4 April 2014 Last updated at 05:59

Business Live: Friday 4 March 2014

    06:02: Joe Miller Business Reporter

    Morning. We'll be discussing some of the speculation that the European Central Bank could embrace quantitative easing, after it kept rates low again yesterday. And we'll have the rest of the business news. Stay with us.

    06:02: Rebecca Marston Business reporter, BBC News

    And hello from me, too. Got something to say? We're here on bizlive@bbc.co.uk or @bbcbusiness.


    A new law to stamp out bad practice by bailiffs will come into force in England and Wales on Sunday. It's an attempt to stop the heavy handed tactics often used to recover debts. From now on, bailiffs will no longer able to enter properties where only children are at home, or take essential household items such as cookers and fridges.

    RYANAIR REVAMP 06:06: Radio 5 live
    Ryanair planes

    Ryanair's new marketing manager is on Wake Up to Money. The airline has been trying to change its image - its reputation for customer service is hardly glowing. Kenny Jacobs runs through some of the changes: "We've a better website, we're letting customers bring a second bag on to the aircraft and have allocated seating and quieter flights."

    NIGERIA'S NUMBER 1 06:16:

    Nigeria may well become Africa's biggest economy on Sunday - beating even South Africa. This will happen because the country is "rebasing" its GDP, a concept we couldn't possibly explain in three sentences on the Live page, but which has been meticulously covered by the BBC's Matthew Davies.

    OIL & GAS JOBS 06:26:
    Oil and Gas

    The Bank of Scotland claims almost 40,000 jobs could be created in Britain's oil and gas sector over the next two years. Its annual research reveals the number of positions expected to be created is 5,000 higher than the total a year ago. The bank predicts the "largest share" of the new jobs will be in Scotland.

    OIL & GAS JOBS 06:33: Radio 4

    "The North Sea remains a key part of the opportunity for companies operating in the UK," Stuart White, Bank of Scotland's commercial area director, tells Today. But the country is suffering from a "skill shortage" in the sector, he explains.

    RYANAIR REVAMP 06:39: Radio 5 live
    Michael O'Leary

    More from the marketing man at Ryanair. Wake Up to Money's Mickey Clarke says Michael O'Leary (Ryanair's boss) had a unique way of doing things (remember the almost-believable suggestion it would charge passengers to use the toilet?) but upset a lot of people. In reply, Kenny Jacobs says "controversy gets you headlines, and headlines get people on to our website and making bookings".

    ROYAL START-UPS 06:45: Radio 4

    Simon Jack has a truly rare radio interview with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. The Duke is fast becoming Buckingham Palace's entrepreneur-in-residence. He's a patron of the Trampery, a shared workspace for start-ups and he was the first royal to visit Tech City and Silicon Valley. This week, he hosted his latest initiative, Pitch @ Palace, where budding entrepreneurs had a unique opportunity to appeal to a specially assembled audience of investors.

    ROYAL START-UPS 06:56: Radio 4
    Prince Andrew

    Prince Andrew tells Simon Jack he wants people to "recognise that being an entrepreneur is something which is worthwhile". He says that after the 2008 crash, he realised that "if we wanted to continue to prosper, here was an opportunity".

    BAILIFF BEHAVIOUR 07:05: Radio 5 live
    Enforcement notice

    More on rules reigning in bailiffs. Companies, councils and courts all use bailiffs to collect money owed to them but over the years the law seems to have become complex, unclear and confusing. Debts attract debts, Bev Budsworth from thedebtadvisor.co.uk tells Wake Up to Money: "If you owe say £1,600 you could end up with another £600 if they call remove your goods and sell your goods. It's still not cheap."

    RBS RECRUIT 07:15:

    Royal Bank of Scotland Group has recruited one of the people who arranged its £45bn bailout in 2008. Ewen Stevenson joins as the group's new finance director, from Credit Suisse. He has also advised "both governments and company boards on the steps needed to restore confidence in financial institutions following the crisis", the press release says.

    Via Twitter Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: "Another Kiwi at top of RBS: Ewan Stevenson is new finance director, after 25 years at Credit Suisse: advised Treasury on RBS bailout."

    AVEVA BOSS 07:21: Radio 4

    Richard Longdon, chief Executive of the IT company Aveva, is the Friday boss on Today. "You need a lot more than entrepreneurs to create big employers," he tells Tanya Beckett. "Very, very few make it into solid, sustainable growth businesses." He says too many people are "thinking of the exit of their business from the day they start".

    AVEVA BOSS 07:28: Radio 4

    Mr Longdon is asked about the lack of women in the tech and engineering industries. He says the government should help women make it into senior jobs, by "giving them the tax breaks they need" and making sure "they can afford childcare".

    DAWLISH LINE 07:37: Radio 4

    Two months after winter storms severed the main rail line into south-west England, the first trains are running along the newly repaired track at Dawlish in Devon. The damage is estimated to have cost the region's economy more than £100m. Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project, a science attraction in Cornwall, tells Today "we're hugely relieved and very impressed - not to say a little surprised". He added: "it's been a complete pain in the proverbials".

    HIGH STREET HIGH? 07:42:
    shopping centre scene

    Only one in five High Street shops affected by the biggest retail collapses of the last five years is still vacant, a new report from the accountancy firm Deloitte suggest. Matthew Hopkinson, from the Local Data Company which carried out the research, says what's filling the spaces suggests a still-weak economy: "You've seen a big rise in terms of the discounters, Poundland, Iceland, convenience stores, Morrisons local... generally within the discount provision".

    Easyjet plane

    Easyjet reports a rise in passenger numbers of 4.8% in March. And Aer Lingus is also getting in on the airline announcement action this Friday with its monthly passenger stats showing a fall of 7.1% in March.

    TAX YEAR ENDS 08:02: Radio 5 live
    6 April

    This Saturday marks the end of the tax year, ushering in a number of changes affecting the amount of tax we pay. Adrian Huston, director of Huston and Co tax consultants, runs through the main changes on Radio 5 live. "For all younger listeners - under 65 - they will see their personal tax allowance going up by roughly £500 to £10,000.... older listeners won't see a rise in their tax allowance this year... they may feel a bit depressed."

    HIGH STREET HIGH? 08:21: Radio 4

    Deloitte's report on high streets looked at nearly 6,000 shops - the consultancy concluded that the high street is far outperforming retail parks and shopping centres. Lee Manning from Deloitte tells Today "20% of the stores have effectively been replaced by discounters" and there has been a "shift towards value and convenience".


    Friday's markets have opened with a continuation of this week's trading theme. No definite direction, although investors could be holding on for the US monthly jobs data due early this afternoon. The FTSE 100 is up 0.32% at 6670.13. In Frankfurt, the Dax is up 0.12% at 9640.35 and in Paris the Cac 40 is up 0.13% at 4455.08.

    HOUSE PRICES 08:50:
    houses in English street

    The Halifax adds to the pile of evidence that house prices are rising fast. Its latest report says prices rose by 8.7% in the year to March, continuing the upward trend. But, measured on a monthly basis, prices fell by 1.1% in March, compared with February. That has been attributed to bad weather and so may be a temporary halt on the upward march.

    CAR SALES 09:04: Radio 5 live

    The latest UK car registration figures are out and the industry is powering ahead. It had the best monthly sales in March since 2004. The car industry accounts for 4% of the country's GDP. Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says: "There was investment of £2.6bn last year alone. If this feeds through and Europe recovers, we would expect to break the record set in 1972 in a couple of years".

    CAR SALES Breaking News

    New car sales in the UK reached a total of 464,824 in March, the highest monthly figure for 10 years.

    CAR SALES 09:15:

    The March car sales figures represent a rise of 17.7% on last month. This chart shows the trend in UK sales since 2007.

    CAR SALES 09:24:
    Pie chart

    We know you'll forgive us one more chart. Here are the car sales in March broken down by colour. In the same month in 2004, 8.8% of cars sold were red. It's out of favour in these modern times.

    FLIGHT NUMBERS 09:34: Via Email Joshua Raymond, chief market strategist at City Index

    "Easyjet's passenger numbers are impressive considering [...] Easter holidays fell in March last year while they are in April this year... The economic recovery is boosting consumer confidence and heightening the threats to budget airlines like Easyjet and Ryanair that travellers may be increasingly willing to pay more for a premium air service."


    McDonald's has offered to relocate employees in Crimea to Ukraine, according to reports from the Reuters newsagency. The fast-food chain says it will cover the cost of moving and make sure its workers maintain their positions and salaries. It has suspended work at its three branches in Crimea, citing "manufacturing reasons".

    BLITHE BLYTHE? 09:58:

    Blythe Masters, whose name became synonymous with a financial instrument known as a credit derivative - widely thought to have precipitated the 2008 crisis - has left JP Morgan Chase. Many columnists are sticking their oar in, but Gillian Tett in the FT comes to Ms Masters' defence. "She became a scapegoat for the crisis - primarily because she was a visible (and attractive) female face and thus memorable amid a sea of men."


    A Republic of Ireland "bad bank", NAMA, has sold its entire property portfolio in Northern Ireland - including office blocks, shopping centres, pubs and hotels and development land - to a New York investment firm. It's the largest ever single transaction made by the bank, with a book value £4.5bn. The National Assets Management Agency was created to take poor performing loans off the country's bailed-out banks.


    Northern Ireland's First Minister, Peter Robinson, has welcomed the sale, and said he had received assurances from the buyers Cereberus about its plans for the properties. You can read more on the landmark sale here.


    Although Reuters carried the report about McDonald's staff, the company refuses to confirm or deny that they have offered to relocate staff. But they sent us this statement: "Due to operational reasons beyond our control, McDonald's has taken the decision to temporarily close our three restaurants in Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta. We hope to be in a position to re-open our restaurants as soon as possible. Support of our employees remains our main priority."

    EU EASING Via Blog Linda Yueh Chief business correspondent

    blogs: "The era of cheap money that had seemed to be coming to an end with the Fed tapering could be prolonged."

    UK COAL SALE? 10:47:
    Kellingley Colliery

    Veteran investor Jon Moulton is considering buying imperilled coal company UK Coal, report Sky News and the Financial Times. On Thursday we learned of plans to close two of the country's three remaining deep-pit coal mines. UK Coal said it was hoping for an emergency cash injection of £20m.


    Friday's markets have crawled a little higher as of mid morning, sticking with the torpid trading tone struck this week. Investors could, of course, be holding on for the US monthly jobs data due early this afternoon. The FTSE 100 is up 0.36% at 6673.35. In Frankfurt, the Dax is up 0.32% at 9660.07 and in Paris the Cac 40 is up 0.2% at 4458.24.

    CAR SALES 11:19:
    The 2014 Audi TT

    Business Live makes a striking discovery: No-one in the UK wants a red car. Ten years ago 8.8% of cars sold were red. Why not now? "We were also quite surprised when we saw that chart [scroll down a few posts to see]. It is fashion really. At the motor shows you see new trends and colours come on the block and become the thing to have," SMMT spokesman John Visscher tells us.

    SHEEP TROUBLE 11:28:

    Some interesting news from the National Sheep Association and the Farmers Guardian hits the Live page inbox. They say 1,074 dog attacks on livestock were reported to the police in 2013, compared to 739 in 2012 and 691 in 2011. "We would like to ask all dog owners to 'take the lead' when they are around stock," says Farmers Guardian editor Emma Penny. "We need to find a way to reduce this devastation."


    Tesco's finance director, Laurie McIlwee, is expected to leave his job. It follows disappointing half-year results (released in October) for the company. Mr McIlwee has been with Tesco for 15 years.


    Rwanda is the latest country to get its very own digital media incubator - the first in east Africa. The Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) will launch the centre today, with $450,000 in seed funding available to local media entrepreneurs, along with office space and mentoring.

    NIGERIA'S NUMBER 1 11:51: BBC World News

    "Every year, hundreds of new millionaires are made in Nigeria" says the BBC's correspondent in Lagos, Will Ross. He's talking about the country's surging economy ahead of a revision in how it calculates GDP, which may make it the richest country in Africa. But "far too many people aren't getting a share of this wealth," says Will.


    More on yesterday's most read story on the BBC Business website - the news that Miley Cyrus' Helsinki concert may fall foul of US sanctions against some Russian businessmen. Legal expert Anthony Woolich tells World Business Report the penalties for companies flouting the sanctions "can be high" but there are also "reputational risks".


    Is this the cutest tech story of the year? A five-year-old boy has discovered a flaw in the Xbox's online system that allowed him to log-in without his dad's password. Microsoft has added the boy's name to a page listing security researchers who have found bugs. Watch an excited young Kristoffer here.

    GRAND DESIGN 12:26:
    Brno modernist house

    Always fun to hear of someone making a radical change to their life. Here's one: The CBI's deputy director general, Dr Neil Bentley, is leaving after 12 years to "carry out my very own Grand Designs house-building project". Dr Bentley tells us it will be a "mid-century modernist" property. Dreamy.

    BAILEY ON BANKS 12:31:
    Andrew Bailey

    The Evening Standard has a lengthy interview with Bank of England deputy governor Andrew Bailey. The banks, he says, are not pushing back against efforts to make them hold more capital or bonds. "If you live in a world where you are dependent on a guarantee written by the state, you will never have the state off your back," says Mr Bailey.


    This month's Wired magazine, out today, has a very interesting interview with Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek. He managed to convince record labels that "he'd save them by giving away their music", says Wired. "We had to fund [Spotify] with our own money," says Ek, because "no sane investor" wanted to get involved in the early days of the company. They might be regretting that decision now.


    Spotify's Daniel Ek has some interesting things to say about Europe in that Wired interview. He thinks the company has a "competitive advantage" by being based in Stockholm, and so not having to compete with the likes of Amazon and Google for the best staff. He also says Sweden's social "safety net" helped him take big risks as a young entrepreneur, as he knew he would have "food on the table, a house to live in" if all failed.

    UK COAL SALE? 12:52:

    Jon Moulton - a veteran investor, as we called him earlier - has been speaking to us about reports he is considering investing in UK Coal: "We would very much like to have a look at the coal industry. It is something we know a lot about". And he's spoken to the company and the government about a possible deal.

    12:59: Joe Miller Business Reporter

    It's goodbye from us on the Live page for the week. Let's hope the European markets liven up next week, as traders might as well have spent the past few days in a drug induced stupor, according to one commentator. Join us from 06:00 on Monday.

    12:59: Rebecca Marston Business reporter, BBC News

    A congregation of vapours awaits us with the smog outside. But we'll be fresh on Monday - as per.


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