We still have a long way to go but we can encourage environmentally con..

Pacino as Paterno, and Who Is That Producer? Anthony Scaramucci

Supported by Media Pacino as Paterno, and Who Is That Producer? Anthony Scaramucci Photo Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications director, is credited as an executive producer on “Paterno,” which stars Al Pacino, center, and is scheduled to air Saturday on HBO. Credit Atsushi Nishijima/HBO, via Associated Press Eagle-eyed viewers of the HBO film “Paterno” — a biopic of the disgraced Penn State football coach, starring a slurring, pancake-faced Al Pacino — may spot a surprising name in the credits: Anthony Scaramucci, the world’s most famous former White House communications director.
Mr. Scaramucci, it turns out, is a dabbler in the biz.
“I just gave them the dough,” he said during a brief telephone conversation the other day.
Officially, he is a co-executive producer of “Paterno,” having bought the rights to a book about the saga at Pennsylvania State University several years ago with a producing partner, Edward R. Pressman. His involvement with the movie, which..

Co-op: Roaring back and in the black but is it just a bit too busy?

The institution has delivered a punchy set of results and is once again doing what the Co-operative should do, but its bosses should be wary of overreaching themselves
The Co-op’s back.
The institution’s latest set of numbers paint a picture of a business that has at last shaken off a long tail of yuck left by disasters (banking snafus, awful executives, dodgy directors) that could have brought the thing crashing down.
At first glance the phrase ‘what's not to like’ springs to mind.
Read more Co-op group is back in the black as it reveals members got £74m reward Co-op's new app could mean no need for checkouts Disgraced ex-Co-op Bank chairman Paul Flowers banned from City A £132m loss turned into a £72m headline profit. At the underlying level, which strips out ‘one off’ nasties to focus on the performance of the core business, profits rolled in at £65m against £52m. Debt fell to £775m from £885m. Overall revenues were flat, but there were plenty of bright spots.
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UK productivity growth hit a 10-year high in the second half of 2017, show official figures

The increase was largely driven by a fall in the number of hours worked
UK productivity rose 0.7 per cent in the final three months of 2017, and with the third quarter figure revised up to 1 per cent, together they represent the strongest growth since the second half of 2005, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The ONS said the period between October and December last year was “the second consecutive quarter in which productivity growth has exceeded the pre-downturn average of 0.5 per cent per quarter”.
Read more UK productivity growth hits six-year high However, productivity was calculated on an output per hour basis, and so the increase was “largely driven by a fall in average hours worked”, the ONS said.
Meanwhile, revised estimates of labour productivity of the G7 show the UK continues to lag behind other major economies – UK labour productivity was around 16.3 per cent below the average for the other G7 economies in 2016.
“This is a second successive qu..