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5 Things that mattered 15/7/18

A week of high anxiety over the government's Brexit plan begins with fears of a goverment collapse and ends with the arrival of President Trump.

Brexit drama continues

The week starts with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson joining the previous weekend’s resignation of Brexit Secretary David Davis, along with some junior ministers. Their resignations are in protest at Theresa May’s deal hatched at the Prime Minister’s residence Chequers for a compromise version of Brexit. Early fears of a government collapse subside.

White Paper revealed

The government’s Brexit framework is revealed in a long-awaited White Paper which includes plans for a free trade area in goods. It also reveals an abandoning of the “mutual recognition” plan for financial services after Brexit, laying out a new proposal for a looser partnership with the EU.

Chancellor Philip Hammond defends the government’s watered-down Brexit plan for financial services, telling a sceptical City of London that proposals in a long-awaited white paper would allow the sector “to flourish”. But Lloyd’s of London chief executive Inga Beale says the government’s plan for relations with the EU after Brexit will speed up the departure of finance firms from the UK.

Trade wars

The US ramps up its trade war with China, listing $200bn (£150bn) worth of additional products it plans to place tariffs on as soon as September. The move comes just days after the two countries imposed tit-for-tat tariffs of $34bn on each other’s goods. President Donald Trump had already threatened to impose additional tariffs against China if it retaliated.

Facebook fined

Social media giant Facebook is hit with its first financial penalty over the massive data leak to Cambridge Analytica after a UK watchdog accused the social network of breaking the law. The fine is issued as part of a stinging report from Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office, the maximum fine allowable under old data protection laws, £500,000.

Going concern reviewed

US regulator the PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board) is to examine auditors’ ‘going concern’ reporting. The statements, which are made by directors and signed off by auditors, comes as the Big Four accounting firms Deloitte, EY, PwC and KPMG find themselves under repeated attack over the quality of their work, misconduct, conflicts of interest and their lobbying power.

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