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This is Business Live
from BBC News
with Sally Bundock
and Ben Thompson.
Inside or outside,
the British Bovernment faces
more Brexit pressure
as the Labour opposition is
expected to call
for the UK to stay
in a customs union.
Live from London, that's our top
story on Monday 26th February.
The battle lines are drawn,
the Labour leader will set
out his party's Brexit plans.
Jeremy Corbyn is likely to call
for full tariff-free
access to EU markets -
could he force the Prime Minister
to change her position?
Also in the programme,
it's a mobile world after all.
Smartphone sales are falling
for the first time,
so what have the industry giants got
planned to get us buying again?
Rory Cellan-Jones is at the Mobile
World Congress in Barcelona.
And it is a brand-new trading week,
and the markets in Europe are all
higher on the day following a bumper
session in Asia.
And working part-time
but shining all the time.
We'll speak one woman whose built
a successful jewellery business
that counts the Duchess of Cambridge
amongst its customers,
despite only working part-time.
As we've been hearing,
smartphone sales are in decline.
Today we want to know have
we reached peak smartphone.
Why and when do you upgrade?
Let us know - just use #BBCBizLive.
Hello and welcome to Business Live.
Many of you have been in touch
already about smartphones, keep your
comments coming in, we will share
them later in the programme.
It's shaping up to be another
big week for Brexit.
In a few hours' time,
the leader of the Labour opposition,
Jeremy Corbyn, is set to increase
the pressure on Prime Minister
Theresa May when he calls for the UK
to have full tariff-free access
to European Union markets
In a speech,
Mr Corbyn will call for the UK
to stay in a customs union
which is scheduled for the end
of March next year.
Some sort of trade agreement
is important for both sides.
In 2016, the UK's trade relationship
with the rest of the EU
was worth about $730 billion.
Any customs union would also be
to the Northern Ireland border.
According to the FT,
an EU document due out
on Wednesday will call
for the province to remain under
EU regulation as a last resort.
So where now? Overdue, Ben. Chris
Mason joins us from a pretty snowy
Westminster. Explain this
intervention, it is significant, and
it could change things where you are
It really good, the
conversation about Brexit swells a
bit like the snow at Westminster,
except that it is actually constant,
and the challenges, both for people
watching and absorbing it in the UK,
and around the world, is that often
there is a lot to talk about when it
comes to Brexit, but you do wonder
if people are actually saying
anything. Today is different,
because Labour, the opposition party
in the UK, are diverging from what
the Government is advocating. They
are suggesting the UK should remain
in a customs union with the European
Union. Not the one that the UK is
currently in as a member of the EU,
but one pretty similar. So they're
adamant as that would allow the free
movement of goods around the members
of that union. -- so their argument.
But those who argue that Brexit is a
good thing say one of the principle
advantages of leaving a customs
union is that you can strike free
trade deals around the world, and if
you are in a customs union, that is
not going to be possible. They're
adamant is that it is sensible
because these are the major
customers of the UK. -- their
argument. It may also be crucial in
maintaining a soft border between
Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Is this back to the argument of the
critics in saying that you cannot
just cherry pick what you want?
lands us slap bang in that adamant,
the cake philosophy, as Brussels
insiders have described it, to tease
the UK about this. -- in that
argument. If you want to be part of
some of our arrangements, whether
that be the single market for the
customs union, you can sign up to
them, but we would rather you have
not left in the first place. But
they argue that you cannot
cherry-pick, you cannot pick what
you like and reject other things. If
you want to sign up to this, you
take them as they are or not at all.
We saw that criticism levelled at
the Government by the EU last week
after Theresa May got a Cabinet
together, the same criticism could
be levelled at Labour, but this
matters because there is now a
distinct difference between the two
principle parties in British
politics on their philosophies on
So it is hoped that
reception may be warmer than where
you are, stay warm, state dry, looks
a bit wild out there!
Let's take a look
at some of the other
stories making the news.
The New York film studio co-founded
by the disgraced producer
Harvey Weinstein look set
to file for bankruptcy.
According to US media reports,
it comes after the collapse
of talks to sell its assets
to an investor group.
Several newspapers have a statement
saying the directors believe
it is the "only viable option
to maximise the company's
Latvia's financial authorities
are due to hold an emergency meeting
later today as the country's
third-biggest bank teeters
on the edge of collapse.
ABLV Bank is being wound up
after it was accused by the US
of large scale money laundering,
bribing officials and breaching
sanctions against North Korea.
The car-maker Fiat Chrysler
is planning to scrap diesel
from all its passenger
vehicles by 2022.
That's according to
the Financial Times,
which says the company is grappling
with a collapse in demand
and rising costs from their vehicles
and will unveil its plans in June.
What would persuade you to upgrade
your smartphone and pay the pretty
hefty price tag they often come
with? It is a big question for the
industry's massive gathering in
Research shows that sales of
handsets fell by over 5% in the last
three months of last year, and that
is marking the first decline on
record. Samsung is still the world's
number one with over 20% of global
sales. Its archrival compares with
14% of market share, Apple, of
course, and several Chinese
companies are looking up added too.
Let's speak to Rory Cellan-Jones,
who is at the Mobile World Congress
in Barcelona. They are all there,
trying to tell you and us they have
got the latest thing that we must
have, but what is it?
Well, it is a
whole variety of things, Ben. The
problem is that all smartphones look
almost identical at the moment, and
every new model, you say, is that
really different? Yes, it has an
amazing new twist! But consumers are
getting savvy and saying, do I
really need to upgrade as quickly?
This event is about more than the
handsets, it is about the new things
you can do with them, about in-car
phones, there will be one company
demonstrating that you can basically
steer an autonomous car on just a
phone alone - seems pretty scary!
There is a lot about the future of
networks, a whole display about 5G,
which is the next phase coming from
a Korean company here. So the whole
mobile infrastructure, a very
important week for them, to convince
us we really need to upgrade.
have asked viewers for their
thoughts on upgrading, and of them
are saying they are at pains to
upgrade now with the price of the
new phones so expensive.
that is why there is so much effort
on these big phone launchers. We had
the biggest launch of last night,
the Samsung Galaxy S9, and all sorts
of tricks, I will try a trickier
funds. I have actually got the phone
on my phone, a bit of augmented
reality, that is what they did at
the demo, the unveiling last night.
Quite difficult to tell what it will
do, it does very slow motion, and
one funny feature, you can build
your own emoji, your own life like
animated cartoon of yourself. I
build one of me, my wife tells me it
looks much younger, but I am
thinking used-car salesman! I am not
sure that will really sell a new
phone, but Samsung are confident
that people will still upgrade, they
want the latest thing, even if it is
All right, Rory, thank
you very much, Rory is on Twitter,
We will probably end up talking to
his avatar emoji before we speak to
Just to say, 5 billion emojis was
sent last year alone by smartphones.
Do you use emojis?
I love them!
You sometimes send me a smiley face?
By night I love them, I think they
Maura Fogarty is in our
Asia business hub.
what the chairman of Geely
once, he gets, we saw there -- their
shares up, and he spent about $9
billion to buy that nearly 10% stake
that you mentioned. What does he
want? He wants access to Daimler's
technology in electric cars and
autonomous driving vehicles, because
that is where he sees big disruption
happening in the market for cars.
What is interesting about this is
how the stake was acquired. Last
day, Geely approached Daimler and
said, listen, we would like to be a
shareholder, can you issue some new
shares? They were round the Reebok
by the Germans, but today the
chairman used an investment vehicle
he owns to buy open shares in the
market. -- roundly rebuffed. This
conflict takes things for Daimler in
China because they already have a
link with a Chinese company called
BAIC, so a messy start to the
relationship, but he will be meeting
with Daimler executives to try to
smooth it over later this afternoon.
A story to watch, for sure. Let's
look at the markets across the
board, Australia and Hong Kong,
Japan closing up, just shy of 1.3%
higher, and that was Friday on Wall
Street. We had a two-week global
rally, will it extends to a third?
It looks like it will in Europe, all
higher, a lot of attention on the
Federal Reserve again this week, the
new man at the top is going to speak
publicly twice this week. Let's look
at head to the day on Wall Street,
Yogita Limaye has the details.
than ever, stock markets in the
United States are watching the
Federal Reserve, each signal from
the central bank about how it sees
monetary policy developing seems to
be setting the course of the
markets, at least until the next
signal. So Friday could be a busy
day. First of all, the Fed issues a
semiannual report on monetary policy
to Congress. Does it think inflation
is heading higher? How many rate
rises does it expect this year? If
the report contains a definitive
answer to those questions, it would
be something of a first, but it
won't stop investors from poring
over it for every last clue they can
find. Then, at a conference in New
York, senior policy makers from the
Fed, including the New York
President, William Dudley, will
speak about how the Fed is forming
its response to the challenges of
inflation and new government
Joining us is James Hughes,
a market analyst at AxiTrader.
Morning! Interesting week in the
sense that all the action will
happen towards the end of the week,
but investors really trying to work
out what happened at the end of last
Last week we saw some
really big moves, and it was all
about the Fed speakers, all these
members of the Federal Reserve, some
of them talking up rate hikes, some
of them talking down, in the we have
no idea where it is going kind of
way! So the markets looked
particularly volatile at the end of
last week, so a case of when we have
quite a quiet start in terms of
macroeconomic data, we will try to
focus on why they moved like they
did last week, and it was quite an
aggressive end to the week last
So in terms of the week ahead,
talking about the fact that it is
economic heavy in the US, the jobs
report on Friday - that report last
time caused markets to be really
spooked, didn't it? For sure, and it
is not necessarily the overall
number of jobs, it is the wages,
very much like what we saw for the
UK last week. That wage data is very
and the Federal Reserve
want to see that get higher.
Expectations are that it will go
higher, which is why there is a lot
of talk that we could see maybe four
rate hikes in the US this year, but
with Jerome Powell are speaking
twice this week, it will be his
first real engagement as the chair
of the Fed, it will be important to
see his stance on how many rate
hikes we are going to see and
whether he is hawkish, whether he
wants them higher or lower.
one to watch. James is coming back.
He is a serials smartphone upgrade.
Key it's coming in. -- comments.
Still to come...
Could encouraging more
people to work part-time
be good news for us and the economy?
A new study says more of us
than ever are working fewer hours
to get a better work-life balance.
You're with Business
Live from BBC News.
A deadline is drawing closer that
could decide the future
of Toys R Us in the UK.
The UK part of the firm could fall
in to administration as soon
as tomorrow if a deal isn't done
today, putting more
than 3,000 jobs at risk.
Let's speak to Maureen Hinton,
Global Research Director
at Global Data.
What do you think will happen this
It does not look very good. It
looks like it will not be able to
pay its back bill and it has had to
trade since Christmas. It looks like
the company will fold. It is a real
shame for all the employees.
talk about Toys "R" Us, there is a
tendency to look back nostalgically
and remember those big out-of-town
stores that many families might have
gone to before Christmas or a big
birthday, but they did not keep up
with the times, did they?
competition has moved on. We use
online much more, we shop or from
supermarkets, Argos as well. It has
not kept up with it. Also there is
another competitor, Smith's Toys,
also on retail parks, and it seems
families preferred to go there. It
is a case of lack of investment and
keeping up with the competition.
do not mention Amazon, which before
Christmas really slashed its prices
significantly, taking a hit on its
own margins to stamp out
Amazon is always the
elephant in the room in retail
because it is taking lunch from
everybody because it is so good at
delivering. It has got good
fulfilment, especially on toys and
gifts before Christmas. It is so
convenient. It is affecting all
retailers and they all have to up
their game and a lot of them are, a
lot of them are keeping ahead, but
online takes a lot of investment
because there is so much on the
fulfilment side and we have got such
expectations as consumers. It is a
very tough world for retail.
"R" Us is a story to keep an eye out
for tomorrow and the days ahead. And
there is a story about why Taiwan
may have run out of toilet roll!
You're watching Business
Live, our top story...
Britain should stay in a customs
union after Brexit. That is expected
to be the message from the leader of
the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn. He
is due to say later today in a move
that will increase pressure on
Theresa May that staying in the
customs union is best for business.
But that raises all sorts of
questions for how the government
intends to negotiate.
intends to negotiate.
A quick look at how
markets are faring.
But as you heard from James, markets
are keeping an eye on the end of
More and more of us
are working part time,
according the latest figures,
and for employers that means
they can improve diversity and offer
jobs to people who would otherwise
not be able to work.
The UK recruitment agency Timewise
has published research
today showing one in four full-time
workers would prefer
to work part-time for
a cut in their salary,
as long as it didn't
affect their career progression.
But that's the problem.
Many workers worry it
will affect their future career.
In fact, 77% of existing part-time
workers reported that they feel
"trapped" in their current roles.
But nearly a million
part-time workers are now
defined as "high income",
meaning they earn
a minimum of £40,000 -
that's about $56,000.
And in order to champion part-time
working, Timewise has
created a series of awards.
One of them is Beatrice
De Montille, winners
who is the founder of the bespoke
jewellers Merci Maman.
I have to declare I am a judge on
the panel for this, so I know your
company well. Tell us why you
started this company working on a
I started working
on my own self employed at the
beginning because I wanted to work
part-time in my company at the time
when I came back from maternity
leave did not accept part-time jobs,
so it was quite easy to make the
decision to stop working. I was
influenced by a friend of mine who
started a home business before me. I
thought I could do the same and it
gave me the confidence and I was
looking for a good idea and that is
how I started.
Many people would
imagine that starting a business is
not the way to work part-time. A new
business will require all your
attention. How did you do it?
to juggle between my family life and
my working life, but when you are a
mother there is a time when your
baby is sleeping and I was working
during that time. After they went to
nursery I had to rush to the post
office to post my items before
picking them up at nursery. I always
had to be flexible, but I managed
and I started on my own, but now I
have a team of 30 people ten years
later. It is a good success that can
maybe get ideas to others. I would
love to be an inspiration to other
We are looking at your team
in operation. You come up with
personalised gifts. A lot of it is
We focus on jewellery
now. At the beginning we were doing
other products, but now we are
focusing on jewellery. We engraved
by hand in our workshop in London
and we have opened a studio in Paris
two years ago and the new one this
month in March in Berlin.
As far as
the part-time work, we touched on
how important it is for employers
and employees, but this is not just
about mothers. This applies to
anyone who wants to reduce their
Exactly, that is why I wanted
to focus on that. It is great if you
want to balance your family and
working life, but in my company one
third of the employees work
part-time and some of them are
artists, so it is a great source of
revenue for them. They can lead
their own artistic life alongside.
It is a great example. It is not
only for mothers, it is great as
well for other people who have
passions and they need time to give
up their skills.
And you have got
four children and you are moving
back to France with your husband.
You have lured him away from
investment banking and he is working
in your business, is that right?
joined big four years ago. He was
jealous of my flexibility and he
wanted to spend more time with our
kids. He is picking them up from
school today because I am away. It
is a win- win situation for all of
We will not get into how it is
working with your husband, that is a
whole other conversation. So nice to
see you. Good luck with everything.
In the moment we will look through
the stories in the papers and we
will get your take on the smartphone
upgrading debate. What would
convince you to upgrade. A lot of
you are messaging as. Here is how to
get in touch. Stay up-to-date with
all the business news on the BBC's
business live page. There is an
analysis from our editors around the
globe. Get involved on the BBC's
business live web page. We want to
hear from you. We are on Twitter and
James is back as promised. You are
serial upgraded. Have you got a
Yes, this is one of them. I
get that bug that I want it. Is your
wife watching now? I don't want it
and then I wanted and I fog out
loads of money and three minutes
after getting it it is the same as
the other one.
A lot of people are
getting in touch saying, you have to
convince me it is sufficiently
different to pay up to £1000. Prices
are ridiculous, it does not justify
the small improvements made. Nick
says the £200 phone does the same as
an £800 phone, so there is no need
to upgrade. But it is not about
need, is it?
With a lot of these
smartphone companies it is very rare
that upgrade the handset in a
significant way and usually it is
the operating system and we can
download that for free anyway about
two months after the release of the
phone. It is the software that we
can get for free.
I replace my phone
when I lose it or when it stops
working, that is Mike Harvey. So
many it's coming in.