Beer could be twice as expensive south of NI Border – lobby

Seen & Heard: Banking on Pfizer; rules hurt investment; and Gates backs green cement

Beer could be twice as expensive south of the Border under proposed minimum unit pricing rules,  Drink Ireland warns. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/ Getty

Beer could be twice as expensive south of the Border under proposed minimum unit pricing rules, Drink Ireland warns. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/ Getty

 

Beer could be twice as expensive south of the Border under proposed minimum unit pricing rules, the lobby group, Drink Ireland, has warned. The Government is expected to introduce its plans within weeks, the paper says. Plans to work in tandem with Northern Ireland have been discarded after its health minister said no action would come north of the Border until 2023.

Vaccination plans

Ireland, along with the EU, looks to be banking on the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid shot for longer term vaccination planning against Covid, according to a report in the Business Post. The State will secure up to 20 million doses of the vaccine as part of a 1.8 billion-dose agreement being worked on by the EU. The bloc is also talking to Novovax about a deal for up to 200 million doses of its vaccine candidate which has yet to be approved, as the EU seems to pivot away from reliance on AstraZeneca, the paper said.

Pension rules

New pension rules will hit investment in Irish nursing homes, health centres and even social housing, the Sunday Times reports. The rules tighten investment options for single-member pension schemes, a popular way for business figures to control how their retirement funds are invested. Going forward, they will be strictly limited in putting funds into unregulated investments.

Ecocem funding

Ireland’s “green” cement maker Ecocem has attracted €22.5 million from a fund backed by Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma and Richard Branson, according to the Sunday Times. Breakthrough Energy Ventures, founded by Gates, provides longer term funding that is normal for venture capital groups to companies capable of delivering “meaningful climate benefits”.

Revenue dent

Big Four accountant KPMG is the latest to report a Covid dent in its revenues in 2020, writes the Sunday Times. Business declined 5 per cent at the Irish firm, with non-audit services worst hit. Audit fees actually rose 2 per cent.

M&S redundancies

Beleaguered retailer Marks & Spencer is reported to be seeking 245 redundancies across its 18 Irish stores. The Sunday Independent writes that the plan – targeting staff with more than 10 years’ service – will be the subject of a staff ballot later this month. The company says the job cuts are necessary to address a sales decline that preceded Covid but has been exacerbated by it.

Aer Lingus jobs

Also worried about their jobs, according to the Independent, are staff at Aer Lingus where pilots are reported to have told colleagues there are fears that quarantine rules and travel bans over the summer could see up to 25 per cent of remaining staff let go. However, unions representing cabin staff say they have been given no such information.

Shanghai investors

Irish investors are fighting what they allege is the fraudulent transfer of a Shanghai property development to a Chinese company. The 29 Irish investors spent €6.3 million on the development which is now valued at about €18 million, according to the Sunday Independent. They are preparing to file a complaint with China’s central commission for discipline inspection.

Voi looks to enter Irish market

Finally, Swedish e-scooter operator Voi is looking at entering an increasingly crowded field for rental schemes in Irish cities following expected legislation in the area. Voi operates in 60 cities across Europe, the Sunday Independent writes, and last year entered the UK market.