Thousands of free-to-use Uk cash machines may close due cut in operators fee


( via – – Wed, 31 Jan 2018) London, Uk – –

Thousands of free-to-use cash machines could be closed because of a cut in the fee  receive from banks each time an ATM is used, the industry has warned.

However, the fee will be unchanged for free-to-use ATMs which are 1km or more from the next nearest cash machine.

The move is an attempt by Link, which oversees ATMs, to encourage operators to place machines in more remote areas.

But the ATM industry body said the move would see up to 30,000 ATMs disappear.

The fee, known as the interchange rate, will be reduced from 25p to 20p per withdrawal, in annual steps over four years, to protect the network, according to Link.

The cut in the fee will take effect from 1 July. The situation will be reviewed each year to assess the impact on consumers.

Who do we trust after cash?
The High Streets with ‘too many’ ATMs
Link said that the move, alongside other measures, would “shift the incentive” for operators which have been clustering ATMs in city centres to move some to rural and less affluent areas.

An extra subsidy of 10p per withdrawal, currently available to 300 ATMs, will be tripled to 30p for some of the cash machines in areas with little access to cash.

John Howells, chief executive of Link, said: “The UK has a near record number of ATMs, yet the recent growth has led to the majority of these being placed in busy areas where there simply is no need for a new ATM.

“The combination of a reduction of the interchange, with the significant strengthening of the Financial Inclusion Programme, will begin to rebalance the network, making sure we protect and install new ATMs in locations that really need them.”

The confirmed plans have been criticised by the industry and some consumer groups.

Ron Delnevo, executive director of the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), said that the current network of 55,000 ATMs was “providing financial inclusion everywhere”.

“To lose any of them would be a disaster, but we will lose 25,000 to 30,000 from these measures if they are allowed to go ahead, which they should not,” he said.

Consumer group Which? said the move could lead to “mass closures” of free-to-use machines, adding to the 200 communities in Britain that already had poor ATM provision, or no cash machines at all.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) called for a full public consultation on Link’s plans.

He said the FSB was not convinced that the proposals included enough protection for vulnerable communities.

“There’s no guarantee that having everyone within a kilometre of a cashpoint will be enough to meet demand. Equally, we need to question whether it’s right to make vulnerable ATM users travel a kilometre every time they need cash.

The Treasury Committee of MPs has also expressed concern over whether there will be an even spread of ATMs across the country. Any big fall in the number of cash machines would “clearly be of concern”, said Nicky Morgan, who chairs the committee.



Blackstone to take control of Thomson Reuters data arm in $17bn deal

( via – – wed, 31 January 2018) London, Uk – –

The private equity giant Blackstone is launching an attack on Bloomberg’s dominance of Wall Street and City trading floors via a $17bn (£12bn) debt-fuelled deal for control of the Thomson Reuters financial data business.

Under the deal, confirmed on Tuesday evening, the buyout firm will take a 55pc stake in the Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk division, which has annual revenues of $6.1bn.

It has struggled to dent Bloomberg’s lead in the lucrative financial data business despite adding heft when the family-controlled Canadian company Thomson bought Reuters in 2008.

Blackstone’s plan to make the Financial & Risk division independent under its direction sparked speculation yesterday that Bloomberg will face a stiffer challenge in future. It currently controls a third of the market, compared to less than a quarter for Thomson Reuters.

The Thomson Reuters board approved the deal late on Tuesday, though it still requires regulatory approvals.

It is expected to weaken the ties between the financial data business and the loss-making Reuters news service.

However, Blackstone has agreed to pay a minimum of $325m a year to the news service for 30 years. The fee for carrying news as part of its financial data package would cover Thomson Reuters’ current losses on journalism.

The structure will help guarantee the future of the Reuters newsgathering operation and is thought to be designed to appease the trustees of the Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company. It is designed to preserve Reuters journalism and could seek to block a transaction if it perceives a threat.

Blackstone will pay Thomson Reuters $17bn for control of its financial data division, comprised of $3bn cash and $14bn borrowed against the newly independent business.

As well as its news operation, Thomson Reuters will be left with its Legal and Tax & Accounting divisions. It will retain a 45pc stake in Financial & Risk.

By Christopher Williams




Ryanair makes historical agreement to recognise British pilots union for the first time



( via– Tue, 30 Jan 2018) London, Uk – –

The British Airline Pilots’ Association will now officially represent the no-frills carrier’s UK-based pilots for the first time.

The UK’s pilots union has been given official recognition status by Ryanair for the first time in the airline’s 32-year history.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) said it had signed a “historic” voluntary trade union recognition agreement after the no-frills carrier signalled last month that it was willing to talk to pilot unions across Europe amid a string of disputes.

Ryanair was seen as wanting to limit disruption following a damaging blunder over rotas which led to its decision in the autumn to cancel flights, affecting almost 700,000 customers.

The climbdown over its 32-year refusal to recognise unions led to a planned pre-Christmas strike by Irish-based pilots being abandoned.

Balpa said Ryanair’s decision meant it would be representing all 600 of its employed pilots based in the UK.

General secretary Brian Strutton said: “Given Ryanair’s previous hostility towards unions, today’s agreement is an historic one.

“While we were initially sceptical about Ryanair’s sincerity in offering recognition to us and other unions, our conversations and meetings with them have shown that they are genuine in wanting a constructive trade union relationship.

“I am hopeful that this is the beginning of a strong and mutually beneficial relationship between Balpa and Ryanair and I urge Ryanair to agree deals with pilot unions in other countries and with cabin crew unions.”

Chief people officer at Ryanair, Eddie Wilson, said: “This agreement validates the decision of Ryanair’s Board in December to recognise unions, and the fact that we have delivered pay rises of up to 20% and union recognition for our pilots in our largest market, shows how serious Ryanair is about working constructively with unions that are willing to work constructively with us.

“This rapid progress in the UK is in marked contrast to some other EU countries where we are still waiting for a response to our recognition proposals and where some unions have failed to put these substantial pay increases to our pilots.

“We now call on these unions to stop wasting time and act quickly to deliver 20% pay increases to our pilots in February, and conclude formal recognition agreements, which they are presently sitting on.

“Ryanair will not allow these unions to delay pay increases to our pilots.

“Today’s agreement between Ryanair and Balpa shows that Ryanair can work with unions that wish to work with us to promote the interests of both our pilots and our customers.”

By James Sillars, Business Reporter



BP invests $5 million in U.S. mobile electric vehicle charging company FreeWire

( via — Tue, 30 Jan 2018) London, UK —

(Reuters) – BP Plc (BP.L) said it had invested $5 million (£3.6 million) in U.S. mobile electric vehicle charging company FreeWire, helping it provide rapid charging at its retail sites in Britain and Europe, as demand for cleaner vehicles is expected to soar.

BP joins rival Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), which last year agreed to buy Dutch-based NewMotion, the owner of one of Europe’s largest electric vehicle charging networks, marking the company’s first deal in electric mobility.

The expected rapid growth in the use of electric vehicles in the coming decades is threatening oil companies’ business model as demand for some road fuels could plateau as early as the late 2020s.

BP, whose venturing business invested in FreeWire, said it plans to roll out the San Francisco- based technology firm’s Mobi Charger units at selected retail sites in the United Kingdom and Europe this year.

“Mobility is changing and BP is committed to remaining the fuel retailer of choice into the future. EV charging will undoubtedly become an important part of our business, but customer demand and the technologies available are still evolving,” BP’s Downstream CEO, Tufan Erginbilgic, said.

By Noor Zainab Hussain and Ron Bousso



Automation to put most Jobs at risk in cities that voted ‘most strongly for Brexit,’ think tank claims

Wikimedia commons

( via – – Mon, 29 Jan 2018) London, Uk – –

One in five jobs in Britain will be displaced by 2030 as a result of automation, deepening economic and political divisions across the country, a new report claims.

Around 3.6 million jobs will be taken over by robots and artificial intelligence – with northern and Midlands cities more exposed to job losses than cities in the south.

A report published by the think tank Centre for Cities claims that retail occupations, customer service roles and warehouse jobs are among those most at threat, and national and local leaders “should act now to prepare people and places for the changes ahead”.

The report found that cities in the north and in the Midlands are more at risk of job losses, where around 23pc of jobs are under threat, compared to wealthier cities in the south where 18pc of jobs are in jeopardy.

The report raises concerns that automation will magnify the political dissatisfaction and divisions highlighted by the outcome of the EU referendum in 2016 – with many of the cities most at risk of losing jobs also among those which voted most strongly for Brexit.

Mansfield, for example, is home to the highest share of jobs likely to decline of any UK city, and also had the largest proportion of residents who voted in favour of leaving the EU.

By comparison, the cities with the lowest share of jobs at risk are predominantly affluent places in the south of England, which mostly voted in favour of remaining in the European Union.

Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said that while automation and globalisation will bring huge opportunities to increase prosperity and jobs, “there is also a real risk that many people and places will lose out”.

He said: “In an ever more divided country, it’s increasingly clear that a one-size-fits-all approach from central government is inadequate to address the myriad issues that different places face. The Government needs to give cities more powers and resources to tackle the issues that automation and globalisation will present, and to make the most of the benefits they will bring.”

Mr Carter said that city leaders should be given powers and a direct democratic mandate to tackle the specific challenges in their place.

The report is one of many published out warning of the risks of automation. In November, a study from consultancy McKinsey said as many as 700 million people worldwide could be displaced from their jobs by robots by 2030, particularly if advanced economies switch to new technology rapidly.

If the pace is more modest – as the analysts expect – then around 375m people, or 14pc of all workers, would have to move jobs and retrain.

Research from PwC last year estimated that robots could take up to 30 per cent of UK jobs as soon as 2030 while the Bank of England has estimated that 15 million jobs may be at risk.

A report from the World Economic Forum last week said that those displaced by automation could “easily” be re-employed after retraining and get paid more.

By Sophie Christie



Ikea Swedish furniture founder Ingvar Kamprad has died at the age of 91

( via – – Mon, 29 Jan 2018) London, Uk – –

The Swedish founder of the Ikea furniture chain, Ingvar Kamprad, has died at the age of 91, the company has announced.

Mr Kamprad – who pioneered flat-pack furniture – died at his home in Småland, Ikea confirmed in a statement.

The company said that Mr Kamprad was “one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century”.

The billionaire, who was born in 1926 in Småland, founded Ikea at the age of 17.

He used some money his father had given him as a gift for performing well at school despite his dyslexia.

In the later years of his life, Mr Kamprad faced questions over his past links to fascist groups – something he admitted, but said was a “mistake”.

In a statement on Sunday, Ikea said that Mr Kamprad had “peacefully passed away at his home”.

“He worked until the very end of his life, staying true to his own motto that most things remain to be done,” it added. Mr Kamprad eventually stepped down from the company’s board in 2013, at the age of 87.

“Ingvar Kamprad was a great entrepreneur of the typical southern Swedish kind – hardworking and stubborn, with a lot of warmth and a playful twinkle in his eye,” the company said.

His company’s designs became popular in part because of their simplicity and value.

Mr Kamprad is reported to have come up with the idea of flat-pack furniture after watching an employee remove the legs from a table in order to fit it into a customer’s car.

Furniture designer Jeff Banks said that Mr Kamprad’s creations radically changed how people made and designed products for the home.

“People have tried to reproduce and copy that, but unsuccessfully,” he said.

Mr Banks added that the designs produced and sold through the retailer made good use of recyclable products, adding that Mr Kamprad was “head and shoulders above the rest”.

Mr Kamprad was renowned for his devotion to frugality, reportedly driving an old Volvo and travelling by economy class.

In a 2016 interview with Swedish television channel TV4, Mr Kamprad said that it was “in the nature of Småland to be thrifty”.

“If you look at me now, I don’t think I’m wearing anything that wasn’t bought at a flea market,” he said.

He told the channel that he built his business on a “local ethos”.

“We have Småland in the blood, and we know what a krona is – even though it is not as much as it was when we bought candy and went to elementary school,” he said, referring to the Swedish currency.

People took to social media on Sunday to pay their respects to the “greatest Swedish entrepreneur to have ever lived”.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom tweeted her condolences, saying that Mr Kamprad had “put Sweden on the world map”.

Ikea: Key facts

  • Ikea started in 1943 and now has 389 stores worldwide
  • The name comes from Mr Kamprad’s initials (IK), together with the name of the farm he grew up on – Elmtaryd (E) – and the nearby village Agunnaryd (A)
  • The company’s retail sales totalled 36.4bn euros ($43bn, £30bn) in 2016
  • Its flat-pack furniture became iconic both for its affordability and for its picture-based assembly instructions

Ikea has remained privately-owned under a Dutch trust operated by the Kamprad family. Its complex business structure has drawn controversy and the European Commission said last year that it had launched an investigation into Ikea’s tax arrangements.

The European Green Party said that the arrangement had allowed the company to avoid paying some €1bn in tax between 2009 and 2014.

A spokesman for Dutch-based Inter Ikea, one of the company’s two divisions, said that the company had been taxed “in accordance with EU rules”.

In an interview in the 1980s, Mr Kamprad said that his vision for Ikea was that it would be a company that would make life easier for its customers.

In more recent years, Mr Kamprad had faced scrutiny over his past links to Nazi groups.

The tycoon revealed some elements of his past in a book in 1988, admitting that he was a close friend of the Swedish fascist activist Per Engdahl, and a member of his New Swedish Movement between 1942 and 1945.

He said that his involvement was youthful “stupidity” and the “greatest mistake” of his life.

But a 2011 book by Elisabeth Asbrink alleged details beyond what Mr Kamprad had previously admitted. She wrote that he was an active recruiter for a Swedish Nazi group, and stayed close to sympathisers well after World War Two.

At the time a spokesman for Mr Kamprad said he had long admitted flirting with fascism, but that there were now “no Nazi-sympathising thoughts in Ingvar’s head whatsoever”.





Amazon UK new fulfilment centre in Rugby to create 400 jobs

( via — Mon, 29 Jan 2018) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Amazon UK (AMZN.O) said on Monday it would open a new fulfilment centre in Rugby, central England, increasing its 2,500-strong workforce in the Midlands by another 400 people.

Rugby will be the fourth Amazon fulfilment centre in the region, and joins centres in Coalville and Daventry, which opened in 2016, and Rugeley, which opened in 2011, the U.S. company said.



Mitch Langstein director for Cellular Accessories: Make Your Business Dream Your Reality


Mitch Langstein is the marketing director for Cellular Accessories. Mitch explains what entrepreneurship means to him and how he knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur out of college. Mitch talks about where he got the idea for his business and how he turned that idea into a reality!


Marcus Lemonis’s Top 10 Rules For Success


He’s an businessman, inventor, television personality and philanthropist. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises, and the star of The Profit, a CNBC reality show about saving small businesses. He leads close to 6,000 employees in over 100 cities across the US. He’s Marcus Lemonis and here are his Top 10 Rules for Success.







French Finance Minister : Paris could overtake London as top financial centre in a matter of years

( via — Fri, 26, 2018) London, UK —

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – Paris could overtake London as Europe’s most important financial centre in a matter of years, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, after days of wooing American and European bankers in the Swiss Alps and gilded Palace of Versailles.

In an interview with Reuters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Le Maire pointed to France’s strong regulatory framework, the business-friendly reforms being implemented by President Emmanuel Macron and the allures of Paris as a place to live.

“There will be a new leader after Brexit,” Le Maire said.

“I see the possibility for France to become in the coming years the most important financial centre in Europe and the UK is in Europe.”

Paris is one of several continental cities, along with Frankfurt, Dublin and Amsterdam, that want to lure business from City of London banks that are eager to stay based in Europe’s Single Market after Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.

But early indications are that they will see a trickle rather than a flood of jobs move in 2018, with the prospect of a “softer” Brexit discouraging large redeployments of staff.

In September, a Reuters survey of 123 firms showed that around 10,000 finance jobs would be shifted out of Britain or created overseas in the next few years if the UK is denied access to the single market.

In the Reuters survey, Frankfurt was by far the most popular destination for the new roles, with Paris a distant second.

Still, Paris was given a boost in November, when the European Union decided to relocate its London-based banking authority to the French capital after Britain leaves the bloc.

And the French government has staged a high-profile lobbying campaign to lure banks away from London.

On Monday, a day before the Davos summit kicked off in Davos, Macron hosted a meeting of top bankers and businessmen in Versailles to give them the hard sell on Paris.

Among those who attended were Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs (GS.N), and Jamie Dimon, who runs J.P. Morgan (JPM.N).

One U.S. investment banker in Davos said Macron, himself a former banker with Rothschild, had made a very good impression at the Versailles dinner.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc269.03
But the mood in Davos might best be described as wait and see. Bankers said France’s rigid labour laws and relatively high corporate taxes remained hurdles for Paris.

“Before making any decisions, we want to see if the reforms announced by Macron are there to stay,” the U.S. banker said.

In the interview, Le Maire noted that two large systemic banks were already headquartered in Paris, in BNP (BNPP.PA) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PA), and pointed to other strengths.

“We have a very strong regulatory framework,” he said. “And we have taken the necessary steps to be more attractive for other financial institutions all over the world.”

“That’s why I think that we have the best chance of becoming, tomorrow, the financial centre in Europe. Not the dominant one but the most important one,” Le Maire added.

The French finance minister, who ran in the presidential primaries for the centre-right Republican party before switching allegiances and joining Macron’s government, also touched on the issue of U.S. tax cuts, saying it would be wrong for European countries to respond with cuts of their own.

“It would not be the right answer. The right answer to the decision taken by the United States is tax convergence within the Euroepan Union and among European member states, especially within the 19 states of the euro zone,” Le Maire said.

By Noah Barkin

Additional reporting by Silvia Aloisi


Uk Mortgage approvals fell to their lowest level for almost five years last month


( via– Fri, 26 Jan, 2018) London, Uk – –

Experts blame a squeeze on consumer incomes as new data reveals a sharp decline in the number of home loans in December.

Mortgage approvals by British banks fell to their lowest level for almost five years last month, industry figures show.

Lenders approved 36,115 home loans in December, the weakest level since April 2013.

The figure was 19% down on the same month a year before and also weaker than the 39,007 level seen in November, UK Finance said.

Meanwhile, annual growth in consumer credit slowed, from 0.8% to 0.7%.

It comes as households grapple with falling real-terms wages – as pay growth fails to keep pace with a rise in the cost of living – and also digest the impact of November’s Bank of England interest rate hike, the first in a decade.

Lenders have reported a slowdown in national house price growth in 2017, dragged down by falling prices in London.

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the latest data showed mortgage approvals “falling off a cliff”.

He said: “The deterioration in consumers’ confidence, driven by the squeeze on real incomes and the November interest rate hike, has taken a heavy toll on the mortgage market.”

Mr Tombs suggested that the Bank of England had “seriously misjudged the ability of the housing market to withstand even modest increases in interest rates”.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club, said 2018 looked likely to be a “challenging year for the housing market”.

He said activity was “likely to be lacklustre as the squeeze on consumer purchasing power only gradually eases, confidence remains fragile and caution persists over engaging in major transactions”.

The figures come as housing industry data shows the number of new home starts in the UK rose to its highest level in a decade last year.

A total of 160,606 homes were registered in 2017, up 6% on the year before and the highest since before the financial crisis in 2007, when the figure stood at 198,929, the National House Building Council (NHBC) said.

New home completions were also up, climbing 4% to 147,278, the highest level since 2008.

The report also sounded a positive outlook for building this year.

Theresa May is targeting an increase in the construction of new homes to 300,000 a year to address Britain’s shortage of housing.

By John-Paul Ford Rojas



JP Morgan chief executive warns of job cuts if financial rules diverge after Brexit


( via – – Thur, 25 Jan 2018) London, Uk – –

The chief executive of JP Morgan has told the BBC it could cut its 16,000 UK workforce by more than a quarter if financial rules diverge after Brexit.

Jamie Dimon said the US bank had not needed to make drastic cuts on day one after the EU referendum.

But he revised his long-term estimate of job losses upwards if Brexit talks failed to produce an outcome close to the current arrangements.

Mr Dimon added that such a scenario would harm London as a financial hub.

The boss of the US’s most valuable bank had warned in the run-up to the referendum that 4,000 jobs could go if the UK voted to leave the EU.

Since then, JP Morgan has revised that estimate down to between 500 and 1,000 jobs, leading many to dismiss his warnings as part of “Project Fear”.

In an interview with the BBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Dimon acknowledged that on closer analysis, it turned out the bank did not need to make such drastic moves on day one of Brexit.

But he added that could go up again. “If we can’t find reciprocal recognition of rules – and there are a lot of people who are mad with the Brits for leaving and want their pound of flesh – then it could be bad. It could be more than 4000,” he said.

Macron charm

When asked if that outcome would represent a real threat to the future success of London as a financial centre, he gave a single word answer: “Yep.”

A government spokesperson said it was determined to maintain London’s “competitiveness now and in the future”.

That includes a partnership with the EU “based on our rules and regulations being the same at the start and on our shared belief in free trade and a commitment to high regulatory standards”.

But if Jamie Dimon’s warning comes to pass, where would these jobs go?

JP Morgan, along with fellow US bank Goldman Sachs, has already indicated that Frankfurt will be the major beneficiary.

But in common with many chief executives at the Swiss ski resort, Jamie Dimon is increasingly impressed with the offer from the new darling of Davos, French President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron invited Mr Dimon, along with over a hundred international chief executives, to the Palace of Versailles this week and the charm offensive appears to be working.

According to Mr Dimon, it’s not just style but substance.

“Here’s a guy who is 39 years old who formed his own party and within a year won a parliamentary majority,” Mr Dimon said.

“He spoke and answered questions for two hours and was pro-business, pro-capital, pro-reform.

“It’s a shocking change from what came before and if Macron had been around before maybe you would have had the British staying in,” he added.

That sounds fanciful to UK ears, but the positive impact the new resident at the Elysee Palace has made on business leaders in Davos is hard to over emphasise.


Of course, the main event for many is yet to come – the arrival of Donald Trump who will give the closing address on Friday.

Trump is the first sitting US president to attend Davos since Bill Clinton and his appearance is all the more surprising given his previous public scorn for the gathering of the pro-globalisation elite it attracts.

His speech has been described as “kick ass” by his advisers.

Global leaders including Narendra Modi of India and Justin Trudeau of Canada have used their time on the platform to warn against Trump’s protectionist America First approach.

In Jamie Dimon, the President has a supporter amidst a fairly hostile crowd.

He described Trump’s complaints about global trade and the recent imposition of new tariffs on solar panels and washing machines as “shots across the bows” signalling legitimate concerns.

“When America talks about free trade, it means reciprocal trade and we don’t have that. Foreign companies can buy 100% of US ones but not the other way, tariffs are unequal and I think he’s right to raise that.”

It’s worth remembering that Trump’s recent corporation tax cuts from 35% to 21% will create a windfall of $20bn for JP Morgan over the next five years.

Dimon has pledged that money will be used in part to increase wages for lower paid workers in the retail part of JP Morgan Chase and to increase lending to lower income borrowers.

He told the BBC that the bonus pool for the high rollers at the investment bank would not increase as a result of Trumps tax largesse. That will all be worth monitoring but if correct is the kind of “trickle down” that will get two thumbs up from the Whitehouse.

Jamie Dimon is not a supporter of Trump on all trade issues, and would hate to be called a protectionist, but if we are going to get a punch up on Friday with Trump in one corner and the rest of the world in the other – it’s clear which corner Jamie Dimon will be in.

By Simon Jack



Insurers to pay £31m to suppliers hit by Carillion collapse

( via – – Thu, 25 Jan 2018) London, Uk – –

The demise of the company last week has had a major knock-on effect on a series of suppliers and subcontractors.

Insurers are expected to pay out £31m to suppliers hit by the collapse of construction and outsourcing giant Carillion, it has been estimated.

The figure from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) relates to claims on trade credit policies, which cover firms against the risk of not being paid for goods or services that they provide following a company going bust, or political upheaval.

 Carillion, which ran a host of public services as well as building roads and hospitals, went into liquidation last week under a the weight of at least £2.2bn in debt and pension liabilities.

The collapse of the company, which employed 20,000 people in the UK, left thousands of suppliers and subcontractors who were owed money in limbo.

ABI assistant director Mark Shepherd said: “One insolvency can risk a domino effect to hundreds of firms in the supply chain.”

The figures came as engineering contractor Van Elle, which regularly carried out work for the business, said the collapse would have an impact on it and could affect its ability to achieve full-year profit expectations.

It said it had pencilled in a £1.6m bad debt charge and identified £2.5m of anticipated revenue for the second half of its financial year related to its work with Carillion.

Chief executive Jon Fenton said the company had had “constructive dialogue” with the Official Receiver handling Carillion’s collapse, and Network Rail, over the contracts but while they may still be delivered in the current year, the “status and timing of specific programmes remains uncertain”.

Its shares opened 2% lower.

Meanwhile, Carillion rival Kier said that it and French civil engineering company Eiffage had taken over responsibility for the HS2 rail joint venture which it had been running with the collapsed firm.

It also said it had assumed full responsibility for the Highways England smart motorways scheme on which it had been also working with Carillion.

Both contracts were “performing well, operationally and financially”, Kier said.

The update came in a well-received trading update from the group which saw shares rise 10% as it said it remained on course to deliver double-digit profit growth for the full year.

On Wednesday, two select committees launched a joint inquiry into Carillion’s collapse, which will see MPs question former bosses at the firm.

By John-Paul Ford Rojas, Business Reporter


Addison Lee car service challenges rival Uber with global app bookings

( via — Wed, 24 Jan 2018) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – British premium car service Addison Lee said customers will be able to book journeys using their app in over 100 cities from Wednesday as it invests in $90 million (£63.85 million) worth of new vehicles in a global expansion drive, rivalling the likes of Uber.

The firm, which catered mainly for business customers in the British capital just a few years ago, has sought to widen its appeal and began operating cars under its own name in New York last year as it branches out from being a London operator.

Just five months ago, customers could only use the app to book journeys in London but the firm has been adding cities to reach the more than 100 locations available including Paris, Berlin and Beijing, focussed on Britons travelling abroad.

“We’ve effectively taken a high-quality network of affiliates around the world in 100 cities and we’ve digitised them,” Chief Executive Andy Boland told Reuters.

“That really talks to an international traveller demographic who wants to be able to join up car services,” he said.

Addison Lee competes with UberBLACK, the taxi app’s luxury service, transfer service Blacklane and in New York with executive transport firms such as Carey.

The company will invest in over 2,000 vehicles as it increases the number of drivers it has in London by around 20 percent to 6,000 by the end of the year and reach 1,000 in New York by Easter.

The firm, London’s second-biggest private hire operator, had its licence renewed until the end of February 2023 earlier this month, whilst Uber was deemed unfit to run a taxi service by the city’s regulator, a decision which it is appealing.

Reporting By Costas Pitas


WH Smith sales suffer from a lack of new spoof books


( via – – Wed, 24 Jan 2018) London, Uk – –

Sales at WH Smith were flat over Christmas as the high street book and stationery seller suffered from a lack of new spoof books like the popular Ladybird Book of The Hipster and Five on Brexit Island.

The chain’s travel division of stores based in train stations and airports continued to do well, with total sales in the 20 weeks to January 20 up 7pc, boosted by new shops at Gatwick and Stansted.

But its high street revenues dropped 5pc, as expected, after a “particularly strong performance” the previous year.

Chief executive Stephen Clarke said high street sales of gift wrap and Christmas cards “performed well with good sales growth versus last year”, but that book sales fell due to a lack of “new, big publishing trends”.

He added: “Looking ahead, while there is some uncertainty in the broader economic environment, we remain confident that the group is well positioned for the year ahead as we continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in new opportunities.”

The retailer said it was continuing to reduce costs in its high street arm, with savings this year expected to be around £12m, ahead of targets.

WH Smith’s shares were down 1.6pc to £20.98 in early trading.




London’s new electric black cabs ready for passengers

TRT World

 ( via – – Tue, 23 Jan, 2018) London, Uk – –

The first of London’s new electric black taxis is ready to pick up passengers after it was handed over to a driver this week.

Black cab driver David Harris is the first to receive the keys to London Electric Vehicle Company’s new TX electric taxi, which has six passenger seats, power sockets and USB ports, as well as on-board Wi-Fi.

The new taxis, which cost £55,599, have an advanced battery electric powertrain with a small back-up petrol generator that gives a total range of up to 400 miles, including 80 miles pure electric driving.

Harris expects to save £500-£600 a month by switching from his current cab to the electric TX in fuel savings, servicing and overall running costs.

Chris Gubbey, chief executive of the LEVC, said: “It’s the first of many clean-air, zero emission taxis that will be hitting the streets of London, and we are just as excited as David is. Hearing how this vehicle will impact his life, and the vast savings he will make month after month, is just fantastic. We can’t wait to see and hear the reaction from passengers as they experience the new TX for the first time.”

By Rebecca Smith


Manchester United undisputed world’s richest top earning football club


( via– Tue,23 Jan, 2018) London, Uk – –

An annual money league sees Jose Mourinho’s United side being chased down for the top spot by Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Manchester United have retained their crown as the word’s leading football club for revenue generation, according to an annual league table.

According to the Money League, compiled by Deloitte, the club is being chased down by the two richest sides in Spain – with Real Madrid overtaking Barcelona in the chasing pack in the 2016/17 rankings.

The league is determined by revenue generation, with United netting £581.2m over the 12 months compared to £515.3m in the previous season.

The report said winning European football’s second-tier club championship, the Europa League, was “critical” to Jose Mourinho’s side coming out on top for a second year as they picked up €44.5m from UEFA in the process.

Real won both the Champions League and La Liga titles in the season – helping them leapfrog rivals Barca to achieve revenues of £579.7m and £557.1m respectively.

All the top 20 clubs are European but Premier League sides dominate – largely a result of broadcast revenues from the three-year £5.1bn TV rights deal with Sky, the owner of Sky News, and BT.

Manchester City and Arsenal were 5th and 6th while Chelsea and Liverpool also featured. The are 10 Premier League sides in the top 20.

Deloitte said the gulf of just £1.5m between the top two clubs was the smallest recorded by its team.

Combined revenue for the top 20 sides grew 6% to a new record sum of €7.9bn (£6.94bn).

Dan Jones, a partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business group, said: “European football continues to flourish financially, with almost half a billion euro of revenue growth for the top 20 Money League clubs.

“United’s ability to retain first position is all the more impressive against the backdrop of the weakened pound against the euro, and with both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona forecasting further revenue growth in 2017/18, the battle at the top will likely come down to on-pitch performance again next year.

“With all three clubs through to the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League, it may be as simple as the club that goes furthest in the competition will have the best chance of topping the Money League next year.”

:: The top 20 clubs as determined by revenue in 2016/17:

:: 1 Manchester United £581.2m
:: 2 Real Madrid 579.7m
:: 3 FC Barcelona £557.1m
:: 4 Bayern Munich £505.1m
:: 5 Manchester City £453.5m
:: 6 Arsenal £419m
:: 7 Paris Saint-Germain £417.8m
:: 8 Chelsea £367.8m
:: 9 Liverpool £364.5m
:: 10 Juventus £348.6m
:: 11 Tottenham Hotspur £305.6m
:: 12 Borussia Dortmund £285.8m
:: 13 Atletico de Madrid £234.2m
:: 14 Leicester City £233m
:: 15 Internazionale £225.2m
:: 16 Schalke 04 £197.8m
:: 17 West Ham United £183.3m
:: 18 Southampton £182.3m
:: 19 Napoli £172.5m
:: 20 Everton £171.2m

By James Sillars, Business Reporter

‘World’s richest 1% accumulate 82% of the wealth’, says Oxfam

( via – – Tue, 23 Jan 2018) London, Uk – –

The gap between the super rich and the rest of the world widened last year as wealth continued to be owned by a small minority, Oxfam has claimed.

Some 82% of money generated last year went to the richest 1% of the global population while the poorest half saw no increase at all, the charity said.

Oxfam said its figures – which critics have queried – showed a failing system.

It blamed tax evasion, firms’ influence on policy, erosion of workers’ rights, and cost cutting for the widening gap.

Oxfam has produced similar reports for the past five years. In 2017 it calculated that the world’s eight richest individuals had as much wealth as the poorest half of the world.

This year, it said 42 people now had as much wealth as the poorest half, but it revised last year’s figure to 61. Oxfam said the revision was due to improved data and said the trend of “widening inequality” remained.


Oxfam chief executive Mark Goldring said its constant readjustment of the figures reflected the fact that the report was based “on the best data available at the time”.

“However you look at it, this is an unacceptable level of inequality,” he said.

Oxfam’s report coincides with the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, a Swiss ski resort. The annual conference attracts many of the world’s top political and business leaders.

Inequality typically features high on the agenda, but Mr Goldring said that too often “tough talk fades away at the first resistance”.

Analysis by Anthony Reuben, BBC Reality Check

It’s really hard working out how much wealth the super-rich and the very poor have.

The super-rich tend not to publicise their worth and many of the world’s poorest countries keep poor statistics.

To illustrate that, this time last year, Oxfam told us that eight individuals have as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. Now it has revised that figure to 61 people for last year, falling to 42 people this year – that’s a pretty big revision.

And there are other caveats around the data on which all this is based, such as that the people on the list with the lowest wealth are not necessarily poor at all – they may be highly qualified professionals with large amounts of student debt, for example, or people with high incomes but enormous mortgages.

But whether it’s eight people, 42 people or 61 people who have the same wealth as half of the world, there is still great wealth inequality around the world, which is the message Oxfam is taking to Davos.

The charity is urging a rethink of business models, arguing their focus on maximising shareholder returns over broader social impact is wrong.

It said there was “huge support” for action with two thirds (72%) of 70,000 people it surveyed in ten countries saying they wanted their governments to “urgently address the income gap between rich and poor”.

But Mark Littlewood, director general at free market think tank The Institute of Economic Affairs, said Oxfam was becoming “obsessed with the rich rather than the poor”.

“Higher taxes and redistribution will do nothing to help the poor; wealth is not a fixed pie. Richer people are also highly taxed people – reducing their wealth won’t lead to redistribution, it will destroy it to the benefit of no one,” he added.

It was a criticism echoed by Sam Dumitriu, head of research at another free market think tank – the Adam Smith Institute – who said the charity’s inequality stats “always paint the wrong picture”.

“In reality, global inequality has fallen massively over the past few decades.

“As China, India and Vietnam embraced neoliberal reforms that enforce property rights, reduce regulations and increase competition, the world’s poorest have received a massive pay rise leading to a more equal global income distribution.”

How does Oxfam work out the figures?

Oxfam’s report is based on data from Forbes and the annual Credit Suisse Global Wealth databook, which gives the distribution of global wealth going back to 2000.

The survey uses the value of an individual’s assets, mainly property and land, minus debts, to determine what he or she “owns”. The data excludes wages or income.

The methodology has been criticised as it means that a student with high debts, but with high future earning potential, for example, would be considered poor under the criteria used.

But Oxfam said even if the wealth of the poorest half of the world was recalculated to exclude people in net debt their combined wealth was still equal to that of just 128 billionaires.

By Katie Hope