PPI claims hit a four-year high as complaints deadline looms

Current accounts are next most complained about product
PPI claims hit their highest level in four years during the second half of 2017, the financial watchdog said today, ahead of the 29 August complaints deadline.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reported that PPI complaints rose by 40 per cent between the first and second half of last year to reach 1.55m.
The watchdog said £415.8m was paid out January in redress to customers complaining about being mis-sold PPI, which is the highest amount since March 2016 and takes the total payout since January 2011 to £30bn.
Read more Banks are partly to blame for Ombudsman PPI mistakes The regulator has ramped up efforts to remind consumers of the looming deadline for complaints about PPI, with a series of adverts featuring an animatronic Arnold Scharzenegger head.
“Having set a deadline for PPI complaints, we are encouraging consumers to decide whether they want to claim, and if they do, to make their complaint as soon as possib..

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell's attempt to make nice with the City is a smart move

Mr McDonnell’s willingness to break bread with financiers demonstrates confidence in his position
In a marked change of tone, shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has told the City it can have a seat at the table if and when a new Labour government takes power.
The lifelong socialist and sometime banker basher offered a ‘new start’ to a relationship that has been fraught to say the least in a speech at Bloomberg.
Financiers were offered the chance to “come with us” into government.
Read more John McDonnell rebukes supporters for ‘antisemitic stereotypes’ McDonnell accuses Hammond of 'astounding complacency' City must not get special treatment in Brexit talks, says McDonnell Mr McDonnell made light of his portrayal as a “raving extremist” bent on nationalising their companies. More seriously, he was clear that the financial sector will not like some of Labour’s policy proposals, especially the ones on tax which will require them to pay more, both at a corporate and persona..

John McDonnell offers City of London 'seat at the table' in Labour policy making

Shadow chancellor proposes a 'new start in the relationship between Labour and the finance sector'
John McDonnell offered City bosses a chance to help shape Labour economic policy as part of his pitch to financiers on Thursday.
The shadow chancellor proposed a ”new start in the relationship between Labour and the finance sector”, in a speech at Bloomberg’s headquarters in London.
Financial services would have a “seat at the policy-making and policy delivery table” under a future Labour government, he said.
Read more City must not get special treatment in Brexit talks, says McDonnell The lifelong socialist joked that finance executives might expect to meet “a raving extremist who is about to nationalise their company and send them on a re-education course up north somewhere”.
Instead, he offered a more conciliatory tone, saying that he wanted them to “come with us” into government, alongside trade unions and manufacturers.
He promised to be straightforward with the fi..

Amazon Prime has passed the 100 million customer mark, says boss Jeff Bezos

Tech giant's shares rose in pre-market trading
Amazon has signed up more than 100 million Prime customers in the 13 years since the service launched, the tech firm’s boss Jeff Bezos has revealed in a letter to shareholders.
Shares in the retail giant rose almost 2 per cent in pre-market trading.
According to Mr Bezos, Amazon Prime passed the 100 million customer mark last year, with the company shipping more than five billion items through Prime in 2017.
Read more Amazon files for Alexa patent to let it listen to people all the time Trump’s feud with Amazon is about more than preserving the Post Office Kimmel on why Trump hates Amazon: “Bezos is actually a billionaire' The company also said membership of its Amazon Music Unlimited service more than double in the last six months.Meanwhile, 2017 was the first year since the company was established that more than half the items sold via Amazon came from third-party sellers.
Along with his letter reflecting on last yea..

Unilever hikes dividend and announces €6bn share buyback

Anglo-Dutch company, which last month announced plans to consolidate its global headquarters in Rotterdam instead of London, also hiked its dividend 8%
Unilever, the consumer goods giant which owns brands including Dove, Marmite and Ben & Jerry's, announced its first-quarter turnover fell 5.2 per cent to €12.6bn thanks to unfavourable exchange rate movements.
Underlying sales growth was 3.7 per cent, stripping out currency movements and sales from its spreads business, which it has agreed to sell.
The Anglo-Dutch company, which last month announced plans to consolidate its global headquarters in Rotterdam instead of London, also hiked its dividend by 8 per cent and unveiled plans for a €6bn (£5.2bn) share buyback starting in May.
Read more London may be losing Unilever’s HQ but it must not lose its shares Emerging markets underlying sales grew 5.1 per cent but that wasn't enough to satisfy investors.
Shares in Unilever were down 1.5 per cent in morning trading.
Uni..

Debenhams says beast from the east put results in the freezer. Now boss Bucher has to explain that to Mike Ashley

The trouble with the excuse – which you’re probably going to hear from other retailers with troubles too – is that while “the beast” was extreme by UK standards, Debs is reporting a couple of days after Primark and JD both managed to keep their investors warm
Poor old Debenhams. The beleaguered department store chain says the “beast from the east” froze its results and as a result the already bombed out shares have had some fresh sale reductions applied.
They’re now languishing on one of those rails where they put the stuff no one wants to buy on even when they’re all but giving it away.
The trouble with the excuse – which you’re probably going to hear from other retailers with troubles too – is that while “the beast” was extreme by UK standards, Debs is reporting a couple of days after Primark and JD Sports both managed to keep their investors warm.
Read more Debenhams blames disappointing Xmas and bad weather for profit crash Debenhams to cut 320 store management jobs in cost..

250,000 households face energy bill hikes in next three months as they are switched to 'rip-off' tariffs

During April, May and June, 130 fixed-rate tariffs will come to an end, research finds
A quarter of a million households face paying an extra £200 on their energy bills in coming months as suppliers switch them to more expensive default tariffs, labelled a “rip-off” by politicians.
During April, May and June, 130 fixed-rate tariffs will come to an end, according to research by comparethemarket.com
Around 247,000 households on those deals face being moved on to an expensive standard variable tariff (SVT) or equivalent and could see their bills rise if they do not switch.
Read more Consumers face energy bill hike as E.ON changes price structure Those consumers face paying an additional £200 on their annual bills, on average, the price comparison site calculates. That would equate to a £50m so-called “inertia dividend” for gas and electricity providers.
The biggest hikes in the cost of energy will impact households with tariffs ending in April, where the average annual increase in..