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Summary

  1. Royal Mail first half profits fall 6%
  2. Seven Australian and New Zealand Bank traders suspended for interest rate rigging
  3. Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted 7 to 2 to hold interest rates at 0.5%

Live Reporting

By Howard Mustoe and Matthew West

All times stated are UK

Howard Mustoe

Business reporter

That's all from today. Many thanks to everyone for your avalanche of emails on pay. If we didn't publish yours, we are sorry. But there's always tomorrow. Join us from 06:00.

Via Twitter

World Service

tweets: Areva shares plunge on profit warning. Bob Marley brand used for cannabis. Zambia economy special report. Listen:
http://bit.ly/1Hk6IX6

Via Email

Pay survey

An Office for National Statistics civil servant

writes in: "I 'm a civil servant and so far this year haven't had a rise--my dept. is still ''negotiating''. We should have got it in August. We're not expecting more than the 1% we got last year following on from the freeze. Which for me was £13.28 a month. Maybe though I'll get a nice surprise since George is so happy--perhaps he's planning on giving me 4.1%. I believe in Father Christmas as well.................." We've redacted this person's name for what we expect are rather obvious reasons.

Royal Mail profits

Ofcom don't seem keen to bring forward any review. They say in a statement: "Protecting the universal service is at the heart of Ofcom's work, and our own evidence clearly shows that the service is not currently under threat. We are listening to the views of Royal Mail and other parties regarding competition in the market. We would assess any emerging threat to the service quickly, in the interests of postal users."

Via Email

Pay survey

Mike Holden, an IT consultant

writes: "I'm in a pretty well paid job but have not had a pay rise for 3 years. It's obvious that those in the top 5% of earners getting 10%+ pay rises year on year skew the statistics towards a higher median. So the government can actually use the massive increases for the City (and MPs, coincidentally), combined with ONS help in massaging figures to suit its case, to shout from the rooftops that average pay increased by 4.1%."

Pay gap

pay
PA

In April, the bottom 10% of full-time employees earned less than £288 per week. At the other end of the scale, the top 10% of full-time employees earned more than £1,024, says the Office of National Statistics. The ratio - the top 10% earning 3.5x what the bottom group earn, has remained about the same since 1997, says the stats agency.

Via Email

Pay survey

Sue from London says: "I am a marketing director in the entertainment industry. I received a 2% pay rise in 2013 and 1% in 2014." Meanwhile, Dan in Chorley says: "In 2013 I changed jobs (promotion) and took a 21% pay rise. In 2014 in the same role I received a 1.5% pay rise." Stephen in London writes in to say he got 0% in 2009 "and every year since."

Tending the weeds

World Service

Over on the

BBC World Service, reporter Tony Bonsignore has interviewed the boss of Privateer, the venture capital firm that has teamed up with the estate of Bob Mark to launch "Marley Natural" - the "world's first" global range of marijuana and marijuana-based products. Benjamin Kennedy told Newsday the tie-up with the Marley family is a natural fit, but that he doesn't use cannabis himself.

Via Email

Pay survey

Stuart from Shropshire

writes in: "Is Mr Osborne having a laugh? What rubbish figures have the ONS dreamt up this time? I have been working for the same crummy company for nearly 9 years and despite record turnover and profits and the group breaking into the FTSE 100 for the 1st time, we have just last week been insulted with a miserly 2% rise. What nonsense."

Eyes on the prize

tdk
luke jones

Piccadilly Circus and Times Square are poised for a billboard overhaul. But where are the world's "best" billboard locations? TDK, the Japanese electricity company whose advertising has loomed over the London tourist hotspot for 24 years, is not renewing its contract. Read more from

BBC News Magazine.

Via Email

Pay survey

Warren Carmody, a civil servant from Cambridge

writes in: "In April 2011 and April 2012, as an NHS employee, I received no (zero) pay increase as part of the public sector austerity measures. In March 2013, I received the 1% increase awarded to NHS employees. In April 2014 I received no pay increase... But who cares about civil servants? 4.1% is a dream or a fantasy. I'm not sure which."

Gender pay gap

The gender pay gap has shrunk to 9.4% compared with 10% in 2013, the ONS adds. "This is the lowest since records began in 1997, and despite a relatively large increase between 2012 and 2013, there is an overall downward trend, from 17.4% in 1997".

Via Email

Pay survey

David Cook,

writes in to to say: " I work in the NHS as a doctor. We got 0% this year on top of 1% last year and the year before!"

Pay survey

Graph showing pay growth over the last ten years
ONS

Despite the Treasury fanfare on the annual pay growth of those in full time work for more than a year, the above chart shows that pay growth for this particular group of individuals has essentially returned to the same level as in 2010. It also shows that pay rises were quite a bit higher before the financial crisis as well as showing the impact of the crisis on wages as well.

Via Email

Pay survey

Mark Fielder, a software engineer from Heathrow

writes in first of all to say simply: "0% in 2014, 0% in 2013". Do keep your emails coming in and we'll publish as many as we are able.

Pay survey

So this is what the ONS actually has to say on full time pay. Basically, the labour market changes from year to year. When new lower paying jobs are created or when highly-paid jobs are lost, this lowers the median - or middle - wage figure. Looking only at people who have been in their job for more than a year removes these fluctuations, says the ONS. Based on that approach earnings for this group grew by 4.1% in the year April 2014.

Royal Mail profits

Royal Mail share graph
BBC

Royal Mail shares have dropped quite a bit this morning, following the publication of its half year results, which warned of increased competition from rivals like Whistl (formerly TNT UK). Shares are currently trading down 5% at 444p. That's still well above the price they were at its stock market debut last year.

Pay survey

Have you been one of the lucky people that has received a 4.1% pay rise in the last year? If so we want to hear from you. We understand you might want to talk about real numbers, but we're not asking for that. Just tell us what percentage pay rise you got this year, assuming you got one at all. Don't forget to give us your name and where you're writing in from to bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or get in touch on twitter

@bbcbusiness

Pay survey

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne has said in a statement that the latest figures from the

ONS on pay "shows that people who have been in a job for more than a year saw their pay rise this year by 4.1% on average, more than twice the rate of inflation." You'll note 4.1% is more than three times the current rate of Consumer Price Index inflation. We've asked the ONS whether the Treasury is correct in this rather bold assertion.

Interest rates

The Bank of England
PA

Yet again Ian McCafferty and Martin Weale were the two members of the MPC who voted for an interest rate hike this month, although Mr McCafferty told LBC radio this morning the weakness in the eurozone economy was a worry. Some economists had expected Messrs McCafferty and Weale to vote to hold interest rates in light of the current economic climate.

Pay survey

The ONS says in April 2014 median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees were £518, up 0.1% from £517 in 2013. "This is the smallest annual growth since 1997," it adds.

BreakingBreaking News

Interest rates

The Bank of England's interest rate setting body, the Monetary Policy Committee, voted 7 to 2 for the fourth month in a row to hold interest rates at their current level of 0.5%, the minutes of the latest meeting show.

Royal Mail profits

Yet again Royal Mail has complained about the universal service obligation. Royal Mail states: "We believe the current regulatory framework does not fully address the problem posed by unfettered direct delivery competition." It has called on Ofcom to speed up its review of direct delivery competition, which is planned for next year.

Areva shares decayed

Shares in French nuclear giant Areva have plunged 23% this morning, after it dropped its financial targets for 2015 and 2016, blaming delays to a Finnish nuclear project, the slow restart of Japan's reactors and a lacklustre nuclear market. Shares have fallen to a two-year low of €9.33. Areva says it is undertaking a review of its strategic outlook and mid-term funding plan and will present a new financial outlook for the 2015-2017 period before it releases its 2014 annual results.

Bad review

BBC Breakfast

Trip
BBC

On Breakfast, Jan Jenkinson is remarkably calm about being whacked with that £100 bill for leaving a bad review on Trip Advisor. Simon Calder, travel journalist of the Independent is less sanguine: "This is completely out of order... Until the BBC found this story I hadn't heard of this happening" but it looks like it's happened before, he adds.

Bad review

hotel
Google

Here's one to get your blood up in the morning. A couple say they have been

"fined" £100 by a Blackpool hotel for leaving critical comments on travel review website Trip Advisor. Tony and Jan Jenkinson later found £100 charged to their credit card. The hotel said its policy was to charge for "bad" reviews. Trading Standards are investigating, somewhat unsurprisingly.

Market update

London's

blue chip index is down by 0.17% to 6,697.53, while Frankfurt's
Dax has risen 0.06% to 9,462.43 and France's
Cac 40 is lower by 0.09% to 4,258.34. In London:

ICAP results

City broker ICAP, which acts as a matchmaker between buyers and sellers of bonds, currencies and bets on markets, said first-half revenue fell 9%. Excluding foreign exchange movements, sales were £620m vs. £726m a year earlier. The broker also confirmed that its shipping business, ICAP Shipping, is in merger talks with rival Howe Robinson.

Via Email

Royal Mail earnings

Kamal Ahmed

BBC Business editor

Lurking on page 8 of today's numbers is the real story in Royal Mail's results - a warning of a "material risk" to the universal service obligation. Some may dismiss this as special pleading but Royal Mail's chief executive, Moya Greene, is clear - if action isn't taken now, Royal Mail's ability to fund the six day letter delivery service across the UK will come under possibly unmanageable strain.

Tied pubs

beer
Science Photo Library

Enterprise Inns ventures forth after the

commons vote which affects tied pubs. "We continue to believe the tie offers the best operating model for the vast majority of our publicans," says chief executive, Simon Townsend. "This amendment is a disproportionate response, which proposes fundamental change that is wholly contrary to the findings of the consultation, from which the Bill was drawn up."

Royal Mail profits

Royal Mail says total revenue grew by 2% to £4.5bn. But the vast majority of revenue growth came from its overseas operations which rose 7% to £813m. Its UK letters business saw revenue of £2.2bn, up 1% on the same period last year but UK parcels revenue was down 1% at £1.4bn, leaving total UK revenue flat.

Royal Mail profits

BBC Radio 4

Steven Hannon, chief executive of Postal and Logistics Consulting Worldwide tells the

Today programme the issue the Royal Mail is facing - as are many of its competitors - is increased competition. "One of their biggest customers, Amazon, has set up their own logistics system and they are actually delivering a lot of their own goods now," he says. "Royal Mail believe that is impacting on their profits by between 1% and 2%. Margins are pretty tight in the parcels business and customers are becoming more demanding," he adds.

Digital skills

BBC Radio 4

A bit more from Baroness Shields. Tech City UK is launching a new academy to help combat the digital skills shortage. She says her organisation has developed a massive online open course, or Mooc, in partnership with Cambridge University and University College London. It's free and Baroness Shields says this kind of course will help people brush up on their skills. The lack of digital skills is also constricting economies around the world.

Credit reports

BBC Breakfast

Jane Howard
BBC

Jane Howard of the Royal Bank of Scotland, is on Breakfast, talking about credit reports. Get a copy of your credit rating; make sure you keep up to date with bills; avoid applying for lots of credit at the same time and keep your electoral information up to date for a good credit rating, she says.

Digital skills

BBC Radio 4

Baroness Joanna Shields, chair of Tech City UK and an adviser to the the government tells the Today programme the UK economy is the most digital economy in the G20 - one wonders if the US might dispute that - and has "an acute need for people with digital skills" - she means people who can code. There is massive shortage, she says, and between now and 2017 "we need 750,000 more people with these digital skills" just to keep up.

Royal Mail profits

A postal worker in north London
PA

The Royal Mail figures strip out "transformation costs" which include a management reorganisation programme - otherwise known as job losses - which it says is expected to deliver costs savings of around £70m per year from next year. That's more than originally forecast and Royal Mail says at least £25m will be saved in the second half of this year as well.

BreakingBreaking News

Royal Mail earnings

Royal Mail has reported pre-tax profits for the six months to the end of September fell to £218m from £233m a year earlier.

Japan recession

BBC Radio 4

The Tokyo Tower and skyline
Getty Images

Mark Williams, chief Asia economist for Capital Economics, tells the

Today programme Japan "has to get its house in order". That's after the country fell into recession on Monday. Japan's deficit is 250% of GDP. That compares with the UK's 75% of GDP. "For now that's not a problem," he says, "markets don't seem to be too concerned." The interest Japan pays on its debts are at "rock bottom" levels.

Credit reports

Radio 5 live

Andrew Webb from Equifax is talking about credit reports on

Wake Up to Money. Sometimes payments that you've settled and other erroneous data end up on your credit report, so it's worth checking out, he says. Charities are calling for a free look once a year for consumers so they can manage their credit rating. You can get a statutory report for £2, he says.

Markets

Radio 5 live

"It's a case of the tail wagging the dog" investors demanding support from central banks leading to rising shares, says Gemma Godfrey from asset manager Brooks MacDonald on

Wake Up to Money. US stocks rose Tuesday, delivering the latest record highs for the Dow Jones.