LONDON (Reuters) - Environment secretary and prominent pro-Brexit campaigner Michael Gove said on Sunday he would be running to replace Theresa May as British prime minister, Sky News reported. “I can confirm that I will be putting my name forward to be prime minister of this country,” Sky News quoted Gove as telling reporters outside his house. “I believe that I’m ready to unite the Conservative and Unionist Party, ready to deliver Brexit, and ready to lead this great country.”
LONDON (Reuters) - Britons could see a 6 billion pound cut in energy bills over five years from 2021, saving the average household 40 pounds per year, under plans to curb what gas and electricity network firms can pay shareholders. Regulator Ofgem, which introduced a price cap on standard energy bills in January after lawmakers said customers were being overcharged, is now targeting the operators whose network fees make up around a quarter of British household energy bills. Energy firms are under intense scrutiny, with Britain’s opposition Labour party last week announcing a plan to nationalise the sector if it comes into power. Ofgem said it plans to cut the amount network firms pay their shareholders, known as the “cost of equity range” by almost 50% for the next regulatory period starting in 2021. The regulator said the package of measures it proposed could result in savings averaging 40 pounds per customer from 2021. “Our proposals are on track to deliver a tough, fair settlem..
LONDON (Reuters) - The contest to replace Theresa May as prime minister hotted up on Saturday with five candidates now vying for a job whose central task will be to find a way to take a divided Britain out of the European Union. May announced on Friday she was quitting over her failure to deliver Brexit, raising the prospect of a new leader who could seek a more divisive split with the EU which could lead to confrontation with the bloc or a possible parliamentary election. Health secretary Matt Hancock became the latest figure to join the contest to replace May, following former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, current foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and former work and pensions minister Esther McVey. About a dozen contenders in total are thought to be considering a tilt at the leadership, with trade minister Liam Fox and former junior Brexit minister Steve Baker not ruling out a challenge when asked on Saturday. May failed three time..
LONDON (Reuters) - Regulators are watching a price war in mortgages “like a hawk” and may need to impose stricter minimum capital requirements on lenders, Bank of England Deputy Governor Sam Woods said on Friday. The price war over the past two years may be good news for consumers wanting to buy their first home, but it was less good for a bank or building society concentrated in mortgages, Woods told the Building Societies Association. High loan-to-value ratios and higher loan-to-income home loans can be well captured by the BoE’s capital requirements. “But we should be watching them like a hawk,” Woods said. Falling capital levels have been seen at lenders who use their own computer models to work out the riskiness of loans on their books and therefore how much capital to hold. “The amount of capital being set aside to cover mortgages has been falling,” Woods said. The BoE’s supervisors were making strenuous efforts to check on how models are being used. “Still, I think we sho..
LONDON (Reuters) - The City of London Corporation, which runs London’s historic finance district, has proposed a new, lower speed limit of 15 miles per hour and the closure of some streets at lunchtime in an effort to reduce air pollution. The City of London is the oldest, continuous representative local government in the world, running the area that is home to the Bank of England and St Paul’s Cathedral for at least 1,000 years. More than half a million people commute into the City every weekday and the authorities have already started working to reduce air pollution in the area. The current speed limit in the City is 20 mph for roads controlled by the corporation, while some larger roads have a 30 mph limit. The 15 mph limit could go into effect as soon as 2021. “These radical plans will ensure the continued success of not just the City, but wider London and the UK as a leading global business and cultural destination,” said Alastair Moss, chair of the corporation’s transport an..
LONDON (Reuters) - British inflation rose last month by less than the Bank of England and investors had expected, but still hit its highest level this year, pushed up by a rise in energy bills. Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 2.1% in April after a 1.9% increase in March, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a rate of 2.2%, the same as the BoE’s forecast. Sterling and government bonds were little changed by the data as core inflation, which excludes energy and food prices, held steady at 1.8% for the third month in a row. “In principle, this is another reason to think the Bank of England will keep rates on hold for the foreseeable future,” ING economist James Smith said. But he added that a strong labour market meant an interest rate hike in November could not be ruled out. A recent weakening of inflation, combined with the lowest unemployment rate in 44 years and rising wages, has taken the edge off the uncerta..
LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May is under pressure to resign after a backlash to her final Brexit gambit and has agreed to meet the chairman of her Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee on Friday to discuss her future. Below are Conservatives who have either said they plan to put themselves forward or are widely expected to run for the leadership: Planning to run: BORIS JOHNSON, 54 The face of the official campaign to leave the European Union, Johnson resigned as foreign minister in July in protest at May’s handling of the exit negotiations. Johnson set out his pitch to the membership in a speech at the party’s annual conference in October - some members queued for hours to get a seat. He called on the party to return to its traditional values of low tax and strong policing. Last week the BBC reported he had told The British Insurance Brokers’ Association: “Of course I’m going to go for it.” He is the bookmakers’ favourite to succeed May. ESTHER MCVEY, 51 The pro-Brex..
LONDON (Reuters) - British employers offered staff pay rises averaging 2.5% as part of wage settlements in the three months to April, industry data showed on Thursday, matching the trend seen earlier in 2019. Human resources data firm XpertHR said pay settlements had hovered around the same for the past four months, despite a small pick-up in inflation. “Many of the current pay awards are lower than employees received in 2018, suggesting that there is little scope for higher rises this year,” XpertHR analyst Sheila Attwood said. After years of real-terms falls in pay, Britain’s workers have had some of the biggest pay rises in a decade in recent months due to a tight labour market, though they are modest compared to pre-financial crisis rates of pay growth. The risk of a disruptive Brexit has made some employers keener to hire new staff, who can be sacked if the economy sours, than to make long-term labour-saving investments. Pay settlement data is typically lower than the headlin..
LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May’s final Brexit gambit was in tatters on Wednesday as lawmakers in her own party rejected a compromise offer and called for her to resign immediately. Nearly three years since Britain voted 52% to 48% to leave the European Union, the beleaguered May made one last pitch on Tuesday to get her divorce deal approved by the British parliament before her crisis-riven premiership ends. She offered a parliamentary vote on whether to hold a second Brexit referendum - once her legislation passes the first stage - as well as closer trading arrangements with the EU in future as incentives to what she called the only way to prevent a disruptive “no-deal” Brexit. But the backlash was swift and fierce. Both ruling Conservative and opposition Labour lawmakers criticised May’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill, or WAB, legislation which implements the terms of Britain’s twice-delayed departure. Some intensified their public efforts to oust May and there..
LONDON (Reuters) - British inflation rose last month by less than investors and the Bank of England had expected but still hit its highest level this year, pushed up by a rise in energy bills. Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 2.1% in April after a 1.9% increase in March, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a rate of 2.2%, the same as the BoE’s forecast. A recent weakening of inflation, combined with the lowest unemployment rate in 44 years and rising wages, has taken the edge off the uncertainty about Brexit for many households whose spending drives Britain’s economy. But starting in April Britain’s energy regulator increased a price cap on energy providers by 10% and all big six suppliers raised their standard prices by the same amount — something the BoE said would push inflation above target briefly. Electricity and gas prices were the biggest driver of inflation last month, the ONS said. Computer game and pa..