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Telegraph Trade Awards

The deadline for The Telegraph Trade Awards will now close on Thursday, August 23, 2018.

The awards are free to enter and all shortlisted candidates will have the chance to promote their brand in The Telegraph to our daily readership of 470,000 people.

To enter, choose a category and download the entry form (marking critera included). Once completed, simply email the form with any additional documents to conferences@telegraph.co.uk.

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If you are successful in your entry you will be invited to attend our awards ceremony on November 1 at The Marriot Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London, attended by some of the biggest names in british business.

Need help submitting your entry? Download our entry guide or email carl.christopher-ansari@telegraph.co.uk

Entries will close at 5pm on Thursday, August 23.

Elon Musk has attempted to explain his controversial tweet about taking Tesla private, saying he was “not on weed” at the time.

The electric carmaker’s founder has been facing intense scrutiny about the 7 August tweet which said he wanted to take Tesla private at $420 a share.

He told the New York Times that the price of $420 seemed like “better karma” than $419.

“But I was not on weed, to be clear,” he said.

4/20 is an infamous term, more common in the US, that refers to the consumption of cannabis.

The price of $419 would have represented a 20% premium over Tesla’s share price at the time.

“It seemed like better karma at $420 than at $419. But I was not on weed, to be clear. Weed is not helpful for productivity. There’s a reason for the word ‘stoned’. You just sit there like a stone on weed,” Mr Musk, 47, told the paper.

His tweet sparked a sharp rally in Tesla’s share price, but has also prompted scrutiny. The stock closed at $335.45 in New York on Thursday.

Fox News has reported that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had sent subpoenas to the electric carmaker and was “ramping up” its investigation into the tweet.

Mr Musk also said he sent the tweet while driving in a Tesla Model S to the airport and that he did not regret sending it.

‘No sleep, or Ambien’

He also told the New York Times that friends had expressed concern that he was exhausted after working 120 hour weeks: “This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career. It was excruciating.”

The company is facing pressure to increase production of its Model 3 car and in May Mr Musk stopped one analyst during a results call by saying “boring bonehead questions are not cool”.

The paper reported that at times during the interview he stopped speaking, seemingly overcome by emotion – and that he spent the full 24 hours of his birthday on 28 June working. “All night – no friends, nothing,” Mr Musk said.

The company is also facing legal actions about its business practices. In the latest complaint, a former employee at its Nevada battery factory filed a whistleblower complaint with the SEC accusing the company of spying on employees.

Tesla said it had taken the complaints by Karl Hansen seriously but after investigating had failed to substantiate them.

In the New York Times interview, Mr Musk said that he took the sedative Ambien to help him sleep when he was not working: “It is often a choice of no sleep, or Ambien.”

According to the New York Times his use of the drug has concerned some board members, who wonder if it affects his late night tweets.

In May Roseanne Barr blamed Ambien for her tweet that likened Valerie Jarrett, an African-American former aide to Barack Obama, to an ape.

‘They can have the job’

Tesla’s directors said: “There have been many false and irresponsible rumours in the press about the discussions of the Tesla board. We would like to make clear that Elon’s commitment and dedication to Tesla is obvious.

“Over the past 15 years, Elon’s leadership of the Tesla team has caused Tesla to grow from a small start-up to having hundreds of thousands of cars on the road that customers love, employing tens of thousands of people around the world, and creating significant shareholder value in the process.”

The statement was issued by the board members, excluding Mr Musk, who controls about a fifth of Tesla shares.

The board has set up a committee to evaluate any take-private proposal from Mr Musk, who has said that he discussed funding a deal with the Saudi Arabiansovereign wealth fund.

The New York Times reported that Mr Musk did not intend to separate the roles of chairman and chief executive, but that a search was underway to recruit a deputy. However, he said there was “no active search” underway.

He added: “If you have anyone who can do a better job, please let me know. They can have the job. Is there someone who can do the job better? They can have the reins right now.”

Durham University is to create two new colleges to the south of the city at a cost of £105m, it has confirmed.

A consortium led by construction and services firm Interserve will design, build and operate the colleges at Mount Oswald, which are due to open in 2020.

The scheme will deliver 1,000 beds and include a new building with a 300-seat eating hall, as well as sports and music facilities.

The university said the project was a “key element” of its expansion plans.

As part of the scheme, Interserve will maintain the colleges for 51 years.

‘Extensive experience’

University vice-chancellor Prof Stuart Corbridge, said: “The development of two college facilities at Mount Oswald, including one brand new College and a purpose-built new home for our John Snow College, is a key project in delivering a wider student experience as good as anywhere in the world.”

The project is being built on a site acquired by the university to the south of the city, and is due to be completed in 2020.

Debbie White, Interserve’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have reached financial close on this project and look forward to starting on site imminently.

“This project builds on our extensive experience in the further education sector and our strong 15-year relationship with Durham University.”

Durham University already has 16 colleges and a student population of more than 18,000.

Interserve employs 80,000 people worldwide and made a £6m loss in the half-year to the end of June, compared with a profit of £24.6m during the same period last year.

Hundreds of Google employees have written to the company to protest against plans to launch a “censored search engine” in China.

They said the project raised “urgent moral and ethical questions” and urged the firm to be more transparent.

“Currently we do not have the information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our work,” they added.

Google, which has never spoken publicly about the plans, declined to comment.

The firm, which is owned by Alphabet, quit China eight years ago in protest at the country’s censorship laws and alleged government hacks.

However, reports last month claimed it had been secretively working on a new Chinese search service, referred to internally as Dragonfly.

The platform, which still requires Chinese government approval, would block certain websites and search terms like human rights and religion.

This has angered some employees who fear they have been unwittingly working on technology that will help China suppress free expression.

‘Open processes’

In their letter, which was shared with various media organisations, they also argue it would violate the “don’t be evil” clause in Google’s code of conduct.

“We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table, and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we’re building,” the letter said.

It is not the first time Google employees have spoken out against the company’s decisions.

In April, thousands of staff criticised its work on a US military programme developing artificial intelligence for drones.

Google has since ended its AI contract with the Pentagon.

China has the world’s largest internet audience but US tech firms have struggled to take off in China due to content restrictions and blockages.

Facebook, Google, Twitter and Instagram are all banned, although Google still has three offices in the country.

B&Q owner Kingfisher saw a 1.6% rise in like-for-like sales during the second quarter, helped by recent warm weather.

The company said same-store sales at B&Q in the UK and Ireland rose 3.6% in the three months to 31 July.

Comparable trade at Screwfix, which sells to professionals, rose by 5.5%.

Kingfisher chief executive Veronique Laury said: “In the second quarter, I’m pleased that we grew our sales after the exceptionally harsh weather conditions in the first quarter.”

In the first quarter sales had been hit by wet and snowy weather across Europe, and had fallen by 4%.

She added: “In B&Q, Screwfix and Brico Depot France we delivered good sales growth.

“However, the performance of Castorama France has been more difficult and as a result, we have put additional actions in place to support our full-year performance in France, with the benefits expected to come through in [the second half of the financial year."

Like-for-like sales were down by 1% in France during the quarter.

"Unusually warm summer lifted sales at Kingfisher in the second quarter, but we still see continued weakness in France that is dragging on the group performance," said Neil Wilson, chief analyst at Markets.com.

"After the Beast from the East took a nasty chunk out of [first-quarter] sales, this is a welcome return to like-for-like growth. Sometimes retailers can blame it on the weather and in the first half, Kingfisher has had both the good and the bad.”

He added: “However, France remains a weakness, with like-for-like sales there falling 1% as weaker footfall and the transformation activity at Castorama hit sales.”

UK retail sales increased by 0.7% in July, ahead of expectations.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures also showed that retail sales rose by 3.5% in the year to July.

ONS statistician Rhian Murphy said: “Many consumers stayed away from some High Street stores in July, but online sales were very strong, supported by several retailers launching promotions.

“Food sales remained robust as people continued to enjoy the World Cup and the sunshine.”

On the three-month measure for May to July, sales rose 2.1%, the strongest three months since February 2015.

The sales growth comes despite continuing pressures on High Street stores and weakened household spending power as pay growth struggles to outpace inflation.

Clothing sales recorded their strongest year-on-year growth since December, also helped by sales promotions, the ONS added.

Total spending online continued to increase, to reach a new record proportion of all retailing at 18.2% in July 2018.

Meanwhile, online spending via department store websites also reached a record proportion of their total sales, at 18.2%.

Wage growth weak

Andrew Wishart, UK economist at Capital Economics, said that the robust retail sales for July suggested “some recovery in consumer spending is in the pipeline”.

He said: “Of course, retail sales only account for about a third of total household spending, so the strength of spending on the High Street could be offset by households reducing their outlay elsewhere.”

Losses at Uber are mounting even as it reported a 51% annual increase in income from its taxi app business.

Income from its global taxi businesses, once it had paid its drivers, rose to $2.7m (£2.1m) in the last quarter.

But the cost of expansion plans into areas like bike sharing and Uber Eats, its food delivery business has meant losses have grown rapidly.

The company said adjusted losses in the last three months rose 32% on the previous quarter to $404m.

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber chief executive said the company was “continuing to grow at an impressive rate for a business of our scale.

“We’re deliberately investing in the future of our platform: big bets like Uber Eats; congestion and environmentally friendly modes of transport like Express Pool, e-bikes and scooters; emerging businesses like Freight; and high-potential markets in the Middle East and India where we are cementing our leadership position.”

In May at a conference in California Mr Khosrowshahi said the food delivery business Uber Eats was taking $6bn bookings a year and growing 200% annually.

Under pressure

Uber is under pressure to become more profitable for a planned offering of its shares to the public next year.

David Brophy, professor of finance at the University of Michigan, told Reuters the firm could expect to see its valuation slashed in a public listing if it did not show more progress towards becoming profitable.

The taxi giant was most recently valued at $72bn, making it one of the most valuable privately held firms in the world.

Uber, which is a private company, released figures to investors showing that the firm made $12bn in quarterly gross bookings, which includes both rides and its food-delivery service, Uber Eats, up 41% from a year before.

Uber has retreated from major markets China, Southeast Asia and Russia over the last year after failing to fend off local competitors.

But it said it was still committed to India and the Middle East, despite pressure from some investors to quit those markets too.

Mr Khosrowshahi was brought in last year to revive Uber’s image after a damaging sexual harassment scandal engulfed the firm.

But the company still has a number of costly legal battles, including over its classification of drivers as independent contractors, and federal inquiries to resolve.

Regulatory pressure also threatens to hinder growth in major markets.

Last week New York voted to impose a temporary cap on new licences for ride-hailing vehicles to tackle congestion. And Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on Wednesday said he would seek similar restrictions in the UK’s capital.

Amazon’s one-day delivery ad for Prime members has been banned as misleading.

The UK advertising regulator said it had received 280 complaints, mostly from Prime customers who reported not receiving their packages within a day.

It said the ad “must not appear again in its current form” and Amazon must make clear that “a significant proportion” of Prime items were not available for next-day delivery.

Amazon said the “overwhelming majority” of one-day orders arrived on time.

It said the “period of extreme weather” last year meant “a small proportion of orders” missed their delivery deadline.

The firm’s top service, Prime, offers next-day deliveries for £7.99 a month, or £79-a-year.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the adverts for Amazon Prime on its website in December meant customers would assume “one-day delivery” applied to all Prime-labelled items – and that these deliveries would arrive the day after the order was placed.

However, elsewhere on its website Amazon explained that delivery time for its one-day service was “one business day after dispatch”, and what time an order was placed would determine whether an item was dispatched on the same day.

The ASA said it was unlikely customers would find this information, before signing up for Amazon Prime.

“Because consumers were likely to understand that, so long as they did not order too late or for Sunday delivery, all Prime-labelled items would be available for delivery the next day with the One-Day Delivery option, when a significant proportion of Prime-labelled items were not available for delivery by the subsequent day with One-Day Delivery, we concluded that the ad was misleading,” the ASA said in its ruling.

Amazon said the “vast majority” of the complaints followed media coverage of an initial handful of complaints.

A spokeswoman said: “Amazon Prime offers fantastic benefits to members including One-Day delivery on millions of eligible items at no extra cost.

“The expected delivery date is shown before an order is placed and throughout the shopping journey and we work relentlessly to meet this date. “

Citizens Advice said online retailers should provide easy access to compensation if they fail to deliver items on time.

The consumer group said problems with late deliveries were not unique to Amazon.

Chief executive Gillian Guy said: “We’ve found 40% of people who used a premium delivery service received their parcel later than expected.

“It’s more difficult for consumers to work out what they’re owed when their parcels don’t arrive on time if they’ve paid for a service like Amazon Prime, compared to when they pay for one-off deliveries.

UK inflation rose to 2.5% in July, after holding steady at 2.4% in the previous three months, as the cost of transport and computer games increased.

It was the first jump in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure since November and was in line with forecasts.

Meanwhile the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation fell to 3.2%.

The Department for Transport uses the RPI figure to set the maximum annual increase for regulated rail fares.

Despite the rise for CPI, wage growth is still outstripping inflation. On Tuesday, the Office for National Statistics said that average earnings, excluding bonuses, rose by 2.7% for the three months to June.

Wednesday’s inflation figures show that increases in computer games and transport – up 5.6% in the year ending July 2018 – were partially offset by falls in the price of clothing.

For manufacturers, the cost of raw materials was 10.9% higher than in July 2017, the biggest rise in more than a year.

Much of that cost pressure has been caused by oil price increases of more than 50% over the period.

  • Regulated rail fares to rise 3.2%
  • Unemployment at lowest since 1975
  • UK growth boosted by warmer weather

The CPI figure had hit a five-year high of 3.1% in November, when the inflationary effect of the pound’s fall following the June 2016 Brexit vote reached its peak.

Earlier this month the Bank of England forecast inflation would rise to 2.6% in July before falling back.

The Bank expects inflation will settle down to just above its 2% target in two years’ time as it gradually increases interest rates.

‘Little respite’

Tej Parikh, senior economist at the Institute of Directors, said the rise in inflation showed the cost of living squeeze was not yet a thing of the past.

“For households this isn’t good news, as the already weak growth in their pay packets is being further eroded by high prices. This is likely to weigh down consumer spending, posing fresh problems for embattled high street businesses,” he said.

“As the temporary factors pushing prices up fade away, inflation is expected to slowly fall back close to the target rate, but that will offer little respite for workers without a significant pickup to their salaries in tandem.”

Samuel Tombs at Pantheon Macroeconomics added: “Unless inflation in the services sector strengthens dramatically, CPI inflation will fall below the 2% target in the first half of next year.”

Rail passengers will see the price of regulated rail fares increase by a maximum of 3.2% in January 2019.

The rise, determined by the RPI inflation measure, could add more than £100 to annual season tickets.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has called for future rail fare and wage increases to be based on the lower Consumer Prices Index – rather than the higher Retail Prices Index.

The RMT union accused him of trying to impose a “pay cap” on its members.

The government’s preferred measure of inflation, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), rose to 2.5% in July from 2.4% in June.

But under the current system, it is July’s RPI that sets the maximum rise for regulated fares in January.

Increases in 40% of fares – including season tickets – are regulated by the UK government in England and the devolved bodies in Wales and Scotland. The remaining 60% of fares are set by the train companies.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the increase in regulated fares as “an insult to everyone who has suffered from the chaos on Britain’s railways”.