Coca-Cola to close sites in Milton Keynes and Northampton affecting almost 300 jobs

Company said cuts will allow it to improve productivity and create greater efficiency in the UK
Coca-Cola has announced that it is closing sites in Milton Keynes and Northampton, affecting almost 300 jobs.
The global drinks company’s European arm on Wednesday said that it had concluded a 55-day period of consultation with employees and their representatives and that it had decided to move ahead with the proposals to close the manufacturing site in Milton Keynes and the distribution centre in Northampton.
Closures will take place next year and will affect 288 roles.
“We want to stress that this is not a reflection on the performance or professionalism of our colleagues at these sites,” a spokesperson for Coca-Cola European Partners said.
The spokesperson added that the group is committed to supporting all those affected throughout the process of closure and beyond, by offering training and development opportunities.
“In addition, there will be redeployment opportunities within ou..

Brexit: Business as usual for firms during transition period, says Bank of England

Regulators are aiming to avoid risks to financial stability during the transition period
The Bank of England said on Wednesday that firms in the UK operating under EU passporting rights should continue to run their businesses in the same way during the transition period after 29 March next year.
The Bank issued an update after the EU and the UK agreed there should be an implementation or transition period, and said companies “may plan on the assumption that UK authorisation or recognition will only be needed by the end of the implementation period”.
Read more Business community welcomes progress on Brexit transition deal Meanwhile, the City watchdog said the transition period will give the UK and the EU the opportunity to find a way to reduce risks to financial stability.
“Now is the time for a much deeper regulatory engagement, and in doing so we can give practical substance to the transition or implementation period,” said Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the Financial Cond..

Twitter and LinkedIn ban cryptocurrency adverts – leaving regulators behind

Regulators are yet to frame advertising rules on cryptocurrencies, leaving companies to decide their own policies
A growing number of internet companies are banning cryptocurrency advertising, fearing reputational damage if their users are duped or left penniless, even as regulators struggle to get to grips with the fast-emerging industry.
Twitter on Tuesday began blocking crypto ads, becoming the latest internet giant to take action after moves by Google and Facebook earlier this year.
Once restricted to small online chatrooms for early bitcoin backers, cryptocurrencies have since exploded in popularity and the industry has grown rapidly.
Read more Government task force launched to guard against bitcoin dangers Huge billboards promoting the latest coin hang over Tokyo’s streets, ads touting crypto-trading dot the London Underground, and social media platforms are full of startups looking to raise capital through “initial coin offerings” (ICOs), as the selling of new virtual tok..

US economic growth slows to 2.9% in fourth quarter

Consumer spending in the US saw the biggest gain in three years
US economic growth slowed less than previously estimated in the fourth quarter as the biggest gain in consumer spending in three years partially offset the drag from a jump in imports.
Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.9 per cent annual rate in the final three months of 2017, instead of the previously reported 2.5 per cent, the Commerce Department said in its third GDP estimate for the period on Wednesday. That was a slight moderation from the third quarter’s brisk 3.2 per cent pace.
The upward revision to the fourth-quarter growth estimate also reflected less inventory reduction than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had expected that fourth-quarter GDP growth would be revised up to a 2.7 per cent rate.
Read more Northern Ireland’s economy to fall behind the rest of the UK next year There are signs that economic activity slowed further in the first quarter, with retail sales falling in February..

A Find at Gap: Steady Hours Can Help Workers, and Profits

A Find at Gap: Steady Hours Can Help Workers, and Profits Photo Credit Ryan Peltier In recent years, studies have shown that erratic work schedules can take a major toll on the well-being of service workers.
But many employers in the retail, restaurant and hospitality industries continue to behave as though stable scheduling is an unaffordable luxury.
“I don’t count on the hours in my schedule,” said Sam Stephenson, an employee at a Gap store in Huntersville, N.C. “I don’t count on the money I’m supposed to be getting.”
Now a study involving Ms. Stephenson’s colleagues at more than two dozen Gap retail stores in the Chicago and San Francisco areas, undertaken by a team of researchers with the company’s cooperation, aims to rebut the presumption that stable schedules are too costly. The study shows that more predictable and consistent hours aren’t just compatible with profitability, they can significantly improve a store’s bottom line.
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UK businesses are not educating themselves on what Brexit actually means

Some companies have been been altogether ignoring vital preparations and contingency plans for Brexit
“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” so the UK and EU negotiating teams say. While it wasn’t signed, last week saw the transition agreement endorsed by the European Council – meaning that firms across the UK and the EU can confidently make investment and hiring decisions over the next three years.
The trouble is that companies have not only been waiting to enact expansion and investment plans – many have also been ignoring preparations for Brexit altogether.
Large, well-resourced firms have both the time and the capacity to analyse and plan for the ups and downs of the negotiations, as well as put contingency plans in place.
Read more GKN: Business Secretary intervenes amid anger over Melrose’s bad bid But what about SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises)? When you are a business with 50 employees, focussed on making a profit at best or making ends meet at worst,..

Saudi Arabia and Japan's Softbank to create world's biggest solar power project

Planned project is expected to have the capacity to produce up to 200 gigawatts of energy by 2030
Softbank Group has announced a $200bn (£141bn) investment to create the world’s biggest solar power project in Saudi Arabia through its Vision Fund private equity arm.
The Japanese conglomerate’s chief executive, Masayoshi Son, told reporters on Tuesday that the planned project is expected to have the capacity to produce up to 200 gigawatts (GW) of energy by 2030.
According to Reuters, that would add to around 400GW of globally installed solar power capacity and is comparable to the world’s total nuclear power capacity of around 390GW as of the end of 2016.
Read more Softbank chief signals interest in Uber and Lyft investment The deal will also fit into Saudi Arabia’s broader goal of diversifying economically and reducing its reliance on the often volatile oil industry – a programme it has dubbed Vision 2030.
The kingdom is one of the sunniest countries in the world but it is also ..