Shares in British Gas owner Centrica and energy provider SSE dropped on Monday after the Conservative Party made clear that energy price controls would be one of the key consumer pledges in its upcoming manifesto.
Centrica was the worst performer on the FTSE 100 in early trading, sliding down by as much as 5 per cent. SSE also fell by more than 3 per cent.
Damian Green, the work and pensions secretary, confirmed on Sunday that a future Conservative government would cap energy prices if it wins the general election in June. According to the Sunday Times, the plans could cut gas and electricity costs by £100 a year for 17 million families.
“Some people feel the energy companies have taken advantage of them,” Mr Green told ITV.
However, the plan has drawn criticism from the industry. Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer of Scottish Power on Monday told the BBC’s Today programme that price controls “tend to lead to less competition” and could “damage customers in the long run”.
Iain Conn, the chief executive of Centrica, on Sunday told the Telegraphthat price regulation“will result in reduced competition and choice, stifle innovation and potentially impact customer service”.
Conservative party minister have hardened their stance on energy companies after five of the big six energy providers imposed price increases of up to 10 per cent.
Theresa May last month vowed to crack down on spiralling energy prices saying that “the market is not working as it should”.
The euro briefly surged to a five-month high against a basket of currencies late Sunday after centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron won the first round of a hotly contested French election vote, an outcome broadly considered the most market-friendly. Immediately after the vote, the euro surged to $1.0940, its highest level against the dollar since November last year, before retreating to around $1.0869.
Mattel shares took a hit after the world’s largest toy company reported a much worse than expected sales slump dragged down by poor demand for key brands such as Barbie and Fisher-Price. Shares in the company dropped 6 per cent to $23.70 (£18.50) in after-hours trading in New York on Thursday after the toymaker reported a loss of $133.2m or 33 cents per share for the three months to 31 March. Barbie sales, which begun to recover last year after the toymaker introduced new dolls with different body types and skin colours, slipped again with gross sales down 13 per cent compared to a year ago – their second consecutive quarter of decline.
The British Government said on Thursday it would sell Green Investment Bank to a consortium led by Macquarie Bank in a deal worth £2.3bn. The British Government set up GIB, which backs green projects with public funds, in 2012 as a commercial venture to spur private investment in green projects. It has invested more than £2bn in projects such as offshore wind farms and waste management. The Government decided to sell a majority stake in 2015, saying it would give the bank more freedom to borrow, remove state aid restrictions and allow it to attract more capital.
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Energy customers face further delays from government in dealing with with soaring bills, MPs heard on Wednesday. Business secretary Greg Clark accused companies of “flagrant mistreatment” and “milking” their customers in a “broken” market, but insisted the snap general election announced by Theresa May on Tuesday meant he would “have to reflect on the timing” to lay out his long-awaited plans for a crackdown.
The pound surged against the dollar on Tuesday to its highest level since last December after Prime Minister Theresa May said she wanted a general election on 8 June. When Ms May announced she wanted a new national poll, at around 11.05am, the pound instantly jumped, climbing to $1.2765 by the end of trading, up 1.62 per cent on the day and the highest since 13 December. It was also sterling’s biggest one day jump since March 2016.
This aerial photo taken on April 12, 2017 shows farmers working in the fields in Yangzhou, in eastern China’s Jiangsu province. ina’s growth stabilised in the first quarter thanks to rising investments and a recovery in exports. cording to an AFP survey of 16 economic analysts, the gross domestic product expanded 6.8 percent in the first three months of this year
Rome’s Trevi Fountain was a veritable cash cow for the Eternal city’s charities in 2016, according to new data. The charity Caritas said this week that tourists tossed €1.4m (£1.2m) into the baroque fountain last year, helping to subsidise a supermarket for Rome’s needy
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French bakery group Paul and sandwich chain Pret a Manger will begin offering discounts to customers bringing in their own reusable cups, yielding to pressure from environmental groups concerned about the mountains of cardboard waste generated in the UK each year.
Bags of Doritos, packets Peperami and boxes Coco Pops have become the latest treats to shrink in size as retailers passed on surging costs from the Brexit-hit pound and rising commodity prices.
family wine business in Cuba is thriving thanks in part to an unconventional item being added into the fermentation process – condoms. As a result of the US trade embargo and other inefficiencies of Cuba’s economy, thousands of basic household items are inaccessible to Cubans meaning that sometimes a little creativity is required to get the job done. At El Canal, a winery in Havana, Orestes Estevez and his family fill glass jugs with grapes, ginger and hibiscus, before securing a condom over each glass jug Allowing Heathrow to expand will create “a serious obstacle” to meeting the UK’s commitments on climate change and reducing air pollution, a leading scientist has warned.
A rare pink diamond dubbed the “Pink Star” has become the world’s most expensive gemstone to sell at auction, coming under the hammer in Hong Kong on Tuesday for $71.2m (£57.3m). The oval-cut 59.6 carat jewel, discovered in a mine in Africa by De Beers in 1999, is the largest fancy vivid pink diamond, categorised as “flawless” or “internally flawless”, that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has ever graded. It sold after a five-minute bidding war, that started at $56m, to Hong Kong jewellery retailer Chow Tai Fook at Sotheby’s.
Efforts to slow climate change won’t just keep the planet habitable. They will also boost the world economy by $19 trillion (£15.2 trillion). Investments in renewable power and energy efficiency will add about 0.8 per cent to global gross domestic product by 2050, the International Renewable Energy Agency, or Irena, said Monday in a report produced for the German government. Governments are committing resources to green energy in a bid to keep warming within 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), of pre-industrial conditions, in accordance with the landmark Paris Agreement on global warming.
It’s the news British film-lovers and thrill-seekers have been waiting to hear forever – no longer do we have to schlep across the seas to get our fix of stardust and adrenaline, for the UK is finally getting its own ‘Disneyland’. The theme park will be the first of its kind in the UK, and is being created by film company Paramount at a cost of £3.5 billion.
John Lewis has cut its employee bonus to the lowest level in more than 60 years despite announcing surging profits. The partnership, which is owned by its employees, reduced the bonus to 6 per cent of salaries making it the lowest since 1954. It is the fourth year in a row that the payment has been cut. Pre-tax profits rose 21.2 per cent to £370.4m as overall sales rose 3.2 per cent but the group said it cut staff bonuses because of an “increasingly uncertain” market.
The Chancellor was forced to slash his official economic growth forecasts while the Brexit talks take place, as he delivered his first Budget. Philip Hammond told MPs that Britain’s economy would grow faster than previously expected in the next financial year – by 2 per cent, up from 1.4 per cent.
After a Brexit vote in which a primary concern was too much immigration, some might be applauding the trend, but for important UK industries it is already creating a serious problem, and one that provides a preview of what may be to come for the wider economy.
Global sales of UK food and drink have hit the £20bn mark for the first time in history, as the Government prepares to ramp up its focus on international trade following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
Recycling targets in the UK were cut last year after successful lobbying from the plastics industry, a freedom of information request by Greenpeace has revealed. The Government came under fire last year after it announced that targets for plastic recycling would be reduced from 57 per cent to a mere 49 per cent for 2016 and then increased by 2 per cent each year to 2020, to a maximum of 57 per cent by 2020.
UK consumer price inflation jumped to 1.8 per cent in the year to January, from a rise of 1.6 per cent in the year to December, as the slump in the pound since the Brexit referendum continued to trickle through to the high street. According to data from the Office for National Statistics published on Tuesday, January’s rise was the biggest since June 2014. But the jump narrowly missed analyst expectations for a 1.9 per cent increase, just below the Bank of England’s official 2 per cent target.
The UK’s vegetable crisis has not only gripped the country’s supermarkets and healthy eaters, but also a bale of 12 hungry green sea turtles in aquariums across the country. Eight aquariums run by the company Sea Life are calling on visitors to spare lettuce or broccoli for their shelled inhabitants who, as a result of a shortage of some vegetables in the UK, are missing out on their favourite meals.
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The chief executive of Apple has told Prime Minister Theresa May that he is “very optimistic” about the UK’s future outside of the European Union. Tim Cook met Ms May at Downing Street on Thursday morning and reiterated the tech giant’s plans to build a new UK headquarters at the Battersea Power Station as proof of the company’s support of the UK.
The Bank of England has dramatically upgraded its growth forecast for this year but stressed that households will still experience a major squeeze on incomes due to rising inflation. In its latest Inflation Report, the Bank upgraded its 2017 GDP growth forecast to 2 per cent, up from 1.4 per cent in November. The revision is certain to be seized upon by Brexiteers as evidence that the economy will not suffer from leaving the European Union and that previous economic warnings from the Bank have now been exposed as scaremongering. Yet the Bank’s forecasts continue to project a growth slowdown in 2018 and 2019, with GDP expected to expand by 1.6 per cent and 1.7 per cent in those years.
Sir Ken Morrison, the founder of supermarket chain of Morrisons, who was instrumental in growing the company into one of Britain’s leading retailers, has died at the age of 85
Employers working for online fashion retailer Boohoo.com risk getting fired for smiling or checking their mobile phones, an investigation by Channel 4 has found. The investigation comes after online fashion retailer Asos was accused last year of exploitative working practises with staff reportedly unable to take regular water and toilet breaks for fears of missing targets. The company denied those allegations.
Britain’s biggest retailer announced that it was merging with Booker, the UK’s top food wholesaler, in a £3.7bn deal. In a joint statement, the two companies said that the combined group would bring benefits for consumers, independent retailers, caterers, small businesses, suppliers, and colleagues, and deliver “significant value to shareholders”.
The chief executive of Imperial Brands, the maker of Gauloises and Winston cigarettes, is unlikely to get a pay rise this year in what seems to be another battle over boardroom greed. Alison Cooper received a total pay package of £5.5m in the last financial year, up from £3.6m the year before. ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads READ MORE Link between high executive pay and performance ‘negligible’ A new pay policy that would have had the effect of taking Ms Cooper’s remuneration to £8.5m in 2017 was expected to be put to a shareholders’ vote on 1 February. However, in an announcement to the stock exchange on Thursday, Imperial Brands said it would not put the policy to a vote as originally planned.
Wall Street’s Dow Jones Industrial Average stock index on Wednesday hit the 20,000 mark for the first time in its history. In morning trading in the US, the index added around 0.5 percent to surpass the psychologically important threshold and take its gains since this time last year to 23.8 per cent according to Thomson Reuters data.
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HSBC plans to close 62 branches this year, resulting in up to 180 job losses, in response to the rising popularity of online and mobile banking, the bank announced on Tuesday. In a statement, HSBC said that over the past five years, the number of customers using HSBC branches had fallen by almost 40 per cent and 93 per cent of customers’ contact with the bank is now done on the telephone, internet or via smartphone. A total of 97 per cent of cash withdrawals are made via an ATM.
Top economists and strategists have warned that Theresa May’s vision of Brexit lacks credibility and clarity, a day after the Prime Minister delivered an agenda-setting speech on Britain’s future outside the EU. In her speech in London on Tuesday, Ms May confirmed that Britain will leave the EU’s single market to regain control of immigration policy and said that she wants to renegotiate the UK’s customs agreement and seek a transition period to phase in changes all while remaining a “best friend” to the bloc.
Shares in Fiat Chrysler plunged on Thursday after US authorities said that the carmaker had violated the Clean Air Act by allowing excess diesel emissions in some vehicles. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused the company of using software that allowed excess diesel emissions in just over 100,000 US trucks and SUVs sold since 2014. READ MORE Six senior Volkswagen employees charged over emissions scandal Shares listed in Europe were recently trading around 18 per cent lower on the day. Shares in the US fell 16 per cent before being halted from trading, wiping $2.3bn (£1.88bn) off the company’s market value.
A rise in global income inequality, that already helped spur the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election victory, are expected to shape world developments over the next decade, according to the World Economic Forum. For a report published ahead of its annual summit in Davos next week, the WEF surveyed 750 risk experts and found that rising income and wealth disparity were cited as the most important trends in determining global developments over the next 10 years.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has ended any hopes to purchase new Routemasters bus for the capital’s streets as he tries to balance the books on London’s transport budget. Once called ‘Boris buses’ named after his the previous mayor, every bus would cost around £350,000 each, or around £50,000 more than an ordinary bus. But the new mayor has promised to freeze purchases of the vehicles, which were criticised for being expensive and sauna-like conditions.
Britain’s blue chip FTSE 100 set a new record on the last day of trading of 2016 after climbing to record closing highs for two consecutive days. The blue-chip index gained 22 points or 0.3 per cent, to finish at 7142 points on Friday, its third closing high in as many days and a new intraday high.
London’s world famous jewellery quarter could face extinction due to soaring business rates, rent rises and the aftermath of Brexit. Hatton Garden was the centre of the world’s diamond market, but traders are fighting to bring back the glory days, as they are squeezed by rising rents and the uncertainty created by the UK vote to leave the EU.
In a speech in Cardiff in March, the Prime Minister said that prices had soared by 158 per cent over the last 15 years, with the poorest hit by the highest tariffs. She did not spell out how she planned to keep prices capped but the pledge revived memories of Ed Miliband’s plans to intervene in the energy market – condemned by the Tories at the time.
On Sunday Mr Miliband tweeted: “Where were these people for the last four years since I proposed cap? Defending a broken energy marketed that ripped people off.”
Labour warned the Conservatives’ claims on energy bills should be treated with “a pinch of salt” as they had repeatedly broken promises to deal with the issue in the past.
Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of money.co.uk said capping prices wasn’t necessarily the answer.
Ms Maundrell said: “By ignoring the competition watchdog’s recommendations and taking matters into their own hands the Conservatives actually run the risk that people will end up paying more in the long run. An energy cap could lull people into a false sense of security and actually reduce switching; not to mention knock out incentives for energy companies to compete with cheaper prices.
“The key is getting the 17m households on standard tariffs switching. Scrapping standard variable tariffs altogether is one option they should look at instead as compulsory renewals could help to drive up switching rates – like car insurance. It’s vital that any interventions have mechanisms to provide more help for vulnerable groups that will struggle to switch and save themselves.
“It’s so important people take matters into their own hands and switch right now, waiting for government action will waste your money. You can compare energy deals and switch in minutes – with savings of hundreds of pounds a year on average it’s definitely worth doing.”