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Summary

  1. RBs fined £56m for IT failures

Live Reporting

By Howard Mustoe and Matthew West

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Matthew West

Business Reporter

Right, that's your lot. We're off. Tomorrow we have public sector borrowing and Hornby half year results. We'll see you at 06:00.

The price of everything...

The BBC's head of statistics, Anthony Reuben, has been delving into the ONS's figures. Have you ever wondered how much everything in the UK is worth? Well, the figure is out this morning and it's £7.6tn. Read more

here.

Boris US tax row

Mayor of London Boris Johnson
PA

Spare a thought for poor old Mayor of London Boris Johnson today. According to the

Guardian he has been hit with a capital gains tax demand by US authorities. Mr Johnson holds dual UK - US nationality and as such is legally obliged to file a tax return and liable to pay US taxes, even if his income is earned abroad. He's refusing to pay it. He regularly criticizes the US embassy which wont' pay the congestion charge bill it has racked up over the years.

Nigeria debt

World Service

"Nigeria has a significant infrastructure deficit and they would welcome any kind of input into reducing that deficit," says Africa economist Gary van Staden talking to the BBC's Russell Padmore about a $12bn (£765m) deal for a Chinese company to build a new rail line in Nigeria. Listen to the Business Update

here.

Ford oil

Mustang
BBC

More from Bill Ford (and another gratuitous picture): "I believe the path that we've chosen is absolutely the right one. We want to be a fuel efficiency leader and we've worked hard to become that company... Right now fuel costs are down, but it's still a cost for our customers and so if we can help take costs away and continue to give great performance, why wouldn't we?"

Ineos shale

Ineos has confirmed what we heard earlier: it is planning to invest $1bn (about £640m) in UK Shale gas exploration. If Ineos wins all the Shale gas licences it has applied for, it will be "the biggest player in the UK Shale gas industry," it says in a statement.

Ford oil

Mustang
BBC

Bill Ford, the great grandson of Henry Ford and executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, has been talking to the BBC's Mark Lobel. He denied that because global oil prices were now low, that would mean Ford would be putting less emphasis on fuel efficiency in its models. Mr Ford was in Dubai to launch the Mustang 2015 (on the 112th floor of the tallest building on earth) on Wednesday evening.

German private sector output slows

manufacture
Reuters

Activity among private sector firms in Germany - the eurozone's largest economy - slowed in November to a 16 month low , according to the latest Markit Purchasing Managers' Index. Manufacturers reported the steepest drop in new work in nearly two years blaming economic uncertainty and weaker demand from both domestic and foreign markets. The index read 52.1 in November, down from 53.9 in October.

Mortgage lending

The CML - which represents 95% of mortgage lenders in the UK - says nearly all indicators in the housing market point to a gentle easing in market conditions. But it adds "with expectations of the first interest rate rise moving to the fourth quarter of next year, as well as positive forecasts for growth, pay and unemployment, there is potential for market activity to gain traction in the new year."

Via Email

Retail Sales

Keith Richardson

Managing Director Retail Sector at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking

"Although fashion and footwear sales were impacted by October's unseasonably warm temperatures, a buoyant housing market ensured a strong demand for big ticket items such as furniture and electrical goods... Over the next few weeks we expect more retailers to start promotions and, importantly, high profile sales early to drive festive footfall and spending from customers who are focused more than ever on value and quality, and are willing to delay their Christmas purchases."

Mothercare profits

At the start of 2014 Mothercare issued a profit warning blaming weak Christmas sales. Its chief executive Simon Calver announced his resignation from the retailer in February. The retailer has previously warned it does not expect to make a profit until 2017, under the leadership of new boss Mark Newton-Jones, who has embarked on a restructuring programme. Mothercare says like-for-like sales rose 1.5% in the first half.

Mothercare profits

The Mothercare logo
BBC

UK mother and baby retailer Mothercare has reported a half year pre-tax profit of £5.5m compared with a loss of £11m for the same period a year earlier. It says the profit was the result of "lower exceptional items and a credit from 'marking to market' foreign currency contracts". In the summer the retailer rejected a £266m takeover offer from US rival Destination Maternity. Mothercare remains cautious in its outlook saying "trading conditions remain challenging,"

Via Email

Bonus caps

The British Banker's Association

"We continue to support the Treasury's challenge to this legislation. There have already been sweeping changes made to the way that bank staff are paid since the financial crisis....We believe this law runs counter to recent reforms and will make the system less robust by incentivising firms to increase fixed pay. It also puts European banks at a disadvantage when competing with firms in other parts of the world."

Mortgage lending

Rooftops of houses in north London.
PA

Mortgage lending grew by 5% in October to £19bn compared with a month earlier, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has said today. It was also 8% higher than the same month a year earlier (£17.5 billion) and the highest lending total for the month of October in six years. So that slowdown in the housing market that analysts have been talking about since the summer seems a little less slow this morning.

Via Email

Bonus caps

Tom Gosling

head of PwC’s reward practice

"This won't come as a huge surprise for the banking industry. It seems unlikely now that the Court will overturn the Advocate General's opinion, so banks should continue planning on the basis that the bonus cap will still be in force next year. It's probably cold comfort for many, but at least one of the many sources of regulatory uncertainties for banks' pay seems to have been removed."

French private sector shrinks

Graph showing French economic output
Markit

Output in France's private sector shrank for the seventh month in a row in November, according to the Markit Purchasing Managers' Index. French private sector companies reported another drop in outstanding business in November. That was the sharpest fall since May 2013, Markit said. The overall index rose to 48.4, which although a two month high was still below the 50 mark which separates growth from contraction.

Via Twitter

Retail sales

Robert Peston

Economics editor

tweets: "Average UK shop prices fell by 1.5% in October 2014 compared with October 2013 - biggest drop for 12 years."

China factory output stalls

A woman working in a factory in Lianyungang, east China"s Jiangsu province.
AFP

Growth in China's factory sector stalled in November, with output contracting for the first time in six months. The latest flash HSBC/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to a six-month low of 50.0 from a final reading of 50.4 in October and well below the 50.3 forecast by analysts. The index will stoke fears Chinese factory output is teetering on the brink of decline.

BreakingBreaking News

Retail sales

According to the Office for National Statistics in October, the quantity bought in the retail industry increased by 4.3% compared with October 2013, the nineteenth period of consecutive year-on-year growth.

RBS fine

Because the UK still owns four-fifths of RBS, you could consider that the government fined itself £44.8m of the £56m and thus (very slightly) delayed the process of selling the bank back into private hands, which Chancellor George Osborne has said he ultimately wants to do. That would be a depressing thought, though.

Via Twitter

Winter fuel allowance

Paul Lewis

Presenter, Money Box

tweets: "Expats living in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal, and Spain can't claim and won't be paid winter fuel payment from 2015."

Market update

The

FTSE 100 in London is down 0.34% to 6673.51 led by the miners. In Paris, the
Cac 40 has declined 0.67% to 4237.64 and the Frankfurt
Dax fell 0.49% to 9426.64. Back to London:

RBS fine

BBC Radio 4

Tracey McDermott, director of enforcement and financial crime at the FCA is on

Today talking about the RBS fine. "This was a serious failure... a basic systems upgrade went wrong and they didn't have a backup in place." They hadn't prepared for such a problem, she says. Should customers get some money back? RBS has paid £70m in compensation, she said.

BreakingBreaking News

Bonus caps

The EU's opinion on the UK challenge to banker bonus caps is in. The Court of Justice of the European Union "considers that the EU legislation limiting the ratio of bankers bonuses compared to their basic salary is valid."

Gatwick earnings

A passenger jet preparing to land at Gatwick Airport
PA

Gatwick airport has reported a "record breaking year" with an 8.6% rise in sales to £391.6m in the six months to the end of September. It says it has had "the busiest six months in the airport's history" with 22.5 million passengers passing through; an increase of 8% on a year earlier. Pre-tax profit for the period stood at £122.4m.

Centrica earnings

Centrica
Centrica/British Gas

Centrica has lowered its earnings outlook slightly for the financial year from 21p-22p per share to 19p-20p. It says it has faced a number of challenges this year including the mild weather in the UK, which, it says, will mean the average household energy bill will be around £100 lower this year than last. UK households in the last ten months have used 21% less gas and 7% less electricity than a year ago. British Gas lost around 50,000 customers in the third quarter

Via Twitter

RBS fine

The Financial Conduct Authority

FCA;s Tracey McDermott on BBC Breakfast
BBC

Tweets: "Tracey McDermott on
@BBCBreakfast: 'Firms have to change. They recognise that. It's a process they have to carry on'".

Hinckley power plant

BBC Radio 4

Professor Thomas adds that the consortium that will build the new plant at Hinckley "has been problematic for two or three years". The original members were EDF, with a minority going to Centrica, who then pulled out. Two Chinese companies came into the consortium but "now they are making demands that they should supply a significant amount of the kit," he adds. "There's also talk about bringing in Saudi Electric which smacks of desperation," he says.

Via Email

Paul Lewis

Presenter, Money Box

tweets: "RBS fines are just £8.60 per affected customer. Better surely to make bank give them all £100. This was a fundamental failure of banking."

Via Email

RBS fine

Richard Lloyd

Which? executive director

"With record low levels of confidence in banking, regulators must continue to take tougher action to ensure the basics of customer service are improved, access to essential bank services is maintained in every community, and full compensation given to anyone affected by failings. The Treasury should spend the fines they receive on improving financial education for young people, so that the next generation of consumers are better equipped to hold banks to account."

RBS fine

Tracey McDermott, director of enforcement and financial crime at the FCA said: "The Banks' failures meant millions of customers were unable to carry out the banking transactions which keep businesses and people's everyday lives moving. The problems arose due to failures at many levels within the RBS Group to identify and manage the risks, which can flow from disruptive IT incidents and the result was that RBS customers were left exposed to these risks."

UK Nuclear

BBC Radio 4

"If someone wants to make losses on [building nuclear] plants in Britain, well, good luck to them," Professor Thomas tells

Today. He says the UK lost its "nuclear industry probably 35 years ago, and I'm not sure we should be too worried about that - it's not an industry that's done well for us... The last reactors we exported were more than 50 years ago," he says. We should be focusing energy efficiency and renewable energy, which is becoming cheaper while nuclear is becoming more expensive, he adds.

RBS fine

rbs
PA

Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of RBS, said: "Our IT failure in the summer of 2012 revealed unacceptable weaknesses in our systems and caused significant stress for many of our customers. As I did back then, I again want to apologise to all customers in the UK and Ireland that we let down two and a half years ago."

RBS fine

Royal Bank of Scotland's fine is in two parts. The Prudential Regulatory Authority has fined the bank £14m, while the Financial Conduct Authority has fined the bank £42m. You may remember that over the course of about 6 weeks the bank's 6.5 million customers were unable to use online banking services, cash machines or pay their mortgages. Some customers were left unable to access cash abroad and some companies were unable to pay their staff.

BreakingBreaking News

RBS fine

Royal Bank of Scotland has been fined again. This time £56m in total. This is for IT failures in June 2012 which prevented its customers from being able to access their accounts.

Areva woes

BBC Radio 4

French nuclear firm Areva has been giving investors the jitters - its share price fell by more than 20% yesterday after it had to restate its financial outlook . Its newly designed nuclear reactor is due to go into the UK's Hinckley power station. But "only four in the world that have been ordered. Two are in Europe and are about three times over budget - one is nine years late, the other is about five or six years late," Steven Thomas, professor of energy policy at Greenwich university tells

Today.

Global economy

Radio 5 live

More from markets guest James Bevan, chief investment officer at CCLA, on

Wake Up to Money. This time he's talking about how the world's various economies are doing. "The clear evidence from my point of view is the US and UK are improving economies. In contrast, the Bank of Japan and eurozone are in real trouble."

Royal Mail

Radio 5 live

James Bevan, chief investment officer at CCLA is on

Wake Up to Money talking about Royal Mail's results, which came in yesterday. He says: "The storyboard has changed from there being a significant growth in parcel revenue... people are now suggesting the fair share price is £4... Royal Mail needs to automate in a way many companies across Europe have already done."

Trimming the fat

Obesity costs the global economy £2tn annually, according to a new report published by the management consultants

McKinsey and Company. That's as much as 2.8% of the world's economic output, it claims. It wants us all to eat smaller portions, (and spend fewer hours on the sofa playing computer games no doubt... something tells us this isn't likely to happen).

McLaren

Radio 5 live

McLaren driver Jenson Button
AP

Caroline Hargrove of McLaren Applied Technologies is on

Wake Up to Money. Her firm helps companies model what-if scenarios from oil and gas drilling to helping accountants manage all the data they have. Dealing with Formula 1 cars means you have to deal with a lot of data, and "we can run a lot of scenarios in the background."