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The Business Matrix: Monday 21 May 2012

Shops battered by bad weather

The wettest April on record "battered" retailers and drove the sharpest drop in footfall since the end of 2009. The number of shoppers on the high street plummeted 12.6 per cent last month, although the almost incessant rain benefited shopping centres, which saw footfall rise by 0.4 per cent. Bad weather contributed to an overall 2 per cent fall in footfall over the three months to 30 April, according to the survey from the British Retail Consortium.

Call for 30% rate of income tax

Britain should scrap eight different taxes, set a single rate of income tax at 30 per cent and move the personal allowance up to £10,000, according to the TaxPayers' Alliance and Institute of Directors. Their joint 2020 Tax Commission report suggests leaving more money in the hands of consumers. Its main recommendations are that taxes should be cut to 33 per cent of national income and marginal tax rates should not exceed 30 per cent.

UK warned of credit downgrade

The UK will lose its triple-A credit rating next year, according to Legal & General bond fund manager Richard Hodges. "The question isn't will the UK be downgraded, but when," he said. "The ratings agencies haven't moved because they have bigger fish to fry." (Independent on Sunday)

Battle for control at Punch pubs

Britain's biggest pub operator has opened talks with its lenders over a controversial plan to give them control of the company in return for writing off millions in debt. Punch Taverns, which owns 5,000 pubs is struggling under a £2.3bn debt pile built up during an ambitious expansion drive. (Sunday Times)

Blockbuster reprieve for BSB

A U-turn by the Competition Commission has lifted a threat to have BSkyB's grip on the pay-TV film market declared anti-competitive. The watchdog is expected to say that rivals such as Lovefilm and Netflix are undermining Sky's dominance and reducing the need to impose restrictions. (Mail on Sunday)

Prudential to name Manduca

Prudential is to name Paul Manduca as its new chairman to replace the departing Harvey McGrath. Mr Manduca, the former chief executive of Rothschild Asset Management, has been chosen by the FT-SE 100 insurer's board after a lengthy search of candidates. (Sunday Telegraph)

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