3 December 2013 Last updated at 05:55

Business Live: RBS apologises over payments failure

Key Points

  • RBS apologises over payments failure
  • Cameron in Shanghai with UK trade delegation
  • Savers failing to keep track of pensions, report warns
    0600: Ben Morris Business Reporter

    Good morning! We are being very careless with our pensions - a third of workers have lost track of their pension scheme altogether according to a report out today. And the boss of Betfair has a £200m cash pile, we'll find out what he intends to do with it later today. You can email us at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or tweet us @bbcbusiness.

    0600: Edwin Lane Business reporter, BBC News

    Good morning everyone and welcome to Business Live. We'll be here until 13:00 this afternoon to cover all the day's business news from across the BBC, so stay with us.

    ENERGY BILLS 0600: Radio 5 live

    Wake up to Money is analysing Monday's slightly confusing announcements on energy prices. According to Craig Lowrey from Utilities Exchange customers have gained in the short term. But because some of the measures are being paid for out of taxation there's a question over whether we will be better off in the long run.

    LOST PENSIONS 0606: Radio 5 live

    Many people have several pension schemes from different jobs. Michelle Cracknell, chief executive of the Pensions Advisory Service, urges us to track down those pensions. She recommends the government's pension tracing service. But she says some pension companies have disappeared altogether, which can make the situation difficult.

    WORLD TRADE 0607: BBC World News

    The World Trade Organisation is in Bali, Indonesia today to try and hammer out an 11th-hour deal on global trade. The BBC's Andrew Walker says there's zero chance of a full agreement, but there's hope among delegates that some measures can be settled on.

    • RBS apologises over payment issues
    • Cameron take delegation to Shanghai
    • Savers 'must keep track of pensions'
    RBS PAYMENTS 0615:
    RBS HQ

    The Royal Bank of Scotland group has promised to compensate those left "out of pocket" after customers were unable to pay for purchases yesterday. RBS, Natwest and Ulster Bank customers, making online and card payments, were affected from 18:00 GMT, on one of the busiest shopping days of 2013.

    Apple store

    Apple has bought a technology firm called Topsy, which analyses data from Twitter. It has recently created a searchable database of all tweets sent - more than 400 billion - since Twitter's launch. It could help Apple work out what its customers are tweeting about and interested in.

    ENERGY BILLS 0622: Radio 5 live

    How do yesterday's announcements from energy firms affect you if you have a fixed-price energy deal? Craig Lowrey from Utilities Exchange says some companies have already said they will pass on the price cuts, but others have not decided what to do yet.

    SAVINGS 0630: Radio 4

    Justin Rowlatt is presenting the business slots on Today this morning. Jane Sydenham, investment director at Rathbones Investment Management, tells him that there's gathering evidence that confidence is returning to the UK economy. That's reflected in savings, which Bank of England figures say are falling at the fastest rate in 40 years.

    WORLD TRADE 0634: BBC World News

    In an indication of how unlikely a deal is at today's WTO talks in Bali today, Indonesian officials have told the BBC's Alice Budisatrio they're hoping for "heavenly guidance" to bring delegates to an agreement.


    Today presenter Justin Webb teases markets guest Jane Sydenham from Rathbones Investment Management. A sore throat has given her a very raspy voice. Justin asks her for a Dalek impersonation. She says "exterminate".

    TOYOTA IN CHINA 0640: BBC World News

    Rico Hizon in our Singapore bureau reports that Toyota's car sales in China rose again last month, despite tension between the two countries over disputed island territories. He says China is a "must-have market" for big car firms like Toyota.

    PARCEL DELIVERY 0645: Radio 4

    National Rail is experimenting with allowing internet shoppers to pick up parcels at stations. David Stubbs, a postal logistics expert, tells Today that it is a reflection of how companies are having to adjust to online retailing.

    CAMERON IN CHINA 0645: Radio 5 live
    Prime Minister Cameron and President Xi

    Britain is an "an old European country that is apt only for tourism and study", according to an editorial in a Chinese newspaper. That line comes from a report by the BBC's Martin Patience on 5 live. He is on tour with the prime minister and has found locals who say they've "never heard" of David Cameron.

    MOBILE BILLS 0656:

    There's been a deal to protect mobile phone customers from paying huge bills if their handsets are stolen. EE, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone have all signed up to the deal which may set a cap at around £50. The BBC's Adam Parsons tells 5 live the full details have yet to be thrashed out, however.

    Via Twitter Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

    tweets: "Apple has just paid $200m for a sentiment analysis business - perhaps they should have bought this guy instead? http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304579404579231772007379090?mod=e2tw "

    RIO TINTO 0709:

    Mining firm Rio Tinto plans to halve its spending on new projects by 2015. Rio chief Sam Walsh said the mining giant would slash capital expenditure to $8bn, compared with $17bn last year. It follows a loss last year - Rio's first in 18 years.

    RBS PAYMENTS 0716: Radio 4
    RBS HQ

    Susan Allen, director of customer solutions at RBS, is on Today. She says that 250,000 customers an hour would have tried to use the payment system that failed on Monday evening. She apologised for the fault which ran from 18:30 to 21:30 and says the bank will do what it can to cover "out of pocket" expenses.

    BETFAIR 0725:

    Online betting firm Betfair has announced results for the six months ending in October. It made a pre-tax profit of £31.7m, though revenues were down 6% to £188m. Betfair shares are up 3% this morning.

    GREENE KING 0731:

    The boss of Greene King, Rooney Anand, says that "customers remain careful with their money" despite improvements in in the economic outlook. The pub chain made a pre-tax profit of £65.6m for the six months to October, but that was down 20% on last year.

    RBS PAYMENTS 0732: BBC Breakfast

    RBS may compensate you if you missed out on a bargain yesterday because of problems with online payments. Susan Allen told Breakfast they want customers to come and talk to them about the problems they experienced.

    BP LAWSUIT 0737: Radio 4
    Deepwater Horizon 2010

    Justin Rowlatt on Today discusses another potential lawsuit against BP. Jeremy Lieberman, from US law firm Pomerantz, says investors who bought BP shares during the 2010 oil spill may be able to sue the firm. He alleges that BP misrepresented the scale of the problem.

    CAMERON IN CHINA Via Twitter Linda Yueh Chief business correspondent

    tweets: @David_Cameron attracted 155k followers on China equivalent of Twitter Sina Weibo on 1st day of visit vs @Lagarde 3.6mln, @euHvR has 3.3mln

    Road works

    Analysis by the Financial Times shows the government has made "minimal" progress with promised investment in roads, railways and other big projects. In 2011 the coalition identified 40 "priority" projects, but only a handful have been completed, says the report. It also said overall road work has fallen by half over the last two years.

    RBS PAYMENTS Via Twitter Adam Parsons Business Correspondent

    tweets: "RBS tells @bbc5live will compensate everyone left out of pocket by system failure. "We let people down...we need to do better""

    NPOWER BILLS 0803:

    Energy company Npower has written to 3.4 million customers to apologise about its bills. In November figures revealed it received five times as many complaints from customers as the best performing energy firm, much of them about the complexity of bills. Npower says customers have not lost out financially as a result of the problems.

    CHINA BUSINESS 0811: Radio 4
    Chinese flag

    There are misconceptions about doing business in China, Liam Casey, chief executive of PCH International says on Today. You don't have to speak the language or have connections to get into the Chinese market, he tells Justin Webb. The Chinese want design and brands, which is good for British companies.

    RBS PAYMENTS 0812: BBC Breakfast

    Steph McGovern says RBS customers are still getting in touch this morning, saying they are having problems making payments or accessing RBS apps. RBS says the problems have now been resolved.

    PC SALES 0817:

    The decline in sales of personal computers (PCs) is likely to accelerate, according to research firm International Data Corporation. It says shipments of PCs are expected to see their "most severe yearly contraction on record" in 2013. It forecasts a fall of 10.1%.


    Markets in Europe have opened lower this morning. The FTSE 100 is down 0.2% while the Dax in Frankfurt is down 0.1% and the Cac 40 in Paris is 0.3% lower. Earlier the Nikkei in Tokyo closed up 0.6%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong is down 0.5%.

    RBS PAYMENTS 0839:

    Does news of a payments failure at RBS sound a little familiar? Read our recent piece by technology reporter Paul Rubens on why IT failures at big companies are unlikely to go away.

    TOLL ROAD Via Twitter Richard Westcott BBC transport correspondent

    tweets: "One of most interesting stories today. FT reports that gov will ditch plans for a toll on the A14"

    Elizabeth Hurley, 2013 Betfair Weekend, Ascot

    Breon Corcoran chief executive of Betfair is on Today. He says new markets for online gambling are opening up as governments are realising that prohibition is not working. Betfair recently launched a business in the US state of New Jersey and plans to launch in Italy soon. As for the UK - customer numbers were up 25% in UK and Ireland in the first half.

    CAMERON IN CHINA 0858: Radio 5 live
    trade delegation

    "That man on the stairs looks a lot like Graeme Le Saux," says 5 live's Adam Parsons, looking at a picture of David Cameron's trade delegation to China. In fact, it is the former England footballer, who explains that he's representing the Premier League on the trip - a giant business in the UK, and a growing business in China through broadcasting rights.

    Casa Marina

    One of the world's biggest hotel firms, Hilton Worldwide, plans to raise up to $2.4bn (£1.4bn) in a share sale. Hilton said it would use the funds to pay off debts. Hilton has been owned by Blackstone Group since 2007.

    RBS PAYMENTS 0915: BBC News Channel

    Ben Thompson points out that customers are generally very reluctant to switch bank accounts, even when problems like yesterday's failure of RBS's payments system arise. He says new rules should mean it takes no more than seven days to switch your current account.

    SPAIN JOBS 0925:
    Spanish unemployment office

    The number of people registering as unemployed in Spain fell by 2,500 in November, according to official figures. That is unusual as November usually brings rising unemployment due to the end of the tourism season. The government said that new jobs in construction and industry were behind the fall. Spain's jobless rate is currently around 26%.

    H&M IN INDIA 0932:

    High Street clothing retailer H&M has been given final approval to expand into India. It is planning to open 50 stores across the country, with an investment of more than £70m.

    CONSTRUCTION Via Twitter Ben Thompson Business correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: "UK construction sector grew by more than expected in November, hitting strongest levels of output and employment since August 2007."


    The markets have fallen further during the last hour. The FTSE 100 is down 0.4% while the Dax in Frankfurt is down 0.5% and the Cac 40 in Paris is 1% lower. Earlier the Nikkei in Tokyo closed up 0.6%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong closed down 0.5%.

    LOST PENSIONS 0955: BBC News Channel

    Modern career paths with multiple jobs is one factor behind the confusion over pensions, Morten Nilsson from Now Pensions tells Ben Thompson on the channel. Government figures suggest there is £3bn in forgotten pension funds in the UK.


    The UK construction sector unexpectedly picked up more speed in November, according to PMI data from Markit/CIPS. "Construction activity continues to spring back to life during the final months of 2013," said Tim Moore, senior economist with Markit.

    LISTEN AGAIN 1012: Radio 5 live

    Listen again to this morning's Wake Up to Money via the podcast to hear Adam Parsons and Mickey Clark digest yesterdays announcements on energy bills, and ask why are so many people losing track of their pensions?

    1017: Via Blog Robert Peston Business editor

    blogs on the OECD's assessment of education around the world: "If the UK wants to secure a rosier economic future, much of the necessary work to raise education standards may well have to take place in the home as in the school."


    Don't be caught out by the Autumn Statement on Thursday. It's likely to contain policies that have already been announced. Kevin Peachey has this guide to what we already know.

    RBS PAYMENTS 1037:

    There are a few reports on Twitter suggesting some RBS customers are still seeing problems this morning following yesterday's problems with payments, including money going missing from accounts. Our colleagues on Radio 5 live are investigating.

    RBS PAYMENTS Via Twitter Paul Lewis Presenter, Money Box

    tweets: "#RBS #NatWest #UslterBank admits may be problems for a few customers as yesterday's payments batch is processed but is sorting itself out."


    The troubles at the UK pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond are continuing to mount. Shares have fallen 22% this morning following news it has put itself up for sale amid financial troubles and a number of high-level resignations.


    Russia's economic situation is deteriorating. The economy minister downgraded the growth forecast for this year to 1.4% from 1.8%. Economy Minister Alexei Ulukyayev blamed weak investment. That's all according to state news agency RIA Novosti.

    Help wanted sign

    Read this article by Peter Bowes in Los Angeles for some great tips on job hunting. There's advice on using social media and more old fashioned tips, like being polite.

    Souvenir stand

    Brazilians will be hoping that next year's world cup gives the economy a lift. The economy shrank 0.5% in the third quarter from the second quarter of this year, according to official figures. That was worse than expected, but economists say the nation is not heading into recession.

    RBS PAYMENTS 1139:

    Unite, which represents workers at RBS, has "grave concerns that staffing challenges are exacerbating the problems facing the bank". The union wants RBS to "demonstrate" the latest problems are not due to staff shortages or a lack of investment.

    Via Twitter Ben Thompson Business correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: "Latest from RBS: 'some customers are still experiencing issues this morning as systems get back to a fully normal service' "


    Portugal will raise 580m euros (£480m) by selling shares in postal service CTT. The government has set a price of 5.52 euros per share - at the top of its previously announced range. The government is selling a 70% stake in the service.

    RBS PAYMENTS 1204:
    RBS HQ

    "Last night's systems failure was unacceptable," RBS chief executive Ross McEwan said in a statement. He also admitted that "for decades, RBS failed to invest properly in its systems" and the bank is "investing heavily" to upgrade its systems.


    Kudos goes to the press department at Waterstones, which has announced that it is planning to train a fleet of owls to deliver its books to customers, following Amazon's announcement that it is testing drones for parcel delivery.

    LISTEN AGAIN 1225: Radio 4

    Listen again to this morning's business news on the Today programme with Justin Rowlatt via the podcast: The future of energy, drone deliveries soon and a Dalek on the markets.


    The markets have taken a bit of a tumble this morning. The FTSE 100 is down 0.8%, the Dax in Frankfurt is down 1% and the Cac 40 in Paris is 1.6% lower.

    David Cameron and Lisa Pan, Vice President of Rekoo

    Prime Minister David Cameron has been speaking to reporters about his trade delegation to China: "This is a visit that has delivered almost £6bn worth of deals," he said. "Also it is a visit where we have seen very good, high level, substantial discussions both with the premier and with the president - the premier who described the partnership as indispensable."


    British Gas has been criticised for lobbying to roll back plans to insulate some of the UK's coldest homes. The company also failed to meet existing mandatory targets for solid-wall insulation, Roger Harrabin reports.

    Discus Hotel

    One of our most read stories this morning: Are underwater hotels the future? Technology reporter Paul Rubens investigates whether the most exclusive accommodation may soon be at the bottom of the sea.


    BP has won a reprieve over payouts for the 2010 Gulf oil spill. A US appeals court voted for an injunction to suspend any further payments to firms that had not suffered losses as a result of the disaster.


    That's is from us today. Join us for more tomorrow. The Biz Live team will be here from 06:00.


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