UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

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)

FSA celebrates victory over land-bank con men
The FSA has hailed victory in their battle against land-bank scammers – the popular practice of tricking people into investing in land at inflated values – after a group of con men was ordered to pay back 32 million pounds by the British High Court. (Times)
Challenge expected to O’Reilly grip on Irish media group
The O’Reilly family grip on the management of Independent News & Media is coming under fresh pressure with two large shareholders seeking to oust the chief executive of the Irish media group at its June annual meeting.   (FT)

UK government plans air traffic sale
The British government is set to announce next week that it will auction part of its stake in the UK’s air traffic controller – a sale that would raise about 250 million pounds for the Treasury and underscore British Prime Minister David Cameron’s commitment to opening up more infrastructure to private investment.  (FT)

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)

Press Round-up – March 12


Air industry calls for EU carbon tax delay
Airbus and six big European airlines have joined forces in an effort to delay plans by the European Union to force carriers to pay for carbon pollution, in a project that the aerospace groups say is jeopardising billions of dollars of orders and 2,000 jobs.  (FT)

Clegg forced to go soft on UK ‘tycoon tax’
Britain’s deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, has been forced to soften his proposals for a so-called “tycoon tax” less than 48 hours after announcing it as the flagship policy for his party’s spring conference. (FT)

Press Round-up – March 9


Ryanair threatens to sue over EC ‘bias’
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has threatened to sue the European Commission for damages amid claims that its official travel agency discriminates against low-cost carriers. (Telegraph)

Murdoch faces probe over BSkyB ownership
Rupert Murdoch is facing a fresh challenge to his UK media business as it emerged that Britain’s communications regulator has escalated its probe into whether British Sky Broadcasting is a “fit and proper” owner of a broadcasting licence. (FT)