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Whitehall to woo business leaders with high salaries
Senior figures from the business world are to be drafted in to government on salaries higher than David Cameron’s in an effort to use their corporate expertise to make billions more in savings after the general election.
Tsipras looks to ease strains with Germany
German chancellor Angela Merkel and greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras attempted to strike a conciliatory note as they met in Berlin yesterday despite severe strains between them over further financial aid for Athens. “It is better to talk to one another than about one another. We’re trying to find common ground,” said Mr Tsipras at a joint press conference with Ms Merkel during his first visit to the German capital since his hard-left Syriza party won power in Germany.
Companies and Markets
Sinopec is latest big oil group to cut capital spending
Sinopec has become the latest oil major to cut capital expenditure, with the crude slide knocking nearly a third off its 2014 profit. The move mirrors plans by BP and BG Group, while Cnooc, China’s third-largest producer, has also announced cuts.
Crude price gap rattles US shale producers
US shale oil producers are becoming increasingly concerned about the gap that has opened up between domestic and internationally traded crude prices, which they say is exacerbating the problems they face.
Marques in race to avoid EU emissions fines
Europe’s premium carmakers still have significant ground to make up in the race to bring down carbon emissions and avoid billions of euros in fines from Brussels. A report has set out the progress being made by the top 13 carmakers in Europe by sales, and found that Germany’s big three – Volkswagen, Daimler and BLW – and UK based Jaguar Land Rover are on track to miss minimum fuel economy targets set by the EU.
North Sea oilfield deals poised to take wing
Deals for North Sea oilfields – which have been held back by the plummeting price of Brent crude – could soon come back on stream, as a new tax cut helps to draw in private equity investors. Last week’s UK Budget measure to reduce the rate of “supplementary” tax on North Sea profits is a move that “clearly helps mergers and acquisitions, according to one senior private equity executive – and bankers believe there are now buyers for a number of assets that are being put up for sale.
Cameron fires start gun on Tory leadership race
David Cameron kicked off a Conservative leadership race yesterday, ruling out a third term in Downing Street and naming potential successors for the job. The prime minister risked blowing the Tories’ election campaign off course with what aides said was an unplanned declaration that he did not want to serve beyond the next parliament.
Ukip pledges tax cuts
Ukip set out its economic policies yesterday, promising tax and spending cuts and a crackdown on immigration to boost wages. The party would re-allocate funds from international aid and membership of the European Union to boost defense spending, scrap inheritance tax and raise the 40 per cent personal allowance while pledging to eliminate the deficit.
Pound proves heavy burden on exporters
Factories have been stung by the strength of the pound and continuing problems in the Eurozone, according to an industry survey. Manufacturing orders stagnated unexpectedly in March as new business from abroad collapsed at its fastest rate in more than two years, figures published by the CBI show.
Now DUP names its price for electoral deal: £1bn
The Democratic Unionist Party will seek up to £1bn more funding for Northern Ireland as the price of keeping a Tory or Labour government in power, according to one of its leading MPs.
Paris bans half of cars in blitz on air pollution
Public transport was free in Paris yesterday and half the city’s cars were kept off the road to cut pollution. Metro trains and buses were packed as thousands of commuters had to leave their vehicles at home.
Drivers being taken for a ride on diesel prices
Fuel retailers are ripping off the public and businesses on diesel charges, according to the RAC. The wholesale price of diesel is 1p a litre more than for petrol, yet diesel is almost 6p more at the pumps, it said.
Drivers risk £20 fine if they are caught idling
Motoring groups and taxi drivers have questioned the introduction of a £20 fine for stationary motorists who leave their engines idling. The fines can be levied if drivers refuse to switch the ignition off, under rules introduced by Westminster city council because of concerns about air quality.
Fall in car orders sends exports to two-year low
A substantial fall in motor vehicle orders has hit exports and slowed growth in manufacturing output this month, according to the Confederation of British Industry. But carmakers believe the downturn will be short lived they expect a rebound in the next three months.