25 November 2013 Last updated at 05:54

Business Live: RBS accusations plus business headlines

Key Points

  • RBS accused over small business treatment
  • Oil prices fall in response to Iran nuclear deal
  • Government announces plans to cap payday loans rates
    0600: Ben Morris Business Reporter

    Good morning from the Business Live team. Unlike the English cricket team we are back at work this morning. No doubt about the top story so far - Royal Bank of Scotland is accused of killing off companies. Plenty more on that here. If you want to get in touch, it's bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or tweet @bbcbusiness.

    0600: Edwin Lane Business reporter, BBC News

    Good morning all. Coming up: lots of reaction to the RBS accusations, plus we'll be keeping a close eye on the global oil markets following the Iran nuclear deal and look ahead to more debate over HS2, with the bill published later.

    RBS REPORT 0601: Radio 5 live
    RBS HQ

    A "very very very profound accusation" Mark Garnier, Conservative MP and member of Treasury Select Committee said on Wake Up to Money this morning. He was reacting to a claim in a report by government adviser Lawrence Tomlinson saying RBS put some "good and viable" businesses into default so it could make more profit.

    OIL PRICES 0605:

    Oil prices have fallen after Iran agreed a deal to curb some of its nuclear activities. Iran holds the world's fourth-largest oil reserves but its exports have been hurt by tough sanctions. Brent crude fell more than 2% in trading in Asia early this morning.

    PAYDAY LOANS 0611: Radio 4

    BBC political correspondent Vickie Young reports that the government is introducing a new cap on the amount of interest payday loan companies can charge. She says the level of the cap will be decided by the Financial Conduct Authority.

    PAYDAY LOANS 0618: Radio 4

    Gary O'Donoghue, another of our political correspondents, tells the Today programme that regulators have been "pretty sceptical about the efficacy of caps" on payday loans in the past, but this new law will give them a duty to impose one. There are concerns that making loans less available will simply drive the industry underground.

    FLOOD DEFENCES 0624: Radio 5 live
    Flooding 2012

    Last year extreme weather, including floods, cost business £200m. As a result flood defences are a good investment says David Rooke, Director of Flood and Coastal Risk Management at the Environment Agency on Wake Up to Money.

    RBS REPORT 0628: Radio 4

    David Cumming, head of UK equities at Standard Life Investments, an RBS shareholder, says he is worried by the allegations that RBS was deliberating pushing businesses under, but says he wants to hear their side of the story before jumping to conclusions.

    LATE NIGHT SHOPPING 0632: Radio 5 live
    Regent Street

    "Up to 73%" of us would consider shopping as late as midnight, Kate Hardcastle, consumer expert, tells Wake Up to Money. In the run up to Christmas many shops are planning to open that late this year.

    WORLD TRADE 0640: BBC World News

    A new global trade deal is edging closer, according to World Business Report. Negotiators at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva are set to present a finished draft this week. It could boost trade by as much as $1tn, according to some estimates.

    UK "RESHORING" 0644:

    Forget outsourcing, "reshoring" is the new business trend. One in six UK manufacturers have bought production back to the UK during the past year, or is in the process of doing that, according to the Financial Times.

    Amazon warehouse

    A BBC investigation into Amazon has uncovered working conditions that a stress expert said could cause "mental and physical illness". Secret filming by Panorama showed night shifts involved up to 11 miles of walking in a warehouse.

    RBS REPORT 0657: Radio 4

    The BBC's Jonty Bloom points out that there are actually two reports published today on Royal Bank of Scotland: The first is from RBS itself, and will say there has been a failure to provide credit to sound companies. The second is the one from Vince Cable's advisor Lawrence Tomlinson, saying that RBS has pushed viable companies to the wall to get its hands on their assets.

    OIL PRICES FALL 0703: Radio 5 live

    Mickey Clark and Adam Parson discuss oil prices on 5 live. The prospect of more Iranian oil entering the market is being blamed for a fall in oil prices this morning. Mickey says that the recovering global economy would normally mean higher oil prices.

    RBS REPORT 0708: BBC Breakfast

    Government advisor Lawrence Tomlinson, who wrote the report accusing RBS of pushing businesses into default, is on Breakfast. He says people have come to him with horrific stories of viable businesses being dissolved. He says more people have been emailing him with similar tales since the story broke yesterday, at the practice seems to be "systematic and institutional".

    COMING UP 0710:

    Vince Cable will be on Breakfast in about 45 minutes to talk about Royal Bank of Scotland, and the Chancellor George Osborne is on the Today programme just after 08:00 to talk about payday loans among other things.

    PAYDAY LOANS Via Twitter Adam Parsons Business Correspondent

    tweets: "Govt planning to cap payday loan interest rate. I predict payday companies will say that credit lines to vulnerable will now dry up"

    APPLE DEAL 0720:
    Consumers try the Kinect console

    Apple has purchased an Israeli firm that specialises in making 3D motion detection technology. It is likely to spark speculation about its plans to develop new products such as Apple TV. Some reports said it had paid $360m (£222m).

    EXECUTIVE PAY 0727: Radio 4

    Switzerland voted against a law to limit the wages of top executives to 12-times that of their lowest-paid workers at the weekend. City head-hunter John Purcell tells Simon Jack that the principle of capping pay is "inherently wrong". "If people are doing well they should be rewarded," he says. "It's the politics of envy".

    Via Twitter Adam Parsons Business Correspondent

    tweets: "Consortium of Arrow Group and CarVal Investors preferred bidder for Govt student loan book"

    Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Sir Andrew Large on RBS SME lending out today: fragmented responsibility, staff too risk-averse: "There is much that still needs to be done" "


    The government has just announced that it's sold £160m worth of student loans to a private company. The government said Erudio Student Loans was selected as the successful bidder, and the deal represents the "best value for the taxpayer".

    PAYDAY LOANS 0746: BBC Breakfast

    Stella Creasy, shadow minister for consumer affairs, tells the BBC that the government has been slow to regulate payday loans. She is worried payday loans firms will find a way around new legislation designed to limit interest rates.

    RBS REPORT 0753: Radio 5 live

    Business Secretary, Vince Cable, tells 5 live that the Tomlinson report has a lot of evidence that firms were forced out of business in a seemingly "systematic" manner. He says we need to "get to the bottom of what happened immediately."

    HS2 BILL 0754:
    Potential HS2 design

    The HS2 bill, clearing the government to build the controversial high-speed rail line, goes before parliament today. The BBC's transport correspondent Richard Westcott says the bill is the biggest the country has ever seen, stretching to tens of thousands of pages.


    Traditional seaside holiday towns are among the worst places for insolvencies in the UK, the Guardian reports. Torbay in Devon has the highest rate of insolvencies according to a report by Wilkins Kennedy.

    PAYDAY LOANS 0816: Radio 4

    Chancellor George Osborne tells the Today programme that the plan to cap the cost of payday loans is not a departure from his free market philosophy. "When we came to power this industry was completely unregulated. We've always believed in properly regulated markets."

    PAYDAY LOANS 0822: Radio 4

    Evan Davis points out that the regulator already has the power to impose price caps, but hasn't. George Osborne responds: "We are the government and the government has to lead."

    CO-OP BANK 0825: Radio 4

    George Osborne fields questions about Paul Flowers and the Co-op. He says the failure of the sale of Lloyds branches to Co-op shows the regulatory system works. "The system worked because when we saw the Co-op was in no state to take over the Lloyds branches, the alarm bells sounded and the alarm bells were heard," he says.

    Via Twitter Richard Westcott BBC transport correspondent

    tweets: "#hs2 Woodland Trust has employed someone just to deal with new hs2 bill... 56 days to respond but it's 55,000 pgs @WoodlandTrust"

    PAYDAY LOANS 0830: Radio 5 live

    Sajid Javid, conservative MP and financial secretary to the Treasury, is on 5 live. He says that regulators will report back to the government and parliament on the best way to set a cap on the costs of payday loans.


    The markets in the Europe have opened higher this morning. The FTSE 100 is 0.4% higher, as is the Dax in Frankfurt. The Cac 40 index in Paris is up 0.3%. Earlier in Tokyo the Nikkei closed up 1.5% to end at a new six-month high, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong is currently flat.


    Reuters are reporting that more than a thousand anti-government protesters have occupied Thailand's Finance Ministry.

    RBS REPORT 0848: Radio 4

    Simon Jack speaks to Eddie Warren, an RBS business customer, who was forced to sell his hotel at a loss after RBS placed his business with the restructuring team. "They forced me into putting it on the market for £1.4m... we paid nearly £4m for it," he says. "We've lost everything. We've been thrown out of our house and everything because of them."

    RBS REPORT 0853:

    You can find the full Tomlinson report about RBS and its lending to small business here: http://www.tomlinsonreport.com/docs/tomlinsonReport.pdf

    0911: Via Blog Robert Peston Business editor

    blogs: "It is not altogether surprising, given the scale of the mess RBS created if - in the process of trying to clean itself up - RBS succeeded in doing over and doing in some business that did not deserve it."


    If you're just joining us, we have been covering the news this morning that the government is planning to cap the cost of payday loans, plus the allegations surrounding Royal Bank of Scotland's treatment of small businesses. Get in touch with us with you're views on these stories or the rest of the business headlines at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or @bbcbusiness.

    OIL PRICE 0920:

    Trading in oil has opened in London markets this morning. Brent crude is down almost 2% after the news at the weekend of a nuclear deal with Iran. Iran is a big oil producer, but sales internationally have been limited by sanctions in recent years.

    BA tailfins

    The fall in oil prices is having an effect on individual shares, with major oil companies including BP and Shell down this morning. Airline shares are higher as they could benefit from cheaper jet fuel prices. IAG is up more than 3%, Ryanair is up around 2%.

    PAYDAY LOANS 0928: Via Email

    Reader Ben in Hemel Hempstead emails: "Although I agree with a cap on interest, I don't think that is the problem. It is still cheaper to borrow £100 over 30 days then it is to go overdrawn in the bank. Ultimately, what is needed is a crackdown on aggressive measures to get the loan back and also fairer and simpler payment plans for those who default."

    RBS REPORTS 0938:

    Just so we are clear, there are two reports on RBS today: The Andrew Large report into lending to small and medium size firms, published by the Independent Lending Review. The Tomlinson report looks at how small firms have been treated, and is the work of a Vince Cable advisor. There will be a test later.

    PAYDAY LOANS Via Twitter Simon Gompertz Personal finance correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: "Payday price cap: FCA worry was prices drifting up towards a cap, plus danger of big reduction in forbearance."

    peugeot logo

    Shares in Peugeot have jumped 4% in Paris. Investors are hoping it will benefit from an easing of sanctions on Iran, where it had a significant business. There are also reports that chief executive Philippe Varin is planning to step down.


    It's shaping up to be a positive day on the markets, with news of a nuclear deal with Iran feeding through to share prices: The FTSE 100 is up 0.4%, as is the Cac 40 index in Paris. The Dax in Frankfurt is 0.8% higher. Earlier in Tokyo the Nikkei closed up 1.5% to end at a new six-month high, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong ended the day flat.

    RBS REPORTS Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Sir Andrew Large: RBS doesn't do enough to avoid conflict of interest when one part of it is buying distressed assets from failed clients"

    LISTEN AGAIN 1012: World Service

    How should you greet an acquaintance - a handshake, a hug, a kiss, a curtsey or maybe a salute? Listen again to the Business Daily podcast from the World Service to find the answer. Plus the programme looks at the shadowy past of the central bankers' central bank - the Bank of International Settlements - and how to grow giant Sapphires.

    IPL protest

    Sport must do more to tackle betting-related corruption. That's according to an investigator with more than 40 years' experience in tackling crime. Take a look at Bill Wilson's article for more.

    OIL PRICE 1030:

    A barrel of Brent crude is now down at $108.80 following the Iran deal. That may be $2 lower than the price before the weekend, but it is still high compared with recent years, and well above the $100 a barrel target informally set by the Opec group of oil-producing nations.


    Online sales are forecast to hit £5bn this Christmas, an increase of almost 20% on last year, the Guardian reports. Forecasts from Deloitte also see total sales, including shops and other channels, over the festive season topping £40bn, up 3.5% on 2012.

    STUDENT LOANS 1049: BBC News Channel

    Universities minister David Willetts says students with outstanding loans should not be concerned by the recent sale of loans to private companies. He says none of the terms and conditions will change, nor will the interest rates. The sale of £890m-worth of loans was announced earlier.

    MISSED TRAIN 1059:
    Ethiopia bridge

    Ethiopia is building 2,000km (1,243 miles) of railway. UK experts were approached at the outset for advice, but no British firms are involved in the construction. James Jeffrey reports from Addis Ababa on why.


    The FTSE 100 is up 0.3%, while the Cac 40 index in Paris is up 0.5%. The Dax in Frankfurt is 0.8% higher. Earlier in Tokyo the Nikkei closed up 1.5% to end at a new six-month high, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong ended the day flat. On the oil markets a barrel of Brent crude will cost you $109 - down more than $2.


    On our Facebook page we asked small business owners how they felt about banks. Kellvin Aongola said: "I think we should start encouraging small businesses to collaborate, share services and basically ignore financial institutions."

    Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Diageo offers OFT sale of Whyte & Mackay distillers: took it on when it got controlling stake in India's United Distillers."

    LISTEN AGAIN 1136: Radio 4

    Listen back to the Today's programme's business podcast to hear Simon Jack talking to Peter Hahn from the Cass Business School about the controversy surrounding RBS's business lending, and to Mark Preston, chief executive of Grosvenor, about how to get corporate governance right.

    RBS REPORTS 1145:
    RBS HQ

    RBS has appointed the law firm Clifford Chance to review the treatment received by some of its business customers from the bank. Two reports have been critical of the bank's policy towards small and medium-sized business, particularly those in financial trouble.

    Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Wave power: surfing technical, money and political turbulence. Aquamarine Power's Martin McAdam interviewed (by me): http://bit.ly/17LS5v3 "

    LISTEN AGAIN 1159: Radio 5 live

    If you missed Wake Up to Money earlier this morning listen back via the podcast to hear Adam Parsons and Mickey Clark discuss Lawrence Tomlinson's report into RBS's treatment of small businesses, and speak to the Environment Agency about how flood defences could save businesses hundreds of millions of pounds.

    Pizza Express

    What do pizza, car parks, cruise ships and theatre production have in common? Answer: They are all businesses that entrepreneur Luke Johnson has invested in. Will Smale takes a look at his hyperactive life.

    FUEL BILLS 1219:
    gas rings

    There is some evidence of rising profit margins among the big six energy companies. That's according to a review of the energy market in 2012 by watchdog Ofgem. But it also says the increase may be down to colder weather in 2010 and 2012, rather than a deliberate strategy by energy firms.

    Via Twitter John Moylan Industry correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: "Energy regulator @ofgem says big 6 supplier profit per household customer increased to £53 in 2012 from £30 in 2011"

    PAYDAY LOANS 1229: Radio 5 live

    A former legal adviser to the Royal Bank of Scotland's risk department has spoken to Radio 5 live and backs up claims that RBS forced "good" and "viable" businesses into administration.

    AMAZON 1240:
    Amazon logo

    Our most read story at the moment is Panorama's investigation into working conditions at Amazon. "We are machines, we are robots, we plug our scanner in, we're holding it, but we might as well be plugging it into ourselves," says undercover reporter Adam Littler. You can see the whole programme at 20.30 on Monday on BBC1.


    The FTSE 100 is up 0.3%, while the Cac 40 index in Paris is up 0.6%. The Dax in Frankfurt is 0.9% higher. Earlier in Tokyo the Nikkei closed up 1.5% to end at a new six-month high. On the oil markets a barrel of Brent crude continues to hover around the $109 mark.


    The number of people taking out mortgages with UK banks fell slightly in October. That's according to the British Bankers Association. The figures also show that the number of loans to businesses has declined again.

    HUNGER GAMES 1252:
    Jennifer Lawrence

    "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'' opened with $161m at the North American weekend box office. That is the biggest November debut ever. It's also studio Lionsgate's most lucrative opening. Jennifer Lawrence has the leading role.

    WHISKY SALE 1256:

    Drinks giant Diageo has agreed to sell its Whyte and Mackay's whisky brand after the Office of Fair Trading questioned its dominance of the whisky market.


    That's it from the Business Live page today. But we will be back tomorrow from 06:00 for more of the latest business headlines.


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