The letter was signed by the CBI, British Chambers of Commerce, the EEF, the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Businesses.Read the full story ›
Union bosses have criticised the firm, saying there is "nothing stopping" them guaranteeing their employees' rights as the law stands.Read the full story ›
Regulation introduced to stop irresponsible mortgage lending and a sharp drop in new homes being built are behind the decline.Read the full story ›
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A team of Chinese business bosses, led by the country's Premier Li Keqiang, are in Britain for the return leg of a trade boosting link-up begun by David Cameron last year.
The three-day visit is expected to yield business deals worth over £18 billion total.
Here are some of the deals:
- BP will sign a £5 billion deal to supply liquefied natural gas to China
- £120 million deal to reopen UK lamb and beef meat exports to China
- Nord Engine, a Chinese financial services group, will announce £150 million investment in UK and European small and medium tech businesses
- China’s largest private sector investment group, China Minsheng Investment Corporation, will announce a new European HQ in London with an investment of around $1.5 billion
- Royal Dutch Shell secured a new partnership with China's state-owned energy giant CNOOC
The Government has said zero-hours contracts will not be banned despite admitting that "there has been evidence of abuse".
"While for many people they offer a welcome flexibility, for others it is clear that there has been evidence of abuse around this type of employment, which can offer limited employment rights and job security", a Business Department spokesman said.
He added that the Government was still analysing the results of a consultation following research carried out last year into the key concerns and would publish a response in due course.
Labour leader Ed MIliband is set to promise new rights for workers to stop the "worst abuses" of zero-hours contracts later today.
Shop vacancies in Britain dropped to a three-year low in 2013, although some northern regions saw numbers rise compared to 2012.
Vacancies dropped to below 14 per cent last year, down from 14.6 per cent in February 2012, said a report by the Local Data Company.
But the proportion of empty shops rose in the north east and north west to a combined average of 17 per cent - nearly 5 per cent higher than the average of 12.2 per cent.
Seven out of 10 of the worst performing regions were in the north east or north west, while six out of the 10 best were in Greater London.
Leisure group Whitbread has vowed to step up expansion of its Premier Inn and Costa chains in a move set to create 12,000 jobs over the next five years.
The latest pledge came as it reported an 11% rise in underlying profits to £356.5 million for the year to February 28.
Having created 3,000 UK jobs over the financial year, it announced new targets which will see it grow Premier Inn by 45% to around 75,000 rooms and double coffee chain Costa's sales to around £2 billion.
The hotel and restaurant group also own Beefeater and Brewers Fayre restaurants.