27 February 2014 Last updated at 05:49

Business Live: 27 February 2014

    0600: Edwin Lane Business reporter, BBC News

    Good morning all. It looks like a busy day for business news with Royal Bank of Scotland due to report results later. Get in touch at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or on Twitter @BBCBusiness.

    0600: Rebecca Marston Business reporter, BBC News

    Good morning indeed. Hold on today for a banking bonanza as RBS publishes its comprehensive business review along with its full year results. Another loss and a reduced headcount is expected - with some parts of the business being sold.

    RBS 06:03: Radio 5 live

    Royal Bank of Scotland is the main topic on Wake Up to Money. Chris Skinner, chairman of the financial services club, says the results due this morning could effectively be a clean-up attempt: "New boss Ross McEwan took over from Stephen Hester as chief executive in the fourth quarter of last year. He'll be keen to wipe all the bad stuff off the table."

    QANTAS 06:07: BBC World News
    Qantas aircraft

    There are troubling times for Australian airline Qantas, which has announced it is cutting one in seven of its full time staff over the next three years. Phil Mercer in Sydney says the airline has been lobbying the government to allow foreign investment in the airline, and help it to borrow money more cheaply.

    RBS 06:08: BBC Breakfast

    Steph McGovern on Breakfast says RBS is expected to announce a bonus pool of about £500m when it reports its full year results later.

    RBS 06:15:

    The Financial Times suggests political pressure is growing on Chancellor George Osborne to rein in pay at RBS, which is still majority-owned by the government. The paper says Labour MPs are asking why the bank is paying large bonuses while announcing mounting losses and big jobs cuts.

    RBS 06:22: Radio 4

    Hugo Dixon, editor at large at Reuters, is on Today to talk about RBS. He says it was "the biggest problem child" when it was nationalised at the financial crisis. He says the expected £8bn loss is disappointing, but it needs to be put in context of £40bn losses to far. "They're not back to recovery, but lets say the worst of the worst is over."

    RBS 06:25: Radio 4

    Hugo Dixon tells Simon Jack on Today that RBS boss Ross McEwan's suggestion that the bank will "adapt its business" in the event of Scottish independence means RBS will move its headquarters out of Scotland, unless a currency union is agreed.

    PRE-NUPS 06:30: Radio 5 live
    A silhouetted couple arguing

    Pre-nuptial agreements - where couple agree asset division before they are married are not legally binding in the UK - are under review by the Law Commission, which suggests they be given full legal force. Judith Routledge, a solicitor with Stowe Family Law, discusses the implications on Wake Up to Money.

    PAYDAY LOANS 06:39:

    Debt charity StepChange says it has seen a big rise in people struggling with payday loans. 67,000 people came to them with problems last year - an 82% rise on 2012. The charity said payday loans had caused "untold misery and damage to financially vulnerable consumers across the UK".

    PRE-NUPS 06:50: Radio 5 live

    Pre-nups remain a talking point on 5 live with plans to make them legally binding in the UK. They are common in the US of course. American Cheryl Hepfer, president of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, says they're not all about money. She recalls Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg 's pre-nup had a clause setting the number of "date nights" he and his wife would have.

    RBS 07:00: Breaking News

    RBS reports operating loss before tax of £8.2bn. If the legacy of the "bad bank" bit is excluded it made an operating profit of £2.5bn. Bonus pool is £576m, down 15% from 2012 when it was £679m.

    STANDARD LIFE 07:02: Via Blog Robert Peston Business editor

    blogs: "Standard Life is putting in place contingency plans to relocate funds, people and operations to England if Scottish people vote for independence and what it regards as material uncertainties about money and regulation are not sorted to its satisfaction."

    STANDARD LIFE 07:08:

    Standard Life is the first significant Scottish business to warn that remaining in Scotland may be untenable in the event of a vote for independence.

    RBS 07:17:

    RBS chief executive sets out new high standards for the bank for the future, saying: "We now need to use our strengths and capabilities to make RBS an example for everything that should be right with banking."

    STANDARD LIFE 07:18: Radio 4
    Standard Life building

    Robert Peston tells the Today programme that although Standard Life is a Scottish business, most of its customers are in England, and it doesn't believe it would be able to serve the interests of those customers if it was regulated from Scotland. He says the fear for Alex Salmond is that other businesses could now follow suit.

    RBS Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Ross McEwan, ceo RBS on @bbcgms: "Not a good loss and very sobering""

    RBS 07:26:

    RBS's mammoth statement on its results and strategy contains lots of nuggets. Including this one warning it can't promise there won't be more nasties in the future: "There will be more things from our past that come back to haunt us, but they will be fewer in number."

    RBS Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Ross McEwan RBS ceo re #indyref on @bbcgms: we're having to think about the 'what ifs?' Until a lot more information, too early to say."

    ADVERTISING 07:37: Radio 4

    WPP, still the world's biggest advertising agency, has reported that profits and revenues are up. Sir Martin Sorrell tells that emerging economies and new technology remain its growth areas. He says the general view of business is that the UK being part of Europe is better than being outside.

    WHITBREAD 07:44:

    Coffee boost for Whitbread, the company behind Costa Coffee and Premier Inn hotels, has reported rising sales and says it expects its full year results to be at the top end of market forecasts. Group like-for-like sales were up 6.8% in the 11 weeks to the middle of February.

    RBS 07:52:

    RBS has issued a separate release pledging many improvements for customers. "By 2020, we aim to be the number one bank for customer service and the most trusted bank in the UK," it says. "We will stop confusing our customers with complicated language they cannot understand." It has a form up inviting comments from anyone who cares to leave one. Brave.

    RBS 07:59: BBC Breakfast

    "It's a tale of terror, past greed, corruption and incompetence. Five years on the RBS team is still paying for the incompetence of Fred Goodwin and his team," says financial analyst Louise Cooper. "There are clearly going to be big job cuts and branch closures at RBS".

    ENERGY BILL Via Twitter Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: "BBC trying to power satellite truck for a live broadcast by me off the power from my house. What's the energy bill going to be? Ouch"

    RYANAIR 08:05: Radio 5 live

    Adam Parsons has been discussing Ryanair's plans to sell flights to the US for under a tenner on 5 live. Mickey Clark says there are a number of issues with this: Taxes way outweigh seat costs and everything else will be sold at a premium. Meanwhile Michael O'Leary is now "swimming with the [competitive] sharks" in the transatlantic air passenger market.

    Via Twitter Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: "And the BBC satellite truck has now tripped all the power in my house. Oh the joys of live broadcasts"

    RBS 08:16: Radio 4
    Ross McEwan

    "Lets get back to simple banking that people can trust," the boss of RBS, Ross McEwan, tells Today. "We're in the least trusted industry and we're one of those banks that aren't trusted. I find it absolutely abhorrent that banks will give a new customer a better deal than an existing one."

    RBS 08:24: Radio 4

    Ross McEwan has defended paying bonuses to its bankers, even as it reports big losses. He says it remains the case that good people will be tempted away to other banks if they aren't offered enough money. "We need to be in the market," he tells Today, though he admits bonuses are an "emotional issue".

    RSA INSURANCE 08:33:

    Troubled UK insurer RSA has also released results today (its chief executive is ex-RBS boss Stephen Hester). It lost £244m last year, after dealing with an accounting scandal in its Irish business. Mr Hester has been brought in to try and turn the business around.

    RBS Via Twitter Adam Parsons Business Correspondent

    tweets: "RBS now valued at £38bn Total losses over past five years: £40bn 2008 Bailout: £45bn"


    Stock markets in Europe have opened. The FTSE 100 is up 0.8%. In Paris, the Cac 40 is up 0.1% and in Frankfurt the Dax is up 0.3%.

    STANDARD LIFE 08:48: BBC News Channel

    The BBC's Lorna Gordon in Glasgow says there's no comment yet from the Yes campaign or the Scottish government on Standard Life. But she says it will "cause them more than a little bit of difficulty". She points out that it's perhaps the largest private sector employer in Edinburgh.

    RBS SHARES 08:55:

    Investors appear unimpressed by the results from RBS . Shares fell more than 6% in early dealings. Now down 4.5% at 338p.

    RBS 09:04: Radio 5 live

    More reaction to RBS's plan to give out close to £600m in bonuses. "I personally am not a proponent of a bonus-driven culture... But it is difficult when you are in market places where the competition is prepared to play that type of game," says Sir George Mathewson, the ex-boss of former RBS rival Bank of Scotland.

    RBS 09:13: Via Email

    Reader Roger Hill from Ely writes: "As a matter of principle I believe bonus should be paid out of profit. No profit, no bonus!"

    RBS 09:28: BBC News Channel
    Ben and Philip

    Ben Thompson on the News Channel hears from Philip Augar, author of The Death of Gentlemanly Capitalism, who says the RBS ship is turning: "I can see the light at the end of the RBS tunnel. What's interesting about this is it is slimming its focus down to simpler services, such as High Street banking."

    LEGO 09:42: BBC World News
    Lego heads

    Lego made 45.7 billion bricks last year, says World Business Report. Spread around the world that is more than six each. Its results are due out later. The company is estimated to be worth $17bn (£10.2bn). Its Lego Movie has taken box offices by storm, but its only the latest step in a huge turnaround: It struggled with debts of $800m just a decade ago.

    BT Via Twitter Ben Thompson Business correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: "BT is creating 1,500 training and work experience placements - will chat to the Chief Exec of BT Technology next on @BBCNews"

    BT 09:56: BBC News Channel

    Clive Selley from BT tells Ben Thompson that big companies have a responsibility to try to create jobs for young people, while youth unemployment remains so high. He hopes training up young people will give the company a cutting edge in technology in the future.


    Shares in RBS are the biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 so far this morning. They are now down more than 7.5%. The wider index is down 0.6%. In Paris the Cac 40 is down 0.6% and the Dax in Frankfurt is down 1%.

    RBS Via Twitter Victoria Fritz Business reporter, BBC News

    tweets: "Unite union asks RBS to shrink its business without cutting jobs. Also says bonuses are a state sponsored grab by greedy senior bankers"

    STANDARD LIFE 10:29:

    The Yes campaign in Scotland has published a response to Standard Life's warning on independence. "Standard Life wants to see agreements on currency, regulation and taxation, which is exactly what the Scottish Government has proposed," it says.

    QANTAS 10:45:
    Qantas planes

    "In 1921, the Qantas fleet consisted of two humble biplanes. It has grown to become a treasured part of the Australian story. A country now waits to see what sort of drama the next chapter of this turbulent story will bring." The BBC's Phil Mercer in Sydney asks what's next for Australia's troubled airline.

    WORLD WIDE WEB 10:53:
    List of technologies Americans can't live without

    The World Wide Web turns 25 in March this year. The BBC's David Botti in Washington looks at how people's attitudes to the internet have changed in the last quarter of a century.

    LISTEN AGAIN 11:02: World Service

    Business Daily is examining the world economy from the perspective of the chemical elements in a series of reports, and today it's the turn of calcium. It is the basis of most of the great architecture in nature as well as many of the incredible structures made by man. Listen to the programme now via the podcast.

    PAY TRENDS 11:17:

    A batch of enlightening statistics from the ONS about pay and employment. Highlights include: Adjusting for inflation using the Consumer Prices Index, UK weekly earnings for full-time employees fell each year between 2008 and 2013.

    PAY TRENDS 11.27:

    More from the ONS's latest data releases. Although there is a long-term downward trend in the gender pay gap for full-time employees (from 17.4% in 1997), it widened between 2012 and 2013 from 9.5% to 10.0%. The gap has been falling since 1997, and there's one region where women earn more than men: Northern Ireland. Although with a 0.7% negative gap you could pretty much say that is equal pay.

    PAY TRENDS 11:40:

    Still with the pay trends data from the Office for National Statistics: Top earners - those in the top ten percent - on average earn 3.5 times that of low earners. A figure that hasn't changed in 15 years, the organisation says.

    BUDGET PLEA 11:55:
    Petrol pump

    The UK Budget will be set out next month and the business organisations are making their pleas. The Forum of Private Business asks for business rates to be fundamentally reviewed. It also wants the chancellor to consider phasing out VAT on fuel duty and introduce measures to tackle late payment by making it compulsory for large firms to make their payment statistics public. Points to them for being one of the first to pitch.

    RBS 12:11:

    The chairman of the Treasury Committee, Andrew Tyrie, says RBS needs to be stricter about bonuses. "RBS has introduced deferred bonuses for only up to three years. That will do little in many cases to match the rewards to the maturity of the risk. A fundamental reform of the bonus culture is needed."


    Shares in RBS have sunk further on the FTSE 100 and stand more than 9% lower. The wider index is down 0.72%. In Paris the Cac 40 is down 0.72% and the Dax in Frankfurt is down 1.59%.

    Bang's Nell Robinson (l) and Ann Marie Clarke (r)

    "At first we were tip-toeing around each other, not wanting to hurt each other's feelings, but now we've learnt to be brutally honest." How do friends become business partners? The BBC's Lindsay Baker finds out.

    Letting agent's window

    Some letting agents are fraudulently taking thousands of pounds from tenants as a deposit, not letting them move in and keeping the money, an investigation by Radio 1's Newbeat has found. Read the full story here.

    FOOTBALL 12:48:
    Newcastle Utd ground in May 2007

    Would you buy a football club? The BBC's chief business correspondent, Linda Yueh asks the question. See if you fall into any of these categories by reading here.

    12:59: Rebecca Marston Business reporter, BBC News

    We've banked up a wealth of stories on the Business Live page today. Profitable reading, we hope, for you. Back tomorrow at 06:00. We do hope to see you again then.


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