Wednesday Newspaper round up.

Snapping up branches from Royal Bank of Scotland would help Nationwide to speed up its ambition of becoming a substantial force in small business lending, its chief executive said. Graham Beale expressed enthusiasm for buying the business, while emphasising that he would have to be satisfied that the difficulties that derailed its planned sale to Santander could be overcome. [The TImes]

The acrimonious fallout from Hewlett-Packard’s disastrous takeover of Autonomy has continued with a war of words erupting between the British tech firm’s founder and the US company. After Mike Lynch fired off an angry letter to HP’s board demanding “immediate explanations” for its “highly damaging allegations” that his company inflated its revenue-and-profit figures before HP bought it, the Silicon Valley company hit back on Tuesday night, effectively saying it would see Lynch in court. “The matter is in the hands of the authorities, including the UK Serious Fraud Office, the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division and the US department of justice, and we will defer to them as to how they wish to engage with Dr Lynch. In addition, HP will take legal action against the parties involved at the appropriate time. [The Guardian]

Energy supplier E.ON has been forced to hand over £1.7m to customers after it was caught overcharging. The company hit around 94,000 UK customers with either higher exit fees than necessary or overcharged them following price rises. The compensation payment agreed with the energy regulator Ofgem includes a £300,000 payment to a consumer fund which E.ON runs in partnership with the charity Age UK. [The Independent]

Pension firms that provide businesses with workplace retirement schemes for their staff will be forced to disclose fees and charges upfront from next year, after the industry agreed on a new code of conduct. Pensions companies will be required to set out “clearly and accurately” the list of charges that savers will face when they pitch to become a pensions provider for a firm. [The Telegraph]

Vince Cable, the business secretary, has officially marked the launch of the new green investment bank (GIB) by announcing funding of a new waste-to-energy plant and an energy saving scheme. The small projects to build a new anaerobic digestion plant in Teeside and retrofit a panel-making factory in north Wales, involving investments by the GIB of £8m and £5m respectively, will soak up only a tiny fraction of the bank’s total £3bn in funding. Speaking before he formally confirmed the GIB was “open for business” on Wednesday morning in Edinburgh, Cable said these projects were proof of its wider ambitions to develop a low-carbon, clean energy economy. [The Guardian]

More than 1,500 square miles of land — more than twice the area of Greater London — needs to be earmarked for new homes to solve Britain’s housing crisis, the planning minister will say today. Nick Boles, a close ally of David Cameron, said that the chronic shortage of new properties meant that land for building should be increased by a third. He also indicated that ministers would have to contemplate building more homes in unspoilt areas, a move that will alarm campaigners who want to protect the countryside. He said it had to be considered because young workers had a “basic moral right, like healthcare and education” to an affordable property. [The Times]

Google’s boss in Britain has defended the technology giant after politicians attacked foreign companies for trying to cheat the system with their tax practices. Matt Brittin said it was down to politicians to legislate if they wanted to force change as he fought back against suggestions that multinationals are “immoral”. The Google boss said that while he did not mind the “belligerent” grilling he had received from MPs on the Public Accounts Committee two weeks ago, the public debate was creating the view that all “businesses are trying to do negative things and get away with them.” [The Telegraph]

François Hollande demanded on Tuesday that Lakshmi Mittal, the steel magnate, guarantee the long-term future of workers at a disputed plant in northern France or face the threat of a state takeover of the operations. Stepping up the pressure on the chief executive of ArcelorMittal during an hour-long meeting at the Elysée palace, President Hollande told Mr Mittal the 629 jobs under threat from the proposed closure of two blast furnaces at Florange must be saved. [Financial Times]

David Cameron’s cabinet ministers turned on each other on Tuesday for failing to do more to deliver growth ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement. Ministers complained that a slow rollout of broadband, a feeble start to a flagship back-to-work scheme and bureaucracy around a new visa system were among the problems holding back recovery. Downing Street confirmed that some departments were “not doing as well as they should be” in delivering growth and cutting red tape, in a sign of political tensions building ahead of George Osborne’s mini-Budget next Wednesday. [Financial Times]

The economic and political pitfalls awaiting Mark Carney at the Bank of England were laid bare yesterday in a fractious parliamentary hearing in which Sir Mervyn King was challenged over the institution’s culture and independence from the Treasury. Testifying to the Treasury Select Committee, the Governor was generous in his praise for Mr Carney, the Bank of Canada’s Governor, saying it was a credit to the UK that the Government was willing to scour the world for the best possible successor, rather than looking only in its backyard. But Sir Mervyn warned that the economy Mr Carney would inherit was likely to be mired in low growth, admitting that he and his colleagues on the Monetary Policy Committee had been too optimistic about the chances of a sharp economic rebound. [The Times]

Join the Forum discussion on this post

You may also like...