UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Press Round-up – February 14

France to push on with Tobin tax
France is determined to press ahead with a financial transaction tax inspired by the UK’s stamp duty and supported by at least eight other euro zone countries, the French finance minister has said. (FT)

Apple probes Chinese working conditions
On the day that Apple’s shares broke through $500 for the first time, it has allowed a group that campaigns against sweatshops to examine conditions faced by Chinese factory workers. (Times)

EU tries to finalise Greek bailout
European officials rushed to finalise details of a 130 billion euro Greek bailout on Monday amid signs Germany and its euro zone allies may not be prepared to approve the deal at a finance ministers’ meeting on Wednesday, despite Athens backing new austerity measures. (FT)

Moody’s cuts France, UK, Austria outlooks to negative
Moody’s, the U.S. rating agency, placed the UK, France, Austria on negative credit watch late on Monday, raising the prospect that these countries may soon lose their triple A ratings against the backdrop of the euro zone debt crisis.  (FT)
Banking Chief in £2 million shares deal probe
An executive at Standard Chartered is facing a possible investigation by the Financial Services Authority after failing to disclose a 2 million pound  share deal to the bank for more than three weeks. (Times)
Honda plans to increase EU production levels
Honda says it will nearly double its production of cars in Europe as it seeks to reduce its reliance on imports from Japan and recover from a disastrous past year.     (FT)

Press Round-up – February 13

Tax evasion probe hits more City staff
The tax evasion case that saw four Royal Bank of Scotland staff members arrested, has hit at least two more banks, a stock brokerage and a wealth management firm.  Documents seen by the Daily Telegraph suggest alleged offences relate to illegal use of film finance to evade paying income and other taxes. (Telegraph)

Private contractors to build and run a UK police station
G4S, the world’s largest security company, has won the first contract in Britain to build and staff a police station. (FT)

Press Round-up – February 10

RBS pensioners latest victims of cost cutting
Pensioners of Royal Bank of Scotland have become the latest victims of the state-backed lender’s push to cut costs after being informed the annual lunch programme for former staff had been cancelled. (Telegraph)

Barclays wins role in Glencore merger
Last-minute lobbying by Barclays has secured it a role advising on the mega-merger of trading giant Glencore and miner Xstrata after originally being left off the advisory roster for the £54 billion deal. (Telegraph)

Press Round-up – February 9

Trustees emptied pension funds to gamble on property
Pension experts were appalled on Wednesday when it was disclosed that a company pension fund had been effectively hijacked by its trustees, who sold its conventional assets, geared up the proceeds with bank debt and bet almost the whole lot on speculative property developments. (Times)

Japan lines up national chip champion
Three Japanese semiconductor manufacturers including Panasonic and Fujitsu are in talks to merge their operations to create a national champion chipmaker that would be backed by the government, according to people familiar with the matter. (FT)

Press Round-up – February 8

RBS boss says restructuring has cost 38 billion pounds
Stephen Hester has revealed that the dramatic restructuring of Royal Bank of Scotland has cost 38 billion pounds in a rallying memo to staff days after the embattled chief executive waived a 1 million pound bonus. (FT)

Misys and Temenos agree on merger terms
Misys and Temenos have reached agreement on the key terms of a proposed 2 billion pound merger that would create the world’s largest supplier of risk-management computer software to banks.   (FT)

Press Round-up – February 7

EU corporate defaults set to rise
European corporate defaults are widely expected to climb sharply this year despite the recent improvement in credit market sentiment as bank lending cuts and a deteriorating economic backdrop put many smaller or indebted companies under pressure. (FT)

Prices cut, shops shut: still no cheer on the high street
British shoppers reverted to a bunker mentality over the new year, according to gloomy sales figures that quash any hope of consumers pulling the economy clear of a double-dip recession. (Times)

Press Round-up – February 6

Tesco Bank delayed until next year
Tesco Bank has delayed the launch of its current account until next year. Its much vaunted arrival had been regarded as a symbolically important breakthrough in attempts backed by ministers to break up the dominance of the big five established UK banks. (Times)

RBS looks to defend SME lending record
Royal Bank of Scotland is preparing to mount a vigorous defence of its lending record to small and medium-sized businesses in an effort to stave off criticism over its failure to meet certain government-set targets last year. (FT)

Press Round-up – February 3

BT set to launch “ultra-fast” internet
“Ultra-fast” broadband using direct fibre-optic connections will become available to most British homes and businesses next year, after a significant technological breakthrough by BT, the UK telecoms group. (FT)

OECD says EU bailout is ‘not enough’
The euro zone’s bailout funds are not big enough, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned, amid mounting concerns about a Greek default. (Telegraph)
SNB stands firm on Swiss Franc cap
The independence of the Swiss National Bank risks being compromised due to political pressure following the departure of Philipp Hildebrand as chairman, the central bank’s acting chairman has warned. (FT)

Press Round-up – February 2

Jefferies confirms Hoare Govett acquisition
Jefferies, the U.S.-based investment bank, on Wednesday confirmed its acquisition of Hoare Govett, the UK broker, from Royal Bank of Scotland. (FT)

Balls critical of UK’s new financial bill
The bill to revamp the UK’s financial regulation includes a “gaping hole” that could prevent important warnings from reaching the British finance minister, Ed Balls, shadow finance minister of the UK’s opposition party Labour, has warned. (FT)

Press Round-up – February 1

Former RBS boss stripped of knighthood
Sir Fred Goodwin, the former boss of Royal Bank of Scotland, was stripped of his knighthood on Tuesday, in the latest political concession to public anger in Britain over the perceived arrogance of some senior bankers. (FT)

EU to rule on Deutsche Boerse and NYSE merger
The NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Borse tie-up on Wednesday faces its day of reckoning in Brussels, as EU commissioners are expected to sign-off a recommendation to block a merger that allegedly stifles competition. (FT)