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Important information: The value of investments can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invest. Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. This is a third-party news feed and may not reflect Fidelity’s views.

Thursday newspaper round-up: Debenhams, rail staff, high street premises

(Sharecast News) - Nearly 90% of former Debenhams stores remain empty almost a year after the department store closed its doors for the last time, in a sign of the challenge to reinvent high streets across the country. The empty shops are among nearly 8,000 outlets left empty last year, according to a report by the high street analysts Local Data Company (LDC), as Covid lockdowns accelerated the shift towards shopping online and pummelled city centres. - Guardian Former prime minister Gordon Brown has warned the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, that millions more people will be plunged into fuel poverty unless the government uses next week's spring statement to ease the UK's cost of living crisis. A letter to the chancellor, organised by Brown and signed by more than 70 Labour local government leaders, urged the chancellor to adopt a five-pronged approach to help those struggling to make ends meet. - Guardian

Michael Gove is preparing to use a legal loophole to help councils exit contracts with Russian energy giant Gazprom. The Communities Secretary is drawing up plans to use obscure legislation that says public bodies must favour contracts that represent good social value. Officials are hoping the laws under the Social Value Act will allow councils to walk away from Gazprom deals without having to pay huge exit fees. - Telegraph

Tens of thousands of railway staff are to be forced to work on weekends under Whitehall plans that threaten to spark a war with trade unions. Workers must "shift to today's reality" as outdated weekday-only shift patterns come to an end, rail minister Wendy Morton told an industry conference in London. - Telegraph

The number of empty shops and restaurants in Britain has fallen for the first time since 2018, prompting hopes that a post-pandemic recovery may be under way. In the second half of last year the national vacancy rate declined by 0.1 per cent from the first half to reach 14.4 per cent of all shops, according to the Local Data Company. The drop is the first decline in national vacancy rates in three years. - The Times

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Thursday newspaper round-up: Border controls, McKinsey, KPMG
(Sharecast News) - New post-Brexit UK border controls coming into force later this month will cost British businesses £2bn and fuel higher inflation, according to a report warning that UK-EU trade will be damaged as a result. With less than a month before the introduction of new checks on animal and plant products from 30 April, the insurer Allianz Trade said the controls agreed under Boris Johnson's Brexit deal could add 10% to import costs over the first year. - Guardian
Wednesday newspaper round-up: Shoplifting, EnQuest, Klarna
(Sharecast News) - The government is investing more than £55m in expanding facial recognition systems - including vans that will scan crowded high streets - as part of a renewed crackdown on shoplifting. The scheme was announced alongside plans for tougher punishments for serial or abusive shoplifters in England and Wales, including being forced to wear a tag to ensure they do not revisit the scene of their crime, under a new standalone criminal offence of assaulting a retail worker. - Guardian
Tuesday newspaper round-up: Pharma companies, Puig, Thames Water
(Sharecast News) - Rachel Reeves has said an incoming Labour government would launch a £5bn crackdown on tax avoiders to close a gap in its spending plans exposed by Jeremy Hunt scrapping the non-dom regime to finance tax cuts. Warning households and businesses that Labour was prepared to adopt tough measures to tackle tax fraud and non-compliance, Reeves said the funding would be used to pay for free school breakfast clubs and additional NHS appointments. - Guardian
Monday newspaper round-up: Boeing, rent rises, e-scooters, Santander UK
(Sharecast News) - US airline regulators have launched an investigation after an engine cowling on a Boeing plane fell off during takeoff and struck the wing flap. The Southwest Airlines flight 3695 rose to about 10,300ft (3,140 metres) before returning safely 25 minutes after takeoff to Denver international airport at about 8.15am local time on Sunday. It was towed to the gate after landing. The Boeing aircraft with 135 passengers and six crew members aboard had been headed to Houston. No one was injured. - Guardian

Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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