Oct 27, 2021

Budget 2021: Burnley residents' messages for chancellor

Residents in Lancashire explain what they want from the chancellor ahead of his Budget.

Oct 27, 2021

FirstGroup squeezes out activist via a share sale

FirstGroup set out plans to return up to £500m to shareholders via a tender at 105p a share, a 9.2 per cent premium to Tuesday's closing price of 96.15p. It said that Coast, a 12.8 per cent shareholder, had given an irrevocable undertaking to support the resolutions and tender its full holdings. Sales last quarter moderated by 1.6 per cent against the pandemic-inflated 2020 result but were up 16.3 per cent versus the same period in 2019, Wickes said in a trading update. The book publisher...

Oct 27, 2021

Budget 2021: Price rises could hit highest rate in 30 years, says forecaster

The UK's independent forecaster says the economy will return to pre-Covid levels faster than expected.

Oct 27, 2021

Budget 2021: Eight ways Rishi Sunak's plans affect you

There is plenty of evidence of prices going up in the shops and on bills, with the cost of living expected to rise by 4% over the next year according to official forecasters. About 60% of the price you pay for fuel is tax - a mixture of fuel duty and VAT.However, there were no measures to assist householders with rising domestic gas and electricity bills. National Living Wage for those aged 23 and over: From £8.91 to £9.50 an hour. National Minimum Wage for those aged 21-22: From £8.36 to...

Oct 27, 2021

Budget 2021: Prosecco and pint taxes to fall, red wine to rise

Taxes on sparkling wine, draught beer and cider are to be cut, but will rise for stronger drinks such as red wine following a shake-up of alcohol duty. The new system, due to start in 2023, will mean higher duty for stronger alcohol, the chancellor said. The duty premium on sparkling wines will end and the duty on draught beer and cider served in pubs will be cut. In relation to sparkling wines, Mr Sunak said: "I'm going to end the irrational duty premium of 28% that they currently pay....

Oct 27, 2021

Tech giants try distancing themselves from Facebook

During nearly four hours of questioning, on Monday, they tried to differentiate themselves from Facebook, which has faced increasing scrutiny from politicians in recent months. Facebook, accused of harming children's mental wellbeing, has faced increasing calls for regulation. The hearing follows Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen's document leaks to the Wall Street Journal, which include claims the parent company was aware of the "toxic" impact Instagram was having on teenage girls....

Oct 27, 2021

Budget 2021: Business rates cut for shops, restaurants and gyms

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a temporary 50% cut in their business rates, up to a maximum of £110,000. Beginning in 2023.In addition, from 2023, all firms, not just in retail and hospitality, would be able to make improvements to their property without having to pay extra business rates for 12 months. UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls: "We have been lobbying hard for significant reform of the outdated business rates system and therefore very much welcome the chancellor's move...

Oct 27, 2021

Tax surcharge on UK bank profits cut to 3% in Budget

Threshold on surcharge also raised to £100m to boost smaller challenger banks

Oct 27, 2021

UK small businesses want action on staff shortages and business rates

Staff shortages and supply chain disruption have blighted many UK companies since pandemic restrictions ended and the delayed impact of Brexit became apparent. Wednesday's Budget did little to alleviate the stress on his business, which does not qualify for the one-year cut in business rates offered to the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors - even though he supplies them. She had to fight for six months to ensure Motif 8 became eligible for the relief on business rates initially granted...

Oct 27, 2021

UK government to invest £1.7bn in Sizewell C nuclear power station

UK taxpayers will face a bill of up to £1.7bn to help get the planned Sizewell C nuclear power station project to a final investment decision in the next three years, as the government looks to reboot its struggling efforts to replace the nation's ageing reactors. EDF also leads the Sizewell C project, which would be built on the Suffolk coast, next to the existing nuclear power plant. The government hopes that its financial involvement in Sizewell C will help encourage outside investors to...

Oct 27, 2021

Twitter profits slump after settling long-running lawsuit

Twitter lost more than half a billion dollars in the three months to September after it paid $809.5m to settle a long-running lawsuit. This sent Twitters shares up 3%.In September Twitter agreed to settle a class action with their shareholders dating back to 2016.The suit claimed Twitter misled investors about how many users were active on the platform each month as well as how frequently they viewed Twitter's timeline. Unlike its rival Snap, whose shares plunged 25% last week, Twitter was...

Oct 26, 2021

Facebook earns $9bn despite whistleblower scandal

Facebook has posted better-than-expected earnings for the third quarter, as it continues to face bad press over leaked internal documents. Frances Haugen has released a cache of internal documents to the press, alleging that Facebook put profit before user safety. Multiple media reports say the documents show Facebook routinely failed to moderate content that promoted hate speech and sex trafficking outside of the US.On Monday, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerburg told investors on a...

Oct 26, 2021

Facebook: 'Financial interest to create a safe environment'

Facebook's vice-president of content policy, Monika Bickert, spoke to the BBC about the site.

Oct 26, 2021

Premier Inn owner Whitbread warns of staff shortages as demand recovers

Whitbread to pay £10m "summer retention bonus" in 2022 as expects serious staff shortages to persist.

Oct 26, 2021

No VAT cut to household energy bills in the Budget

Treasury sources say such a move would be badly targeted and there are other ways to help those struggling.

Oct 26, 2021

Ikea buys former Topshop Oxford Circus flagship store

Ikea is buying the former flagship Topshop store on Oxford Circus for its latest city-centre shop in what the world's largest furniture group branded a long-term vote of confidence in retail in London and the UK. The group is paying £378m for 214 Oxford Street and will have its own store with accessories, some furniture and planning studios in about a third of the 22,200 sq m space over seven floors. The collapse into administration last year of department store chain Debenhams and Sir Philip...

Oct 26, 2021

Will coffee drinkers plump for potato milk?

Push the almonds, oats, peas, coconuts and rice to the side... baristas may soon be whipping up lattes with a new alternative "Milk" from potatoes. Milk from the humble spud is set to be one of 2022's biggest food trends, according to supermarket Waitrose's annual Food and Drink report. Shoppers spent a total of £394m on plant-based milk in Britain in 2020, up 32% from 2019, according to market research firm Mintel. Alice Shrubsall, alternative milk buyer at Waitrose, said more people were...

Oct 26, 2021

Premier Inn owner Whitbread spends £23m to retain staff

Whitbread is spending £23m to retain staff amid "Chronic" labour shortages and escalating cost pressures at its Premier Inn hotels. With the fight for labour becoming increasingly acute, Whitbread is paying a £10m bonus to staff that worked through the summer and stayed until the October half term holiday this week, and has increased staff salaries at a cost of £12m to £13m, it said. Whitbread has 18,000 rooms in its UK Premier Inn hotels, making it the UK's largest hotel chain, and a growing...

Oct 26, 2021

Ikea buys landmark Topshop building in London

Ikea is buying the former flagship central London store of Topshop for £378m following the collapse of Sir Philip Green's retail empire. Ikea said despite the growth of online sales, bricks and mortar remained key. Peter Jelkeby, retail manager of Ikea UK & Ireland, said societies were seeing big changes in the way people live and shop, including soaring online sales and a desire for more local physical outlets. Ikea, famous for its huge out-of-town warehouses, has been trialling inner-city...

Oct 26, 2021

Budget 2021: Sunak promises new post-Covid economy

The chancellor has promised his Budget "Begins the work of preparing for a new economy" post-Covid, after rafts of policy previews angered the Commons. During his Budget warm-up in the last few days, Rishi Sunak has already totted up promises of around an extra £20bn of spending, as well as announcing how some of the cash that was already promised is going to be carved up. On the eve of his speech, Labour's shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves issued a call to the government to create "a more...

Oct 25, 2021

HSBC to buy back $2bn of stock as profit surges 74%

HSBC announced a share buyback of up to $2bn, as Europe's largest lender reported a 74 per cent increase in profits as the global economic outlook improved nearly two years after the start of the pandemic. The bank's performance has been a marked improvement on 2020, when profits fell 45 per cent as banks were hit by ultra-low rates, a slowdown in trade and the fallout from global lockdowns. HSBC announced an interim dividend in August of 7 cents per share worth about $1.4bn after the Bank of...

Oct 25, 2021

Budget 2021: What do you want to change?

"I'm careful with my bills and don't go silly with shopping, but I want to see the minimum wage go up or national insurance tax come down," she told the BBC.Zizzi's had put Ms Torry on furlough, but she said she couldn't cover her bills, so she worked for Asos in the firm's Barnsley warehouse during the pandemic. Another of his requests is that a rise in corporation tax should be avoided, as he says it "Risks businesses setting up headquarters elsewhere and less bureaucracy would be better...

Oct 25, 2021

Molly Russell's father meets Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen

Molly, 14, died after viewing graphic content on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

Oct 25, 2021

Co-op Bank snubbed in TSB takeover approach

The Co-operative Bank has confirmed that it made an approach to buy rival bank chain TSB, but that no talks had resulted from it. In a statement, it said it had sent a letter to TSB owner Banco de Sabadell "Expressing an interest" in a deal. TSB was bought by Sabadell for £1.7bn in 2015 after a brief spell as an independent bank. The Co-op said that "No discussions in relation to a potential transaction are currently taking place between the bank and Sabadell". Sabadell said on Saturday that...

Oct 25, 2021

Scilly Isles' only remaining bank to close in 2022

The only bank on the Isles of Scilly is set to close next year. Lloyds Bank will close its branch on St Mary's on 25 April, 2022.Phil Moon, who runs a restaurant and takeaway on the island, said the the closure had come as a "Shock" and would make running his business "More complicated". Lloyds Bank said the decision was due to changes in customer behaviour meaning the branch was used less often. Lloyds Bank said staff will be on hand to advise and support with banking alternatives. A...

Oct 25, 2021

National Living Wage set to rise to £9.50 an hour

The National Living Wage is set to rise from £8.91 per hour to £9.50 in the Budget, the BBC has been told. The minimum wage that workers should get depends on their age and whether they are apprentices. The National Minimum Wage is the minimum pay per hour to which almost all workers are entitled. Employers often worry that a higher minimum wage will lead to more unemployment, as they will be forced to lay off workers in order to afford the increases. Independent experts maintain there has...

Oct 25, 2021

HSBC: Quinn’s strong strategy offsets political perils

For the moment, most of the biggest risks are priced into the stock

Oct 25, 2021

Frances Haugen says Facebook is 'making hate worse'

NBC News reported on a Facebook internal experiment about a fictional woman's new account which was recommended extreme QAnon conspiracy theory groups within two days. Facebook told the outlet such research helped lead to its ban on QAnon in October 2020.Bloomberg published a new piece detailing the internal staff reaction to the 6 January Capitol riots, including quotes from those who questioned why they were still working for the company. CNN reported on Facebook's own analysis of the...

Oct 25, 2021

Budget 2021: What has already been announced?

The government has announced that England's city regions will receive £6.9bn to spend on train, tram, bus and cycle projects. The money will also go towards improving school buildings' accessibility and funding new, special provision in free schools England. The Budget will also include £1.6bn over three years to roll out new T-levels for 16 to 19-year-olds plus £550m for adult skills in England. The government will also spend a further £830m modernising colleges in England. The government...

Oct 25, 2021

On the Beach accuses Ryanair of market abuse

The online travel agent On the Beach has launched legal action against Ryanair in the High Court. These can include flights with Ryanair, which it says has a dominant position on many popular short-haul holiday routes, such as from Manchester to Alicante and Lanzarote. Such revenues typically account for more than a third of Ryanair's operating income. Ryanair itself has previously warned customers not to make bookings through online travel agents, on the grounds that they could be...