What made the nationals: sponsored by PressChoice

Sarah Davidson

August 15, 2012

In brief: Standard Chartered settles accusations in New York for $340m, and eurozone is on the brink of a double dip recession.


StanChart settles NY claims for $340m

By Shahien Nasiripour in Washington, Sharlene Goff in London and Tracy Alloway in New York

Standard Chartered has agreed to pay $340m to New York state to settle accusations it hid from regulators key details involving at least $250bn in transactions with Iran and potentially violated US sanctions policy.

The civil penalty avoids what could have been a bruising showdown on Wednesday with New York state’s Department of Financial Services, which last week accused StanChart of defrauding regulators, falsifying records and obstructing government inquiries.


UK unemployment figures due amid fears for youth jobs

UK unemployment figures for the three months to June will be published later on Wednesday, amid warnings that young people are finding it increasingly difficult to find work.

Last month’s figures showed there are 2.58 million people out of work in the UK, with the unemployment rate standing at 8.1%.


Gym dumps 350 coaches

By Steve Hawkes, Business Editor

More than 350 fitness coaches at one of Britain’s biggest gym chains are facing the axe — just days after the Olympics.

LA Fitness has told the part-time and full-timers their jobs are going as part of a nationwide restructuring.


Eurozone on brink of double-dip recession as growth falls 0.2%

By Graeme Wearden

The eurozone is on the brink of following Britain into a double-dip recession after its economy shrank between April and June.

GDP across the 17-nation bloc fell by 0.2% in the second quarter of this year and economists believe the downturn is continuing. Better-than-expected figures from Germany and France were offset by sharp contractions elsewhere, with the Spanish, Italian, Finnish and Portuguese economies all shrinking. The wider European Union also suffered a 0.2% contraction.


Rail fare increases? British train tickets are already TEN TIMES more expensive than those on the Continent

By Harry Glass

Huge impending rail fare increases in the next two years mean the vast gap between what British commuters and their European counterparts stump up for tickets will stretch even further.

Some UK tickets are already almost ten times the price of some on the continent, according to figures from the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT).

The price of a season ticket from Woking in Surrey to London, including Tube travel in the capital, was £3,268 last year – while the 22-mile journey from Velletri to Rome cost Italian season ticket holders £336.17.


Virgin Set To Lose West Coast Rail Franchise

Sir Richard Branson’s train company is set to lose its West Coast main line rail franchise in a Government decision expected to spark a storm of protest.

The Government is expected to say later that transport giant FirstGroup has beaten Virgin Rail in the new franchise battle to run the London to Scotland line.

It will mean an end to Virgin’s 15 years of operating the line which has seen tilting, high-speed Pendolino trains serve such cities as Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.


QE could fund a £20bn tax giveaway

By Philip Aldrick, Economics Editor

Michael Saunders, UK economist at Citi, said the Government could use the “accumulated profits from quantitative easing (QE) to finance a special temporary tax cut for a year or two”. According to official figures, the “potential profit” by February 2013 from QE to the Bank is £20.7bn – more than enough to knock 2.5p off income tax for a year.

The real potential profit is even larger as the QE programme has been extended by £50bn to £375bn since the official figures were compiled, and several economists expect the Bank to add another £50bn before the end of the year. Mr Saunders said the profits could reach £30bn by 2013, which could fund a two-year tax giveaway.


DIY pensions drive up Standard Life profits

By Philip Waller

Britons are putting more money aside for retirement despite economic woe, boosting UK profits at Standard Life.

The life and pension group said the popularity of its DIY-style self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) drove UK half-year profits up 62 per cent to £141million.


Surprise inflation rise catches out analysts

By Ben Chu

Inflation confounded the predictions of City economists by picking up in July.

Consumer price inflation rose to 2.6 per cent, up from 2.4 per cent in June, driven higher by a large increase in air fares, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).


First job for Bank candidates: win Clegg’s blessing

By Sam Coates, Deputy Political Editor

Nick Clegg will be given a say in the appointment of the next Governor of the Bank of England, in a move likely to deter more hawkish candidates.

The Deputy Prime Minister is a strong critic of the banks for their failure to lend and is unlikely to favour any candidate with a strongly monetarist approach to replace Sir Mervyn King, who retires in June next year.


Bidders line up to offer ‘local’ TV for Scotland’s biggest cities

By Dominic Jeff

Four bidders are behind plans to bring local TV to Scotland’s two largest cities in what has been described as the biggest shake-up of British television since the advent of satellite.

Made Television, Metro8 – a UK offshoot of Canada’s Channel Zero – and STV submitted bids to run operations in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Leith-based film production house Freakworks has also thrown its hat into the ring for Edinburgh, while Glasgow-based community news specialist URTV has bid for the licence in its home city.


Tourism bosses question Hunt’s China plan

By Kasmira Jefford

Tourism industry leaders have been left unconvinced by government plans to treble to the number of Chinese visitors to the UK, saying yesterday there were still too many barriers to inbound travel that needed to be addressed.

In a speech at the Tate Modern, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt set out how the government plans to “turbo-charge” the UK’s tourism industry and build on the legacy of the Olympic Games.

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