May’s business plea, Sarkozy ousted, how to stop procrastinating

May offers fresh tax cuts and investment but calls for a fairer country

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Theresa May, the British prime minister, has earmarked £2bn for science and innovation, and pledged further tax cuts for companies as part of a grand bargain that requires business to build a “stronger, fairer country”.

Speaking to the annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry, she conceded that business needed clarity following the UK’s Brexit vote but repeated there would be “no running commentary” on negotiations. In an article in FT, she stressed capitalism should be balanced “to ensure it works for everyone”. (FT)

In the news

Gallic shake up François Fillon is the frontrunner candidate for the centre-right in France’s presidential elections, after Nicolas Sarkozy’s efforts to return to the Elysee ended abruptly in primaries on Sunday. Bernard-Henri Levy argues Marine Le Pen of the extreme rightwing National Front could win because people have lost interest in whether politicians tell the truth. (FT, Telegraph)

Trump’s vetting problems The incoming US president’s family circle and desire to purge his administration of outsiders will add to a backlog of half a million people being screened. “Top secret” clearances take on average 225 days. (FT)

Tumbling payouts Global dividends have fallen sharply as subdued earnings in the US hit payouts alongside growing uncertainty because of the election of Donald Trump, worries about China’s economy and Brexit. The slump in dividends in the third quarter is the weakest performance in more than a year. (FT)

Merkel seeks fourth term German leader Angela Merkel said she would stand again as a candidate for chancellor and party leader two weeks after the US election left her as the west’s pre-eminent defender of liberal values. But she is under pressure from the same forces that elevated Donald Trump and fuelled Britain’s vote to leave the EU. (FT, NYT)

EU popularity surge Support for the EU has risen in Europe in the wake of Brexit — including in Britain, according to a survey published today. In Britain, support rose to 56 per cent after the Brexit vote, compared with 49 per cent before. (FT)

Opening up on suppliers Gap, M&S and other apparel brands are disclosing lists of their factories in Asia. That reflects growing scrutiny of working conditions of their subcontractors. (NAR)

It’s a big day for

Oil Opec’s technical committee meets in Vienna to discuss the implementation of the deal to end the oil glut. Ali al-Naimi, the man who as Saudi Arabia’s oil minister for two decades set the pace of Opec and the commodity it trades in, recently sat down for Lunch with the FT. (FT)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s WeekAhead.

Food for thought

Taking the risk How to prepare employees at a time of growing instability. Kiran Stacey’s top tip: if kidnapped, run away as soon as you can. (FT)

Denmark takes hard Brexit line The UK ally will put its national interests ahead of old alliances in EU exit talks, which could bode ill for Britain’s hopes of a clean divorce. (FT)

Obama talks Inside a stunned White House, the president talks about his legacy and America’s future to The New Yorker editor David Remnick. Mr Obama is also rethinking plans to withdraw from political life next year. (New Yorker, NYT)

I’m leaving, come with me After 31 years at the FT, Lucy Kellaway is hanging it up to become a teacher — she thinks you should too. (FT)

Killers on a shoestring Forget the claims of sophisticated, global criminals. The gangs of El Salvador are mafias of the poor. One supposed kingpin recently caught lived in a squat concrete house and drove an old Honda Civic. (NYT)

Putting it off A two-decade study on who’s most likely to procrastinate, in what context, and, most importantly, how to kick the habit for good. (Business Insider)

Video of the day

The week ahead Josh de la Mare highlights the week’s key stories, including the UK Autumn Statement, Black Friday sales and the EU-Ukraine summit. (FT)

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