Lloyds bank is to axe 3,000 jobs in the UK and close 200 branches in an attempt to save £400m by the end of 2017. Chief executive António Horta-Osório said that ‘a deceleration of growth seems likely’ following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. Nevertheless, in the six months to June the group reported pre-tax profits to £2.45bn – more than double their 2015 earnings.
The board of French energy company EDF will meet in Paris later today to discuss whether to approve the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant plans – and they are likely to give the green light, reports The Guardian. The power plant, in Somerset, will create 25,000 news jobs and provide 7 per cent of the UK’s electricity. However, environmental groups such as Greenpeace have protested against the project, which will divert funds and interest from renewable energy. EDF is looking for a partner to share the financial burden of building the plant: China General Nuclear Power Corporation is expected to stump up 33 per cent.
Tumbleweed blew down Britain’s high streets after the EU referendum. The Times informs us that retail sales fell more in the weeks after 23rd June than they had for four years. 38 per cent of retailers said that spending was lower between 28th June and 14th July than it had been last year, while only 24 per cent said it was higher. The resulting –14 per cent balance is the lowest since 2012. Grocers and furniture shops saw the biggest drop; department stores and shoe shops managed to buck the trend.
House prices will continue to rise, predicts The Daily Mail, despite post-Brexit uncertainty. The Centre for Economics and Business Research forecasts that by 2021 the average property will be £40,000 more expensive. They predict an average 3.9 per cent annual increase in the cost of houses. London, however, is expected to see prices dip by 5.6 per ccent next year. ‘Cebr expects the housing market to slow down but not plummet,’ said Nina Skero, a senior economist at Cebr. ‘Years of underbuilding mean that demand would have to fall very dramatically to meet the low level of supply increases.’
Apple shares have jumped by 7 per cent as Wall Street begins to look beyond the iPhone, says The Independent. The tech giant shifted 40.4 million units in the three months to June – a fall of 15 per cent in sales. As people keep their phones for longer and China looks elsewhere, we may have reached peak iPhone. Yet Apple is growing, as CEO Tim Cook unveils new products in the works: TVs, vehicles and aritifical intelligence are all among the plans. ‘The shares’ behaviour suggests that Wall Street feels it can afford to look beyond quarterly iPhone sales and at what the company might be able to produce with [their] money,’ says James Moore. ‘It wouldn’t hurt British capitalism for the City to take a similar tack.’
Work is killing us – literally. The Telegraph leads with new research from Lancet that shows office life is putting us at ‘deadly risk’. The survey studied more than one million adults and concluded that sitting down for eight hours a day or more increases the risk of premature death by around 60 per cent. Having a job is as dangerous as smoking or obesity, and physical inactivity costs the UK an estimated £1.7bn each year. But the risk can be combatted by doing a brisk five minute walk every hour in addition to spare-time exercise.