UK retailers’ sales hit by bad weather and early Easter

British Retail Consortium says like-for-like sales fell 0.7% from last year, raising fears that economic recovery is losing steam

British retailers saw sales drop last month as unsettled weather hit demand for clothes while takings at grocers were hurt by lower food prices and Easter closures, industry figures show.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said like-for-like sales fell 0.7% in March on a year earlier, the biggest drop since last August. Sales were flat on a year ago in total terms, which does not adjust for the effect of new store openings.

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IMF chief talks Panama Papers fallout: time to ‘think outside box’ on global tax

Issue is back in the spotlight after massive leak, but Christine Lagarde warned that a proposal by Oxfam to establish a UN global tax body faces obstacles

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said it is time to “think outside the box” on global tax but warned that a proposal by Oxfam to establish a UN global tax body faces huge obstacles.

The British-based charity first put the idea forward last year, arguing that powerful countries write the rules on tax and take advantage of loopholes and offshore tax havens. It suggested that an independent entity could give everyone – rich and poor – an equal say.

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Trade deals, real economic activity and the EU | Letters

Labour MEPs share many of the concerns expressed by Lord Owen about the potential threat to the NHS (Brexit is necessary to protect NHS from TTIP, says David Owen, theguardian.com, 6 April) and our public services, and have already taken action to ensure that negotiators address them in any EU-US TTIP trade deal.

The European parliament has a veto on all EU trade deals. Labour MEPs have taken a strong stand against the investor state dispute settlement (ISDS), in which multinationals can sue governments in separate investment courts, and are pushing for a full and comprehensive exclusion of all public services in the TTIP negotiations. The very concerns Lord Owen raises have already been addressed by MEPs and are now being considered by the negotiators.

Related: Panama Papers: Act now. Don’t wait for another crisis | Thomas Piketty

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