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This week’s roundup includes news that a Brexit deal has received cabinet approval, the number of women heading up Britain’s top 350 companies have fallen and research has shown we spend one entire day a year complaining about consumer goods and services.  

Cabinet approves Brexit deal

Prime Minister Theresa May has received cabinet backing for a landmark deal with the EU that has been hailed as a ‘decisive step’ towards Brexit. 

Though there were reportedly around 10 ministers opposed to the deal, this will now be taken forward and the EU will hold a special Brexit summit later this month. 

In terms of taking the deal to parliament, this is expected to happen in December. However, the deal has been largely criticised by notable Brexit supporters. 

The key points of the deal are; 

  • UK will be a single customs territory from March 2019 until December 2020 

  • UK to remain in EU customs union indefinitely if new agreement not reached by then 

  • Northern Ireland to be in same customs territory as UK and EU if no future agreement made 

  • EU nationals living in UK for five years in a row to have right to stay permanently in UK with families 

  • End of free movement - but visa-free travel to EU countries will continue 

Wages show fastest rise in almost a decade

Wages have risen at the fastest pace in nearly a decade in the three months to September, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show. 

Compared with a year earlier, wages excluding bonuses rose by 3.2% - the biggest rise since the end of 2008 and up slightly on the previous quarter. 

However, the ONS warned that real wage growth was below the 2015 level. 

The unemployment total went up for the first time this year, rising by 21,000 in the same period to 1.38 million. 

Compared with a year ago and adjusting for inflation, average weekly earnings increased by 0.9%. That figure excludes bonuses. 

Number of women bosses falls 

The number of women leading Britain's top 350 companies has fallen from 15 to 12 over the last year, while 75 of these businesses have only one woman on their board, a review has found. 

The government-backed Hampton-Alexander review also highlighted five companies among the group which had all-male boards. 

The number of all-male boards has fallen to five, but the report also highlighted a group of 75 that remained ‘resolutely male-dominated' with only one woman. 

‘It is time to call out the 75 at 'one and done' boards that are dragging overall progress downwards,’ the review said. ‘The 33% target is a collective effort and it is incumbent on every FTSE 350 listed company to play their part - get with the new norm - today one woman at the table is little different to none.’ 

Consumers spend 24 hours a year complaining 

Consumers typically spend 24 hours each year calling or writing to complain, while at work, about poor customer service, research suggests. 

Problems with repairs in the home, delivery errors and frustrations about buying a property are the most common complaints, according to the Institute of Customer Service. 

The issues lead to billions of pounds in lost productivity in the UK economy.The institute said companies should use technology wisely to solve problems. 

Previous research has suggested that younger consumers are most willing to complain about poor service, through various channels. 

Now the institute's latest research suggests that people typically spend two hours in working time complaining to customer services - either on the phone, emailing, or through social media.