Royal Bank of Scotland 'plans further 900 job cuts in UK'
Bailed-out bank is scaling back global ambitions and reducing costs in attempt to return to private sector
Tuesday 21 June 2016 17.28 BST Last modified on Tuesday 21 June 2016 18.30 BST
Royal Bank of Scotland plans to cut 900 jobs in the UK, taking the total number of staff losses to 2,700 over the past four months, according to Reuters.
The roles would be lost in IT and back-office positions across the bank’s operations as the bailed-out bank attempts to cut costs in its bid to return to the private sector.
At the start of the year, RBS had 64,000 UK staff in the UK but since then jobs have been cut across most of its operations in retail, commercial and investment banking, as well as its IT functions.
Ross McEwan, the chief executive of the 73% taxpayer-owned bank, set a target to save £800m in 2016. While he acknowledged this could result in job cuts, he didn’t specify how many roles would be lost.
The cuts are part of efforts to scale back the global ambitions of RBS, which had operations in about 50 countries with approximately 180,000 staff at the time of its bailout, to focus on domestic retail banking.
RBS said: “We understand how difficult this is for our staff and will be offering as much support as we can, including redeployment to other roles where possible. The bank’s global workforce is 87,800.
My Local on verge of collapse, putting 1,700 jobs at risk
Convenience store chain sold by Morrisons last September for £25m files notice of intention to appoint administrators
Tuesday 21 June 2016 18.47 BST Last modified on Wednesday 22 June 2016 00.31 BST
Convenience store chain My Local is on the verge of collapse after filing a notice of intention to appoint administrators, putting 1,700 jobs at risk.
Accountancy firm KPMG, which has been working with My Local’s management on considering options for the future of the 120-store chain, was lined up on Tuesday afternoon to handle an administration. It is currently not certain whether or not the administrators will be appointed. The notice provides protection from creditors for 10 days before the company potentially tips into administration.
Any appointment could mean a possible liability of up to £20m for Morrisons, which sold the convenience store chain to a group fronted by the retail veteran Mike Greene, who appeared on Channel 4 show The Secret Millionaire, for £25m in September 2015.
Greene’s book, Failure Breeds Success, tells how he went bankrupt aged 27 before moving on to work in the retail sector and creating a retail consultancy called him!
The My Local deal was backed by Greybull Capital, which was a co-investor, along with OpCapita, in Comet, the electrical retailer that collapsed in controversial circumstances in 2012.
As part of the sale of its convenience stores, Morrisons retained a guarantee on a number of lease obligations, meaning that they will revert to the supermarket if My Local collapses. At the time of the sale, the leases on the stores were thought to have an average of about five years remaining.
Morrisons sold 140 My Local stores, at which about 2,300 people were employed, but it is understood that 25 have already closed or been sold on, and about 600 jobs have gone as the chain has downsized amid disappointing sales.
KPMG has looked at a number of options for the business, including the sale of up to 10 stores to the Co-operative Group.
Joanne McGuinness, a national officer for the Usdaw union, said: “My Local staff are devastated by the news that the company is going into administration. Having been sold by Morrisons last year, there was a mood of optimism that the new owners could turn around the business.
“We are talking to the company in a bid to save jobs and get the best deal for staff. In the meantime, Usdaw is providing the support, advice and representation they need at this unsettling time.”
The chain is understood to have suffered because of the poor location of its stores, many of which were former Blockbuster sites bought when the video rental chain went bankrupt.
The grocery market is in the middle of a price war prompted by the rise of discounters Aldi and Lidl, which have been rapidly opening stores and winning over more customers.
According to retail analysts The Local Data Company, the convenience store market is reaching saturation, with the number of such shops declining last year in 288 towns in the UK. That comes as the total number of convenience stores increased by 21% from 13,617 in 2010 to 16,426 at the end of 2015.
My Local is the latest retailer to come under pressure following the collapse of BHS and Austin Reed, both of which called in administrators in April. Brantano went into administration in January, but the majority of jobs were saved after the footwear chain was bought back by its owner Alteri a month later.
Meanwhile, clothing chain Blue Inc, which includes the Officers Club menswear chain, also went into pre-pack administration at the start of this year with a plan to close more than 60 of its 240 stores, threatening 500 jobs.
Greybull and My Local were unavailable for comment.
Duff & Phelps is to announce on Monday that all 114 remaining BHS stores will close within four weeks, Sky News learns.
Saturday 23 July 2016
By Mark Kleinman, City Editor
The BHS brand will disappear from British high streets on 20 August with the closure of the stricken chain's final stores, administrators will say next week.
Sky News has learnt Duff & Phelps is expected to announce on Monday the remaining 114 BHS shops will cease trading within four weeks, although many will close their doors for the last time before that date.
Their closure will directly affect more than 5,000 shop workers, although the precise number who will lose their jobs was unclear on Saturday.
The news has been anticipated since efforts to find a buyer for the whole of BHS fell apart in early June, six weeks after the chain collapsed into administration.
The timing of the store closure announcement will be excruciating for Sir Philip Green, whose decision to sell BHS for £1 last year will be severely criticised by MPs in a coruscating report to be published on the same day.
Bank threatens charges as negative interest rates loom
Customers could be charged for depositing money in their accounts after one of Britain’s biggest banks took a step towards negative interest rates. Hundreds of thousands of NatWest business customers have been warned that they could be made to pay a fee for having a credit balance.
UK pay: British workers see biggest fall in wages - TUC
2 hours ago
From the section Business
Women are still earning less, on average, than men, official figures suggest
Workers in the UK have suffered the biggest fall in wages among the world's richest countries since the financial crisis, research has suggested.
Between 2007 and 2015 wages in the UK fell by 10.4%, a drop equalled only by Greece, the analysis by the TUC found.
Women's pay in particular needs to be boosted, the union body said. Women earn on average 19.2% less than men, according to the latest official data.
The Treasury said the TUC's analysis did not fully reflect living standards.
The UK is the joint biggest faller on pay in 29 countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) - a forum for wealthy countries who work together to promote financial growth and social wellbeing.
The UK, Greece and Portugal were the only three OECD countries that saw real wages fall, according to the research complied by the TUC.
i'm surprised it's just 10.4%, go abroad and see who has money, not the british, well not where I can afford to go these days, our pensions are laughable compared to the rest of Europe. and our wages. thanks Cameron.
If we learn from our mistakes, why aint I a genius, If you educate the masses where's the advantage for the few?
Lloyds cuts a further 3,000 jobs and doubles branch closure plan
By Joe Miller
Lloyds has ramped-up its job-cutting scheme, axing a further 3,000 roles, even as it reported a 101% increase in pre-tax profits.
The bank also doubled its planned branch closures, with 200 more set to vanish from the UK's high-streets by the end of 2017.
The cuts are in addition to the 9,000 job and 200 branch closures Lloyds announced in 2014.
Lloyds reported a £2.5bn pre-tax profit for the half year to the end of June.
In the same period last year, it made £1.2bn.
The rise was largely due to a sharp drop-off in payment protection insurance (PPI) compensation payouts, which dented previous profits.
PPI has cost the bank more than £16bn since 2011.
Lenders are expecting the scheme to be wrapped up soon.
Underlying profits at Lloyds Banking Group fell by 5%, and chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio warned that he expects a "deceleration of growth" following the UK's decision to leave the EU.
The Group said the increased cost-cutting was as a result of the change in how people do their banking, and due to the chances of interest-rates staying low in the wake of Brexit.
But Mr Horta-Osorio emphasised that Lloyds was in a "strong position to withstand the uncertainty" created by the vote.
Almost 10% of Lloyds is still owned by the British taxpayer.
Lloyds shares fell almost 4% in early trading.
Laith Khalaf, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that despite Lloyds' attempt to set out its stall as a "multi-channel bank", the reality is that "demand for banking services is moving online, and so banks must follow where their customers lead, and ultimately that doesn't bode well for high street branches".
He added that while the Brexit vote had hit Lloyds, "it remains a strong bank", and the impact of the vote will probably be felt most by shareholders, who may receive less cash this year.
Rob MacGregor, the national officer for Unite, which represents some Lloyds staff, called the job cuts a "further body blow to the UK economy".
"These are permanent jobs that are being lost," he said.
"As a country, we can't afford to lose these jobs in a challenging post-Brexit world.
Home ownership falling in major English cities, says think tank
By Kevin Peachey
Personal finance reporter
15 minutes ago
Major English cities - particularly Manchester - have seen the sharpest falls in home ownership since a peak in the early 2000s, analysis suggests.
The Resolution Foundation said homes were becoming increasingly unaffordable for struggling potential buyers.
The proportion of home owners dropped from 72% in April 2003 to 58% this year in Greater Manchester, it said.
West Yorkshire, the metropolitan area of the West Midlands and outer London have also recorded double-digit falls.
Explaining the falling rates of home ownership, Matthew Whittaker, chief economist from the Resolution Foundation, told the BBC's Today programme: "What we particularly have seen since 2002-03 is that incomes simply haven't kept pace with house prices, so it's not just that house prices have gone up.
"We had access to lots of relatively easy credit and the position we're in now is that credit has been turned off.
Bank of England stress tests are flawed and mask major weaknesses in the banking system, claims an influential think-tank.
Wednesday 03 August 2016
Bank of England
The Bank of England is accused of being 'asleep at the wheel again'
The UK is heading for a worse financial crisis than 2008 and Britain's banks are "in no fit state to withstand the storm", it has been warned.
A hard-hitting report by the Adam Smith Institute said the Bank of England's stress tests were "like having a ship radar system that cannot detect an iceberg".
The influential think-tank argued the flawed "health checks" masked the ability of British banks to cope with another major economic shock and accused the Bank of England of being "asleep at the wheel again".
The study highlighted 13 flaws in the stress test, which was compared to a "ridiculously easy exam with a ludicrously low pass rate".
It argued every single UK lender would currently fail "more rigorous" stress tests by the US Federal Reserve.
The research warned the UK is "sailing blindly into a second global financial crisis" and has called on the stress tests to be ditched, with decision-makers instead forced to be personally liable for risks.
RBS to charge some British corporate customers negative rates
Some big corporate clients of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) face the prospect of paying to hold deposits with the bank from Monday as it becomes the first lender in Britain to charge negative interest rates.
The move, announced by the bank on Friday, is linked to the European Central Bank's negative deposit rate and not to the Bank of England's decision this month to cut its main lending rate to a record low 0.25 percent.