Bombardier in the crossfire

  • 18 September 2017
  • From the section Business
CSeries Image copyright Getty/AFP

The future of Belfast's largest employer, Canadian aerospace firm Bombardier, will be on the agenda when Theresa May meets Justin Trudeau later today.

As well as discussing a potential future free trade agreement, both Canada and the UK have reason to fear that when it comes to aircraft manufacturing, trade with the US may come with big tariffs attached.

US manufacturer Boeing, with the support of Donald Trump, insists Bombardier is selling its planes to US airlines at knock down prices - only made possible by subsidies from the Canadian and UK government.

When aircraft manufacturers go to war, governments rarely sit on the sidelines. The large subsidies that all aircraft manufacturers need to finance the enormous upfront costs of plane development mean that corporate disputes can, and often do, become international political incidents.

This one has tentacles that affect the balance of Westminster politics. Bombardier's 4,500 strong workforce in Belfast are caught in the crossfire of a bitter trade dispute. The area surrounding the plant is very important to the DUP on whom Theresa May relies for her slender governing majority. So the politics of this dispute are jet fuelled.

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Why are wages so weak?

  • 13 September 2017
  • From the section Business
A protest Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Unions have threatened strikes if the public sector pay cap remains in place

In August 2013, the Bank of England Governor said he would consider raising interest rates when the unemployment rate came down to 7%.

At the time, it was 7.8% - today it is at a 42 year low of 4.3% and rather than raising rates, the only adjustment the bank has made is to cut rates further in the aftermath of the referendum result.

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What's the fuss about Saudi Aramco and the London market?

  • 8 September 2017
  • From the section Business
Saudi in Saudi Aramco's offices Image copyright Reuters

The city has been divided about whether the rules for listing on the London Stock Exchange should be relaxed to accommodate Saudi Aramco.

Blockbuster listings create jobs, fees and usually confer prestige on the financial centre that attracts them but in this case, some fear the relaxing of rules to protect minority shareholders undermines its reputation.

Read full article What's the fuss about Saudi Aramco and the London market?

Migration plans alarm business groups

  • 6 September 2017
  • From the section Business
Construction site Image copyright Getty Images

It appears to fulfil the government's pledge to end uncontrolled migration from the EU while not shutting the door to workers the economy needs.

However, business groups are concerned that these proposals seek to make it much harder to bring in unskilled than skilled workers when both are needed, while enlisting companies themselves as a proxy border force to ensure compliance.

Read full article Migration plans alarm business groups

The great corporate climbdown

  • 29 August 2017
  • From the section Business
Theresa May at Downing Street Image copyright Getty Images

It is no surprise that today's package of reforms to the way Britain's companies are run has fallen short of the crackdown on fat cat behaviour promised by Theresa May last year.

The watering-down can has been used liberally since she initially promised workers on boards and binding shareholder votes on executive pay.

Read full article The great corporate climbdown

Business mutiny leaves Trump isolated

  • 16 August 2017
  • From the section Business
Donald Trump Image copyright PA

Donald Trump, the man who promised to pilot American industry back to greatness, suddenly cuts a very lonely figure as his corporate lieutenants have jumped ship.

First overboard was Kenneth C. Frazier, the chief executive of drugmaker Merck who resigned from the manufacturing council on Monday.

Read full article Business mutiny leaves Trump isolated

Brexit: Back-to-school exam papers are marked

  • 14 August 2017
  • From the section Business
Queuing traffic at the Port of Dover in Kent, 2016 Image copyright @dover-seagull
Image caption Traffic queues at the port of Dover in 2016

Exam results are out next week and there is a decidedly back-to-school feel about the papers the government is publishing this week on Brexit.

Theresa May is back from her holidays and the cabinet is keen to show that it has been hard at work in her absence, not fighting with each other at all.

Read full article Brexit: Back-to-school exam papers are marked

Why Amazon's UK tax bill has dropped 50%

  • 10 August 2017
  • From the section Business
Amazon worker with cardboard boxes Image copyright Getty Images

Amazon has seen a 50% fall in the amount of UK corporation tax it paid last year, while recording a 54% increase in turnover for the same period.

This snippet of news raised eyebrows this morning when it was revealed. So what's going on?

Read full article Why Amazon's UK tax bill has dropped 50%

The crisis: 10 years in three charts

  • 9 August 2017
  • From the section Business
Image copyright Getty Images

The collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers saw workers take home their careers in boxes.

Then there was the first run on a UK lender in 140 years, and the massive bailout of a British bank that had become the biggest in the world.

Read full article The crisis: 10 years in three charts

The great crash - 10 years on

  • 5 August 2017
  • From the section Business
Mervyn King Image copyright Reuters

On 9 August 2007 the French investment bank BNP Paribas announced it was shutting down three investment funds - meaning people who had invested in them couldn't get their money out.

Its press release read as follows:

Read full article The great crash - 10 years on