UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Press Round-up – February 28

Data show ECB loan spur for bond rally
Italian and Spanish banks accelerated their sovereign debt purchases by a record monthly amount in January, underlining how the use of cheap funding from the European Central Bank has contributed to a bond rally among peripheral euro zone countries.   (FT)

Prudential pays small sum to UK taxman
Prudential, the UK insurer which on Sunday confirmed it is considering moving its headquarters to Hong Kong, has paid just 234 million pounds in UK tax over the last five years.  (Telegraph)

Top firms pay highest UK taxes since 2008
Britain’s biggest companies last year generated their largest collective tax receipt in three years, as a combination of rising profits and hikes in VAT and income tax saw a 14 percent jump in contributions. (Independent)
Moreno exit adds to Lloyds woes
Glen Moreno has resigned as deputy chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, adding further to the disruption at the part-nationalised lender. (FT)

HSBC falls short of SME lending goal
HSBC  fell short of a goal to provide 12.9 billion pound of loans to small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK last year, blaming muted demand from these borrowers.   (FT)

Press Round-up – February 27

UK’S Prudential may move to Hong Kong
Prudential, one of Britain’s oldest insurers, is considering plans to uproot its headquarters from London to Hong Kong amid concerns about the impact of new European capital adequacy regulations. (FT)
HSBC set to claw back ‘mis-selling’ bonuses
HSBC, Britain’s largest bank, is set to claw back thousands of pounds of bonuses from executives after the mis-selling of nearly 300 million pounds of long term care bonds to elderly customers.(Telegraph)
Lloyds and RBS may tap ECB’s LTRO funds
Britain’s two part-nationalised banks, Lloyds  and RBS, plan to tap the European Central Bank’s special three-year funding scheme for a combined amount of about 15 billion euros, on a par with some of the euro zone’s largest banks. (FT)

Wells Fargo set for further expansion
Wells Fargo plans to increase the size of its wealth management and insurance divisions through acquisitions as well as buying more assets from shrinking European banks, its chief executive says. (FT)

Press Round-up – February 24

Madrid presses EU to ease deficit targets
Spain is pressing the European Commission to ease the country’s strict budget deficit target for this year, arguing that pessimism about the Spanish economy shows the potential risks of too much austerity. “There are conversations under way,” said one Madrid official. (FT)

Osborne revives plan to let bosses ‘hire and fire at will’
Controversial plans to make it easier for companies to “hire and fire” workers may be revived by George Osborne in next month’s Budget but have provoked a fresh battle with the Liberal Democrats. (Independent)

Press Round-up – February 23

UK and Japan warn Volcker rule threatens recovery
Britain and Japan have urged the United States to rewrite its so-called “Volcker rule”, saying that trading restrictions on U.S. banks could hit the international sovereign debt market at a delicate moment in the global recovery. (FT)

Workers pay heavy price as Peacocks is rescued
Peacocks, the discount fashion and homewares chain, has been partially rescued by rival retailer Edinburgh Woollen Mill, saving 6,000 jobs. (Telegraph)
Germany fights euro zone firewall moves
The German government is set to resist or delay increasing the size of the euro zone’s financial “firewall” against contagion from the Greek debt crisis, in the face of mounting pressure from its partners, the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. administration. (FT)

Press Round-up – February 22

UK can’t afford tax cuts, CBI tells Osborne
The Labour Party’s tax-cutting proposals are affordable and would undermine investors’ confidence in Britain, the head of the Confederation of British Industry said on Tuesday. (Times)

Tesco offers to pay jobless for work experience
Tesco has offered to pay work experience candidates referred to the supermarket through Jobcentre Plus, which helps find work for the unemployment, after a public outcry on Twitter led to activists gatecrashing a store. (Telegraph)

Press Round- up – February 21

Lloyds rivals’ executives to keep bonuses
Executives responsible for misselling loan insurance at Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays look set to keep their past bonuses, ignoring the precedent set on Monday by Lloyds Banking Group. (FT)

‘Rookie’ bidders head for Edinburgh Airport
A shortlist of bidders was drawn up on Monday for the 500 million pounds auction of Edinburgh airport and some have been told already that they are through to the next round, having submitted indicative offers last week.

Press Round-up – February 20

U.S. hedge funds to take control of Travelodge
The budget hotel chain Travelodge is set to be taken over by two American hedge funds in a deal designed to prevent the company collapsing under heavy debts. (Times)

Pfizer plans to raise $3 billion through IPO
Pfizer is weighing plans to raise about $3 billion this year through a part-flotation of its animal health division, as the drugs giant examines the best way to spin off a business valued at as much as $18 billion. (FT)

Press round-up – February 17


China wants sway in World Bank pick
China has said that the next World Bank president should be chosen on merit, seeking to challenge a tradition that the bank’s chief be a U.S. citizen, though it did not suggest a candidate. (FT)

UK bankers caught up in tax evasion allegations
Three senior investment bankers have emerged as being among the 16 individuals arrested last week as part of an investigation into allegations of tax evasion involving film financing schemes. (Telegraph)

Press Round-up – February 16

Women swelling the ranks of the jobless
Women are the hidden victims of Britain’s flat-lining economy, losing their jobs at a far faster rate than men, official figures revealed on Wednesday. (Independent)

Tesco looks to prioritise food in sales push
Tesco has told investors that it plans to bolster fresh produce and step up the pace of change in its food business in an effort to revive UK sales after January’s shock profit warning. (FT)

Press Round-up – February 15

Greece’s rescue package in doubt
Euro zone officials have called off an emergency meeting of finance ministers to approve a vital 130 billion euro bailout for Athens amid a growing fight among the country’s European creditors about the merits of allowing Greece to go bankrupt. (FT)
Thai floods  threaten to sink Lloyd’s profits
Lloyd’s said that it had provisionally calculated a claims bill of $2.2 billion for its member insurers after the Thai floods, meaning the world’s oldest insurance market is liable for up to 15 percent of a natural disaster set to cost the insurance industry up to $20 billion. (Times)
Murdoch puts top lawyer on Sun case
Rupert Murdoch has put his top lawyer on to News Corp’s internal affairs committee as the media group comes under fire from its reporters for passing information to the police that led to the arrests of nine journalists at The Sun. (FT)
Inflation drop to ease pain for UK households
Households are expected to receive a welcome boost on Wednesday when the Bank of England signals that inflation will fall below 2 percent in the coming months, offering consumers some respite after two years of shrinking incomes. (Telegraph)
HSBC looks to increase mainland Chinese presence
HSBC <HSBA.L> is aiming to increase its presence in mainland China through a big expansion of its branch network or by raising its stake in Bank of Communications. (FT)

Bumi investors issue conditions to Rothschild
The Indonesian investors in coal miner Bumi have said UK financier Nat Rothschild can stay on the company’s board, but only if he steps down as co-chairman and stops being a “disruptive influence” over his calls for a shake-up at PT Bumi Resources, a Bumi affiliate. (FT)