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Trade pact with Japan ruled out by Brexit deadline

Trade pact with Japan ruled out by Brexit deadline

Business
By James Sillars, business reporter The government has admitted it has run out of time to roll over existing trade pacts with Japan and Turkey in the event of a no-deal Brexit.A document released on Thursday by the Department for Trade showed it was seeking to continue deals with 40 trading partners currently covered by EU membership, accounting for 11% of all UK trade. But it confirmed that in the case of Japan - whose trade pact with the EU only came into force this month - "it is unlikely that we will reach an agreement prior to exit day". Japan...
City centres 'could become ghost towns'

City centres 'could become ghost towns'

Business
City centres are in danger of becoming ghost towns as shopping habits change, a committee of MPs has warned.To combat this, the government should "level the playing field" for High Street retailers by raising taxes on online giants such as Amazon, it said.The MPs also called for lower business rates and more regeneration in town centres. The government said it was investing to ensure High Streets "adapt and thrive for generations". A fifth of UK retail sales now occur online with that proportion likely to grow, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee said. Replacing failed shops 'won't save cities' Three things that could save the High Street But it said the impact on high streets had been "stark", resulting in "store closures, persiste...
'Sustained' drone attack closed Gatwick, airport says

'Sustained' drone attack closed Gatwick, airport says

Business
Sussex Police, the government and Gatwick airport say that the severe travel disruption last year was caused by a "sustained" drone attack.The situation caused disruption for tens of thousands of passengers. Gatwick's decision to close was taken after a risk assessment with police. The airport says there were well over 100 drone sightings over three days.The majority of those sightings were made by police officers or airport workers.Former army officer Richard Gill believes the Gatwick attack was "really well planned".His Nottinghamshire company, Drone Defence, sells systems used to detect drones, as well as other equipment which can jam the frequencies they need to operate.'Difficult to combat'Because they were "very difficult to detect", the drones at G...
Sainsbury's-Asda deal in jeopardy over price and quality concerns

Sainsbury's-Asda deal in jeopardy over price and quality concerns

Business
By John-Paul Ford Rojas, business reporter A planned merger of Sainsbury's and Asda has been thrown into jeopardy after the competition watchdog identified "extensive" concerns.The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the deal could lead to higher prices and lower quality and that it would be "difficult" for the companies to resolve them so that it can go ahead. Its provisional findings effectively block the merger unless the plans are altered before a final report due at the end of April - and were described as "death by 1,000 cuts" by one person close to the tie-up.The CMA said options for addressing its concerns included blocking the deal or forcing the companies to sell off "a significant number of stores and other assets" - potentially includ...
Arizona airline Mesa backs rival Flybe proposal

Arizona airline Mesa backs rival Flybe proposal

Business
By Mark Kleinman, City editor An Arizona-based commuter airline is backing a proposal to shore up the finances of Flybe, the struggling regional carrier, in a last-ditch effort to scupper a takeover led by Virgin Atlantic Airways.Sky News can exclusively reveal that Mesa Air Group, which is headquartered in Phoenix, is part of a consortium which has tabled an offer to inject £65m of new equity into Flybe. The rival proposal is understood to have been submitted to Flybe's board, chaired by Simon Laffin, on Tuesday afternoon. Image: Flybe chairman Simon Laffin People close to the company said the refinancing plan was being led by Bateleur Capital, an investment firm which focuses on industries inc...