21 October 2013 Last updated at 10:01

Business Live: Hinkley gets go-ahead and more headlines

Key Points

  • Government given go-ahead to Hinkley nuclear plant.
  • Npower to raise prices of gas and electricity from 1 December
  • Co-op Group to lose control of Co-op Bank.
    0600: Edwin Lane Business reporter, BBC News

    Good morning and welcome. We'll be bringing you the day's business headlines, as well as company results, economic data and the best of the BBC's business stories as they happen. You can get in touch by emailing bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or tweeting @BBCBusiness.

    0600: Anthony Reuben Business reporter, BBC News

    Good morning. We're expecting an announcement in the next hour that there will be a new nuclear power plant built in Britain by a French energy company backed by Chinese investment. Let us know what you think via @bbcbusiness or bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

    CO-OP BANK 0600: Via Email Robert Peston Business editor

    An e-mail has just arrived from Robert Peston, who says that Co-op Group is going to lose control of Co-op Bank after its rescue. Co-op Bank is also expected to announce that its provisions for the costs of compensating customers for mis-selling PPI insurance or for flaws in lending documentation, among other things, will be around £100m greater than it expected.

    JP MORGAN FINE 0604:
    JP Morgan exterior

    According to media reports, US banking giant JP Morgan is set for a record $13bn (£8bn) fine to settle investigations into its mortgage-backed securities. The fine relates to the sale of securities based on home loans which were behind the banking crisis. If confirmed, it would be the biggest settlement ever paid by an US company.

    NEW NUCLEAR 0606:
    Artist's image of the Hinkley Point C plant

    This is what the new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset is expected to look like. It will be built by EDF Energy. Last week, Chancellor George Osborne announced on his trip to China that he was prepared to let Chinese companies take stakes in the project.

    TESCO WASTE 0611:

    One of the most-read stories on the BBC News website this morning is the announcement from Tesco about how much of the food it sells is wasted. The statistics show, for example, that 68% of salad sold in bags is thrown out, 35% of it by customers. Do you throw away a lot of fresh food? What should be done about it? Contact @BBCBusiness or bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk.

    GREENSPAN 0615:

    Former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has told the BBC a repeat of the crisis that brought the country close to default is "perfectly conceivable". The Democrats and Republicans wrangled for days before passing a bill to reopen the government and raise the federal debt limit with just hours to spare.

    CO-OP BANK 0622: Via Blog Robert Peston Business editor

    blogs: "After a weekend of intensive talks with Co-op Bank's creditors, Co-op Group, owner of Co-op Bank, has conceded - or so I am told - that its own plan for rescuing the bank has to be torn up and replaced."


    This morning's Financial Times reports that Prime Minister David Cameron is planning more privatisations before the 2015 election, and that this time he's going to give priority to private investors. The paper reckons the rest of Royal Mail could be sold next summer, with the sale of the government's stake in Lloyds Banking Group beginning early next year.

    HOUSE PRICES 0625: Radio 5 live

    Miles Shipside of Rightmove tells Wake Up to Money on Radio 5 live that rises in London prices are "unsustainable" and that foreign investors, who are often cash buyers, are now moving strongly into the Central London buy-to-let market. The property website Rightmove said Central London prices had risen 10% in a month.

    GIBRALTAR 0634: Radio 4

    Did you know that 60% of all bets taken online are taken through Gibraltar-licensed operators? That's what Gibraltar's chief minister Fabian Picardo has told the Today programme's Tanya Beckett. Gibraltar has the 26 biggest online gaming operators in the world, apparently.

    Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

    Ahead of this week's UK economic growth figures, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says that a strong economy is "necessary but not sufficient" to solve Britain's problems. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said more needed to be done to make sure the poor share in the country's prosperity.

    WEAK YEN 0639:
    Yen and US dollar notes

    Japan posted a trade deficit for the 15th month in a row in September as a weak yen pushed up import costs. The deficit for the month rose to 932bn yen ($9.5bn; £5.8bn), up 64% from a year ago, as imports rose 16.5%. A series of aggressive measures aimed at reviving Japan's economy has resulted in the yen falling nearly 25% against the US dollar since November.

    NEW NUCLEAR 0648: John Moylan Industry correspondent, BBC News

    reports that the guaranteed price agreed for electricity generated by the new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point will be £92.50 per megawatt hour - about twice the current wholesale cost of electricity. He says the government reckons average annual electricity bills will be £77 lower after 2030 as a result of the new power station, even if they rise a bit in the meantime to cover the cost.

    CO-OP BANK Via Twitter Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: Co-op Bank story in brief: Co-op Group duffed up by a pair of hedge funds

    NEW NUCLEAR 0653: Breaking News

    The Department of Energy and Climate Change has confirmed: "Hinkley Point C will be the first new nuclear power plant in the UK in 20 years following an agreement between the government and EDF Group."

    GRANGEMOUTH Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: Ineos' boss Ratcliffe ups pressure on Unite: "if #Grangemouth stays shut, it runs out of money quite quickly & Ineos won't keep funding it"... and Ineos' Jim Ratcliffe: if petro-chem plant closes, "would likely lead to the demise of (neighbouring) refinery" (Sunday Times interview)

    NEW NUCLEAR 0656:

    In the government press release, Secretary of State for Energy Ed Davey says: "For the first time, a nuclear power station in this country will not have been built with money from the British taxpayer."

    NEW NUCLEAR Via Twitter Adam Parsons Business Correspondent

    tweets: Rate or return for EDF from Hinkley will be 10%, according to press release.

    MERLIN FLOAT 0703:

    Merlin Entertainments, which owns Legoland and Alton Towers, has announced that it plans to float on the London Stock Exchange.

    BRAZIL OIL 0704: World Service

    The first auction of rights to develop Brazil's huge offshore oil reserves is due to go ahead in Rio de Janeiro later today. Big foreign businesses are among the bidders, but the World Service reports that some Brazilian oil workers are planning protests, complaining that the government is selling out to foreign interests.

    AT&T DEAL 0715:
    AT&T logo

    US telecom giant AT&T has agreed to lease nearly 9,100 of its towers and sell another 600 to tower operator Crown Castle International. It will receive nearly $4.85bn (£3bn) in cash upfront. The deal gives AT&T cash to fund a share buyback announced earlier this year, as well as a multi-billion dollar plan to upgrade its wireless and high-speed internet networks.

    NEW NUCLEAR Via Twitter Adam Parsons Business Correspondent

    tweets: Ed Davey getting absolutely drenched on @BBCBreakfast. Rain power?

    MERLIN FLOAT 0720:
    Legoland recreation of Royal Baby announcement

    Merlin's announcement says it operates 99 attractions in 22 countries which attracted more than 54 million visitors in 2012. It is Europe's leading visitor attraction operator and the second largest globally after Walt Disney.

    NEW NUCLEAR 0724: BBC Breakfast
    Ed Davey

    Ed Davey is gripping his umbrella in the wind and the rain at Hinkley Point in Somerset to speak to BBC Breakfast. He says local people are very happy about getting the investment for the new nuclear power plant in their area. He says 57% of the work will go to British firms and British workers, despite the involvement of the French and Chinese.

    NEW NUCLEAR 0728: Radio 4

    Dieter Helm, a professor of energy policy at Oxford University, reminds us of the huge government involvement in nuclear power investment. "EDF is 85% owned by the French government, the Chinese investors are state-owned, and the UK government is standing behind the price," he tells the Today programme.

    Heathrow Airport

    Heathrow has released 9-month results. Pre-tax profits came in at £266m, up from £112m in the same period last year. Passenger numbers were up 3.6% to 54.8 million.

    MERLIN FLOAT 0744:
    Smiler ride at Alton Towers

    Merlin, which owns Alton Towers, Legoland and Madame Tussauds, is sweetening the deal for its forthcoming stock market float. The minimum application will be £1,000 and individual shareholders get a 30% discount on either two adult Merlin Annual Passes or one family Merlin Annual Pass. But you can get 25% off now just for applying online.

    NEW NUCLEAR Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: Laing O'Rourke and Bouygues joint venture (Bylor) named preferred civil engineer contractor for Hinkley Point new nuclear power plant


    If you're just joining us, here's what's happened so far: the government has given the go ahead to a new nuclear plant at Hinkley. Co-op Group is set to lose control of Co-op Bank, the BBC's Robert Peston says. Meanwhile, Merlin, owner of Legoland and Alton Towers, has announced plans to float on the stock market.


    A quick roundup of the Asian markets: Stocks are up this morning after the Chinese leadership indicated there would be "no slackening" in its policies to hit growth targets. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong is up 0.5%, while in Tokyo the Nikkei is up 0.9%.

    GRANGEMOUTH Good Morning Scotland

    tweets: Staff at Grangemouth have til 6pm to agree to new terms & conditions. Calum MacLean, chair of INEOS Grangemouth on GMS @ 0810

    CO-OP BANK 0758:

    As revealed in Robert Peston's exclusive this morning, the Co-op Bank has confirmed that it expects to spend £100m-105m more on compensation for PPI mis-selling and other transgressions.

    LISTEN AGAIN 0808: Radio 4

    Earlier this morning on the Today progamme, Tanya Beckett spoke to Professor Andrew Sherry at the University of Manchester about the implications of the government's go ahead for the Hinkley nuclear plant. Gibraltar's chief minister Fabian Picardo was also on the programme to talk about the European Commission probe into Gibraltar's corporate tax system. Listen back to the podcast here.


    Philips has reported rising three month profits despite declining sales. Cost-cutting boosted net profits to 281m euros ($384m; £238m) from 105m euros in the same period last year. The company has cut 4,900 jobs over the past year - more than 4% of its employees.

    GRANGEMOUTH 0818: Good Morning Scotland
    Protesters at Grangemouth on Sunday

    Calum MacLean, chair of INEOS Grangemouth says on Good Morning Scotland that he "remains pretty confident" that workers will accept the new terms and conditions by 18.00 today. But he adds that the more important thing for resuming operations is an assurance of no strikes during the 45 to 60-day consultation period.

    NEW NUCLEAR 0822: Radio 4

    Energy Secretary Ed Davey is still at Hinkley Point and speaking to Today. He says a key part of negotiations with EDF was the use of British workers: "25,000 people will be employed during the project, the vast majority will be British workers," he says. He maintains that 57% of the value of the project will go to UK firms.

    NEW NUCLEAR 0823: Via Email

    Reader Steve from Paris emails: "Only in Britain could we celebrate the fact that 57% of the work will go to British firms and British workers. This would be a cause for national shame in France or China. In fact, neither country would allow it."

    NEW NUCLEAR 0827:

    Gary Smith, GMB national secretary for energy, says: "EDF seem to have sought a reasonable deal. It appears they haven't sought to drive home the advantage they had in the negotiations over the strike price. We have an energy policy that is in tatters, which in turn left the UK government in a very weak bargaining position."


    The markets in Europe have opened and it's a mixed picture so far. In London the FTSE 100 has barely changed, while the Dax in Frankfurt and the Cac 40 in Paris are both down slightly. In Asia, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong is up about 0.25% and the Nikkei in Tokyo has now closed, up 0.9%.

    Robert Stanzione

    Advice from Robert Stanzione, chief executive of fast-growing US technology group Arris: "First of all, get as much education as you can," he says. "Then get involved in something you enjoy and stick with it."

    GREENSPAN 0843: World Service

    Evan Davis's interview with former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan is being broadcast on the World Service. He says he is sympathetic to many of the policies of the Republican Tea Party, but believes that "how they're going about [pursuing] goals I happen to agree with is wholly outside the democratic sphere."


    If you're just joining us, here's a roundup of our busy morning so far: The government has given the go ahead to a new nuclear plant at Hinkley. Co-op Group is set to lose control of Co-op Bank, the BBC's Robert Peston says. Meanwhile, the industrial dispute that has closed the Grangemouth refinery in Scotland rumbles on.

    SINGAPORE'S WEALTH 0849: Via Blog Linda Yueh Chief business correspondent

    blogs: "It may surprise you to know that Singapore has more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the world. One in six households are in the millionaire club."

    NEW NUCLEAR 0853: via Facebook

    Reader Robin Rainton posts on the BBCBusiness Facebook page about the new Hinkley Point nuclear plant: "Of course it's not a good deal. Who will foot the bill to clean it up & decommission when its private owners 'forget' to put enough of the profits aside in a trust for that job?"

    NPOWER PRICES 0900: Breaking News

    Energy company Npower will raise its electricity prices by 9.3% and gas prices by 11.1% from 1 December, following recent price increases by British Gas and SSE. "I know that any increases to household bills are always unwelcome, and this is not a decision that we have taken lightly," said Paul Massara, chief executive of Npower.


    No response from the government so far to the news that Npower is going to increase its gas and electricity prices. Do you think it will encourage customers to switch suppliers?

    BRAZIL OIL 0907: BBC World News
    Soldiers in Rio de Janeiro

    The Brazilian government has deployed more than 1,000 troops around the hotel in Rio de Janeiro where the auction of Brazil's massive offshore oil fields is due to take place, according to World Business Report. The invitation to foreign firms has been criticised by some Brazilian unions, and anti-government protesters have threatened to disrupt the event.

    NEW NUCLEAR 0911: BBC News Channel

    Prime Minister David Cameron says: "We'll do everything we can to keep energy prices low."

    NEW NUCLEAR 0916:

    The go-ahead for a new nuclear plant at Hinkley hinged on the government agreeing a strike price with EDF. Don't know what a strike price is? Find out by reading our comprehensive Q&A on the deal.

    NEW NUCLEAR 0922: BBC News Channel

    Shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex says: "We support the idea of nuclear being part of our energy mix... but we need to scrutinise the details of this deal in terms of the price they've arrived at, what happens if costs go up, what happens if costs actually don't meet the price which is being suggested."

    JP MORGAN FINE 0928:
    Bank of America

    Widespread media reports over the weekend suggested that JP Morgan has agreed a $13bn (£8bn) fine for its role in selling mortgage-backed securities that led to the banking crisis. According to the Financial Times this morning, US regulators aren't stopping there, with Bank of America next in their sights.

    NPOWER PRICES Via Twitter Simon Gompertz Personal finance correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: "When Tesco puts up the price of a loaf of bread by 5p no-one is surprised if Sainsbury's do the same" says npower of its 10% hike

    NPOWER PRICES 0934: Via Email

    Reader Adrian Gray from Berkshire emails: "This shows how arrogant and banal the recent ministerial comment was during a parliamentary debate when British Gas raised their prices. The response was 'switch suppliers' but of course they are all going to increase in line - operating as one big cartel. We have no real competition or alternative choice - just lump it and stump up."

    British Gas van

    We hear British Gas has been reminding its staff of security precautions saying its "price rise announcement generated a lot of interest in the media. Our Twitter Q&A in particular received much attention, with British Gas trending globally." But the advice to remove ID badges when out of the office seems a bit pointless for those who go round in big, blue British Gas vans.

    NPOWER PRICES 0944: Via Email

    Reader Raoul Coppens-Browne in Ipswich comments: "What's going on here in the UK? Just read the Dutch Newspapers - De Telegraaf: Energy Prices going DOWN as of January 1st 2014 due to lower wholesale costs of Coal and Gas!!


    If you're just joining us, here are the headlines so far this morning: Npower has become the latest energy company to announce gas and electricity price increases, the government and French firm EDF have struck a deal that will see a new nuclear plant built at Hinkley Point, and Co-op is set to lose control of its troubled banking arm, Co-op Bank.


    Time for a quick look at the markets: The FTSE 100 has climbed a bit further, and is up 0.2%, though RBS is leading the fallers - it's down 5.5%. The Cac 40 and the Dax are both still down, 0.2% and 0.1% respectively, though they have recovered somewhat in the last hour.


    That's it from us for today. Keep checking in with the business pages for more on the government's go-ahead for Hinkley Point's new nuclear power station, price rises from Npower, and JP Morgan's expected record fine in the US. Thanks for joining us and come back tomorrow from 06.00 for more updates.


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