Apr 24, 2018

Vodafone rated worst mobile provider by Which? survey

Vodafone has been rated the worst mobile phone provider for the seventh year running in an annual customer survey by consumer lobby group Which? The smaller networks that use the big four's infrastructure, known as mobile virtual network operators, beat the big four on customer satisfaction and the likelihood that users would recommend the service to a friend. Vodafone had the worst customer score with one in six customers telling Which? they would not recommend it to a friend, compared with...

Apr 24, 2018

'Facebook in PR crisis mode', says academic at heart of row

The academic at the centre of the Facebook data scandal has said the social network is in full-on "PR crisis mode". The academic was being questioned over his role in the data harvesting row by members of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. "Initially the conversations with SCL were about consulting services, survey designs and the interest in Facebook data grew out of that," he said. "Facebook has called your company a scam and a fraud. Is it not odd that they employ someone who...

Apr 24, 2018

Britain powers on without coal for three days

The UK has not generated electricity from coal for more than three days - the longest streak since the 1880s. Just last week the UK grid recorded its first two-day period without using any power from the fossil fuel, which the government has pledged to phase out by 2025. Coal accounted for less than 7% of the power mix last year, according to official figures. In April, 2017 the UK went its first full day without coal since the 19th century. Rew Crossland, of the Durham Energy Institute, said...

Apr 24, 2018

End doubts over diesel's future, says Ford boss

Uncertainty about the future of diesel is threatening the UK car industry and leaving drivers in limbo, according to Ford's UK boss. Y Barratt said consumers were buying fewer diesel cars, fearing they were polluting and will face new taxes. Diesel is vital to the UK industry as it makes almost a million diesel engines a year, most of which are exported. Diesel cars emit nitrogen oxide, a significant contributor to pollution in cities that can cause respiratory diseases. "Diesel remains the...

Apr 23, 2018

'I shouldn't have to police Facebook'

Martin Lewis is taking Facebook to court because of fake adverts showing his face.

Apr 23, 2018

Amazon Echo trial to help elderly and disabled people

As many councils struggle with budget issues to deliver services such as social care, new technology is being used in one trial area.

Apr 23, 2018

Russia Telegram ban hits Google and Amazon services

Google, Amazon and other services inside Russia have been hit by the country's bids to stop people using the Telegram messaging app. Addresses used by Google and other cloud services were caught as Telegram was using their infrastructure. In a statement shared on Facebook and other social media, the Russian telecoms regulator Roskomnadzor said it had blocked Google net or IP addresses because Telegram was using them. In a statement, Google said: "We are aware of reports that some users in...

Apr 23, 2018

Spotify tests filter to block swearing in songs

Spotify, the UK's biggest music streaming service, has started testing a way of filtering out songs which have explicit lyrics. Currently more than a third of the Top 50 songs in Spotify's UK chart contain explicit lyrics. "She said:"I'd had quite a few awkward moments, where the kids had been listening to songs on the radio, and suddenly our home filled when they played the same songs on Spotify. The new setting, which was first introduced at the start of April, greys out explicit songs and...

Apr 21, 2018

The tenacious Canadian who reshaped Royal Mail

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Apr 21, 2018

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise

With Brexit less than a year away, the UK government is looking to far-seeing companies such as Queen’s Awards winners to show the way in international trade and innovative ideas

Apr 21, 2018

How JD Sports won the UK ‘athleisure’ race

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Apr 20, 2018

HSBC to promise an end to its financing of coal power stations

HSBC will seek to head off criticism from pressure groups at its annual meeting on Friday by promising to stop financing coal power stations in many countries, as well as oil sands and Arctic offshore drilling projects. Daniel Klier, head of strategy and sustainable finance at HSBC, said coal power was still the only realistic way to sufficiently increase the power supply in countries such as Bangladesh, where 62m people still have no access to electricity. HSBC had already committed to stop...

Apr 20, 2018

Brexit divorce cost uncertain, say auditors

The total cost of the Brexit "Divorce" bill remains uncertain, auditors say, as much depends on future events. The exchange rate - the final settlement will be paid in euros and the Treasury's estimate was based on the exchange rate in place when the agreement was reached, in December 2017 The UK's future economic performance - how much the UK pays into the EU budget in 2019 and 2020 is calculated on its economic performance compared with that of other member states. The NAO adds that some...

Apr 20, 2018

Barclays boss Jes Staley faces penalty for 'conduct breach'

Barclays boss Jes Staley is facing a fine by UK regulators for breaching rules when he tried to identify a whistleblower at the bank. The Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulatory Authority began their probe into Mr Staley's conduct a year ago. Mr Staley, who has apologised for his conduct, has been given time to appeal. Barclays said there was no suggestion Mr Staley acted with "a lack of integrity".

Apr 20, 2018

Royal Mail boss Moya Greene to retire

Moya Greene will step down as Royal Mail chief executive in June after more than eight years. The Canadian will be replaced by Rico Back, who runs its European subsidiary, General Logistics Systems. Ms Greene oversaw the privatisation of Royal Mail in 2013 and has "Transformed" the business, said chairman Peter Long. She said it had been a "Great privilege to serve as CEO of this cherished UK institution".

Apr 20, 2018

Royal Mail chief Moya Greene to step down

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Apr 20, 2018

UK regulators criticised for fine on Barclays chief

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Apr 20, 2018

Facebook removes 'gay sex for rent' posts

Facebook has removed a group in which landlords were offering young men free accommodation in return for sex. A BuzzFeed News investigation found dozens of posts on Facebook, Craigslist and RoomBuddies offering men a place to live rent-free in return for sex. BuzzFeed News found posts on several sites including Facebook, created by men seeking "Houseboys" or "Live-in personal assistants". The news site also found posts from those desperate to find accommodation who had turned to Facebook as a...

Apr 20, 2018

Scottish Power to raise gas and electricity prices

Scottish Power is raising its gas and electricity prices by 5.5% for nearly one million of its customers. Scottish Power said the price change would apply to about one third of its customers, or 960,000 homes. Neil Clitheroe, chief executive of Scottish Power's retail division, said the increase in standard variable prices reflected "Rising wholesale energy costs and compulsory non-energy costs". Scottish Power is the third major energy firm to announce price increases this year. Earlier this...

Apr 20, 2018

Nissan to cut hundreds of UK jobs

Nissan is to cut hundreds of jobs at its Sunderland car plant, as diesel sales decline. Nissan declined to say the exact number of job losses. As well as a fall in the demand for its diesel cars, Nissan says the job losses relate to a switch in production to newer models. Nissan said it expects production volumes to recover as it begins to make the new models. In 2016, following the vote to leave the European Union, Nissan confirmed it would build new models at its Sunderland plant, the...

Apr 20, 2018

Week in Review, April 21

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Apr 19, 2018

Debenhams sales hit by 'Beast from the East'

Debenhams has reported another slide in profits and sales after freezing weather in late February temporarily closed 100 stores in the UK. The struggling department store chain said like-for-like sales fell by 2.2% in the 26 weeks to 3 March amid a "Challenging" UK market. Debenhams said the cold weather reduced sales by about 1% in the period. Chief executive Sergio Bucher said it had "Not been an easy first half", as pre-tax profit plunged 84% to £13.5m. In February, Debenhams said it...

Apr 19, 2018

Unilever lifts dividend, plots €6bn share buyback

Anglo-Dutch consumer group Unilever has sweetened its quarterly dividend and announced plans for a large share buyback amid a row with investors over its plans to drop its UK headquarters for Rotterdam. Alongside issuing a trading update for the first quarter of the year that Unilever said had demonstrated "Broad-based growth", the Marmite-to-Dove shampoo maker hiked its quarterly payout to shareholders by 8 per cent to €0.3872. Unilever also plans to start buying back €6bn worth of shares...

Apr 19, 2018

FCA warns companies over preference shares after Aviva outcry

Rew Bailey, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, has told companies to make it clear to investors whether their preference shares can be redeemed for less than the market price. In a letter to chief executives on Thursday, Mr Bailey said: "The FCA wants to ensure investors have access to the information that they require in order to properly assess the risks and rewards attaching to such shares." The letter follows controversy at Aviva, the insurance company, which provoked an...

Apr 19, 2018

Opening Quote: Unilever shows Going Dutch will pay dividends 

For some 89 years, Unilever - the Anglo-Dutch consumer group - had taken this approach with its corporate structure and group headquarters: it split them between London and Rotterdam. All Unilever has focused on is the growth the stand to enjoy if they have a little Dutch Courage. In higher growth emerging markets, it was the same positive story: underlying sales growth of 5.1 per cent with higher volumes accounting for 4.3 percentage points and price 0.8 percentage points. For the full year,...

Apr 19, 2018

Debenhams shares sink 10% on UK retail stress

Debeham's share price plunged by more than 10 per cent at opening on Thursday after the British department store chain reported that its underlying pre-tax profits had halved. Matt Smith, its chief financial officer also announced on Thursday that he would leave the company to join Selfridges, after Debenhams revealed tough trading for the six months to 3 March with profits shrivelling and net debt growning by 14.4 per cent. Sergio Bucher, chief executive, said the "The UK retail environment...

Apr 19, 2018

TalkTalk and Vodafone top complaints chart again

TalkTalk has again been named the most complained-about broadband company in the UK, in the latest report from the telecoms regulator Ofcom. For every 100,000 TalkTalk customers, about 31 made a complaint to Ofcom about the company's broadband services between October and December 2017. Technical faults were the main reason for complaints, according to the report. When TalkTalk topped the broadband complaints list in January, it said it had closed customer service centres in India and was...

Apr 19, 2018

Unilever showers cash on investors

Anglo-Dutch consumer group Unilever has promised to buy back €6bn of shares from investors next month and revealed quarterly sales figures that highlight pressure on prices in key markets. Underlying sales were up 3.4 per cent, in line with expectations, but this was almost entirely because Unilever sold more products. Pinar Ergun, an analyst at UBS, said: "We expect investors to welcome Unilever's volume growth and the buyback announcement," but added there was a "Notable deceleration in...

Apr 19, 2018

Facebook to exclude billions from European privacy laws

Facebook has changed its terms of service, meaning 1.5 billion members will not be protected under tough new privacy protections coming to Europe. Facebook said it planned clearer privacy rules worldwide. The move, reported by Reuters, will see Facebook users outside the EU governed by Facebook Inc in the US rather than Facebook Ireland. "The GDPR and EU consumer law set out specific rules for terms and data policies which we have incorporated for EU users. We have been clear that we are...

Apr 19, 2018

FCA calls on preference share issuers to review investor advice

The chief executive of the UK's Financial Conduct Authority has told companies to make it clear to investors whether their preference shares can be redeemed for less than the market price. The letter follows controversy at Aviva, the insurance company, which provoked an outcry last month when it said it was considering cancelling its £450m worth of irredeemable preference shares. The price of the preference shares fell sharply on the news. Preference shares tend to pay a fixed dividend, known...