Tuesday Newspaper round up.

US President Barack Obama offered to back away from his position that tax hikes should begin at 250,000 dollars in annual income, delivering a fresh concession to congressional Republicans as talks to avert the fiscal cliff intensified in Washington. The White House proposal would leave lower tax rates in place for everyone except those earning 400,000 dollars or more a year. Republican leaders had asked for a higher limit but the offer suggests there is a narrowing in the gap between the two sides.[Financial Times]

Royal Bank of Scotland is continuing to negotiate with the Financial Services Authority over the scale of its penalty for attempting to rig Libor, amid speculation that Swiss bank UBS is close to agreeing a £1bn fine with global regulators. An announcement from RBS is expected in the coming weeks, as it settles with UK and overseas regulators on the manipulation of the key benchmark interest rate. Stephen Hester, chief executive of RBS, in which the taxpayer owns a 82% stake, has already made clear that he expects the bank to face a large fine and that he wants an agreement to be reached by the time the bank reports its full year results in February. [The Guardian]

More than 30 traders at UBS are set to be implicated this week in the rigging of benchmark interest rates as part of a $1.5 billion settlement, it was claimed yesterday. UBS is expected to admit that staff were involved in manipulating yen Libor between 2005 and 2010 as it becomes the latest big bank to agree a deal with financial regulators, according to reports. [The Times]

The Bank of England’s flagship cheap loans scheme is likely to fall short of its £80bn target because it is no longer as attractive as when it was launched, it has emerged. Figures in the Bank’s Quarterly Bulletin show that banks and building societies could be penalised if they used the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) but shrank their loan book by more than 3pc. When the state-backed scheme was launched, the Treasury said it could lower borrowing costs on £80bn of the UK loan stock – driving more and cheaper credit through to households and businesses. According to the Bank’s figures, however, it will now only be effective on about £50bn. [The Telegraph]

OpCapita and its backers charged Comet £12.8m in just nine months for financing and “monitoring” fees, despite the electrical retailer racking up losses. The administrators report for Comet shows that Hailey Acquistions Limited (HAL), the vehicle OpCapita used to buy the retailer, received £11.5m in interest and arrangement payments while OpCapita and another Hailey vehicle collected £1.3m for “quarterly monitoring fees”. [The Telegraph]

The poor have seen their incomes squeezed more than the rich over the past year and households are reining in spending as they grapple with uncomfortably large debt burdens, a new survey commissioned by the Bank of England reveals today. The survey, published in the Bank’s latest Quarterly Bulletin, found that 62 per cent of households in the lowest quartile of the income distribution said that their after-tax income declined over the past year. That contrasted with 48 per cent of those in the top quartile of earners who reported a drop in after-tax incomes. [The Independent]

There are “very large” risks to the recently negotiated Greek bailout package, according to a long-awaited report from the European Commission and European Central Bank. The report detailed the findings of the “troika” of the EC, ECB and the International Monetary Fund on Athens’ efforts to meet targets under its €130bn (£105bn) bailout. The report cleared the path for the Greek government to receive its next tranche of bailout cash, but warned the depression-struck country could still fail to meet the commitments it had given. This is in part because of political resistance and court challenges to the austerity programme. [The Independent]

Executive directors at Aberdeen Asset Management, Scotland’s best-paid plc board, have shared a £13 million-plus salary and bonus pay-out for the second year running. The fund manager’s annual report shows that the five executive directors pocketed £2.8m in cash bonuses for the year to 30 September, with a further £8.42m in deferred bonuses payable over the next four years in company shares. Chief executive Martin Gilbert was awarded £4m in bonuses on top of his £500,000 salary. His total pay package was £4.5m, exactly the same as the previous year. [The Scotsman]

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