British Gas customers should treat its latest price rise with the contempt it deserves

The energy provider's excuses are as leaky as a Thames Water pipe
You’d think British Gas would have worked out that kicking its customers in the teeth while blaming everyone but itself isn’t working out too well as a business strategy.
But apparently not. The UK’s largest energy supplier – a status that the company is doing its damnedest to rid itself of – has decided to hike prices by an average of 5.5 per cent for the four million or so customers on its standard variable tariff.
The rise apples to both gas and electricity, with the average dual fuel bill set to come in at £1,161 after its imposition. It follows the 12.5 per cent increase in electricity prices imposed last September.
Read more British Gas announces 5.5% price hike, affecting 4.1m UK households British Gas owner Centrica to cut 4,000 jobs British Gas owner Centrica loses 823,000 customers since June You may, by now, be familiar with the standard unvarying excuse that the company trots out in an attempt to..

Water watchdog OfWat gets punchy as patience with industry pours away

OfWat has responded to Michael's Gove firey rhetoric, but Jeremy Corbyn and Labour will deserve much of the credit if this results in a less awful industry
Water companies: You have a regulator after all.
OfWat, which had given every impression of being the Office for Doing Not Very Much, has outlined a packages of measures it wants to take to bring the embattled sector “back in balance”.
They are outlined in a letter to Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who seems to have recognised that beating up on the water industry might help him to create a counter narrative to the one that portrays him as a poisonous backstabbing brexiteer.
Read more Ofwat should be investigated like water companies over supply failings UK water firms criticised as homes left without water for fourth day Privatisation hasn’t improved the supply of our water Some of OfWat’s missive amounts to wagging its finger at the industry and telling it to do what it should have been doing for years now. In ..

Iceland to be first supermarket to remove palm oil from own-brand foods to help protect rainforest

Oil found in half of all supermarket products linked to destruction of rainforests and habitats for endangered species
Iceland will stop using palm oil in its own brand food by the end of the year, the supermarket chain announced on Tuesday.
It said it was removing palm oil, which is linked to the destruction of swathes of rainforest, from 130 food products and replace it with more environmentally friendly alternatives such as sunflower oil or butter. The move will reduce demand for palm oil by 500 tonnes, the company said.
Palm oil production results in widespread deforestation Indonesia and Malaysia, which has destroyed habitat for many critically endangered species such as the Orangutan and been a major contributor to climate change.
Read more Firms have 'no chance' of meeting pledges on palm oil deforestation Demand for palm oil has increased rapidly for use in a huge range of foods and toiletries. It is now thought to be present in around half of all supermarket p..

British Gas announces 5.5% price hike affecting 4.1m UK households

The price hike will add an average of £60 to the typical dual fuel bill
British Gas will hike its prices by an average of 5.5 per cent next month, taking the price of its standard tariff to £1,161 for a typical dual fuel customer.
The energy firm said the increase was due to rising wholesale and policy costs and blamed government policy for putting more pressure on customers' bills.
Read more British Gas owner Centrica to cut 4,000 jobs Centrica, the owner of British Gas, said the new price will affect 4.1m customers, who will see their bills go up by an average of £60 per year.
Mark Hodges, chief executive of Centrica Consumer, said: “We fully understand that any price increase adds extra pressure on customers' household bills. This increase we are announcing today is reflective of the costs we are seeing which are beyond our control.
“We continue to work hard to reduce our own costs and keep our prices as low as possible. We have seen other suppliers raise prices a..

Card Factory profits slump 12% thanks to increased National Living Wage and weak pound

Firm warns that earnings growth in 2019 will be limited amid continuing headwinds
Card Factory’s annual pre-tax profit fell 12.3 per cent to £72.6m thanks to an increase to the National Living Wage and higher import costs caused by a weaker pound.
The gift card retailer said costs rose £14.6m in the year to 31 January 2018, meaning profits were down despite a 2.9 per cent rise in like-for-like sales. The firm warned that earnings growth in 2019 will be limited amid continuing headwinds.
The National Living Wage rose to £7.50 per hour from £7.20 per hour for over-25s in April 2017 and rose again to £7.80 this month.
Read more Corbyn says millions on National Living Wage could miss out by £5,000 This has hurt the profits of a host of retailers, many of whose staff are among the UK's lowest paid.
Card Factory’s revenues for the year rose 6 per cent to £422.1m from £398.2m a year ago despite a “tough consumer environment” as the number of shoppers visiting the high street con..

China files trade complaint against US at the WTO over steel and aluminium tariffs

China has filed a trade complaint against the US with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, over tariffs recently imposed on imports of steel and aluminium products.
According to the complaint, China claims the duties of 25 per cent and 10 per cent on imports of steel and aluminium products respectively are inconsistent with provisions of the WTO's General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 and of the Agreement on Safeguards.
Read more China vows to fight 'at any cost' as Trump threatens $100bn tariffs Chinese authorities allege the US has breached the GATT by failing to follow proper procedural requirements, including notification and consultation procedures.
The complaint also states that “the United States has failed to administer its laws, regulations, decisions and rulings in relation to the measures at issue in a uniform, impartial and reasonable manner”.
President Donald Trump unveiled the tariffs at a meeting of US metal industry represent..

Oil prices boosted as Trump promises 'forceful' response to Syria attack and fears of a US-China trade war ease

A speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping was welcomed by traders, with Asian markets rising as well as oil prices
Oil prices rose in early trading on Tuesday after Donald Trump promised to make a decision on taking action in Syria “very quickly”.
The commodity was also boosted by an easing of tension between the US and China, giving support to hopes that a trade war between the two economies can be avoided.
Read more Oil prices open above $70 on heightened Middle East tensions Brent crude rose 1.18 per cent on Tuesday morning, edging close to the $70 a barrel mark, while US benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.2 per cent to $64.19.
Fears of a global trade war eased after a Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech in which he spoke of a more open economy and reduced import tariffs on vehicles. Although he did not mention the US specifically, traders seem to be focusing on the positive aspects of Mr Xi’s speech, with Asian markets buoyed by his remarks – both H..

Brexit: Euroclear confirms holding company move from London to Brussels

The tax residence and domicile of the clearing house will move to the Belgian capital later this year
Euroclear, the financial clearing house, has confirmed it is shifting the residence of its holding company from the UK to Brussels due to Brexit.
The tax residence and domicile of the holding company of the Brussels-headquartered group, which underwrites trades between large financial firms, will also transfer to the Belgian capital later this year.
Read more British banks will lose ‘passporting rights’ to the EU after Brexit Brexit has put the future ability of UK-based financial firms to operate across the EU and eurozone in doubt and some firms are taking pre-emptive action in case access ends up being withdrawn.
“We want to redomicile the topco to the eurozone. It will be in Belgium as it’s where most of our business operations are. We are preparing to launch a transfer of arrangement sometime after the summer,” Lieve Mostrey, Euroclear’s chief executive told the Financial T..

Glencore boss Ivan Glasenberg quits as Rusal director after US slaps sanctions on Russian firms

The FTSE 100-listed miner also said it will not go ahead with plans to take a stake in EN+ through a share swap
Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg has resigned as a director of Russian aluminium producer Rusal after the US placed sanctions on the company.
The US has named Rusal and EN+ in a new list of sanctions targeting Russian companies and their owners, off the back of a burgeoning diplomatic crisis due to the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury last month.
The Russian stock market dropped 10 per cent on Monday, with Rusal shares falling as much as 41.8 per cent.
Read more Russia stock market crashes after US imposes sanctions on oligarchs London-listed Glencore said today that while it has various contracts with Rusal for the purchase of aluminium and alumina, it is “committed to complying with all applicable sanctions in its business and is taking all necessary measures in order to mitigate any risks to Glencore's business as ..

UK employers failing to prepare staff for automation, new research shows

A third of workers feel their job will be automated within the next decade
UK employers are failing to prepare their staff for the impact automation will have in the workplace, new research shows.
A third of workers feel that their job will be automated within the next decade, while one in 10 fear they will lose their jobs to automation within two years, according to payroll firm ADP.
Half of those who feel they are at risk because of automation say their employer has yet to reskill them.
Read more UK businesses intent on hiring at record high, new research shows Younger workers are more concerned about automation than any other group, with just under half of workers aged between 16 and 35 fearing for their jobs in the next 10 years.
Anxieties about automation are heavily focused in London, where 46 per cent of workers worry about robots – more than anywhere else in the UK.
“Automation may seem like an issue for future generations, but our findings show that machines could rep..