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Growth report gives Cameron a timely boost
David Cameron’s promise of “a good life” for workers if they stick with the Conservatives in May’s election was boosted by a report on Britain’s “solid” recovery from the International Monetary Fund. Mr Cameron, pictured launching the Tory manifesto yesterday, said the end of austerity was in sight, pleading with voters:” I stand on this stage and ask you for five more years to finish the job.”
Clegg focuses on education with £2.5bn in extra spending
Nick Clegg will today put £2.5bn of extra education spending at the top of the Liberal Democrats list of demands in a hung parliament, with a clear message that his party wants to continue in government.
Companies & Markets
Norway oil fund to reveal voting intent
Norway’s $880bn oil fund will today usher in a new era in corporate governance when it begins to disclose in advance how it will vote at companies’ shareholder meetings, in an effort to become a more active investor.
BlaBlaCar buys main European competitor
BlaBlaCar is buying its strongest competitor in Europe as the online ride-sharing company looks to consolidate its position on its home turf while continuing to expand worldwide. The French company announced deals to buy the German group Carpooling.com, its main European rival, as well as Hungary-based AutoHop.
Russia tycoon tightens grip on Gulfsands as ally takes top job
A Russian financier and the main shareholder of UK-listed oil explorer Gulfsands Petroleum has tightened his grip on the company with the appointment of an ally as executive chairman following months of public feuding among directors and shareholders.
Brussels vows to block Cameron on EU treaty
The president of the European Commission has ruled out any treaty negotiations on Britain’s relationship with Europe until two years after the referendum promised by David Cameron yesterday. In comments that will infuriate the prime minister, sources close to Jean-Claude Juncker told The Times that there was no prospect of formal plans for treaty change until the end of 2019 at the earliest, with negotiations beginning the following year.
IMF: North Sea oil will suffer most
Briatin’s North Sea oil industry will be hit harder by the global collapse of crude prices than most other parts of the world, the International Monetary Fund was warned. Higher operating costs in the North Sea and an absence of the kinds of “rapid efficiency gains” that have been achieved by American shale oil producers are likely to make it increasingly difficult to reach break even, the IMF suggested in its World Economic Outlook.
A Green revolution: spend more, tax more and drive less
Britain has hit “Peak Car”, with the younger generation preferring to be on public transport using their mobile phones rather than sitting at the driving wheel, the Green party leader, Natalie Bennett, claimed yesterday.
Boost for Tories as UK economy becomes second largest in the EU
Britain has overtaken France to become the second biggest economy in Europe, figures showed yesterday. The UK clocked up growth of 2.8 per cent in 2014 – the strongest in the Group of Seven industrialised nations and seven times higher than France’s 0.4 per cent.
Ukip: There are only 10 seats we have any hope of winning
Nigel Farage has abandoned hopes of winning dozens of seats at the General Election and is now targeting just ten, it can be revealed. Ukip, which will today unveil its manifesto, has reduced the number of constituencies where it is concentrating resources as it loses ground in the polls.
Inflation stays at zero after gas and clothing prices fall
Inflation remained flat at zero in March as a decline in gas and clothing costs was offset by a recovery in petrol prices. The consumer prices index (CPI) measure of inflation stagnated for a second month, keeping the UK rate at its lowest since records began in 1989.
Former Aviva chief to join British Gas after 11-month search for boss
British Gas has ended its 11-month search for a boss, appointing former Aviva executive Mark Hodges as the energy company’s new managing director. Mr Hodges will replace interim boss Ian Peters, having served as chief executive of insurance broker Towergate for three years before quitting in October.
Former BP chief Lord Browne steps down at Riverstone
Oil industry grandee Lord Browne will next month step down from his director’s role at Riverstone Energy. The former boss of BP confirmed that he would not stand for re-election to the board of the industry investment vehicle at its annual meeting in May.