Latest Vince Cable News

  • Britain mulls tighter rules on arms exporters Thu, Apr 17, 2014

    Britain said on Thursday it was considering tightening its rules governing the sale of weapons overseas by drawing up a public register of approved arms brokers. Campaigners and lawmakers scrutinising arms export policy argue that Britain should strengthen its control of who is allowed to arrange weapons deals to cut the supply of military goods to those who use them to commit human rights abuses. "Introducing a public register could help increase both transparency and accountability so I am keen to hear views on all sides of the argument." British companies must already obtain a licence from the government before exporting any military goods. More »

  • RBS review finds no evidence of fraud in UK business lending
    RBS review finds no evidence of fraud in UK business lending Thu, Apr 17, 2014

    By Matt Scuffham LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland said on Thursday that an independent review by law firm Clifford Chance had found no evidence that it set out to defraud its business customers. "I welcome the Clifford Chance findings, which show no evidence of the serious and damaging allegation that we had set out to deliberately defraud our business customers," Chief Executive Ross McEwan said on Thursday. Lawrence Tomlinson, who serves as an "entrepreneur-in-residence" at government minister Vince Cable's business department, said RBS had engineered businesses into default to move them into its Global Restructuring Group (GRG). More »

  • Official: Average Earnings Outpace Inflation
    Official: Average Earnings Outpace Inflation Wed, Apr 16, 2014

    Average UK earnings increased by 1.7% in the year to February, above the inflation rate of 1.6%, according to official figures. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said it was the first time since spring 2010 that the consumer price index for inflation had not exceeded pay increases. It said pay increases averaged 2% in the private sector and 0.9% in the public sector. The unemployment rate of 6.9% is the lowest for five years. More »

  • What New FCA Mortgage Lending Rules Mean for Consumers
    What New FCA Mortgage Lending Rules Mean for Consumers Mon, Apr 14, 2014

    Mortgage lending is on the rise again in the UK, but in a bid to put the brakes on banks – who got carried away before the financial crisis – the financial regulator has made a new set of rules for them. Those rules, which will be imposed and enforced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), should help limit high-risk mortgage lending that threatens the stability of the banking system, the health of the UK economy, and family finances. "In the past too many people got a mortgage by simply telling their lender they would have no problem repaying their debt, and that was that," said Martin Wheatley, the FCA's chief executive. He added that the new rules "will hard-wire common sense into mortgage lending". More »

  • Push To Boost Number Of Women In Boardrooms
    Push To Boost Number Of Women In Boardrooms Sat, Apr 12, 2014

    Sky News has seen a letter sent to the Government's equality body asking it to rule on whether the practice could be legally applied when companies are recruiting to their boards. It asks the Equality and Human Rights Commission to provide guidance on the matter. "This should help make the recruitment process easier for companies and executive search firms," writes Jenny Willott, the equalities minister. "In turn, it could also help enable businesses to increase gender diversity on their boards and could be vital in helping us achieve the 25% target for women on boards of FTSE 100 companies by 2015." More »

  • Royal Mail: Lazard Being Quizzed By MPs Over IPO Price
    Royal Mail: Lazard Being Quizzed By MPs Over IPO Price Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    The Public Accounts Committee confirmed that the independent financial adviser for the controversial sale of Royal Mail will be quizzed by politicians over the delivery service's IPO price. The PAC spokesperson said that Lazard will give evidence to the committee, which is led by Margaret Hodge, on 30 April. At the beginning of this month, the National Audit Office (NAO) slammed Britain's business secretary Vince Cable for undervaluing the Royal Mail's IPO price, which was set at a maximum price of 330p-a-share. The NAO's findings state that the government's overly cautious approach has shortchanged the nation, while providing an easy killing for "priority" investors such as banks and hedge funds. More »

  • Committee to quiz Lazard over Royal Mail sale
    Committee to quiz Lazard over Royal Mail sale Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    By Freya Berry LONDON (Reuters) - A parliamentary committee will question independent financial adviser Lazard this month regarding its role in the sale of Royal Mail, a committee spokeswoman said on Thursday. Lazard, which advised the government on the Royal Mail stock market listing, will be called before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on April 30, the spokeswoman said. This comes a week after a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) criticised the government for its reliance on independent advisers during the 2 billion pound listing of Royal Mail and said it had sold the company too cheaply. Lazard, which has also advised the government on selling part of its holding in Lloyds Banking Group, received 1.5 million pounds for its role in the Royal Mail deal. More »

  • Supply chain funding boost to firms
    Supply chain funding boost to firms Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    The Government is offering £100 million worth of support for companies to boost their supply chains, including those bringing manufacturing back to the UK from overseas. More »

  • Fund Managers Gain New Voice With ABI Merger
    Fund Managers Gain New Voice With ABI Merger Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    Sky News can reveal that the investment affairs division of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) is to merge with the Investment Management Association (IMA) to create a focal point for asset managers to act as the stewards of one of the world's largest pools of capital. The ABI will continue to represent companies on issues affecting the insurance industry, but its Institutional Voting Information Service (IVIS), which provides advice to fund managers on how to exercise votes at company meetings, will transfer to the newly merged body. In total, around a dozen people will move from the ABI to the IMA's new incarnation. Robert Hingley, the ABI's director of investment affairs, is expected to move across to help oversee the transition in a consultancy role before leaving to explore opportunities elsewhere. More »

  • Watchdog to quiz Lazard over Royal Mail sale
    Watchdog to quiz Lazard over Royal Mail sale Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    By Freya Berry LONDON (Reuters) - A British parliamentary committee will question independent financial adviser Lazard this month regarding its role in the sale of Royal Mail, a committee spokeswoman said on Thursday. Lazard, which advised the government on the Royal Mail stock market listing, will be called before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on April 30, the spokeswoman said. This comes a week after a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) criticised the government for its reliance on independent advisers during the 2 billion pound listing of Royal Mail and said it had sold the company too cheaply. Lazard, which has also advised the government on selling part of its holding in Lloyds Banking Group, received 1.5 million pounds for its role in the Royal Mail deal. More »

  • UK House Prices Rise Further Amid 'Desperate Need' For More Homes
    UK House Prices Rise Further Amid 'Desperate Need' For More Homes Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    Sales of UK houses rose to a six-year high in March as buyers cashed in on better access to mortgage finance, but raising fears that first-time buyers will find it increasingly difficult to join the market. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said its seasonally adjusted house price balance, which measures the percentage of surveyors reporting a house price increase in their designated area, rose to +57 in March from an upwardly revised +47 the previous month. "Now that the housing market recovery is well and truly under way and mortgage finance is more readily available, buyers seem to be looking to test the market right across the country, not just in the usual hot spots of the South East," Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said. Despite the encouraging signs, the UK housing market continues to suffer from a lack of new homes coming onto the market, RICS added. More »

  • Former Comet Owner Has Eyes Down For Gala Bid
    Former Comet Owner Has Eyes Down For Gala Bid Tue, Apr 8, 2014

    The controversial former owner of the electrical goods retailer Comet is assembling an offer to gain control of the Gala chain of bingo halls. Sky News understands that Henry Jackson, founder of the investment firm Opcapita, has contacted Gala Coral to register his interest in bidding for the business, which is expected to be put up for sale later this year. Mr Jackson's involvement in the auction will pit him against private equity groups and individuals including Luke Johnson, the former Channel 4 chairman, whose firm Risk Capital Partners is among the other likely bidders. Prospective buyers have stepped up their interest in Gala since the surprise move by George Osborne, the Chancellor, to announce a halving of bingo duty in last month's Budget. More »

  • Ministers summoned for fresh grilling on Royal Mail sell-off
    Ministers summoned for fresh grilling on Royal Mail sell-off Tue, Apr 8, 2014

    Business Secretary Vince Cable was on Monday summoned to face lawmakers for a third time over the government's privatisation of Royal Mail, after a watchdog report last week said the postal company had been sold off too cheaply. In October last year the government sold 60 percent of Royal Mail at 330 pence per share, ending 500-years of state control and raising 2 billion pounds for the public purse. More »

  • Labour party targets non-London voters with devolution plan
    Labour party targets non-London voters with devolution plan Tue, Apr 8, 2014

    Ed Miliband will on Tuesday appeal to voters living outside London by offering to double the spending powers of regions and cities in England if his Labour party wins the next election. Labour have a 4 percentage point opinion poll lead over Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives heading into a 2015 election. Identifying devolution as path to greater prosperity outside London, Miliband will offer a two-fold increase in the funding under the control of English cities and regions if they come up with an economic strategy to generate well-paid jobs. "We need a prosperous London, but we also need to build prosperity outside it," Miliband will say according to extracts of his speech released in advance. More »

  • UK Housing Crisis: Local Councils Set to Build 10,000 New Homes
    UK Housing Crisis: Local Councils Set to Build 10,000 New Homes Mon, Apr 7, 2014

    Councils can now apply to central government to have their borrowing caps lifted so they can build more affordable housing and help tackle the growing UK housing crisis. They must bid to central government for a share of £300m extra borrowing allowance to build more affordable homes in their areas. Local councils are subject to a cap on their borrowing imposed by central government. In order to have their bids approved, the government said councils must "demonstrate maximum value for money, by including funds from disposal of surplus assets, particularly high-value vacant stock, and by bringing forward their own land for new affordable housing." More »

  • UK ministers summoned for fresh grilling on Royal Mail sell-off
    UK ministers summoned for fresh grilling on Royal Mail sell-off Mon, Apr 7, 2014

    British Business Secretary Vince Cable was on Monday summoned to face lawmakers for a third time over the government's privatisation of Royal Mail, after a watchdog report last week said the postal company had been sold off too cheaply. In October last year the government sold 60 percent of Royal Mail at 330 pence per share, ending 500-years of state control and raising 2 billion pounds for the public purse. More »

  • Royal Mail Shares: Vince Cable Faces Fresh Parliamentary Grilling
    Royal Mail Shares: Vince Cable Faces Fresh Parliamentary Grilling Mon, Apr 7, 2014

    Parliament's business, innovation and skills select committee has called the two ministers responsible for Royal Mail's privatisation back for another hearing on 29 April. It follows the National Audit Office (NAO) published a report accusing the government of undervaluing the firm and costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds in lost potential revenue. Business Secretary Cable rubber stamped the sale of Royal Mail at an offer price of 330p per share when it was floated onto the London Stock Exchange. More »

  • Cable faces new mail sale grilling
    Cable faces new mail sale grilling Mon, Apr 7, 2014

    The Business Secretary is being recalled by a select committee of MPs to give further evidence over the Government's controversial privatisation of Royal Mail. More »

  • The Current Account: Are we in a UK Housing Bubble?
    The Current Account: Are we in a UK Housing Bubble? Fri, Apr 4, 2014

    Britain's housing market is recovering, but is a new property bubble being blown? More »

  • Vince Cable: UK House Prices Unaffordable for Ordinary Families
    Vince Cable: UK House Prices Unaffordable for Ordinary Families Fri, Apr 4, 2014

    Rocketing UK house prices are putting home ownership out of reach for families on middle incomes, according to Business Secretary Vince Cable. And interest rates are cheap because of the Bank of England's record-low 0.5% base rate. All of these factors are helping lift demand for housing and pushing up house prices. Cable highlighted how the average house price has soared as a multiple of average earnings. More »

  • Home ownership unaffordable - Cable
    Home ownership unaffordable - Cable Fri, Apr 4, 2014

    Home ownership is becoming "unaffordable" for middle income families, Business Secretary Vince Cable has warned, amid fears rising prices are stoking a new property market bubble. More »

  • Nick Clegg: Vince Cable Got Royal Mail Share Price Right Despite NAO Critic …
    Nick Clegg: Vince Cable Got Royal Mail Share Price Right Despite NAO Critic … Thu, Apr 3, 2014

    Nick Clegg has backed Vince Cable's pricing of Royal Mail in the communications firm's privatisation, despite the National Audit Office saying it was sold off too cheaply. After taking advice from the investment banks Goldman Sachs and UBS, UK Business Secretary Cable priced Royal Mail at 330p a share. Royal Mail's share price is now trading at around 70% above this. The NAO said Cable's "deep caution" over Royal Mail's offer price meant the taxpayer lost out because it was undervalued. More »

  • Ed Miliband: David Cameron Sold Royal Mail at Mates' Rates to City Chum …
    Ed Miliband: David Cameron Sold Royal Mail at Mates' Rates to City Chum … Wed, Apr 2, 2014

    Labour leader Ed Miliband accused David Cameron of selling Royal Mail off to City of London investors at "mates' rates".  Miliband attacked Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions in parliament a day after a National Audit Office (NAO) report said taxpayers had lost out in the Royal Mail flotation because shares were sold off too cheaply. The Labour leader pressed Cameron on what price Royal Mail shares were trading at while they were in the House of Commons, to which the prime minister said the taxpayer had benefitted from the firm's sale. Cameron hit back by saying Labour was unable to sell Royal Mail because it was loss-making under the party's control. More »

  • English universities see first fall in foreign students since 1985 Wed, Apr 2, 2014

    By Belinda Goldsmith LONDON (Reuters) - The number of overseas students at English universities has fallen for the first time in nearly 30 years as students choose the United States and Australia instead due to tougher visa rules and higher fees, research showed on Wednesday. Numbers fell to 307,205 in 2012 from 311,800 in 2011, the first drop in 29 years, analysis by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) showed, despite foreign student numbers rising in other countries. The data is a concern for the 73-billion-pound ($121-billion) higher education sector, with international and EU students making up 30 percent of full-time university entrants, worth 10.7 billion pounds a year in fees and other spending. HEFCE data showed higher education accounted for 2.8 percent of UK GDP in 2011 and almost 760,000 jobs. More »

  • Royal Mail sale short-changed taxpayers - watchdog
    Royal Mail sale short-changed taxpayers - watchdog Tue, Apr 1, 2014

    By Neil Maidment LONDON (Reuters) - Britain sold off Royal Mail too cheaply, the spending watchdog said on Tuesday, prompting the main opposition Labour party to accuse Prime Minister David Cameron's government of failing to look after the interests of taxpayers. Britain's decision to sell a 60 percent stake in the 500-year-old state postal operator last October for 330 pence a share has been heavily criticised by Labour and trade unions after the stock soared by as much as 87 percent. Labour has seized upon the flotation, and the quick profits made by big banks and City investors, to reinforce one of its central arguments ahead of next year's general election - that Cameron's government is out of touch with ordinary voters. The sell-off, which followed three failed attempts to privatise Royal Mail in 20 years, came in the face of possible strike action at Royal Mail that the government had said could deter investors and contributed to its cautious approach on price. More »

  • PM: 'Royal Mail Sell-Off Good For Taxpayers'
    PM: 'Royal Mail Sell-Off Good For Taxpayers' Tue, Apr 1, 2014

    The Prime Minister has defended the Royal Mail sell-off, claiming it has been good for the taxpayer, despite a report saying the public purse had lost out. David Cameron said the sale had benefited the taxpayer in three ways: it had generated money for the country, the Royal Mail was now a "profit-making company paying taxes into the Exchequer" and Britain had a successful business. The Government has robustly defended the sale against sharp criticism from the National Audit Office, which found that "deep caution" shown by ministers when pricing shares in the Royal Mail last year cost the taxpayer more than £1bn. Vince Cable responded in the House of Commons by saying the "last thing" he intended to do was apologise for the Government's undervaluation of the Royal Mail. More »

  • Cable under pressure on Mail sale
    Cable under pressure on Mail sale Tue, Apr 1, 2014

    The Government is under continued pressure over its controversial privatisation of the Royal Mail amid demands for "priority" investors who made money from the sale to be publicly named. More »

  • Watchdog slams UK govt over Royal Mail privatisation
    Watchdog slams UK govt over Royal Mail privatisation Tue, Apr 1, 2014

    Britain failed to achieve value for money for taxpayers when it controversially privatised postal operator Royal Mail last year, the public spending watchdog concluded Tuesday in a damning report. More »

  • Cable insists he won't apologise
    Cable insists he won't apologise Tue, Apr 1, 2014

    Under-fire Business Secretary Vince Cable has insisted the last thing he will do is apologise for the controversial privatisation of Royal Mail after Labour likened the sell-off to an April Fool's joke. More »

  • Royal Mail Shares: Why Vince Cable's Privatisation is a Success
    Royal Mail Shares: Why Vince Cable's Privatisation is a Success Tue, Apr 1, 2014

    It was a hasty sale that lined the pockets of bankers and desecrated one of Britain's most historic public institutions by handing it over to the profiteering private sector at an outrageous discount. Such is the view of many who opposed the sell-off of communications firm Royal Mail, led by Business Secretary Vince Cable. "The sale of Royal Mail was well handled," said Dr Masden Pirie, president of pro-free market thinktank the Adam Smith Institute (ASI). When the government set the 330p offer price for Royal Mail shares it was following advice from investment banks Goldman Sachs and UBS. More »

  • UK auditor says Royal Mail was sold off cheaply
    UK auditor says Royal Mail was sold off cheaply Tue, Apr 1, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — The British government cost taxpayers millions by selling off the Royal Mail at too low a price, the country's public-spending watchdog said Tuesday. More »

  • Vince Cable Targeted over Coalition's Royal Mail Shares 'Car Boot S …
    Vince Cable Targeted over Coalition's Royal Mail Shares 'Car Boot S … Tue, Apr 1, 2014

    Business secretary Vince Cable's reputation as the economics guru who saw the crash coming and could virtually walk on water has suffered a massive setback in the wake of the Royal Mail "car boot sale" of shares and calls for his resignation. And David Cameron will once again be relieved that it is a Liberal Democrat minister who is taking the fall and distracting attention away from the fact that the Tories were just as eager to rid themselves of the historic institution. All warnings, and there were many, that the 330p share price was too low were ignored as ministers, led by Cable, claimed threats of industrial action and an investor boycott could torpedo the sale before it was even launched. As it turned out, industrial action was called off and investors who threatened not to get involved unless the share price was low, and whose warnings were underpinned by City advisers, made a killing as the share price rocketed. More »

  • Ian Murray MP: NAO report a damning verdict on Royal Mail sell-off Tue, Apr 1, 2014

    Shadow Business Minister Ian Murray MP says today's report from the National Audit Office is the 'final nail in the coffin' for the Government's defence of its Royal Mail sell-off. More »

  • Ian Murray: NAO report a damning verdict on Royal Mail sell-off Tue, Apr 1, 2014

    Shadow Business Minister Ian Murray says today's report from the National Audit Office is the 'final nail in the coffin' for the Government's defence of its Royal Mail sell-off. More »

  • Standard Life Investments Sells 99% of Royal Mail Shares
    Standard Life Investments Sells 99% of Royal Mail Shares Tue, Apr 1, 2014

    Standard Life Investments has sold 99% of its stake in the Royal Mail after a raft of stock price valuations prompted it to sell millions of shares. "Standard Life Investments are long term investors," said a company spokesperson. The revelation falls on the same day as the National Audit Office (NAO) slamming Britain's business secretary Vince Cable for undervaluing the Royal Mail's IPO price, which was set at a maximum price of 330p-a-share. The shares have since risen as high as 615p, and the NAO's findings state that the government's overly cautious approach has shortchanged the nation, while providing an easy killing for "priority" investors such as banks and hedge funds. More »