The business pages – 17th July

By 17th July 2017News stories

BP backs big data to boost efficiency
Financial Times – Andrew Ward
BP is planning a fivefold increase in its data capacity over the next three years as it looks to harness digital technology to lift efficiency.

Rail agency proposal to ‘cure chaos’
The Times – Robert Lea
The Department for Transport has reportedly put forward proposals to take much greater control of the running of train operating companies, raising the possibility of the recreation of the Strategic Rail Authority. A briefing document revealed that ministers believe the franchise model ‘faces real challenge’, mainly ensuring it remains commercially and politically sustainable, and that reforms may be needed to better manage uncertainty, such as the government retaining more or all revenue risk. Industry sources believe the DfT has raised the prospect of greater departmental control due to the election performance of Labour, which was proposing rail industry renationalisation.

Trade deal ‘essential’ to protect UK car industry
The Daily Telegraph – Peter Foster and Alan Tovey
Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, a former diplomat who has represented the EU at the World Trade Organisation, has warned that Britain must rush to agree a trade deal similar to the one being negotiated between the EU and Japan or face having its car industry taken apart. Lee-Makiyama, who is also co-author of the European Commission’s Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment on the EU-Japan trade deal, said Japan and the EU are close to agreeing a deal that will give Japanese companies tariff-free access to European markets, while European farmers will get similar access to Japan. The deal could be agreed in six months and come into force before Britain leaves the EU in 2019. Once in place it could make Japanese companies’ UK manufacturing plants less competitive than rivals in Europe, and Lee-Makiyama said in the event of a hard Brexit there could be a tariff between the UK and the single market whereas there would be none between Japan and the EU, which has considerable consequences for UK car plants.

House prices hold steady year after Brexit
The Guardian – Simon Goodley
The latest survey by Rightmove has found that the UK housing market is shrugging off concerns in the wider economy following the EU referendum, compounding problems for many first-time buyers still facing the strongest year-on-year price rises in the market. The survey found that there are more buyers and sellers in the market compared with the period around the referendum, with the number of sales agreed up by 4.6% in June compared with June last year. The figures also show that the national average asking price for people buying their first home has fallen by 1.7% since last month to £196,450, although this is still 3.8% higher than a year ago. Rightmove said that in spite of high demand and a lack of supply, stretched affordability continued to act as a brake on prices.

Concern as Airbnb sees bookings in London surge
i (The paper for today) – Catherine Wylie
The number of nights booked in London with online platform Airbnb rose 130% to 4.62m this year, helping its market share of London’s overnight visitors more than double to nearly 9% in 2016. However, concerns have been raised about a lack of regulation regarding the company.

Airbus ditches UK president in jobs shake-up
Daily Mail – Rachel Millard
Airbus UK president Paul Kahn is leaving the company and his role is being scrapped as part of a group-wide restructuring that will see more than 1,000 positions cut. The aircraft maker will no longer have a UK president, instead having the lesser role of UK senior vice-president.

Next CEO critical of government’s Brexit strategy
Daily Express – Unattributed Lord Simon Wolfson, the chief executive of Next, has criticised the government for failing to present a clear vision on Brexit and warning that leaving the EU does not guarantee success. Wolfson, a prominent Leave campaigner, said he has no regrets over his support for Brexit, but that it was important not to isolate Britain in the process.

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