Barclays sinks to loss thanks to $2bn US settlement and more PPI costs

Bank reports quarterly pre-tax loss of £236m, down from profits of £1.68bn in the same period last year
Barclays swung to a loss in the first quarter as further payment protection insurance (PPI) charges and a £1.4bn settlement with the US Department of Justice knocked profits.
The UK bank reported a pre-tax loss of £236m for the three months to 31 March, having reported profits of £1.68bn in the same period last year.
Stripped of litigation and conduct charges, pre-tax profits rose 1 per cent to £1.7bn, while attributable profit came in at £1.2bn.
Read more Barclays boss Staley stronger than he looks in face of activist attack The bank was hit by a $2bn (£1.4bn) settlement reached with the US Department of Justice earlier this month, related to the sale of mortgage-backed securities in the lead-up to the financial crisis.
Chief executive Jes Staley said: “While the penalty was substantial, this settlement represents a major milestone for Barclays, putting behind us a significa..

Poundworld to close up to 100 stores putting 1,500 jobs at risk

Company expected to announce terms of turnaround plan next month
Discount chain Poundworld is pursuing a restructuring plan that could see it shut around a third of its stores, putting more than 1,500 jobs in doubt.
Poundworld is considering a so-called Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), an insolvency procedure which would allow it to slash its rents and close stores.
Under the plans, Poundworld could close 100 of its 355 stores.
Read more Poundworld fined £1.2m for 'out-of-control' rodent infestation Rising costs and a squeeze on consumer spending has forced several household names to pursue CVAs this year, including New Look, Byron, Prezzo and Carpetright.
Poundworld, which is owned by private equity firm TPG Capital, is expected to announce the terms of the CVA next month.
Landlords will then vote on whether to approve the proposal. All of the major CVAs proposed this year have been rubber-stamped by landlords.
TPG Capital also owns restaurant chain Prezzo, whi..

Facebook profits soar 63% to $5bn despite Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal

Facebook profits soared 63 per cent to $5bn (£3.6bn) in the first three months of the year despite the company being engulfed in a data privacy scandal that has angered millions of users.
Allegations that up to 87 million Facebook users’ data was collected without their knowledge and then used by Cambridge Analytica to try to sway the US Presidential election and the Brexit vote, did little to slow the tech company’s rapid growth.
Total revenues jumped 49 per cent compared to the same three months last year, Facebook reported on Wednesday.
Read more Professor apologises for helping Cambridge Analytica harvest data Facebook has been scrambling to mollify angry politicians and reassure users that it will safeguard their personal information.
Amid the turmoil, observers were keenly watching the company’s user figures to assess the potential damage and see if the scandal would suppress Facebook’s growth.
Despite high-profile social media campaigns calling users to boycott Faceboo..

Barclays boss Staley stronger than he looks in face of activist attack

The bank's past problems are unwinding as it attempts to get clarity on Edward Bramson's demands
On the eve of Barclays results, the elephant in the room decided to trumpet.
Activist investor Ed Bramson, who is advocating a shake up, upped his stake in the bank that he has built up through his investment vehicle, Sherborne.
It was only by a bit, from 5.16 per cent to 5.41 per cent, but people like him don’t have to do much to get the markets and media saying “ooh look at that” and Mr Bramson was thus being talked about as much as the bank’s first quarter results when they were released.
Read more Barclays: Can whistleblowers be confident after FCA warns CEO Staley? Barclays boss Jes Staley to be fined over whistleblower scandal Barclays agrees to pay $2bn to settle US fraud case They showed a loss, partly because of still more payment protection insurance compensation provisions, partly because of the $2bn (£1.2bn)cost of settling a mortgage mis-selling case in the U..

UK houses now cost almost eight times average earnings, says ONS

The average house price to earnings ratio has hit 7.77, up from 7.6 in 2016 and the highest in the official time series going back to 2002
Workers in England and Wales need to fork out almost eight times their annual income in order to buy an average house, according to the latest official estimates, underlining how unaffordable house purchasing has become for many.
Read more The UK economy suffers if millennials become permanent renters The Office for National Statistics reported on Thursday that average house in 2017 rose 4.5 per cent to £225,000.
However, median gross annual full-time earnings in 2017 were £28,952, up only 2.1 per cent over the 12 months.
Those figures meant that the average house price to earnings ratio has hit 7.77, up from 7.6 in 2016 and the highest in the official time series.
Banks and building societies will typically only lend people mortgages up to 4.5 times their gross salary, although home buying couples can combine their incomes for this measure…

TSB waives overdraft fees and increases interest rate but customers still locked out

Chief executive Paul Pester refuses to commit to giving up £1.6m bonus over IT fiasco
TSB is waiving all overdraft fees in April and has increased the interest rate on its current account to 5 per cent, but half of its customers still can’t access online banking as an IT fiasco stretches into its seventh day.
Chief executive Paul Pester repeatedly refused to commit to waiving his bonus over serious failures that also allowed some people to view other customers’ financial details.
When probed on the BBC’s Today Programme, the under-fire bank boss said that pay was the “last thing on [his] mind”.
Read more TSB customers still locked out, bank claims systems 'up and running' When quizzed again on whether he would commit to forgoing the bonus, which could be as much as £1.6m, Mr Pester said, “That is a question for the board; for the remuneration committee.”
He admitted that the situation was “not good enough” and said that he was “putting things right”.
“Many customers..

London housing crisis forcing workers to quit their jobs, says CBI survey

More than a quarter of the leading firms in the capital who responded said some employees had been leaving because they cannot afford to live in the local area
London’s housing crisis is forcing employees to quit their jobs and making it difficult for firms to recruit staff, according to a new survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The business organisation said 28 per cent of the 176 leading firms in the capital who responded said that some of their employees had left because they could not afford to live in the local area.
High housing costs in the capital are also apparently hampering the ability of firms to recruit entry-level staff, with 66 per cent of respondents citing them as having a negative impact. That was up from 57 per cent in 2015.
Read more The UK economy suffers if millennials become permanent renters The survey suggests the housing situation is hampering the expansion of flexible working for employees too, with 36 per cent of firms claiming the ..

Morrisons pledges to make all its packaging recyclable by 2025

The supermarket has already banned the sale of single use carrier bags
Morrisons has pledged to make all its own-brand packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 amid a range plans to reduce plastic use within its stores.
The supermarket will allow customers to use their own containers to buy meat and fish from its butcher and fishmonger counters, and will trial the removal of plastic packaging from fruit and vegetables in a number of stores.
It is also replacing the black plastic trays used for fish and meat with recyclable packaging materials, with a target of phasing out the trays by the end 2019.
Read more Packaging must be next in sight for plastic ban, say campaigners UK to ban sale of plastic straws and drinks stirrers This is how much plastic is in the ocean David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: “Reducing the damage caused by plastic is one of the most challenging issues society can address. Because we make most of the fresh food we sell, we’re in a..