Flybe, Greggs, US-China trade deal: your commercial news round-up

updated on 16 January 2020

It’s vacation scheme application season and subsequently a crucial time to think about the commercial issues affecting businesses and the legal industry. By considering the below news stories and working out how these issues could affect law firms and their clients, you are thinking commercially. Show that you’ve absorbed some of this mentality on your application form and at interview, and you are bound to impress law firm recruiters.

  • A rescue deal has been reached between Flybe and the government as ministers agreed to help find a repayment plan for the troubled airline’s hefty tax debt. The company will continue operating in the meantime as owners said they will plug more money into the business, protecting the jobs of 2,400 Flybe employees. However, the news was met with anger by the chief executive of the owner of British Airways, who described the deal as a misuse of public funds. Meanwhile, the government is reviewing the £26 air passenger duty that is levied on domestic UK return flights – something Flybe blames partially for its losses. 
  • Last week it was revealed that Greggs’ 25,000 employees received a New Year bonus pay-out after a brilliant year for the bakery chain, buoyed by sales of the unnecessarily controversial vegan sausage roll. This week Greggs announced that it has teamed up with takeaway service Just Eat to provide a home delivery service to customers in Bristol and Birmingham. More cities across the UK, including London, Newcastle and Glasgow will soon be catered to, while national coverage should be achieved by the end of the year.
  • After months of threats and uncertainty, a “win-win” deal has been signed by the US and China to alleviate the trade war that has had global implications. The deal will see China boosting US imports by $200 billion above 2017 levels and taking more action against counterfeiting, while the US will halve some of the tariffs it had imposed on Chinese products. However, business groups have pointed out that most of the border taxes remain in place and there is much more to be done between the two superpowers. BBC economics correspondent Dharshini David described the deal as “more armistice than victory”, indicating that the tariffs in place since 2018 had hurt the workers and businesses they were meant to protect.
  • And finally: Extinction Rebellion climate change activists have blocked the entrance to the Shell headquarters in Aberdeen as part of a two-week campaign targeting the fossil fuel industry. A statement from Extinction Rebellion Scotland said: "Last week, as bushfires caused by climate change choked Australia, Shell celebrated the discovery of a huge new gas field off the coast of Western Australia.” Shell said that it agrees urgent action is needed and is addressing its emissions, as well as helping customers to reduce theirs.


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