UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

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)

Banks bid to unlock commodities liquidity crunch
European banks are preparing a new type of securitised vehicle bundling together loans to commodity trading houses to try to resolve the credit crunch in the commodities industry.  (FT)

RBS shares seen as ‘dud investment’
More than two thirds of London’s fund managers say they would not buy the state’s shares in Royal Bank of Scotland if they were sold at the UK government’s break-even price of 50 pence, according to a survey of 200 leading fund managers. (Telegraph)

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)

Press Round-up – March 8

Osborne urged to ignore calls to spend
A report published on Thursday by accountancy firm PwC will urge British finance minister George Osborne to bank any one-off improvement in the public finances this year rather than attempt to use the spare cash to prop up growth. (Times)

Green tax must be cut to save companies, says Cable
British Business Secretary Vince Cable is pushing finance minister George Osborne to scrap a 740 million pound environmental burden on the UK’s business in this month’s budget. (Independent)