The top business stories this week include more calls to end Brexit uncertainty, this time from the automotive industry. It’s been a good week for groups of Hermes and Deliveroo employees, both winning further rights in employment rights cases. BP has made a deal to buy the UK’s largest electric car charging network as hybrid and electric cars gain popularity. Also in the news, a think tank has estimated that legalising cannabis would raise around £1bn a year in tax. Read on for further details.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has said that investment in the automotive industry is around half what it was last year. This has been largely attributed to the current uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the SMMT urged the government to make a deal quickly that includes customs union membership and single market benefits.
An employment tribunal has ruled that a group of Hermes couriers should be treated as workers rather than independent contractors. This means that they are now entitled to employment rights, including minimum wage and holiday pay. In another employment rights case, a group of 60 Deliveroo couriers arguing that they had been unlawfully denied minimum wage and paid holiday, have won a six-figure payout.
In a £130m deal, BP is to buy Chargemaster, the UK’s largest electric car charging network. There are currently 6,500 Chargemaster charging points and with the electric car market expected to grow substantially over the next few years, this is a strategic move for BP.
In the latest round of store closures, Homebase is said to be cutting 300 jobs and closing around 80 stores. Carpetright has announced a £70m annual loss as it proceeds with the closure of 92 of its stores.
A report from the Institute of Economic Affairs has estimated that legalising cannabis would raise £1bn in tax per year for the UK. The government has already promised to review the laws around medicinal cannabis, but so far has said that the drug will not become legally available for recreational use.