Your commercial news round-up: U-turns, Uber, police, Toshiba, Katy Perry

updated on 21 September 2023

Reading time: three minutes 

Rishi Sunak’s U-turn on net-zero pledges, "an act of weakness” or a necessary adjustment to prevent “bankrupting the British people”? You decide. More on this in our first story, plus we’ll be covering the future of Uber, police suspensions, shares in tech giant Toshiba and Katy Perry. 

  • On Wednesday (20 September) Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a series of U-turns on government targets to tackle the climate emergency. Sunak’s revised policies include: 
    • delaying the ban on new petrol and diesel cars to 2035 (previously 2030); 
    • relaxing the phaseout target for the installation of new gas boilers for households; 
    • abandoning tougher energy efficiency rules for landlords; and 
    • ruling out policies relating to taxes on meat and air travel, sharing car mandates and the use of seven bins to aid recycling.

​The prime minister justified these U-turns by claiming that the previous targets would inflict “unacceptable costs on hard-pressed British families”. Some Conservative MPs have welcomed his announcement; however, the move has evoked numerous angry responses from both Conservatives and Labour. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused Sunak of creating uncertainty for businesses, while previous Labour party leader Ed Miliband said: “Today is an act of weakness from a desperate, directionless PM.”  

  • In keeping with the topic of uncertainty for businesses, transportation company Uber may be forced to remove its services from “hundreds” of European cities under new EU worker rules. Head of Uber’s European mobility division Anabel Diaz has warned that Brussels’ plans to classify gig workers as de facto employees could result in Uber removing its services from European cities, a significant increase in waiting times and a 40% spike in prices. Diaz warned that the new rules would mean “drivers and couriers would need to apply for an open role, if one is available; show up for shifts at specific times and places; accept every trip they receive; and agree not to work on other apps”. Speaking to the Financial Times, Diaz claimed such changes could result in “a 50-70% reduction in the number of work opportunities”. Diaz’s remarks come at a critical time for the EU, as negotiations begin on the exact wording on the new laws relating to work directives.  
  • Uber workers aren’t the only ones in trouble, more than 1,000 Metropolitan Police officers have been suspended or are on restricted duties amid allegations of misconduct and abuse. At current, statistics show: 
    • 275 officers are awaiting gross misconduct hearings; 
    • 201 are suspended; and 
    • 860 are on restricted duties.   

This announcement comes just six months after Baroness Louise Casey completed a review that found the force to be institutionally racist, sexist and homophobic. Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy acknowledged that the number of officers is “significant” and “nearly the size of a small police force”. Cundy added: "This is going to take one, two or more years to root out those who are corrupt." In the past year, reports of alleged misconduct have doubled, with 100 Met officers being sacked for gross misconduct, a rise of 66% on previous years. Home Secretary Suella Braverman has confirmed government plans to make it easier for police chiefs to fire villainous officers. 

  • Toshiba, one of Japan’s largest and oldest firms will be concluding its 74-years on the stock market after a group of investors bought a majority stake in the company. Private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) purchased 78.65% of Toshiba’s shares and has begun setting the groundwork to take the company private in a $14 billion deal. Taro Shimada, president and chief executive of Toshiba, said the company "will now take a major step toward a new future with a new shareholder". It’s predicted that under the new deal, shares in Toshiba could be removed from the stock market as early as the end of this year.  
  • Our final story brings us onto dark horse Katy Perry who’s sold a significant portion of her music rights to Limitus Music in a deal that’s guaranteed to make both parties smile. Limitus has been sold full ownership of Perry’s master royalty income and publishing rights, meaning it’ll unconditionally own five of her albums, including One of the Boys, Teenage Dream and PRISM. Dan McCarroll, co-founder and chief creative at Limitus, expressed his excitement to be working with the California girl labelling her a “creative visionary”. Limitus bosses ensured this deal, which industry sources estimate is worth $225 million, isn’t the one that got away, as it marks the biggest catalogue deal with a single artist this year. We see fireworks between this pairing already.  

Check the News every Thursday for this weekly commercial news round-up. Or prefer to listen to your commercial news? Why not check out our brand-new Commercial Connect podcast?           

Follow LawCareers.Net on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram for regular business news updates.