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  1. All of the morning's business headlines and breaking news.
  2. Bank of England plans to cut number of rate meetings
  3. Ed Miliband outlines deficit reduction plan
  4. Google shuts Spanish news service over new law

Live Reporting

By Ben Morris and Howard Mustoe

All times stated are UK

Howard Mustoe

Business reporter

That's all for another day of business nuggets. Tomorrow brings us construction data and an Ofwat decision on water bills, along with the usual mix of business and economics news.

Via Twitter

Sally Bundock

Presenter, World Business Report


It's estimated #India needs 35,000 new homes built a DAY for the next 8 years to properly house its growing population."

Envelope cartel

Who would have thought the envelope industry was a hotbed of intrigue? European competition authorities have

fined five European envelope makers a total of €19.4m (£15.4m) for forming a cartel. Sweden's Bong, France's GPV and Hamelin, Germany's Mayer-Kuvert and Spain's Tompla were fined for the cartel which existed from 2003-2008. The regulator said the companies fixed prices at meetings they sometimes referred to as playing "mini-golf".

Banker bashing

Barclays Bank chairman, Sir David Walker

Barclays chairman Sir David Walker (pictured) has criticised fellow banker Sir John Peace for the number of roles he has, the Financial Times reports. Sir David said his job takes up five or six days a week and wonders how Sir John could be chairman of lender Standard Chartered and fashion group Burberry as well as being

Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. In response Standard Chartered said that being the bank's chairman is Sir John's main job.

EU tax deals probe

EU flags
Getty Images

European Union regulators hope to complete their investigations into

tax deals between the governments of Luxembourg, Ireland and the Netherlands and four multinational companies by the second quarter of next year, according to the AFP news agency. Cases currently underway involve deals with Apple, Starbucks, Amazon and Fiat.

Irish growth slows

Irish flags
Getty Images

Ireland's economy slowed dramatically during the third quarter. Official statistics showed growth of just 0.1% in the July to September quarter. That compares with growth of 1.1% in the April to June period. However, Ireland is still likely to post healthy growth for the year of around 5%.

Superjumbo outlook

A380 superjumbo
Getty Images

So what's going on with the Airbus A380 Superjumbo? On Wednesday the company's chief financial officer indicated that the plane might be discontinued as soon as 2018 due to a lack of orders. Today Airbus chief executive, Fabrice Bregier, is talking up the Superjumbo, saying product improvements will spur sales. He is confident there will be additional sales, despite not finding any new buyers this year.

Ed Miliband speech

"Some of the wealthiest in our society, who often have the loudest voices, will vociferously complain about some of these measures, including the mansion tax. But it is right and fair for the country," says Labour leader Ed Miliband in his speech on the economy.

He was grilled in November on this topic by singer Myleene Klass.

Ed Miliband speech

Mr Miliband has put forth five principles he wants to put in place which are, briefly: "a credible and sensible goal for dealing with our debts"; "reform of our economy"; "common sense spending reductions"; "those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden"; "this party will only make new commitments that are credible, costed and funded."

Ed Miliband speech

Ed Miliband

Labour leader Ed Miliband is speaking in the City, laying out his economic plan. He says the current government has chosen a "dramatic shrinkage of the state," not because "they need to do it, but because they want to do it." He adds that a large deficit is "harmful to our economic stability." He says he wants the national debt to fall as a proportion of national income "as soon as possible." He won't set an "arbitrary" target date.

Via Email

Annuities market reports

Richard Lloyd

Which? executive director

"Consumers have been repeatedly let down by the pensions industry, with years wiped off people's hard-earned savings, so it's welcome to see the FCA working with the industry to clean up mistakes from the past. The regulator's proposals to ensure consumers have better information when they make big decisions about their income at retirement are sensible. But action is long overdue and the regulator and industry must now quickly put in place changes to ensure retirement products offer true value for money."

Russia raises rates

Rouble dollar

Russia's central bank has raised its main lending rate by one percentage point to 10.5%. As the chart above shows, that didn't really have the desired effect as the dollar pushed to new record levels against the rouble, at one stage hitting 55.32 roubles to the dollar. The falling rouble is causing problems for Russia, by pushing up inflation and creating problems for Russian firms who have debts in dollars.

Via Email

ECB loan scheme

Jennifer McKeown

Senior European Economist, Capital Economics

"The ECB will need to start buying sovereign debt very soon if it is to expand its balance sheet as planned and reduce the threat of deflation. We still see it announcing an initial tranche of purchases of perhaps around €250bn in January."

ECB loan scheme

Euro symbol
Getty Images

There was somewhat tepid interest from banks to the European Central Bank's (ECB)

latest effort to get them to lend more. The ECB provided €130bn worth of funding in its long-term lending programme to banks (known as TLTRO). That was at the low end of what was expected. Some economists think the lack of interest may encourage the ECB to go for full-blown quantitative easing.

Bank of England revamp

Bank of England governor, Mark Carney

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney says that cutting the number of meetings of the monetary policy committee (MPC) will not cut its ability to react to events. "We could call an MPC meeting this afternoon if we wanted," Mr Carney says. He points out that, on average, the MPC only takes action four times a year.

Bank of England revamp

In a move that will make business journalists feel a little weak, the Bank of England wants to publish interest rate decisions, minutes from its policy meetings AND the quarterly inflation report at the same time. It hopes to do that next August for the first time. That's going to be a big day for us here on the Business live page.

Bank of England revamp

The Bank of England may also cut the number of interest rate policy meetings from 12 to 8 a year.

Bank of England revamp

The Bank of England says it will publish the minutes from interest rate policy meetings at the same time as it announces interest rates. Currently the minutes are delayed by two weeks. The minutes often contain lots of extra detail, including which way members of the Monetary Policy Committee have voted on interest rates. The BoE is holding a press conference at the moment.

ONS travel data



Office for National Statistics has released travel data for October. In the three months, August to October 2014, overseas residents spent £6.3bn during their visits to the UK, a decrease of 3% compared to the same three months in 2013. In the same period UK residents spent £12.3bn during visits abroad, an increase of 2% compared to last year.

Norway cuts rates

Norwegian sports fan
Getty Images

In a surprise move

Norway's central bank has cut interest rates by 0.25% to 1.25%. It also downgraded its growth forecast for next year to 1.5% from 2.25%, which was prompted by the falling price of oil. That fall has also undermined Norway's currency, the krone.

Vintage computing

BBC Radio 4

Apple's first personal computers, the Rickett's Apple-1 personal computer

Christies in New York is putting up for auction today one of Apple's first personal computers, the Rickett's Apple-1 personal computer. Built in 1976, it's expected to sell for about half a million dollars. It was hand-built in a garage belonging to the parents of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. Only 200 of its kind were built. The computer could produce text and numbers on a screen, which was "a big deal back then" said Jason Fitzpatrick from the centre for computing history in Cambridge.

Google response

Google logo

Google has released a statement about

the closure of its Google news service in Spain. It points out that it made no money from the service, so it made no sense to keep it running, as the new rules would require Google to pay for content from newspapers and magazines. "It's a service that hundreds of millions of users love and trust," Google said of the service which it provides all over the world.

Market update

After an initial wobble, the

FTSE 100 is up 0.18% to 6,511.96, led higher by oil firms. Germany's
Dax is up 0.5%, while the French
Cac rose 0.46%.

Tacking the deficit:

Radio 5 live

Former Chancellor Lord Nigel Lawson is on

5 live talking about the economy, too. He dismisses the idea people are struggling because of his party's policies. Wages are now rising faster than prices, he claims, albeit with the rider that inflation is very low.

Labour deficit plan:

Radio 5 live

Ed Balls

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is on

Radio 5 live, talking about reducing the deficit: "The reason it hasn't worked in this parliament is people aren't seeing their wages are going up, so taxes aren't coming in," he says. Why do you want to renew Trident, which will cost £25bn? "It's important as a deterrent," he says.

Via Twitter

Nick Robinson

Political editor


The "speech that remembers the deficit" is an important strategic shift by Labour but it contains no new proposals for cuts."

Shadow chancellor interview:

BBC Radio 4

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls is on

Today. He doesn't say anything new. The deficit will be cut as soon as possible in the next parliament. The NHS and international development spending would be protected. What about education? Mr Balls tells us education is "massively important". The top rate of tax will be raised to 50% and a mansion tax will be introduced to help pay for the NHS. He is unwilling to make promises because he doesn't know what will happen to the economy.

Annuities market reports

Radio 5 live

Christopher Woolard, director of policy, risk and research at the Financial Conduct Authority, is on

Radio 5 live explaining today's reports. "We are not suggesting there is mis-selling here... but there is some evidence of a problem," he said. "We want the industry to play its part, we want to clean up how people are presented with their options."

"Uneconomic" North Sea oil

BBC Radio 4

Some startling comments from Nick Butler, former head of strategy at BP. He says that at $65 a barrel some North Sea oil production is uneconomic and firms are unlikely to go ahead with new projects. He says that Saudi Arabia has "lost control" of the market, so lower prices are more likely. He thinks we are "pretty close" to the bottom of the market now.

Annuities market reports

Just so we are clear. The FCA has released two reports this morning.

The first contains provisional findings into how the whole market for retirement income is working. Not well, is the conclusion.
The second report looks at how annuities in particular are being sold. It concludes that consumers are not shopping around and switching due to way annuities are being sold. The two reports appear to overlap somewhat.

SuperGroup sales


SuperGroup, which makes Superdry clothes, said revenue for the 6 months to 25 October grew 8.4% to £208.2m. But it said a 0.25% rise in profit margin that it previously forecast, will not happen this year.

Via Twitter

Adam Parsons

Business Correspondent


FCA: Review found evidence that firms' sales practices are contributing to consumers not shopping around..significant improvements required"

FCA annuities report

The FCA report into annuity sales practices is out. It confirms that consumers might be missing out on higher income. Among other things, it recommends that firms make it clear to customers how their quote compares to rival offers.

Saudi Arabia oil

BBC Radio 4

Why has Saudi Arabia not cut production to drive up the oil price? Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi journalist tells

Today that the Saudi leadership is "trying to avoid the reality" that it can no longer affect the market. But he says that the low oil price is forcing Saudi Arabia to use some of its large cash reserves, which were supposed to be reserved for future generations.

Taxing questions

European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker
Getty Images

The Guardian is keeping up the pressure on Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president with its front page tax stories. Bob Comfort, the former head of tax at Amazon said Mr Juncker behaved as a "business partner" and helped "solve problems" for the firm, according to an interview in Luxembourg newspaper d'Letzebuerger Land, the Guardian says.

Labour deficit plan

BBC Radio 4

What will be new in Ed Miliband's speech today? Well, there will be a warning that unprotected government departments will see cuts until the deficit is eliminated, BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith says on

Today. Labour is not spelling out which departments will be spared, but health and overseas aid will probably be safe, he adds. Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, is due to appear on today at 07:50.

Dr Dre

Radio 5 live

Getty Images

Dr Dre made the most money of any musician this year, according to Forbes. That was mainly due to the sale of the Beats headphones business to Apple, rather than selling music or going on tour. "When you are on the road you make a of of money," music industry economist Chris Carey tells

Radio 5 live. Live music overtook recorded music in 2009 in terms of profitability for artists, he says.

Russian rouble slump

BBC World News

Russian rouble

Russia's central bank holds a policy meeting today. Some analysts are expecting it raise interest rates by a whole percentage point to 10.5%, to defend the

badly weakened Russian rouble. On World Business Report Daragh McDowell, an analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, says there is not much the central bank can do to defend the currency, which he says will track the falling oil price.