The UK has agreed to create an independent commission to advise on post-Brexit agriculture trade policy, in a decision that brings doubt over the ability to secure a trade deal with the US, which has demanded the UK allows imports of hormone-treated beef and chlorinated chicken if exchange for a deal(The Financial Times £).
The government is set to borrow another £50bn in August, upping the total borrowing to £275bn in five months. The decision sparked fears that the UK public will be paying for the coronavirus crisis for years to come through higher taxes (The Telegraph). The government borrowing will rise by further £50bn in August as it continues to raise unprecedented sums to boost the economy against the coronavirus (The Times).
Meanwhile, Sunak is also extending the £500m Future Fund scheme to include companies that have moved their headquarters abroad. Companies will still have to prove that at least 50% of their staff is in the UK and that they make a minimum of half their revenues from UK sales (The Guardian).
Waitrose is ramping up its own online delivery capabilities as its deal with Ocado comes to an end in September. The upmarket grocer said it opened a third warehouse in London - creating around 800 jobs - to cope with surging demand for grocery deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic (Sky News).
Uber is preparing an offer to buy food delivery start-up Postmates, weeks after it was beaten in a race to acquire larger rival Grubhub. The deal, which has been in the works for several days, could be reached as soon as this week, one of the people said. (The Financial Times £)
Scottish shoppers queued for hours on Monday as shops in Scotland reopened their doors for the first time since lockdown was imposed. Very few people followed the government’s advice to wear face coverings with PM Nicola Sturgeon said to be mulling making face masks compulsory (The Telegraph).
Cheese prices have swung wildly during the coronavirus pandemic with the crisis having had a profound impact on global cheese trade. the wholesale price for cheddar on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange has fluctuated wildly, from a low of just $1 a pound in mid-April, for a 40-pound block of cheddar, to a record high of $2.81 in June (The Telegraph).
Regulators have warned pharmacies they should not hike the prices of in-demand items such as face masks, paracetamol and hand sanitiser after receiving reports alleging that some pharmacies were “seeking to benefit from the coronavirus pandemic by charging unjustifiably high prices for essential products” (The Guardian).
Pizza Express is the latest high street business to withhold rent payments after telling landlords “it was not in a position to pay” for the last quarter (The Telegraph).
Meanwhile, burger and shake chain Byron is racing to find a buyer or risks falling into administration, putting around 1,200 jobs on the line. Byron is the latest casual dining chain to suffer during the coronavirus pandemic with others including Carluccio’s and Chiquito having already gone bust, while Prezzo, Wahaca and Wasabi have hired advisers to explore ways of propping up their businesses (The Telegraph, The Times). The PE owners of Byron are preparing to enter administration in hopes to find buyers for some of the chain’s restaurants in a so-called pre-pack administration (The Guardian). Byron filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators on Monday to protect itself from creditors as the company holds detailed talks with three potential buyers (Sky News).
Around 1m pubs and staff members are patiently waiting for the end of the week to welcome customers back after three months of inactivity, as around 60% of hospitality businesses prepare to reopen on July 4 (The Telegraph).
Cosmetics business Coty has agreed to pay $200m to buy a fifth of Kim Kardashian’s beauty company KKW, in the latest attempt to snach up brands that are popular with younger consumers.KKW already sells lipsticks, mascara and concealers while the cash injection and Coty’s global reach will allow it to branch into skincare, haircare, personal care and nail products (The Telegraph). The deal valued KKW at $1bn and comes after Kim Kardashian’s sister Kylie Jenner sold 51% of her beauty company to Coty in January for a $1.2m valuation (Sky News, The Times £).