Beast from the East saw UK GDP growth slip to just 0.3% in first quarter, suggests research

Negative impact not as severe as it was after last heavy snowfalls in December 2010, economists estimate
Severe bad weather could have reduced UK GDP growth to 0.2 to 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, according to new research.
Economists at PwC estimated that underlying economic growth had remained steady at 0.4 per cent and that any economic impact from heavy snow and ice should be temporary.
PwC kept its growth forecast for 2018 unchanged at 1.5 per cent and it predicts the economy will bounce back in the second quarter.
Read more UK economy in grip of most feeble recovery on modern record, says IFS Construction output slipped by 1.6 per cent in February and was 3 per cent lower than in the same month a year ago, the Office for National Statistics reported last week. That downward trend is likely to continue into March, according to PwC’s model, which uses data from a number of frequently released indicators. Some parts of the service sector – which makes up the majo..

Costa Coffee owner's share price jumps after reports the cafe chain will be spun off

US fund is now largest investor in hospitality group which also owns Premier Inn
The owner of Costa Coffee is facing pressure to spin off the high street cafe chain after activist investor Elliott Advisors built up a stake of more than six per cent in the group.
Whitbread’s share price jumped more than 6 per cent on Monday morning following reports over the weekend that Elliott had bought more shares in the company.
Read more Costa Coffee launches ‘Flat Black’ and receives mocking response Elliott’s holding is now worth more than £430m, making it the largest shareholder in Whitbread and giving it various voting rights that will allow the investor to press its case for splitting Costa Coffee from the rest of the business.
Whitbread, which also owns the Premier Inn brand, is also under pressure to spin off Costa from another New York-based investor, Sachem Head, which has a 3.4 per cent stake in the group.
Whitbread, which reports its full-year results next week, declined to ..

WPP shares drop 5% on first day of trading since Sir Martin Sorrell quit

Advertising boss said investigation was putting “unnecessary pressure” on the business
Shares in advertising group WPP dropped 5 per cent at the open on Monday, after the departure of chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell over the weekend.
Earlier this month, the group announced Mr Sorrell was under investigation over allegations of personal misconduct regarding company assets, which he rejected “unreservedly”.
Read more The business world needs more bosses like Martin Sorrell Sir Martin Sorrell quits as WPP boss after misconduct allegations WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell is under investigation On Saturday, Mr Sorrell said he was standing down as the “current disruption” was “putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business”.
Confirming his departure in a statement to the London Stock Exchange, WPP said: “The previously announced investigation into an allegation of misconduct against Sir Martin has concluded. The allegation did not involve amounts that are material.”
Roberto Qua..

UK car leasing costs driven up 9% in a year because of Brexit, research shows

Monthly costs rose most for German-made vehicles
The cost of leasing a new car in the UK has gone up 9 per cent in the space of a year due to the weak pound in the wake of the Brexit vote.
Research by accountancy group UHY Hacker Young shows the monthly cost of leasing a car rose from an average of £232 in February 2017 to £253 in the same month this year, based on a basket of some of the most popular car models in the UK.
Read more UK car registrations fall for 12th consecutive month The weakened pound is pushing import costs up for motor manufacturers, UHY said, and those companies are beginning to pass the expense on to consumers.
Prices are also being pushed up by strengthening sales in European markets, the accounting firm said, with less stock making its way to the UK.
The three biggest rises in monthly costs were all for German-made cars: the Mini Cooper D, up 31 per cent; the Audi A3, up 23 per cent; and the Mercedes-Benz C220, up 19 per cent.
This is in contrast ..

JD Wetherspoon to close Twitter, Instagram and Facebook of all its 900 pubs after online abuse of MPs

JD Wetherspoon is closing its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for all its 900 pubs and head office following the abuse directed at MPs and others.
The pub chain said the move also takes into account recent concerns over the misuse of personal data and the addictive nature of social media.
Tim Martin, the chairman of Wetherspoon, said: “We are going against conventional wisdom that these platforms are a vital component of a successful business.
In a world of social media, J D Wetherspoon has decided to close down all Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts for individual pubs and head office. pic.twitter.com/16BbW7JS3g
— J D Wetherspoon (@jdwtweet) April 16, 2018 “I don't believe that closing these accounts will affect our business whatsoever, and this is the overwhelming view of our pub managers.
“It's becoming increasingly obvious that people spend too much time on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and struggle to control the compulsion.
“..

People don't save enough for retirement because they live longer than they think they will, research finds

Those in their 50s and 60s underestimate chances of survival to age 75 by around 20 percentage points and to 85 by five to 10 percentage points, study finds
People live longer than they think they will, potentially harming their ability to save adequately for their retirement, new research has found.
It is increasingly important to plan for the future because recently introduced pension freedoms have given people more control over their retirement funds, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said.
People in their 50s and 60s underestimate their chances of survival to age 75 by around 20 percentage points and to 85 by around five to 10 percentage points, the study found. For example, men born in the 1940s who were interviewed at age 65 reported a 65 per cent chance of making it to age 75, whereas the official estimate was 83 per cent. For women, the equivalent figures were 65 per cent and 89 per cent.
Read more Pensioners paying £4,300 each to bankroll children and grandchildren Howev..

Rather than revelling in Sir Martin Sorrell's demise, the business world should recognise the truth – that it needs more bosses like him

The WPP boss has always been willing to stick his head above the parapet
There will be plenty of people taking great delight in the resignation of Sir Martin Sorrell from WPP.
The 73-year-old built WPP into the world’s largest advertising and marketing group. Now, after allegations of financial impropriety, which he denies, and pressure in the boardroom, he is quitting.
We love nothing more in the UK than cutting folk down to size, particularly someone who is paid so much and is so high-profile. It’s almost like a national sport, of everyone piling in to give them a good kicking.
No matter that they built up a hugely successful enterprise employing thousands, and when they spoke or wrote or posed for a picture they were also promoting their corporate brand. Somehow, the collective view prevails: they got above themselves and therefore deserve bringing down.
Read more Sir Martin Sorrell quits as WPP boss after misconduct allegations WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell is under investigati..

UK companies need more executives like Martin Sorrell to give business a voice

The WPP boss has always been willing to stick his head above the parapet
There will be plenty of people taking great delight in the travails of Sir Martin Sorrell.
We love nothing more in the UK than cutting folk down to size, particularly someone who is paid so much and is so high profile. It’s almost like a national sport, of everyone piling in to give them a good kicking.
No matter that they built up a hugely successful enterprise employing thousands, and when they spoke or wrote or posed for a picture they were also promoting their corporate brand. Somehow, the collective view prevails: they got above themselves and therefore deserve bringing down.
Read more WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell is under investigation They themselves discover a hard truth, that on the way to the top they collected enemies and “friends”, who, when the boots thud in, turn out to be anything but, preferring to desert them rather than stand beside them.
So it is with Sorrell, 73. The advertising boss pre..

Sir Martin Sorrell quits as WPP boss after investigation launched into personal misconduct allegations

'I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now'
Sir Martin Sorrell, has quit as chief executive of the world's largest advertising agency WPP, less than a fortnight after it was confirmed the company was investigating an allegation of personal misconduct against him.
The 73-year-old said he was obviously “sad” to be leaving the firm he founded 33-years ago.
“It has been a passion, focus and source of energy for so long,” he said in a statement. “However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now.”
Read more WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell is under investigation The company stunned the industry last week when it said it had appointed lawyers to investigate alleged misconduct by Sir Martin, who turned a two-man outfit into the world's biggest advertising group with 200,000 employees.
He denied any misconduct “unreservedly”.
But in a letter to WPP staff published late he said the “current disruption” was ..