Brexit: Confidence in UK economy turns positive for first time since Article 50 triggered

The rise follows earlier jump after December’s announcement of progress in phase one of Brexit talks
Optimism about the UK’s economy is higher than at any time since Theresa May triggered Article 50 last March, according to a survey of company directors.
The rise in confidence follows an earlier jump after December’s announcement that sufficient progress had been made in the first phase of the Brexit talks.
The UK’s uncertain trading status with the EU has fallen out of the top three concerns of business leaders for the first time since withdrawal negotiations began, the Institute of Directors found.
Read more Airbus warns hard Brexit will cause business to ‘grind to a halt’ Economic conditions, skills shortages and compliance with government regulation now occupy the top spots.
A net balance of 1 per cent more of those asked thought the prospects for the economy were good, while the balance was 47 per cent when bosses were asked about the outlook for their own company.
Tej P..

Decline in bees puts supply of raw materials for global business at risk, says report

Businesses face the threat of declining bee populations and other pollinating species crucial to the development of crops
Businesses face a shortage of raw materials and a drop in the quality of crop as the number of bees decline worldwide, a new report warns.
Approximately three quarters of crops around the world depend on pollination, all of which could soon be threatened as more than a third of wild bee and butterfly species face extinction, according to a joint study by the UN, the University of East Anglia and Cambridge University.
Major businesses, including Asda, the Body Shop, Mars and Pepsico, say they are unable to take action largely because of uncertainty around which crops and regions are vulnerable to the decline in pollinators such as bees.
Read more National Grid profit warning after £140m hit from extreme weather “The role pollinators play – be it tiny midges for cocoa or squirrels for coconut – is not well understood and can be taken for granted,” says Jos van ..

Pensioners paying £4,300 each to bankroll children and grandchildren, study finds

Women are slightly more generous than men, expecting to provide an average of £374 a month to family members
Nearly a third of people planning to retire this year are bankrolling family members as well as paying for their own retirement, new research has found.
A survey found 31 per cent of people are paying out £4,300 a year on average, increasing pressure on their own retirement plans and income.
They are providing financial support to three people on average with their or their partner’s children the most likely (56 per cent) to be receiving money.
Read more Number of people retiring after age 70 doubles since 2010 Among those paying for younger generations, a quarter said they were giving money to grandchildren, 8 per cent to their parents and 2 per cent to their grandparents.
Nearly one in five expecting to retire this year estimate they provide more than £500 a month to family members.
The money is most commonly used to cover everyday living costs such as food and tra..

A California Housing Fight, Waged With Pen and Walking Shoes

A California Housing Fight, Waged With Pen and Walking Shoes SACRAMENTO — How do you get a landlord to endorse a proposal to limit rent increases?
Yong Her, a 39-year-old bookkeeper, was one of 40 or so organizers who considered the question on a recent afternoon. The group had gathered in a conference room here to discuss strategies for getting people of various backgrounds, incomes and occupations to sign a petition to put a rent-control measure before Sacramento’s voters.
It was one small scene in what is shaping up as an epic battle on the state and city levels to combat California’s affordable-housing crisis. Pitting a rising tenants rights’ movement against apartment owners, the fight will consume tens of millions of dollars’ worth of organizing effort and political advertising before the November election.
If the Sacramento initiative were to make the ballot and ultimately pass, rent increases would be capped at 5 percent a year. That kind of law is a fairly easy sell in higher-..

Independent coffee shops call for major chains to offer more sustainable cups

A group of independent coffee shops has called on major chains to offer more sustainable cups.
To mark the start of London Coffee Festival, nine companies have signed an open letter in which they described the need for coffee giants like Starbucks to lead the way in the fight against plastic waste.
The move comes after Waitrose announced it would phase out disposable coffee cups in stores by autumn, and new figures revealed that NHS trusts in England get through millions of cups every year.
Read more Starbucks: Bring in fully recyclable takeaway cups London shops including Timberyard Seven Dials, Chief Coffee and Stir have called on their major rivals to step up their game and help combat plastic pollution.
“As members of the coffee retail community, we want to tackle this crisis,” they wrote.
“Until the major players in our market invest in more sustainable solutions, there will be little systemic change.”
Ways to reduce your single-use plastic 6 show all Ways to reduce yo..

Fed Officials Have Concerns About Trade, March Meeting Minutes Show

Fed Officials Have Concerns About Trade, March Meeting Minutes Show Photo Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chairman. Minutes of the Fed’s March meeting, the first under Mr. Powell, showed officials raising concerns about a potential trade war. Credit Lyndon French for The New York Times WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Board policymakers raised concerns at their March meeting about the prospect of the United States heading into a global trade war, zeroing in on potential harm to American farmers such a clash would cause, according to minutes of the meeting released by the Fed on Wednesday.
The officials also expressed uncertainty about how newly enacted tax cuts would affect the economy, partly because the cuts are expected to exacerbate the swelling of federal budget deficits, and because some of the cuts are to expire in the years ahead. Policymakers also expressed unanimous, increased confidence in the strength of the country’s economic recovery, even accounting for trade and tax u..

Can British Airways owner IAG fly off with Norwegian and its low cost model?

Norwegian's beleaguered shares took flight when it emerged that International Airlines Group had been buying them up with a view to entering talks about a deal
Can British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG) make a deal for Norwegian Air fly?
It has turned up unannounced in the low cost carrier’s departure lounge, brandishing its corporate cheque book.
IAG’s boss Willie Walsh is clearly hoping that the 4.6 per cent stake his company has quietly built up will grant him priority boarding and the right to talk to Norwegian’s punchy pilot Bjorn Kos, who controls a quarter of the company's stock, about buying the plane out.
Read more Is British Airways gearing up to take over Norwegian Air? Why Norwegian Air's £69 flights to New York are a real game-changer The airline charging passengers just £69 to fly to New York Given the way the previously low flying shares have taken off, the price could be a high one.
Norwegian has been busy ruffling feathers thro..

US tariffs battle with China threatens global trade growth, warns WTO

Global trade grew at its fastest for six years in 2017, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) revealed on Thursday, and the outlook is positive – but only if tensions between major economies do not escalate into a full blown trade war.
According to the WTO’s figures, the volume of world merchandise trade grew by 4.7 per cent, by far exceeding the 3.6 per cent forecast in September last year, and well above the 1.8 per cent growth in 2016. Based on improved business and consumer confidence, the WTO estimates world trade will grow nearly as fast this year as they did last year, at 4.4 per cent, with growth of 4 per cent in 2019.
Read more IMF boss warns trade protectionism will only hurt the world's poorest China files trade complaint against US at the WTO over steel tariffs China says it will defeat US in any trade war and stand up to Trump Roberto Azevedo, director general of the WTO, said: “This is good news. It represents the best run of trade expansion since before the crisi..