UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Press Round-up – March 26

Merkel set to allow euro zone firewall to increase
Germany is poised to bow to international pressure and allow a temporary increase in the euro zone’s financial “firewall” this week, to prevent the crisis in the region’s periphery spreading to other member states. (FT)

NBNK set to bid for Lloyds branches
British banking venture NBNK is on Monday expected to launch a bid for 632 Lloyds Banking Group branches in a move that could torpedo the Co-op’s efforts to buy the assets and reopen the sale process. (Telegraph)

Staff face the axe amid efforts to save Game
Thousands of Game Group staff face dismissal this week as it plunges into administration, kick-starting the process of closing down its least attractive stores. (Times)

Banks set to cut $1 trillion from balance sheets
Investment banks are to shrink their balance sheets by another $1 trillion or up to 7 percent globally within the next two years, says a report that foresees a shake-up of market share in the industry.   (FT)

Press Round-up – March 23

Delays raise doubts over Lloyd’s Co-Op deal
Cracks appeared on Thursday in Lloyds Banking Group’s plans to sell its “mini-Lloyds” business to the Co-operative Group after it admitted that it had fallen behind schedule on agreeing an outline deal.  (Times)

BP prepares for return to North Sea
Britain’s government has been accused of taking a huge risk with the Scottish environment after giving BP approval to drill its first deepwater exploration well in British waters since the Gulf of Mexico disaster. (Times)

Press Round-up – March 22

ECB eyes exit for crisis fund
The European Central Bank is falling behind on a 40 billion euros asset purchase programme launched at the height of the euro zone crisis, in a sign it could be dropped as a first step towards unwinding huge emergency support for the region’s financial system. (FT)

North Sea tax reforms ‘to lead to major investment’
An extra 50 billion pounds could be pumped into the North Sea oil and gas industry thanks to a new package of tax reforms announced in Wednesday’s budget.  (Telegraph)

Press Round-up – March 21

Europe’s fiscal pact in disarray as Dutch break rules
The Netherlands, one of the euro zone’s “hardliners” on financial discipline, has the “same problems as Italy and Spain” and is on track to break Europe’s three-week-old fiscal pact, its own officials have warned. (Telegraph)

EU defies carbon trade war threats
The threat of a trade war will not make the European Union back down on climate legislation, Connie Hedegaard, the bloc’s climate chief, said on Tuesday following pressure from foreign governments who want the EU to drop plans to charge airlines for carbon emissions.   (FT)

Press Round-up – March 20

Delay tactic to cost Treasury billions in tax
British finance minister George Osborne’s plans to scrap the 50 pence tax rate from next year could cost the Treasury billions of pounds in lost revenues as top earners delay taking income until the rate is cut, accountants warned. (Telegraph)

OBR raises forecast for economic growth
Forecasts for the UK economy will be revised a touch higher in the budget on Wednesday, as the Office for Budget Responsibility is expected to follow recent more optimistic moves by private sector economists.   (FT)

Press Round-up – March 19

Cameron unveils plans to sell roads and motorways
British Prime Minister David Cameron will on Monday clear the way for a multibillion-pound semi-privatisation of trunk roads and motorways as he announces plans to allow sovereign wealth funds from countries such as China to lease roads in England and Wales. (Guardian)

Barclays brothers face legal battle over hotel group
The tycoons who own the Daily Telegraph and the Ritz Hotel will on Monday face accusations in the UK high court that they led a conspiracy to seize control of three of London’s plushest hotels by illegal means. (Times)

Press Round-up – March 16

Osborne poised to cut top-rate income tax
British finance minister George Osborne is poised to slash the top rate of income tax from 50 pence to 40 pence in next week’s budget in a dramatic move that will delight business, but risks reinforcing the Conservatives’ reputation as protectors of the super-rich.  (Guardian)

Lloyds penalises former directors over HBOS deal
Eric Daniels and a trio of fellow former directors at Lloyds Banking Group have missed out on a 2 million pounds payday after being further penalised for their stewardship of the state-backed lender.  (Telegraph)

Press Round-up – March 15

Fitch warns that UK could lose coveted AAA credit rating
Britain’s hopes of retaining its prized triple-A credit rating were dealt a blow last night after Fitch put the country on watch for a downgrade. (Telegraph)

UK’s austerity drive cut 270,000 jobs in 2011
More than 30,000 NHS workers and 71,000 in education were among more than a quarter of a million public sector staff who lost their jobs in 2011 in Britain as the government’s austerity measures started to bite. (Guardian)

Press Round-up – March 14

Osborne looks at 100-year bond
The UK chancellor is aiming to launch an “Osborne bond” – a 100-year debt issue or even a perpetual gilt that never matures – to take advantage of the country’s historically low interest rates.  (FT)

Tesco becomes first major firm to move pension age from 65 to 67
Tesco, the country’s largest private sector employer, is to raise its pension age from 65 to 67 in a move that could be followed by other major companies. (Telegraph)

Press Round-up – March 13

FTSE boards resist pressure to smash the glass ceiling
The drive to get more women into Britain’s biggest boardrooms is making progress but, according to critics, there is much more to be achieved at director level and below, according to a report published on Tuesday. (Times)

Cost fears cause MoD to rethink fighter jets
British ministers are considering another U-turn in the long-running debate over which model of the F35 Joint Strike Fighter the UK should buy, threatening further disruption to a project which has been dogged by indecision and cost escalation.   (FT)