Romford borrowed more in payday loans than Leeds in 2018 | Money – Business Article

The people of Romford in east London borrowed more money via payday loans in 2018 than the entire population of Leeds, according to official data. A study based on the figures named Birmingham as “the payday loan capital of the UK”, with its residents borrowing a total of £37m in 2018 as their personal finances came under pressure. But the data showed that in terms of population size, Romford and Croydon, south London, were both contenders for the title. Romford’s…

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What are the chances of us all getting £300 off Mastercard? | Money – Business Article

Mastercard charges allegedly resulted in consumers overpaying for goods in shops to the tune of £14bn, and if a class action is successful, it will mean payouts worth up to £300 for 46 million people. That’s according to the former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks – though this is hotly disputed by Mastercard – following a court of appeal ruling in his favour this week. But what is the likelihood of you finding the cash in your account any time soon?…

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Homes with stained glass windows – in pictures | Money – Business Article

Belper, Derbyshire Elizabeth House, a former convent, retains many original features including large decorative stained glass windows in the drawing room on the first floor landing and in the porch and vestibule. The 10-bedroom property offers potential for many uses, subject to planning consent. It has a three-roomed cellar, one being a wine cellar. The 2.75-acre property is set in a semi-woodland with a sweeping driveway. A flagstone patio, garden stores, an external home office, a large orchard, brick outbuildings…

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If TfL couldn’t make Crossrail run on time, what hope for the HS2 project? | Phillip Inman | UK news – Business Article

Transport for London is in a fix. On the one hand it is the most lavishly funded transport organisation in the country. On the other, it is stretched to breaking point operating probably the most extensive and sophisticated network of trains and buses in Europe. Crossrail, the £15bn-plus joint venture with the Department for Transport to build a new rail line across the capital, is making matters worse. Headlines highlighting a series of delays that have pushed the opening date…

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Surge in ticket sales for European ferries after Brexit delay | Travel – Business Article

Ferry services to Europe have reported a ticket sales rise of more than 50% as holidaymakers book summer breaks after Brexit was delayed. Holidaymakers had been warned of potential difficulties travelling to the continent, especially by car and ferry, in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The decision to put Britain’s date of departure from the European Union back from 29 March to at least the end of May, and possibly 31 October, has unleashed a wave of ticket sales.…

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Crossrail opening may be delayed to 2021 | UK news – Business Article

Crossrail’s opening date could be pushed back into 2021, as bosses continue to assess the remaining work to be done on the flagship London railway project. A new target is due to be announced next week by Mark Wild, the Transport for London executive parachuted in to lead the programme after the extent of delays was belatedly revealed last summer. A best and worst range will be set, with the earliest date being spring 2020. A Crossrail spokesman said it…

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Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population | Money – Business Article

Half of England is owned by less than 1% of its population, according to new data shared with the Guardian that seeks to penetrate the secrecy that has traditionally surrounded land ownership. The findings, described as “astonishingly unequal”, suggest that about 25,000 landowners – typically members of the aristocracy and corporations – have control of half of the country. The figures show that if the land were distributed evenly across the entire population, each person would have almost an acre…

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Helium balloons blamed for hundreds of train delays | UK news – Business Article

Rail passengers who have ridden out a year of disruption through timetable meltdowns, strikes and seasonal weather have been warned of another factor causing delays: balloons on the line. Network Rail said there was a growing problem from helium-filled balloons, which it blamed for causing hundreds of train delays annually at a cost to taxpayers of about £1m. Across England, Scotland and Wales, 619 balloon-related incidents – almost two a day – were recorded by the company last year. Most…

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Deference, rather than Brexit, is the regulator’s biggest problem | Business – Business Article

There is a glacial pace to activity at Britain’s main financial watchdog. Partly that is the fault of Brexit, which has robbed the organisation of funds and to some extent the energy needed to think of anything other than how quitting the European Union will affect the City. But its clear from the Financial Conduct Authority’s plan for the year ahead that much of the delay is not Brexit-related, but stems from a deep-seated reticence to interfere in the workings…

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Asda staff could end up £500 worse off under wage changes, says MP | Business – Business Article

Asda has been accused of planning to cut the pay of 3,000 supermarket staff, under proposed changes to employee contracts that will end paid breaks. The supermarket confirmed last week that consultations were taking place to simplify terms for hourly paid workers and increase the basic rate of pay to £9 per hour. Siobhain McDonagh, the MP for Mitcham and Morden, has claimed in a letter to Asda’s chief executive, Roger Burnley, that staff involved in the process were likely…

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Mastercard ruling: almost every UK adult could receive payout | Business – Business Article

Almost every adult in the UK could receive a payout of up to £300 from Mastercard after a court ruling paved the way for a £14bn class action lawsuit. The legal action taken by former financial ombudsman Walter Merricks claims that 46 million UK consumers paid higher prices in shops over a 16-year period because of allegedly excessive transaction fees charged by Mastercard. Two years ago, the Competition Appeal Tribunal threw out Merricks’s claim, ruling it would not grant an…

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UK pay grows at fastest rate since financial crisis – ONS | Business – Business Article

Pay growth in Britain has risen at the fastest rate in more than a decade, as companies keep hiring despite growing fears over Brexit. Average weekly earnings, including bonuses, rose by 3.5% on the year in the three months to February, according to the Office for National Statistics, matching the rate recorded in January and the joint highest level since mid-2008. Basic pay increased by 3.4% on the year, down from an upwardly revised 3.5% in the three months to…

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L&G steps up action against firms with few female board members | Business – Business Article

The UK’s biggest fund management group voted against more than 100 chairmen last year, at firms including Barclays, Ted Baker and Sports Direct, for failing to boost the number of women in their boardrooms. Legal & General Investment Management, which manages more than £1tn in assets, more than doubled the number of protest votes cast in 2018 over a lack of gender diversity. A year earlier the asset manager only voted against 37 UK chairmen. This also marked a significant…

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Bank of England begins climate enforcement with a velvet glove | Larry Elliott | Business – Business Article

We can already hear the distant thunder of climate change and must not wait for the storm to hit. The Extinction Rebellion protesters that blocked London traffic? No, a senior Bank of England official telling banks and insurers that from now on they will be expected to make global warming central to the way they operate. Threadneedle Street would never publicly endorse action that causes disruption but the speech by Sarah Breeden, head of international banks supervision, suggests a degree…

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Premium economy: is it worth the extra expense? | Travel – Business Article

Premium economy can be a spacious and relatively luxurious way to fly long-haul. Or it can be a pinched and overpriced experience that leaves you feeling ripped off. So how much extra do you have to pay, and what do you really get for your money? When we polled industry experts, Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand were named as the best for premium economy, while British Airways and Air France’s offerings were said to be tired and in need…

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What should I use to make my lawn grow and kill moss? | Money – Business Article

Every week a Guardian Money reader submits a question, and it’s up to you to help him or her out – a selection of the best answers will appear in next Saturday’s paper. Our lawn looks awful as it has become more moss than grass and I’m wondering what to do about it. Products such as Mo Bacter and Miracle Gro promise to kill the moss and promote grass growth – but do they work? Is there a less expensive…

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Council tax debts soar 40% in six years | Money – Business Article

Council tax debts have soared by nearly 40% in six years, Guardian research has found, with charities warning these arrears now rival credit card debts as their biggest concern. Amid warnings that “heavy-handed” collection tactics are putting severe pressure on those already in financial difficulty, households face a fourth consecutive year of above-inflation council tax rises as local authorities attempt to recoup money cut from their budgets by central government. The annual band D bill will rise by an average…

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Hammond plays down Brexit delay increasing chance of second vote | Politics – Business Article

Philip Hammond has played down the possibility that the UK could use the delay to Brexit to hold a second referendum and stressed that he still expects Britain to leave the European Union. Speaking in Washington, the chancellor said time would be too tight to hold a confirmatory vote before the new deadline of the end of October unless it was triggered over the coming weeks. Hammond said the damage caused by continued uncertainty – including problems attracting suitable candidates…

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LK Bennett sold to Chinese partner but 15 stores will close | Business – Business Article

LK Bennett has been bought out of administration by its Chinese franchise partner, Rebecca Feng, who fought off competition from Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley. The deal saves 21 stores, all the group’s concessions and 325 jobs, but 15 LK Bennett shops are to close, with the loss of 110 jobs. All gift cards, refunds and orders will be honoured as part of the transaction. The upmarket retailer, founded by Linda Bennett, who opened her first shop in 1990, closed five…

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China’s trade with US slumps as tariff war hits demand – business live | Business – Business Article

8.59am BST 08:59 In another sign of economic weakness, car sales in China fell by 5.2% year-on-year in March. That’s follows a 13.8% slide in February, and means auto demand has been dropping since last summer. Henning Gloystein (@hgloystein) #China‘s #car sales fell 5.2% in March, marking the 9th straight month of decline in the world’s largest auto market. energy vehicle (NEV) sales however, which include #ElectricVehicles, soared by 85.4%… #Reuters #OOTT April 12, 2019 8.47am BST 08:47 Customs spokesman…

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Mars pulls M&M’s slot-machine game after MPs’ concerns | Society – Business Article

The confectionery giant Mars has bowed to pressure to remove a product that dispenses M&M’s in the style of a slot-machine game, after MPs and an academic said it risked normalising gambling for children. The product, on display in the M&M’s World store in London’s Leicester Square, works like a one-armed bandit gambling machine, where users pull on a lever to make three reels spin. If the pictures on the reels match one another the machine, on sale for £33,…

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FTSE 250 hits six-month high; Brexit delay lifts holiday firms – business live | Business – Business Article

The foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. Photograph: Ahn Young-joon/AP Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business. Growth worries are weighing on the markets again today, as the International Monetary Fund warns that the global economy remains fragile. The IMF, whose spring meetings with the World Bank begin in Washington this week, is worried that the global economic expansion is…

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Why am I getting demands for £7,000 for a meter we don’t have? | Money – Business Article

For eight years my elderly mother has been receiving final demand letters for £7,000 and more from ScottishPower, despite never having been a customer. At first they were addressed to a name we didn’t recognise. My mother has lived at her property for over 40 years. We repeatedly explained to ScottishPower that my mother was, and always had been, a British Gas customer. Then the demands began to arrive in my mother’s name. Eventually, it transpired there is a mistake…

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Sports Direct issues legal threat to remove Debenhams administrators | Business – Business Article

The Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has threatened legal action to remove Debenhams’ administrators after his stake in the department store group was wiped out and the company put into the hands of its lenders. Debenhams’ listed holding company entered pre-pack administration on Tuesday, rendering shareholders’ investments, including Sports Direct’s near-30% stake, worthless. The retailer’s 165 UK outlets continue to trade via a new company owned by its banks and bondholders in return for reducing the company’s debt pile, which…

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UK economy ‘stronger than expected’ in February thanks to Brexit stockpiling – business live | Business – Business Article

“Despite ongoing uncertainty over Brexit, the UK economy held up relatively well in February, with GDP growth of 0.2% compared to January. Services continued to grow at a moderate pace, while manufacturing output seems to have been boosted to some degree by pre-Brexit stockpiling since January. The underlying trend over the past three months has been for GDP growth at an annualised rate of just over 1%. This is below trend and well down on the buoyant growth rates seen…

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Labour considers house price inflation target for Bank of England | Business – Business Article

The Bank of England could be set a target for house price inflation under plans being explored by the Labour party, with tougher powers to restrict mortgage lending to close the gap between property prices and average incomes. The shadow housing secretary, John Healey, is considering whether, under a Labour government, the Bank should be set an explicit target following a decade of runaway growth in the property market, with the aim of tackling the housing crisis. Under the proposals,…

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IMF says no-deal Brexit risks two-year recession for UK | Business – Business Article

Britain’s already struggling economy would be pushed into a two-year recession by a no-deal Brexit, the International Monetary Fund has warned. Ahead of Theresa May’s plea to EU leaders for a further delay to Britain’s departure, the IMF used a downbeat half-yearly assessment of the global economy to predict that the UK economy could be 3.5% smaller than expected by 2021 if trade barriers were swiftly erected. The World Economic Outlook – completed in March before the latest developments in…

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Debenhams on brink of administration despite Mike Ashley’s last-ditch £200m offer | Business – Business Article

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has offered Debenhams a £200m cash injection in a last-ditch attempt to strike a deal that would prevent its stake in the business being wiped out. But the department store group is expected to reject the latest offer, as it is still tied to Ashley being appointed chief executive, which the group’s lenders oppose. Debenhams remains on course to be handed to its lenders on Tuesday via a “pre-pack” administration that would enable stores to continue…

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Shoppers avoiding big buys due to Brexit uncertainty – retailers | Business – Business Article

Britain’s retailers have warned that Brexit uncertainty is holding consumers back from making bigger purchases, after a disappointing month for sales in March. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the accountancy firm KPMG said sales growth dropped to 0.5% in the year to March, down from an annual growth of 2.3% a year ago, as consumers held back from spending on big-ticket items. The BRC said the timing of Easter, on 21 April this year after falling on 1 April…

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Yes, hold tech giant bosses to account, but this is just the easy bit | Nils Pratley | Business – Business Article

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, as he pushes the idea that senior executives at technology firms should be held personally responsible for distributing harmful material, has clearly been reading up on banking regulation. Page 60 of Monday’s white paper to reform the tech giants applauded the senior manager’s regime in financial services, introduced in 2016 as a response to the 2008 crash, as having “driven a culture change in risk management in the sector”. Javid wants to create something similar…

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Debenhams on the brink as it rejects £150m Mike Ashley rescue deal | Business – Business Article

Debenhams is on the brink of falling into the hands of its lenders in a move that will wipe out shareholders after the company and its financial backers rejected a £150m cash injection from Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct. A pre-pack administration deal is expected to be announced on Tuesday morning that would affect Debenhams’ holding company only, meaning its 165 stores would continue to trade. However, shareholders’ stakes will be rendered worthless, including Sports Direct’s near 30% stake, which cost…

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HMV bought by Canadian music store mogul Doug Putman | Business – Business Article

A Canadian music entrepreneur has rescued HMV from collapse, taking over 100 shops and safeguarding 1,500 jobs. Doug Putman, who runs the Canadian record retailer Sunrise Records, has bought the UK music and film retailer after emerging as the leading contender over the weekend, heading off competition from Mike Ashley, the Sports Direct boss. HMV collapsed into administration just after Christmas, blaming tough conditions on UK high streets and competition from streaming sites such as Netflix and Spotify. Sign up…

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Nissan was offered secret state aid to cope with Brexit, minister concedes | Business – Business Article

The business secretary has been forced to admit the existence of a previously secret package of state aid to Nissan that could have been worth up to £80m had the carmaker gone ahead with plans to manufacture a new model X-Trail in Sunderland after Brexit. Greg Clark released a letter dated October 2016 in which he pledged tens of millions of taxpayer support and promised the Japanese company it would not be “adversely affected” after the UK left the EU.…

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Brexit angst drags UK construction growth down to 10-month low – business live | Business – Business Article

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business. Sony’s slogan, “Be Moved”, is inspired by the emotional impact of technology, and the power of smartphones, gaming devices, cameras and speakers. Unfortunately, the only thing being moved right now is Sony’s share price, which is tumbling after the electronics giant became the latest tech company to warn that conditions are deteriorating. Sony spooked investors by cutting its sales outlook for…

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Billions of UK aid failing to reduce poverty, report finds | Global development – Business Article

Too much of Britain’s aid budget is being spent poorly by Whitehall departments on projects that fail the test of reducing poverty in the world’s poorest countries, a campaign group has said. The One Campaign – an advocacy organisation set up by the U2 singer Bono – said the huge gulf in standards across government was undermining the battle to build public trust that taxpayers’ money was being well spent. The UK is one of only a handful of countries…

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