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FirstFT: Jaguar Land Rover owner demands £500mn from UK for battery plant

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Good morning, and welcome to the new FirstFT.

Today we have a scoop on Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata Motors, which has demanded more than £500mn in aid from the UK government to choose Somerset over Spain for its new battery plant.

And what role did BBC political comedy Yes Minister have to play in breaking the deadlock over Northern Ireland? Scroll down for our behind-the-scenes read on secret talks that led to the Windsor deal.

Here’s what to keep tabs on today:

  • Economic data: S&P Global publishes manufacturing purchasing managers’ indices for Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the eurozone, the US and the UK. Germany also has January unemployment figures and its February consumer price index.

  • Results: Salesforce has fourth-quarter results as activist investors circle. Atos, Juventus, Kuehne+Nagel, Persimmon and Reckitt Benckiser also report. See the full list in our Week Ahead newsletter.

  • Macron in Africa: French president Emmanuel Macron starts a trip to win over countries on a continent that is increasingly resistant to one-time colonial powers playing a role in its affairs.

What do you think of our new look today? Let us know at

Today’s top news

1. EXCLUSIVE: Jaguar Land Rover’s owner is demanding more than £500mn for a battery factory to be built in England over Spain and has given UK ministers “weeks” to pledge financial support. Here’s why Tata Motors’ ultimatum could be pivotal for the future of Britain’s car industry.

2. Wall Street’s largest companies warn that backlash against sustainable investment is now a material risk. A dozen fund managers including BlackRock, Blackstone and KKR wrote in their annual reports that pressures such as “divergent views” or “competing demands” on ESG investing could hurt financial performance.

3. Goldman Sachs chief David Solomon admitted mistakes in an ill-fated foray into consumer banking and raised the possibility of selling parts of the business at an investor day that failed to lift the cloud over the US bank. Read the full story on the “strategic alternatives” Solomon is exploring.

4. US chipmakers must agree not to expand capacity in China for a decade if they are to receive money from a $39bn federal fund designed to build a leading-edge US semiconductor industry, according to new commerce department rules.

5. EXCLUSIVE: Belgium’s cyber security agency has linked China to a cyber attack on MP Samuel Cogolati, who wrote in January 2021 of “crimes against humanity” against Uyghur Muslims. European governments have become more willing to challenge Beijing over alleged cyber offences. Read the full story.

The Big Read

© FT montage/dpa

Central banks do not face a wage-price spiral yet, but the worry is that a year of rocketing prices may have triggered a lasting change in the expectations and behaviour of workers, employers and consumers. This could lead to something better described as “wage-price persistence”.

We’re also reading . . . 

Chart of the day

Vladimir Putin could reasonably conclude that he has time on his side and Ukraine will not get the resources it needs to last in the longer run, writes Martin Wolf. The west has to prove he is wrong, and sooner rather than later.

Bar chart of US military expenditure in wars vs aid to Ukraine (average annual cost, as a % of GDP at the time) showing US military aid to Ukraine is a relatively small burden for the US

Take a break from the news

Are you bored with all your clothes? Do you feel rudderless when it comes to describing what your “style” is? Stylist Anna Berkeley offers advice on how to get out of a style rut. For more, sign up to our Fashion Matters newsletter.

Additional contributions by Emily Goldberg and Gordon Smith

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