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Live Reporting

By Ben Morris and Matthew West

All times stated are UK

Matthew West

Business Reporter

OK that's it for today. Tomorrow we have trading updates from Rio Tinto, Unilever, BHP Billiton and William Hill. And the chancellor, George Osborne, is giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee too. We'll see you at 06:00.

Leading light

Emily Blaze showing the light to a man at a bike business event in London
Blaze

This is an encouraging story for any would be entrepreneurs. Emily Brook is the inventor behind the Blaze Laserlight. Richard Branson liked the innovative bike lights so much that he has invested in her business.

Read more on the BBC Business pages.

Eurostar update

This is what Eurostar press offices says: "There were delays at Gare du Nord for all trains coming in and out of Paris - for around 10 minutes. We've been told that there was a small fire detected on the track in St Denis, which has been dealt with. There are no cancellations to Eurostar services."

British Gas cuts prices

Ed Davey
BBC

There are now 20 independent suppliers of gas and electricity says energy secretary Ed Davey on News Channel. Despite

today's cut in gas prices from British Gas, he urges consumers to shop around.

Labour on jobs

BBC News Channel

Chuka Umunna, shadow business secretary
BBC

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna responds to Prime Minister Cameron's

pledge to achieve full employment. He says it's not enough to promise work it has to be "good decent work that pays a wage you can live off". He says Labour will ban "exploitative" zero hours contracts if they win power in May. Employers will be incentivised to pay a living wage Mr Umunna says.

Eurostar service disruption

French radio France Info is reporting that a fire in Saint Denis is disrupting Eurostar traffic from Gare du Nord in Paris. Sky news is reporting Eurostar services have been cancelled until further notice as a result of the fire we'll bring you confirmation when we have it.

SFO abandons Autonomy probe

The Serious Fraud Office has decided that there is insufficient evidence for it to pursue an investigation into the 2011 sale of software company Autonomy to Hewlett Packard.

HP accuses Autonomy's founder, Michael Lynch, of misleading HP over the true value of his company. He denies the accusations. An investigation by US authorities continues.

British Gas cuts gas price

BBC News Channel

Pete Moorey, Which?
BBC

Pete Moorey from Which? is not impressed

by the price cut from British Gas. "This is a very modest price cut in response to what have been very significant shifts in wholesale prices," he says. He reminds us that competition regulators are looking at the energy industry. He expects regulators to come up with "radical reforms" to the market.

North South divide

Ben Thompson
BBC

Business reporter Ben Thompson is at Niftylift in Milton Keynes today for the News Channel. The city has come top for job creation

in a survey by Centre for Cities. Andrew Carter from that organisation says that companies locate in areas that have skilled workers. Pam Gosal from Invest in Milton Keynes says the availability of housing helps.

Market update

FTSE 100
BBC

The

FTSE 100 is trading higher, up 0.2%, but well off the highs for the session. Mining shares are the biggest losers today on concerns over the Chinese economy.

Via Twitter

Richard Westcott

BBC transport correspondent

RAC says, electric car charging points in London going unused. Figures for June 2014 show that of the 905 units across the capital, only 324 were used (36%). The remaining 581 were not plugged into at all.

Via Blog

Inequality

Robert Peston

Economics editor

What is striking is the growing realisation - even by the extreme privileged - that it is no longer enough simply to argue that equality of opportunity is all that matters. Or rather, there can be little equality of opportunity in a world where there is the kind of inequality of outcome we haven't seen since the early decades of the last century.

Cameron speech

Mr Cameron says it is a myth that the government is spending most of its infrastructure budget on HS2. In fact it is spending three times as much on other road and rail projects as it is on HS2. And on the north/south divide, he says it is not true that the economic recovery is just in the south of England. He adds that "in the last quarter employment has been growing fastest in the north east".

Cameron speech

Mr Cameron's next pledge is on infrastructure. He says the government will continue to spend on road and rail building. "In terms of roads we are now spending. on roads. more than at any time since the 1970s."

Cameron speech

Small businesses are the engine room of employment as well as the economy, Mr Cameron says. He says he wants to see more people starting their own business so his first pledge is to triple the number of small business start-up loans to 75,000. Mr Cameron says nine out of 10 jobs created in the last year have been "full-time, higher skilled wage jobs". It is a "myth" that the jobs his government has created have been low-paid, low-skilled, zero-hour contract jobs, he adds.

Cameron speech

Prime Minister, David Cameron
BBC

Prime Minister David Cameron is speaking in Ipswich and outlining the latest Conservative party pledge. Today it is full employment. He is aiming for "a rate of employment higher than the rate of employment in any of the other advanced economies," he says. A job is not just a statistic he says, "it is about the self respect and dignity that work brings".

Nut rage

Stephen Evans

BBC Korea Correspondent

"Indignity has been heaped upon indignity for Mrs Cho. She appeared in court dressed in a green prison uniform. She's been in custody for three weeks after being arrested for the so-called "nut rage" incident. She is the daughter of the head of Korean Air, and was an executive herself until forced to resign."

Nut rage trial

Coach carrying Cho Hyun-ah, Korean Air executive
AP

The trial has opened of the Korean Air executive who went into a rage

because her nuts weren't served in a bowl or on a plate but in a bag. Cho Hyun-ah is accused of violating the law on aviation safety by insisting that the aircraft she was on turned back when taxiing to the runway so the offending steward could be put off. She pleaded not guilty.

BreakingBreaking News

British Gas cuts gas bills

Gas cooker rings flames.
BBC

British Gas is cutting household gas prices by 5% from 27 February, trimming annual energy bills on average by £37. British Gas owner Centrica said the 5% cut reflected the fall in wholesale gas prices. It also follows last week's announcement by E.ON that it was cutting gas prices by 3.5%

Cameron jobs speech

Economists have long argued over what constitutes full employment. Undaunted, Prime Minister David Cameron is set to promise a return to full employment in a speech, due to start in 15 minutes time. He'll also outline the Conservative party's other election promises. We'll bring you more when he starts speaking.

Swiss franc

Euro Swiss franc
BBC

As the chart above shows,

the Swiss franc breached parity against euro earlier today. You'll remember last week the Swiss National Bank abandoned an effort to peg the Swiss Franc at 1.20 to the euro. Since then it's strengthened by 20%.

Rangers saga update

General view of Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow.
PA

The saga continues at Rangers. Shareholder Dave King has called a meeting of shareholders to vote on whether to remove four directors of the club. Now the club's management

is trying to stop that meeting taking place. And in a separate notice Ranger has acknowledged that Ibrox Stadium may be used as security for funding. That's in the face of shareholder concerns over the future of the stadium.

Chinese shares slump

Stock price board, China
AP

Chinese shares suffered the biggest one-day percentage drop in six and a half years. The Shanghai Composite index ended 7.7% lower. The sell-off followed a crackdown by regulators on margin trading, that when investors borrow money to invest in the stock market.

Greek elections

BBC Radio 4

A Greek and an EU flag wave in front of the ancient temple of Parthenon
AFP

Greece's main opposition party, Syriza, looks like it will win next weekend's general election, the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston tells

Today. Markets are extremely nervous about Greece leaving the eurozone, he says, Meanwhile, some Greek banks have already asked for emergency funds from the European Central Bank (ECB) in case there is a run on the banks after the election.

'Over inflated egos'

Davos sign
Getty Images

This week leaders from business and politics travel to the Swiss Alps for the World Economic Forum in Davos.

According to Yo! Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe the meeting is just full over "over inflated egos". More from him, including some poetry on the BBC Business pages.

Market update

The

FTSE 100 index is up marginally a touch at 6,556.87 but it's a quiet morning so far.

  • Tesco is among those leading gains this morning up 2.26%
  • Saga is up 2.4%

Earlier in Tokyo the

Nikkei 225 closed 0.9% higher.

Oil price warning

BBC World News

Mohammed Al-Sabban
BBC

If you work in the oil industry, then sit down before reading on.

Oil prices need to go "as low as possible" to force marginal producers out of the market, says Mohammed Al-Sabban a former senior advisor to the Minister of Petroleum in Saudi Arabia. The nation can handle oil prices at the current level "for at least eight years" he tells World Business Report.

AIB boss moves on

Allied Irish Banks (AIB) chief executive David Duffy is leaving his role to take over as the boss of Clydesdale Bank. He will also join the European board of directors of Clydesdale's parent, National Australia Bank (NAB). No start date for Mr Duffy has been finalised but it "is anticipated he will take up his role in the next few months," NAB says. He has been with AIB since 2011.

Newspaper review

Busines pages
BBC

President Barack Obama is expected to unveil a proposal to extract more tax from bankers and the wealthy says the lead on the Financial Times. That has been "blasted" by the banking industry, it says. Investment by Britain in China is to rise fourfold, says the lead of the Telegraph's business section.

The front page of the Guardian picks up on the Oxfam report that says by next year 1% of the world's population will own more than 50% of the world's wealth.

Via Twitter

Adam Parsons

Business Correspondent

#Rangers confirms in talks with two stakeholders about raising finance and "it may be necessary to use Ibrox stadium as security"

Greene King results

Greene King sign
Greene King

The Farmhouse Inn Castleford, Yorkshire turned over a staggering £15,5000 on Christmas Day this year, according to the

pub's owner Greene King. That helped Greene King to a record Christmas Day retail sales of £3.4m. The Bury St. Edmunds based firm reported a 0.6% rise in like-for-like total sales for the 36 weeks to 11 January.

John Laing stock market float

Building group

John Laing has confirmed plans to list on the London Stock Exchange., It says it expects to raise around £130m from the stock market flotation. It has also confirmed that Jeremy Beeton, former director-general of the Olympic executive has joined the board as a non-executive director.

Thorntons sales fall

Thorntons chocolates
PA

Chocolate maker Thorntons has reported a 6.4% decline in sales for the 14 weeks to 10 January. At least that is better than the previous quarter when sales fell 11.9%.
Back on 23 December shares plummeted 25% when Thorntons warned that annual profits would fall in the current financial year.

Balancing the economy

BBC Radio 4

Peter Spencer chief economist at the EY Item Club tells

Today "very high oil and commodity prices" in recent years, led to higher shop prices, which held back consumer spending. "The consumer is now freed from those constraints," he says. But he adds, we need to get "business investment and exports going as well".

Balancing the economy

BBC Radio 4

Confederation of British Industries (CBI) director general John Cridland
Reuters

CBI director general John Cridland tells

Today the financial services industry is now thriving once more with the best business volumes for almost 20 years. He says that indicates "organic growth" in the UK is quite strong. By contrast in 2013 most economic growth came from the consumer.

Eurozone stimulus

BBC Radio 4

Mr Stirling adds the ECB might have to apply quite tight restriction on the types of assets it is allowed to buy from governments. He adds the move by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) - removing its currency peg to the euro last week - has meant market expectations are "exceptionally high and there is a danger that will be disappointed" by what the ECB actually announces.

Eurozone stimulus

BBC Radio 4

euro sign
Getty Images

Euan Stirling of Standard Life tells

Today that the expected decision this week by the European Central Bank (ECB) to adopt QE is both "an opportunity and a threat". He says stock market expectations around the ECB's economic stimulus policy are already "priced in" and that the market is a vulnerable to disappointment.

Eurostar services resume

Eurostar trains stand at St Pancras International Station in London
Reuters

If you're travelling to Europe today then some good news.

Eurostar train services to Paris have resumed this morning following the fire at the weekend that caused
the Eurotunnel to close. That said, delays of up to 30 minutes are still expected Eurostar is warning.

Copper and iron ore

Radio 5 live

Ammunition factory
Getty Images

Copper prices have recovered a bit from last week's five and a half year low. On
Wake Up to Money David Lennox, a commodity analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, says that copper and iron ore might be a bit oversold. There was strong demand for both metals from China last year, and he says China will require "significant quantities" of both this year. China's growth figures on Tuesday will be closely watched, he adds.

Eurozone stimulus

Radio 5 live

Euro notes
Getty Images

Will the European Central Bank (ECB) launch a QE stimulus scheme on Thursday and will it work? On

Wake Up to Money Euan Stirling from Standard Life says watch out for any "conditionality" attached to the stimulus scheme. The ECB might demand certain things before they allow the flood gates to open, he says. There could be "murky waters" ahead for the markets, he warns.