Government has no choice but to outsource public services, says NAO boss

“There are a lot of areas where government does not have capacity to anything but outsource,” Sir Amyas Morse said
The government has no choice but to outsource services because, after decades of doing so, it no longer has the capacity to carry out work in-house, the head of the public spending watchdog told MPs.
“I think there are a lot of areas where the government does not have the capacity to do anything but outsource,” Sir Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office said.
He added that in many areas, the government didn't even have the resources to act as a prime contractor who runs a project while subcontracting work out.
Read more Carillion collapse contributed to 21% drop in Santander UK profits “The government is not set up to deliver all of these contracts itself, and that's been the case for a number of years,” Sir Amyas told the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
He added that he was not saying that this was a fault, ..

TSB IT chaos: Challenger bank has fallen prey to some familiar old problems

Thousands customers have struggled to access their accounts and process transactions. The bank's communication with them has been poor
With customers screaming about a deafening silence from TSB towers in the wake of the IT chaos that has afflicted the challenger bank, chief executive Paul Pester finally emerged with a veritable blizzard of tweets and media appearances.
TSB’s surprisingly torpid feed had been silent since Thursday, when it warned customers that online banking services would be unavailable over the weekend as a result of a systems upgrade.
It woke up when the CEO said he was “deeply sorry” for a rapidly lengthening list of problems caused by it. There was the promise of compensation for those left out of pocket but also a warning that the bank would have to go offline again as part of its attempt to address the issues it has thrown up.
Read more TSB boss apologises for IT issues as bank faces regulators' scrutiny TSB apology after customers complain of ..

Ulster Bank provides emergency cash to customers whose money has disappeared due to 'human error'

The issue is expected to be resolved overnight, the bank said
Ulster Bank customers who have been left unable to access their funds due to “human error” will be provided with emergency cash, the lender said on Tuesday afternoon.
A spokesperson for Ulster Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland’s Irish operation, said a payment file did not process on Monday night, meaning that “some transactions applied to some customers accounts since 20 April are temporarily not showing”.
Read more Royal Bank of Scotland's journey from Fred Goodwin to back in black “We investigated this issue as a matter of urgency and have already taken the necessary corrective action which will see recovery actions overnight. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and no customer will be left out of pocket as a result of this issue. Emergency cash is available for impacted customers,” the spokesperson added.
The error has not affected all customers, and has only had an impact on accounts in the Republic of Ir..

Government won't block £8bn takeover of GKN by Melrose, business secretary announces

New assurances from Melrose are not enough, says shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey
The Government will not intervene in Melrose’s £8bn takeover of engineering giant GKN, the business secretary announced on Tuesday.
Greg Clarke told the House of Commons that he would not block the deal on national security grounds.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson was among those to have raised security concerns about the deal because GKN works on a number of vital defence contracts.
Read more Melrose bosses take home annual pay of £42m each ahead of GKN takeover Mr Clarke said Melrose had agreed a number of new undertakings with the Ministry of Defence, in addition to those he secured last month.
Melrose’s strategy is to buy up firms which it believes are underperforming and then sell them on for a profit within three to five years, often after offloading parts of the business.
Melrose has now pledged to inform the MoD if it intends to dispose of a part of GKN which might have n..

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..

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..