Cryptocurrency scams cost victims £27m in 2018-19 say FCA

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 21st May 2019) London, Uk – –

Fraudsters use professional-looking websites and promise high returns

Investment scams involving cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and foreign currency trading have tripled in a year, with the average victim losing £14,600, according to the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The regulator and the police-run body Action Fraud are warning the public to be wary, with the scams typically promising high returns and carried out via bogus online trading platforms. More than £27m was lost to frauds involving so-called crypto-assets and forex investments in 2018-19, said the FCA.

Crypto-assets is a broad term covering many different types of products. The most popular include tokens such as bitcoin and litecoin. The FCA calls these “exchange tokens,” though they are often referred to as cryptocurrencies, cryptocoins or payment tokens.

The number of such scams reported more than tripled last year to 1,834, from 530 in 2017-18.

Fraudsters often used social media to promote their “get rich quick” online trading platforms, the FCA said. Posts often used fake celebrity endorsements and images of luxury items such as expensive watches and cars, that link to professional-looking websites where consumers are persuaded to invest.

Investors will often be led to believe that their first investment has successfully made a profit. The fraudster will then contact the victim to urge them to invest more money or introduce friends and family, but eventually the returns stop, the customer’s account is closed and the scammer disappears with no further contact.

Reporting by Rupert Jones

Google restricts Huawei’s use of Android operating system

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 20th May 2019) London, Uk – –

Google has barred the world's second biggest smartphone maker, Huawei, from some updates to the Android operating system, dealing a blow to the Chinese company.

New designs of Huawei smartphones are set to lose access to some Google apps.

The move comes after the Trump administration added Huawei to a list of companies that American firms cannot trade with unless they have a licence.

Google said it was “complying with the order and reviewing the implications”.

Huawei said it would continue to provide security updates and after sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products covering those have been sold or still in stock globally.

“We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally,” it added.

What does this mean for Huawei users?

Existing Huawei smartphone users will be able to update apps and push through security fixes, as well as update Google Play services.

But when Google launches the next version of Android later this year, it may not be available on Huawei devices.

Future Huawei devices may no longer have apps such as YouTube and Maps.

Huawei can still use the version of the Android operating system available through an open source licence.

Ben Wood, from the CCS Insight consultancy, said the move by Google would have “big implications for Huawei's consumer business”.

What can Huawei do about this?

Last Wednesday, the Trump administration added Huawei to its “entity list”, which bans the company from acquiring technology from US firms without government approval.

In his first comments since the firm was placed on the list, Huawei chief executive Ren Zhengfei told Japanese media on Saturday: “We have already been preparing for this.”

He said the firm, which buys about $67bn (£52.6bn) worth of components each year according to the Nikkei business newspaper, would push ahead with developing its own parts.

Huawei faces a growing backlash from Western countries, led by the US, over possible risks posed by using its products in next-generation 5G mobile networks.

Several countries have raised concerns that Huawei equipment could be used by China for surveillance, allegations the company has vehemently denied.

Huawei has said its work does not pose any threats and that it is independent from the Chinese government.

However, some countries have blocked telecoms companies from using Huawei products in 5G mobile networks.

So far the UK has held back from any formal ban.

“Huawei has been working hard on developing its own App Gallery and other software assets in a similar manner to its work on chipset solutions. There is little doubt these efforts are part of its desire to control its own destiny,” said Mr Wood.

Short-term damage for Huawei?

By Leo Kelion, BBC Technology desk editor

In the short term, this could be very damaging for Huawei in the West.

Smartphone shoppers would not want an Android phone that lacked access to Google's Play Store, its virtual assistant or security updates, assuming these are among the services that would be pulled.

In the longer term, though, this might give smartphone vendors in general a reason to seriously consider the need for a viable alternative to Google's operating system, particularly at a time that the search giant is trying to push its own Pixel brand at their expense.

As far as Huawei is concerned, it appears to have prepared for the eventuality of being cut off from American know-how.

Its smartphones are already powered by its own proprietary processors, and earlier this year its consumer devices chief told German newspaper Die Welt that “we have prepared our own operating systems – that's our plan B”.

Even so, this move could knock its ambition to overtake Samsung and become the bestselling smartphone brand in 2020 seriously off course.


What about the US-China trade war?

The latest move against Huawei marks an escalation in tensions between the firm and the US.

The company is facing almost two dozen criminal charges filed by US authorities. Washington is also seeking the extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wangzou from Canada, where she was arrested in December at the behest of American officials.

It comes as trade tensions between the US and China also appear to be rising.

The world's two largest economies have been locked in a bruising trade battle for the past year that has seen tariffs imposed on billions of dollars worth of one another's goods.

Earlier this month, Washington more than doubled tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to retaliate with its own tariff hikes on US products.

The move surprised some – and rattled global markets – as the situation had seemed to be nearing a conclusion.

The US-China trade war has weighed on the global economy over the past year and created uncertainty for businesses and consumers.

Why Amazon Associates Are Acquisitioning Failed Malls

Source: WSJ

As the decline of brick and mortar retail rolls on, commercial real estate developers are left with massive abandoned properties. Who will fill that underutilized space? A series of recent acquisitions by associates of Amazon in Northeastern Ohio provides some clues.

Why The U.S. Continues To Fail With High-Speed Trains

Source: CNBC


China has the world’s fastest and largest high-speed rail network — more than 19,000 miles, the vast majority of which was built in the past decade. Japan’s bullet trains can reach nearly 200 miles per hour and date to the 1960s. They have moved more than 9 billion people without a single passenger causality. casualty France began service of the high-speed TGV train in 1981 and the rest of Europe quickly followed. But the U.S. has no true high-speed trains, aside from sections of Amtrak’s Acela line in the Northeast Corridor. The Acela can reach 150 mph for only 34 miles of its 457-mile span. Its average speed between New York and Boston is about 65 mph. California’s high-speed rail system is under construction, but whether it will ever get completed as intended is uncertain. Watch the video to see why the U.S. continues to fail with high-speed trains, and some companies that are trying to fix that.

Amazon announce big investment in food courier Deliveroo

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 17th May 2019) London, Uk – –

Online giant Amazon has announced a big investment in food courier Deliveroo.

The exact figure was not given, but Amazon is the biggest investor in Deliveroo's latest round of fund raising, which in total raised $575m (£450m).

Deliveroo said it would use the money for international expansion, improving its service and to grow its delivery-only kitchens business.

Several existing US investors also contributed to the fund raising.

The amount of capital invested in Deliveroo since it was founded in 2013 now totals more than $1.5bn, and the firm is one of Europe's fastest growing technology companies.

Deliveroo founder and chief executive Will Shu said he was looking forward to working with “such a customer-obsessed organisation” like Amazon.

Amazon said it was attracted by Deliveroo's “innovative technology service”.

The backing from Amazon gives Deliveroo a boost against rivals such as JustEat and Uber Eats.

The online retailer briefly had its own UK food delivery venture, Amazon Restaurants UK, which it started in 2016 but closed just two years later.

“They [Amazon] weren't able to compete within the market so they've gone for the buying option instead. They've got the money behind them to do that,” Louise Dudley, fund manager at investment firm Hermes, told the BBC's Today programme.

“It [Deliveroo] is not just a food delivery company it's very much a tech company. They have this tech platform that is seen is very attractive. They are able to expand into new areas and think about how people's tastes are evolving and be able to predict what stores will be successful. That predictive growth is very attractive to Amazon”.

Amazon had previously been reported to have made approaches to buy Deliveroo outright. Uber also reportedly had talks with Deliveroo over buying it.

Analysis

Rory Cellan-Jones
Technology correspondent

It was already a fierce contest – now the battle to dominate the food delivery business in the UK just moved to a whole new level.

In a rare failure Amazon decided last year to pull its Restaurants food service out of a UK market where Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats were scrapping to be top dog. Now it's put its firepower behind Deliveroo, which was already confident that its technology platform gave it the edge.

The company will now use some of its extra cash to build more of its “super kitchens” expanding its offering beyond traditional restaurants and invest more in machine learning to speed up delivery times.

Whether the market for food deliveries is quite as big as all the firms believe – and whether it stretches far beyond London twenty-somethings – remains to be seen but they all seem prepared to spend big money to win the lion's share.

The question is why did Amazon not just buy the whole business? Perhaps the ecommerce giant wanted to sample a starter before swallowing the whole three course meal.

Deliveroo now operates in more than 100 towns and cities across the UK, but has a much smaller share of the market than rival Just Eat which dominates the food delivery sector.

Just Eat's shares fell 8% in early trading, but analysts at Liberum said that despite the extra funding, Deliveroo was unlikely to become a serious competitor.

“Just Eat's market leading position will be incredibly difficult to overcome, especially given its strength in smaller towns.

“In the UK, it has an estimated 3-4 times greater share than Uber Eats and Deliveroo combined and, crucially, 60%+ of its customers are in small towns where it is effectively the only option for restaurants and where the Uber Eats/Deliveroo model just doesn't work because of the economics,” Liberum said.

Mr Shu came up with the idea for the firm after he moved from New York to London as a banking analyst. He was working long hours and was frustrated by the fact so few restaurants delivered, a service he had used daily in the US.

In the firm's early days, Mr Shu delivered all the food himself on a motorbike, while Greg Orlowski, his co-founder who has since left the business, developed the booking technology from his home in the US. Mr Shu still claims to get on his bike once a week to deliver an order to customers in London, as a way of staying in touch with riders.

As well as the UK, Deliveroo now operates in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and Taiwan.

Global sales at the firm more than doubled in 2017, jumping to £277m, but its losses continued to increase, doubling to nearly £185m as it invested in global expansion.

The firm uses more than 60,000 couriers – mostly using bikes or moped – to deliver food from restaurants to customers.

Deliveroo does not employ its riders directly, but pays them per delivery.

Last year, a group of 50 UK Deliveroo couriers won a six-figure payout after claiming they had been unlawfully denied holiday and minimum wages.

Boeing completes 737 Max planes software update

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Fri, 17th May 2019) London, Uk – –

Jets have been grounded since March after being involved in two fatal crashes

Boeing has completed a software update for its 737 Max jets, which have been grounded worldwide since March after they were involved in two fatal crashes.

The planemaker said it was in the process of submitting a pilot training plan to the US Federal Aviation Administration and would work with the regulator to schedule its certification test flight.

The FAA is planning a meeting on 23 May in Fort Worth, Texas, with regulators from around the world to update them on reviews of Boeing’s software fix and on pilot training.

Aviation regulators from other countries will have to assess Boeing’s proposed fixes and clear the aircraft to fly in regions independently of the FAA.

It is unclear when the 737 Max aircraft will return to service but US airlines have said they hope the jets will fly this summer.

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, the two largest US operators of the Max, pulled the planes from their schedules until 5 August and 19 August respectively.

The airlines, which must still decide on pilot training, have said they would use the jets as spare planes if they are approved for flight before those dates.

The FAA said on Thursday that Boeing had not yet submitted its final software package for approval.

The 737 Max was grounded after an Ethiopian Airlines crash in March killed all 157 on board. It happened five months after a similar crash of a Lion Air flightkilled 189 people.

Boeing said it hoped the software upgrade and associated pilot training would add layers of protection to prevent erroneous data triggering a system called MCAS, which was activated in both the planes before they crashed.

It said it had completed simulator testing and engineering test flights as well as developed training and education materials, which were being reviewed by the FAA, global regulators and airline customers.

To date, Boeing had flown the 737 Max with the updated software for more than 360 hours on 207 flights, the company said.

The Amazon-Backed Smart Glasses Worth $600?

Source: CNBC

Focals are the best smart glasses to hit the market so far. They're from a company called North, which received venture backing from Amazon and Intel, among others. CNBC's Adam Isaak tried them out for a couple weeks. Watch the video to see his take on Focals' smart features and shortcomings.

Uber to float its shares on the New York Stock Exchange at $45

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 10th May 2019) London, Uk – –

Uber has set a price for floating its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, in what is expected to be one of the biggest stock market flotations of the year.

The ride-hailing taxi app firm has priced its shares at $45 (£35). The deal values Uber at $82bn (£63bn).

The price is near the bottom of the expected $44-$50 range – a sign that investors are cautious about the firm.

Uber hopes to sell 180 million shares when trading starts on Friday.

This is the highest profile US flotation since Facebook seven years ago, analysts say.

Rival Lyft's flotation was priced at $72 per share when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange in April, but its share price has fallen by as much as a third since then.

Uber is keen to avoid a similar fate, but the firm has so far failed to make a profit.

Uber drivers in the UK star a day of transatlantic strikes ahead of U.S. action

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Wed, 8th May 2019) London, UK —

LONDON/ NEW YORK (Reuters) – Uber drivers in Britain started a day of transatlantic strikes on Wednesday to protest at the disparity between gig-economy conditions and the sums investors are likely to make in Friday’s blockbuster stock market debut.

Drivers and regulators around the world have long criticized the business tactics of Uber Technologies, and the expected $90 billion valuation in an IPO on Friday is proving to be the latest flashpoint.

Unions in Britain said they were seeing good support for the strike, with drivers staying at home and passengers using the #UberShutDown hashtag to pledge solidarity on social media. The Uber app said fares were higher in London during a rainy morning rush hour, due to increased demand.

“Stand with these workers on strike today, across the UK and the world,” said Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party.

Drivers in London and the cities of Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow were due to log off the app between 0700 and 1600, before counterparts in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and several other major cities joined in.

Uber has 3 million drivers globally, and it is not clear if the action can significantly slow service, although organizers have received widespread publicity.

Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi, hired to help move the company past a series of scandals and manage the IPO, has promised to treat drivers better. Uber is paying more than a million drivers about $300 million in one-time bonuses for instance, and has changed policies such as allowing riders to tip.

“Whether it’s being able to track your earnings or stronger insurance protections, we’ll continue working to improve the experience for and with drivers,” it said.

UNDER PRESSURE

Uber has steadfastly and mostly successfully beaten attempts to compel it to treat drivers as employees, arguing that its main business is a platform that brings riders and drivers together. And the money-losing company is under pressure to cut costs.

“It is the drivers who have created this extraordinary wealth but they continue to be denied even the most basic workplace rights,” said James Farrar, Chair of Britain’s United Private Hire Drivers, calling for a “digital picket line”.

Many drivers want better pay from Uber rival Lyft Inc as well.

“Both Uber and Lyft have said that the greatest threat to their investors is driver dissatisfaction. They know that they’re paying too little to keep drivers satisfied,” said Los Angeles organizer Brian Dolber.

Uber and Lyft have steadily chipped away at rates, particularly in the more established markets where they have cut back on incentives and bonuses to attract new drivers. They have also devised more complicated formulas for determining what riders pay and what drivers earn.Slideshow (2 Images)

Both companies recently slashed the per-mile rate drivers earn in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and some drivers estimated a loss of 10 percent to 20 percent in earnings. Lyft said its hourly wages have risen over the last two years and on average are over $20 per hour.

The company and its critics are divided over how much drivers can make. Classified as independent contractors, they lack paid sick and vacation days and must pay their own expenses, such as car maintenance and gasoline.

Uber noted that a recent study whose authors included current and former Uber employees showed driver gross earnings averaged $21 an hour, while a study by left-leaning Washington think tank Economic Policy Institute calculated that after all costs, Uber drivers earned $9.21 in hourly wages.

Reporting by Jane Lee and Alexandria Sage in San Francisco and Joshua Franklin in New York; Writing by Kate Holton and Peter Henderson

Self-Made Rich Kids Commanding Their Own Multimillion-Dollar Empires

Source: Be Amazed

Striking it rich and commanding your own multimillion-dollar empire may be one of your long term goals, but for some enterprising kids out there, they’ve already accomplished it by the time they left school!

Bombardier Canadian aerospace firm puts Belfast wing-making plant up for sale

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Thur, 2nd May 2019) London, Uk – –

Four thousand skilled jobs at risk in Northern Ireland as Canadian firm unveils sell-off

The Canadian aerospace firm Bombardier is to sell its wing-making operation, which employs 4,000 people in Northern Ireland, sparking concern among trade unions and MPs about the uncertain impact on highly skilled jobs.

Less than a week after trade unions called off industrial action, after Bombardierpromised to suspend plans for compulsory redundancies, the firm unveiled plans to sell its entire aerostructure operation.

A spokesman for the prime minister, Theresa May, said the government did not expect jobs to be affected but the trade union Unite said it was seeking stronger assurances from the government and the company.

In a statement, Bombardier announced the “strategic formation of Bombardier Aviation, consolidating all aerospace assets into a single, streamlined and fully integrated business”.Advertisement

“As a result, Bombardier will pursue the divestiture of its Belfast and Morocco aerostructures businesses,” it said.

The statement added: “Our sites in Belfast and Morocco have seen a significant increase in work from other global customers in recent years.

The Canadian firm has been trying to cut costs at its Belfast site, which makes wings for Airbus, and recently bought a wing-making programme in the US.

Bombardier said it did not expect any “new workforce announcements” as a result of the decision, first reported by the BBC, but the planned sale has raised concern among trade unions and local MPs.

A spokesman for the prime minister said that while the announcement was “unsettling”, the company had a strong order book and further job losses were not expected.

But Unite said it had sought assurances from business secretary Greg Clark that the company would retain its Northern Ireland operation if a buyer can’t be found.

Jackie Pollock, Unite regional secretary in Ireland, said the planned sale “will come as a shock to the entire Bombardier workforce in Northern Ireland.

“Many of the company’s 3,600 employees will be left asking what this will mean for their long-term future of their jobs.

She said the union would be discussing efforts to protect the company’s “highly-skilled” workers with the government and the company.

“It doesn’t matter whose name is above the gate – what matters is that we safeguard jobs and skills in this critical industry.

“The UK government must stand ready to ensure the retention of jobs and skills at these sites, Bombardier is simply too important to the Northern Ireland economy to allow anything less.”

Bombardier said it would look for a buyer that would “operate responsibly and help us achieve our full growth potential”.

It promised to work closely with employees and unions during the sale process.

In November, Bombardier said it would cut nearly 500 jobs, a move that followed several rounds of redundancies and which Unite said “exceeds our worst fears”.

Unions called off a strike ballot at the end of April after the company backed away from plans to make some of the redundancies compulsory.

By Rob Davies

Free-to-use cash machines disappearing at a rapid rate across the UK, says Which?

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 1st May 2019) London, Uk – –

Free-to-use cash machines have been disappearing at a rapid rate across the UK, according to a study by Which?

Nearly 1,700 machines started charging for withdrawals in the first three months of the year, with the majority starting to charge in March, according to the consumer lobby group.

Cardtronics, which runs most of those, and fellow provider NoteMachine are both likely to charge at more machines.

That could mean the country losing 13% of its free ATMs in only a few months.

The changes come after a reduction in the fee operators receive from banks each time an ATM is used.

Link, which oversees ATMs, began to cut the fee, known as the interchange rate, last year. So far it has reduced the charge from 25p to 23p per withdrawal.

Link said at the time that the move was aimed at protecting the ATM network. It left the fee for free-to-use ATMs – which are 1km or more from the next nearest cash machine – unchanged.

ATM operators receive the interchange fee from banks each time one of their cash machines is used.

NoteMachine, which operates 7,000 cash machines across the UK, said the cut in the interchange rate meant it was considering introducing fees at up to 4,000 of its machines.

“Unless urgent action is taken to reduce the pressure on ATM operators by reversing the interchange fee reductions, NoteMachine will be forced to begin converting ATMs to surcharging,” said chief executive Peter McNamara.

Rival ATM machine operator Cardtronics has said it is likely to convert another 1,000 of its ATMs over the coming months. It said it “had been forced into charging a fee for cash withdrawals on some of our machines where Link's cuts have left us with no choice”.

There were about 52,000 free cash machines in the country at the start of the year.

Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, said: “Communities are being stripped of free access to cash at an alarming rate that could hit the most vulnerable in our society the hardest, while denying millions of people free withdrawals.

“A regulator is desperately needed to get a grip of these rapid changes across the cash landscape and ensure all those still reliant on this important payment method aren't suddenly shut out from accessing the cash they need in their daily lives.”

‘I'm shut out of cash'

Reported charges range from 50p to £1.99 and the situation angered some of the respondents to the Which? survey.

Anita Brakewell, from Blackpool, said: “Being disabled means I don't have the option of walking to the next free cash machine, so these charges shut me out of cash that's important to my daily life.

“My town has also suffered from bank branch closures, making it hard to access the cash and financial services I need.”

And Robin Farnsworth, from Kirkcaldy, said: “I stopped using the local cashpoint when it started charging me just to access my cash. I'm on a very tight budget and can't afford to be spending out just to get the money I need for everyday life.”

Bank of England figures show that 2.2 million people are almost entirely reliant on cash.

And last year's Access to Cash study, published in December, found that more than eight million people would struggle to cope in a cashless society, which would present real challenges for 25 million UK residents.

However, cash use has halved in the past 10 years and in 2017, debit cards overtook notes and coins as the UK's most popular payment method.


Analysis by Personal Finance Correspondent, Simon Gompertz

There is a fierce, three-way, struggle going on over the future of our network of free-to-use cash machines.

The upstarts are independent operators like Cardtronics and Note Machine which now have the most ATMs.

Then there are the banks. They have to pay the operators each time their customers use a non-bank machine.

Finally, we have Link which runs the network and has been trying to get the operators to accept lower payments from the banks.

Two cuts to the payments have been pushed through, prompting Cardtronics to say it is being “forced” to charge the customer instead.

And the backdrop is that we are using less cash, which means fewer withdrawals and less chance that a cash machine will pay its way.

So it's not clear where this will end.

But more charging will cause anger and frustration amongst those who depend heavily on cash.

Palm Island Dubai the largest man-made island in the world

Source: Provident

Palm Jumeirah is the world’s largest man-made island and is comprised of a two kilometre long trunk, a crown made up of 17 fronds and a surrounding crescent. The first of three such islands that comprise ‘The Palm Trilogy', Nakheel's signature development, it will be followed by The Palm Jebel Ali and The Palm Deira.

Following a number of years of feasibility studies, the Palm Jumeirah was launched in 2001, with reclamation starting in the same year. From the end of 2006, the island's first residences – comprising 4,000 luxury villas and apartments were handed over during a phased period. Since then, the tourism, leisure and retail elements of the island have been developed, creating a spectacular, world-renowned residential and tourism destination.

Take A Look Inside The World’s 5 Fastest & Most Expensive Private Jets

Source: Sam Chui

This video gives a tour inside the latest Gulfstream G500 and Gulfstream G650ER, Airbus ACJ 319, Boeing 757 BBJ, Sukhoi Superjet RRJ95, Bombardier Global 7500 and Vista Jet Bombardier Global Express 6000.

UK government approve Huawei to help build 5G network despite warnings of a security risk

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 24th April 2019) London, Uk – –

The government has approved the supply of equipment by Chinese telecoms firm Huawei to the UK's new 5G data network despite warnings of a security risk.

There has not been formal confirmation but the Daily Telegraph says Huawei will help build some “non-core” parts.

The US wants its allies in the “Five Eyes” intelligence grouping – the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – to exclude the company.

Huawei has denied that its work poses any risks of espionage or sabotage.

But Australia has already said it is siding with Washington – which has spoken of “serious concerns over Huawei's obligations to the Chinese government and the danger that poses to the integrity of telecommunications networks in the US and elsewhere”.

Cyber threats are among the issues on the agenda for discussion by the once-secret Five Eyes alliance, at a security conference in Glasgow.

A spokesman for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has said it is reviewing the supply of equipment for the 5G network and will report in due course.

Digital minister Margot James responded to the reports about Huawei by tweeting: “In spite of Cabinet leaks to the contrary, final decision yet to be made on managing threats to telecoms infrastructure.”

Huawei, which already supplies equipment used in the UK's existing mobile networks, has always denied claims it is controlled by the Chinese government.

It said it was awaiting a formal government announcement on the UK's 5G plans, but was “pleased that the UK is continuing to take an evidence-based approach to its work”, adding it would continue to work cooperatively with the government and the industry.

Ciaran Martin, the head of the National Cyber Security Centre – which oversees Huawei's current work in the UK – told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that a framework would be put in place to ensure the 5G network was “sufficiently safe”.

Asked about the potential of a conflict in the position among members of the Five Eyes alliance, he added: “In the past decade there have been different approaches across the Five Eyes and across the allied wider Western alliance towards Huawei and towards other issues as well.”

5G is the next (fifth) generation of mobile internet connectivity, promising much faster data download and upload speeds, wider coverage and more stable connections.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Huawei's involvement in the 5G network would include helping to build parts of antennas or other infrastructure.

Such a decision would mean Huawei would not supply equipment for use in what is known as the “core” parts of a mobile network – where tasks such as checking device IDs and deciding how to route voice calls and data take place.

BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera says it is believed the decision to involve Huawei was taken by ministers at a meeting of the government's national security council on Tuesday.

The home, defence and foreign secretaries were reported to have raised concerns during the discussions, which are chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Analysis

BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera

The decision on Huawei is one of the most significant long-term national security decisions this government will make and was always going to be contentious.

5G will underpin our daily lives in ways that are hard to predict. So does allowing a Chinese company to build those networks put people at risk of being spied on or even switched off?

That is the concern from Washington and other critics who wanted the company excluded.

But deciding to ban Huawei entirely from the network would have risked slowing down the development of 5G and also upsetting China.

The UK believes it has experience in managing the risks posed by Huawei and can continue to do so going forward.

But one retired senior intelligence official recently told me his view on what to do about Huawei had changed.

In the past, he said, he had believed the policy of managing the risk had been sufficient. But now he was less sure.

The reason was not to do with any change in his view of what the company could do. Rather it was about the risks to relationships with close allies, namely those of the Five Eyes and US.

Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat tweeted that allowing Huawei to build some of the UK's 5G infrastructure would “cause allies to doubt our ability to keep data secure and erode the trust essential to #FiveEyes cooperation”.

Speaking on the Today programme, Mr Tugendhat maintained it was difficult to distinguish between the core and non-core in a 5G network.

He said the proposals still raised concerns, adding that 5G involved an “internet system that can genuinely connect everything, and therefore the distinction between non-core and core is much harder to make”.

Natwest to double growth funding programme for UK small and medium-sized businesses

(qlmbusinessnews.com via cityam.com – – Tue, 23rd April 2019) London, Uk – –

Natwest will double its growth funding programme for small and medium-sized British businesses, citing the need to help them navigate Brexit disruption.

The UK bank’s growth funding loan pot, which was started in May 2018, will be immediately doubled to £6bn in the latest sign that companies are demanding resources to cope with political impasse and that banks and investors can cash in by helping them.

The money will be available immediately and will help businesses looking to grow, fund green initiatives and navigate the current uncertain business climate, Natwest said.

Last week the government announced it had handed over £200m to help support smaller businesses in the 2019-20 financial year as the future of European Union funding remains uncertain.

The Treasury made the cash available to the British Business Bank, a public-private partnership which provides loans to small companies looking to increase in size through investment and venture capital firms.

The national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Mike Cherry, said at the time: “With Brexit on the horizon, serious questions regarding future funding for a UK small business support network that’s heavily reliant on the EU remain unanswered.”

Natwest figures released today showed that £2.9bn of its already-expanded £3bn growth funding pot had been approved for investment.

The bank said it would increasingly focus on financing eco-friendly projects and intellectual property.

Alison Rose, chief executive of commercial and private banking at Natwest, said: “We are working every day to look at what businesses need to not just survive, but grow. In many cases this is bespoke funding.”

Referencing Brexit, she said: “We recognise that the challenges businesses face evolve all the time, which is why we try to innovate whenever we can.”

By Harry Robertson

No access to bank accounts ‘costs £500 extra a year’ in bills

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 22nd April 2019) London, Uk – –

People who do not have access to a bank account pay an extra £485 a year for everyday bills and services, research from an account provider suggests.

More than 1.2 million Britons do not have a bank account, so miss out on discounts reserved for those who pay bills by direct debit, said Pockit.

This ramps up the cost of energy bills, broadband and phone contracts, it said.

“For many of us, having a bank account is a basic fact of life,” said Pockit boss Virraj Jatania.

“Yet the unbanked face a banking poverty premium which can put a real strain on their finances.”

UK Finance, which represents the UK banking industry, said banks took their financial inclusion responsibilities “extremely seriously”.

“The banking industry is committed to ensuring banking is accessible to all. There are over seven million basic bank accounts in the UK, helping customers across the country access vital banking services,” it said.

Traditional banks can reject customers applying for accounts if they do not have enough forms of ID, or if their credit rating is poor.

But Pockit, which provides basic account services, said this meant many were being penalised.

It analysed prices from leading service providers and found:

  • Energy and broadband providers offer discounts to customers if they pay by direct debit – a saving which is not available to those without a bank account.
  • Mobile phone companies offer better deals to those paying via direct debit rather than pay-as-you go customers.
  • Those without accounts have limited options when looking for credit, and often turn to expensive cash-in-hand “doorstep loans”.

In one example, it found two of the UK's three largest broadband providers, BT and Virgin Media, offered a “super line rental discount” if you paid by direct debit.

But customers without a current account had to pay using methods such as cash transfers, costing them £38 more a year on average.

On electricity and gas, it analysed Ofgem data and found that those using pre-payment meters paid on average £141.57 more each year than those who paid by direct debit.