UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

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)

LSE draws fire over Borsa synergies
The London Stock Exchange’s takeover of the Milan bourse “has not fulfilled expectations either in Italy or London” in terms of stimulating cross-border capital flows or increased investment in Italian companies, the Italian securities regulator has said. (FT)

OFT chief to bow out after seven bruising years
John Fingleton is to close the file on his career at the Office of Fair Trading after seven years of taking on – and falling out with – some of Britain’s most powerful industries and business leaders. Mr Fingleton, 46, chief executive since 2005, said he will leave this year. (Times)

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)

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)

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)