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Posted by: Ian Piper
The pound falls further this week. At the time of writing, the pound is worth $1.22 and €1.11 but this time last year it was worth $1.54 and €1.34. A weaker pound means everything will cost more, at home and abroad. Holidays will become more expensive as the exchange rate slides downwards, with some airports recording an exchange rate of €0.88 against the pound this week. But the price of things here at home will also start creeping up in response to the weaker pound and already a lot of companies with UK production are reporting that they expect to lose profits, so it’s likely they’ll raise prices to try to make some of that up. Supermarkets also import a lot of our food from other countries, so the cost of those will go up too. And the price of petrol is already creeping up due to the pound being so weak against the US dollar; the Petrol Retailers’ Association says it expects a litre of fuel to cost 5p more by the end of the month. (source

MPs attack the government's handling of rail franchises. A Transport Select Committee report has described the recent experience of Southern Rail passengers as "woeful". The rail line has been locked in a bitter dispute with the RMT union for months over the future role of conductors, which has resulted in ongoing industrial action and staff shortages. The union has commented that the report is “an indictment of the failure of rail privatisation.” The report has suggested that the rail line is now in default of its contractual obligations to provide the service and the Department of Transport’s claim that no other operator could do a better job, is now no longer credible. Another 11 days of strike action is planned in the run up to Christmas. The Department for Transport (DfT) has said that improving Southern services was a priority for the government. (Source bbc news)

Britain's only real alternative to a "hard Brexit" is "no Brexit", European Council President Donald Tusk has said. Speaking in Brussels this week, Tusk warned that the EU would not compromise on its insistence that freedom of movement will be a condition for Britain's access to the single market. Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the UK government will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March 2017. In his speech, Mr Tusk mocked a Brexit campaign promise that Britons could "have the EU cake and eat it too" - the idea that the UK might manage to keep trade benefits of EU membership while barring European immigrants and rejecting EU courts' authority. (source bbc news)

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