• Biggest UK fall in real wages for 100 years looms, warns TUC Link
    Guardian Business Thu 11 Aug 2022 13:24

    The figure was calculated by looking at the impact of inflation on workers’ living standards using the latest Bank forecasts. The TUC said that workers have not suffered such a severe and prolonged decline in wages relative to inflation since the 1920s.

    Tens of thousands of workers have signalled that they are prepared to strike after a series of ballots for industrial action.

    More than 115,000 UK postal workers are to stage a series of strikes later this month after they rejected a pay offer worth up to 5.5%. They could soon be joined by up to 480,000 nurses after the Royal College of Nursing urged its members to back strike action in support of a pay claim for 5% above June’s 11.8% retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation.

    Ministers offered nurses a 3% pay award with a top-up for senior nurses to 4%. But the RCN, which has increased its strike fund by £15m to £50m, said: “This leaves an experienced nurse over £1,000 worse off in real terms.”


  • What is a windfall tax and will it be extended to UK energy providers? Link
    Guardian Business Thu 11 Aug 2022 12:24

    Interest in a windfall tax on electricity generators has reemerged after energy industry executives met the chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, and the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, on Thursday. The former chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas operators in May. Here, we examine the issue.

  • Ping An insists splitting HSBC would increase bank’s value Link
    Guardian Business Thu 11 Aug 2022 11:58

    HSBC’s top shareholder, Ping An, has escalated a dispute with the bank, accusing executives of exaggerating the downfalls of splitting off the Asian business, and insisted the move could instead boost the bank’s value by up to $35bn (£28.6bn), according to a source close to the investor.

    It comes after HSBC’s chief executive, Noel Quinn, used an earnings announcement last week to defend the bank’s strategy and stress that its success was dependent on maintaining its global network.

  • Starbucks workers hold strikes in at least 17 states amid union drive Link
    Guardian Business Thu 11 Aug 2022 11:28

    Workers at Starbucks have held over 55 different strikes in at least 17 states in the US in recent months over the company’s aggressive opposition to a wave of unionization.

    According to an estimate by Starbucks Workers United, the strikes have cost Starbucks over $375,000 in lost revenue. The union created a $1m strike fund in June 2022 to support Starbucks workers through their strikes and several relief funds have been established for strikes and to support workers who have lost their jobs.

  • Heathrow passenger cap is working, airport boss says Link
    Guardian Business Thu 11 Aug 2022 09:28

    Heathrow’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said on Thursday that the cap was working. “Passengers are seeing better, more reliable journeys since the introduction of the demand cap,” he said.

    Heathrow said it had launched a review into ground handling at the airport, and was working to increase border security over the coming weeks.

    The comments came as the airport released new numbers showing Heathrow had the biggest annual rise in passengers of any European airport in the last year, with more than 6 million people travelling through in July. That marked a 300% rise on a year earlier.

    On Tuesday, Ferrovial, the Spanish transport infrastructure company, said it was looking at options for its 25% stake in Heathrow. The Madrid-listed firm said it was holding talks after interest from French private equity firm Ardian, which has itself held talks about a possible joint proposal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

    Airlines and airports across...

  • Ryanair boss blames Brexit for airport chaos and says era of €10 airfares over Link
    Guardian Business Thu 11 Aug 2022 08:57

    The boss of Ryanair has warned the era of ultra low airfares is over and said Brexit was partly to blame for a shortage of airport workers that has created chaos during the peak holiday period.

    Chief executive Michael O’Leary said surging oil prices would make it impossible to keep offering promotional tickets for less than €10 (£8.50). He added that the budget airline’s average fare would also rise from about €40 towards €50 over the next five years as the company adjusted to rising inflation.

  • Stock market rally muted after Fed official says ‘far away from inflation victory’ – business live Link
    Guardian Business Thu 11 Aug 2022 07:32

    Good morning, and welcome to our live coverage of business, economics and financial markets.

    Stock markets around the world have rallied after US consumer price index inflation slowed in July. However, Federal Reserve officials have done their best to emphasise that the world’s largest and most influential economy is not out of the woods yet.

    The relief rally prompted by the slower inflation (which could imply less need for interest rate hikes to slow economic growth) continued in Asia overnight, with the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite index gaining 1.5% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 2.1%. In Europe the Stoxx 600 index gained 0.4% in the opening minutes of trading, but the FTSE 100 edged down.

    Investors are trying to balance their hopes that inflationary pressures may be falling with the knowledge that the US Federal Reserve is still committed to increasing interest rates further, potentially triggering a recession. Falling inflation in the US would feed...

  • We must tax profits now, freeze energy price rises - and if necessary bring suppliers into the public sector | Gordon Brown Link
    Guardian Business Wed 10 Aug 2022 18:39

    Time and tide wait for no one. Neither do crises. They don’t take holidays, and don’t politely hang fire – certainly not to suit the convenience of a departing PM and the whims of two potential successors and the Conservative party membership. But with the country already in the eye of a cost of living storm, decisions cannot be put on hold until a changeover on 5 September, leaving impoverished families twisting in the wind.

    The energy cap has to be suspended before 26 August, the date on which an approximately 80% increase in our energy bills is expected to be announced. The Department for Work and Pensions computers, which adjust universal credit and legacy benefits, have to be reprogrammed in the next few days if help is to be given to all who need it when prices rise on 1 October. Voluntary cuts in energy usage – good for our green agenda – should, as has happened in Germany and France, be agreed upon now when the weather is good if we are to prevent rationing later...

  • UK energy bills – six ways to reduce the impact of soaring prices Link
    Guardian Business Wed 10 Aug 2022 18:08

    The UK government has been urged to take further action to alleviate the impact of soaring energy prices, and there are a number of measures it could take.

    Any rescue package would need to be swift and extensive to prevent households being plunged into poverty this winter as home energy prices surge. Ministers will also need to dig deep to prevent more businesses hit by rising energy costs from defaulting on loans and declaring themselves bankrupt.

  • Australian electricity companies not reducing emissions in line with Paris agreement goals, study finds Link
    Guardian Business Wed 10 Aug 2022 17:38

    Nine out of 10 major Australian electricity companies are failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions fast enough to meet the goals of the landmark Paris climate agreement, a study has found.

    Businesses not acting in accordance with the 2015 Paris agreement goal of limiting global heating to well below 2C since pre-industrial times included the generators and retailers AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin, according to the study led by University of Queensland researchers.

  • Domino’s retreats from Italy having failed to conquer the home of the pizza Link
    Guardian Business Wed 10 Aug 2022 17:08

    Domino’s Pizza has pulled out of the Italian market after failing in its mission to conquer the home of Italian pizza.

    The US fast food chain’s departure from Italy after seven years followed a period in which the business was badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which in turn forced traditional Italian pizzerias to adopt their own delivery services.

  • Ministers row back from extending windfall tax on energy firms Link
    Guardian Business Wed 10 Aug 2022 16:38

    Ministers are rowing back from threatening energy companies with a bigger windfall tax, after Liz Truss and her ally Kwasi Kwarteng made plain they would not support this option.

    Nadhim Zahawi, the chancellor, and Kwarteng, the business secretary, will meet energy companies on Thursday morning, but multiple government sources said the discussion would be with electricity generators to discuss investment, wholesale prices and security of supply, rather than a windfall tax.

  • UK fire and subsidence claims will rise due to extreme heat, says insurer Link
    Guardian Business Wed 10 Aug 2022 15:12

    One of the UK’s largest home insurers has warned over the impact of record temperatures on claims, saying the climate crisis was already resulting in a rise in fire and subsidence cases this year.

    LV=General Insurance (LV=GI), which was bought by the German insurer Allianz in 2019, said it was dealing with claims worth £1.2m after the extreme heat that hit the country between 17 and 20 July.

  • Deliveroo losses soar to £147m as cost of living crisis bites Link
    Guardian Business Wed 10 Aug 2022 12:06

    Losses at Deliveroo soared by more than half to £147m in the first six months of the year, with the embattled company facing a dramatic slowdown in revenue growth as the cost of living crisis affects the demand for takeaways.

    The London-listed company also announced that Simon Wolfson, the chief executive of the clothing retailer Next, is to step down from the board with immediate effect.

  • Campaigners call on UN Women to pull out of BlackRock partnership Link
    Guardian Business Wed 10 Aug 2022 11:41

    The UN agency responsible for promoting gender equality is being urged to pull out of a partnership with BlackRock, the world’s biggest investment fund manager, over the company’s “record of prioritising profits over human rights or environmental integrity”.

    Hundreds of women’s organisations and activists have written to UN Women demanding it rescind the partnership.

  • Martin Lewis says government must double energy bill help for poorest Link
    Guardian Business Wed 10 Aug 2022 10:11

    Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Lewis said: “We’ve heard mutterings from the Rishi Sunak camp that he would increase the previous handouts that were given … but if he were to be consistent he would have to essentially double every number in that package.

    “He will effectively need, if he wants to make this work, to double the numbers, especially for the poorest.”

    The education secretary, James Cleverly, confirmed that crisis talks to “knock some heads together” would take place between energy sector bosses and the government this week.

    The chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, and the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, will ask gas and electricity company executives to submit a breakdown of expected profits and payouts as well as investment plans for the next three years.

    Lewis also criticised proposals from the other Tory leadership contender, Liz Truss, which focused on tax cuts as a way of helping the poorest households. Truss has appeared reluctant...

  • E.ON slashes value of investment in Nord Stream 1 by almost £600m Link
    Guardian Business Wed 10 Aug 2022 09:10

    The energy network operator E.ON has slashed the value of its investment in the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline by about €700m (£592m), as a result of “increased uncertainties” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    The German utility firm had said in March that its 15.5% stake – which E.ON holds indirectly via its pension fund – had a book value of €1.2bn, so its revaluation represents a 58% decline in value.

  • UK ministers to meet energy bosses amid talk of toughening up windfall tax Link
    Guardian Business Wed 10 Aug 2022 08:40

    Ministers are to meet energy company executives on Thursday to discuss measures to tackle the rising cost of living as the UK government considers beefing up a windfall tax on their profits.

    The chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, and the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, will meet gas and electricity bosses as the Treasury considers toughening the 25% levy on the profits of North Sea oil and gas operators announced in May.

  • UK households falling behind on energy bills even before huge rise – business live Link
    Guardian Business Wed 10 Aug 2022 07:10

    Greg Jackson, the founder of of Octopus Energy, said the government needs to improve its offer of a £400 discount to households, a package that cost £16bn.

    He told Radio 4’s Today programme:

  • Environment Agency pension fund criticised for owning stakes in UK water firms Link
    Guardian Business Wed 10 Aug 2022 06:10

    The Environment Agency’s pension fund owns stakes in a string of British water firms – despite the watchdog calling for industry bosses to be jailed over shocking pollution levels, the Guardian can reveal.

    An analysis of the Environment Agency Pension Fund’s investments shows it holds shares or bonds worth £28m in six of the largest water companies.

  • Public services need another £44bn by 2025 to cope with inflation, says IFS Link
    Guardian Business Tue 09 Aug 2022 23:19
    The Treasury said in November that it would increase departmental budgets by 3.3%; however, at least 40% of that is projected to be wiped out by inflation. Photograph: Graham Turner/The Guardian
  • UK’s energy crisis response could include winter power cuts Link
    Guardian Business Tue 09 Aug 2022 19:23

    Businesses and even consumers could face blackouts this winter under government crisis plans as concerns grow over power supplies, it has emerged.

    Under the government’s latest “reasonable worst case scenario”, officials believe the UK could experience blackouts for several days in January if cold weather combines with gas shortages to leave the country short of power.

  • Flushing the loo to gardening: how to save water around the home Link
    Guardian Business Tue 09 Aug 2022 15:55

    “The amount of water flushed down our toilets is considerable – it’s the second-biggest use of water in the home behind showering,” says the Energy Saving Trust. A so-called cistern displacement device can be popped into your toilet cistern: when you flush, the device inflates, saving you between one and two litres every time you flush.

    They are easy to install and available for free from most water companies, according to Waterwise, an organisation that focuses on reducing water consumption in the UK. They will often have different names – for example, Southern Water gives away free “save-a-flush bags”.

    Some claim you can get the same effect by putting a brick in your cistern, but others argue that a brick may disintegrate over time or reduce the toilet’s effectiveness.

  • Britain isn’t just facing a cost of living crisis: it’s facing a bonanza of corporate greed | Zarah Sultana Link
    Guardian Business Tue 09 Aug 2022 14:25

    Every day brings bleaker forecasts of the depths of the cost of living crisis. Last week it was news that the energy price cap was set to rocket to £3,359 from October, and this week an estimate puts it at £4,266 by January. Then the Bank of England announced the biggest interest rate hike in 27 years. This week, another stark warning of the disastrous consequences of this crisis: a report predicting that 35 million people will be in fuel poverty by the end of the year.

    Against this truly frightening backdrop, the public are owed solutions from politicians that match the scale of the crisis. But our political class has almost nothing to say. Behind the headlines are real people suffering, powerfully recounted in this paper’s recent Heat or eat diaries: parents who can’t put food on the table, private renters struggling to keep a roof over their heads, elderly people terrified of facing winter with no money to pay the bills. I see this in my constituency, with more and...

  • Thames Water to introduce hosepipe ban ‘in coming weeks’ Link
    Guardian Business Tue 09 Aug 2022 13:55

    Fifteen million more people are to be hit with a hosepipe ban in London and the surrounding areas, as Thames Water has announced measures will be introduced “in coming weeks”.

    People served by the water company will join those in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, who have been under restrictions since last week, and those in Sussex and Kent, who will be under a ban from this Friday.

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