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Brands call for alternatives to online junk food ads ban | Obesity

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Food and drink manufacturers have pleaded with the prime minister to meet them to discuss alternatives to far-reaching plans for a total ban on online junk food advertising.

Proposals unveiled to tackle the growing obesity crisis were so broad “they even capture family favourites from chocolate to peanut butter to sausage rolls”, Boris Johnson was told in a letter by representatives of more than 800 manufacturers and 3,000 brands including Mars and Kellogg’s.

Pleading for more time to respond to a consultation, the companies said they had been an indispensable part of “feeding the nation” during the pandemic and were still braced for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. The plans, unveiled this month, would disproportionately hit small- and medium-sized enterprises, they claimed.

“Is it really the government’s intention that a local wedding cake business, for example, would not be able to share product details on its Instagram account in order to grow its sales?” the letter writers asked.

The sheer volume of critical work facing food companies in the next few weeks as Brexit loomed meant they cannot give the consultation the resource it demanded, added the letter, written from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), as well as the UK Hospitality and the Advertising Association.

It concluded: “We also ask for the opportunity to meet with you and the No 10 health policy team once resource on both sides allows, to discuss alternative approaches that could be considered, which would achieve the government’s aim of reducing child exposure to advertising, without imposing complete bans across the internet and other unnecessary restrictions.”

Health campaigners have welcomed the proposed ban, which is subject to a six-week consultation. The restrictions would go much further than proposals in the summer, and would affect foods deemed to be too high in fat, salt and sugar.

But a range of foods, from avocados and marmite to jam and cream, could be caught alongside what is viewed as traditional “junk food”.

The tougher-than-expected rules came after Johnson changed his own view on personal health decisions following his coronavirus infection this year. Overweight people are at risk of more severe illness from Covid-19, or death. Research has found that one in three children leaving primary school are overweight or obese, as are almost two-thirds of adults in England.

The letter to Johnson said that the food and drink industry agree that products high in fat, salt or sugar should not be targeted at children. It accused the government of disregarding submissions that advertisers used sophisticated online tools to aim their advertisements at adult audiences.


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Shops to be allowed trade around clock to recoup Covid losses, says Jenrick | Business

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Shops will be given permission to trade around the clock as the high street tries to recoup some of the losses it has suffered during the pandemic, a UK cabinet minister has said.

Retailers normally have to go through a lengthy process to apply to local authorities under the Town and Country Planning Act if they wish to extend hours outside the window of 9am to 7pm.

The communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, said he wanted to remove the bureaucracy to encourage greater trade – allowing shops to open for up to 24 hours a day in December and January.


Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: “With these changes local shops can open longer, ensuring more pleasant and safer shopping with less pressure on public transport. How long will be a matter of choice for the shopkeepers and at the discretion of the council, but I suggest we offer these hard-pressed entrepreneurs and businesses the greatest possible flexibility this festive season.

“As local government secretary I am relaxing planning restrictions and issuing an unambiguous request to councils to allow businesses to welcome us into their glowing stores late into the evening and beyond.”

It comes after Jenrick suggested some areas could be moved into a lower tier when the first 14-day review of the latest system of tiered local controls takes place in mid-December.

Tier chart

A record number of shops closed during the first half of 2020 due to the coronavirus lockdown, according to research from the Local Data Company and PwC.

A total of 11,000 chain operator outlets shut between January and August this year, while about 5,000 shops opened, leaving a net decline of 6,000 stores, almost double the drop during the same period last year.

Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, which runs the Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton brands, has been revealed to be on the brink of collapse with about 15,000 jobs at risk.


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Arcadia on brink of collapse; record month for stock markets – business live | Business

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A Topshop branch in Leeds, West Yorkshire, last night

A Topshop branch in Leeds, West Yorkshire, last night Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
Arcadia is on the brink of becoming the biggest corporate casualty of Britain’s Covid-19 crisis. Sir Philip Green’s retail group is expected to filed for administration as soon as today, having failed to agree a rescue deal to keep the company afloat.

The move would put 13,000 staff at risk at Arcadia’s 500 stores, at its Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins chains, and probably end of Green’s career as a retail magnate.

Covid-19 has been a severe blow for Arcadia. Having failed to seize the opportunity of online shipping, it was already struggling to match faster-growing and more nimble rivals like Asos and Boohoo.com.

The pandemic, which has forced its stores to lock down twice this year, has deepened its plight.

As one insider put it to the BBC:


This is obviously a sad day, we tried to save it a year ago when £200m was put into the business and the pension fund, but it’s impossible to operate now.

“You don’t know when you’ll be open, you don’t know what stock to buy.”

Arcadia’s current and former staff also face uncertainty now – as there’s a black hole up to £350m in its pension fund. Add in the bills owed to suppliers, and Arcadia’s collapse could cause serious damage to the wider UK retail sector.

Markets round off record month

Arcadia’s plight is the climax to a particularly dramatic November. There’s been plenty of bad news this month, with Covid-19 deaths approaching 1.5 million, and cases surging at a record rate in America.

In Europe, the second set of lockdowns are threatening to push the eurozone and the UK towards double-dip recessions.

But November has also brought uplifting news – encouraging vaccine trial results, and the prospect that president-elect Biden will attempt to tackle the pandemic while also pushing through a new stimulus package.

And for those reasons, this has been a staggeringly successful month for share prices.

MSCI’s All Country index of stocks has surged by over 13% this month, hitting fresh all-time highs, and on track for its best month since it was created in 1990.

ACEMAXX ANALYTICS
(@acemaxx)

(global equities) MSCI all-country Index is on track for the biggest monthly gain since 1990 inception, chart @BloombergTV https://t.co/hUImQCXNSm pic.twitter.com/t3q0FnVXDL


November 27, 2020

The UK’s FTSE 100 has also had a stellar month, having underperformed for most of the year. With one day to go, it’s gained over 14% during November, close to the record month – January 1989, when it jumped 14.4%.

Chris Weston of Pepperstone says November has been “a breathtaking month for equities, and a poor month for the US dollar and gold”.

Why? Because investors are anticipating a return to normality in 2021 as vaccines are rolled out, and – crucially – as central banks continue to provide unprecedented support (through record low interest rates, quantitative easing, and cheap credit).

European markets are expected to dip back this morning, though.

IGSquawk
(@IGSquawk)

European Opening Calls:#FTSE 6330 -0.60%#DAX 13251 -0.64%#CAC 5567 -0.56%#AEX 608 -0.62%#MIB 22230 -0.55%#IBEX 8144 -0.57%#OMX 1921 -0.84%#STOXX 3502 -0.73%#IGOpeningCall


November 30, 2020

The agenda

  • 9.30am GMT: UK mortgage approvals figures for October
  • 1pm GMT: German inflation figures for November
  • 2.30pm GMT: Bank of England policymaker Silvana Tenreyro speaks at a Resolution Foundation event
  • 3pm GMT: US pending home sales figures for October



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