Good morning. After much furore Penguin announced it will publish classic uncensored versions of Roald Dahl’s novels. Last week the publisher faced backlash for editing Dahl’s stories for younger audience with changes included edits around subjects like weight, mental health, gender and race.
Brexit deal imminent
Rishi Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen will meet later today in Berkshire for "final talks" ahead of an expected announcement of a post-Brexit settlement for Northern Ireland. The meeting between the prime minister and president of the European Commission suggests the UK and the EU are finally ready to settle their differences over a stand-off that has persisted since the UK’s official departure from the EU single market and customs union in 2021. Announcing a deal would be a triumph for Sunak, who has sought to dial down tensions with the EU since taking office in October.
British household confidence rebounded by the most in almost two years in February as signs started to emerge that the highest inflation in four decades is starting to ease. GfK’s long-running consumer confidence survey results jumped seven points to a minus 38 suggesting respondents were more optimistic about the year ahead and more willing to buy more expensive items. While that was a 10-month high, it remained close to the historic lows triggered by the cost-of-living crisis.
HSBC leaves the office
The UK banking giant wants to slash the office space at its headquarters as it continues to embrace remote working. The bank is looking for a new HQ which is half the size of its current 1.1m sq.ft, 45-storey tower in Canary Wharf occupied by 8,000 staff. Globally, HSBC wants to cut its office space by 40% compared to pre-Covid levels. Elsewhere the world’s largest insurance marketplace, Lloyd’s of London, is reportedly planning to extend the lease on its City of London headquarters as it works to bring staff back into the office.
Over the weekend citizens of Africa’s largest economy and democracy voted in the most hotly contested presidential election since military rule ended in 1999. The winner, who will replace outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari, is expected to be announced early this week. Three frontrunners have emerged: Atiku Abubakar and Bola Ahmed Tinubu - political insiders who have faced corruption allegations in the past – and Peter Obi, who has been hailed as an anti-establishment candidate and rallied the country’s young people. The election comes as Nigeria grapples with economic and security issues, with two-thirds of its 220m people living in poverty, oil production dropping to a 40-year low and annual inflation of over 20%.
Eating less greens: The UK's fruit and vegetable crisis could last up to four weeks, a former environment secretary has warned.
Mapped out: British urban transport app Citymapper is in talks to be bought by a multibillion dollar New York-based rival.
Done deal: One of the smaller unions involved in the rail dispute has voted to accept a settlement offer with train companies.
Cutting costs: Telecoms giant Ericsson is to lay off 8,500 staff in a bid to slash costs.
Back in power: An Australian company will take over collapsed battery maker Britishvolt after finalising a deal with administrators late on Sunday.
Making work pay: The government is setting up a job centre league table and will give £250 bonuses to staff who get the most people into work.
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Number Of The Day
How much unpaid overtime Londoners performed in 2022, far more than any other UK region.