UK inflation slows, as UK and eurozone businesses return to growth in March – as it happened

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A law firm representing the UK owners of Mercedes-Benz cars has started formal legal action seeking compensation from the German marque for allegedly installing illegal emissions cheating devices on its diesel cars, writes my colleague Jasper Jolly.

Hagens Berman, a US law firm, filed particulars of the claim at London’s high court on Tuesday alleging that Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s owner, put “defeat devices” that artificially lowered emissions when the car detected it was being tested.

John Lewis has confirmed plans to close eight more outlets, including department stores in York, Peterborough, Sheffield and Aberdeen, with the potential loss of almost 1,500 jobs, reports our retail correspondent Sarah Butler.

The company, which reported it first ever full-year loss earlier this month, said it would also close four ‘at home’ stores, in Ashford, Basingstoke, Chester and Tunbridge Wells, as well as the four city centre department stores.

The latest closures come after John Lewis closed eight stores in 2020 amid a shift to online shopping, which has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Online trading now accounts for three-quarters of the department store’s sales.

The John Lewis Partnership has warned over further department store closures after the pandemic sent it plunging to its first ever annual loss.

Almost 60,000 frontline workers at BT will receive a special bonus of £1,500 from the company in recognition of their work during the coronavirus pandemic, writes Joanna Partridge.

The telecoms group said that it would give 59,000 of its staff a £1,000 cash bonus, which they will receive in June.

BT to invest £12bn in faster broadband and reaching remote areasRead more

In addition, the workers, who include engineer and customer service centre staff, will receive a further £500 in shares, which will be awarded after three years as part of the employee share scheme.