Bookmakers' shares plummet on report Philip Hammond will slash FOBT stakes to £2

William Hill sunk 14 per cent after the news
Shares in the UK’s biggest bookmakers fell on Tuesday after reports that Philip Hammond had accepted the need for a £2 maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).
GVC Holdings, which owns Ladbrokes Coral, slumped more than 6 per cent, Paddy Power Betfair was down 3.4 per cent and William Hill plummeted 14 per cent in morning trading.
Gamblers can wager up to £100 per spin on the machines currently but the government has been looking at reducing the maximum to between £50 and £2.
Read more Bookies smiling as Gambling Commission opts for £30 FOBT stake limit The Chancellor had been thought to be concerned that cutting to £2 would mean lost tax revenues from the machines but The Times reported on Tuesday that there was “growing optimism” he had been persuaded by the case for a large reduction.
A total of 22 Tory MPs have publicly come out to back slashing stakes on the machines, including Matt Hancock, the culture secretary…

UK public finances show first current budget surplus in sixteen years, reports ONS

The current budget deficit for 2017-18 was in surplus, the first time this has happened since 2001-02
The UK’s public finances have registered their first current budget surplus in sixteen years, showing the progress made by the government on this measure of deficit repair since the last recession.
The Office for National Statistics reported on Tuesday that public borrowing was just £1.35bn in March, the final month of the 2017/18 fiscal year.
This was lower than the £3.25bn City analysts had expected and it took full year borrowing to £42.6bn.
This was below the £45.2bn forecast made by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) as recently as March – and was the lowest UK total annual deficit since 2006-07, before the financial crisis.
Income tax receipts in March were a record for that month.
And when stripping out capital spending, the “current” budget deficit for 2017-18 was actually in surplus, the first time this has happened since 2001-02.
However, the previous Chancello..

TSB under scrutiny from regulators as customers face fifth day of IT troubles

Both the financial and information rights watchdogs are looking into the issues
TSB is facing scrutiny by UK regulators after IT issues led to customers being unable to access their cash and, in some cases, able to see accounts belonging to other people.
A spokesperson for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said the watchdog is “aware of the issue and liaising with the firm”, while a spokesperson for the Information Commissioner’s Office said: “We are aware of a potential data breach in relation to the TSB and are making enquiries.”
Read more TSB apology after customers complain of online banking 'data breach' Meanwhile, TSB customers facing a fifth day of online banking issues, as problems which started on Friday continued into Tuesday, due to a planned upgrade which should have been completed by 6pm on Sunday.
In a statement on Monday morning, TSB said that there were still “intermittent issues” with its mobile and online banking services and that it was “working..

3 Gadgets You Didn’t Know You Needed, but Are Worth Buying

3 Gadgets You Didn’t Know You Needed, but Are Worth Buying Photo Credit Manu Fernandez/Associated Press It’s easy to forget how far technology has come within a few years. We went from praying our CD players wouldn’t skip to streaming music wirelessly to AirPods in our ears. But even some recently introduced devices have made the jump from being high-end, enthusiast tech to at-home must haves. Here are a few of them.
Photo Amazon Echo Dot . Credit Elaine Thompson/Associated Press The assistant we didn’t ask for, but can’t live without“Weird.” “Curious.” “Baffling.” “Quite Stupid.” These words all once described Alexa, the voice-activated digital assistant on Amazon’s Echo device. Now, according to Amazon, the Echo Dot, a smaller, less expensive version of the Echo was the “#1 selling Amazon Device” during the holidays last year.
Back in 2014, it was odd to consider even owning an Echo (and you needed an invite from Amazon to actually purchase one). Today, you can pick from five differ..

Carillion collapse contributed to 21% drop in Santander UK profits

The Spanish lender reported a strong performance elsewhere
Santander said the impact of Carillion’s collapse contributed to a 21 per cent drop in UK profits in the first three months of 2018.
UK pre-tax profit fell to £414m from £525m in the same period of 2017, while interest income dropped to £906m from £940m.
The Spanish-owned reported credit impairment losses of £60m in the first quarter, compared with a loss of £13m last year, driven in part by a drawdown by Carillion, which fell into liquidation in January.
Read more Carillion: Investors smelled a rat and then ran. Why didn't ministers? Nathan Bostock, UK chief executive, said: “Our first quarter results have been impacted by ongoing competitive pressures in the UK. We have maintained our investment in business transformation and growth initiatives even though regulatory, risk and control costs stepped up, given a number of major projects are due to be implemented during 2018.
“Cost discipline remains an area of pa..

Google’s Parent Company Spends Like It’s Thinking of a Future Beyond Ads

Google’s Parent Company Spends Like It’s Thinking of a Future Beyond Ads Photo Alphabet, Google’s parent company, spent big in the first quarter on new data centers and services aimed at businesses. Credit Christie Hemm Klok for The New York Times SAN FRANCISCO — Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is spending like it is beginning to prepare for life after advertising.
Currently, Alphabet makes nearly 90 percent of its money from selling advertising on the internet, and gobbles up heaps of data about its users to help marketers target those ads more effectively.
But a close reading of Alphabet’s financial results for the first quarter of 2018, which were announced on Monday, showed that the Silicon Valley giant is accelerating its efforts to diversify into other businesses.
Alphabet has made investments in areas like self-driving cars and online computer services for businesses for years, but spending in those areas was up dramatically in the first quarter. The company’s capital expendi..