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tv   World Business Report  BBC News  December 17, 2021 5:30am-6:01am GMT

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this is bbc news, with the latest business headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. a crippling christmas and a bleak new year for uk hospitality. firms say thousands ofjobs will be lost without government support. this is the final nail in the coffin and i think thousands of businesses will be closing and will not reopen injanuary. cross—channel crisis for travel, as france bans uk tourists over surging omicron cases. china trade tensions deepen, as the us bans imports from xinjiang over human rights concerns. plus, new aussie rules. the uk signs its first true post—brexit trade deal. but will british farmers be for the chop?
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hello there. we start hello there. we start with hello there. we start with the hello there. we start with the impact of the surging omicron variant in the uk and on the economy here. chancellor rishi sunak has cut short a trip to california amid growing calls from businesses for urgent government support. the hospitality industry is warning of a slump in earnings over the vital christmas period, as consumer confidence plunges, social events are cancelled and people work from home. it says many businesses will simply not survive. here's our business editor simonjack. for hospitality, the season to bejko for hospitality, the season to be jolly has only taken an unwelcome turn. courses customers are cancelling plans, meaning businesses of all sizes are facing a bleak new year.
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with cancellations up to 40% we do feel it is pretty much a lockdown and it is impacting our business enormously. this is the last nail in the coffin and, unfortunately, thousands of businesses will collapse after the new year and hundreds of thousands of jobs after the new year and hundreds of thousands ofjobs will be lost. of thousands of “obs will be lost. . , of thousands of 'obs will be lost. . , lost. until recently, there were fears _ lost. until recently, there were fears that _ lost. until recently, there were fears that christmasj were fears that christmas demand would outstrip supply, but this is seller thinks having secured the stock the problem may now be exactly the opposite. problem may now be exactly the o- osite. .,, ~ problem may now be exactly the o. osite. .,, ~' , .,, problem may now be exactly the o- osite. ~ , ., opposite. last week people have been cancelling _ opposite. last week people have been cancelling orders _ opposite. last week people have been cancelling orders and - been cancelling orders and especially christmas items, christmas preorders, lines we will struggle to sell such as turkeys, pigs and blankets, seasonal christmas puddings, things we can't sell all year round. that is leaving us with stock we will have to put onto sell—off or dispose of. stock we will have to put onto sell-off or dispose of.- sell-off or dispose of. once aaain it sell-off or dispose of. once again it is — sell-off or dispose of. once again it is hospitality - sell-off or dispose of. once | again it is hospitality versed in the firing line in this, december, is most crucial month. these businesses are not being asked to close but many feel with consumer confidence
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and numbers evaporating in the face of rising infections they might well have been. there is a mismatch, many feel, between policy, economic reality, and the kind of government support thatis the kind of government support that is currently on offer. it's notjust custom numbers dropping off, cast members falling ill close this production of the liking for at least a week, a dramatic reminder that staff shortages can also cripple businesses. specifically, business groups want vat lower for longer and business rates bills and loan repayments deferred.- business rates bills and loan repayments deferred. well, they a - reciate repayments deferred. well, they appreciate it _ repayments deferred. well, they appreciate it is _ repayments deferred. well, they appreciate it is a _ repayments deferred. well, they appreciate it is a difficult - appreciate it is a difficult time for the hospitality industry, that is why i was on the phone earlier today with various industry leaders from the hospitality space and the good news, iwill say, is there are existing support measures in place to help the industry. there is little sign yet that he is ready to be business's
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christmas saviour. simonjack, bbc news. kate nicholls is the chief executive of ukhospitality, a trade body which represents more than 700 companies in the hotel, food and drink, and entertainment industries, employing 3.2 million people. thank you very much forjoining me on the programme. simon they're talking about the disconnect between government policy and economic reality and the numbers of people cancelling events. is this a lockdown by stealth? in effect, for our businesses, _ lockdown by stealth? in effect, for our businesses, that - lockdown by stealth? in effect, for our businesses, that is - for our businesses, that is exactly what they are seeing, customers are taking steps in taking their own decisions about their management of risk. we are seeing cancellations across the uk pre— booked christmas events in the run—up to christmas in december running at a0%, exactly double that in the city of london and the centre of london, but also revenues down in normal walk—in
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trade, which hits our community and neighbourhood restaurants by a third, and again down two—thirds in london. however short and sharp this drop in trade is these are our most profitable weeks, this will bite £4 billion of the value of hospitality. that's revenue that will not be coming back and it is simply not sustainable for the businesses to lose volume of trade in what has already been a very difficult year. {iii has already been a very difficult year. of course, there is _ difficult year. of course, there is no _ difficult year. of course, there is no fellow- difficult year. of course, l there is no fellow scheme difficult year. of course, - there is no fellow scheme this time around. how vulnerable are uk businesses? i time around. how vulnerable are uk businesses?— uk businesses? i think businesses _ uk businesses? i think businesses are - uk businesses? i think. businesses are incredibly vulnerable, any hospitality sector that went first in euro 2020 and hit longest and hit hardest. so we have had ten months where they have been fully closed with no revenue, for large parts of the remainder they have been lossmaking. the hospitality sector has lost two—thirds of its revenue before it got to reopen the summer. cash reserves are non—existent, business resilience is fragile, and without further government support is more just make the support is more just make the support that was available now
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was to get us through to repair the shattered balance sheets, it does not take into account omicron and the loss of christmas. if we get through without job christmas. if we get through withoutjob losses in business failures we will need additional government support jon white how confident are you that that support will be forthcoming? we have had constructive engagement with ministers at all levels within the treasury, chancellor, and other departments. they understand the concerns the industry has. it is a rapidly deteriorating situation, almost on a daily basis. so we would hope they would be able to provide that support. we have no confidence yet that is coming, but we would very much hope that would be delivered. kate nicholls, thank you very much for your time. hospitality is not the only business facing a catastrophic christmas. travel bosses have been reacting with dismay after france announced it will ban all non—essential travel to and from the uk from midnight tonight, effectively closing its borders to british tourists. brittany ferries, which operates between france and the uk, said the move could be "a hammer blow to our christmas season". travel restrictions are being tightened all over europe as omicron infection
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numbers surge. tom jenkins is ceo of the european tourism association. let us start with those comments from brittany ferries. there is clearly demand there and people are scrambling to book flights, even before the ban comes in. just how damaging is this? is ban comes in. just how damaging is this? , , ., ., is this? is extremely damaging. the oint is this? is extremely damaging. the point you — is this? is extremely damaging. the point you are _ is this? is extremely damaging. the point you are making, - is this? is extremely damaging. | the point you are making, which is there is huge demand, there is there is huge demand, there is huge demand, as long as people are allowed to travel. it is important to remember that they have to be travelling responsibly and while a sympathetic to the french government's plate, i think is extraordinary the extent to which people are clamping down on intra— border travel when omicron is already a pandemic, it is out there.—
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it is out there. tom, how exaoses _ it is out there. tom, how exposes the _ it is out there. tom, how exposes the bridge - it is out there. tom, how| exposes the bridge travel industry to the stand—off between france and the uk over brexit? ~ , ,., brexit? well... the first point to note is _ brexit? well... the first point to note is the _ brexit? well... the first point to note is the chief _ brexit? well... the first point to note is the chief victim - brexit? well... the first point to note is the chief victim of l to note is the chief victim of this problem is the french hospitality industry. the uk is the second biggest customer for france and france is the biggest international tourism destination in the world. it is an enormously important industry and the uk is an enormously important customer of this. for them to do this to themselves is a really shattering blow to the french economy and in particular the service economy, particularly the ski resorts will be really suffering at the moment. how damaging is it for the uk? for the uk outbound industries this is obviously deeply worrying, but this is not the highest of high seasons, is all i would stress. we have lost, you know, the main booking season is
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coming up in february and march and that is the time we really need to see some kind of return to normalisation... need to see some kind of return to normalisation. . ._ to normalisation... crosstalk sto - to normalisation... crosstalk sto i to normalisation... crosstalk step i write _ to normalisation... crosstalk stop i write in _ to normalisation... crosstalk stop i write in understanding . stop i write in understanding you see this almost doesn't own goal france, this policy? it is, it is a catastrophe. in the same way uk introducing pcr tests on incoming visitors is a catastrophe for the uk's mr kabbout industry, it is a disaster for the french amount industry, there is no doubt about it. industry, there is no doubt about it— industry, there is no doubt aboutit. �* ., ., ., about it. we're going to have to live there. _ about it. we're going to have to live there. tom _ about it. we're going to have to live there. tom jenkins, . about it. we're going to have i to live there. tom jenkins, ceo of european tourism association, thank you very much your time. let's broaden this out. how much of a threat to the uk's — and the world's — economic recovery is the omicron variant? on thursday, the bank of england pressed ahead with its first rise in interest rates in three years to tackle soaring inflation, despite concerns about omicron. it followed a move by the us federal reserve to speed up its exit from stimulus policies, with an aggressive plan for three interest
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rate rises next year. swetha ramachandran is an investment manager at gam investments. on one hand we have the sort of accelerator for hiking rates, soaring inflation, but we also have this strange rake in the form of highly transmissible, currently unqualifiedly risky covid variant. in your view does omicron register as a blip or a seachange for global monetary policy? 50 or a seachange for global monetary policy? so that's a treat monetary policy? so that's a great question. _ monetary policy? so that's a great question. it _ monetary policy? so that's a great question. it is - monetary policy? so that's a great question. it is still - great question. it is still early days but there are indications that omicron is having quite a strong impact. we heard on the hospitality sector, for instance, in terms of late cancellations and what is traditionally a pig varied for them for trading. so the larger impact of this remains uncertain because certain pockets of the economy continue to do quite well, job adverts, fences, are at an all—time high, 137% of their pre—pandemic levels, it is
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balancing all the different risks and opportunities that led to the bank raising from fifth —— raising 15 basis points of their meeting this week. , ., ., ., week. there is a lot of political _ week. there is a lot of political pressure - week. there is a lot of| political pressure being week. there is a lot of - political pressure being heaped upon central banks across world to sort out all kinds of social and political issues. are they generally able to withstand the pressure to show they are in the business of price stability or not? exactly. the bank reminded us this week that its primary mandate is price stability and that its forecast for inflation have now proven to be more persistent than it initially thought it was. that is the mantra generally that central banks around the world have been coming around to, which is that instead of the transitory inflation that has occupied our imagination for much of the year that some of these price pressures will prove sticky, which is why in the context of a 6% annualised inflation rate that the bank is looking at heading into spring 2020, a 50 basis point interestjust ranking close isn't necessarily alarming, even with the
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expected drop off ingrowth that omicron is expected to cause. thank you very much. swetha ramachandran in london for us today. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: tough times in toy town. with soaring prices and squeezed supply chains, will santa's sack be a little lighter this year? we hearfrom one of the uk's leading toy retailers. saddam hussein is finished because he killed our people, ourwomen, our children. the signatures took only a few minutes, but they brought a formal end to 3.5 years of conflict — conflict that has claimed more than 200,000 lives. before an audience of world leaders, the presidents of bosnia, serbia and croatia put their names to the peace agreement. the romanian border-
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was sealed and silent today. romania has cut itself off from the outside world i in order to prevent the details of the presumed massacre - in timisoara from leaking out. from sex at the white house to a trial for his political life — the lewinsky affair tonight guaranteed bill clinton his place in history as only the second president ever to be impeached. this is bbc world news, our main story this hour: britain's governing conservative party has lost a key local election that's been seen as a test of the political authority of the prime minister — borisjohnson. the united states senate has approved legislation banning imports from china's xinjiang region — this — over concerns about the treatment of the uyghur muslim minority there. it assumes goods manufactured in xinjiang are made with forced labour,
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unless proved otherwise. in a move further inflaming tensions with china — the us treasury has also imposed sanctions on eight technology companies over surveillance. michelle fleury reports from new york the black listing of the world's largest rainmaker including seven other firms means that us investors. it follows similar measures and why are they being blacklisted? it is over their alleged involvement in biometric surveillance and tracking of uyghur. announcing the decision under brian nelson he said that today's action highlights how product firms in china's defence and surveillance sectors are cooperating with the government to repress
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religious minority groups. the commerce department targeted the academy of military medical science along with 11 research institutes that focused on using biotechnology to support china's military. it bars american companies from selling components to the entities without a licence. and this is what gina reminder had to say in her statement. "we cannot allow us commodities technology and software to support medical science to take innovation to be diverted towards uses contrary to us national security. " these measures have the latest effort by the biden administration to punish china for its repression of uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in the xinjiang region. it comes on the same day that the us senate passed a bill barring imports from the xinjiang area unless business can prove that they were produced without
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forced labour. mariko oi is following the story in singapore. how has china responded? as you can imagine, beijing's is not happy. the chinese embassy in washington called the action unwarranted suppression that violated free trade rules. they also said that they would take all essential measures to uphold the interests of chinese companies and research institutions, also also on the uyghur bill. while they have not responded to the latest development they previously said that these allegations of genocide and forced labour in the region is the lie of the century and that these people are not detained, they are being re— educated. but in terms of the impact of this bill on business, xinjiang is known for cotton and silicon used in solar panels exported to the us and other parts of
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the world. some of those items were already banned from being imported to the united states so instead of a practical impact, analysts say this is about sending a strong message to beijing. the bill have been criticised by major companies and businesses in the area including coca—cola, nikkei and apple. lawmakers have argued that many companies have orally taken steps that many companies have orally ta ken steps to clean that many companies have orally taken steps to clean up their supply chains and they should not have any concerns about this latest law. the move comes amid rising tension tween the united states and china as well as its allies, the uk, australia and canada and the us have now announced that they will not send diplomats to the 2022 beijing winter olympics. the tensions do remain high. thank you, mariko in singapore. the uk has signed a deal with australia this grade as the first post brexit trade deal designed from scratch.
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other deals so far have just been "rolled over" from trade terms the uk already had while in the eu. the uk government says it will unlock more the ten billion pounds of additional trade — while ending tariffs on all uk exports. critics though say that's just a fraction of the trade lost so far with the eu. and some uk farmers have expressed concern that they could be undercut by cheap imports. a concern the bbc�*s chris morris put to international trade secretary anne—marie trevelyan. i disagree. it is an exciting opportunity across the whole agriculture sector for those farmers, the sheep and beef markets we have some very careful safeguards in their partly because we do not want our markets, as they develop and we change our own rules, having coming out of the eu from the common agriculture act, we want our farmers to develop their business in new ways. so we have some really
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very clear tariff quotas in the first ten years and then another step from years 11 to 15. there are also overarching safeguard mechanisms across everything, not only farming goods, meaning that if there is any attempt to surge an import that we can bring down while we look at what the issue is. so we have created a really strong set of protections from any risk that some farmers have raised because we have made sure that is the case. the reality is that australia sends about 70% of its beef and sheep meat to the asia—pacific markets, they are closer for them and they get great prices. so i do not expect there to be any dramatic surge in markets. finally — could santa's sack be a little lighter this christmas? one of the uk's biggest toy retailers has told the bbc higher costs are driving up toy prices, which could mean parents are able to
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afford fewer of them. gary grant — founder of the entertainer chain of toy shops — has been speaking to aaron heslehurst for talking business weekly. aaron asked him if supply chain issues mean some toys simply won't be available. in some cases the answer is yes. we are less than two weeks until christmas and the last six months from a shipping perspective has been a rollercoaster. obtaining containers in the mid— summer was difficult. at one stage, mid to late september is, we were 300 containers behind on shipping. those containers have now been shipped and the majority of them are now in the uk but some of those containers will not clear customs and come out the ports before christmas eve. so there will inevitably be some items that we could sell if only we could get them. we also know that the cost of getting a container has gone up something like ten fold.
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curious, do you have to pass those costs your customers? there is definitely inflation at every turn at the moment, whether that is freaked cost and you are right, freight has gone up tenfold from about $2000 to, at peak, $20,000. it is settled down now to about 15,000. many toys are very large cube for their value so a teddy bear compared to an iphone you can see that the difference in the cube and therefore high freight rates have a disproportionate effect on the retail price of a toy. what is actually going to happen is that certain items willjust be deranged, we cannot import them. you cannot have an item that doubles in price because freighters gone up price because freighters gone up so much. we are also facing a factory price increase due to raw materials and devaluation.
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right now it is a perfect storm and we see inflation coming through at every level. let's check and — through at every level. let's check and now _ through at every level. let's check and now with - through at every level. let's check and now with the - through at every level. let's - check and now with the markets and see how the asian markets are faring today. on friday the bank of japan are faring today. on friday the bank ofjapan dialled back emergency epidemic funding but maintained its ultra— loose policy and extended financial relief to small ferns. that submit bed expectations that it will be amongst the most dovish of central tanks. this came hours after britain became the first g7 economy to hike interest rates since the onset of the pandemic. other banks also moving towards rolling back stimulus at various degrees, reflecting their differing views. you can see the us market there. as well as some uncertainty about the surge of global information that we have talked about for quite some time now. just a reminder of our top story, britain's governing conservative party has lost a
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key parliamentary by—election seen as a test of the political authority of the prime minister, borisjohnson. the minister, boris johnson. the candidate minister, borisjohnson. the candidate for the opposition liberal democrat party, helen morgan won the north shropshire by—election with a decisive majority. the area has had a conservative mp for almost 200 years. this was the moment the result was declared. morgan, helen margaret lilian, liberal democrats. 17,957. cheering. therefore, i give public notice that morgan, helen margaret lilian is duly elected as the member for parliament for the north shropshire constituency. applause. immediately after the declaration, the winning candidate helen morgan thanked supporters and said the result in north shropshire had wider significance for the country. in rural shropshire today, just like in buckinghamshire injune, we have on the support of the people who have always
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voted conservative and people who always opposed them. thousands of lifelong conservative voters, dismayed by borisjohnson's lack of decency, and fed up with being taken for granted, and thousands of life—long labour voters, choosing to lend their votes to the candidate who can defeat the conservatives. people who believe that our politics should be about creating a better country for us all, not a nightly soap opera of calamity and chaos. all of them casting their ballots for the liberal democrats. and let me say specifically to all those labour supporters who lent their votes today, thank you. you have shown tonight that together we can defeat the conservatives, not with deals behind closed doors, but with common sense at the ballot box. that is a message there from helen morgan to one man and one man only, the british prime borisjohnson. next
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boris johnson. next up borisjohnson. next up we have cemented simmons with your headlines and plenty of analysis. hello. well, thursday brought an east—west split to the uk weather—wise. well, certainly in terms of where we had the blue sky or where we had the grey sky. across parts of eastern scotland and down the eastern side of england, some were treated to a largely sunny day from dawn until dusk, where it was the reverse across some western areas. the view from wales cloudy from dawn until dusk. it's the cloud that's going to win out for friday and the weekend. high pressure, lots of settled weather to come, but trapped underneath this high pressure, plenty of cloud. now, where there will have been some clear spells overnight — parts of eastern scotland, north—east england — a frost to start friday, but also some mist and fog around, and particularly through parts of yorkshire, the east midlands and east anglia. some dense patches in places, perhaps affecting travel, and some may lingerfor much of the day in a few spots. you get the idea for the forecast, though,
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for friday with lots of cloud around. the cloud thick enough to produce a bit of drizzle here and there. breezy with it through the channel islands into parts of south—west england and south wales. through here, though, there could be a few sunny spells, as there will be towards parts of scotland and again north—east england. temperatures on a par with thursday, although just tending to go a little bit lower, and that's a trend that continues through the weekend. friday night into saturday morning, a lot of cloud around, some mist and fog. again, the clearest skies in scotland, so this is where we're most likely to get a frost as the weekend begins, but there could be a few pockets, too, towards north—east england. with that area of high pressure i showed you earlier, a lot of settled weather over the weekend. a lot of cloud, it'll be mainly dry, and again temperatures just starting to edge down a few degrees over the weekend. and still quite breezy on saturday through the english channel, channel islands, far south—west of england. could be a few brighter breaks here, as there may be towards the far west of wales, more particularly into scotland.
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elsewhere, a good deal of cloud, fewer temperatures in double figures at this stage. it's mid to high single figures. and plenty of cloud around again on sunday, could be drizzly in a few spots. but there's also a chance of seeing one or two brighter breaks here and there. now, for the most part, temperatures in single figures. it will brighten up into next week, but the trend is for things to turn even colder as we go through the rest of the week in the lead—up to christmas. apart from that, what exactly is on our way christmas weather—wise remains to be seen.
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good morning welcome to breakfast with charlie stayt and naga munchetty. our headlines today. i give public notice that morgan, helen, is duly elected as member of parliament. a remarkable by—election victory for the liberal democrats — winning the safe conservative seat of north shropshire. tonight, the people of north shropshire have spoken on behalf of the british people. they have said loudly and clearly, borisjohnson, the party is over. the borisjohnson, the party is over. victory on what st safest the victory on what should be the safest of tory territory comes after
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a turbulent few weeks

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