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Out Of The Industry

Tesco trial proves a drubbing for the SFO and its DPA | Nils Pratley

The three executives acquitted on fraud charges have every right to be furious

Carl Rogberg, plus the other two Tesco executives acquitted of fraud charges, are entitled to be furious.

They have been found not guilty in a case that can only be described as a humiliation for the Serious Fraud Office. And yet all three are named in the deferred prosecution agreement, or DPA, whereby Tesco’s UK subsidiary admitted it had dishonestly overstated its profits and paid a £129m penalty.

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Source: The Guardian

Better way to be a bean-counter | Brief letters

Paying tax | Suez crisis | James Dyson | Welsh language | London’s new concert hall

While heartily endorsing Frances Ryan’s comments (G2, 23 January) on the joy of tax, may I also strengthen her resolve by reminding her that by filling in her tax return she can help those less fortunate than herself without having to do anything silly or exhausting like sit in a bath of baked beans or run a midnight marathon.
Anne Summers
Honorary research fellow, Birkbeck, University of London

• John Coad (Letters, 23 January) is right about how the 1956 Suez fiasco divided Britain. Fresh back from 18 months’ national service in the Canal Zone, I had just started at Goldsmiths’ College and took part in a series of fierce debates, speaking vehemently from the stage in the Great Hall in support of Eden – to my shame today!
Tony Mitchell
Keynsham, Somerset

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Source: The Guardian

Metro Bank shares crash after loans blunder revealed

Hundreds of millions wiped off value of company after bank says loans were wrongly classified

Metro Bank has revealed a major blunder in how it classifies its loan book, sending its share price crashing by 30% and wiping £600m off the value of the company.

The bank, which has been opening new branches as established rivals cut back, revealed that hundreds of millions of pounds worth of commercial property loans and loans to commercial buy-to-let operators had been wrongly classified in risk terms, and should have been among its “risk weighted assets”.

Related: Metro Bank founder Vernon Hill sees off shareholder revolt

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Source: The Guardian

Santander to close 140 branches, putting more than 1,200 jobs at risk

Spanish-owned bank hopes to find new roles for a third of the UK employees affected

Santander plans to close nearly one in five of its bank branches in the UK, putting more than 1,200 jobs at risk.

The Spanish-owned bank, which has one of the largest high street networks in Britain, will shut 140 branches, leaving 614 after the closures, which will be completed by the end of the year.

Aberdeen George Street, Acton, Aldershot, Alloa, Amersham, Ammanford, Antrim, Axminster, Aylsham, Ballymoney, Bathgate George Street, Belfast Newtownards Road, Berkhamsted, Bideford, Birmingham New Street, Birmingham Acocks Green, Birstall, Boscombe Christchurch Road, Brechin, Brixham, Broadstone, Burnley Briercliffe Road, Buxton, Chandlers Ford, Cheam, Clapham High Street, Cleethorpes, Clitheroe, Coalville, Cockermouth, Cockfosters, Colchester Culver Street West, Corby, Coventry High Street, Crosby, Crouch End, Devizes, Didcot, Dorchester, Dorking, Driffield, East Sheen, Eastcote, Edinburgh Leith Walk, Edinburgh 194-196 Morningside Road, Egham, Epping, Esher, Feltham, Fleetwood, Forfar, Four Oaks, Gainsborough, Gerrards Cross, Glasgow Forge Shopping Centre, Glasgow Springburn Shopping Centre, Godalming, Goole, Gracechurch Street (London), Guildford High Street, Hadleigh, Haslemere, Havant, Heathfield, Helensburgh, Henley-on-Thames, Holt, Hythe, Keynsham, Kingswinford, Kirkcaldy High Street, Knutsford, Lanark, Leather Lane (London), Leeds Street Lane, Leicester Evington Road, Leicester Uppingham Road, Liverpool Church Street, Llangefni, Ludgate Circus (London), Lymington, Manchester Cross Street, Marylebone High Street, Middleton, Monmouth, Morden, Newmarket, North Shields, Northwood, Norwich St Stephens Street, Nottingham 2 Clumber Street, Oakham, Otley, Oxted, Parkstone, Pembroke, Penarth, Plymouth New George Street, Portobello Road (London), Portslade, Purley, Queensway (London), Ramsbottom, Rayners Lane, Reigate, Renfrew, Ripon, Romsey, Ryde, Selby Market Cross, Selsdon, Shoreham, Shrewsbury High Street, Sidmouth, Skipton High Street, South Woodham Ferrers, Southend High Street, St Andrews, Stanmore, Stowmarket, Swiss Cottage, Tavistock, Tonypandy, Totnes, Troon, Ulverston, Upminster, Wandsworth, Ware, Watford Harlequin Centre, Wealdstone, West Ealing, West Kirby, Wetherby, Windermere, Wisbech, Woodley, Worcester Park, Workington, Yeadon

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Source: The Guardian

Cash machine firms to be paid more in effort to stop further closures

Operators of free-to-use ATMs in remote areas will receive extra money per transaction

Companies operating free-to-use cash machines in remote areas are to receive extra payments that could help stem the tide of ATM closures.

Under the changes, operators will receive increased payments of up to £2.75 each time someone withdraws cash from an eligible machine.

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Source: The Guardian

Backlog of financial ombudsman cases grows to 30,000

Whistleblower tells MPs number of claims not yet allocated case officer has risen threefold since 2016

Delays in getting a case heard by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) have grown threefold since the service was reorganised in 2016, and 30,000 cases are still waiting to be allocated to an investigator, a whistleblower has told the Treasury select committee.

Questioning the FOS chief executive, Caroline Wayman, MPs said the whistleblower also told them there was a backlog of 8,000 investigated claims yet to be adjudicated upon.

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Source: The Guardian

Patisserie Valerie could collapse this week if last-ditch talks fail

Chairman Luke Johnson is trying to extend standstill agreement on bank facilities

The troubled cafe chain Patisserie Valerie could collapse on Monday if last-ditch talks with its banks fail.

Luke Johnson, Patisserie Valerie’s leading shareholder, has been seeking to extend a standstill agreement on its bank facilities – protecting the chain from action to recover debts – which officially expired at midnight on Friday.

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Source: The Guardian

HSBC tells Welsh customer not to complain in 'foreign' language

Bank asked ‘shocked’ customer to resend message in English

A major bank told a customer who wrote to it in Welsh to complain that some services were not available in her language that she should communicate with it in English rather than a “foreign” tongue.

Nia Lloyd, a classroom assistant from Wrexham in north Wales, wrote to HSBC pointing out that online services were not available in Welsh.

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Source: The Guardian

UK manufacturers set cash aside in case of no-deal Brexit

Firms under strain as they tie up money in stockpiling materials, says Santander

British manufacturers are being forced to build up financial buffers in preparation for a no-deal Brexit as the cost of stockpiling goods and materials puts companies under strain.

Measures taken by manufacturers to prepare for a disorderly exit include creating cash cushions and taking out working capital loans to cover the costs of stockpiling.

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Source: The Guardian

The government isn't quite ready to drop its obsession with nuclear | Nils Pratley

Greg Clark knows nuclear cannot compete with the likes of wind and solar – but he is not giving up

There was excellent news within Hitachi’s decision to shelve its plan to build a £16bn nuclear plant at Wylfa in Anglesey. Finally, a government minister may have grasped the basic problem with nuclear power. It is being “out-competed” by alternative technologies, especially wind and solar, the business secretary, Greg Clark, had to concede in the Commons. Exactly. So drop the obsession with nuclear, last century’s answer to our energy needs.

As Clark also said, the package offered to Hitachi was generous. The price of the power, at £75 per megawatt hour, was lower than in EDF’s Hinkley Point C contract, but on this occasion the government would have taken a one-third stake and committed to providing all the debt financing for construction. Adjust for the different financial structure and the package looked very Hinkley-like – in other words, hugely expensive for the poor old bill payer.

Related: Hitachi scraps £16bn nuclear power station in Wales

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Source: The Guardian