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EQ Weekly Roundup

This week’s roundup includes news the Prime Minister is seeking a Brexit breakthrough with the leader of the opposition, Boots has warned it is considering its future in the UK once it leaves the EU and food price inflation is near a six-year high.

May seeks Brexit breakthrough with Corbyn

Theresa May has announced she will have talks with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to seek a solution to Brexit that will receive backing from MPs.

After her deal was rejected three times in Parliament, the Prime Minister held emergency seven hour talks with her cabinet.

Speaking to the nation after the talks, May said she hoped they could work together to break the Brexit “logjam” while also seeking an extension from the EU. 

However, May’s announcement has received criticism across political parties and angered prominent Brexiteers.

Boots warns of possible store closures

The US owner of pharmacy chain Boots has warned of possible store closures in the UK as it tries to cut costs.

Walgreens Boots Alliance said it would take "decisive steps" to reduce costs as part of a company-wide "significant restructuring".

The move comes after the chain said it had suffered its "most difficult quarter" since the firm's formation, with UK like-for-like sales down 2.3%.

The chain has 2,500 stores across the UK, employing around 60,000 staff.

Food price inflation at ‘near six year high’

UK food prices last month reached their highest rate of inflation in almost six years, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Extreme weather last year - both cold and hot - hit crops, pushing up the price of such things as onions, potatoes and cabbages.

It meant food price inflation hit 2.5% in March, up from 1.6% in February, the highest since November 2013.

Overall, shop price inflation rose to 0.9% in March from 0.7% in February, the highest inflation rate since March 2013, according the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index.

Ford to consider post-EU future in the UK

Ford has stepped up warnings over a no-deal Brexit, saying it would take a "long hard look" at its UK operations in that event.

Ford Europe Chairman Steven Armstrong has said Ford, which employs just under 13,000 staff in the UK including workers at its Dagenham and Bridgend engine plants, had already spent tens of millions of euros preparing for no-deal.

This included the stockpiling of components for its factories and he said it was money that, in the best case scenario, was going to be wasted.

Armstrong said: “We think it's about time the government and parliament in general got together and figured a way through this to allow us to continue with frictionless trade and take tariffs off the table."