Beast from the East kept shoppers off the high street in March, shows research

The extreme weather conditions in March gave online expenditure a boost
The chill from the Beast from the East extended to the UK’s high streets last month, with consumer spending growth slowing as shoppers opted to stay at home because of the freezing weather.
According to the latest data from Barclaycard, spending growth fell to 2 per cent in March, down from 3.8 per cent growth in February, which is the lowest level of growth recorded since April 2016.
Read more Construction suffers biggest drop in activity since Brexit vote A third of consumers told Barclaycard the cold weather was the reason they spent less on the high street, and was also the explanation for a 11.7 per cent jump in online expenditure over the month as Britons chose instead to shop from home.
The weather hit petrol spending, which declined 1.8 per cent year-on-year, and also hurt spending in restaurants and pubs, where growth dipped compared with February.
The biggest impact was seen in the garden cent..

EU has grown faster as market for UK exports than Asia and US since Brexit vote, say company directors

Europe remains area where business leaders see the most growth, survey finds
The EU has grown more strongly as a market for UK exporters than either Asia or North America over the past two years, a new survey suggests.
The EU has been the biggest source of growth for 43 per cent of company bosses surveyed by the Institute of Directors. Just 21 per cent pointed to North America, with the same proportion also citing Asia.
Though business leaders said they see potential in Asia and America over the next 5 years, the EU remains the region with the highest expectations for growth, the poll of almost 800 directors found.
Read more UK firms face storm of flawed legislation after Brexit, experts warn Business leaders said the best government facilitator for trade is agreements which reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers with third countries.
The IoD urged the Government to use the next 18 months heading into Brexit transition to consult on and develop a comprehensive trade agenda for..

Waitrose pledges to phase out disposable coffee cups in stores by autumn

Supermarket says move will save more than 52 million cups a year
Waitrose has announced plans to remove all disposable coffee cups from its shops by this autumn, as part of efforts to reduce plastics and packaging.
Members of the myWaitrose loyalty scheme will still be able to get free tea or coffee from self-service machines as a reward for shopping at the supermarket, but will be asked to use a reusable “keep cup”, the company said.
The removal of disposable cups will initially take place in nine stores from 30 April, as a trial for managing the changeover, before the scheme is rolled out nationwide in a phased programme by the autumn.
Read more Only a levy on disposable cups will break a nasty national habit ​Waitrose said the move, which comes as the government is considering a “latte levy” which would bring in a charge on disposable coffee cups, would save more than 52 million cups a year.
According to the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee, the UK throws away 2.5..

Book Entry: Review: ‘Empire of Guns’ Challenges the Role of War in Industrialization

Review: ‘Empire of Guns’ Challenges the Role of War in Industrialization Photo “Empire of Guns” aims to overturn the conventional wisdom about the role of firearms in the world’s economic development. Adam Smith, in his classic “The Wealth of Nations,” was an early proponent of the now mainstream view that wars are unfortunate accidents that have “crowded out” more productive investments.
In “Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution,” the Stanford history professor Priya Satia aims to overturn this conventional wisdom about the role of guns specifically, and war and conquest more generally, in the world’s economic development.
Given that “Britain was involved in major military operations” for most of the years leading up to and during the Industrial Revolution, Professor Satia argues that imagining an alternative universe in which peace prevailed is a fool’s errand. (“It is impossible to factor the violence out.”) She contends, rather than crowding out infrastruc..

Federal Budget Deficit Projected to Top $1 Trillion in 2020

Federal Budget Deficit Projected to Top $1 Trillion in 2020 Photo The government’s mounting debt has seemed of little consequence on Capitol Hill in recent months as Republicans in Congress successfully worked to pass a sweeping package of tax cuts. Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times WASHINGTON — The federal government’s annual budget deficit is set to widen significantly in the next few years, topping $1 trillion in 2020 despite healthy economic growth, according to new projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The national debt, which has topped $21 trillion, is expected to soar to more than $33 trillion in 2028. By then, debt held by the public will almost match the size of the nation’s economy, reaching 96 percent of gross domestic product, a higher level than any point since just after World War II and well past the level that economists say could court a crisis.
The new C.B.O. projection is the first since President Trump signed a tax cut that is expected t..

Russia stock market crashes 11% after US imposes sanctions on oligarchs linked to Kremlin

Aluminium giant Rusal, which is controlled by Oleg Deripaska, halved in value on Monday
Russia’s main share index crashed 11 per cent on Monday after the US imposed new sanctions on oligarchs and companies linked to Vladimir Putin.
Aluminium giant Rusal, which is controlled by Oleg Deripaska, halved in value on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Monday, while EN+, a holding company also owned by Mr Deripaska crashed by 40 per cent.
The aluminium tycoon has close ties to Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort as well as Mr Putin.
Read more Russia warns UK it is 'playing with fire and will be sorry' Just two companies on Russia’s moex stock market were in positive territory on Monday. The widespread falls came as investors reacted to news that Washington had extended sanctions on Friday to seven oligarchs and 12 companies controlled by them, as well as 17 Russian government officials.
Alexei Miller, director of state-owned Gazprom, is on the list, as is Kiri..

Carillion latest: More than 10,000 jobs now saved with 1,852 lost so far from contractor's collapse

The government said on Monday that more than 10,000 jobs have been saved in the wake of the Carillion collapse.
According to the UK’s Insolvency Service, 10,125 of Carillion’s pre-liquidation workforce have now found secure ongoing employment, following the transfer of 179 staff to new employers.
Read more Carillion finance directors to be investigated by accountancy watchdog “Regrettably 23 employees whose positions are no longer required as Carillion’s business transfers to new suppliers will leave the business later this week,” said a spokesperson for the Official Receiver.
“I am continuing to talk with potential purchasers for Carillion’s remaining contracts and will keep staff, elected employee representatives and unions to keep them informed as these arrangements are confirmed.”
The total number of roles saved so far represents around half the 20,000-strong workforce employed by Carillion at the time of its collapse in January.
Since then, 1,825 jobs have been made re..

Uber snaps up electric bike company Jump Bikes

The popularity of electric scooters and bikes pushes the ride-hailing firm into a new market
Uber is leaping into the bike-rental industry with the purchase of Jump Bikes, as chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi seeks out new growth areas with his first acquisition.
The ride-hailing giant agreed to pay more than $100m in cash and stock to buy the electric-bicycle provider, a person familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified because the figure isn’t public.
Technology news site TechCrunch first reported acquisition talks. Uber declined to disclose the terms of the deal, which the companies unveiled in a joint statement Monday.
Read more Denmark demands former Uber drivers pay millions in unpaid taxes With the acquisition of Jump, Uber will now be in the business of owning and operating fleets of electric bikes. Dockless conveyances — electric scooters, traditional bicycles, electric bikes and mopeds — are becoming more prominent in San Francisco and other US cities. ..