LinkedIn Pulse - Ministers spend extra £160m on Brexit consultant contracts and more...

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Ministers have spent an “eye watering” £160m on a new round of Brexit contracts. Whitehall has published a new wave of contracts with external consultants to prepare for Brexit. Deloitte and Ernst & Young are among nine companies whose contracts have been extended, many until April 2020, six months after the UK’s new scheduled exit from the European Union. A further 11 firms have been given brand new contracts. Last week, transport secretary Chris Grayling cancelled two no-deal ferry contracts, costing taxpayers a further £50m. Here’s what people are saying.

Uber drivers in London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow will strike on Wednesday ahead of the tech firm's $90bn stock market listing. The drivers, who plan to log off the app between 7am and 4pm, claim that Uber's listing is built on "worker exploitation, tax avoidance and regulatory arbitrage." Drivers have been involved in a long-running dispute with the firm over calls for minimum wage and holiday pay. Uber claims that as the drivers are self-employed, it is not obliged to pay such benefits. • Here's what people are saying.

Selfridges has announced that 300 of its own-brand foods are free of palm oil, becoming the first major UK retailer to do so. The upmarket department store hit its milestone nine months ahead of target after pledging to ensure that 50% of all products are better for people and the planet by 2022. Palm oil is currently found in more than half of all supermarket products, despite only a small percentage of the product coming from an officially approved sustainable source. Here’s what people are saying.

Boeing failed to reveal an issue with the 737 MAX’s alert system for 13 months, reports The Wall Street Journal. In a new statement, the plane manufacturer admits it knew there was a problem with the cockpit safety alert but maintains the software issue “did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation.” Industry experts say Boeing only disclosed some information after the fatal October Lion Air crash, and then waited six weeks following a second deadly incident before disclosing the issue to the public and the FAA. • Here’s what people are saying.

The Channel Tunnel yesterday celebrated its 25th anniversary. The railway line connecting the UK to France has been used by almost 430 million passengers and 86 million vehicles since Queen Elizabeth II and then French president François Mitterrand cut the official ribbon on May 6, 1994. Centuries in the making, the tunnel has become “the most competitive method of transport for traded goods,” according to a report from EY, worth around £119bn each year to the UK and European economies.  Here’s what people are saying.