What made the nationals: sponsored by PressChoice

Sarah Davidson

August 14, 2012

In brief: Rail fares rise, Germany sends Greece a warning and house prices are falling.


Coalition plans housebuilding stimulus

By Jim Pickard, Ed Hammond and Kate Allen

Ministers are preparing to unveil a new package of measures to stimulate the flagging house-building sector next month, in an attempt to help drag Britain out of recession.

The plan has been drawn up by Oliver Letwin, the prime minister’s head of policy, along with Grant Shapps, housing minister, and Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury.


Rail fares rises set to be revealed

Rail fare increases from next January are set to be revealed, with some commuters braced for rises of more than double the rate of inflation.

The latest Retail Price Index inflation figure – expected to remain at 2.8% – will be used to calculate the increase.


PwC begins fight to save its reputation over fall of Tenon

By Alex Spence

The City’s accountancy watchdog opened a formal investigation into PwC and its auditing of RSM Tenon yesterday.

The Big Four firm’s scrutiny of Tenon’s accounts will be examined as part of an inquiry into the events leading up to Tenon’s startling profits warning in January, which led to the removal of the company’s two top directors.


House Prices Falling And More Drops Expected

A balance of 24% more surveyors reported falling rather than rising prices last month, the most negative reading since June 2011, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said.

London, which has had strong interest from overseas buyers, is the only region where more surveyors reported price rises than falls.

The West and East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside are the areas where surveyors are the most likely to report prices falling.


Germany: We’ll hammer Greece

By Steve Hawkes, Business Editor

The fragile Eurozone harmony during the Olympics was shattered yesterday — as Germany took the hammer to Greece.

Senior Angela Merkel ally Michael Fuchs — her party’s deputy leader — warned the Greeks that Germany would veto further aid if it failed to cut debt.


Facebook investors brace for further losses

By Juliette Garside

Investors in Facebook, still reeling from the social network’s disastrous stock market debut, are braced for further losses as the ban on early backers selling their shares begins to lift this week.

In a staggered process which begins on Thursday and peaks in November, about 1.9bn shares – four times the current publicly traded number – will begin to be released from “lockup”.


Squeeze on household budgets to remain unchanged as recent falls in inflation come to a halt

By Adrian Lowery

The average rate of inflation for UK consumers will drop no further for the moment, as petrol price hikes put an end to the recent easing of the squeeze on family finances.

The headline consumer prices index rate of inflation for July is expected to remain unchanged from June at 2.4 per cent, as lower food prices are offset by the petrol rises and fewer discounts from retailers.


Standard Chartered: Sands flies to New York to try for eleventh hour settlement with US regulators over Iran charges

By Louise Armitstead, Chief Business Correspondent

The bank boss decided to intervene personally after a weekend of intense negotiations failed to persuade Benjamin Lawsky of New York State Department of Financial Services to water-down his ferocious attack on Standard Chartered.

Ms Sands set off to America even though Mr Lawsky continued to leave the bank in limbo over the format of Wednesday’s hearing and which executive he wants to appear.


Easyjet’s investors reject Stelios coup

By Philip Waller

EasyJet investors rejected a bid by the budget airline’s founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou to oust its chairman but the row is set to continue.

Shareholders in the Luton-based carrier voted against his resolution to eject Sir Michael Rake who is also deputy chairman of scandal-hit bank Barclays.


Exclusive: G4S proves we can’t always rely on private sector, admits minister

By Oliver Wright

G4S’s failure to provide enough Olympic security guards has taught ministers that private firms are unsuited to providing many public services, the Defence Secretary has admitted.

In an interview with The Independent, Philip Hammond said the G4S saga had caused him to rethink his scepticism towards the public sector – and made him appreciate there were some things that only state organisations like the Army could be relied upon to do.


BP’s $2.5bn deal to sell refinery in California

By Gareth Mackie

Oil major BP is to sell a refinery in California, along with some 800 petrol stations in the western US, for $2.5 billion (£1.6bn) to help meet the costs of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster.

The British group is selling the assets to Texas-based refiner Tesoro, which expects to complete the deal by the middle of next year. The refinery, with a capacity of 266 million barrels a day, is next to a Tesoro plant in the city of Carson.


Coalition Attacked by Business Lobby

By Tim Wallace

British businesses are increasingly frustrated at the government’s failure to address the recession and are planning to cut back on investment if policies keep being delayed or torn apart by infighting, the Confederation of British Industry has warned.

The influential group has been supportive of the deficit reduction plan and schemes like Funding for Lending that seek to boost credit to firms.

But it is beginning to lose patience with a government it sees as lacking any real focus on the economy.

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